Thursday, 14 June 2012
1. And seeing the multitudes, Corruption went up into Aso Rock; and when he was set, the politicians came unto him; and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying:
2. Blessed are the clueless in wisdom; for theirs is the Presidency of the nation.
3. Blessed are they that rig elections, for they shall be elected.
4. Blessed are the thieves; for they shall inherit the National Assembly.
5. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after public funds; for their accounts shall be filled.
6. Blessed are the bribe-takers, for they shall obtain big bribes.
7. Blessed are the Petroleum Ministers, for they shall loot trillions.
8. Blessed are the bootlickers, for they shall be called the Federal Executhief Council.
9. Blessed are they which are prosecuted for corruption’s sake; for theirs is the kingdom of wealth.
10. Blessed are ye, when EFCC shall invite you, and interrogate you, and bring all manner of charges against you, for my sake.
11. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for fat are your accounts in Swiss banks; for so they prosecuted the politicians which were before you.
12. Ye are the thieves of the nation; but if the thief have lost his craftiness, wherewith shall he be looting? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be charged to court, and be sentenced to prison.
13. Ye are the liars of the nation, a lie that is carefully thought-out cannot be found out.
14. The politicians cook big lies and serve it to SaharaReporters, but not to NTA; and it gives false hope unto all that watch the 9pm news.
15. Let your gowns so flow before men, that they may see your big loots, and glorify your father who is in Ota.
16. Think not that I am come to arrest the fuel marketers
17. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one naira or one kobo shall not be left in the Federation Account, but all be looted away.
Whosever shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the Asiwaju in the kingdom of corruption; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called BOT Chairman in the kingdom of corruption.
18. For I say unto you, except your corruption shall exceed the corruption of policemen and lawmakers, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of immunity.
19. Ye have heard that it was said by them of the old time, Thou shall not loot; and whosoever shall loot shall be in danger of the judgment:
20. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his party without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say, stop looting, shall be in danger of penury, the elder brother of poverty.
21. Therefore if thou bring thy loot to the UK, and there rememberest that the EFCC has case against thee.
22. Leave thy loot in a UK bank and go to Dubai; first be reconciled to the EFCC Chairman and come and enjoy thy loot.
23. Bribe thy prosecutors quickly while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time he deliver thee to the judge, and the judge sentence thee, and thou be cast into prison.
24. Verily I say unto you, thou shall by no means come out thence, till thou hast entered a plea bargain.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
The June 12, 1993, Election Annulment Speech of General Ibrahim Babangida, June 26, 1993. Fellow Nigerians, I address you today with a deep sense of world history and particularly of the history of our great country. In the aftermath of the recently annulled Presidential Election, I feel, as I believe you yourself feel, a profound sense of disappointment at the outcome of our last efforts at laying the foundation of a viable democratic system of government in Nigeria . I therefore wish, on behalf of myself and members of the National Defence and Security Council and indeed of my entire administration, to feel with my fellow countrymen and women for the cancellation of the election. It was a rather disappointing experience in the course of carrying through the last election of the transition to civil rule programme. Nigeria has come a long way since this administration assumed power and leadership about eight years ago. In the attempt to grapple with the critical and monumental problems and challenges of National existence and social progress, this administration inaugurated and pursued sound and justifiable policies and programmes of reform. These policies and programmes have touched virtually all aspects of our national life – the economy, political process, social structures, external relations, bureaucracy and even the family system. I believe strongly that in understanding, conception, formulation and articulation, these policies and programmes are not only sound but also comparatively unassailable. I believe too that history, with the passage of time, would certainly score the administration high in its governance of our country. Let me also express my deep conviction that the core strategy and structures of our reform policies and programmes, as enunciated in 1986/87 would, for a very long time, remain relevant and durable in the course of changing our country positively. I believe that at the exit of the Administration from power, we would leave behind for prosperity, a country with an economy, the structures of which have been turned around for good. The average Nigerian person has come to reconcile himself with the fact that his or her social progress remain essentially in his or her hands in collaboration with other fellow Nigerians and not merely relying on what government alone could provide for him or her. The days are gone for good, when men and women trooped to government establishments for employment and for benevolence. This administration has built the foundation that would take Nigerians away from their previous colonially-induced motivations and the encumbrances of colonialism. We have laid the foundation for self-reliant economic development and social justice. We have established a new basis in our country in which economic liberalization would continue to flourish alongside democratic forces and deregulated power structure. In all these, the average Nigerian person has more than ever before this administration imbibed and assimilated the values of hard work, resilience and self-confidence. It is true that in the course of implementing our reform policies and programmes and especially because of the visionary zeal with which we approached the assignment and responded to incidental pressures of governance, we engendered a number of social forces in the country. This is so because we sought to challenge and transform extant social forces which had in the past impeded growth and development of our country. We also sought to deal with the new forces to which our programmes of action gave rise. Thus in dealing with the dynamics of both the old and new social forces, we ran into certain difficulties. In particular, during the course of handling the interlocking relationships between the old and new political forces and institutions, some problems had arisen leading us into a number of difficulties and thereby necessitating our having to tamper with the rules and regulations laid down in the political programme. As a result, the administration unwittingly attracted enormous public suspicions of its intentions and objectives. Accordingly, we have experienced certain shortfalls and conflicting responses to the pulls and pushes of governance in the course of policy implementation. I believe that areas of difficulties with the transition programme, especially from the last quarter of 1992 to the recent cancelled presidential election, derived primarily from the shortfalls in implementing the programmes of actions which, though objectively taken, may have caused a deviation from the original framework and structure of the programme. Fellow Nigerians, it is true that by the cancelled presidential election, we all found the nation at a peculiar bar of history which was neither bargained for, nor was it envisaged in the reform programmes of transition as enunciated in 1986/87. In the circumstance, the administration had no option than to respond appropriately to the unfortunate experience of terminating the presidential election. Our actions are in full conformity with the original objectives of the transition to civil programme. It was also in conformity with the avowed commitment of the administration to advance the cause of national unity, stability, and democracy. In annulling the presidential election, this administration was keenly aware of its promise in November 1992 that it would disengage and institute a return to democracy on August 27, 1993. We are determined to keep the promise. Since this transition, and indeed any transition, must have an end, I believe that our transition programme should and must come to an end, honestly and honourably. History will bear witness that as an administration we have always striven, in all our policy decisions, to build the foundation of lasting democracy. Lasting democracy is not a temporary show of excitement and manipulation by an over-articulate section of the elite and its captive audience; lasting democracy is a permanent diet to nurture the soul of the whole nation and the political process. Therefore, it is logical, as we have always insisted upon, that lasting democracy must be equated with political stability. Informed by our sad experience of history, we require nothing short of a foundation for lasting democracy. As an administration, we cannot afford to leave Nigerian into a Third Republic with epileptic convulsions in its democratic health. Nigeria must therefore confront her own reality; she must solve her problems notwithstanding other existing models of democracy in other parts of the world. In my address to the nation in October 1992, when the first presidential primaries were cancelled, I had cause to remind our country men and women that there is nowhere iin the world in which the practice of democracy is the same, even if the principles are similar and even for countries sharing the same intellectual tradition and cultural foundation. The history of our country is not the history of any other country in the world which is either practicing advanced democracy or struggling to lay the foundation for democracy. Yet, in spite of the uniqueness and peculiarities of Nigeria, there are certain prerequisites which constitute an irreducible minimum for democracy. Such essential factors include: A. Free and fair elections; B. Uncoerced expression of voters preference in election; C. Respect for electorate as unfettered final arbiter on elections; D. Decorum and fairness on the part of the electoral umpires; E. Absolute respect for the rule of law. Fellow Nigerians, you would recall that it was precisely because the presidential primaries of last year did not meet the basic requirements of free and fair election that the Armed Forces Ruling Council, the, had good reason to cancel those primaries. The recently annulled presidential election was similarly afflicted by these problems. Even before the presidential elections, and indeed at the party conventions, we had full knowledge of the bad signals pertaining to the enormous breach of the rules and regulations of democracy elections. But because we were determined to keep faith with the deadline of 27th August 1993 for the return of civil rule, we overlooked the reported breaches. Unfortunately, these breaches continued into the presidential election of June 12, 1993, on an even greater proportion. There were allegations of irregularities and other acts of bad conduct leveled against the presidential candidates but NEC went ahead and cleared them. There were proofs as well as documented evidence of widespread use of money during the party primaries as well as the presidential election. These were the same bad conduct for which the party presidential primaries of 1992 were cancelled. Evidence available to government put the total amount of money spent by the presidential candidates as over two billion , one hundred million naira (N2.1 billion). The use of money was again the major source of undermining the electoral process. Both these allegations and evidence were known to the National Defence and Security Council before the holding of the June 12, 1993 election, the National Defence and Security Council overlooked these areas of problems in its determination to fulfill the promise to hand over to an elected president on due date. Apart from the tremendous negative use of money during the party primaries and presidential elections, there were moral issues which were also overlooked by the Defence and National Security Council. There were cases of documented and confirmed conflict of interest between the government and both presidential aspirants which would compromise their positions and responsibilities were they to become president. We believe that politics and government are not ends in themselves. Rather, service and effective amelioration of the condition of our people must remain the true purpose of politics. It is true that the presidential election was generally seen to be free, fair and peaceful. However, there was in fact a huge array of election malpractices virtually in all the states of the federation before the actual voting began. There were authenticated reports of the election malpractices against party agents, officials of the National Electoral Commission and also some members of the electorate. If all of these were clear violations of the electoral law there were proofs of manipulations through offer and acceptance of money and other forms of inducement against officials of the National Electoral Commission and members of the electorate. There were also evidence of conflict in the process of authentication and clearance of credentials of the presidential candidates. Indeed, up to the last few hours to the election, we continued in our earnest steadfastness with our transition deadline, to overlook vital facts. For example, following the council’s deliberation which followed the court injunction suspending the election, majority of members of the National Defence and Security Council supported postponement of the election by one week. This was to allow NEC enough time to reach all the voters, especially in the rural areas, about the postponement. But persuaded by NEC that it was capable of relaying the information to the entire electorate within the few hours left before the election, the council, unfortunately, dropped the idea of shifting the voting day. Now, we know better. The conduct of the election, the behaviour of the candidates and post-election responses continued to elicit signals which the nation can only ignore at its peril. It is against the foregoing background that the administration became highly concerned when these political conflicts and breaches were carried to the court. It must be acknowledged that the performance of the judiciary on this occasion was less than satisfactory. The judiciary has been the bastion of the hopes and liberties of our citizens. Therefore, when it became clear that the courts had become intimidated and subjected to the manipulation of the political process, and vested interests then the entire political system was in clear dangers. This administration could not continue to watch the various high courts carry on their long drawn out processes and contradictory decisions while the nation slides into chaos. It was under this circumstance that the National Defence and Security Council decided that it is in the supreme interest of law and order, political stability and peace that the presidential election be annulled. As an administration, we have had special interest and concern not only for the immediate needs of our society, but also in laying the foundation for generations to come. To continue action on the basis of the June 12, 1993 election, and to proclaim and swear in a president who encouraged a campaign of divide and rule among our ethnic groups would have been detrimental to the survival of the Third Republic. Our need is for peace, stability and continuity of politics in the interest of all our people. Fellow countrymen and women, although the National Electoral Commission and the Centre for Democratic Studies officially invited foreign observers for the presidential elections, the administration also considered it as important as a democratic society, that our activities and electoral conduct must be open not only to the citizenry of our country but also to the rest of the world. In spite of this commitment, the administration did not and cannot accept that foreign countries should interfere in our internal affairs and undermine our sovereignty. The presidential election was no an exercise imposed on Nigerians by the United Nations or by the wishes of some global policemen of democracy. It was a decision embarked upon independently by the government of our country and for the interest of our country. This is because, we believe, just like other countries, that democracy and democratization are primary values which Nigerians should cultivate, sustain and consolidate so as to enhance freedom, liberties and social development of the citizenry. The actions of these foreign countries are most unfortunate and highly regrettable. There is nowhere in the history of our country or indeed of the third world where these countries can be said to love Nigeria or Nigerians any more that the love we have for ourselves and for our country. Neither can they claim to love Nigeria any more than this administration loves our country. Accordingly, I wish to state that this administration will take necessary action against any interest groups that seek to interfere in our internal affairs. In this vein, I wish to place on record the appreciation of this administration for the patience and understanding of Nigerians, the French, the Germans, the Russians and Irish governments in the current situation. I appeal to our fellow countrymen and women and indeed our foreign detractors that they should cultivate proper understanding and appreciation of the peculiar historic circumstances in the development of our country and the determination not only of this administration but indeed of all Nigerians to resolve the current crises. Fellow Nigerians, the National Security and Defence Council have met several times since the June 12, 1993 election. The council has fully deliberated not only on our avowed commitment but also to bequeathing to posterity, a sound economic and political base in our country and we shall do so with honour. In our deliberations, we have also taken note of several extensive consultations with other members of this administration, with officers and men of the Armed Forces and will well-meaning Nigerian leaders of thought. We are committed to handing over power on 27th August 1993. Accordingly, the National Defence and Security Council has decided that by the end of July 1993 the two political parties, under the supervision of a recomposed National Electoral Commission, will put in place the necessary process for the emergence of two presidential candidates. This shall be conducted according to the rules and regulations governing the election of the president of the country. In this connection, government will in consultation with the two political parties and National Electoral Commission agree as to the best and quickest process of conducting the election. In the light of our recent experience and, given the mood of the nation, the National Defence and Security Council has imposed additional conditions as a way of widening and deepening the base of electing the president and sanitizing the electoral process. Accordingly, the candidates for the coming election must: (1) Not be less than 50 years old. (2) Have not been convicted of any crime; (3) Believe, by act of faith and practice, in the corporate existence of Nigerians; (4) Posses records of personal, corporate and business interests which do not conflict with the national interests; (5) Have been registered members of either of the two political parties for at least one year to this election. All those previously banned from participating in the transition process other than those with criminal records, are hereby unbanned. They can all henceforth participate in the electoral process. This is with a view to enriching the quality of candidature for the election and at the same time tap the leadership resources of our country to the fullest. The decree to this effect will be promulgated. Fellow Nigerians, I wish to finally acknowledge the tremendous value of your patience and understanding, especially in the face of national provocation. I urge you to keep faith with the commitment of this administration. I enjoin you to keep faith with the unity, peace and stability of our country for this is the only country that you and I can call our own. Nowhere in the world, no matter the prompting and inducements of foreign countries, can Nigerians ever be regarded as first class citizens. Nigeria is the only country that we have. We must therefore renew our hope in Nigeria, and faith and confidence in ourselves for continued growth, development and progress. Thank you all, and God bless you.
Monday, 4 June 2012
So unless scientists discover the fountain of youth, none of us alive today will likely ever witness this celestial phenomenon again, dubbed a “transit of Venus.”
It’s so unique that museums and schools around the globe are hosting Venus viewing festivities – all for a chance to see our star sport a fleeting beauty mark. Even astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan to observe the event.
The drama unfolds Tuesday afternoon from the Western Hemisphere (Wednesday morning from the Eastern Hemisphere.)
Venus will appear as a small black dot gliding across the disk of the sun. As in a solar eclipse, do not stare directly at the sun; wear special protective glasses.
The entire transit, lasting 6 hours and 40 minutes, will be visible from the western Pacific, eastern Asia and eastern Australia.
Skywatchers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the northern part of South America will see the beginning of the show before the sun sets. Europe, western and central Asia, eastern Africa and western Australia will catch the tail end after sunrise. Those who don’t want to leave their homes can follow live webcasts by NASA and various observatories.
“Anything silhouetted on the sun looks interesting. Seeing Venus is extremely rare,” said astronomer Anthony Cook of the Griffith Observatory.
Perched on the south slope of Mount Hollywood in Los Angeles, the observatory is girding for heavy traffic Tuesday afternoon as throngs were expected to peer through telescopes with special filters set up on the lawn.
Skygazers who want the full experience are flocking to Hawaii, considered one of the prime viewing spots since the whole transit will be visible. From the world-famous Waikiki Beach on Oahu to the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island, eclipse glasses will be passed out so that people can safely see Venus crossing without damaging their eyes.
Just remember to have patience.
“There’s no one big climactic moment. It takes longer to happen” than a solar or lunar eclipse, said Larry O’Hanlon, who does outreach at the W.M. Keck Observatory on the Big Island.
The second planet from the sun between Mercury and Earth, Venus is about the same size as Earth. It appears as one of the brightest objects in the night sky because its thick clouds reflect much of the sunlight back into space.
There will be no obvious change to the brightness of the sky during the event; Venus only blocks out a tiny fraction of the sun.
“You have to know it’s happening,” said David DeVorkin, a senior curator at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
Venus is the third celestial show to grace the sky in less than a month. Just a day earlier, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible from western North America, South America, Australia and eastern Asia. And there was the much-hyped “ring of fire” solar eclipse on May 20.
Unlike eclipses, Venus transits are truly rare. They come in pairs, separated by more than 100 years. The last one occurred in 2004 and next pair in 2117 and 2125.
Since the German astronomer Johannes Kepler first predicted it in the 17th century, only six have been observed. The upcoming one will be the seventh.
Only two people were said to have seen the transit of 1639. The 1882 transit was a bigger deal – people jammed the sidewalks of New York City and paid 10 cents to peek through a telescope. John Philip Sousa even composed a score called “Transit of Venus March.”
The one in 2004 was viewed by millions – in person and online.
University of Alabama astronomer William Keel was determined not to miss the 2004 transit, the first one in 122 years. But he only caught 45 minutes of the action before clouds rolled in. This time, he plans to set up telescopes on the roof and hopes for clear skies.
The early Venus viewings were a big deal to scientists who used the alignment to measure the size of our solar system. The technique is still used today to search for alien worlds outside our solar system.
Saturday, 2 June 2012
Jesus, as described in the New Testament, was most likely crucified on Friday April 3, 33 A.D.
The latest investigation, reported in the journal International Geology Review, focused on earthquake activity at the Dead Sea, located 13 miles from Jerusalem. The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, mentions that an earthquake coincided with the crucifixion:
“And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open.”
To analyze earthquake activity in the region, geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences studied three cores from the beach of the Ein Gedi Spa adjacent to the Dead Sea.
Varves, which are annual layers of deposition in the sediments, reveal that at least two major earthquakes affected the core: a widespread earthquake in 31 B.C. and an early first century seismic event that happened sometime between 26 A.D. and 36 A.D.
The latter period occurred during “the years when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea and when the earthquake of the Gospel of Matthew is historically constrained,” Williams said.
"The day and date of the crucifixion (Good Friday) are known with a fair degree of precision," he said. But the year has been in question.
In terms of textual clues to the date of the crucifixion, Williams quoted a Nature paper authored by Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington. Williams summarized their work as follows:
- All four gospels and Tacitus in Annals (XV,44) agree that the crucifixion occurred when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea from 26-36 AD.
- All four gospels say the crucifixion occurred on a Friday.
- All four gospels agree that Jesus died a few hours before the beginning of the Jewish Sabbath (nightfall on a Friday).
- The synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) indicate that Jesus died before nightfall on the 15th day of Nisan; right before the start of the Passover meal.
- John’s gospel differs from the synoptics; apparently indicating that Jesus died before nightfall on the 14th day of Nisan.
When data about the Jewish calendar and astronomical calculations are factored in, a handful of possible dates result, with Friday April 3, 33 A.D. being the best match, according to the researchers.
In terms of the earthquake data alone, Williams and his team acknowledge that the seismic activity associated with the crucifixion could refer to “an earthquake that occurred sometime before or after the crucifixion and was in effect ‘borrowed’ by the author of the Gospel of Matthew, and a local earthquake between 26 and 36 A.D. that was sufficiently energetic to deform the sediments of Ein Gedi but not energetic enough to produce a still extant and extra-biblical historical record.”
“If the last possibility is true, this would mean that the report of an earthquake in the Gospel of Matthew is a type of allegory,” they write.
Williams is studying yet another possible natural happening associated with the crucifixion - darkness.
Three of the four canonical gospels report darkness from noon to 3 PM after the crucifixion. Such darkness could have been caused by a dust storm, he believes.
Williams is investigating if there are dust storm deposits in the sediments coincident with the early first century Jerusalem region earthquake.
Source: Discovery News
In Nigeria, no one is ever sacked from Government except they are fighting corruption or trying to uphold the law. This appears to be trend as we have seen a number of embattled political office holders blaming their woes on the resolve to walk the straight and narrow path.
Weeks ago, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh , while appearing before a House of Representatives public hearing on the capital market responded to allegations of impropriety level against her as the handiwork of those bent ensuring that business remains as usual. The Mbinister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, echoed almost the same sentiments during her ministerial screening before the senate when answering a question as to the circumstances of her departure during her first stint as Minister.
The latest person to wear the rule-of-law, constitutionalism cloak is a Commissioner of the Federal Character Commission and erstwhile Acting Chairman who the Federal Government has written to the National Assembly seeking his removal. The Commissioner, Mohammed Gwaska, has alleged that Jonathan is seeking his sack because of his insistence on adherence to the constitution. He claims that the charges of Misconduct and dereliction of duty leveled against him are false and politically motivated.
While I do not want to question Alhaji Gwaska’s love for the constitution, a look at the workings of the Federal Character Commission, which he chaired for a while, shows that it is still a long way from constitutionalism.
The Federal Character Commission was established through Decree 34 of 1996 with the main purpose of enforcing (emphasis mine) the federal character principle of fairness and equity in the distribution of public posts and socio-economic infrastructure among the various federating units in Nigeria. The principle is also supported by section 14 and 153 of the 1999 constitution.
Has the Commission discharged this mandate creditably since its establishment 18 years ago? I think not. Nigeria is still bugged down by the high nepotism as displayed by the concentration of a certain ethnic group in a government agency when the head of such agency is from that ethnic stock.A ready example is the Nigeria Economic management Team which is largely composed of people from the South East region. This is clearly in violation of the Federal Character principle but has the Commission raised any objections.
How about the accusation in some quarters that recent appointments in the NNPC favoured the South South region with as much as 40% of senior management positions? Similar allegations have also been leveled against the CBN.
While I personally believe that the concept of Federal Character often times breeds mediocrity and is not the best for development, it is part of our laws for a reason and that reason is to maintain balance of interests and in so doing stabilize the polity.
In my view therefore, the Federal Character Commission has not discharged this responsibility. Rather it is one of the most silent and oft forgotten agencies of government. Indeed, no one would have mentioned the Commission recently had it not been for the Gwaska controversy. Yet we are bombarded with cries of marginalization on a daily basis from various parts of the country.
Gwaska’s attempted sack may or may not be politically motivated but the performance of the Commission since inception certainly shows a flagrant disregard for law and constitutionalism. And this is contrary to the picture the Commissioner is now trying to paint.