His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR
Occasion of the Submission of the National Conference Report
Thursday 21st August, 2014
1. Mr Chairman, very distinguished delegates, it is with all gladness that I address you this day. After nearly five months endeavour to find the appropriate verb for the noun of our country within the syntax of human experience, you have brought to a grateful Nation, the report of the 2014 National Conference.
2. I want to congratulate the Chairman and his able team, the Delegates, all Nigerians and indeed everyone who has contributed one way or the other to the successful convocation and conclusion of the Conference.
3. I also congratulate the Presidential Advisory Committee which developed the framework for the Conference after travelling around the country. We cannot afford to take for granted the efforts and commitment that the delegates and the leaders put into the Conference to make it a success. The patriotic zeal was evident in the inputs of the delegates into the dialogue and how these have now formed the basis of the report.
4. On behalf of all Nigerians, let me thank you most sincerely for your hard work. Your tireless efforts aimed at coming up with recommendations to chart a path of peaceful coexistence, sustainable development, justice and progress as we march into our second centenary shall not be in vain.
5. To my mind, one of the main reasons for which the Conference was convoked was fully achieved: that is, to create a platform for a genuine and sincere dialogue among Nigerians. Even in moments when things seemed ready to boil over, it was evident that the Delegates were only disagreeing to agree.
6. It is now very clear that as Nigerians, we have devised a way of addressing and resolving our differences amicably: we dialogue and dialogue until we agree! This is most heart-warming indeed!
7. My dear brothers and sisters, I am not unmindful that there were delegates who were in this hall when I inaugurated this conference who today are not part of this closing event as the cold hands of death have snatched them. I pray that Almighty God will grant eternal repose to the souls of our departed patriots and protect all the families they have left behind. They would be proud of what you, their living colleagues, have done to end what we started together.
8. On the occasion of the 53rd Independence Anniversary of Nigeria last year, I made a promise to set a National Conversation in motion in order to advance the course of nation-building. The agitation had been there for a while and we could no longer ignore it or delay the process. I was motivated by a genuine desire to make our country a better place where we can build consensus in the evolution of a New Nigeria.
9. When I was inaugurating the Presidential Advisory Committee in December last year, I made it very clear to the committee that it was a sincere and fundamental undertaking, aimed at realistically examining and genuinely resolving, longstanding impediments to our cohesion and harmonious development as a truly united Nation.
10. At the inauguration of the National Conference in March, I told you the Delegates our expectations. I did say that I expected participants to patriotically articulate and synthesize our people’s thoughts, views and recommendations for a stronger, more united, peaceful and politically stable Nigeria.
11. I urged the participants to forge the broadest possible national consensus in the process. I also warned that we should not to be under any illusions about the task ahead because we would be confronted with complex and emotive issues. Add a comment
I Have Two Or Three Years To Live – Pope Francis
For the Catholic faithful, this piece of news will definitely be hard to stomach: Pope Francis says he has only two or three years to live.
Although the Argentina-born Pontiff was silent on why he thinks he would not live for more than three years, he hinted that he had ‘some nerve problems’ which require treatment.
He spoke with journalists aboard his jet as he returned from a trip to South Korea.
Francis, according to the Mailonline on Tuesday, also mentioned the possibility of retiring from the Papacy if his health failed to cope with the rigours of his office.
His predecessor, Benedict XVI, stepped down last year, in an unprecedented move that opened the way for Francis to become the Pope.
“I see it as the generosity of the people of God. I try to think of my sins, my mistakes, not to become proud. Because I know it will last only a short time,” the pope said.
Then, apparently light-heartedly, he added, “Two or three years and then I’ll be off to the Father’s house.”
A Vatican source, said the Mailonline had claimed that the Pope had previously told those close to him that he thought he only had a few years to live.
Although Francis is 77, he has been the most vigorous Pope in years, his energy proving the key to his popularity. Add a comment
Ebola: US Commends Nigeria as Four More Patients are Discharged
The US government has commended the Nigerian government and its health authorities for their handling of the Ebola virus since it broke in Lagos last month.
The US’ commendation came on the back of more good news yesterday that four more patients who had contracted the disease had been discharged and declared free of the infectious disease.
With their discharge, this brings the total number of people who have been given the all clear to five.
A total of 12 people were struck with the virus in Nigeria, including the index case Patrick Sawyer, of which four have died, five have been discharged while three remain in the isolation ward at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
However, all hopes that the US would send the ZMapp experimental drug to Nigeria were dimmed yesterday when the US government ruled out the possibility, saying there were insufficient quantities of the drug available.
Making this known when he visited the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, in Abuja, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, informed reporters that what was needed was to focus primarily on isolation and the screening of patients or those suspected to have contracted the virus.
According to Entwistle: “We’ll see down the road what is possible. But there are no huge quantities now. And we think the focus now needs to be on exactly what you are doing: the isolation wards, screening, and especially important that now your government is doing a very good job on this, that is contact tracing.”
The envoy said he just came back from the US late last week, adding, “I was in Washington, of course, for the US-African Leaders Summit and I came over to see the minister right away as soon as I got back into town to discuss our anti-Ebola cooperation.
“I was in the room in Washington when Vice President (Joe) Biden and President (Goodluck) Jonathan talked about the Ebola crisis, talked about our partnership, and pledged the total cooperation between your government and my government on this issue. Add a comment
Lagos Sex Workers Lament Low Patronage Caused By Ebola
LAGOS (AFP) – Kate, Bright and Happiness sat on the lawn of a Lagos brothel, sipping lager and chatting with men in groups of two or four. Business had been good, they said, until Ebola arrived.
“I have been in this business for two years but business has never been this slow,” said Kate.
“I used to have an average of seven customers per day but I can hardly see four now since this Ebola disease came to town,” the 25-year-old told AFP.
“Many of our customers are afraid to come to us for fear of contracting the disease. This Ebola wahala (problem) is really bad business. The government should do something about it.”
With Ebola spread through the bodily fluids of an infected person, including sweat, the sex workers say they’ve been particularly badly hit by public fears.
“This disease is bad-o!” said 23-year-old Bright. “It is worse than HIV/AIDS. You can prevent HIV by using condoms but you can’t do the same with Ebola.
“If care is not taken we will soon be driven out of business because nobody wants to die.” Add a comment
Ebola: Avoid Bush Meet, Sultan Warns Muslims
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, yesterday, warned Muslims against the consumption of monkeys and bush meat to avoid contracting the dreaded Ebola virus.
Abubakar noted that since it was first confirmed medically that the disease was discovered in monkeys and fruit bats, it would be reasonable for Muslims to steer clear of such delicacies.
A statement on behalf of the Sultan by the JNI’s Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar, said,
“As confirmed by medical experts, the disease was first discovered in monkeys and contacted by those who eat monkeys and other sources of bush meat. Alas, in Islam eating of monkeys had already been discouraged (Makruh), according to many scholars of Islamic jurisprudence.
“Thus, we should continue to uphold this verdict as it also serves as a preventative measure.”
The Sultan urged Muslims to abide by all health tips for the prevention of the disease seriously, noting that the culture of personal hygiene as well as proper sanitation must always be emphasised.
He said Islam is a religion of cleanliness, adding that as reported in a sound Hadith,
“Cleanliness is half of faith.”
“Nigeria has now joined the league of West African nations with the deadly Ebola outbreak. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia were reported as taking the lead,” the statement said.
Nigeria has so far reported that ten persons have been diagnosed of the deadly virus while two have been confirmed dead.
Many other Nigerians, who had initial contacts with the dead are being quarantined while many others are being given treatment by the government.Add a comment
Contest and Plunge Nigeria Into Violence, Anarchy, Northern Delegates Warn Jonathans
NORTHERN delegates at the on- going National Conference have threatened that if President Goodluck Jonathan presents himself for re- election in the 2015 presidential election, it would plunge the country into political chaos.
According to the Northern delegates, the draft Constitution as prepared by the Justice Idris Kutigi led Secretariat was a third term agenda designed primarily to allow for President Jonathan, other incumbent elective office holders whom they alleged as not qualified to contest to run for the election, even as they warned that if allowed to sail through, it has the potential of throwing the country into violence and anarchy.
Addressing Journalists Tuesday at Gombe Jewel Hotel, Wuse 11, Abuja, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF and former Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Coomasie warned that if the document which he described as a third term agenda was not killed at the conference, it would like in 2005, lead to anarchy, violence and chaos.
The northern delegates who distanced themselves from the draft Constitution, however noted that its appearance on Monday was a surprise to them as well as shocking and what they described as disappointment to them as northern delegates and Nigerians in general, just a they said that as members of the National Conference and by constitution, it was not within the purview of delegates to draft a new constitution, adding that the document was illegal. Add a comment
'Ebola: Kogi Government Warns Against Kissing
THE Abia State government has denied a media report (not Nigerian Tribune) of purported Ebola virus and death of victim of the virus in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area of the state.
The state government described the media report as lies and handiwork of mischief makers.
“It is unfortunate that at a time the nation is promoting the use of valid data, research and statistics to tackle challenges especially those that are health related, custodians of news are trading in lies and non verifiable stories,” the government said in a press release signed by the Chief of Staff to the governor, Cosmos Ndukwe.
The release stated further: “No case of Ebola could be verified either in Isiala Ngwa or any other location in Abia State. The story of a woman whose identity cannot be ascertained that died of suspected Ebola virus at Ndiolumbe in Isiala Ngawa is possibly the figment of the imagination of those who are peddling the rumour.
“Again, it is sad that these mischief makers could claim that the state commissioner for health could not be reached for comments. This is absurd, wicked and unfair. The state commissioner for health and indeed his colleagues have been working round the clock as part of the state’s commitment to checkmating the deadly disease from entering the state.
Oyo institutes 24-hour surveillance
THE Oyo State Commissioner for Health, Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin, has said that the state government had instituted 24-hour monitoring and tracking of suspected cases of Ebola disease in all the 33 local government areas of the state.
The commissioner disclosed this in a statement issued in Ibadan on Sunday. Add a comment