NIGERIAN OPPOSITION PARTIES MERGER SAILS THROUGH.

The merger between the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has been approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

A statement released on Wednesday afternoon by the Secretary to the commission Abdullahi Kaugama said the application by the parties has met all statutory requirements for the merger and has been approved accordingly.

The electoral body has consequently withdrawn the individual certificates of the three parties and issued a single certificate for the All Progressives Congress (APC).

This puts an end to the long running controversy on the right to use the acronym APC which has raged on since the three opposition parties made public their intention to merge into one party ahead of the 2015 General Election in Nigeria.

BRAD MANNING LEAK REASSESSED.

The effect of Bradley Manning’s disclosure of thousands of classified documents have been reassessed and its now believed that the damage caused was not as bad as previously thought.  Manning was cleared of the charge of “aiding the enemy” by a military court on Tuesday but may still go to jail for a very long time. Here are details.

 

The harm caused to U.S national interest by Bradley Manning who was accused of the nation’s biggest-ever security leak may have been grossly overrated.

A U.S. military judge cleared Manning on Tuesday of the most serious charge against him – aiding the enemy – in a verdict that indicated the soldier’s secrecy violations, while criminal, were not as dire as prosecutors had alleged.

Manning’s revelations to WikiLeaks, including hundreds of thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and raw intelligence reports from the Iraqi and Afghan battlefields, violated his military oath and “put real lives and real careers at risk,” said former State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

But the strategic damage to the United States – to its reputation and its ability to work with allies and conduct diplomacy – “was transitory,” said Crowley, who resigned in 2011 after publicly criticizing the Pentagon’s treatment of Manning in a military prison.

As reams of classified State Department cables – some containing unflattering portraits of foreign leaders or detailing U.S. envoys’ contacts with human rights groups – leaked to the public, some saw catastrophe for U.S. diplomacy.

Yet, despite what Crowley called a few “isolated cases” in which foreign counterparts were less candid than in the past, fearing their words might leak, the State Department was able to mitigate the damage.

In just one of dozens of examples, U.S. ties with Indonesia wobbled after the release of cables showing the U.S. Embassy suspected collusion between Jakarta’s security forces and the extremist Islamic Defenders Front, accused of attacks on religious minorities.

Indonesia’s presidential spokesman for foreign affairs, Teuku Faizasyah said the leaks were quite unpleasant but relations with the U.S. have continued normally since. He added that the government has learnt to be more careful with the flow of such intelligence.

The military judge, Colonel Denise Lind, found Manning guilty on 19 counts, including five espionage charges. Manning could face a sentence of 136 years in prison. Military prosecutors had pushed for a harsher judgement. They called him a “traitor” and said his actions had helped the al Qaeda network.

In Australia, a crucial U.S. ally in the Asia-Pacific region, the revelations have affected the way Western diplomats operate and report on political developments, and have curtailed events such as social dinner party chats where diplomats often gain insights on what is happening in a country.

In late 2010, Wikileaks cables revealed then Australian sports minister Mark Arbib as a regular source of information for U.S. diplomats. Danby’s name was also mentioned. One cable also described current Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, then the foreign minister, as a “mistake-prone control freak”.

It remains to be seen whether the Manning verdict by a military court will impact future prosecutions, most notably against former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked documents exposing previously secret U.S. telephone and internet surveillance programs. Snowden, who faces U.S. criminal charges, has taken refuge in a Moscow airport.

President Barack Obama has been more aggressive than any of his predecessors in searching out and punishing those responsible for national security leaks.

In the wake of the WikiLeaks disclosure, Obama ordered new steps to protect classified material stored on government computers and, in November 2012, issued a “National Insider Threat Policy” aimed at stopping future leaks like those by Manning.

 

Fresh Cholera Outbreak Claims Life.

A fresh outbreak of cholera in the capital of Ogun State in Nigeria’s South West has claimed its first victim. The state government said on Wednesday that the outbreak was in the two local council areas in the capital. Unconfirmed reports say the number of the dead may be up to five but only one was confirmed by the state government.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Olaokun Soyinka named Abeokuta North and Abeokuta South Council Areas as the sources of the outbreak and blamed it on poor hygiene.

He said a hospital in Ijaiye community was informed of a patient who died after several cases of severe gastroenteritis were brought for treatment.

Soyinka added that government was on top of the situation as state and local government officials reacted immediately to trace the source of the outbreak and provide life-saving treatment for admitted patients.

The infection has been traced to contaminated water and alternative water supplies were provided by officials of the State Water Board.

The commissioner said tested water samples revealed  high levels of faecal contamination.

Although Abeokuta has one of the largest waterworks in Nigeria, poor sanitation habits have left the public water source vulnerable to contamination. Parts of the city that cannot access the public supply often rely on crudely dug wells from which raw water is usually consumed by residents. The wells are almost always located in the same vicinity as pit toilets which allows for contamination.

Soyinka  canvassed  regular hand washing with soap and clean water, boiling of drinking water, and cooking food thoroughly as part of ways to combat the scourge.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) To Continue Strike Till Government meets its demands.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it would not compromise until the Nigerian Government met its demands.

 Chairman of the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Dr Ikenna Nwachukwu,told journalists that the strike was to reposition and revitalise the country’s university system.

According to him, calling off the strike would mean supporting the collapse of the educational system if issues in contention were not resolved.

“Four years after signing the agreement, ASUU, as a responsible union, employed every workable, peaceful and civilized means to make the government fulfil its own part of the agreement.

“But the government deliberately refused to honour key areas of the agreement. It is time for the implementation of the agreement as time for negotiation is over,” he said.

He is unhappy that Nigerian universities had continued to produce half-baked graduates who could not compete with their counterparts from other countries.

According to him, the public universities would not continue to operatewithout infrastructure, laboratories and a conducive academic environment.

K

Kunleonnaijatv will aspire to promote progressive, intellectual and practical discourse on events in the news from around the world but with a strong bias for Africa and Nigeria. We seek to engender the kind of discussions that will move the African race closer to where it ought to be on a daily basis.

We therefore invite and seek your participation on this blog so that we can join hands to seek solutions to Africa’s many challenges and work towards becoming part of the first world in the shortest possible time.

United States ‘not threatened’ by China’s surge in Africa: Obama

Sat Jun 29 10:36:10 UTC 2013 
PRETORIA (Reuters) – The United States does not feel threatened by the growth of trade and investment in Africa by China and other emerging powers, U.S. President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

“I don’t feel threatened by it. I feel it’s a good thing,” Obama told a news conference during a visit to South Africa.

He said the more countries invested in Africa the more the world’s least developed continent could be integrated into the global economy.

“I want everybody playing in Africa. The more the merrier,” Obama said.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Mark Felsenthal; Writing by Pascal Fletcher; Editing by Ed Stoddard)