Kidnappers reveal new manual, ex-president makes this week’s CeeCee and many more in this week’s News with… a pinch of salt

by Stanley Azuakola

Nigerian kidnappers release new manual

The Association of Registered Kidnappers (ARK) rose from its annual general meeting in Onitsha, Anambra State last week, releasing a new manual to oversee the operations of its members. Under the new rules, kidnappers are now expected to attach every kidnaping project to clear developmental objectives. Below is an excerpt from the manual: “For instance, if Olabode George is kidnapped, you must tie his release to prison reforms. If Baba Obasanjo is kidnapped, his release must be tied to the promotion of free speech. Others like Dame Jonathan, Tony Anenih and Aloysius Katsina-Alu, if kidnapped, must not be released unless the English language curriculum in schools is revised, Benin-Ore road is repaired and rule of law is strengthened respectively.”

Oronto stands by statements on Jonathan

Senior special assistant to President Jonathan, Mr Oronto Douglas says he stands by the two contradictory statements he made to two different US embassy representatives about the president. Oronto had told the first one, on the eve of the nomination of Jonathan as running mate to late President Yaradua, that Jonathan was “part of the system of corruption that had impoverished the Niger-Delta for decades.” Twenty four hours later, he made a u-turn and told another official that Jonathan was an incorruptible leader with a strong developmental initiative in Bayelsa State. Oronto says he stands by the statements because even though President Jonathan “used to be corrupt, however, I’m aware that he repented and became born again the night before his name was announced as running mate. As a result, old corruptions passed away. Who am I to remember or hold them against him?” Meanwhile, President Jonathan has insisted that Mr. Douglas could never have said such a thing against him. The president lamented saying, “This was how MEND said they were responsible for the October 1st bombings when they weren’t. Now Oronto is saying it was him who said those mean things about me, when it obviously wasn’t him. The truth will surely prevail.”

Minister unveils transformation cycle

Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, has designed a short-term transformational cycle, which he hopes will serve as framework for rating the Jonathan administration. The transformational cycle was captioned: GEJ –talking less, doing lesser. In line with that, he declared that the first 100 days have been the planning stage. Subsequently, in intervals of 100 days, the administration will have the yarning stage, dulling stage, whining stage, frowning stage, drowning stage, blabbing stage and finally, another planning stage.

CROWNED CLOWN (CeeCee) OF THE WEEK

Knowing the right moment to take a bow and exit the stage is a rare but required leadership quality. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo hasn’t learnt it, and for that he takes the CeeCee this week. In July this year, he made comments asking House Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to resign after two years, so that a member from the South-West can take over. Many dismissed him, and assumed it was just a case of post-electoral defeat blues. He restated the call last week, this time asking that members “remove” the speaker. The degeneration of Obasanjo from international figure to national leader to regional crusader has been an unpalatable spectacle. One of the more instructive wikileaks cable on Nigeria was on the visit of former US President George Bush shortly after Nigeria was placed on a US terror watch-list. Jonathan tried to persuade Bush to influence the Obama administration to remove Nigeria from the list. The former president replied that “I don’t have anything to do with government any longer,” and turning to the US ambassador, who was also present, quipped that “It’s her job now.” Say whatever you like about Bush, that gesture is the mark of a statesman. It’s something Chief Obasanjo might do well to learn from. And here’s hoping that receiving the CeeCee will help hasten his learning process.

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