[ Masterweb Reports: Anthony Akinola reports ] - Being the folk hero that he is, there was wild jubilation in some parts of the country following the return of President Muhammadu Buhari from his “medical vacation” in the United Kingdom, not least because of the uncertainties surrounding his health. Had he been dead, as rumour mongers had said, there might equally have been wild anger directed at the “affiliates” of those perceived to be overjoyed by such a death. We have a history of uncontrollable anger and recriminations following the deaths of notables: Adegoke Adelabu in 1958; Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Ballewa in 1966; and Moshood Abiola in 1998. There is hardly any doubt that ours is still one delicate society where the unguarded utterances of some could pose grave danger to the lives of innocent individuals.
In all honesty, the Muhammadu Buhari administration has not been the failure his detractors would want to make of it. Buhari does not deserve a death wish! There might have been hunger in the land but this has been the result of many decades of careless planning. An over-dependence on oil means our economic fortunes will continue to fluctuate as oil prices fluctuate on the world markets. There can be no quick fix to the economy, diversification is the answer. We must return to the farms and start tending again the oil palm and cocoa trees, as well as growing our own foods.
The Buhari administration has done reasonably well in curtailing the nuisance of the Boko Haram sect, scoring a high pass mark in the area of national security. However, the menace of Boko Haram still continues on a daily basis, suggesting there is still more to be done before we can assume or conclude that peace has returned completely to the North East.
It would also seem that the Niger Delta region has known relative peace in recent weeks. Hostilities would appear to have ceased in the region. Something President Buhari must now acknowledge and appreciate is that dialogue and persuasion are the essential and most potent tools in achieving peace and understanding in a divided society. The use of force comes in as a last resort. Professor Yemi Osibanjo, as Acting President, did very well in lessening the tension in our polity and has been rightly praised by a grateful boss for doing a very good job.
The same dialogue and persuasion can also be extended to the pro-Biafra activists. The disintegration of Nigeria cannot be in the best interests of the Igbo, as separatist elements among them would want to assume it is. More than any other ethnic group in the Nigerian federation, the Igbo have contributed greatly to the demographic integration of society. The Igbo population is second in size to the indigenous population of every other region outside the South East. This demographic reality of the Nigerian state makes the “clamour” for Biafra an ill-considered adventure. However, President Buhari must continue to emphasise what unites us in Nigeria, as well as fighting the negative impacts of what divides us. He is President of all, regardless of the pattern of voting in the 2015 elections.
The Buhari Administration, so far, deserves commendation in its efforts to reduce corruption in our society. The fight against corruption could not have been the easiest of fights, being a fight against a very tiny but powerful minority. Many had assumed that Muhammadu Buhari would be dumping the thieves of our patrimony in prison as he did during his authoritarian regime of December 1983 to August 1985. The truth of the matter is that we are now in a democracy of some sort, and Buhari does share power with those who might not buy into his enthusiasm about the fight against corruption. He would need to persuade these corruption-enthusiasts that it is in our collective and long term interest that Nigeria is corruption -free. He would also need to garner the support and goodwill of ordinary Nigerians by the honesty and fairness of his approach.
Didn’t it make world headline news that a Nigerian had stashed away 9.8 million dollars in an uncompleted building? With corruption so widespread among the privileged elite, one didn’t need to wonder why some had wished Buhari dead. However, his “resurrection” and a future transformation of our anti-corruption agencies into powerful and viable institutions could mean that the pests destroying our economy would be successfully fumigated!
Anthony Akinola reports from Abuja.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Odimegwu Onwumere, consummate poet, writer and media consultant based in Port Harcourt, Rivers Submitted the poem below titled "Corruption" for release to our readers and the world.
We have become the haunted
In their elusive fight against corruption;
The corruption we did not elect them for,
Or they rigged themselves in to indulge?
Our wailing is deafening
And no parameter can measure our tears
Caused by their self-inflicted peril on us
As every commodity skyrockets in the mall
Just as money to have them saunters.
We watch them fight corruption
With our physique compressing in hunger
And they deafen our ears with white-lies
That we would soon get out of the self-inflicted peril
Whereas the hope they raise is nowhere in sight.
©Odimegwu Onwumere; March 18 2017.
[ Masterweb Reports: News Commentary by Edomobi Promise of Igbo Voice ] - As Igbo leaders and stakeholders from the Diaspora gather at Uburu in Ebonyi State to brainwash on the developmental needs of Ndigbo in the present and future, it is apt to x-ray the positive implication of the gathering.
The Igbo Information and communication Network and the World Igbo leadership, Education and Cultural Council , two Igbo socio-cultural pressure groups have been at the centre of these programmes and annual Retreats.They held a Xmas Retreat for Ndigbo in the Diaspora on December, 28th , 2016 at Ibusa, in the home of Prf Pat Utomi, a renown economists. That well attended event x-rayed the economic and political challenges facing Ndigbo in Nigeria. It is gladdening that these Retreats are now permanent features and have gained wide acceptance in Igbo land and beyond.
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo, other Igbo groups and individuals within and outside Nigeria should support the organisers to make the Retreat enduring and salubrious. The hosting of the event is voluntary and non partisan which is good for a republican people like Ndigbo.More able Igbos should come out and host , sponsor or co-sponsor these Retreats. It should not be left only for the two organisations.
|The theme of this year Easter Retreat for Ndigbo in the Diaspora is NDIGBO YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW, a topic that impinges on the essence of Ndigbo.
Igbo |Governors,, political and business leaders , irrespective of political leanings and affiliations should identify with this laudable Retreat.
Igbo students, youths, women, traditional rulers, religous leaders and workers should not be left out.
The highlight of the event is the flag off of the IGBO YOUTH AND WOMEN EMPOWERNMENT FOUNDATION which is very significant as it wiill proffer a roadmap for the empowernment and development of our youths and women. All Igbos especially business moguls and philantropists should identify with the programme. The event will hold on 14th of April, 2017 at Uburu in Ohanaozara LGA of Ebonyi state at the home of Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu.
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Let's face it, Nigeria is an apartheid state. Apartheid, from the word "apartness" was the name given by the South African National Party in 1948 when it formalized a system of racial segregation by opportunities and endowments. In Nigeria today, while race is not the separator, every aspect of apartheid has been enshrined, with class being the permanent delineator. The system of apartheid in Nigeria has transcended through military and civilian regimes and becomes important to write and worry about because till date, it continues to exist and expand throughout the current 4th republic democratic dispensation regardless of party in power. From the PDP to the APC, Nigerians remain separated in all aspects of life, with the elite living in one world and the masses confined to another. Just like the caste system of India, the elite live one way and intermarry while the poor live another way and interrelate and co-procreate within their dejected, destitute social and physical space.
As late Sage Fela Kuti sang, the masses are subjected to harsh discipline, incarcerated for years without charge or trial for petty stealing, with robbers sometimes killed on the spot, while the rich, "authorities" continue to steal "with the pen" and get a slap on their wrist or even positive appraisal and promotions to the tops of Nigeria's three governing arms and the military. From the Senate president through the National Assembly to men in the presidency, ministerial cabinets and judiciary, the elite have been indicted in corruption, massive looting, budget padding and grass cutting scandals to the tunes of millions of dollars and nothing is ever done to them. The poor however are locked up for the smallest offenses with the keys tossed. This segregation where "stealing by government officials is not corruption" or a crime, remains intwined in the Nigerian system. You can't bite the hand that feeds you –"you" being the political party– thus the elite sponsors of the political parties are protected by virtue of the colonial democratic system Nigeria embraces. But of what use are the poor?
Like South Africa's apartheid, the housing opportunities and areas of dwelling of Nigerians are harshly divided by class. The rich dwell in pleasing areas similar to the United Kingdom and America in development. Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Abuja are no different from the western world in habitation and even culture and language. The schools are different, the roads are different, even the way the people eat, walk and talk. Indeed we have a first-world class of human beings in these areas, with most traveling abroad for fun and western cultural updates. In contrast, the poor live in slums; there is no public housing and never will be.
The new minister of Works and Housing has no plan to establish public housing which according to its definition, are affordable-free rented/government paid mass quarters in the heart of all communities including all towns of the rich. The most on the table is cheap housing, which are flats to be bought by the wealthy middle class (upper-class usually get them) being constructed in select areas. In the United states for instance, no matter the city, you have "Projects" in the middle of it, "town houses" as they are called in the United Kingdom. These are massive complexes for the poor to be able to live alongside the rich. Not so in Nigeria. Rather as is observed in Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos constantly till date, slums of the poor are demolished, typically in violation of court orders and the areas are used to further build estates for the wealthy. Does anyone know of any public housing complex in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna or Port Harcourt?
Though the current administration is taking petty steps to provide meager social welfare opportunities for a lucky few poor, there is no serious attempt to bridge the gap between the rich and poor and end the apartheid in Nigeria. Once you visit a place like Abuja or the Islands of the rich in Lagos, you immediately get a sense of this class divide. Water flows in the taps, either from the government or from private boreholes. Electricity is constant, again with better provision by government and the wealthy being able to afford solar panels and inverter systems. The poor however have remained at the same state of perpetual existence for the past 50 years. The wealthy travel by air around the nation and are not bothered by the roads the poor bump up and down on with their shabby vehicles devoid of shock-absorbers.
On road-sides are armed men, so-called police and soldiers, focused on taxing the poor for tips rather than providing security for them. Old and new administrations have never seen anything wrong with this exploitation of the poor sector of Nigeria by armed security men on the government's payroll. Who cares? After all these armed government bandits salute the cars of the elite and allow them speedy passage and only tax vehicles of the poor, routinely killing commercial drivers who hesitate to pay up. And talking about security, the rich drive in bullet-proof jeeps. They live in bunker-homes with high fences in secure estates with real police stations not too far off. Robbery is foreign to them. While the poor face increasing spates of armed crime.
The banks are encouraged to tax the poor on all transactions with fees for every single activity, with the poor forced by fines to use the exploitative banks as compares to the "developed" world where incentives are given and there are no such fees to keep the poor down. Phone companies charge the highest rates ever for data usage, again as compared to the United States where there are flat rate $20/month unlimited talk, text and data deals. How can you grow without power, security, transport and internet? The poor in Nigeria have only direction: into the gutters, while the rich continue to amass wealth from one political dispensation to the other. You only need to watch the opulent weddings and even birthdays of the rich to understand the two worlds that exist in the world's most populous black nation. No surprise poor Nigeria has some of the world's richest Forbes billionaires. Caretakers of looted money and benefactors of a "beggar-thy-countrymen" system made to bleed the poor to fatten the rich.
When Nigeria's president was sick, he flew abroad for the best therapy that exists. This was paid for by scarce foreign exchange. The rich have access to government subsidized foreign exchange for whatever they desire while the poor cannot benefit from this even if for the sole purpose of reducing the cost of petrol for their vehicles. The wealthy pilgrimaged to the United Kingdom to visit the president with ease. Nigeria's head of police went with a delegation on such trip, as did senators, governors and party big wigs. The poor however live and die in squalor. I always ask, in what way have the people of Borno every benefitted from Nigeria's oil except in the gas they buy with their money at the pumps? Nothing has been built for them; rather wealth looted by Nigeria's rich from grass-cutting and other scams is ultimately used to finance the purchase of weapons used to kill them. The Dangotes are given billions of dollars in a subsidized government-run forex scam while the poor are forced to compete for limited foreign exchange at skyrocketed rates, thereby crippling small businesses–the largest employers of labour.
One can only guess what frustrated Allwell Orji, a Medical doctor at Mount Sinai's Isolo hospital branch, that got him to park his vehicle and jump into the Lagoon. He was the latest in rising cases of suicide in Nigeria. An atmosphere of shared frustration, hopelessness and desperation permeates the Nigerian society. The current administration has unfortunately failed to deliver the promises Nigerians desperately needed.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji reports ] - It was Henry Kissinger who once remarked that “power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” that arouses men’s unquenchable appetite for its acquisition. Power is an oracle before which men, high and low, bow. In its hazy and mazy labyrinths, power controls the affairs of humanity in such a way that men are willing to sell their consciences and honour just to be powerful and relevant. The pages of human history are littered with parallels of unconscionable men and women who have had their consciences seared in the quest for power.
Inured in the catacombs of history are examples of men who have sold the destiny of their people just for the allure of power. But the truth is that the more critical the epoch in which we live, the more critical the desire of men to rise to power by all means. But in our age and time, our lives would be worse than dogs in a manger if we fail to call such men to order.
This brings me to the meat of this article. Recently, the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr. Osita Okechukwu, in what has become his trade mark, unleashed galling attacks on the person and office of the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo. Ordinarily, one would have ignored Osita Okechukwu’s attacks as the warped ranting of a misguided person but on a second thought, I deemed it expedient to put the records straight.
There is no doubt that Osita Okechukwu is arguably a brilliant young man who has played himself into national prominence through various forms of activism bordering on questionable pyrotechnics as well as opposition politics. Until his recent appointment as the Director-General of Voice of Nigeria, Okechukwu’s resume could best be described as scanty, save for his brief tenure as the Special Assistant to the late Chief Ojo Maduekwe, then Minister of Culture and Tourism, from 1999 to 2000. But in his ambition to be relevant and acquire power, Osita Okechukwu has consistently but regrettably played the Dolus of the Greek mythology for his own profit without a modicum of conscience.
In Greek mythology, Dolus is regarded as the spirit of trickery and guile. He is also a master at cunning deception, craftiness, and treachery.
Philosophers of old such as Plutarch, Livy and Polybius, who have explored the inner dynamics of the Dolus persona revealed that Hermes was a Greek god noted for hardwork and humility before he was found to be sufficed in treachery, deception and duplicities. His Roman equivalent is Mendacius.
Dolus was an apprentice of the titans Prometheus. Dolus was motivated by an inordinate ambition to overtake and rule his master, Prometheus, the Titan, through subterfuge. He would play the meek, gentle, obedient and humble apprentice in the presence of Prometheus while simultaneously seeking the slightest opportunity to out-maneuver his master. He was nicknamed the Betrayer because other gods had followed him in full confidence and hope until his treachery was unveiled.
In Osita Okechukwu, the spirit of Dolus is writ large. For those who know him well, there is no gainsaying the fact that Osita Okechukwu, even from his student days at the University of Nigerian Nsukka, is fired by an ambition to attain the highest echelon of Nigerian politics. There is nothing wrong with such ambition. Every politician of worth is entitled to an ambition for the top. However, the road to the top could become miry and a slippery slope when such ambition is anchored on treachery, subterfuge, deception and other unethical and inordinate manipulations.
The slippery slopes from which victims have land-crashed in Nigerian politics abound. The victims have always fallen from grace to disgrace and ultimately lost the cultural and social radiance of their people. Such victims usually become the object of ridicule; that is, if they are able to live to old age and the judgment of history is always very harsh on them.
Recently, Osita Okechukwu was quoted as saying that “Biafra is dead”. I consider such statement as puerile and not substantiated by history. It also shows a crass understanding of the dynamics of Nigeria. For any person to suggest that Biafra is dead; that person is either a non-Igbo, a fool or does not live in Nigeria. Osita Okechukwu is an Igbo man but not a fool; therefore, I will presume that he does not live in this country. Cocooned in the allure of transient power, even the most brilliant could begin to lose touch with reality. For a start, Okechukwu should know that just as every Yoruba is Oduduwa, so is every Igbo a Biafran at heart; and that Biafra represents the soul of the Igbo. For instance, every living Igbo man, above the age of 65 proudly proclaims his Biafranness with honour and dignity. Biafra represents a collective reaction against the Igbo persecution and pogrom in 1966.
Biafra has become a monumental phenomenon that cannot be silenced by force. It is a constant reminder to the Nigerian state that all is not well with the structural configuration in the country. Where are all those who slaughtered the Igbo in the 1966 pogrom? Where is Pharaoh and his army? Where are the traitors? But where are the Igbo today? Even in the days of adversity, our people are still going forward. Biafra lives. Let every stiff-necked dictator in Nigeria hear it- Biafra lives! Let it be heard in the hallowed recesses of Aso Rock- Biafra lives! The Biafran spirit cannot be quenched by the furious guns of hatred- Biafra lives! That is the song sung by the mammoth crowd marching in agitation for the state of Biafra. Such courage and determination cannot be easily snuffed out.
The Biafran spirit also symbolizes the Igbo courage, ingenuity, resilience and innate capacity to overcome hardship and challenges even at the worst of times. It reminds us of the height of technological innovations and inventions which the Igbo can attain even under the most unfavourable conditions. The Republic of Biafra may have been aborted but what Biafra represents is an ageless spirit that cannot die. For Osita Okechukwu to suggest that Biafra is dead is indeed pathetic.
Here, one is constrained to recall Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke’s experience in the hands of Osita Okechukwu. In his Dolus dispositions, Osita Okechukwu had humbled himself before Chief Edwin Ume-Ezeoke, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and former National Chairman of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). Ume-Ezeoke believed and trusted him as a clever younger brother. In what Ume-Ezeoke would later describe as “a stab in the back”, Okechukwu had gone to the press to announce the expulsion of his acclaimed master from the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP).
During the 2015 general election, the people of the old Northern Nigeria voted for President Muhammadu Buhari en-mass and in line with the character of Nigerian politics, the people of the old Eastern region voted for the former President Goodluck Jonathan. Paradoxically, Buhari saw good in the northern solidarity but evil in the south-eastern solidarity for Jonathan and went on to proclaim the reward pattern of his government in line with the voting pattern.
The first set of lopsided appointments by President Buhari in favour of the North was not just shocking but a direct indication of non-acceptance of Ndigbo in the affairs of the Nigerian State by the Buhari administration. It was in that collective agony that Senator Ike Ekweremadu was able to clinch the position of the Deputy President of the Eighth Senate.
Men and women of Igbo extraction both at home and in the Diaspora were in jubilation that after all, power resides in the hands of God. Osita Okechukwu in his usual Dolus elements attacked Ekweremadu and labeled him a spoiler. According to Okechukwu “we are therefore at a loss why the distinguished Senator should choose this auspicious moment to play spoiler game, by wittingly or unwittingly throwing spanner in our wheel to clinch lofty positions.”
Okechukwu has not spared any opportunity to attack Senator Ike Ekweremadu since the latter assumed office as the Deputy President of the Senate. Even within the All Peoples Congress (APC), in spite of the efforts by Governor Rochas Okorocha for the APC in the 2015 presidential election, Okechukwu went to the press to blast Okorocha for not working for the success of the APC.
One can go on to list the litany of attacks the ambitious Okechukwu hauls on the prominent Ndigbo simply to gain prominence. On the prominence derived through treachery, subterfuge and betrayal, Prometheus is said to have admonished Dolus “that every once in a while something that is false can flourish but with time veritas (truth) shall surely prevail”.
The latest in the orgy of shameless attacks on prominent Igbo leaders by Osita Okechukwu was the direct attack on the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo. Nwodo’s crime, in the pedantic opinion of Osita Okechukwu, is that he (Nnia Nwodo) enumerated some of the injustices against Ndigbo in Nigeria. According to Okechukwu, “Nwodo should have compiled all the Ndigbo grievances and met with President Buhari for discussion in order to regain lost grounds in the nation’s politics”. This is arrant nonsense!
Interestingly, this Enugu Dolus was present at the Headquarters of Ohanaeze Ndigbo at Park Avenue, Enugu when Nwodo was roundly applauded on account of his speech against the obvious marginalization of Ndigbo by the Buhari-led administration. Typically, Osita Okechukwu carried his pretences to the residence of Nwodo after the speech in apparent solidarity.
For the avoidance of doubt, Nwodo listed some of the obvious facts of marginalization and added that Ohanaeze will take them up with President Buhari. For instance, Nwodo had lamented that within the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, the North West has 7 states and 186 local government areas while the entire South East of Nigeria has only 5 states and 95 local government areas. Nwodo complained that “under this lopsided structure of the Nigerian state, the commonwealth of the Federal Republic of Nigeria continues to be distributed on the bases of states and local government”.
Nwodo further questioned that “none of the security structures in Nigeria such as the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Customs Service (NCS), Immigrations, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), State Security Services (SSS), Feder¬al Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Security and Civil De¬fence Corps (NSCDC) is headed by an Igbo person. The im¬pression we have been given is that we are not trusted enough to be put as the head of any se¬curity agency”. He also raised the menace caused by the AK-47 totting and rampaging Fulani herdsmen in Igbo land; the lopsided appointment by the Buhari administration against the Igbo; the condition of federal roads in Igboland; the extortions by security operatives at the uncountable check points in Igbo land; fiscal federalism, etc.
Osita Okechukwu should be able to tell us if any of the issues raised by John Nnia Nwodo is false. Rather than address these issues and advise his paymasters to act accordingly, Okechukwu has resorted to the absurd by attacking the President-General of Ohaneze for daring to speak out in the Igbo interest. There is no doubt that he was appointed as Director-General of VON simply to reposition it and use it to attack prominent Igbo sons and daughters for his own aggrandizement. He has been positioned to play the hatchet man and bring to naught the genuine demands of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
But it is important to let this Enugu Dolus and his cheer leaders understand that Chief John Nnia Nwodo is not just an individual but the personification of the Igbo both at home and in the Diaspora. Before Nwodo makes remarks on topical national issues, he discusses the issues and secures the mandate of the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, comprising eminent men and women of various political and intellectual persuasions. In strict terms, when John Nnia Nwodo speaks on issues concerning Ndigbo in Nigeria, it is not Nwodo speaking but rather the Igbo pantheon. Ndigbo are happy that Nwodo symbolizes the Igbo spirit of courage, intellect, resilience, ingenuity, honesty, hard work and religiosity.
Unlike the Doluses of this world that sanctimonize against corruption while surreptitiously amassing wealth using various guiles, Nwodo has served Nigeria in variously capacities without blemish. He is the rare two-time minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Chairman of Urban Development Bank that left office untainted. Osita Okechukwu should beware bearing in mind that whatever goes up must come down.
Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE
Former National Chairman, Ohaneze Youth Wing
Executive Director, Centre for the Advancement of Literacy & Leadership(CALL)
09099451089, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.igbohoohaa.com
*Photo Caption - Osita Okechukwu
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - We are living in an unusual period. This is a period when the media enjoys and promotes conflicts. This is the period where shedding of blood is good news. We are in an age where people make fun of other people’s loses and count them as our gains. We mock those who lost their blood, their properties and their lives over things they know nothing about. We are in an age where it is fun to play politics with people’s lives (or their deaths) pretending we love them. We are in an age, when people will be killed for no good reasons yet we will all move on like nothing has happened because those who lost their precious lives are- in our myopic views- cows, goats and sheep. This happens to be the sad story of the recent killing innocent people in the ancient city of Ile-Ife.
Since the crisis started on Monday 6th of March, 2017 I have gotten mixed reports on the remote and immediate causes of the killings. It was not clear to me who drew the first blood. I had to put several calls through to some of my old classmates at Ife University who are either presently furthering their studies or working there to ascertain the true state of things, again, I got mixed reactions. Understandably, these reactions are based on people’s political persuasions or ethnic inclinations. These are in themselves not bad, but at least, all of us should be unanimous in condemning the avoidable carnage. But I was soon to get a shocker!
In a desperate attempt to know the true nature of things, I thought about traveling down to Ife from Lagos. Travelling down to Ife takes time (about 4 hours by road) which I do not immediately have because of my other commitments. With this understanding, I contacted an old “trusted comrade”, who is now fully into party politics. He told me in a rather sadistic tone: “There were no killings in Ile-Ife. There were no massacres. It will be good if you keep your mouth shut on the matter because it doesn’t concern you.” While still in a state of disbelief or astonishment (I don’t know which precisely now) I asked him where the lifeless bodies whose pictures I saw on the internet came from. He gave me a familiar answer: “Internet report is too exaggerated.” This sounded more to me like the voice of a Hutu military general in the movie on Rwandan genocide, Sometimes in April. The general, in his reply to a female US official putting pressure on him to put an end to the genocide said: “You can see [the ongoing killings in Rwanda] from Washington? …UN reports are too exaggerated.” Never did I know some people can debase to this level of inhumanity simply because of politics. As I ruminated over this seeming disappointment (of my comrade) the answers soon came!
This is not the first time my erstwhile comrade is disappointing me with his political views. Someone sent me a video on Saturday night. I watched lifeless bodies soaked in blood in from of a mosque in Sabo area (I know the area very well) with the some Hausa community leaders trying to probably evacuate for burial. As far as my eyes could see, I could count at least 15 human bodies lying there. Yet, someone told me there were no massacres in Ife? If this is not sadism, I don’t know what to call it!
It appears to me, waiting for over 72 hours into the crisis, that this is not the kind of “killings” that the highly divisive, tribalistic and partisan media will benefit from. The lousy political and hatred-filled religious bigots have nothing to tell their dollar-spinning principals and donors since it is “our people” that are now killing “them”.
I have often maintained that for every conflict, be it religious, communal or political, there are often some pirates benefitting from it. These conflict entrepreneurs have nothing to gain materially from the Ife killings simply because it will fault their previous stands that the “they” that are killing “us” are now the ones been killed. This will not roll in the dollars.
A step backwards to December when there were series of communal clashes between two communities in Kaduna provides the key. These conflict entrepreneurs and their bloodthirsty media made the best out of it. Some of them reported there were“5000 deaths” as a result of the “gruesome attack on Christian Southern Kaduna.” In parenthesis, in South Sudan this year, such number has not dies in combat. They wanted to tell their sponsors that Kaduna was at war. They need humanitarian aids in millions of dollars over “worsening humanitarian conditions.” The whole of social media was nearly set ablaze with “they are killing us” tweets and posts. They did this not because of their respect for the dead, not because some of them have physically been to Southern Kaduna or out of their love for the Kataf tribes but because they have some limited economic and political gains!
In my six (or seven?) years at Ile-Ife, both as an admission seeker and a student in OAU, at no time has the Hausa community had issues with the Yoruba community let alone leading to bloodletting. I know a good number of Hausas who dated or married Yoruba girls and women (and the other way round) and socialize together without problems before these strange killings started. Even in the heat of the better-forgotten Ife-Modakeke inter-communal crisis, the Hausa community felt safe (at least those that were around) and never abandoned the city like many others did!
My point has always been that the fact that some criminals among some tribes does not make it a criminal race. A few bad people only give their tribe a bad name. The fact that those who perpetrated the Ife killings were largely Motor Park touts, street miscreants, and societal outlaws do not mean Yoruba people are Xenophobic. That some lazy elements among blacks in South Africa violently attack hustling foreigners does not mean all Zulus are like that. One there is one bad apple; we remove the bad one and keep the rest. This is how civilized people think and not the other way round. There are bad elements among all tribes, races and ethnic groups!
Some of us are still baffled at the criminal silence of a large section of the media on the Ife killings. We are equally worried that conflict entrepreneurs, who made loud noise on traditional and social media during the Kaduna killings, should help condemn the recent carnage in Ife. The loud silence on the killings in the media is too discomforting. Where then is our humanity?
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN ( Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080. Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org ) is a political analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Abebech Terefe reports ] - In the last decade, Ethiopia has been the poster boy for the Africa-Rising story. The country seem to have got almost everything right: fastest growing airline, high investment inflow, Africa’s aviation hub, security on its borders, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economy, rising middle class, great infrastructural revolution from the Great Renaissance Dam to the Addis Ababa Light Rail project and Addis-Djibouti international rail line. Most African countries were urged to emulate the Ethiopian development strategy for economic growth. But news coming out of Ethiopia in recent times is not that palatable, in fact most investors are worried, even those not directly affected. Nobody thought the country will descend to a level where existing investment agreements will be cancelled at the shortest possible notice without a care on the likely effects such action will on both the investors and the economy in general.
That is why the recent approval by the Oromia Regional Government of a mining proclamation which gives the it unquestionable right to take back the mining leases and licenses from any investor and hand them over to the youth of the area has set tongues wagging. The Oromia Regional State, unarguably one of Ethiopia’s biggest autonomous regions came up with what analysts see as a populist measure pandering to public sentiment. The sectors affected are all extraction of Red Sand, Sand, Stone, Pumice and Tantalum.
The Regional State started this process of dispossessing genuine investors of mines and extractive sites that were legally and rightly acquired from the government after due process and diligence were followed. This ill advised moved according to the Regional State is part of its economic redistribution strategy where the said mines will be reallocated to unemployed youth as part of a wider job creation programme to fight unemployment. A move critic say is a masked effort by those in positions of authority to lay their hands on the public pie using the youth as fronts. The companies that will lose their mines to this policy are Derba Midrock Group, Muger Cement Factory and Dangote Cement.
Experts are of the view that Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State may end up causing investor fright and flight thereby crippling the country’s economy if nothing is done fast to mitigate the situation. These decisions they say will not only have an overall negative impact on the Ethiopian economy but will out-right create a very bad impression for the country and Africa in general as incapable of abiding by investment laws, according to international norms. Sources say the country’s investor confidence have already taken a dip, hitting an all time low for the first time in two decades.
An official of the Oromia State was quoted as saying that the process has started in East Showa area of the region. The plan according to him is to force the investors who initially acquired rights to these mines to now buy products extracted from the youths who will be running the mines. Mr. Abiy Ahmed, Vice President of Oromia Region who also double as head of urban development and job creation who said the intention of the programme was not to disrupt the operations of the investors but to find a solution to the region’s bulging unemployed youth population. He also threatened investors that the decision of the regional government cannot be influenced by the federal government over this issue. Warning that those who fail to abide by it will have themselves to blame as the State will not guarantee the safety of their investment going forward, a veiled threat that their premises will be attacked, says close watchers of the development.
The Oromia State did not stop at that. They even told the companies at the receiving end of their obnoxious law to train the youth on how to operate the mines and also release their equipment to the youth to use in operating in the mines they confiscated from them. They also threatened to review compliance from time to time to ensure all the companies adhere to this arrangement. A development discerning voices within and outside Ethiopia have decried as draconian, obnoxious, and archaic with no connection to the 21st Century.
Reacting to the development, an Ethiopian national with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) lamented that “I have never seen such brazen disregard to international investment laws and norms of engaging with investors,” he said. The UNECA official who pleaded anonymity because he does not want to be dragged into the issue noted that this decision will not only send the wrong signal to investors all over the world about Ethiopia, it will also lead to price increment of cement because the companies are being forced to go through another layer of middlemen which will add to cost of production, and may eventually lead to chaos because the so called youth lack organization and requisite skills to run and exploit the natural resource being handed to them on a platter. This, he said, is the most archaic way of empowering youth. He noted that instead of finding ways to make the youth employable because most of them are not, the State government is adopting this strategy, sacrificing investment and efficiency on the altar of political expediency.
In a similar vein, Dr. Ahmed Mawiya of the African Union Commission said that the new policy goes against the grain of efforts by the African Union to create a friendly environment across Africa. Commenting on the development, he warned that such policies though appear popular is unsustainable, and by the time the government realizes it, much damage would have been done. He warned that it will work against the Commission’s efforts to boost intra-African trade relations and make Africa even less competitive within the global economy. He opined that the regional state should have explored other avenues of getting jobless youths productively engaged instead of outright economic empowerment for a large number of unskilled, uneducated young people.
These young people first need skills acquisition while those with skills can be absorbed by the investors”, he added. He lamented that the Regional government is not considering the overall effect, the huge cost implications of their actions will have on investors, and the wrong signal it will send out there not only about Oromia region or Ethiopia, but Africa as a whole. World over, governments are working hard to create enabling environments to attract investors not bottlenecks that chase investors away, he added.
Another challenge being faced by the companies in Oromia region is that this measure will create an unfair market where only companies operating in the region will suffer while those in other regions of Ethiopia will have an unfair advantage because they are not being made to go through such conditionalities. This create imbalance in the market and prices of products. This much has been highlighted by the CEO of Derba Midrock Group Mr. Haile Asegde who warned that problems will arise in competitiveness unless the same strategy is adopted country wide. If not, companies in Oromia Region will suffer the effect adversely.
Analysts are calling on the Oromia State to have a rethink and resend this action while exploring more sustainable avenues of engaging the youth productively and making a dent on rising unemployment which is not only a national problem but a continental one. Africa they say needs to work out better ways of turning its demographic dividend into an advantage.
Kelechi Deca ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Ethiopia showing Oromia State. Oromia is one of the nine ethnically based regional states of Ethiopia, covering 284,538 square kilometers.
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Reports ] - We read the report credited to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole alleging that the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and erudite Professor of Economics, Professor Chukwuma Soludo enriched two Nigerian banks with the sum of N8billion with great amusement.
We wonder when Oshiomhole became erudite economist to chellenge a world-class economist like Soludo in matters related to national economy?
What correlation does Soludo's banking sector reforms which ended in 2009 got to do with our economic crisis in 2017?
Must Adams Oshiomhole politicise everything in this country?
We believe that Vanguard Newspaper invited Oshiomhole to a function to suggest solutions to our economic crisis and not to attack personality.
We also got to know that Mr. Oshiomhole is looking for a job in Buhari's cabinet. If that is the case, we urge him to face his business and leave Soludo out of his scheming.
Mr. Brown Justice
New Mandate Movement
*Photo Caption - Professor Chukwuma Soludo
[ Masterweb Reports: Olalekan Waheed Adigun reports ] - Some weeks ago, I wrote an article under the title, When President Trump Spoke to a Ghost. In the said article, I wrote about Trump’s call to President Buhari who was then in London for medical attention. Some unprofessional journalists (if they are not so-called) went to work claiming the US president never spoke to the Nigerian leader.
Even after the White House spokesperson, Sean Spicer, confirmed his boss spoke to several world leaders, including the Nigerian president, these chronic doubting “Thomases” continued to pull their “Breaking News” through that the US president probably spoke to a dead man in his grave.
Never in my life have I seen the kind of hatred for an individual than I have witnessed on the past few weeks for Buhari on some sections of the social media. A simple content analysis on these matter reveals these elements wishing the president dead probably intended to inherit the man’s property of some sort. Aside from this, I do not know why anyone, for that matter will hate someone so much that they will wish such a person dead. Even when lions fight, they don’t wish each other dead. In even that one dies in a fight, the other do not resort to celebration after his rival dies. If beasts understand life more than some of us do, I honestly do not understand why some people count themselves part of the human community!
Like most Nigerians, I received the news that President Buhari was to return to the country on Friday 10 March, 2017 in a State House Press Release signed by the President’s media adviser, Mr. Femi Adesina on Thursday night. I was so happy, not because I support the president or that I have any tangible benefit I will derive from his arrival, but simply because I am human and part of the human community. The question of “how” he will “arrive” was raised by those who had earlier reported him “dead”. Was he to arrive in an air ambulance that will land straight in the Presidential Villa without anyone seeing him or hearing from him? Will he arrive under the cover of darkness to cover his “lifeless” body? Were the airports closed just because the “cabals” are trying to hide the president from public view?
I couldn’t provide immediate answers to these questions when one of the chronic doubters sent me this message: “hw was ur day, hope all is well, Lekan? I just want to let u knw that there is something I want to ask u now which I’ve been hiding from u for a very long time, sometimes when I tell u I feel discouraged cos I don’t knw if u re gona respond negatively, I just want to let u knw dat what I’m about to tell has been a burden to me for a very long tym n I jst can’t keep it in my mind any longer, so pls don’t feel upset when I say dis to you, just knw dat it’s from my heart and it’s real, pls pls be sincere and tell me the truth, Is Buhari back?”
I did not bother responding to him because this young man has made a nuisance of himself before me since our first contact when he read my article, Self-Determination: What If We All Have It? I knew where he was coming from so responding to him is like flogging the dead horse.
Leaving frivolities aside, what are the implications of Buhari’s return considering his fragile health? My simple suggestion is that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) should be in the best position to assess the state of the president’s health to determine his fitness or otherwise to continue as President or not.
There are those suggesting the President should resign. While I have no problem against this position, we must realize it is Buhari’s sole responsibility to know whether he will resign or not since the Nigerian Constitution did not at any point state at what point or the number of days the President can absent himself from work on health grounds. The only thing the Constitution stated is for the President to “transmit’ a message communicating his decision to proceed on vacation to the National Assembly which he has always done.
I honestly do not see any problem or power struggle arising between the president and his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbajo. The Constitution states that the Vice President should act when for whatever reasons; the president cannot perform his constitutional responsibilities. Those creating “division” in the presidency are obviously ignorant of the constitution or simple administrative procedures.
So far, while I do not have issues with President Buhari’s extended leave, my position has always been the poor ways his communication team has been going about it. They should simply have come out clean ab initio saying “The president is proceeding on medical leave to return soon.” While it is true there are those who will make some noise, let us wait to hear from those gods who have never fallen ill all their lives to question why Buhari is proceeding on medical leave!
Aside this, there would have been no need of trying hard to explain a simple issue all the time.
Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN ( Tel: +2348136502040, +2347081901080
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ) is a political analyst and independent political strategist for wide range of individuals, organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports: Efa-Iwa Rex Egbe reports ] - Some weeks back on one of your posts I made a rebuttal about the erroneous and mischievous rants of some of my (our) misinformed NigerDelta brothers. First and foremost let me tell you all a little story for the avoidance of doubt. I am from the Agbo ethnic group in Cross River State. We are located in Abi Local Government Area which is a coastal settlement and unarguably the smallest LGA in Cross River State in terms of landmass and to a large extent population - slightly a few thousands ahead of Bakassi LGA. My fore bearers both on my maternal and paternal side were given the opportunity to serve in then Eastern Nigeria regional government.
My grand uncle Dr.S E Imoke of blessed memory was an all influential cabinet minister in the regime of Dr M I Okpara. He held the Trade portfolio and was also Finance minister at the time until the unfortunate incident of January 1966. He was the longest serving Education minister. His son the Urbane Liyel Imoke is the immediate past Governor of our state “Cross River”.
During the outbreak of the war, he was the Biafran Commissioner for Refugees and Humanitarian affairs. One of my maternal uncles also served as Permanent Secretary in the ministry of health at Enugu. My maternal grand father was also a frontline member of the Eastern Nigeria regional house of Chiefs.
Outside my family circles, another great Cross Riverian M T Mbu was nominated a Federal Minister for Transport and Navy by the Igbo controlled NCNC. It's on record that Mbu was Nigeria's first Ambassador to the UK, UN and the USA. He is from Boki in Cross River state. Boki is another minority ethnic group just like my native Agboland. The Igbos gave him the opportunity to excel ahead of their own worthy sons at that time. He is the father to a Senator MT Mbu jr. Another person who is noteworthy is the late Chief Michael Eta-Ogon who was the Administrator of the oil rich PortHarcourt province in the first republic. He is also from the same Boki with Mbu. Thomas Weir Ikpeme an Efik man from Odukpani in my native Cross River was the longest serving Permanent Secretary in the Eastern Regional Ministry of Education.
The key point is that the Igbos were comfortable with us “the minorities” that was why they entrusted education solely in our hands. Not only education but other critical areas like Public Works and Transport etc. N U Akpan an Ibibio man from Akwa Ibom state was the technocrat behind the eastern regional public service. He was the Secretary to the regional government.
Thompson Akpabio, an Annang man from Ukana in present day Akwa Ibom state was the regional minister of health. The former Governor of Akwa Ibom state Godswill Akpabio is his nephew. There were other high ranking cabinet ministers of minority origin like one of our family good friends, HRH Amanyanabo E P Okoya, Agada III the Ibenanowei of Ekpetiama in Bayelsa State, Chief. Erekosinma of Rivers and a whole lot of others who are too numerous to mention.
During the secessionist struggle, an Ogoni from Rivers state, Chief.Ignatius Kogbara was Biafra's Ambassador to Britain. My dad's friend Chief. Lekam Okoi, from Idomi in present day Yakurr LGA of Cross River state was one of Ojukwu's trusted drivers. He is today a successful lawyer and a former commissioner in the Federal Character Commission. Capt Akpet a minority from Cross River was also Ojukwu's dependable aide on intelligence.
Secondly for the avoidance of doubt, aside these political appointments, our people enjoyed immense goodwill from the Igbo dominated region by way of social security. My dad's immediate elder brother received a scholarship from the regional government that enabled him study for a PhD in soil science. He is the first man “arguably” in Africa to obtain a doctorate in Soil science. I have friends across the Niger Delta whose parents, uncles, aunties and relatives also benefited from the benevolence of the Eastern regional government.
Unarguably our Niger Delta region received it's last major facelift in terms of infrastructure when we were under the Eastern region. Till the abolition of the regional system of government, the Eastern region was the most united region, they was never a recorded case of ethnic skirmish or BLOOD letting between the Igbos and other minority groups.
During the pogrom of 1966 we all carried the same cross to “Golgotha”, both Igbos and Eastern minorities were maimed in their thousands across Northern Nigeria by the blood thirsty HausaFulani/Northern folks without blinking an eye. It doesn't really matter if you were Igbo, Ijaw, Efik or a miniature Agbo person.
I never really wanted to bore you with reading this lengthy essay but it's my moral responsibility to tell the truth at all times. I was thought by my fore bearers never to distort history and to always separate facts from fictions.
If we were not marginalized by the Igbos during the “analogue” age, how then can the Igbos marginalize us in this digital age?
Efa-Iwa Rex Egbe is from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - As seen.