Nigerian John Obi dismisses injury fears ahead of 2013 Africa cup of Nations

Chelsea's Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi (R) runs with the ball. Getty Images

Chelsea’s Nigerian midfielder John Mikel Obi (R) runs with the ball. Getty Images

Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has dismissed fears he is still injured and may not feature for Nigeria at this month’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mikel has not played in his English club’s last three games after he suffered a knee injury against Norwich City.

However he and teammate Victor Moses trained with the rest of the Nigeria squad at a training camp in Faro, Portugal, on Sunday.

“I’m okay. I had a knock two weeks ago and was told to rest for some time, but now I am fit and I actually started training two days ago with the Chelsea first team,” said Mikel.

“So there should be no fears about any injury. I’m ready for the Nations Cup.”

The 25-year-old is now set for his fourth Nations Cup finals appearance after he made his bow in 2006 in Egypt.

The 2013 tournament starts in South Africa on January 19.AFP

Moses will be missed by Chelsea during 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

Nigeria's Moses

Nigeria’s Moses

The former Wigan man has departed for South Africa along with Jon Obi Mikel after a string of impressive displays which have made him a key part of Rafa Benitez’s team.

Back in October, it was Drogba’s successful penalty which sparked a riot in the stands of the Leopold Senghor Stadium in Dakar and caused Senegal’s 2013 Africa Cup of Nations play-off qualifier with Ivory Coast to be abandoned, with the visitors leading 6-2 on aggregate.

HEAD OVER HEELS
MOSES RATING VS SOUTHAMPTON

Was the Blues’ main threat early in the game. Found space finding space and displayed some neat touches. Involved in the equaliser and scored the second. Brought off in the second half as he quietened down.
In response to the trouble, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) awarded Drogba’s men the victory and banned Senegal from the competition. For Ba, as integral to his country as he was to Newcastle, the decision presented both a disappointment and an opportunity.

With a January trip to South Africa no longer on the cards, Ba suddenly found himself free to fully capitalise on that £7 million release clause and engineer an exit from St James’ Park. For Chelsea, meanwhile, in urgent need of striking reinforcements to bolster a tired and threadbare squad, the 27-year-old became a viable, convenient and relatively inexpensive solution.

On the evidence of Saturday’s rout of Southampton, it appears a match made in heaven. Ba scored twice at St Mary’s, and only a good reflex save from Artur Boruc denied him a debut hat-trick. He also showcased the kind of physicality, movement and confidence that will make Rafa Benitez very happy with the start of his New Year business, and Fernando Torres fearful for his future.

But while the Africa Cup of Nations will not disrupt Ba’s attempts to establish himself at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will still be affected by events in South Africa. Both Jon Obi Mikel and Victor Moses have been called up by Nigeria and, with David Luiz capably filling the void created by Mikel, it is the 22-year-old winger whose absence will be more keenly felt.

When he was prised from Wigan for a fee in the region of £9m in the summer, few believed Moses’ mid-season departure would be cause for any real concern. Chelsea had got their key business done early in the window, securing Lille golden boy Eden Hazard and Internacional wonderkid Oscar. Anyone else, it was assumed, had arrived merely to provide additional bodies and fresh legs.

Many observers – this one included – feared Moses’ burgeoning talent could be stifled by the fierce competition for places at Stamford Bridge, following in the sullen footsteps of Scott Parker, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Lassana Diarra, and for a while it seemed to be coming to pass.

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Roberto Di Matteo valued Moses, but it was clear he was seen as an impact substitute, a more muscular and powerful Plan B on hand in case the sublime trio of Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata produced less than their sensational best. Make an impact he did, scoring a crucial injury-time winner against Shakhtar Donetsk, but it was clear his starting opportunities would be limited.

But if a Chelsea player finds himself out of favour with his manager, he will invariably get another chance when the next one comes along. Di Matteo left, Benitez arrived, and Moses was duly catapulted onto centre stage. He has since featured in 12 of the Spaniard’s 13 games in charge, making nine starts.

The 22-year-old possesses a different set of skills from most of Chelsea’s other attacking players. He combines pace, flair and technical skill with a height, strength and directness in stark contrast to the likes of Mata, Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin. Under Di Matteo, these differences prevented him breaking into the team. Under Benitez, they have made him virtually indispensable.

Believing his predecessor’s orgy of number 10s to favour beauty over practicality, Benitez routinely sacrifices one of his creative wizards, instead asking Moses to provide the width and true wingplay his team-mates are either unwilling to offer or simply incapable of delivering. Oscar is generally the man relegated to the bench but, even when Mata or Hazard are rested, Moses remains the constant.

To attribute his rapid recent rise solely to a change of manager would be unfair, however. For Moses has also improved his game significantly in almost all areas – passing, dribbling, heading, positioning, general awareness and, most noticeably, his finishing. His final season at Wigan yielded six goals. This term he already has five, including brilliantly clinical strikes against Leeds and Southampton.

As far as Benitez and his Chelsea team-mates are concerned, Moses will be missed. “You can always improve things, especially when you have injuries, and we lose two players to the African Cup of Nations,” the Blues boss told reporters on Wednesday. He knows he does not possess another player who can offer him what the 22-year-old can.

Whether Roman Abramovich decides to grant his interim manager any further reinforcements in January is an intriguing question. For now Benitez will have to make do with Ba, and the early signs are the Senegalese striker will do his best to make the interim as painless as possible.

Nigeria: EFCC vs Timipre Sylva

By EMMANUEL UDOM

It is clear that Timipre Sylva, the immediate past governor of the oil rich Bayelsa state is passing through tumultuous times in the hands of the Nigerian anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Thursday last week, EFCC went to town, telling those who cared to listen that the agency has seized 48 properties belonging to embattled former governor have been seized in Abuja.

However, Sylva has come out smoking, also telling those who care to listen that the anti-graft agency is lying, since according to him, he did not he did not even own that number of properties.

He claimed through his lawyer, Benson Ibezim to own only three houses in Abuja. These houses, he insisted have been secured with a court order obtained ahead of the action of the agency.

His words: “We were astonished to read from virtually all Nigerian News papers that 48 houses belonging to Chief Timipre Sylva were seized,” Mr. Sylva’s lawyer, Benson Ibezim, said.

“In the first instance, Chief Timipre Sylva is not having 48 properties anywhere in the world. The three properties he has in Abuja had been secured by an order of court granted by FCT High court and the Attorney General of the Federation and EFCC have been duly served since the 27th day of December, 2012.”

Mr. Sylva said he had a premonition the EFCC planned to “humiliate” him, and had sent letters to the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, and the Attorney General of the federation, Mohammed Adoke.

The letters were served on December 27, 2012 at FCT, which prompted the EFCC to serve a counter latter dated on the former governor.

Claim and counterclaims

According to statements posted on www.premiumtimes.com today, the claims contradicted the anti-corruption’s position which listed a range of properties allegedly belonging to Mr. Sylva, seized in choice areas of Abuja including Maitama, Wuse and Garki. The commission said it acted on a court order obtained on December 21, but did not state when the order was served on Mr. Sylva.

“It is elementary knowledge of law that a party can only be bound by an order of court upon service of the court order on the party,” Mr. Ibezim said.

“Rather than obeying the order of court, EFCC in flagrant disregard to the order of court are taking steps in respect of the properties by writing to the occupants of the properties covered by the order of court.”

Mr. Ibezim said even so, the order claimed by the EFCC did not empower the commission to confiscate the properties it laid claims to, but merely authorized the commission to put Mr. Sylva “on notice.”

Mr. Sylva is facing charges over allegation he diverted N6.46 billion of state funds for personal use under false pretences between 2009 and 2010.

The case has witnessed repeated accusations, denials and counter-accusations between the EFCC and Mr. Sylva since the charges were first filed early 2012.

History of corruption

Mr. Sylva is the second former governor of oil-rich Bayelsa state to face corruption charges after Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was impeached in 2004 for money laundering.

President Goodluck Jonathan, himself a former governor of the state, in 2011 blamed Mr. Sylva for many of the state’s ills, specifically citing a failed hotel project that began under Mr. Alamieyeseigha, continued during the president’s tenure as governor, before being inherited and left uncompleted by Mr. Sylva.

Mr. Sylva fell out of favour with the president and lost a re-election bid in 2011 to the president’s handpicked candidate, Seriake Dickson, a former House of Representatives member.

The EFCC’s charges say Mr. Sylva converted about N2 billion worth of properties and resources belonging to the state under false pretence, with an intention to hide the origin of the proceeds, an offence punishable by Anti-money Laundering Act.

In one of the cases, he had allegedly asked Union bank to provide a N2 billion over draft under the false pretense of augmenting state workers’ salaries.

A further N380 million, N20 million were also converted separately under similar circumstances within the same period, the commission said.

The EFCC has said it was adopting a new policy of pre-trial confiscation of assets belonging to the accused-particularly former governors and powerful politicians- to help neutralize financial war chest with which they have prolonged cases.

Somalia: Halting The Divide – President Mahmoud’s tours deliver nothing of value

By Warsan Cismaan Saalax

It took Somalia almost four months from today to get a full government. Mr Mahmoud, the president who took office on September 10, 2012 has become “preoccupied”, so much so that the new cabinet has education and health as sub departments of Social Services and not as independent ministries required to deal with a country that is yet to emerge from twenty two years of chaos. When he first assumed office, Mr. Mahmoud, claimed that he was unable to attend a UN meeting in New York, because according to him, he did not have, neither the means nor the intention to leave his country at this critical juncture. But he soon found both the resources and the causes required to act energetically and swiftly. While a government had to wait, he went on nine consecutive foreign trips in four months. Not that the country needed to come to a halt any further than it has been, but to lobby against the formation of Jubaland Federal State of Somalia that is backed by neighbouring Kenya, for the lifting of the arm embargo against Somalia on the pretext of the war on terror, and most recently to recover frozen Somali funds in foreign banks.

Jubabland is significant change to the status quo in the South of the country. It is home to a large number of the “Darood” clan, who were subject to clan cleansing(1) during the early part of the Somali civil war. The area was invaded few times by different warlords and recently by al-shabaab fighters due to its strategic importance. It has been the hub for the charcoal trade which funded both the southern warlords and the militant extremists alike. During the Islamists rule, Mogadisho, currently being represented by president Mohamoud, was not so preoccupied with Jubaland; if anything it slowed down the liberation of these areas. Kismayo, the capital of Jubaland, forms an economical loss to both Mogadisho warlords and the Islamists. After the fall of Kismayo, 23 million dollars’ worth of charcoal was held in Kismayo port, prompting Mr Mahmoud to send a private plane packed with warlords and their media mouthpieces in a circus like attempt to cover up the economics of the war in south Somalia. At the heart of this however was the recovery of the charcoal money.

The involvement of Kenya in Jubaland affairs would mean that the game is up for many. Mr Mahmoud’s Kenya relationship has been paradoxical as a result. On the one hand he has been releasing statements accusing Kenya of meddling in Somali affairs, stopping almost short of justifying attacks on a Kenyan territory by Islamists. Unfortunately, the president was not so concerned about the impact of what he is doing to the millions of Somali refugees in a Kenyan soil. Instead, he ordered UN and aid agencies to relocate to Mogadisho; the deal is that while Mogadisho gets the money, Kenya should be keeping the Somalia refugees, at least for now since the current government has no intention to provide for them as reflected in the ministerial priorities. The president also sent his foreign minister on a bribing mission to Kenya, and followed it with an official visit by him personally, offering Kenya development projects in Mogadisho. He did the same in his visit to Ethiopia, where he presented lucrative Somalia armed forces related development projects to smooth things with IGAD and subsequently Kenya. This move confused many since Turkey is also supposedly contracted to do the same. The Somali army according to president Mahmoud, however, resides in Hiiraan and Beledweyn.

However, this attempt to divide the international community through bribery is not limited to Kenya, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Uganda. Straight after the inauguration of the president and while there was no government in place, Abdullahi Haider, a senior adviser to Somalia’s Ministry of Energy, said that only oil licences agreed before 1991 would be upheld.
Mohamud in Djibouti
President Ghuelleh welcoming presidents Mohamud (above) and Silanyo (below) in Djibouti on the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the official Somali script
Silanyo

However, President Mahmoud has interesting allies in the region, president Ghelle of Djibouti and Somaliland’s Silanyo. Of course the motivation of president Ghelle is clear, being the third longest serving dictator in Africa, sustaining a life style that mimics that of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of France, a democratic, decentralised Somalia is not something he desires on his door steps.

Historically, the relationship with Somaliland has been one of convenience, being periodically re-energised to create a political weight wider than what otherwise is available on the ground and more intense to inflict maximum damage on their perceived opponents (usually the Darood) similar to 1991. Interestingly both president Mahmoud and Silanyo met in Djibouti last week while attending an event hosted by President Ghelle seemingly celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the adoption of the Somalia script, a celebration deemed important enough to require both their presence. The denominator script, however, is that Jubaland state and that starch opposition to the federal system. Somaliland fiercely opposes the federal system in Somalia since it has an interest in the internal north South Somali borders of the colonial era, which its international recognition is perceived to be dependent upon. The idea is that the chances of recognition would be limited if Somalia adapts a federal system that redraws these borders. What is more interesting though is the fact that Mogadisho and Somaliland have no interest in each other, if anything, each thinks that the other is intellectually incapacitated. Mogadisho believes that Somaliland is seeking an elusive “dream” of independence while Somaliland thinks that Mogadisho is “dreaming” to even wish to rule over all Somalia. This relationship is very mcuh the characteristics of Somali politicians, who genuinely believe that they can over smart each other and the world. Ironically though, the victims are always the Somali people who barely exist because those so called politicians are so preoccupied in a world of their own.

Generally, the federal system has become a major building block for preserving the continuity while still maintaining order in the Somali nation. It spreads and balances the power amongst many units of the former Somali Republic and between the states and the central government. The federal system has a symbolic meaning; it means that people no longer need to fight over one city or even few, opening the doors to new possibilities with particular economic implications for those who invested in the ethnic cleansing of Mogadisho. Those who looted public and private properties and those who bought the properties of the fleeing Somalis, thought that these properties would keep their value despite the clan cleansing that took place there and regardless of the fact that Mogadisho has no interest in reconciliation while forcing people to return to the place where they witnessed their family members massacred and their properties are still illegally occupied. In fact the property and land prices sky rocketed in recent months under these economic predictions. The emergence of Puntland and Jubaland States of Somalia forms a threat to those who financed the civil war in the south or capitalised on it, since this would limit the expected wealth growth forecasts. In addition to this loss, the decentralised federal system also means that the central government will not have powers over local economies. Finally, it exposes the myths by which the genocides of the last twenty years were based on and continues to motivate many: that the eradication of Somali clans is possible through mass murder. History tells, however, how such agendas failed those who pursued them in Rwanda, in Nazi Germany and in many other examples. In fact, people have more chances to die of disease and lack of education than acts of organised mass murder; two things Mr Mahmoud have shown less interest in so far.

It is no wonder that this divisive hatred based agenda is accompanied by a request for the lifting of the arm embargo against Somalia. The president is even getting Turkey, Egypt and Qatar to talk on his behalf. Despite the goodwill of these countries, their lack of knowledge about Somalia is very clear. Somalia has used its own arsenal against its own people and neighbours, when it was a government and when it was not. The radicals who are created by Mogadisho also are threatening to use violence against the world. Somalia, for as long as we know it, has been the place where no one honours its agreements, and being with a goodwill will not change the situation, at least for the foreseeable future. Mr Mahmoud, however, is pursuing this under the pretext of the war on terror. However, a full use needs to be made of the presence of AMISOM to achieve the targets of security and reconciliation. If it is unwilling or unable to reconcile different Somali stakeholders, which is currently evident, it should not be trusted with weapons.

Unfortunately, for Mr Mahmoud, this preoccupation with pursuing such agenda meant that he has paid lip service to the country’s constitution. He managed to pull the last string by announcing that federalism was not for Somalia in his recent visit to Ethiopia. However, by denouncing federalism, his leadership role over Somalia and that of the parliament would have lapsed, since they represent the Federal Somali Republic. Mr Mahmoud has limited his own rule to Mogadisho, since denouncing federalism means that regional states are no longer under his rule. But while the constitutionality of his rule is questionable on the ground, Mr Mahmoud and his team are playing pretend government. They are even stubbornly chasing after millions of dollars held in foreign banks since the collapse of Somalia’s last central government in 1991. This money, however, belongs to the Somali people wherever they are, and not to Mr Mahmoud.

It is so unfortunate that Somalia’s newly appointed leader has abandoned every other agenda that he purported to achieve, and instead is seeking to bribe, divide, and lobby the world in pursuit of a clanish program that subjugates sections of those whom he represents. This agenda is consuming Somalia’s leadership, and is diverting attention away from the tasks at hand, that are building on the advances achieved through the road map and the need to nurture joint efforts against radicalism.

The Somali problem though has the potential to divide the international community and the united front that made the road map the success it is. The chaotic nature of civil war and the divisions between varying groups can impact on those involved and their relationship can mirror what is being handled. We already saw cracks appearing between IGAD and the AU, between AMISOM troops, between Kenya and Uganda, between the UN Security Council and the UNPOS.

The good news is that these kinds of acts, as the current politics, are carried by the few who cling on to the status qou for many reasons as shown above. But what we all came to realise in the past few months is that the Somali men and women in the streets have moved on and are yearning for a country free of corruption, warlordism, and irrational hatred against fellow citizens. However, the divisive politics of the current administration is polarising the people. Luckily though, president Mahmouds tours are not yielding him the intended results. If anything, the lack of vision in whatever he presents is clear. However, what is important that is brought to the president’s attention is the fact that his own rule over his own people is currently unconstitutional and legality needs to be reinstalled to it if he wishes to continue.

Moreover, Mr Mahmoud, is also under the impression that education in a country like Somalia can be overlooked. However, education is fundamental human rights and where children are exposed to poverty, violence, abuse, or exploitation as the case in Somalia; those rights demand urgent protection. For Somalia, the lack of central curriculum and organised education system means that currently the country is home to hundreds of uncontrolled private and charitable schools making children and young people vulnerable to all kinds of influences. These important tasks cannot be subcontracted to commissions or NGOs as the government has done so far. Finally, it is critical to re-establish the united front of leadership from AU, IGAD, UN and the rest of the international community to help the country to return to the post road map agenda in order to move Somalia to the second phase of sustainable peace building.

Warsan Cismaan Saalax
E-Mail:warsan2001@hotmail.com

Zimbabwe-The Return Of The Monster Called Elections

The curtain came down on what was another tumultuous year for Zimbabweans. 180 people perished on our ever deteriorating roads, claiming the life of Zimbabwe soccer legend, Adam Ndlovu whilst badly injuring Peter. It was yet another heartbreak with the Warriors, failing dismally to finish the job in Luanda when all they needed was to park the bus. Sadly, Zimbabwean sport did not bring any solace either. The cricket team got hammered in New Zealand before being further embarrassed at the T20 world cup in Sri Lanka. We failed to bring any single medal from the Olympics in London. What a sad 2012.

Like always, President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF cronies were on their tired rhetoric, a bad habit they started since 2009, of announcing that elections will be held every year with or without the new constitution. The constitution was meant to come out in 2012 together with the referendum but we still not sure whether we are going to see any of it soon. The Christmas day deadline given by the president passed with Mugabe relaxing on some beach or hospital bed somewhere in Singapore. It is not surprising that no one takes ZANU-PF seriously anymore.

The year ended with much speculation and debate on the possibility of an election pact between the two warring factions of the MDCs led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube respectively. Whilst there was much gloom and despair, the biggest joke of the year has to be the deliberations and recommendations that came from the ZANU-PF conference in Gweru. It seems like age is catching up with most of those liberation fighters and comrades if their proposal of bringing back the ill-fated and the most infamous Zim-dollar is to be taken seriously. Not to be outdone, they further proposed bringing the Chinese, Brazilian and even Russian currencies to work hand in hand with the US dollar and the South African rand. At times it feels like old-age is catching up with our legendary leader, who will be turning 89 this year, a shed from being 90, and a further decade from being a hundred, yes a hundred.

As 2012 came to an end, doomsday prophets had most people firmly fooled that the world was going to end because the Mayans made us believe that. For all things and events that will happen in 2013, there is one thing that is of most concern to Zimbabwe and the region as a whole. This is more so because another monster in the form of the GPA and the government of national unity is coming to an end in June 2013, paving way for a fresh wave of elections. Taking a peek at the last elections in 2008, Zimbabwe could do without any reminder of them but it is a fact that is no longer in our hands. It is something that has to happen. The partners in the GPA could do without each other at present, they have hardly cooperated with each other since the GNU came into existence. Five years down the line the reforms that were supposed to be implemented by the principals are still outstanding, the constitutional making process in the form of COPAC has been reduced to a joke.

So much money has been pumped into the process and yet the process is still ages from being complete. The egos in ZANU-PF and their two coalition partners in the GNU are too big and because of them failing to swallow their pride this constitution process is going to drag on forever. ZANU-PF is already preaching that the President, Robert Mugabe, will dissolve parliament and announce a date for the elections soon. Remember he has been saying that since 2009, only him knows when he will get serious with his figures.

Whatever happens, whether the new constitution will ever see the light of the day is that elections might happen, albeit under the old constitution. That slim possibility of elections will send shivers across any Zimbabwean that was there to witness 2008 first hand. The reality is that at present, the conditions in Zimbabwe will not guarantee a free and fair election. The scars of 2008 are still fresh. The perpetrators of that orchestrated that violent wave are still roaming freely in the streets, the long arm of justice having evaded them without any struggle. Those who lost their limbs, those infamous long sleeve and short sleeve where people’s hands were cut because they were termed to be subscribing to the wrong party, they still do not have their limbs and elections this year are not going to do anything to heal their wounds.

Electoral reforms, media reforms and the security sector reforms are still more or less the same like they were in 2008. Running an election under those very same conditions, coupled with the Lancaster House constitution, only suggests gloom for Zimbabweans. People were forced to buy certain party cards to ensure their safety, the youth service militia, the Green Bombers together with the Mbare based Chipangano, terrorized people resulting in thousands fleeing their beloved country fearing for their lives. The fear and possibility of state sponsored violence is still fresh in people’s minds. The law in Zimbabwe is still applied selectively according to party subscription if we are to take into account the Solomon Madzore spent months in remand for the Glen View police murder yet the perpetrators of 2008 are roaming freely and ready to torment people for a fresh series of violent escapades against members of the former opposition party, the MDC factions in this imminent election.

SADC has of late been coming to our rescue against Mugabe’s threat of elections, standing firm on their word that they will not recognize the election if proper reforms are not implemented. Yes SADC will make all the necessary noise but when it comes to the day of the election, they will not be there on the ground to suffer through the violence and intimidation that people will face. Remember 2008, SADC was there and what did their appointed mediator, Thabo Mbeki, do as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission withheld elections and people were being beaten, he came on international TV saying “Crisis? What crisis? There is no crisis in Zimbabwe.”

This just goes to show that after all their deliberations and recommendation at international hotels, SADC will not be there when people’s limbs are being cut. They will not be there justice is being applied selectively. They will not be there when children, women and the elderly are being intimidated and beaten. No, they will not be there. A new round of elections, even the referendum for the new constitution, will be met by some resistance and no one wants to lose. The youths will be used as pawns in this political warfare to instill fear in the people. The people of Zimbabwe are the ones who will suffer more from this.

Until all reforms are implemented, international observers present, a new constitution that guarantees a free and fair election, Zimbabweans are better off without this imminent election. Well if results are withheld and manipulated, what is the point of even going ahead with the election when it means putting someone who has lost an election as head of the country? Zimbabweans are too tolerant, we are not like our brothers in the Arab world and because of that we are better off with this current monster of the GNU because elections are a much bigger monster that can bring more strife, loss and pain to the people. Can we survive 2013 without this monster called elections? Only the Lord knows

David Hwangwa is a Human Rights Activist and Political commentator

Sudan, South Sudan agree to implement oil deal

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agreed Saturday to the unconditional and speedy implementation of deals reached in September to demilitarize their shared borders and allow oil exports to flow from South Sudan’s oil fields north through Sudan’s pipelines, an African Union official said.

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir met on Friday and Saturday in Ethiopia’s capital to revive a stalled oil exportation deal that has lagged for months over disputes on the setup of security arrangements in the border regions.

AU mediator Thabo Mbeki told reporters late Saturday that the two presidents agreed to the “speedy, unconditional and coordinated” implementation of the agreements.

“We are very, very pleased indeed with the outcome of this because it has indeed opened the way for the implementation of all of these various agreements,” said Mbeki. “They have also agreed that action should be taken immediately, as soon as possible, to implement all the existing agreements unconditionally.”

AU mediators will present officials of the two sides the timetable for oil exports and the withdrawal of military forces from border areas. The schedule will be ready by Jan. 13, Mbeki said.

“The presidents agreed that steps should be taken without any further delay to demarcate those parts of the border which have been agreed,” said Mbeki.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hailed the two leaders’ agreements. Hailemariam last week went to both capitals to help move the process forward. The two sides fought a decades-long war and still don’t trust each other. South Sudan alleged that Sudan carried out attacks against its territory even when Hailemariam was in the Sudanese capital Khartoum.

The two sides are still at odds over some disputed areas, including the contested Abyei region.

South Sudan chief negotiator Pagan Amum on Friday said that in case of disagreements over the recommendation of the mediators, his country is proposing to go to binding international arbitration. There was no agreement on the issue during the summit and AU officials say how the two sides would proceed in such events remains open ended.

South Sudan held a vote and broke away from Sudan in 2011. South Sudan was pumping its oil through Sudan’s pipelines up until early 2012, when it accused Sudan of stealing its oil. That decision has crippled government budgets in both countries.

Read more here: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2013/01/05/2402265/sudan-south-sudan-agree-to-implement.html#storylink=cpy

Nigeria: Corruption Jonathan Debates the people

Bishop of Bomadi Catholic Diocese, Vicarage Hyacinth Egbebor, in his homily at the burial of Gen. Andrew Azazi blamed the helicopter crash that killed the former National Security Adviser, Andrew Azazi; former Kaduna State Governor Patrick Yakowa, and four others, on corruption. At the state funeral of Azazi in Peace Park, Yenagoa, attended by President Goodluck Jonathan and his wife, Patience, Egbebor insisted that leaders in the country

were so corrupt that they had compromised the safety of the airspace.

The cleric wondered why within one year, Nigeria had recorded three air mishaps including the December 15 tragedy at Okoroba in Nembe Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.

Slowly and gently, the priest highlighted the failings of the government, saying the air was no longer safe for people to fly. Comparing the country’s airspace and aviation management to America and Europe, the cleric said Nigeria had become a joke.

“We might not need a plane to fly because we are not certain that our aeroplane is worthy enough. This crash is probably three in less than 12 months. Let us not pretend that we can fly as if we are in Europe. Human lives are so precious; please spare our lives,” he said.

Turning to the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Dele Ezeoba; the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika; and other top military officials, the priest said it was unfortunate that corruption had crept into the military.

“Corruption is the only underlying evil that is responsible for the air mishaps. If the military cannot guarantee the safety and security of their own, who else can they protect?

“If there is anywhere one looks for excellent performance, it is the military. Now we have compromised excellence for money. Money has taken over,” he said.

But Jonathan, who was obviously surprised at the tone of the funeral message, disagreed with the cleric on his submissions. He called for a change of attitude by Nigerians instead.

Jonathan Debates the People

“We talk about corruption as if it is the cause of our problems in Nigeria. No – yes, we have corruption in this country; but the government has also been fighting corruption, and we have discovered that most of the issues called corruption are not corruption. I remember the last meeting we had with the Chief Justice of the federation. This was when i tried to bring the heads of the three arms of government together to see how we will collectively suppress corruption. And of course, we analysed the cases in court and discovered that about 80 per cent of them are not corruption cases. Sometimes, the way we mention corruption makes it look like when indigenes of some villages in the Niger Delta blame the death of a person on the activities of witches or spirits. If we do things properly and change our attitude as Nigerians, most of these issues that we blame on corruption will not come.” …….…President Goodluck Jonathan December 29, 2012

VS 

“Nigeria is currently buffeted by corruption on a scale witnessed only under the dark and evil military dictatorships of Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha. Today, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – Abuja -has become the official headquarters of grandmasters of corruption. In an environment where a model of articulate leadership and responsible governance should be expected, given the enormous powers and resources available, what we have instead is an organised and well-commanded conspiracy of the political and economic elite against the Nigerian people – to keep the people in perpetual poverty and misery, through high-level corruption, profligacy and financial impunity. Indeed, as revealed by a recent investigation conducted by a National Newspaper, the sum of N5trillion has disappeared under the Jonathan Goodluck administration in just two years! The 2012 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index placed Nigeria 135 out of 176 countries surveyed in the report. Also a recent Gallup Poll and KPMG Report ranked Nigeria the second most corrupt country in the world, and the most corrupt in Africa respectively. Indeed under the watch of this administration, Nigerians have been scammed the sum of $4billion under the most incredulous subsidy regime, yet to be properly explained, and for which most of the perpetrators are walking free.” – Afenifere Renewal Group, (January 3rd, 2013)

VS

“Why the surprise that Nigeria is up to her neck with fraud and that Nigerian Ph.D. is now fraudulent? Anything conceived by fraud, groomed by fraud or obtained by fraud, can only result in fraud, unlimited. Why the surprise?  High school diplomas are awarded in Nigeria based on sex and bribe. Are these by their nature not fraudulent? Yes, indeed in Nigeria today everything is possible for as long as one gives in and or dishes out. What can one expect and be surprised about in this nation, with regards to fraud?” – January 4, 2013, Otoiheoma Egbe

VS

“President Jonathan says “corruption is not the cause of Nigeria’s problems”. Considering he previously made a statement rating Nigeria’s commitment to fighting corruption as secondary to only that of the United States, one might be excused for wondering if Jonathan is inhaling air and operating from the stratosphere above the public’s atmospheric level. I have always believed a people that tolerate drivel will accept gibberish; with these sort of statements, it becomes apparent why corruption has been initiated, perpetrated and perpetuated for decades in our polity. Unfortunately, we as a people have become accustomed to mediocrity and peddlers of lies. We accommodate in positions of authority the mortgagers of our collective futures, killers of dreams and marauders of aspirations. Those in power know this fact and continue to take us for a ride; else the Nigerian populace should have revolted.” – M.B.O Owolowo, (January 2nd, 2013)

VS

“Corruption and national development are mutually exclusive. If we chose to build just 1 million housing units with N2 trillion and used the remaining N3 trillion for power stations, then the opportunity cost of the N5 trillion stolen under President Goodluck Jonathan would have given Nigerians 1million units of 2-bedroom flats and say, about 15000megawatts of electricity. The opportunity cost of paying N6.5billion – unaccounted for – to state governors as security votes is the loss of well-funded and reformed police to properly protect lives and property. The opportunity cost of letting Senate President David Mark pay himself N600million per annum – an amount that will pay for ten years the United States  presidents’ salary – is the millions of jobs for thousands of Nigerian youths. Because money is stolen in Nigeria – legally and illegally – with impunity, we have now lost the opportunity to develop our country or compete with the rest of the world.” – December 31st, 2012, Chinedu Ekeke

VS

“It baffles me how corruption is fast becoming a Nigerian name. The way we are going in Nigeria, i would not be surprised to hear that a parent has had a new baby and named him or her “corruption”, or would i be surprised if somebody establishes a new church in Nigeria and calls it the Corruption Church.  Just see, what we are now celebrating in Nigeria – 4,500 mw of electricity for domestic use; not the industrial electric power that could bring back the likes of Michelin and PZ to Lagos and Port Harcourt. What we are rather celebrating in Nigeria is the electricity power you can only use to iron your clothes or power either your washing machine or cooker, but not the electricity to power a barbing or hair dressing salon – not to talk of the electricity needed for heavy industrial use.” – Ikenna Okonkwo, (January 3, 2012)

VS

Corruption In Nigeria Is Worse Than Boko Haram — Aduwo : “It looks embarrassing, the issue of corruption in this country is even worse than that of Boko Haram. Insurgency is not new across the world but the issue of corruption is endemic and dangerous. That Farouk can get away with that money, how dare he? And when Obasanjo said that they were all criminals they were shouting as we can now point two or three.

IT is so absurd and maddening that Farouk is still moving about on the streets and still comes to the hallowed chambers as a member of the House of Representatives. Don’t forget that the same Farouk lead the dubious group they called “integrity committee” and they told the whole world that Eteh must go because they spent 600million to renovate official house and bought ten cars.

They deceived us but some people know that these guys are a bunch of liars and then one of them, Bankole, became the speaker. After three years, ICPC came to report that Eteh was not found wanting. The same House gave Eteh a clean bill, remember that during the Eteh scandal, a member fell there in the chambers and died.

A year later, Bankole appropriated 600million to acquire a guest house in Lagos. I ask: is it compulsory that a speaker acquires a guest house in Lagos because he is from Ogun State? If he is going to Ogun State, must he have a proper guest house? That is nonsense. The same Bankole lead integrity group by Farouk bought 400 cars which case is still on ground.

In this country, police are asking that someone that is already confirmed that he took the money, how can you now say that you gave the same money to Jagaba, Jagaba is IG of police or the SSS? The truth of the matter is that the money was marked and Farouk has spent that money, so he cannot bring it out.”

VS

“Corruption is at the root of the problems in the country. It has invariably brought about poverty and general underdevelopment in the land. Greed and wickedness rule our hearts because we don’t have the fear of God. Imagine the stories we have been hearing about how billions of pounds and dollars stolen and stashed in foreign accounts by government officials since the 60’s have been lost to the foreign countries because there was no one to claim those monies after the death of the depositors. Not even their wives or children could have access to those monies. In return, the lost monies have been used to develop those countries, in which they were hidden. What an irony of fate! This is typical of the story of a child of a poor man who stole his father’s money and gave it to a man who is richer and better off than his father.

I recall that during the Second Republic in the early 80’s when the then government of President Shehu Shagari was seeking $2.8 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the then British Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, said that there were Nigerians who could provide the money for the country. That shows how a privileged few have milked the country dry to the detriment of the majority.

The problem of Nigeria is corruption. The average Nigerian is corrupt, and we need to shed this toga. Given the enormous resources that God has blessed us with, it is a shame that we are in a situation where nothing works, where there are no good roads, water or electricity.” – Elombah Perspective

Ogbuefi Ndigbo

Ethiopia secure friendly with Tunisia ahead of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

Ethiopia will face Tunisia in a build up match on Monday after Egypt turned down the latter’s offer due to undisclosed reasons.

The Walya Antelopes silenced Niger 1-0 in their previous friendly and a win against Tunisia, Afcon finalists will be a major boost to the side ahead of this year’s Africa Cup of nations in South Africa.

The team which was earlier this week trimmed to 23 players will face the North Africa side in Doha before they fly out to Qatar.

Dereje Alemu (Sebeta city), Aklilu Ayenew (Dedebit) and striker Abdul Wali Aman (Washington University) were dropped from the final squad.

The sole representatives from East Africa overpowered rivals Sudan last year to book a ticket to the prestigious tournament.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Jemal Tassew (Coffee FC), Sisay Bancha (Dedebit), Zerihun Tadelle (Saint George)

Defenders: Degu Debebe (Saint George), Biyadglign Eliase (Saint George), Abebaw Butako (Saint George), Alula Girma (Saint George), Seyum Tesfaye (Dedebit), Birhanu Bogale (Dedebit), Aynalem Hailu (Dedebit)

Midfielders: Asrat Megersa (EEPCO), Addis Hintsa (Dedebit), Yared Zinabu (Saint George), Shimelese Bekele (Saint George), Behailu Asefa (Dedebit), Minyahel Teshome (Dedebit), Dawit Estifanose (Coffee FC), Yussuf Saleh (Syrianska)

Forwards: Saladin Seid (Wadi Degla), Adane Girma (Saint George), Umed Ukuri (Saint George), Getaneh Kebede (Dedebit), Fuad Ibrahim (Minnesota Stars)