Cablegate: Pd October Round-Up - Mission Nigeria Programs Support


DE RUEHUJA #2270/01 3231529
R 181529Z NOV 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: In the month of October, public diplomacy activities of
the U.S. Mission to Nigeria supported each of the four pillars of
the U.S. - Nigeria Framework for Partnership: Governing Justly and
Democratically, Investing in People, Economic Trade and Growth, and
Peace and Security. Headlines from this month's activities include:

-- A Roundtable Discussion on U.S. Electoral Process
with Nigerian Women in Politics
-- Policy Remarks on U.S. Elections to Students, Politicians and
Civil Society Members in Yola by Ambassador Sanders
-- Political Counselor leads discussion of "The American
Presidential Election Process" at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
-- Information Resource Center Conducts Workshop on Web Publishing
and Information Research for Librarians
-- American Corners Commemorate World Teachers Day with Programs on
Literacy and HIV/AIDS
-- USTDA Grant Supports Development of Hydroelectric Power in
Northern Nigeria
-- Lagos Chapter IVLP Alumni hosts lecture on the 2008 U.S.
presidential election
-- U.S. Expert lectures on ADR
-- Embassy Educational Advising Center Abuja hosts Amherst College
Recruiter on Education USA
-- U.S. Embassy's Educational Advising Center 10th annual College
and Career fair
-- Educational Opportunities Beckons as U.S. Embassy's Educational
Advising Center Holds Graduate Fair
-- Mission Announces New Visa Appointment System
-- U.S. Government Donates Utility Vehicles to the Nigerian Army
-- United States Diplomats Donate N 412,000 in Medical Supplies to
Local Clinic
-- SIFE Nigeria Concludes Skills workshops in Niger and Kaduna
-- U.S. Mission Public Affairs Engages Adamawa State Media and
Cultural Institutions
-- U.S. Volvis Program Alumni Sensitizes Nigerian Public on
Environmental Awareness

The mission's web site ( features
reports of these and other events and remains a major source of
information used by journalists and the Nigerian public. End

A Roundtable Discussion on U.S. Electoral Process with Nigerian
Women in Politics
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. U.S. Ambassador Robin Sanders led three distinguished women
politicians -- Honorable Beni Lar, House of Representatives Chair on
Women Affairs and Social Development; Hajiya Inna Ciroma, Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) National Women Leader and Hajiya Bilkisu
Yusuf, a journalist -- at a roundtable discussion held at the
International Press Center, Abuja on the U.S. electoral process and
its implications for the status of women in politics. Three of the
speakers recently returned from their participation in the U.S.
National Democratic Party Convention in Denver[DWR1]. The roundtable
dialogue was organized by the U.S. Mission, Nigeria in collaboration
with the International Republican Institute (IRI), the National
Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Ministry of Information and

3. The speakers identified major obstacles that hinder Nigerian
women from politics, including gender inequality in the composition
of party executive offices, lack of finance, an uneven playing field
during the candidate selection process and political violence.
Ambassador Sanders recommended women candidates prepare early for
their pursuit of political office and advised that women should
effectively mobilize and engage the people at the grassroots.

4. Positive media coverage included reports from Africa's largest
TV network - The Nigerian Television Authority (60 million viewers)
and Radio Nigeria (65 million listeners). Several major newspapers
covered the event, including the Guardian (90,000 readers), Daily
Trust (45,000 readers), New Nigerian 45,000 readers), and Leadership
(45,000 readers).

Ambassador Sanders delivers Policy

Remarks on U.S. Elections to Students,
Politicians and Civil Society Members in Yola

5. As part of the U.S. Mission's national program of events on the
2008 U.S. Elections, Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders delivered a
policy speech at the American University of Nigeria (AUN) in Yola on
October 17 to an enthusiastic audience of over 850 students, faculty
members, journalists and civil society leaders.

6. Dignitaries who attended the event organized by the AUN and the
Public Affairs Section included the Vice Chancellor, Federal
University of Technology Yola Professor Abdullahi Ribadu and his
senior faculty, the AUN President Dr. Michael Smith, AUN's Board
member Professor Samuel Aleyideino and the Academic Vice President
Professor Jim Garofalo and other senior faculty of the university.

7. Ambassador Sanders spoke on "What Democracies do for Their
People: Strong Institutions and Smooth Transitions," and highlighted
the benefits and challenges of democracy. She also underscored the
importance of the U.S. commitment to support democracy and good
governance in Nigeria. She noted that the U.S. Mission is hosting
election night events in Abuja and Lagos featuring U.S. election
coverage, information and programs on the U.S. election process.

8. Positive media coverage included reports from The Nigerian
Television Authority (60 million viewers) and Radio Nigeria (65
million listeners). Several major newspapers reported the event
including the Guardian (90,000 circulation), Daily Trust (45,000
circulation), New Nigerian 45,000 circulation), and Leadership
(45,000 circulation).

Political Counselor leads discussion of "The American Presidential
Election Process" at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria
--------------------------------------------- --

9. Political Counselor Walter Pflaumer lectured on "The American
Presidential Election Process" at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU),
Zaria on October 17 as part of the Mission's program of democracy
outreach events leading up the 2008 U.S. Elections. He discussed the
primary election process, including the use of party caucuses, and
spoke extensively on the structure and role of the Electoral
College. Pflaumer also took several questions from the packed
audience of students and senior faculty. Pflaumer's visit included
a courtesy call on University Vice Chancellor Professor Shehu Usman
Abdullahi and an exchange of views on the U.S. political process
with the faculty of the Political Science Department.

10. In nearby Kaduna on October 16 Pflaumer met with media
representatives as well as leaders and activists from NGOs dealing
with democracy, human rights, and election monitoring for a
scene-setter briefing at the Arewa House to share information about
the ABU lecture and to listen to the group's questions on the 2008
U.S. elections. The meeting included a lively discussion of the U.S.
election process.

11. Many of the participants at both programs said the lecture and
discussions gave them a better understanding of the U.S. Electoral
College and the conduct of elections in the United States. Positive
media reports included Leadership newspaper (40,000 circulation),
Daily Trust (35,000 circulation), New Nigerian (35,000 circulation),
and electronic media reports from NTA Kaduna (30 million viewers)
and Voice of Nigeria (20 million listeners).

Lagos Chapter IVLP Alumni hosts lecture
on the 2008 U.S. presidential election

12. U.S. Mission Consul General Donna Blair was the keynote speaker
at a lecture on the 2008 U.S. elections organized by the Lagos
Chapter of the IVLP Alumni. The lecture focused on how alumni can
build on their U.S. exchange experiences to foster economic
development and sustainable democratic governance in Nigeria. Event
Chairperson and a 2007 presidential aspirant, Professor Pat Utomi,
Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, Mr. Kofo-Abayomi (representing
the Lagos State Governor) and guest lecturer Prof. Bola Akinterinwa
of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs all spoke on the
2008 U.S. elections and their significance for Nigeria.

14. The theme of the lecture was "The U.S. Presidential Election
System: Lessons for Nigeria," and took place in Ikoyi, Lagos. It
attracted notable personalities such as former Nigerian Ambassador
to the U.S.(2003-07), Prof. George Obiozor, several representatives
of the Lagos State judiciary, politicians, and alumni of other
USG-funded exchange programs.

18. The lecture was well attended with considerable interaction
between the audience and speakers. The event received wide media
coverage in both the electronic and print media: Channels TV (over
10 million viewers), Silverbird Television (over 5 million viewers),
Guardian newspaper (over 90,000) and Vanguard newspaper (80,000
thousand readers).

U.S. Expert lectures on
Alternative Dispute Resolution

15. Dr. Fellina Nwadike, a U.S.-based peace building and conflict
resolution expert, is conducting training sessions in Nigeria on
peace building mechanisms and conflict resolution. Her program is
funded by a six-week grant under the Fulbright Specialists Program.
Dr. Nwadike is Associate Professor of Speech Communication at Coppin
State University in Baltimore,

16. While in Abuja and Sokoto, Professor Nwadike will train
lawyers, judges, magistrates, and law students on alternative
dispute resolution methodologies and best practices. In addition,
she will provide training on effective communication and listening
skills, which are essential in the mediation process. These
training sessions are conducted in collaboration with Settlement
House, a dispute resolution center in Abuja, and the Usmanu
Danfodiyo University Center for Peace Studies in Sokoto.

Information Resource Center Conducts Workshop on Web Publishing and
Information Research for Librarians
--------------------------------------------- ------

17. At the invitation of the Information Technology Section (ITS)
of the Nigerian Library Association (NLA), U.S. Mission Nigeria
Information Resource Officer Linda Parker and IRC
Specialist/Webmaster Samuel Eyitayo were lead facilitators at the
annual Library and Information Technology Today (LITT 2008) workshop
in Zaria, Kaduna State. The workshop attracted 49 professional
participants from 26 Nigerian states. Eyitayo pioneered the LITT
program when he served as the chair of ITS.

18. The Embassy played a crucial role in formulating the curriculum
as well as identifying resource persons. The workshop was conducted
in the laboratory of the University library. Parker and Eyitayo led
the training under the theme "Basics of Web Development for Library
and Information Centers," using practical demonstration and hands-on
activities to enhance the participants learning. This training will
assist many libraries and information centers in their efforts to
provide web-based services.

19. Several participants discussed the impact of the workshop in
the NLA's blog ( For example, The Sun
newspaper librarian Leo Nwokoji wrote: "before this workshop, I had
thought that the marriage between I.T. and library practice was mere
conviviality. I have come to realize that it is for better and for
worse. I have cleared the phobia. I am readily equipped to speak the
language of web developers at least at the basic level." Another
participant writes "LITT 2008, in my opinion, the workshop is
enriched and indicates an improvement on LITT 2007. The practical
session is encouraging and has given participants a good start to
developing websites..." Some participants said the hands-on
approach to the training gave them the knowledge to create a blog
either for their institution or themselves. Further stories on the
workshop on NLA website:

U.S. Mission Commemorates World Teachers
Day with Program on Literacy and HIV/AIDS

20. The U.S. Mission in Nigeria commemorated the 2008 World
Teachers Day in Lagos with a program entitled "Literacy is for the

Living". The program highlighted the highly positive U.S.
partnership against AIDS and emphasized that because of PEPFAR,
People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) have been given new leases on
life and are facing the future without fear and with confidence.
Society for Health and the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA)
collaborated with the Public Affairs Section (PAS) to implement this
program. The 50 participants (15 more than were expected) included
several Lagos State education permanent secretaries, the Senior
Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor and the CEO of LSACA, as
well as principals of both private and public schools and directors
of education.

21. Victor Omoshehin, a PLWHA, held the audience spell-bound with
the story of how he had considered suicide upon learning that he was
HIV-positive and how his life was turned around when he came in
contact with PEPFAR. He was lucky to have family support, and with
the help of PEPFAR, he learned to live positively. He is currently
the National Coordinator of the Association of Positive Youths
Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (APYIN). Many principals were keen
to have him speak to their students.

22. Grass-roots and community sub-partner Ms. Simisola Agada
discussed her training by SFH under the auspices of PEPFAR. She
currently leads an organization called Youth Health Concept and
works. She is involved in awareness programs and carries out
voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) services.

23. At the end of the program, participants agreed to step up
actions to combat HIV/AIDS in their various schools. All 30 of the
participants that completed program evaluation surveys said they
were satisfied (53%) or very satisfied (47%) with the program. The
Society for Family Health provided free VCT services at the end of
the program; several participants availed themselves of the service.

24. The event received both electronic and print media coverage
from NTA (60 million viewers), The Guardian, (90,000 in circulation)
This Day (90,000 circulation), New Age Newspapers (45,000
circulation) and The Nation (40,000 circulation).

USTDA Feasibility Study Grant Supports
Development of Hydroelectric Power in Northern Nigeria
--------------------------------------------- ---------

25. On October 17, Ambassador Sanders and the Governor of Adamawa
State, Murtala Nyako (Admiral Retired), signed a grant to support
the development of a hydroelectric power project in the state. The
$467,000 grant awarded through the U.S. Trade and Development Agency
(USTDA) will fund a feasibility study of a proposed 35 megawatt (MW)
hydroelectric power plant at the existing Kiri Dam site, located on
the Gongola River in Adamawa State. The hydroelectric power study,
the first of its kind in the country, will develop a template for
power plant project feasibility evaluations in Nigeria.

26. Currently, Adamawa State relies on the national grid as its
main source of power, but the national grid configuration makes for
a fragile delivery system and often leaves the state's capital city
Yola and surrounding areas vulnerable to power outages.
Diesel-fueled backup generators are used sporadically in Yola, but
fuel supplies can be prohibitively expensive for many residents and
businesses. The development of a hydroelectric power plant at the
Kiri Dam would provide an additional, reliable source of power for
the state.

Embassy Educational Advising Center Abuja hosts
Amherst College Recruiter on Education USA
--------------------------------------------- ---

27. The Education Advising Center (EAC) in Abuja hosted Eli
Bromberg, Assistant Director of Admissions, Amherst College,
Massachusetts for discussions at several very competitive high
schools within the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja.

28. Three hundred and fifty students and guidance counselors from
Loyola Jesuit College, African International College, Cherry Field
College, and the American International School Abuja benefited from
the visit. The advising center also organized a one day colloquium
and workshop for EAC members and the general public that focused

specifically on admissions processes and financial aid opportunities
at liberal arts colleges in the United States.

29. By the end of the outreach sessions participants received
accurate, first-hand information on studying in the U.S., including
financial aid for international students. Several of the
participants said that the exercise was enriching, rewarding and
U.S. Embassy's Educational Advising Center
Holds 10th Annual College and Career Fair
--------------------------------------------- ----

30. Ten recruiters, professors and alumni from U.S. universities
attended this year's 10th annual College and Career fair organized
by the Educational Advising Center. The recruiters were available
throughout the one-day event to provide information on admissions
and the financial aid process for their respective institutions.
Among the schools represented were Harvard Law School, North
Carolina Central University, Loyola University Chicago and
Pennsylvania State University.

31. More than 1400 students representing over 30 secondary schools,
their principals, guidance counselors and members of the public
participated in the undergraduate fair. In addition to the U.S.
institutions, Nigerian educational partners, fair sponsors and
educational testing institutions were represented.

32. The Educational Advising Center's annual College and Career
Fairs have directly contributed to an increase in highly qualified
Nigerian students studying in the U.S. The fairs also provide an
opportunity to disseminate information on U.S. education to a wide
audience. For fall 2008, the Educational Advising Center attracted
over 1.51 million U.S. dollars in scholarship funding for its
student members.

Educational Opportunities Beckons at
Educational Advising Center's Graduate Fair

33. Ambassador Sanders gave the keynote remarks at the second
annual Graduate Student Fair organized by the Educational Advising
Center (EAC), Abuja, which was co-sponsored by several prominent
Nigerian companies. The Graduate Student Fair attracted over eighty
participants including U.S. university representatives, alumni, Ford
Foundation Fellows, dignitaries from Nigerian academia, fair
sponsors, professionals from financial institutions and prospective
graduate students. Among the dignitaries were the Vice Chancellor,
University of Abuja, the representative of the Minister for
Education, and representatives from the Petroleum Technology
Development Fund and Educational Trust Fund.

34. The Graduate Student Fair is organized to bridge the disparity
between the number of undergraduate students and graduate students
seeking to study in the U.S. The percentage of graduate
student-members of the advising center has doubled since the first
Graduate Student Fair in 2007. The EAC also attracted full and
partial scholarships for its graduate members from institutions like
Harvard School of Public Health, Tulane University Freeman School of
Business and Brandeis University.

35. This year's Graduate Student Fair received wide coverage from
the radio, print and television. Positive media reports included
Leadership newspaper (40,000 circulation), Daily Trust (35,000
circulation), New Nigerian (35,000 circulation), and a report from
NTA (60 million viewers).

Mission Announces New Visa Appointment System

36. The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Mission, Nigeria
facilitated an opportunity for members of the media to inspect the
newly instituted improvements in the processing of nonimmigrant visa
applications. From October 29, the U.S. Embassy Mission is
partnering with VFS Global on a one-year pilot program to provide
more convenient, secure, and user-friendly services to those
applying for U.S. visas in Abuja and Lagos. VFS manages the on-line

visa appointment system, operates a visa information call center,
and handles return of passports with issued visas. The system is
expected to provide improved customer service and convenience.

The new visa improvements made front page news in many Nigerian
dailies and prime time in many electronic media outlets: the
Guardian Newspaper (circulation 90,000), "New Age" (circulation
45,000,000), This Day Newspaper (circulation 90,000), Punch
(circulation 95,000), NTA (Africa's largest TV network - over 100
million viewers), Channels TV (5 Million viewers), AIT (100 million
viewers), Radio Nigeria (more than 30 million listeners), and Rhythm
93.7 FM radio among others.

U.S. Government Donates Utility
Vehicles to the Nigerian Army

37. The U.S. Government funded African Contingency Operations
Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program on October 24 donated one
ambulance and five utility vehicles to the Nigerian Armed Forces
Peacekeeping Training and Operations Center in Jaji, Kaduna State.

38. The vehicles, which total approximately $400,000 USD, will be
used to support the logistical and administrative requirements of
the training center. This will include transporting personnel and
equipment to and from the various training areas and base camps. The
ambulance will provide the center with the ability to respond
quickly to any medical emergency.

39. Positive media reports include Leadership newspaper (45,000
circulation), Nigerian Tribune (30,000 circulation) and African
Independent Television (100 million viewers).

United States Diplomats Donate US$ 3,500
In Medical Supplies to Local Clinic

40. In keeping with U.S. Mission Nigeria's theme of investing in
people, a group of American volunteers from the U.S. Consulate
General Lagos delivered US$ 3,500 worth of medical supplies to the
Ife Oluwa Maternity Clinic, Orphanage, and School in Lekki, Lagos,
on Monday, October 13th. The group spent the day talking with the
expectant mothers, holding babies, and playing with the school
children. The occasion was the first opportunity for some mission
members to visit a medical clinic or school in Nigeria and they
found the experience life changing. One volunteer remarked, "It is
so inspiring to see so many babies and children full of joy despite
the hardships that they face every day."

41. Mama Theresa Marquis, the founder and owner of Ife Oluwa, was
pleased to host the group and receive the donations, which included
two hospital beds, an infant bed, portable sonogram machine,
instrument trolley, and surgical equipment. Recent renovations to
the clinic have created a surgical floor to begin performing
Cesarean sections.

42. The donations were funded by the U.S.-based J. Kirby Simon
Foundation, which provides funding to U.S. diplomats interested in
investing in local communities. It marks the first grant from the
foundation to the U.S. Consulate General Lagos. Consulate
volunteers plan to continue their outreach in upcoming months to
organizations including Ife Oluwa and the Pacelli School for the
Blind and Visually Impaired.

SIFE Nigeria Concludes Skills
Workshops in Niger and Kaduna State

43. More than 400 unemployed youths from Minna in Niger State and
Zaria in Kaduna State received training in catering, computer
repair, hair styling, phone repair, farming, screen printing, and
tailoring from the Nigeria chapter of Students in Free Enterprise
(SIFE). The effort was a six-month skills training program followed
with an award and grant to participants. The US$59,000 grant for
the program was made possible by a special supplemental budget
allocation from the U.S. Department State.

Public Affairs Engages Adamawa State Media
And Cultural Institutions during Annual Offsite
--------------------------------------------- --

44. The U.S. Mission Nigeria Public Affairs Section held its annual
planning meeting in Yola, Adamawa State, North East Nigeria, from
October 14 - 18. The choice of Yola was strategic in the Mission's
outreach effort to partner with Nigerian communities across the
country. PAS previously held similar events in Ibadan and Lagos in
the South West and Kaduna in the North Central geopolitical zones.

45. Highlights of the institutional visits included meeting with
alumni of the Mission's high profile International Visitors
Leadership Program who are now making a difference by driving the
change and creativity in their fields of endeavor such as FRCN's
affiliate in Yola.

46. The team also visited the Fombina Palace Museum which had
benefited from training on manuscripts preservation under the
Ambassador's Special Fund for Cultural Preservation Project as well
as the Federal University of Technology Yola which had benefited
from on campus HIV/AIDS awareness campaign under the U.S.
President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

47. Secondary school students in Yola also benefited from
educational advising sessions especially those who intend study in

U.S. Volvis Program Alumni Sensitizes
Nigerian Public on Environmental Awareness

48. On October 21, U.S. Mission Public Affairs Counselor and the
ESTH officer attended a reception to honor members of the Nigerian
3rd Expedition Across the Sahara Desert undertaken to raise
awareness against desert encroachment and global warming. The event
was jointly organized by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the
Environment and private partners, including Exxon Mobil. The
highpoint of the event was a photo exhibition and a brief clip from
an upcoming documentary on the expedition.

49. Newton Jibunoh, captain of the expedition and a recent
participant of the US Voluntary Visitor program, characterized
desertification and global warming as real threats to Nigeria, the
surrounding countries, and the world and encouraged collective
action by all. He thanked the USG for its support and encouraged
young Nigerians to join in the fight against global warming.


© Scoop Media

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