[ Masterweb Reports: Sonala Olumhense reports ] - As one who firmly believes that one Olusegun Obasanjo squandered the finest opportunity of any Nigerian leader since independence, I have often criticized him. Between 1999 and 2007, he could have transformed Nigeria into Africa’s most developed, most productive and most functional economy. The records show that he compounded the situation, and then handed over to his handpicked successors who made matters considerably worse.
That led, inevitably, to the arrival of one Muhammadu Buhari, who had sworn for years Nigeria needed cleansing, and that he was the man for the job.
When Buhari was sworn in last year, it was evident that Obasanjo had him trapped. But Buhari ignored the obvious.
Speaking at the at the first Akintola Williams Annual Lecture last week, Obasanjo sprung that trap, telling Buhari to stop giving excuses and, in effect, to get on with being the savior he advertised himself to be.
“It is easier to win an election than to right the wrongs of a badly fouled situation,” Obasanjo sneered. “When you are outside, what you see and know are nothing compared with the reality.”
He showed Buhari the clock: “Now that we have had change because the actors and the situation needed to be changed,” he should install “a comprehensive economic policy and programme that is intellectually, strategically and philosophically based.”
And then hereally began to turn the knife. “…Once you are on seat, you have to clear the mess and put the nation on the path of rectitude, development and progress leaving no group or section out of your plan, programme and policy and efforts,” he laughed. “The longer it takes, the more intractable the problem may become.”
One source of Obasanjo’s anger is Buhari’s insistence that the governments preceding his, since 1999, have been very corrupt.
He dismissed Buhari’s “blanket adverse comments or castigation of all democratic administrations from 1999 as “uncharitable, fussy and uninstructive,” refusing to be lumped together with the others.
And then of course, what is an Obasanjo speech without his taking liberties with the English language? Addressing Buhari’s $30 billion foreign loan proposal, he manufactured terms aimed at helping - or confusing - Buhari’s political thought and digestion: “Adhocry is not the answer,” he said, warning: “…We must be careful and watchful of the danger of shortermism.”
That from a man who perfected the art of the ad hoc and the loud. Obasanjo, the same man who plucked the Vision 202020 out of the sky without investigation. The man who advertised the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy as the final economic plan Nigeria would ever need…but abandoned it just months later. The man who set up the anti-corruption watchdogs but refused to let them fight systemic corruption. The man whom, legislators said, bribed them for a third term in office.
To be faithful to sequence, Obasanjo had whispered to Buhari last March that his persistent complaining about the current price of crude oil was growing tiresome, as President Goodluck Jonathan had left $30billion in reserves for Buhari, as compared to 1999 when he only inherited $3.7 billion,and at a time the price of oil was only $9 per barrel.
Buhari has since insisted that he will indeed continue to criticize his predecessors, a task he performed again last Thursday when he received William Symington, the new United States ambassador, in Abuja.
“The corruption we met at personal and institutional levels was unbelievable,” he declared for the 1000th time. “Corruption was turning into a culture…”
And then for the 2000th time, President Buhari swore to end that culture. The President’s rhetoric is good, but if it reflects the crime, the quality of his assault doesn’t. Not only is it curious that only a handful of people are in any trouble, current appointees who face allegations of corruption do not get fired or even have to prove themselves. It no longer helps Nigeria for anyone to describe how corrupt Nigeria has been in the past 50 years or 16, without demonstrating how the significant persons responsible for it are being stripped to their stolen underwear and tossed into overcrowded jails.
If Obasanjo said anything important at the Akintola Williams lecture, therefore, it was that Buhari should not call his government corrupt unless he can prove it. That is a fair challenge that Buhari must accept. In addition, he must systematically publish what has been recovered, as well as identify and prosecute, beginning from the top.
The trouble is that there seems no such clear plan. Only last week, for instance, the EFCC announced it would prosecute over 100 officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Their offence: they allegedly benefitted from a massive $115m fund distributed as bribes in 2015 by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to help Mr. Jonathan retain the presidency.
Few situations illustrate the contradictions in the current anti-corruption initiative better than this. Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s name is tied to our worst official excesses since independence, and even this announcement pronounces her guilty.
But she is not being tried. In other words, we are treating minor symptoms, not the disease. The anti-corruption masterplan, if there is one, should follow the money-trail upwards, rather than downwards, to identify the sources of the decay, what else was compromised, and how much.
What is the moral justification for prosecuting low-level officials who may perhaps have been threatened? How does the squandering of resources on their prosecution, rather than on the senior officials who built the farms and sowed the seeds, change the corruption narrative?
Why are there so many former governors who openly looted and openly donated billions of Naira to their parties and officials walking free? Why do we name suspects in the court of public opinion and publish salacious details about their horrendous escapades with public funds, but stop short of the court of law?
And why does the government shy away from using the vast swathes of information granted by the Central Bank’s Biometric Verification Number inquiry which has made it easy to unveil a “kill and divide” culture running into hundreds of billions since 1970?
These are the reason why a supremely duplicitous and hypocritical Obasanjo, criticizes Buhari fairly. If Buhari truly means to conquer corruption, his very first step is to leave the rostrum of criticism for the rostrum of rigorous public policy, and seek the experts - not politicians - to get the job done.
Obasanjo may have failed the test of the disciplined and patriotic leadership he professes, but Buhari can still uproot trees and remold philosophical foundations. But you cannot score a goal for your team with a back pass to your goalkeeper.
The dream on which Buhari was elected is of a new Nigeria where talent and effort - not chicanery and nepotism - defines who lives or thrives. To that end, his responsibility it is to seek the answers, using capable men and women who are neither intimidated by challenge nor excited by unearned wealth.
There is no other gift he can offer the masses who granted him the opportunity to open to them the doors that had been slammed against them. Through those doors lie Nigeria’s fate, for that is where the best of the people can go to work. Buhari’s choice has never been clearer.
Sonala Olumhense ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Nigeria's High Court judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole Friday ruled the delayed release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat. The Judge awarded N50 million in his ruling and said, "I have given the 45 days as a reprieve for the Inspector-General of Police, Attorney-General of the Federation in conjunction with the DSS to provide the new accommodation before their release."
This passes as one of the most repulsive, ridiculous, insensitive and irresponsible rulings that can be imagined, to put it mildly, and raises serious questions about the integrity of the judge while casting further aspersion on the spate of the Nigerian judicial system as a whole.
Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat have been held for a year unconstitutionally as justice Kolawole acknowledged in his ruling. Rather than order their immediate and unconditional release, Justice Kolawole further sentenced the victims of gross injustice to a time space of as many as 45 further days under the care of the very DSS and Federal Government who according to the ruling had transgressed the law and acted above the law by detaining the duo for a year already. This is an abuse of justice, an insult to reason and a gross violation of human rights being openly and brazenly sanctioned by Justice Gabriel Kolawole.
Justice Kolawole swore and oath to protect the constitution of Nigeria. He has already permitted the victims stay a year in jail with justice delayed thus far, while the constitution states that trial must be conducted within 48 hours arrest and Nigerians must be accorded bail as the law states. There are reasons for this which Justice Kolawole of all people should know and does know.
Would Justice Kolawole Like His Family To Be Detained 45 Days While They Look For A House For Them?
A day in jail denied justice is a sentence too long for a person, talk-less an additional days 45 days. One simply has to ask Justice Kolawole how he would feel if he is held in detention against his will and in violation of the constitution for 10 days. What if his wife is held for just 5 days? The Nigerian constitution does not have any provision for the detention of citizens while the government finds accommodation for them. This is ridiculous, preposterous and a clear case of grave perversion of justice.
After rejecting State counsel Tijani's asinine claims of "protection custody," the confused or extremely callous justice yet denied the victims their immediate right to freedom. Does Justice Kolawole think Nigerians are dogs to be locked up at will "while they look for house for them?" Such a judgement from the High court puts the probity of Nigeria's entire judicial system into serious question and once again disgraces Nigeria to the observing world.
To add insult to injury, Sheikh Zakzaky and Zeenat being further detained against their will by the concerted team of Justice Kolawole, Nigeria's Attorney General and the DSS under Buhari's watch, are victims of a globally condemned brutal military action last December. From the 12th to the 14th the Nigerian army under authorization of General Tukur Yusuf Buratai invaded the home of Sheikh Zakzaky and shot him six times, shot his wife Zeenat at least three times and killed their three sons right in their faces according to accounts from the injured surviving eye-witness, their daughter Suhaila.
Their home was further instantly burned and demolished on the authority of the Kaduna state government headed by Nasir el-Rufai and the Chief of the Army. Not only this but the grave sites of three of their other sons killed the year before by the then Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal government, were exhumed.
Their three sons killed last December under the Buhari government and the bodies of their exhumed sons along with over 300 other Muslim victims were then secretly buried at night in a mass grave, only to be admitted to several months later. Having suffered this amount of unimaginable terror and trauma, Sheikh Zakzaky who suffered paralyzing injuries in the extra-judicial raid and lost his sight in one eye with the other on the verge of blindness, was detained and not allowed to meet with and mourn with his surviving son and two daughters. Zakzaky and wife have since been detained and not allowed to visit the graves of their children or to attend the wedding of last on Muhammad.
After all this, to imagine that a cold-blooded Justice Kolawole would delay their release and only award N50 million, the equivalent of $100,000 to the family who lost their children, home, livelihood, reputation and a year of their lives illegally and unconstitutionally detained, does not only beget the anger of man but invites the Wrath of God on the Justice and Nigeria as a whole.
We strongly implore the Nigerian Judicial counsel investigate Justice Gabriel Kolawole's probity in this case and dissect him for embranglement and possible compromise.
The Judiciary is the last resort for the people and the backbone of the nation. The Judiciary is the only protection of the people and of the law, not even the president who swore and oath to abide by and defend the constitution without partiality to friend and without favor. No one must be above the law and the integrity of Nigeria's judges directly determine the integrity of the nation.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole made no recommendations for the urgent investigation and arrest of the culprits in the December 2015 Zaria Massacre. He made no recommendations for the exhumation of Mando grave to look for Sheikh Zakzaky's children's bodies and ascertain the true culpability of those who broke the law and insulted God by secretly and criminally burying Zakzaky's children and other Nigerians in such undignified manner.
Nigeria is suffering today due to God's Wrath, a recompense for our actions. God answers the prayers of the oppressed even if they are disbelievers, the prophet of Islam allegedly warned.
It is time for Justice Gabriel Kolawole to retire.
It is also time for the immediate and unconditional release of Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat and for their compensation commensurate with the crimes against Nigeria's conscience and the entire record of children of Adam, mounted on them.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Undung Pam reports ] - Much as I appreciate what the media has done by publicising the speech delivered by Dr Oby Ezekwesili at the Inaugural Business Lecture of the Lagos Country Club, I am still not quite certain about what that speech hoped to achieve. You see, Dr Ezekwesili did a fine job of detailing the current issues in the country, she even took it a step further by saying the problem did not begin with President Buhari’s government, but had been brewing when Goodluck Jonathan was in office. The former minister explained how bad policies had led to this downward spiral we now call ‘recession’.
Donning her advocacy cap, she called on the citizenry to ‘convict’ the government to retrace its steps and to sit up. At that point, I knew that this speech was a dud. I must hand it to her though that she is a great communicator. Anyone who is able to analyse their audience and feed them what they want to hear is great, really. I mean, delivered in Lagos Country Club, I’m sure she would have received a rousing ovation. But, take that same speech to the market place, to the homes of those who have lost their jobs, to the pockets of those who have yet to receive their salaries and they would ask, “how does this speech affect the cost of a bag of rice?” When Jonathan was president, how much was a bag of rice?
Not too long ago, there was an odd sort of ‘campaign’ that took social media by storm in Nigeria. It was a #BringBackOurCorruption campaign. As painful as it was and still is to read those words, they were emblematic of the mindset of most people at the time. So, you say the problems started with Jonathan? The average individual would tell you that at least they were able to feed, take care of their families and maintain a reasonable lifestyle. This wasn’t so much an advocacy for corruption, it was more of a pun. If you say Jonathan was bad and corrupt but things were reasonably better for the average individual, then bring back the so-called corruption. It was that simple. When you think of it, nothing makes much sense to a hungry man. But when he is fed, when he has something to go home to at the end of the day, and a reason to rise early and the start of the next day, then you can have some support for your crusade.
On the matter of her allegations that the economy was mismanaged or defunct, need we be reminded that when Jonathan was president people got paid, they could eat, the economy grew at 4 percent, and inflation was at 9 percent? Beyond that, the Nigerian youth graduated with high hopes for jobs as a result of the GIS Scheme and the support of private companies that were springing up everywhere. Those who had decided to be entrepreneurs also got the support of the same government through the YouWIN Initiative. Even as oil prices fell and then finance minister, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, recommended belt-tightening measures, it was clear that the government was not prepared to have the poor suffer more at the expense of the rich. If that indeed was mismanagement, then we may very well declare that this present government has sent our economy on a suicide mission from which there is very little hope of return.
Looking at the figures Dr Ezekwesili presented at her speech, it is certainly true that the growth percentage dropped, but with active management the economic team managed to keep the economy on positive growth path. What do we have now? An abdication of economic management. The government clearly has decided to ‘wing it’. Even former president Obasanjo, under whom Ezekwesili herself served, advised them to focus their energies on more productive concerns and stop the blame game. Nigerians are not deceived. The actions of the current Administration clearly show their ineptitude and absolute lack of intellectual content.
The former Minister of Education also noted that both governments; the present and immediate past, failed to adopt the right policies to deal with the crash in crude oil prices, which began in mid-2014. How is she any different from the current government she is so eager to accuse? When you relish pin-pointing problems without proffering any cogent or actionable solution, you are ineffectually saying that you don’t know the answers. And if you don’t know the answers, could you try and give us a breather? We have been on this ‘whodunnit’ merry-go-round for far too long. When are we going to stop saying who did what, or who should have done what and actually get something done? If Mrs Ezekwesili has answers, she may as well start spitting them out. And by answers, I mean something more than a clamour to begin another advocacy group.
The way I see it, we will need more than a #BringBackOurEconomy hashtag to get back what we have lost.
Undung Pam ( Email: email@example.com ) is a social commentator contributing from Jos, Plateau State.
*Photo Caption - Bag of Dangote rice.
[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke reports ] - If Buhari’s second-term plan, which his wife Aisha hinted us a month ago during her interview with BBC Hausa news and which some selfish cabals are seriously working on to impose Buhari again on Nigeria was tabled during Ohaneze Ndigbo Executive meeting held in Enugu recently; Ohanaeze leaders, youths at war over 2019 Buhari Presidency; I must ask: who has bewitched Ohaneze Ndigbo? Are these people truly Igbos? Do they have eyes to see, ears to hear and any intellect to reflect on what is happening to them since the amalgamation of Nigeria.
Ohaneze Ndigbo and their Youth Wing did not talk about the massacre of Biafran youths, the rampaging of villages and framers by Fulani herdsmen, the heading of a 60-year Igbo woman in Kano and all the five be-headers were acquitted by the judge, the kidnapping of young Igbo girls being married off in the North, the destruction and strangulation of Igbo businesses in Nigeria – among other political and economic atrocities against the region.
They say Igbo people are doing well all over Nigeria – I ask: where and in which Nigeria when millions of Igbo youths are jobless and graduates are traders, taxi drivers, and bus conductors; thousands are fleeing Nigeria on daily basis and millions already on exile.
I do not have better words to describe the insanity and stupidity of Ohaneze Ndigbo than to use the words of Jesus to his Jewish brethren – especially the religious and political leaders of his day (Pharisees and Sadducees).
Jesus described them as:
Snakes, brood of vipers, hypocrites, blind fools, full of greed and self-indulgence, whitewashed tombs – who look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean, who kill their true prophets while neglecting the more important matters of the law – justice, mercy and faithfulness (Matthew 23:13-39).
I believe Jesus’ deep disappointment and angry words aptly and correctly describe the Ohaneze Ndigbo today.
Regarding the prickly issue of Buhari’s second-term in office; how can any Nigerian with any sensibility even support this failed ruler again? In his 2-year presidency, he has destroyed Nigeria’s fledgling democracy and ruined the economy.
According to Bloomberg today, Nigeria’s economy is depressed – that’s deep recession with high inflation. Buhari’s myopic monetary policy has killed Naira and forced hundreds of companies out of business. Today, many foreign businesses and investors are divesting their capital expenditure and investing elsewhere out the country.
Famine, hunger and starvation are everywhere and cost of goods and services have skyrocketed. In fact, the Senate said recently that the President has no plans to get the economy out its current deep recession. Suicides are on the rise due to debt and inability for many to provide for families. Crime, corruption and immorality have rapidly increased. Under-age Igbo girls are now married off to Alhajis and Northern men for survival.
Additionally, Buhari has sharply divided Nigeria with his lopsided appointments and ethnic hatred toward Igbo people. The man lacks basic skills of democratic leadership and governance. He lacks the ability to galvanize the nation with no sense of national cohesion and inclusiveness at all.
He has also bastardized the judiciary and legislative arms of government. Government repression is rampant – with no free press and media freedom any more. Free speech is under assault and people are being arrested, tortured and even killed for criticizing the President or his government. Executive lawlessness, rascality, repression, nepotism, cronyism and even corruption are rampant.
Personally, I have received a number of threatening emails and phone calls from yahoo boys working for the president. But I cannot be cajoled or silenced. I’ll continue to write and speak-out against injustice and for freedom, liberty and purposeful leadership as long as God gives me breathe each day.
President Mohammadu Buhari is a total disaster to democracy. And for some selfish individuals to be wishfully working to impose him again on Nigeria in 2019 is the height of conspiracy to finally destroy and disintegrate Nigeria. This is a president that may be forced to resign or impeached because of the thousands of Biafrans, Shiites Muslims and thousands of innocent Nigerians that have been massacred under his 2-year autocratic administration by DSS, military, Police, Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen among other crude means. IPOB, IMN, Amnesty International, Intersociety, etc. and several human rights groups have filed severe and damaging reports against Buhari/APC government.
I have lost all confidence for Ohaneze Ndigbo. This group is simply selfish and greedy group. These are terrible folks willing to sacrifice their offspring, land and future for the crumb that Buhari has given them or promising to give them – while the major stake of crude oil running from their back-yard are used to enrich people in the North and SW.
Ohaneze Ndigbo – click the link below and read about a true and courageous leader. Mr. Kanu has been promised everything – money, oil well, and probably big position in government, etc. to regain his freedom and renounce Biafra – but he refused. The freedom of his people is more important that all those material things. Freedom is a precious thing.
[ Biafra: I won’t give up fight, vows Nnamdi Kanu ]
It is time Ohaneze Ndigbo wake up from their slumber and seriously rethink their future in Nigeria. ‘One-Nigeria’ is simply a myth concocted by the British and sold to the North to deceive, marginalize and enslave former Eastern region.
Frankly, the North do not believe in ‘One-Nigeria.’ The moment America, Britain, Germany, etc. oil companies find crude oil or some vital natural resources in the North, ‘One-Nigeria’ will be discarded. Then Igbos will be forced to go their separate ways or be enslaved and Islamize if they want to remain in Islamic Nigeria.
All those northern rulers – like Gowon, IBB, Danjuma, Atiku, etc., are preaching One-Nigeria because they own the crude oil wells in your backyard. Isn’t it ludicrous that a man from Nasarawa, Sokoto, and Kaduna, Niger State, Ogun State or somewhere outside SS/SE region owns the crude oil running at my backyard?
While I suffer every day to make ends meet, their children and family members are living at large with the wealth of the crude oil running at my backyard with all its pollution and environment effects. And when I speak-out, they send military men, Fulani herdsmen and Boko haram jihadists to massacre us. And when our so-called Igbo leaders are giving the crumb of it, they sell-out and even assist the northerners to kill their own family. What a travesty and cursed people.
This time, we must be liberated. For Igbos or any Biafran who want to remain Nigerian, can always do so by relocating to the North or SW – after the restoration of Biafra nation. We cannot continue to live in a failed and cursed country ruled by war-mongering Fulani who believes it is their birthright to rule Nigeria forever.
C. K. Ekeke ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - There had not been such illnesses in the history of Konto Community, a history spanning over one thousand five hundred centuries, as it was experiencing in recent times. The community was rife with acute bronchitis, asthma attacks, and other respiratory illnesses. Apart from these illnesses, unpredictable rainfalls were everyday occurrence. There were continuous rise in temperature, water supply shortages, agriculture and food decline, erosion taking over landscapes, and many other environmental anomalies. These started when herdsmen from Bito, in the Nomadic Region, came to the community with their goats, sheep and cows for the purpose of grazing. The name of the Bito herdsmen’s leader was Babu. Konto Community was in the Southern Region. Both regions were in a country called Zelmuna.
Zelmuna favoured Bito over Konto Community in the sharing of power, justice and fairness. Konto Community was overgrazed and frightened. Its women were raped and maimed in the farm. Some of the Konto men that faced the herdsmen in the farms, telling them to stop their cows from eating up their crops, were killed or left with machete cuts. The Konto people were afraid.
The herdsmen burnt the bushes during dry season for the purpose of triggering new vegetation. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases saturated the atmosphere, contributing to the unnatural warming of Konto Community with grave consequences. The community became increasingly inhabitable. The bush burning destroyed economic trees and dislocated the ecosystem. The animals became imperiled species.
Before this time, forests in Konto Community were left uncultivated for four years and without burning. But this healthy practice was no more since the Bito herdsmen came. The soil which was replenished by the practice of shifting cultivation in the past became infertile. The Ministry of Environment, society leaders, health officers, forest guards and other stakeholders got fed up. They, too, were threatened and killed by the Bito herdsmen, when they frowned at the bush burning. Bito herdsmen became a big threat.
Ebi, an environmentalist from Konto Community condemned the activities of the herdsmen. He maintained that they contributed immensely to the climate change that was destroying the environment. He wrote a lot of articles as regards to this issue, but the authorities did not pay heed to his words. Ebi saw the authorities as Bito herdsmen’s accomplices.
Whenever the Konto Community complained, the Bito herdsmen would attack them and would kill scores of Konto people and leave many houses torched. The authorities would not do anything. The herdsmen usually attacked Konto Community in the wee hours, when good men should be in the land of dreams. The once peaceful Konto Community hence lost its serenity.
Babu did not like Ebi, because he disturbed their consciences with the truth he kept saying.
The youths of Konto were furious. They detested what Babu and his group were doing. Whenever they regrouped for a battle against the herdsmen after any attack, the police would arrest them. This did not go down well with them given that Konto Community had made several complaints to the police: That the herdsmen moved around with their animals, well armed with machetes, AK-47 and other dangerous armaments. The herdsmen also kidnapped villagers. The police never arrested any herdsman and had never shown up in any of the attacks. They never came to the rescue of the distressed people of Konto.
There was a raging animosity going on between the two tribes, although the Konto people had to pretend to be at peace with the herdsmen. They were actually looking for urgent remedial actions to take. The herdsmen made them to be experiencing poor land use planning, inter-communal wars, bush burning, unemployment and poverty. Their socio-economy was destroyed by the herdsmen. They experienced high temperatures and tremendous dryness. Their land suffered the impacts of loss of many species of flora and fauna. Ebi wanted this to stop. But there was no willing government agency to aid him. Babu wanted him dead. Many assassination attempts were made on his life, but he escaped.
Konto people were dying of hunger. The population of their livestock was diminishing while the herdsmen’s were becoming too many. Everywhere one turned were cows, goats and sheep, heaping faeces indiscriminately, followed by unprecedented ants and insects that patronized the huge deposit of fecal matter. Pollution was rife in the community.
The Bito herdsmen moved their cows from one village in Konto Community to another. They did not fear. They now owned the land. No one could protest as these animals fed not only on grass, but, also, on crops such as cassava, being the mainstay of the economy of the Konto people. A bag of garri sold for X3, 000 previously, but after the invasion of the herdsmen, it sold for X9, 000. Cows destroyed practically everything the people planted. Cost of living was on the increase.
Ebi was deeply pained. He could see the end of this madness. It spelt doom for his community. He told his people that they had to initiate stringent measures to checkmate the activities of the herdsmen. He wanted environmental laws to be enacted against the herdsmen’s practices. While he was thoughtful of how to stop the herdsmen, Babu led his people into a game reserve in Konto, reserved as sacred. When Ebi confronted them, they threatened him and he ran away.
“You are saboteurs and instruments of destruction!” Ebi shouted at them as he ran. Babu and his group became chief causative factors to the negative climate change that became Konto people’s new reality. The Konto people had not celebrated new yam festival for years due to poor harvest of yam caused by cattle grazing. Yam was the people’s king of crops. It was distinguished in marriage ceremonies, naming ceremonies and funerals. The people did not joke with yam cultivation, but not anymore.
Ebi lamented the neo-colonialism they were facing in the hands of the herdsmen who saw themselves as outlaws. These people destroyed the socio-cultural heritage of the Konto Community and wanted to impose their nomadic lifestyles. The Konto people suffered great consequences and no control of the herdsmen was in sight from the authorities. The herdsmen’s actions of burning bush spread rats, which carried a virus that caused Lassa fever. The bush burning made rats to flood Konto Community. The natural habitat of the rats was burnt, making rodents to sprint into people’s houses. These rats had contact with humans and Ebi tried to point out the dangers in such contacts. Nonetheless, Babu always countered him and said that it was just mere speculation.
After some months of latent animosity, something snapped and the youths of Konto went berserk. They went to the bush and killed over a dozen cows. The battle line was thus drawn between the Bito herdsmen and Konto Community. The later only had Alien Prayers they inherited from their former colonialists called Viga, as a weapon. In the cause of colonialism, they dropped their aboriginal spirituality called Ogwurube. But the Bito herdsmen didn’t. They practiced their original spirituality and also had guns supplied to them by the Zelmuna Government and they did not shy away from fighting.
The people of Konto formed a vigilante group. Aside the Alien Prayers, they also had machetes and planks as weapons. Babu and his group made threats that they must avenge the killing of their cows. From dawn to dusk, the Konto Community kept praying. Ebi asked them to be vigilant always. He told them that praying was good, but ought to be an individual affair in the face of war. Everyone should be at alert, he said. He was not happy that in this time of trouble, they were just praying. Unfortunately, in one of their prayer meetings, Babu and his group attacked them, and scores of Konto people were killed. Many houses were torched and many people wounded. Ebi sniveled like a baby tormented by hunger. Babu laughed at him from a distance. Babu told him that this was just the beginning. Babu saw the cows’ lives to be more valuable than the lives of human beings. There was urgent need to kill Konto people to safeguard his cows. He must burn down houses to expand grazing lands for his cows. He must destroy farms in order to feed his cows. He must damage the biodiversity of the environment for his cows without minding the effects these practices would have on the environment.
The authorities refused to comment on the attacks. The next day, the Bito herdsmen were seen herding their cows, as usual. There was pandemonium in the community. Women protested and the youths who should have regrouped for a fight against the Bito herdsmen were seen with placards, protesting. The placards read, “Enough is enough!” “Tell the herdsmen to leave our land.” Ebi saw the protests as cowardice. Many of the Konto youths even ran as their fowls and dogs would run in any attack. Ebi went under a big oil bean tree and sat down. He was fed up with the behaviour of the youths, but he could not really blame them. How could one expect a people that had only clubs to defend themselves against herdsmen that were armed with all kinds of weapons? Again, his people had lost their fighting prowess to the easy life of the modern era. He vowed not to relent in the struggle to liberate his Konto Community from the grip of the Bito herdsmen. He had no other community to call his than Konto Community. He vowed that the fight must continue even with his very last drop of blood.
Instead of the revenge he wished to see from his people against the herdsmen, he was surprised that some of the youths started relocating to neighbouring towns. The herdsmen were still on a killing spree. Two more persons were killed and ten others left with bullet wounds. There was no single herdsman that has been killed since the fight started. Babu kept on making his threat to Ebi that he would roast him alive one day. Ebi continued to get assassination threats. He knew that his life was in danger. He wrote different letters to the authorities and articles to the press. He wanted his community to be under the watch of security men, yet no one listened. He accused the authorities of abandoning the community to the crazy whims of the erratic herdsmen.
The authorities neglected the clarion calls by Ebi to defend the Konto Community, a people that did not want to take laws into their hands. When the clarion calls by Ebi became too much, the authorities issued press statements condemning the attack. But this was just a lip service. More killings and destruction of property were going on in the Konto Community and the game of conspiratorial silence continued. The Bito herdsmen wanted to take over the Konto Community. Ebi was worried.
He was just sitting down, watching his community taken over in the face of unquestionable impunity. He recalled some of his family members that had died in the attacks and broke into tears. He held his emotions, remembering that men should not cry, especially in the open. He remembered what his father told him, that in the past, women, the aged and children were not killed in war. But here were the Konto women, the aged and children being massacred on a daily basis. He needed to do something. He decided to take up arms against the herdsmen.
He got arms in an attack by the herdsmen on Konto Community. His success came after he had a dream in which he was advised by his late father to consult his community deity known as Ogwurube, a deity forgotten by the people for a longer time in their pursuit of Alien Prayers. Ogwurube was a God of War in the ancient customs and traditions of the Konto people. Ogwurube had led the ancient Konto people to different wars and they were victorious. The modern Konto people knew about this history, but did not know how to tap from this invaluable resource. They had been conditioned to look down on the traditional worship practices and to revere Ogwurube would be a big problem. They had been marooned by their former colonialists who brainwashed them to see aboriginal spirituality as evil. Yet, the neighbouring communities dreaded them for the victories of their forefathers, oblivious that the Konto people had lost their glory a long time ago, when they abandoned their traditions for the Alien Gods and their ways.
Ogwurube only required that whoever must go to the temple of justice must go with fairness. Ogwurube would not allow any Konto man or woman to be alive if found with a sullied hand. Many of the youths, faced with annihilation, became interested in knowing Ogwurube. Ebi kept working round the clock to bring back the veneration of this God so that they could tap from his immense powers. Every day, he was in the shrine supplicating that he needed justice in their land. He started to regroup some of the youths who now believed in the cultures and traditions of their land as the only way out of their predicament, since the Alien Prayers did not work in their favour. They wanted to connect to their ancestors instead of their long time connection to the ancestors of their former colonialists.
It was obvious to the young men of Konto that the Bito herdsmen were well grounded in their cultures and traditions, accounting for their prowess and victory in battle. Ogwurube told the Konto people that the Bito herdsmen were hypnotizing them with spiritual powers before they were killed. But this would not happen again. Ogwurube took over and became in charge of the community. Ogwurube vowed that the sons and daughters of Konto would never be preys to the rampaging herdsmen anymore.
Ebi recruited more and more youths into the struggle. Any of the youths that enlisted in the group was taken to Ogwurube’s shrine for fortification. Ebi gave a name to the struggle. “Ogwurube Is With Us Against Herdsmen (OIWUAH)” struggle. The youths tested gunshots on each other and the bullets could not penetrate their bodies. OIWUAH members were marveled that they had such great powers in Ogwurube and were chasing shadows in Alien Prayers. Babu and his group became jittery over the new confidence they noticed in the carriage of the Konto people. Babu was worried.
Babu got to know that Ebi had formed OIWUAH and the group was preparing seriously to hound the Bito herdsmen out of the Konto Community. Babu went to the authorities and reported this. Within minutes, security agents that comprised Police, Army, and Navy landed in the Konto Community, something that was not done when Ebi was calling on the authorities to see the atrocities committed by the herdsmen against the community. Ebi became furiously livid, as the security agents arrested Konto women, aged people and children. Many youths were shot at sight, all in the name of protecting the herdsmen to take their cows around Konto Community for grazing.
The battle was no longer between the Konto people and the herdsmen alone, but, also, with the authorities that were obviously unfair. The Konto youths decided that they would not surrender since Ogwurube was with them. More and more youths joined the OIWUAH. They were proud to defend their land. They were even ready to die for Konto posterity. They must be liberated. As they were regrouping, the security agents were busy raping their women in addition to the senseless arrests. Fifty thousand youths joined the OIWUAH.
Some of the Konto people still held onto the Alien Prayers in the community, but not the members of OIWUAH. The Alien Prayers merchants condemned the believers of Ogwurube. The community became divided. Ebi knew that the community was in real danger. A kingdom hardly stands when it is divided against itself. Nevertheless, he must fight. He was back to the effective spiritual ways of his forebears and there was no going back, no matter whatever anyone said. The authorities bribed some Konto people to be revealing the activities of the OIWUAH. The believers in the Alien Prayers were the people bribed. The members of OIWUAH could not collect bribes. Ogwurube frowned at corruption.
Babu and his group were enjoying the protection of the security agents while the farms and environment of Konto Community and the lives of its people were ruined. When the Konto people who were not members of OIWUAH made a complaint against the ruinous activities, they were killed by the security agents, the same way the Bito herdsmen had been killing them. Over twenty Konto persons were so far killed by the security agents and dozens of them arrested. A combined team of soldiers and Air Force personnel, Police and Navy did not want any Konto person to say pim. They wanted the Konto people to mind themselves and allow the herdsmen’s cows graze. Ebi got increasingly incensed as news of these issues came to him in the shrine. Ogwurube was also irritated and commanded the OIWUAH members to go out for a reprisal attack. They went and started to kill the security agents.
This was against Ebi’s initial wish. If the authorities had maintained a pendulum of justice, it would not have happened. Conversely, the OIWUAH had no option. They were faced with two enemies. The oppression by the security agents had crossed the limits. The members of OIWUAH preferred a respectable death to living like slaves in their own land. They had seen that there was no reprieve with the presence of the security agents, who rather than make peace, chose violence against one side, for the other to live. This added more fuel to the already raging fire. The Konto Community reeked of violence. Ebi wanted to see Babu face-to-face, so that they could fight, but Babu was shielded by the security agents from dawn to dusk.
The victory that the OIWUAH recorded against security agents made more youths to believe in Ogwurube and join the group. The security agents wanted Ebi dead or alive. They believed that the end of OIWUAH will come if they could get their leader. Ebi on getting wind of the plan of the security agents through his people in the community decided that OIWUAH would lay ambush for the security agents. By now, OIWUAH had more ammunition gotten from some security agents they killed and from those that left their guns and ran away in some of the brawls.
An ambush was laid for the security troops by the OIWUAH and a gun battle ensued. Many security agents were killed and others abandoned the battlefield for safety of their dear lives. The OIWUAH recorded few casualties, being those who had flouted the laws of Ogwurube before the ambush. They must have soiled their hands in one way or the other. Items gotten from the fleeing security agents included 4 AK-47 Rifles, 18 FN Rifles, 23 G3 Rifles and some 9 Hand grenades. Babu was still with the security troops. He was running as the security troops fled. Ebi pursued him. When some of the security agents saw that Ebi was after Babu, they opened fire on him, but the bullets were not penetrating his body. He was not firing back, either. He kept chasing Babu. He finally caught up with him after a long chase. He did not want to kill him. He wanted him as a hostage.
Ebi just kept Babu in the OIWUAH camp, Ogwurube's shrine. There, he was well fed and kept comfortable. The only difficulty he had was the freedom he no longer enjoyed. The authorities were not happy with the development – that security agents were ambushed and killed by the OIWUAH. They needed to do something. The OIWUAH were now killing the Bito herdsmen and their cows. Many of the herdsmen were fleeing back to the Nomadic Region with their cows. The Konto Community was in full blown war between the security agents and the OIWUAH. Some of the Konto Alien Prayers warriors condemned what their kinsmen were doing, forgetting how the Bito herdsmen started it all. Ebi did not bother himself about what the Konto Alien Prayers mongers were saying. His joy was that Babu, who once boasted that he would roast him alive, had been caught and was with the OIWUAH.
When the authorities saw that they could not attain victory in this battle that Ogwurube was championing, they initiated a peace talk with the OIWUAH, with a view that the Bito herdsmen would leave the Konto Community. Ebi did not want to give in for the peace talk, remembering the diseases and illnesses that the Bito herdsmen had brought to their community and the brunt of climate change they were bearing, due to the grazing activities. He wanted to fight to finish. Ogwurube warned him not to surrender. But he was thinking about the hunger in Konto Community. He was considering making peace. He believed that since normalcy was returning to the community with many Bito herdsmen fleeing, their farms would yield crops again without being damaged by cows or bush burning. After a period of consultation by the authorities with the OIWUAH members, Ebi flouted the warning by Ogwurube and went for the peace talk.
At the meeting with the authorities, Ebi was apprehended and taken to prison. The news came to the OIWUAH members in the shrine. They became afraid and left the Ogwurube shrine. They would have stayed and continue the fight if they knew how to appease Ogwurube. It was only Ebi that knew how to consult Ogwurube. In their haste, they forgot to take care of Babu. He later escaped, as no one was checkmating him again. When the fleeing Bito herdsmen heard that Ebi was in prison and that the OIWUAH members were scattered, they began to return to Konto Community in full swing with their cows. Konto Community knew that crime was about to explode with the guns in the hands of the youths. But it was even more worrisome to imagine what would become of the town with the return of the Bito herdsmen and the nightmare they represented.
Odimegwu Onwumere ( Email: email@example.com ), an award-winning journalist based in Nigeria reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Fejiro Oliver reports ] - Barring any last minute change of plans, there is authoritative report that former Delta State Governor, Mr Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan will be running for 2019 senatorial ticket under the All Progressive Congress (APC).
According to a very reliable source from the ex governor camp, the initial idea was to allow his cousin who bears same name with him, Emmanuel Uduaghan, a known land grabber and land documents forger to go for the Senate, before it was finally ditched.
The information relayed revealed that the former number one man in the state is very confident that Mr Ifeanyi Okowa who succeeded him will probe his reckless financial days in office if he succeeds in coming back a second time, and needs power at the Federal level to be able to fight the battle ahead.
Despite repeated assurances from Uduaghan to close allies that he won’t decamp to the All Progressive Congress (APC), being a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, credible sources who he dines with disclosed that he would contest the Senate election under the PDP, but he’s certain of losing, as Okowa is going to give the ticket back to Senator James Manager who is currently occupying the position.
As soon as Manager is declared the candidate of the PDP, Uduaghan will use the excuse to decamp to the APC where he would be offered the ticket as already planned with them.
There is already disenchantment in the Okowa led government even by those close to him, who feels he betrayed them to work for him, but only empowering his Ika and Anioma brothers. This is what Uduaghan is hoping on to coast to victory, as people from the Delta South Senatorial district are not likely to work for him if he decides to contest for Second term. The corruption index in the current government has reached an all time high, than it was under Uduaghan, prompting the possible chances of Uduaghan and Manager gunning for fifty-fifty.
Fejiro Oliver ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), Investigative Journalist & Human Rights Activist reports.
*Photo Caption - Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Intersociety, Onitsha Nigeria, 23rd November 2016)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law has resolved to join other well meaning citizens and residents of Anambra State and its national, regional and international well wishers in yearning for the return of bulldozers on Anambra Roads, as well as return of other fundamental public governance incentives to the people and institutions in the State.
Conversely, our leadership has also resolved to strongly kick against the return, in any form, of the State to the theatres of tears and bloodletting in the exercise of political activism by the incumbent administration of Mr. Willie Obiano and other core stakeholders in Anambra politics. The periods before the middle of 2006 and above; particularly from 1999 to 2004, must not be allowed a foot again in Anambra Politics.
This firm statement of ours is strongly predicated on two recent unhealthy developments in the State. One of which is the near silent of bulldozers and road graders on Anambra Roads; usually at their peak by this time of the year (dry season); with concurrent noises and dusts spreading across the State’s three Senatorial Districts of Anambra North, Anambra South and Anambra Central; with mainly attended areas being Anambra North and Anambra Central Zones. It is on the ground of this, therefore, that Intersociety hasresolved to join other well meaning citizens and residents of the State in yearning for the return of bulldozers on Anambra Roads!
Bulldozers’ Noises and Dusts; by way of road construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or maintenance; were traditionalized by then illegitimate government of Dr. Chris Nwabueze; particularly between late 2004 and early 2006. This was after Dr. Chris Ngige’s failed abduction by his estranged violent political godfathers.
The referenced Noises and Dusts of Bulldozers were later expanded and consolidated by the legitimate administration of Mr. Peter Onwubuashi Obi; leading to inclusion in the work-plan of large scale and medium scale bridges, strategic inter-communal roads and a number of strategic federal roads; resulting in road revolution; with which Anambra is creditably known for till date.
Today, Bulldozers and their noises and dusts, appeared to have gone silent and dead in the State. For over two years running since the emergence of legitimate administration of Mr. Willie Obiano, no known single road of reasonable or distance mileage or kilometres, is known to have been started from the scratch, completed and commissioned in Onitsha Zone by the administration of Mr. Willie Obiano.
By Onitsha Zone, we mean Fegge Community; Fegge Housing Estate, Odoakpu, Inland Town, Woliwo Layout and Onitsha GRA. It also includes non-Onitsha urban areas such as Awada, Ugwuagba, Enekwasumpu, Omagba Phases 1 & 2, Okpoko, Nkutaku, Iyiowa Layout and Odekpe Town, Obosi Urban, Ogidi Urban, Nkpor Urban, Nsugbe Urban (including “33 GRA”), Nkwelle Urban, Mkpikpa Layout and Oba Urban, etc.
We challenge the administration of Mr. Willie Obiano to rubbish this position of ours with contrary and provable facts as it concerns the existence of any fresh road or failed city road located in any of the areas mentioned above; which contract was awarded, completed and commissioned by its Administration from April 2014 till date.
This is just one urban area and we have not mentioned others such as Ihiala sub Urban, Nnewi Urban, Ekwulobia sub Urban, Awkuzu sub Urban and its environs; Awka Urban (other than flyover bridges at Amawbia Roundabout, Kwata Junction and Aroma Roundabout); Umunze sub Urban; Ekwusigo, Aguata and Nnewi South areas, among other strategic communities in the State.
Till date, the centre right main lane of the Upper Iweka to Borrowmeo Roundabout portion of the Onitsha-Enugu Expressway and its left service lane (starting from former MICMERAH Park to Borromeo Roundabout) are yet to be fully asphalted or coated. While other lanes that are fully asphalted have long been marked, the referenced portions have remained unmarked till date.
The strategic and all-important Atani-Ozubulu Link Road or Bypass is yet to be completed till date. The all-important Road, with three bridges worth billions of naira; was completed by 80% before the inception of the Obiano Administration; yet the remainder has remained abandoned and uncompleted till date. This is not to talk about the abandonment or acute slow pace of work on dozens of roads inherited by the Obiano Administration with works on them progressively progressing at various speeds before the inception of his Administration. Other critical areas of governance in the State, except the “payment” of workers’ salaries and control of violent crimes; are not faring creditably, contrary to media jingling.
Before now, Bulldozers are traditionally known particularly since 2006 in Anambra State as active road users during the dry season, competing for a road space with other road users; on account of their owners moving them to the sites having been fully mobilized or partly-paid. In the time of Peter Obi’s Administration, for instance, rapid Bulldozers’ movement during dry season, with accompanying dusts and noises, were made possible through huge rainy season savings as well as proactive contract policy of: complete designated kilometres, raise warrants, get paid and move back to site for other segments.
Further, owing to high concentration of vehicles of private, commercial and industrial usage in Anambra State as well as fragile topography and soil fragility of the State landscape; in addition to incessant flood menace in rainy season; occasioned by the State’s poor waste and environmental management system; the lifespan of asphalted road network in the State is constantly threatened and required short periodic and constructive maintenance. As we speak, 50% of the asphalted roads or more in the State, particularly, State and urban or township roads are in dire need of strong maintenance in their failed portions.
Such roads include township roads in Okpoko (i.e. Ede Road and Obodoukwu Road), Harbour Industrial Layout in Ogbaru; Fegge (i.e. Port Harcourt Road, Creek Road, Bida Road, Ochanja Market/Zik’s Avenue, Niger Street, etc), Odoakpu (Iweka Road, Modebe Avenue, New Market Road, Old Market Road, Sokoto Road, Iboku Street, New and Old Cemetery Roads, Ozomagala Street, Enugu Road, Oguta Road, Obanye Street etc).
Others are: Onitsha GRA, Inland Town, Nkpor, Omagba Phases 1 &2, Ogidi, Obosi, Oba; and inter-communal roads in Umunze, Igboukwu, Nnobi, Nnewi, Ihiala, Oko, Nkwelle, Ekwulobia, Idemili North and South, Anaocha, Njikoka, Nsugbe, Umuchu, Uli, Mbosi, Uga, Agulu, Awka and environs to mention but a few.
Substantial parts of major drainages and waterways in the State are also filled up and blocked. Of alarming concern are the dicey state of SAKAMORI Drainages at Okpoko, Silas Work and Nwangene River in Fegge, Onitsha; a major collector of all human and rainy season generated water in Onitsha and its environs and depositor of same into the River Niger. Well over half of the referenced Drainages are filled up and blocked and have not been cleared since the beginning of 2014. In the rainy season of 2015, for instance, not less than 20 innocent citizens got flushed away and killed, mostly at Obodoukwu Road and interior Okpoko areas; owing to flood menace associated with flirty and blockage of the SAKAMORI Drainages.
Saying No To The Return Of Tears And Bloodletting In Anambra Politics: In the period up to March 2006, particularly in the disastrous era of Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju (June 1999 to June 2003), Anambra State was hellish and experienced bloodletting of alarming proportions. Tears and bloodletting pervaded and enveloped the State’s political landscape; leading to opposition voices and other innocent citizens in their tens of hundreds hunted and slaughtered by the State killer-squads with the full backing of the then Government of Anambra State headed by Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju.
The likes of Barristers Barnabas and Amaka Igwe (his wife), Ezeodimegwu Okonkwo, Edward Okeke, Rockefeller Okeke, Ikechukwu Nwagboo and scores of others were brazenly slain, while others like Hon Ifeanyi Ibegbu of then Anambra State House of Assembly got miraculously saved; but not without being murderously tortured and lacerated using a State killer squad called “Bakassi Boys” or Anambra State Vigilante Service.
Late Barristers Barnabas and Amaka Igwe and their suspected unborn child were waylaid and slaughtered along Oraifite Street, Awada in the evening of 1st September 2002 by then Government detailed operatives of the Anambra State Vigilante Service (a.k.a. Bakassi Boys). Our several calls on former Government of Peter Obi (17th Match 2006 to 17th March 2014) to immortalize the Igwes and others who shed their precious blood for the triumph of true democracy and betterment of the people of the State; including naming Oraifite Street in Awada after the slain couple went unheeded.
Also to the disastrous credit of Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju’s Administration, over 3500 citizens and residents of the State were slaughtered, in the guise of “crime fighting”; using Anambra State Vigilante Service; disastrously noted for its “trial-by-ordeal” and political influence and interference methods. Earlier on, (September 1999 to July 2000), under the watch of the same Mbadinuju Administration, hundreds of citizens were also slaughtered using “Onitsha and Nnewi Traders Vigilante Groups”; abbreviated as “OTA”. Shockingly, some of those who played a part in the butcheries are still very much around and have sneaked into the present Administration of Mr. Willie Obiano either as “Waste Management Consultants” or as “Security Consultants” or “Vigilante Group Heads”.
Though Dr. Chinweoke Mbadinuju paid dearly politically by losing his second term bid, but his sponsors and violent political partners still went ahead and installed another stooge, in the person of Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige. It was Dr. Ngige’s attempts to assert his gubernatorial independence and control that led to his attempted kidnap by a group of reneges loyal to one Mr. Christian Ubah; leading to burning of key State infrastructures including Government House, the State Judicial Headquarters and the Anambra State Broadcasting Service in 2004.
Political violence, as a result, eclipsed the era of Chris Ngige, leading to “NARTO violence” and unprecedented market leaderships’ crises; resulting in deaths and property destructions. Anambra State was restored to political stability following the judicial victory by Mr. Peter Obi and his party (APGA) on 15th of March 2006 (became Governor on 17th of March 2006). The “NARTO War” of 2006 in which “the MASSOB reneges” or “fake MASSOB operatives” teamed up with “NARTO” to ground the State by way of kidnapping for ransom, jungle justice, forceful takeover of motor parks and markets, extortion, sexual abuse, torture, debt collection, involvement in land disputes and killings; was the last battle fought to regain the image and integrity of the State.
Since then till date, Anambra State has never experienced political chaos, tears and bloodletting; except the police-perpetrated Ezu River Saga of January 2013; solely coordinated by CSP James Nwafor led Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command in which over 30 able bodied youths were slaughtered under the guise of “violent criminals” and dumped in the Ezu River. Among them were nine members of MASSOB. The Ezu River butchery is not directly related to Anambra Politicking. The second butchery, which is also not related to Anambra Politics; is the massacre of not less than 120 unarmed and innocent citizens at Nkpor and its environs by the soldiers, navy and police personnel on 30th of May 2016 during the annual anniversary marking the World Igbo/Biafra Heroes Day. Most of their bodies were later recovered and given a secret burial inside the Onitsha Military Cantonment on 1st June 2016.
These explain why we are shocked and alarmed as it concerns recent threats by some aides of the Government of Anambra State to return the State to tears and bloodletting on account of reported unhealthy verbal exchanges between the camps of the incumbent Governor of the State, Mr. Willie Obiano and his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi. A threat of such magnitude to a former Governor of Anambra State, who is not a common criminal and did and achieve so much for the State and its People when he held sway as Anambra Governor; is considered a collective threat to the entire People of Anambra State.
We also reason that if such threats can be directed to a former Governor who can never govern the State in his entire life again except the 1999 Constitution is altered tomorrow; what becomes the fate and safety of other political actors particularly those who may most likely have indicated interest in contesting for public offices in Anambra State particularly the office of the Anambra Governor? This informs the timely alarms of ours before it is too late.
We have always advised elected political office holders to always draw a difference between thinking and peopling governance; and parasitizing and funning governance. It is a truism that governance clock ticks as fast as clock seconds. It is therefore extremely important to make hay while the sun shines! That is to say that elected public office holders have no time to waste because input legitimacy is compulsorily and always tied to output legitimacy. Real governance is also not run on prototype or media hype.
Chickens must always or all times come home to roost!
It is on account of the above, therefore, that we strongly advise the Obiano Administration to eschew any form of violence and allow the People of the State to decide whether or not to vote for him for another four years. The Governor is called upon to call his aides to order and direct them to desist from making further inflammatory statements capable of returning the State to the theatres of tears and bloodletting. The Governor should squarely face the governance of the State and adequately attend to the deplorable state of roads, particularly those highlighted above. Let Bulldozers and Road Graders be rapidly and forcefully returned to Anambra Roads!
We also call on other core stakeholders in Anambra State politics to discountenance the referenced “threats of bloodshed” by some overzealous aides of the Government of Anambra State and avoid embarking on reprisal vigilantism and militancy ahead of the 2017 governorship election in the State. Those interested in governing the State should strictly engage in issue-based politicking in strategic and analytical manners and desist from resorting to or advocating for violence.
It is our strong warning that nothing must happen to highly placed citizens of the State; whether it is Dr. Chris Ngige, Mr. Peter Obi, Chief Victor Umeh, Barr Val Obienyem, Chief Oseloka Obaze, or Mr. Willie Obiano and his appointed aides, etc. As a matter of fact, it is incumbent upon the present Government of Anambra State to ensure their safety and happiness whenever they are in the State. Any of these citizens as well as other citizens of the State has a constitutional right to freedom of movement and right to life, personal liberty, and dignity of human person, residency, association and expression.
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq.
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
Mobile Line: +2348180771506
Chinwe Umeche, Esq.
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Mobile Line: +2347013238673
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Sonala Olumhense reports ] - Last week, former Abia State Governor Orji Kalu, joined the All Progressives Congress (APC). Kalu, a businessman and political party promoter, was welcomed into the ruling party like some sort of hero, with National Chairman John Odigie-Oyegun leading the honours at the APC headquarters in the federal capital.
No, Kalu is not an unknown quantity, and there are many reasons to remember him. My favorite memory of him comes from 2004, when he kicked off a firestorm in the ruling party at the time, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by publicly demanding that Tony Anenih, the nation’s immediate past Minister of Works, explain how he squandered N300 billion road funds in four years.
The disclosure of the scale of budgeting had been made by President Olusegun in his home state of Ogun during his campaign for re-election. Given the noticeable absence of good roads in the country, Kalu challenged Obasanjo to ask Anenih a few questions.
For most of the past 10 years ago, Kalu has himself been trying to avoid confronting certain corruption charges against him in court. This year, the Appeal Court finally ordered him to stand trial, and just two weeks ago, the EFCC charged him with 34 counts of money-laundering.
Kalu’s legal ordeal began in 2007 when the EFCC first charged him at the High Court in Abuja with 107 that included official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds totaling over five billion.
Having lost the battle to avoid prosecution, Kalu seemed to know where his salvation lay. His strategy paid off, as on Wednesday, he had the entire APC, which allegedly has a corruption-fighting government in power, waiting to cheer him in with music and television coverage.
That was the same day that the leader of that government, President Muhammadu Buhari, reportedly disclosed a “tough and grueling” battle in Nigeria’s anti-corruption trenches. Meeting with American Secretary of State John Kerry on the margins of the United Nations Climate Change conference in Morocco, he said corrupt Nigerians were fighting back with the formidable arsenal of illicit wealth they accumulated.
He spoke as party chairman Odigie-Oyegun, 5200 kilometers south,was triumphantly hugging and kissing Mr. Kalu in Abuja.
To be clear, Mr. Kalu has not been convicted of anything. He may never be, as a corruption trial of a Nigerian Big Man rarely result in convictions, especially when such a man belongs to the ruling party. Still this was just days of the EFCC slapping N3.2 billion worth of money-laundering charges on Mr. Kalu, one of 15 governors the agency is currently trying for various allegations.
Something doesn’t add up.
It is no announcement, anywhere, to say that corruption is fighting back. It always does. You do not announce, or embark on such an engagement and presume that corruption would simply lie down and be swept away.
That is why Buhari’s Marrakech declaration that corruption is fighting back confuses all who wish him success in the effort.
Nobody wants to hear that corruption is fighting back; we want to hear that corruption is being crushed: every insurrection savagely- but legally-put down.
The problem is that to most Nigerians, corruption is doing very well. Considering the mountainous scale of the Nigeria mess, only an insignificant number of suspects have so far seen a courtroom or prison. While things are a little different from the way they were before May 29, 2015, corruption is not being robustly engaged.
The Treasury Single Account, the collapse of the oil market, and the humbling of the naira have in the past year meant that there isn’t much for people to steal, but current stealing has never been the issue for this government, as it does not admit of corruption within its ranks.
Even on its chosen turf of the PDP government which preceded it, has mostly left its principal personnel to his or her freedom and swagger.
Just weeks ago, we learned from President Buhari’s biography, “Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,” by John Paden, that his anti-corruption objective is simply to retrieve stolen funds,not to exact justice. That no inconvenience is to be expected beyond surrendering some of the stolen funds must have been music to anyone involved.
The author disclosed that former President Goodluck Jonathan used an illegal strategy of requesting “off-budget funds,” and that President Buhari has such letters as written by Mr. Jonathan in his hands.
Mr. Jonathan has not denied the allegation. How is corruption posing a “tough and grueling”fight back? Is he possibly refusing to return those funds?
Since 2010, the federal government has compiled an armada of reports concerning corruption in high places, each of them awaiting action. If they are not being implemented, how do those involved fight back? If they are being implemented, why aren’t there many rich people in courtrooms and detention facilities everywhere?
As far as is publicly known, nothing has come of the president’s review of the administration he succeeded, or of the NNPC, or of the Transformation Agenda, or of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme, among others.
Even in terms of loot-recovery, the government lacks a stellar record so far. Not only has its approach been murky and limited, it has compromised its own efforts by protecting the identity of those who have returned money, or had money seized from them.
By doing this, a nation at war is sadly uncertain whom we are fighting. We have no idea whom “they” might be, as opposed to whom “we” are. In the light of day, the saints are the sinners, and the angels have vulture excrement on their faces. Crime appears to have paid; and honesty, to have failed.
On the legal front, the government has provided so limited leadership, direction and energy for the anti-corruption effort that it has itself almost become a spectator, conveniently declaring that it will strengthen the relevant anti-corruption agencies. President Jonathan’s government did not lose three States to Boko Haram because we did not have soldiers in those places, but because of the nation’s leadership vacuum. An army unit does not win a war; operational command and control does.
The point is that the Buhari government makes a serious mistake if it does not revise its anti-corruption narrative to include the citizens, to fight in the open, and to punish. A campaign of this nature should be seen to be hurting the guilty, but the guilty, even when they supposedly fight back, are unidentified, and the war savages the innocent.
This campaign should be hurting the thieves and stripping them of wealth and respect; instead it is inflicting pain on the victims even as it enhances poverty and inequality in the land.
This campaign should have Buhari and the APC distancing themselves from compromise and any appearance of duplicity; instead, it seems to revel in compromise and contamination.
This campaign should have APC demonstrating examples of good governance, instead, it is amending the law in Edo State to provide retirement mansions of N300 million to the outgoing governor and his deputy.
We have seen all this before.
Sonala Olumhense ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Ex-Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Try hard as we may, we cannot deny the fact that in today's world, encountering people dressed in Muslim garb quite often raises hairs on the backs of our necks, Muslims inclusive. Islam has become synonymous with terrorism, the explosive type. The Middle East today is in shambles and it is Muslims fighting Muslims. In Africa we have radical Islamist terror groups like Boko Haram that put Nigeria on the map as a world first for all the wrong reasons. "Bring Back Our Girls;" imagine, 234 young girls kidnapped from their school! This is the reputation Islam has today. It is bad.
The past years of Obama and Hillary Clinton, while feigning love for Muslims and avoiding saying, "radical Islam," supervised the destruction of Islam as a religion of peace in any form whatsoever. The USA, the 'world police' watched as the Middle East went up in flames. Through the last eight years we witnessed some of the most deadly wars in human history and the great migration– millions of Muslims fleeing their native lands to Europe. This can't be good. This can't be love. Muslims cannot like the status quo.
So why is Islam today associated with terror? You simply need to follow the money. Contrary to what people might think, terror is an expensive business. To operate a terror franchise, you need two things: an extreme ideology and a lot of money. Saudi Arabia conveniently provides both. The Kingdom controls a quarter of the world's known oil reserves and has a radical brand of Islam known as wahhabism which originated in the 1700s from a certain man called Muhammad bin Abd al-Wahhab who claimed to be restoring "pure Islam." His books and teachings are the bedrock of most fundamental islamist groups like al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and Daesh (ISIS). Wahhabi Islam is said to ride on the Muslim Sunnite sect, convincing its adherents that "pure Islam" is intolerant to deadly proportions.
Interestingly Muslim writings attributed to the faith's prophet describe end-of-days evil (the horn of Satan) emanating from the Kingdom itself. No, not America, Russia or China, but the very Middle East and center of Islam. A hadith says:
'Narrated Ibn ‘Umar: (The Prophet) said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham (Syria) and our Yemen.” People said, “Our Najd as well.” The Prophet again said, “O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen.” They said again, “Our Najd as well.” On that the Prophet said, “There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there appears the Horn of Satan.” (Book #17, Hadith #147, Bukhari).' Encyclopedia Britannica puts "Najd" as the rocky plateau region in Saudi Arabia, the home-base of Ibn Wahhabi the founder of wahhabi Islam and the house of Saud. Several other 'hadith' and documents reinforce this "horn of Satan" prediction and the location of Najd.
The Saudis have been given a blank check to promote the wahhabi radical and intolerant brand of Islam around the world via various organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth organization, US cables indicate as presented by Secretary Clinton. Arab royals sponsor political candidates and media organizations in the US and millions of dollars in donations are given as birthday presents and donations to politicians' foundations to maintain a see-no-evil official US stance. Radical Islam is promoted, terror is sponsored and the majority of Muslims, who are moderate continue to look bad and have to defend themselves daily. Terror-linked and sponsoring wahhabi organizations are not labeled or shut down. See: "Charity cases: why has the Bush Administration failed to stop Saudi funding of terrorism?" Excerpt:
"The Bush Administration made a conscious decision not to pursue major Saudi conduits for terrorist funding. The clearest example involves two ostensible charities that are long known to have funneled money to Al Qaeda--the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and the Muslim World League (MWL). ... Although both IIRO and MWL were known to have funded Al Qaeda, U.S. government sources indicated to Newsweek in October 2001 that the Bush Administration left the two organizations off the list of designated terrorist groups in order to spare the Saudi government from embarrassment."
It is no surprise that the US looked the other way while as few as 800 ISIS terrorists drove to and overran Mosul. Why were these easily extinguishable bunch not blown to bits promptly from the skies, with all the US arsenal stationed in the region? The policy appears to have been one of tolerance. Until Russia entered the war and bombed thousands of oil-loaded ISIS trucks freely crisscrossing to sell their loads in Turkey for a million dollars-a-day in earnings to sponsor terror bombings across the world, did US appear to sit up against ISIS.
According to the Financial Times, 'after the Iraqi city of Mosul fell to a lightning Isis offensive in 2014... the late Prince Saud al-Faisal, the respected Saudi foreign minister, remonstrated with John Kerry, US secretary of state, that “Daesh [Isis] is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa” — the Tehran-aligned Shia Islamist ruling party of Iraq."' After the 28 pages were declassified, New York Post summarized with the caption, "How US covered up Saudi role in 9/11." Imagine that!
This has pretty much been the summary of the predicament of Muslims under the previous arrangement. The US covers-up Saudi acts, terror pervades society and the peaceful Muslim majority are made to look bad and continue to defend themselves. Almost all Muslim terrorists are linked to this cash flow and radical ideology source. Over 100 billion dollars has been pumped into this radical project according to estimates.
Enter Trump, a new president and a chance to call it as it is. Candidate Trump recently told it straight to 'Spoiled' Saudi Prince Alwaleed. He tweeted, “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy's money. Can't do it when I get elected.” While the prince has made nice in the past few days after Trump won, the new direction is obvious. Trump does not plan to give the royals a blank check any more. Appointing General Flynn as National Security Adviser speaks volumes. General Flynn is noted for accusing the Obama-Hillary team of 'creating ISIS' to fight Syria's Bashar al-Assad.
While a complete overhaul of US' policy is too much to hope for, at least this is the first and best step in a new direction. The US is currently oil sufficient and the world's largest producer. The days of dependence on Saudi oil are over. Congress overriding Obama's veto of the 9/11 bill "that would allow 9/11 victims’ families to sue the Saudi Arabian government over its alleged support for the terrorists who carried out the attacks," in spite of Saudi threats to pull out investment billions, proves the US is already finding its spine. Trump may ride the horse and free the world's Muslims.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Emai: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Donald Trump
[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonnia reports ] - The title of this piece conveys a strident mood. But the angst is no longer because a bozo of catholic proportion emerged as the US president-Elect from the election of November 8, 2016. It is not because of the reality that a labile character is set to become the leader of the free world. It has nothing to do with the fact that a worldwide outrage greeted Donald Trump’s triumph. And this is absolutely far from the whistling implication of the thought that the best-qualified person ever to seek US presidency was trounced by a definite nothingburger.
The seemingly venom is by no means induced by the nature of the rude awakening my 13-year-old had to endure that long night. The stolid school girl, who I had though cared less about politics, usually goes to bed at 9 p.m. But not on November 8! As soon as I turned off the TV after major stations broke the sad news, I heard some strange footsteps in my media room. Lo and behold, it was the little girl wandering around perplexed and murmuring on her phone. Instead of running to her bedroom after sighting me that late, as expected, she stood and looked my way, unloading nonstop questions that I still find difficult to answer: “Dad, what happened? President Trump? But Hillary won when we voted in school last week, and they said she was gonna win? What went wrong? What are the minority people gonna do now after all he said about them? Are we gonna move to some better place? How about Nigeria? Has it gotten better over there since the new leader?”
Any sense of animus here against Trump is not about any sympathy for the frustrations of women like a Nigerian-American lady who called me the wee hour of the same fateful morning, 3.30 a.m., to be exact. Please imagine this: The lady was openly crying, praying, and truly wishing the unthinkable that Ibrahim Babangida, a former Nigerian military head of state, is suddenly President Barrack Obama so he could annual the US election of November 8th—for God’s sake.
Frankly speaking, the whole mood for the title of this piece has nothing to do with any of the above. For hysteria has no place in my DNA. The core problem, instead, is rooted in something else with the portent for another wave of perpetual crisis.
The US “electoral college is a disaster for a democracy." But that is not SKC Ogbonnia fomenting such notion from the start. The original quote was precisely the reaction of no other person than Donald Trump himself following Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney in 2012. If the quote is remotely vague, “what Trump means to say”, as his surrogates would always spin, is that the system that produces the leader of the free world is a disaster. There is hardly a thing an objective person can wholeheartedly agree with Mr. Trump, because the celebrity cretin does not espouse any core values or beliefs. But one cannot agree with the man any more that whatever system that made it possible for him to emerge as US president-elect is truly a disaster.
The U.S. presidential elections of the last five decades (1966-2016) sufficiently highlight the challenges of the American democracy. Even though both Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton received less than 50% of votes cast in the 1968 and 1992 general elections, respectively; they still assumed power on the basis of the Electoral College system. Clinton would also be re-elected in 1996 with only a minority of the votes cast for the same reason. But none is more perplexing than the 2000 presidential election where George W. Bush emerged victorious despite garnering fewer popular votes than Al Gore. Even worse, not only is Donald J. Trump widely seen as unqualified to be president of the United States, he was declared the winner in the 2016 elections despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
What is more, it is not entirely a coincidence that each of the former presidents mentioned above could not prove the electorate wrong. Nixon had to resign from office in shame. Bill Clinton became the second US president in history to be impeached. And George W. Bush left office forlorn. Mr. Trump? The guess is open-ended. In fact, since the morning after November 8, the whole world has been on its knees hoping that the 70-year-old enfant terrible could ever grow to comport himself as a leader of the free world. But mere hope can only take us so far. The past remains a relevant predictor of the future. Expecting a pig to fly as high as the bird is no different than leading a merry chase. Even if Donald Trump can show any remorse and do some good moving forward, the havoc this man has already unleashed on human civilization can never be undone.
Yet we can not entirely discount hope, because “there is God.” The living God has not abandoned the United States, as Donald Trump wildly claimed. The image of the pathological liar alone is enough to finally provoke the Americans to demand a more deserving change. The change calls for the country to discard the archaic Electoral College system that produced an unrepentant heathen as US president—by default. This change requires an amendment to the outdated US Constitution in line with an ever-changing society towards the greater good.
The ultra conservatives will ultimately liken this proposal to the naked slaying of the utmost totem, but the main idea is far from novel. In the book, How Democratic Is the American Constitution?, Robert Dahl, fondly remembered as the Dean of American Political Scientists, had ridiculed the US Constitution immediately after the 2000 election that saw George W. Bush prevail with minority votes. Dahl called for change, charging that the ideal Constitution is one “that, after careful and prolonged deliberations, we and fellow citizens conclude is the best designed to serve our fundamental political ends, goals, and values.” Make no mistake about it, the existing Constitution has served America reasonably well and is deserving of a sacred place in history. But it is far from perfect.
The problem here is that a defining imperfect area of the US Constitution, the Electoral College, is profoundly polar opposite to democratic principles. America needs a system that can guarantee that the majority truly carries the votes. Moreover, it defies logic that the US citizens will continue to glue their thinking faculty to a document adopted over two centuries ago by ancient dwellers—to cope with the complexities of the Post-Modern era. The blind following of ideology rather than prudence is a recipe for disaster. That is how America gave us the Iraq war and the perpetual crisis that has followed. That is how and why the world is now grappling with the reality that a gambling goofus is soon to become the sole custodian of America’s nuclear code. It’s gloomy, square.
SKC Ogbonnia ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
Editor's Note: Masterweb congratulates Donald J. Trump for his well deserved victory at the polls. When the pollsters projected Hillary Clinton as the winner, they based their forecasts on her getting the required 270 electoral votes. The forecasts were fine with Hillary since they favored her; she did not propose the dumping of electoral votes and use of popular votes in determining the winner of U.S. presidential elections. To Hillary: "Do not fix it as long as it favors me." What do we fix? Nothing, because use of electoral votes in presidential elections is more democratic than majority (popular) votes because those votes may be from few states or even cities as in the case of Hillary. Whoever wins 270 or more electoral votes would win more states that his/her opponent which is more democratic. This was the case in the last election. Congratulations Donald J. Trump!!
*Photo Caption - Donald J. Trump