Despite the early turn out of voters and all the security personnel attached to this polling unit, there was an absence this morning of INEC officials at the official start time of 8.00am for at least 2 hours we waited therby making it impossible to complete the accreditation within the time frame prescribed.
We witnessed NTA reporters on ground and various observers taking note of the situation.
After several days of deliberations, the ECOWAS summit on Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo concluded this evening in Abuja .
The communique issued was thus
"(ECOWAS) requests the U.N. Security Council to strengthen the mandate of the U.N. operation in Ivory Coast enabling the mission to use all necessary means to protect life and property and to facilitate the immediate transfer of power to Mr Alassane Ouattara," it said in a communique.
"(It) also requests the U.N. Security Council to adopt more stringent international targeted sanctions against Mr Laurent Gbagbo and his associates." Ouattara was the U.N.-certified winner of a November presidential election. Incumbent Gbagbo refused to recognise that result, saying it was rigged, and the West African country has lurched towards civil war.
President Goodluck Jonathan's tenure as chairman was renewed .
Our Social media savvy President is at it again, that aspect makes me proud because i know many leaders in Africa have started adopting this trend. read his latest FB posting below
My facebook friends and fellow Nigerians,
1. We all know that Nigeria faces certain challenges - from increasing the quality and accessibility of our education, to strengthening basic infrastructure. On the updated website, http://goodluck.org.ng/ and here on facebook, I ask that you participate in the conversation on how to address these most important issues. There is only one month until we all must put our vote forward for One Nigeria. We must act now, and together. I am here to listen and help guide all of us.
2. Together, today, we must build the roadmap to create jobs for our youths, to develop this great nation through education and power sector reform. We must commit to creating sustainable, lasting peace. The only people who can ensure a peaceful nation are US - As I said in Uyo just yesterday my ambition is important to me but is not worth the blood of even one Nigerian. Come to goodluck.org.ng and continue the conversation we began here.
3. All Nigerians - in Bauchi, Jos, Ilorin, Minna, Port Harcourt, Owerri, Ibadan, Kaduna, Lafia and everywhere in this great indivisible nation - must come together to contribute ideas on how we can create jobs for our youths, ensure that no Nigerian child goes to bed hungry, develop our country together and build a greater union. I will listen carefully to your ideas for how to bring Nigeria to a more secure and prosperous future specifically at http://goodluck.org.ng/issues. Tell me what you think the government should be doing to make your life easier. I need your feedback. I need you to move from being an onlooker in the Nigerian project to being a stakeholder. Share your ideas now. Thank you. GEJ
A new Mobile app has just been launched by the Goodluck Nigeria campaign highligting one more avenue where the president can interact with the younger generation in Nigeria. Definately a first.
President Goodluck Jonathan represents a generation of Nigerians that identify with the youths as well as the older population. He believes in interacting broadly with the youth as he brings the much needed transformation in Nigeria. Now with the GOODLUCK NIGERIA 2011 App, for Blackberry, iPad, iPhone and other Mobile Phones, you become a part of the transformation movement. Send a direct message to Goodluck Jonathan (one that he will read), get the latest news, read his agenda, enjoy videos and music, join the movement. Remember to check back frequently since we update you with the latest national news through out the day. Most importantly pass it on and stay involved.
STATE PASS USTR FOR AGAMA USDOE FOR GEORGE PERSON AND CHAYLOCK
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/02/2028 TAGS: EPETENRGELABPINRECONSENVPGOVNI SUBJECT: (C) NIGERIA: SHELL BRIEFS AMBASSADOR ON OIL GAS ISSUES, COMMENTS ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH AND HIGH-LEVEL CORRUPTION
REF: ABUJA 203
Classified By: Ambassador Robin R. Sanders for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
¶1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Shell's regional executive vice president for Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27 in Abuja and provided an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard said that things were going from bad to worse, especially the security situation. She said that Nigeria now had one of the highest negative ratings for maritime operations, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers to load, as tanker operators will work only under highly selective conditions. Last year there were about 80 piracy attacks on land and water combined. This year already 15 have been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. On corruption, Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil. Oil buyers would pay NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large bribes to lift oil. Pickard also reported an instance of the Attorney General Aondoakaa allegedly soliciting a $20 million bribe to sign a document. The International Oil Companies (IOC) are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new petroleum sector energy bill. The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch, and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers. Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert, though very drawn in the face, thin, and frail. Her information is that the President was not in danger of dying soon, but also was unlikely to ever fully recover from his ailments. (Note: see septel on oil/energy sector issues for the Ambassador's meeting with the new Minister of Petroleum Resources. End Note). END SUMMARY.
¶2. (C) Shell's regional executive vice president for Africa Ann Pickard and government relations representative Peter Francis met with the Ambassador on January 27, 2009 in Abuja and provided an update on problems in the oil and gas sector. Pickard reported that Shell's meeting with Minister of Petroleum Resources Dr. Rilwanu Lukman scheduled for earlier that day had been cancelled; the third week in a row where key appointments had fallen through, with the excuse of being summoned to the Presidential Villa. (Note: Emboffs have observed that meetings with ministers and senior staff are indeed often cancelled with the explanation that they have been summoned to the Presidential Villa, even when the President is out of town. End note). Econ Counselor and Econoff (notetaker) also attended the discussion.
- - - - - - - - - from bad to worse - - - - - - - - -
¶3. (C) The Ambassador took the opportunity to share with Pickard that the Mission was in the midst of completing its Strategic Plan and asked Pickard where she thought Nigeria was headed. Pickard said that things were going from bad to worse, especially in terms of security. She said that Nigeria now had the highest negative rating for maritime security, creating problems for Shell in hiring oil tankers to load; tankers will work only under highly selective conditions. She also noted that late on the evening of Saturday January 17, Nigerian militants attacked and boarded two vessels at a Shell crude oil loading platform in Bonny and took eight crew members hostage. Standard procedure on the tanker was followed: the ship went into immediate lock down; there were no injuries or fatalities from the boarding. The eight Nigerian crew members who were taken hostage were later released. The pirates who went through the sections of the boat to which they were able to gain access, smashing and stealing computers, electronics, and personal items of the crew members. The second vessel was a tug boat towing a supply vessel from Bonny to Calabar. Last year there were about 80 incidents of piracy; this year already 15 had been tallied, which includes 3 for Shell and 3 for Exxon. GON officials have told Shell to "hire more security." The price of doing business in the oil and gas sector in Nigeria continues to climb she concluded. [Note: The International Maritime Bureau (IMB), a division of the International Chamber of Commerce - www icc-ccs org - reports that the waters off the Gulf of Guinea (Nigeria) remain the second worst, with 40 incidents in 2008 to the Horn of Africa (Somalia) with 42 recorded incidents. The IMB notes that in 2009 the Horn of Africa will be more intense as Spring comes due to the large number of foreign warships in the region on active patrol to ensure the safety and security of vessels. The same increased security is not expected for Nigeria in 2009. End Note]
¶4. (S/NF) The Ambassador asked what Shell's thoughts were on any potential for a coup. Pickard answered that there is little intellectual capital to plan and execute a coup and Shell sees little potential for one. Pickard then went on to say that corruption in the oil sector was worsening by the day. The Ambassador asked for a few examples. Pickard said that Nigerian entities control the lifting of many oil cargoes and there are some "very interesting" people lifting oil (People, she said that were not even in the industry). As an example she said that oil buyers would pay Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) General Managing Director Yar'Adua, (Note: not related to President Yar'Adua. End Note) Chief Economic Advisor Yakubu, and the First Lady Turai Yar'Adua large bribes, millions of dollars per tanker, to lift oil. The IOCs control the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cargos, so GON actors do not have the same opportunity for illicit gain. Pickard also said xxxxxxxxxxxx Attorney General Aondoakaa had told a visitor that he would sign a document only if the visitor paid $2 million immediately and another $18 million the next day.
- - - - - - - very bad bill - - - - - - -
¶5. (C) Pickard reported that Shell, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron all have big license review disputes with the GON. Shell has taken its dispute to court and the court is supporting Shell's position. According to her, Shell is stepping back for the moment, however, to see how the other two majors negotiation fair, but is not taking its case out of court yet. The IOCs are quite concerned about the "very flawed" new petroleum sector energy bill. The bill is silent on what fiscal regimes would be applied. Shell says that the bill could reduce the corporation's overall value in Nigeria. GON discussions around the bill have mentioned the possibility of moving to five-year licenses and prohibiting exploring both oil and gas from the same source, which would contradict how oil and gas extraction works in practice. The bill is silent on joint ventures; it just states that NNPC will be incorporated. Pickard said the bill was "likely to sail through." The IOCs will be asking U.S., Dutch and U.K. COMs to convey points on the bill to GON policymakers. (Note: Pickard mentioned that the IOCs will not share company information directly; they will hire consultants, like McKinsey, to produce common themes so the messages from the IOCs to be shared with the relevant Ambassadors are clear and consistent. End note). Pickard lamented that the expected cycle of petroleum is at least five years for the first oil to flow, another 10 years of production to begin to break even. These numbers change when oil is $40 per barrel instead of $100 per barrel. Hence, a five year license would not be an incentive for investment and development.
- - - - - - gas issues - - - - - -
¶6. (C) The Ambassador said that the Mission was looking at performance measures for the economy, i.e. the linkage between the country's electricity output and gross domestic product (GDP). The Ambassador shared that the Mission feels strongly that gas for feedstock is the key to Nigeria's power production, which is only about 2,800 average megawatts for a country of 140 million people. Pickard agreed and added that the U.S. got it wrong on its domestic natural gas policies, which it took over 20 years to sort out. So it is not surprising that Nigeria has it wrong at this point. She said there is not adequate infrastructure for gas. Gathering plants and pipelines to carry the product to the power plants still have to be financed and built. The Nigeria Independent Power Projects (NIPP) were located where there is no gas and no infrastructure. In addition, the international oil companies were coerced into building a power plant each, something they have no expertise in, and they are scrambling to deliver gas to these plants.
¶7. (S/NF) Pickard agreed that the President's health is a guessing game. She said that in her recent meetings with Yar'Auda he seems alert but drawn in the face and frail. She reported that a xxxxxxxxxxxx contact says that the President was not in danger of dying soon but has serious ailments from which he will never fully recover. Pickard shared that Berger provides transportation including planes for the President and has reportedly flown in doctors and technicians to attend the President (reftel). She said, for instance, that xxxxxxxxxxxx confided that they flew the President from Germany to Saudi in September 2008. Additionally, the Berger contact thought the President would not return to the Villa
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offices, as they were moving the President's personal things out of the Villa. (Note: What we think this means is that Yar'Adua is spending most of his time in the presidential residence and not in the Villa offices. End Note).
¶8. (C) The Ambassador asked how comfortable Shell was with the new appointment of Dr. Rilwanu Lukman as Minister of Petroleum Resources, and the appointment of Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo as the new NNPC GMD. Pickard sees the nationalism card cooling with the removal of former NNPC GMD Yar'Adua, given that new Minister of Petroleum Lukman is more "pragmatic" and will hold sway over deputy Minister Ajumogobia. (Note: Ajumogobia's technical assistant told EconOff in a meeting on January 14, 2009 that the State Minister was focusing on Gas, since before the mass cabinet change he was State Minster of Petroleum, with a separate State Minster for Gas.) End Note. She said she was also okay with NNPC chief Barkindo. She has worked with Barkindo several times over the past few decades, especially when they were both working climate change. She said Barkindo led Nigeria's technical delegation to climate change negotiations that produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)and the Kyoto protocol to UNFCCC during while he served on its Bureau at various times. She indicated that although his undergraduate studies were in political science, he obtained his MBA from Southeastern University in Washington DC and did postgraduate work in petroleum economics and management at Oxford University. Although she also said terms like nationalistic and Chavez she however said that she thought he could be steered in the right direction on the petroleum sector.
- - - - comment - - - -
¶9. (C) Although Pickard clearly seems frustrated with the way things are going in the maritime security, oil sector legislation, and corruption which affects Shell's bottom line, it was useful to hear that she has hopes for the new Petroleum Minister and NNPC chief. Septel on the Ambassador's meeting with new Petroleum Minister Lukman will address many of these same issues.
¶10. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos.
¶1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that Yar'Adua began experiencing symptoms of acute renal failure in late 1999, and traveled at that time to Mainz, Germany, to consult with kidney specialists. xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed, that in 1999, German doctors told Yar'Adua to undergo dialysis treatment, and that a dialysis unit was subsequently installed in his private Katsina residence in 2000. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx when Yar'Adua's condition worsened in 2002, he traveled to Saudi Arabia to receive a kidney transplant. To ensure his body would accept the transplant, Yar'Adua took steroids and other medications which in due course reportedly caused the discoloration that we see today on the President's face. Moreover, xxxxxxxxxxxx averred that Yar'Adua's poor health reduced his capacity to govern and, correspondingly, his political influence in the North. xxxxxxxxxxxx also alleged that during Yar'Adua's tenure as Katsina governor his wife, Hajiya Turai Yar'Adua, persuaded Yar'Adua to divert millions of dollars of public funds from the Katsina state treasury into private accounts. (Note: We have heard of similar illicit enrichment attempts by Mrs. Yar'Adua now that she is in the Villa as well as scarce allegations that President Yar'Adua had engaged in corruption while Katsina governor. End Note.) On the political front, amidst current rumors of President Yar'Adua's failing health, the northern political elite appears increasingly concerned that in the event of Yar'Adua's untimely demise, the presidency may return to the South. END SUMMARY.
¶2. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx spoke with PolOff May 26. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that Yar'Adua began experiencing symptoms of acute renal failure in late 1999, after traveling to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the lesser pilgrimage in Mecca. Upon returning from Saudi Arabia, xxxxxxxxxxxx claimed, Yar'Adua traveled to Mainz, Germany to consult with kidney experts. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx the German specialists instructed Yar'Adua to promptly go on dialysis treatment. xxxxxxxxxxxx stated that the German-based Julius Berger construction company, which had significant financial ties to the Yar'Adua family (through the President's elder brother Shehu Yar'Adua), was contracted to set up a dialysis unit in Yar'Adua's home in Katsina. Doctors from Germany were brought to Katsina to train local physicians in dialysis operations, though, xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted, Yar'Adua also retained the services of German kidney specialists in Wiesbaden, making frequent trips there between 2000 and 2002.
¶3. (S//NF) Following a 2001 visit to Saudi Arabia, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, Yar'Adua's condition worsened, and he was diagnosed with chronic renal failure. Upon returning from Saudi Arabia, Yar'Adua's dialysis treatments become more rigorous, xxxxxxxxxxxx confided, and his dialysis machine was moved into his private bedroom. xxxxxxxxxxxx maintained that Yar'Adua likely received a kidney transplant in Saudi Arabia in either late 2001 or early 2002. xxxxxxxxxxxx also claimed that Yar'Adua's dialysis machine was removed from his Katsina residence in 2002 and that discoloration was evident on his face at that time, which he assessed was the result of Yar'Adua taking steroids and other medications to enable his body to accept a transplant. xxxxxxxxxxxx rejected notions Yar'Adua suffered from Churgg-Strauss syndrome. Additionally, xxxxxxxxxxxx explained that the raised patch of skin often noted by observers on President Yar'Adua's right hand is not connected to his kidney ailments, but instead the result of a serious car accident Yar'Adua sustained in 1999. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx after Yar'Adua's car accident, his physicians removed some tissue from his buttock area to graft to his injured, and badly disfigured hand.
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¶4. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx contended that Yar'Adua "always" craved power, dating back to the days when Yar'Adua first contested and lost the governorship of Katsina state in 1991. Indeed, xxxxxxxxxxxx remarked, Yar'Adua's politically prominent family "bred" him to assume office in the future. However, xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that throughout Yar'Adua's administration in Katsina, his performance suffered due to his poor health, which contributed to his constant fatigue, and to "an inability to govern." Whereas Katsina state commissioners and permanent secretaries routinely worked twelve-hour days, xxxxxxxxxxxx said that governor Yar'Adua himself entered the office at 10:00am and returned home around 3:00pm each day. According to xxxxxxxxxxxx Yar'Adua seemed disinterested in engaging in the requisite politicking that is the hallmark of political relations between elected leaders and power brokers in the North, and Nigeria generally. Yar'Adua's disinclination to travel while governor, even to neighboring states to meet with the northern political elite, also perpetuated his political isolation.
¶5. (S//NF) During his tenure as governor of Katsina, xxxxxxxxxxxx maintained, Yar'Adua appeared deliberative and ruthless in managing the affairs of his state. While intelligent, Yar'Adua, according to xxxxxxxxxxxx neither tolerated disagreement nor insubordination. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that Yar'Adua ultimately relied on a handful of confidants, whom xxxxxxxxxxxx considered sycophants more than dispassionate consultants. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that Yar'Adua, paradoxically, routinely ignored the counsel of even his purportedly trusted advisers, preferring instead, to make his own decisions. In so doing, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, Yar'Adua had been assessed by some other northern elders as both an unimpressive leader, and an irresponsible one.
¶6. (S//NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx suggested that while Yar'Adua served as governor of Katsina, Yar'Adua's wife Hajiya Turai Yar'Adua, manipulated him into diverting millions of dollars of funds from the state treasury into private Yar'Adua family accounts. xxxxxxxxxxxx alleged that Yar'Adua used these stolen funds to construct a lavish private residence in Katsina and to finance family vacations to the Middle East and the UK (Ref A). Though xxxxxxxxxxxx acknowledged that Yar'Adua as former governor had built primary and secondary schools in Katsina, xxxxxxxxxxxx criticized Yar'Adua for failing to properly fund the training of teachers for those schools. As a result, xxxxxxxxxxxxx said, unlike in the past, under Yar'Adua's two terms as governor, Katsina students consistently failed to meet national standards in math and reading assessments. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that for Yar'Adua, "it was all about the spectacle of governing." Even the roadways in Katsina, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, may have been impressive, particularly when compared to the deplorable road network in other parts of the North, however, xxxxxxxxxxxx alleged that while the roads had been built, the contract costs were egregiously inflated and the excess funds were siphoned. xxxxxxxxxxxx said some Katsina road contracts had been given to non-existent, "ghost" companies, which were secretly "owned" by Turai Yar'Adua.
¶7. (S//NF) COMMENT:xxxxxxxxxxxx allegations of Turai Yar'Adua's contract-related corruption in Katsina also seem credible in light of similar claims previously reported by the Mission since she became the First Lady (see Ref A, for example).xxxxxxxxxxxx perspective may help shed light on President Yar'Adua. As reported (Ref C), we believe the President has two sides: one, for international consumption; and the other, which turns a blind eye to certain rule of law issues, particularly as it pertains to his wife. Then-governor Yar'Adua's unwillingness to engage in the necessary politicking to build a broad base of support in Katsina may have been relatively insignificant against the backdrop of insular Katsina state, or even northern regional, politics. However, as president of a diverse nation, with competing regional interests and powerful patronage networks, Yar'Adua's continued political isolation (even within the
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North) may illustrate, to an extent, why even today Yar'Adua has not fully succeeded in truly stamping his authority on the PDP or the Presidency.
¶8. (S//NF) COMMENT CONT'D: Certainly, Yar'Adua's health remains a cause of concern for northern power brokers, especially in light of the possibility that Vice President Goodluck Jonathan would constitutionally be next in line for the presidency in the event of Yar'Adua's demise, although we doubt the northern elite would allow this to transpire. Opposition presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari (All Nigeria People's Party) told PolOff May 13 at his Kaduna home that given the North's trepidation of power returning to the South (if, for instance, Yar'Adua cannot complete his term), Buhari feels vindicated in his insistence on challenging the President's election. Buhari intimated that members of the northern political elite have begun visiting him to affirm their allegiance to him, and to support him as he continues to contest Yar'Adua's election at the Supreme Court (see Ref B). Buhari noted that, in light of news of Yar'Adua's troubling health, some northern power brokers now believe fresh polls (wherein Buhari emerges the victor) might be the best way of ensuring that the North retains the presidency. End comment.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 000202
DEPT FOR AF/W, INR/AA DOE FOR GEORGE PERSON
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/28/2019 TAGS: PGOVPRELEFINKCORTBIONI SUBJECT: NIGERIA: SARAKI ON PRESIDENT'S HEALTH, NEED FOR ACTION ON PRIORITIES IN 2009, APPOINTMENT OF FORMER NFIU CHIEF TO GOVERNOR'S FORUM
Classified By: Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer for reasons 1.4. (b & d).
¶1. (C) SUMMARY. Ambassador met with Kwara State Governor and President of the Governor's Forum (GF) Bukola Saraki on January 28. Saraki was his usual self, discussing President Yar'Adua's health situation and his own attempt to resolve some of the EFCC's issues by appointing the former NFIU Chief as Director General of the GF. He also noted that he had followed through on the framework for stemming polio outbreaks tha tthe Ambassador had given to him in December 2008 to share with the 36 governors. (NOTE: The Ambassador had provided the interagency points on what states needed to do better to address polio in Nigeria.) Saraki continues to maintain that Yar'Adua does not have lung cancer and noted that he is less fatigued and breathing better than in September 2008. Saraki told me Yar'Adua recognizes the need to take visible action on his seven point agenda in 2009, as January 2010 will see the beginning of political maneuvering for the 2011 elections. Saraki put the recent reconciliation between former President Obasanjo and former VP Atiku in the context of preparations for the 2011 elections. He again thanked Ambassador for a presentation on polio sent by the Mission and noted that the governors agreed to work to eradicate polio in their respective states under the umbrella of the "Make Your State Polio Free" campaign. END SUMMARY.
Saraki comments on yar'adua's health - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶2. (C) On the President, Saraki began by saying Yar'Adua will remain in Abuja the week of January 26 and plans to travel to Katsina and other areas of Nigeria the next week. He holds to his view (as a medical doctor) that Yar'Adua is chronically ill, suffering from kidney disease, but maintains that he knows of no plans to go to Germany for treatment and does not believe he has lung cancer or is in need of a kidney transplant at this time. Saraki said Yar'Adua wanted to go out of Nigeria with his family for vacation, but was concerned that international travel would be perceived as another medical trip, so decided to stay in Nigeria to allay any fears. Regarding Yar'Adua's health in general, Saraki said that Yar'Adua suffers from less fatigue and shortness of breath than he had in September 2008, and has not had a major episode since returning to Nigeria from his September trip to Saudi Arabia, implying that his medical regime has given him some relief.
¶3. (C) NOTE: In a January 27 meeting, Shell Petroleum Vice President for Africa Anne Pickard noted to Ambassador that xxxxxxxxxxxx the German construction and transport company Julius Berger xxxxxxxxxxxx provide transportation to and from Germany for doctors looking after Yar'Adua, as well as helps ship medical equipment to Abuja.
Yar'adua realizes need to act in 2009 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- ¶4. (C) Saraki asked the Ambassador (given her recent trip back) how Nigeria is being viewed in the U.S. these days. Ambassador noted that there was still concern that there was not more movement on Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda, nor concrete steps to improve the Niger Delta situation and the lack of movement on the anti-corruption fight remains at the top of the list. Saraki said he discussed this with Yar'Adua and that Yar'Adua realized he needs to move faster and no longer has the liberty to be as deliberative as his nature might dictate. Saraki said that he and Yar'Adua are of like minds in seeing 2009 as a "make or break" year. In January 2010, political camps within the PDP will already be formulating their positions on candidates for the 2011 election and it would be harder for Ministers and others to take any bold actions as they seek their godfathers for 2011. Ambassador asked Saraki if he thought the PDP would support Yar'Adua for another term, if he so desired. Saraki said he did not know, noting there are already others interested (i.e., Atiku) who will also be working the party members. Saraki said he did not know and has not received any signal from Yar'Adua regarding his plans for 2011.
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Saraki on obasanjo-atiku meeting - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶5. (C) Saraki maintained that former President Obasanjo and former VP Atiku were having a "lovefest" in order to prepare for the 2011 elections. Asked about internal machinations within the PDP lately, which clearly have the governors on one side and politicos like Obasanjo and Atiku on the other, Saraki said this was the case and he expected things to continue in this vein as people begin to decide who they are going to back for the 2011 election. Saraki said Atiku would officially be coming back into the PDP in March 2009.
Gov's forum to put efcc back on track - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶6. (C) Saraki said he is trying to work behind the scenes getting the issues surrounding the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission "back on track." He maintained this was the motivation behind hiring former Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Director Ashishano Bayo Okauru as Director General of the Governor's Forum (announced publicly on January 27). Saraki said Okauru is not/not being pursued on corruption nor national security grounds and neither is there an arrest pending on him. According to Saraki, Okauru has worked out his "resignation issues." (COMMENT: Given previous EFCC focus on the Saraki family, we are skeptical of the Governor's comments as he has a vested in terest in the EFCC taking its spotlight off his family. END COMMENT.)
State-level polio eradication campaigns - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ¶7. (C) Saraki said the governors were appreciative of the polio presentation the Ambassador sent to the Governors' Forum in December, noting the attendance of Ministry of Health officials at the forum. The governors agreed to a campaign to make their states polio-free and report on polio issues at each GF meeting. Further developments will be reported septel.
¶8. (C) COMMENT: Although Saraki is very plugged in with President Yar'Adua and holds a lot of political sway with many governors, particuarly in the north, we always need to weigh his motives with the information he provides in one-on-one meetings. He certainly sees himself as a potential political candidate at sometime and sees Yar'Adua as one of his best vehicles to get there. On the other hand, he clearly has fears about the Obasanjo-Atiku reunion as they would be a more difficult faction of the PDP to control.
¶9. (U) This cable was coordinated with Consulate Lagos. SANDERS
Despite the initial hicups, I did get it , and here's the proof.
The voter registration exercise in Nigeria , should be viewed as the first step to performing one's duties as a citizen.
Once a person is registered, the next step is to make sure you become informed of the various candidates, and ultimately help elect qualified people, by going out to vote.
The voting exercise for Nigeria's 2011 elections began on the 15th of January, after much fanfare you started to notice little white plastic desks scattered around various points in the city with at least 2 youth corpers , 1 civil defence personnel and in some cases a police officer manning the registration unit.
Personally, I had no idea where the registration units were in my district , but after 3 days, I noticed people congregating nearby and alot of activity so we figured out it must be the unit.
I tried getting the polling stations online, by visiting INEC website, got lots of information and news but unfortunately not the information I was searching for , further investigation led me to another site which had a lot of useful info it is called the reclaim Naija project , a grass root movement.
They had information from around the country but at the time not FCT, I eventually confirmed this by reading a tweet from a kind gentleman who had uploaded a picture of a document with the polling stations in Maitama on twitter.
After a few false starts, I decided to get it done at all cost on 21st of January and this is a basic summary of how the day went.
I arrived early and put my name down on a list, the people had organised themselves into writing down a list which was used once the Inec officials arrived to hand out que tickets.
At 6:45am there were already 90 or more names on the list so I complied accordingly and waited.
8:30 am the Inec officials had arrived and started handing out the que tickets,
My estimated time of service read 11:13 am so I just waited around and watched the process commence.
There was generally a large turn out and I must commend the INEC staff , who despite the difficult conditions managed to compose themselves proffesionally throughout .
You could see people from every tribe in Nigeria showing up comming together and registering
Technically people were discouraged from jumping the line as is normal here , allowances were made for pregnant women , women carrying babies or elderly people.
Commerce flourished as all sorts of vendors from newspapers to softdrinks did some brisk trade.
As the day progressed we started to notice the data capture machine was slowing down so it was taking longer to process each person, basically although the machines have a backup system, the data had to be backed up and the data flushed from the memory to ensure smooth operations unfortunately most of the staff at the registration units dont have the correct access control /permission or passwords to perform this function.
The day just progressively dragged on, the staff would sometimes switch places / functions to eliminate monotony I believe. Apart from capturing the data via the scanner and computer, there was an additional giant notepad used to collect name address and thumb print information for an extra level of data integrity
The highlight of my wait was suddenly noticing increased activity from security personnel in the area, an elegant lady who I recognised but couldn't place suddenly emerged from the SUV and joined us briefly in the que, she exchanged greetings with some people in the crowd and suddenly began advising members of the public about the importance of making sure we all voted after this registration process . Apparently she had also somehow waited for 2 previous days to register . The lady is a politician, Ireti Heebah Kingibe , I recognised her because I've seen her posters plastered all over Abuja
She eventually registered , bade everyone farewell and was on her way again.
I spent the rest of the day waiting for my number to come up, but in the process I spoke with people waiting around with me and even managed to interview some of the Inec support staff in the area.
In reality, people are still excited about the opportunity to make a difference in these elections although many are sceptical about if thier votes will really count.
Like with most things, there are bound to be initial teething problems but most people were optimistic the process was improving by the day.
The youth corpers at this particular registration unit were working very hard and did a tremendous job of it considering the circumstances
Eventually at about 2:30pm my number was called up , I did my data capture thumb print etc but Alas!
I couldn't get the voters registration card today, come tommorow the black ink had finishd in the HP printer
7 pm January 13th 2010, the presence of security personnel all over the city can still be felt. Some major streets in the city have been blocked off all day as Nigeria awaits the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries and nominee for the April 2011 elections.
The impasse is between incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan and former VP, Abubakar Atiku. Party delegates all over Nigeria arrived last night to Abuja to partake in the primaries. Overall, 5000 delegates are expected to participate in today's primaries.