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Yar’adua’s G8 invitation masterminded by German authorities as a reward for Siemen’s contracts.

July 7, 2009

Image removed.Nigerian "President", Umaru Yar’adua, who was dogged most of last week by death rumors when he passed out shortly before he was to embark on a trip to Libya for the Africa Union (AU) summit, will be heading to Italy today to attend the G8 meeting of the eight most industrialized nations in the world baring serious medical problems. Yar’adua was earlier snubbed by the organizers of the less-prestigious G20 due to his diminished stature as a result of legitimacy questions plaguing his election in April 2007 and his well-documented lukewarm attitude towards fighting corruption.

Why is it that a few months ago he was not good enough for the G20, but now, health permitting, he will be at the G8 summit starting from today, a much more exclusive affair? Our source said Yar’adua’s willingness to restore Siemens’ lucrative contracts in Nigeria is directly tied to his getting invited to the G8 summit. Yar’adua admitted that much in his interview to the Guardian a few months ago when he said that the Chancellor of Germany pressured him to restore Siemen’s contracts, promising that the company earlier indicted for massive bribery and corruption in Nigeria had shaped up.

After he was rebuffed by the G20, Yar’adua openly lamented the exclusion of Nigeria. In response, he frantically reached out to Germany and France to seek their help in getting invited to the G8 summit. The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, in turn persuaded her colleagues by assuring them that Nigeria was making progress on fighting corruption, the major issue dogging the African nation’s international image.

A source told SaharaReporters, that with the hope of acceptance by the Europeans on the horizon, Yar’adua cobbled together a body of Non-Governmental Organizations with the help of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) led by former ASUU president Assisi Asobie to midwife a report by Nigeria’s local Transparency International chapter (TI-N) that indicated that Nigeria under Yar’adua was fighting corruption like never before and making important progress.

SaharaReporters was able to reach General Ishola Williams, head of TI-N, and purportedly the author of the new report, as well as the Secretary of TI-N, Osita Ogbu. Both strongly denied that any report had been released highlighting progress by the government on corruption in Nigeria. Mr. Ogbu claimed that their last report was published in December 2008, and it was not favorable to the authorities. 

Also, Dr. Asobie told our reporter that NEITI took no role in publishing or facilitating any reports on the extractive industry since 2006; he said that foreign auditors usually endorse reports issued by NEITI. However, he admitted that the group has a memo pending to meet with Yar’adua next week, but the meeting has been rescheduled.

Yar’adua also announced today the appointment of former Niger Delta  Development Commission (NDDC) MD, Timi Alaibe as his honorary adviser on the Niger Delta before departing to Italy. It was not clear as at the time of publishing our report if Yar'adua will be going to Germany for medical check up as earlier planned.

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