[ Masterweb Reports: Marelise Van der Merwe reports ] - Let me begin by stating that this opinion is not solely based on my own personal ruminations but rather on a relatively collective notion opined by South Africans of varying degrees whom I have discussed this salient topic with.
 
If truth be told, a certain negative connotation is unfortunately attached to the image of Nigerians in South Africa, formed by some unsavoury antics of her kinsmen within our nation such as drug pushing, internet fraud, armed robbery and illegal overstaying. I am not in anyway branding all Nigerians under the same illicit banner – but there are sufficient numbers who have done significant damage to arouse caution from the average South African.
 
In fact, Prophet T.B. Joshua’s rise to popularity within South Africa has proven a key player in the ‘rebranding’ of the Nigerian image for many South Africans, buoyed by Emmanuel TV’s brand of refreshingly practical, unorthodox Christianity. As many Nigerians living in South African can readily attest to, a question revolving around Joshua is almost certainly asked once their nationality is ascertained, exuding the influence he has within South African shores.
 
BBC’s Chief African correspondent Will Ross recently reported how an uneducated local in rural Botswana identified Nigeria as ‘T.B. Joshua’s country’ after learning Lagos was his base. It is an assertion similarly shared by many here, particularly in the rural areas of South Africa who automatically associate Africa’s most populous nation with its most controversial pastor.
 
Unfortunately, the Nigerian government’s response in the aftermath of the tragic building collapse at The SCOAN last month has done little to assuage this already precarious image. The private jet debacle whereby Nigerian money was illegally carried to South African soil for the purchase of arms, coupled by the painfully slow process of the repatriation of our fallen brethren in the collapse have only served to fuel an atmosphere of distrust and distaste.
 
It is unfortunate also that the inquest set up by the Lagos State Government into what truly transpired at The SCOAN has aroused equal qualms, its political undertones breeding scepticism within South Africa towards the genuineness of its intentions. From the initial sessions, it appears to be more of a platform for Lagos State Government to cover-up their own inadequacies in the rescue operation while ensuring a predetermined agenda is played out, ultimately bringing culpability on the part of The SCOAN for structural failures.
 
I have closely followed media updates surrounding the coroner’s inquest, most of which came from Nigerian media sources as media coverage in the aftermath of the tragedy has reduced in South Africa. The propensity of focus toward debunking the claim of explosives being behind the collapse, alongside the insistence that T.B. Joshua himself appears at the inquest, certainly calls for questions. I am not saying such information is not valid but the sensational media headlines and lopsided reports suggest the outworking of a negative agenda against Joshua, orchestrated by both the Lagos State government and media houses reporting the incident.
 
For example, it was widely reported on Tuesday that pathologist Professor John Obafunwa ruled out claims of an explosion as the cause of the building collapse, saying none of the victims had blast injuries. However, a report from the following day’s inquest where Obafunwa admitted he had only conducted autopsies on two bodies and could not authoritatively determine what was behind the collapse was barely mentioned.
 
Similarly, the apparent ‘refusal’ of church authorities to cooperate with external rescue bodies such as NEMA was disproportionately accentuated, to the extent that media commentators suggested such callous attitude actually increased the death toll. This was highlighted by the testimony of NEMA spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye at the inquest on Tuesday who claimed his team were not given access to the site until Sunday evening.
 
However, in Wednesday’s session, a spokesman for the Nigerian Red Cross shared his own version of events, praising The SCOAN for their co-operation and efficiency and directly opposing Farinloye’s claims. “When we got to the place, we met NEMA and LASEMA there, but we didn’t see them carrying out any rescue operations,” Ige Oladimeji told the court. Contrarily, he said the church officials were the ones who were championing the rescue mission, buoyed by The SCOAN’s 10 ambulances and heavy duty rescue machinery provided by several local construction companies. Why was it that this aspect of the inquest was completely downplayed to barely a mention by the majority of media reports yesterday? Perhaps because it revealed shameful inadequacies within Nigeria’s rescue team – both in attitude and action?
 
I recall reading an article by Nigerian-based journalist Simon Ateba, who was at The SCOAN on the day of the incident, sharing similar sentiments. “The truth is that NEMA has no equipment needed to rescue people,” he bluntly stated. “All NEMA was doing was to release the number of the dead and the injured to the media. NEMA is a failed and incapacitated agency that cannot rescue anyone… They should shut the hell up and get enough funding and equipment to do their job rather than playing to the gallery and claiming that they “just coordinate “. Coordinate what? Interviews when people are trapped?”
 
In Thursday's session, Lagos State Commissioner for physical planning Olutoyin Ayinde was quoted as saying the airplane seen bypassing the ill-fated building on four occasions on the day of the incident was simply on a flight path towards Lagos airport. Why is it, however, that nearly two months after the incident, no official statement whatsoever has been made by the Nigerian government or aviation authorities concerning this? If indeed there was nothing sinister or suspicious in its movements, why wasn’t there an immediate statement to that effect since this is an incident of grave international proportions?
 
Yesterday, a Nigerian lawyer called for the halting of the inquest, arguing that several agencies from within Lagos State had already made indicting statements against The SCOAN to the effect that structural inadequacies caused the collapse. He submitted that the inquest would ‘seriously occasion miscarriage of justice’ as it would base its decision on the testimonies of the same agencies. In the light of the above, I believe he has a very valid point.  
 
As I wrote in an earlier article berating South African media’s coverage of T.B. Joshua in lieu of this tragedy, I am an Emmanuel TV viewer and have visited The SCOAN once last year in what I would term a spiritually enhancing pilgrimage. The latest incident has not blighted this belief, although many pertinent questions still remain unanswered concerning the exact cause of the catastrophe.
 
It is unfortunate that the Lagos State inquest is not providing these answers but provoking even more questions, especially within South Africa. 

 
Marelise Van der Merwe ( Email: marelise.vandermerwe84@gmail.com ), social analyst based in Johannesburg, South Africa reports.
 
*Photo Caption - Rescue workers Tuesday September 16, 2014 search for survivors in the rubble of Synagogue Church of All Nations  (SCOAN), Lagos- Nigeria collapsed building.  The building collapsed September 12, 2014.

[ Masterweb Reports: Uche Nwosu reports ] - In his thesis The Decay of Lying, Oscar Wilde, an Irish writer (1854-1900) declared that, “The final revelation is that lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things is the proper aim of the art”. If we stress it further we can conclude that lying is the art of releasing information that is at variance or inconsistent with the reality.
 
 
Of recent, armed chair critics and political opponents of Gov TA Orji CON and his administration, in their uncanny attempts to sway public opinion against this performing governor of Abia – God’s Own State, have tried unsuccessful to present falsehood as facts. They have been telling weird tales to the gullible; relentlessly concocting and fabricating pictures (both still and video) to goad the naive into accepting their falsehood and make-believe. 
 
 
Take Aba as a case study; this epicenter of Igbo entrepreneurship has recently had its kismet recede colossally; thus becoming the object of the vitriolic attacks from the opposition camp. Certainly, before Aba’s declivity, it served as a thriving municipality of commerce and industry. It held sway as the nucleus of small and medium scale enterprises in the West Africa sub-region. From 1960s till 1990s, Aba was a town that played host to all tribes and races of African descent who came from Lagos, Onitsha, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Cotonou, Yaoundé, Duala, Gabon etc to do business in it.
 
 
In retrospect, Aba’s structural outlay was like that of London, Paris, Washington DC, or some few European and American cities which are charily planned and kept. Its roads were neat; the gutters were cleaned, letting current of water to flow ceaselessly to the huge Aba gutter; that gigantic drainage that traverses the town and empties its contents into the Aba River (the waterside) whenever it rained. Its filths were carted away as they were dumped. Indeed, Aba was (and still is) an architectural masterpiece. It was an organized city. For instance each street is separated from the other by a column of ten houses and numbered like that, thus making easier for any JJC in town to trace his way without missing road.
 
 
The houses are separated from each other by well maintained sanitary lanes with scintillating walkways which were cleaned up at every now and then. The Aba master plan was strictly adhered to during construction of buildings or factories in the years mentioned above. But alas! Aba lost its glory when OUK who now champions the network of virulent spleen against Gov TA ORJI and his government in the Sun newspapers took over the mantle of leadership as the second executive governor of Abia State.
 
 
From 1999 to 2007 Aba lost its splendor, it lost its shine; it lost its beauty and became blemish.  Aba declined so retrogressively that to rebuild it will take years to do. Orji Uzor Kalu’s administration encouraged the building of illegal structures such as shops, kiosks, motor parks, mini markets etc on the drainages, open spaces etc, including the Aba big gutter. His government then perfected the process of the blockage of the sanitary lanes which the military administrations before it started with the connivance of some dubious landlords and traders on the pretext of building more shops in the city and giving traders spaces to do business. The result was the colossal collapse of the fabrics of the town. Its aesthetics declined tremendously.  
 
 
It turned out that what the drainages would have accommodated if they were open and scooped became the burden of the roads. Both the streets and roads suffered high degree of corrosiveness. His attempt to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of them was comical. The roads he tried to reconstruct or rehabilitate failed the test of road standard and quality. And because of their structural dubiety, Aba residents dubbed the roads he built in the city; “Dubai Roads” in derisive reference to some inferior goods (particularly shoes) were imported from Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirate.
 
 
It is ironical that the same man that laid the foundation for the present decay of Aba municipality under his watch as governor is the same man shouting blue murder against Gov Orji, who has carried out a lot of interventions to reclaim the city, preparatory to its holistic reconstruction.
 
 
Under OUK Aba ceased to have pipe-borne water. Other infrastructures like electricity that existed before he found himself in the apex political seat of the state were neglected. Certainly, Aba was worse under OUK. Roads such as: Ohanku, Obohia, East, Azikiwe, Ama Ogbonna, Ama Ikonne, Faulks, School, Clifford, Cameroon, Danfodio, Etche, Ulasi, etc were impassable before he exited in 2007; thus making him one of the most hated political office holders at that time. 
 
 
In fact, the so called holocaust which he and his army of associates and writers claim Aba has relapsed into is totally of his own making. He is the architect of Aba’s infrastructural and social declivity.  If he had done the needful ie laying a strong foundation for a modern Aba that could compete strongly with the modern day Dubai, Shanghai, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, etc which Aba was their industrial and economic prelude, what would have laid at the bosom of the present administration under TA Orji would have been to consolidate on the foundation already laid and work would then start from there.
 
 
Even as he was not doing anything towards the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Aba which he and his paid writers are describing as hell on earth; as one of the worst cities on earth, OUK, through his aggressive diatribes against Aso Rock frustrated federal government’s intervention on Aba or the entire Abia State. His regular vitriolic jabs against the federal authorities denied not only Aba but Abia its due share of the central government’s largesse.
 
 
Has he forgotten how he made Abia a pariah state; a state where no investor or any serious national or international economic player could do business? Until Ochendo entered the arena, Abia was out of the circle; groping in the dark, isolated and treated as a leprous victim. Even though, Aba has not yet been placed on the pedestal of infrastructural bliss, a foundation is being laid to make the city to follow the foot paths of cities of Asia earlier mentioned in this piece.
 
 
Ochendo’s administration has consistently rehabilitated federal roads in the city like Aba-Owerri road, Ikot Ekpene road, Azumini road, Port Harcourt road, Aba axis of Enugu- Port Harcourt expressway, without the central government giving it a dime. Presently, the government has set up another intervention task force led by the Commissioner for Works, Longman Nwachukwu and made up of crack team from the Ochendo’s cabinet, prominent and non partisan Aba residents, captains of industry and civil engineers to once more rehabilitate the federal roads in the city following the subsiding of the rains. The work done so far by the task force has been exceptional.
 
 
Indeed, the intervention on Aba has been tremendous; if not for the lifeline thrown to it by the Ochendo’s administration, Aba, would have been weighed down by the neglect of the past. The system of refuse disposal there has been outstanding; never mind some of the manipulated pictures being bandied about by the opposition camp.   
 
 
However, like every other institution or city that is been started anew, the residents of the city has to endure some adversities. Everything has to start anew. The roads and other infrastructures will not have to be built overnight. It has to endure. What matters is the laying of the foundation. If Gov Orji, after laying a solid foundation for the reconstruction of Abia State does not have the time to start the proper reconstruction then the government after him will take off the gauntlet and do the needful.
 
 
But as for now kudos should be given to him for elevating and placing this state on the track of socio-economic recovery. He has laid the solid and quality infrastructural foundation which the government after him will find it easy work on and achieve decisive result that will be of immense benefit to Ndi Abia in particular and Nigeria as a whole. Abians are waiting for the person that will combine the dreams and forthrightness of Dr Michael Okpara; the resilience and accomplishment of Dee Sam Mbakwe, the vision and exploits of Chief TA Orji to take over from Ochendo.
 
 
For now, Ochendo has remarkably done well in all sectors. His seven and half years in office are not without concrete legacy projects: chief among them are the upgrade of the civil service, provision of quality education in the state, styling leadership that have compassed a new Abia. His administration has also restored sanity to the polity, empowered the women and youth as well as provided the road map for the much sought after Igbo unity and renaissance. No wonder he was elected as Chairman, South East Governors’ Forum (SEGF) and recently conferred with a national award of Commander, Order of the Niger (CON).  
 
Uche Nwosu reports.
 
*Photo Caption - Orji Uzor Kalu 
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Ikechukwu Enyiagu reports ] - What a story! What a thought! The moment it entered into me I knew God was saying something again. Samuel and Saul, so it came. Why Samuel? And why Saul? We know they were both great men in their time but it's really much more; there was a relationship - a relationship birthed in love for God's word and from a passion to deliver the people.

Before we forget, prophet Samuel was begotten in faith by his mother Hannah and his father Elkannah after a period of groaning and desires. He, as his mother promised in pain and gratitude, had to grow up with prophet Eli's children; every christian and every history scholar have studied the three sons of Eli.  Before I digress unintentionally, I only want to point out that it was through the young man Samuel who later became prophet to all that Saul got his kingly scepter. But he derailed. Therefore, through the same Samuel, the same Saul was brought back below himself - even yet below.
 
Having said enough, I implore, yet again, my brothers and sisters in positions of authority and responsibility to understand that God values accountability so much also. My God can give you anything. But He owns all and when His anger is aroused by your pride and foolishness, He will be there to take even the least from you. Be warned! Stand straight! Stand aside!
 
Ikechukwu Enyiagu ( Email: ike.enyiagu@gmail.com ) reports.
 
*Photo Caption - Christian Symbol

[ Masterweb Reports: Godwin Adindu reports ] - The former governor of Abia State, Mr. Orji Uzor Kalu is obviously angry. There is real bitterness in his heart. There is frustration all over him and this is clearly evident in his seminal writings. His ghosted writings, published under the   Leadership Series in The Sun daily tabloid is scribbled with malicious ink and inspired by the estranged wife of Muse, the goddess of vengeance.  There is fury in every line. There is murderous hatred. There is war.
 
The compilation, no doubt, is a good masterpiece of intellectual thuggery.  I have read through all the series and they inspire me as a great narrative device, showcasing a knack for translating anger and frustration into a literary flow. The narrative pattern is superb, a great example of how to transmute emotional tantrum   and unguarded ranting   into a sentence structure; how to fume and   be temperamental with the pen. Readers of his fictional narrative marvel at his extraordinary capacity for vengeful journalism, a tradition of turning words into pellets and destructive missiles; of unleashing mayhem, not with arms and bayonets, but with the written word.
 
If you consider that Kalu did not train in literary studies, then you must give him a prize and a crown for inventing this unique   style of literary anger and adding to the world of scholarship. Many of us, even with our litany of degrees, have not brought anything to the body of knowledge. But, here is a man with a controversial certificate, unlearned in  the art of the word, setting the pace and blazing the trail in developing a genre of writing and communication.  In communicating a deep inner anger and an outer frustration with a flowing prose, all directed against Governor Theodore Orji,  Kalu  has broken a record in the history of  Nigerian journalism.
 
Indeed, we must commend this business mogul for being an expert in tattered verse. For a whole season, the Leadership Series  and the entire pages of The Sunhave been directed  towards  attacking  the ebullient Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State. The literary attack has moved from malicious criticism to open warfare against  Abia State. And what is Governor Theodore Orji’s offence? His bold and audacious action of liberating Abia from the stranglehold of a family dynasty where Kalu is the grand emperor.  The people’s offence is that they rejected their captivity and joined Governor Orji in the grand match to freedom. 
 
The cardinal aim of vengeful journalism as displayed by Kalu is character assassination and to instigate hate. But, the tragedy of his writings and his mission is that history already foreshadows his background and the standpoint from where he is coming from. His readers are in full knowledge of the history, circumstances and setting of his work and the reason that inspires his venom. They know that the writings are not shaped by objectivity but merely the desperation of a disgruntled fellow. His reputation of deceit and tyranny resonate over the message. Therefore, the enduring and universal appeal of the writings serves only as a reminder of a political relationship toured sour and of a lonely and deserted man struggling to cut a pound of flesh.
 
Kalu, by this sheer poetic irony, inadvertently exalts the object of his literary malice. His daily tabloid, The Sun, has so much been unleashed against Governor Orji and the good people of Abia State that rational observers quickly know that theirs is no more about journalism but a clear mission of mischief. Literary historians following the trajectory of a predecessor and a successor and recognizing the transformations that have come to Abia by virtue of the liberation know that Kalu’s vengeful journalism is the last-ditch struggle of a drowning man. Therefore, the object of his criticism, Governor Orji, is instantly and universally recognized as the hero who tamed the mythological monster of traditional folklore.
 
What then is Kalu’s anger? Kalu’s anger is the same well known anger of all tyrants in history whose kingdoms are overthrown and crumbled by the very structures established by them. It is the same angry frustration of the ousted emperor who sits back in exile, full of regret and scruple,  and watch his empire grow and triumph above him and without him.  Kalu is shocked by the spontaneity of the people’s rejection of him. Kalu is angry because the collective patrimony of the six million Abians is no more being used to service his home and his family. He cannot come to terms with the fact that he could be condemned to political limbo in a state he once bestrode as a colossus.
 
The humoured master strategist is angry because his boast that the  structures he  institutionalized  would rule Abia for 50 years and that his daughter was going to be the youngest governor in Nigeria can no more prevail.  Kalu’s anger against his predecessor is rooted in Governor Orji’s ardent determination to wrestle Abia out of the stranglehold of the dangerous cult of brotherhood headed by one family. He is angry because he  has been stripped naked at the market square. The once enfant terrible of Abia has been de-robed. All the simulations that created the Kalu mystique have been unveiled. He is today a loner, denigrated and deflowered. He is as lonely as an orphan, abandoned by even his greatest die-hard followers. Thus,his battle is the ruthless struggle of the python hit on the head. Every grass, plant or the wild around bear witness to the fury of a python in its  battle of life and death.
 
In the days of his pomp and power, Kalu  and his mother were the very personification of power in Abia. For the eight years of his reign and the first three years of his successor, the master strategist held the state by the jugular. From the leadership of the Okada Riders Association, traditional rulers, market associations, clergy  to every political appointment from local government councilors to even the aides of his successor, he held a suffocating grip on the state. Power started and ended at his doorstep. Now, he cannot reconcile himself with  the bitter lesson of the aphrodisiac of power. The self-acclaimed master strategist is now a wandering minstrel, with no political worth or value.
 
This is, unarguably,  Kalu’s anger translated into an awkward  literary narrative.
 
Adindu, President-General, Abia Renaissance Movement (ARM) reports.
 
*Photo Caption - Chief Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu
 
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Alozie Reports ] - I am an addict of the Sun Newspaper thrilled greatly by the crime reporting and crime columns but it is now impossible to read The Sun without being insulted collaterally from the pile of insults on other people.

On page 50 of The Daily Sun Wednesday, October 8, one Edwin Nwankwo reacted to an interview granted to the Guardian by Mr. Cosmos Ndukwe, the Chief of Staff to Governor Orji. That may not be my problem as Chief T. A. Orji has enough hands to protect him but I am bothered when the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his wife are libelously profiled.

Read the following quotes: “the moment president Goodluck Jonathan made a mortal misjudgment of giving a national honour to the worst Governor in the  country……..when the bestowment still had credibility and public
regard…….. Lately the award list wears the garb of controversy……On what
ground will Governor Orji be entitled to such a privilege if not for his
wife’s adumbrated familiarity with the First Lady and by extrapolation
their husbands? If not that the award has become a dispensing of
presidential favours to acolytes and other emotive beneficiaries, like
Governor Orji, what criteria would have qualified him?.......beyond the
misplaced conferment of a national award to the worst governor in the
world, in terms of good governance, do most Nigerians still attach any
importance to the yearly rituals?....... This is buttressed by the
serial rejection of the award by the late Prof. Chinua Achebe and other
illustrious citizens, including Prof. Wole Soyinka…..For now, so much on
this easily perceptible presidential gaffe. Which was conceived,
single-handed, by Dame Patience and optimally dummied to the summit.”

All the above are profanities on the president and his family. Is this right? The National Merit Award is a made-in Nigeria award and should not be denigrated by us. If any of our citizens had any cause to reject it that’s personal. It is enough to negatively profile the President and his amiable wife. This is a direct affront on the leader of Nigeria. That one has opted to serve is not enough reason to be so
berated. At least one’s family should be spared these vile words. Such should be condemned by all.

Taking a legal action by the Presidential legal team may not be too much of an action. Doyin -Okupe and Reuben Abati have a job to do.

The continuous attack on his Excellency Chief T A Orji is a known pastime of the Sun group. One day they will meet their match. Nwankwo got it completely wrong when he wrote that Kalu had long been awarded with the national honour. I advise him to crosscheck. Kalu had an MON which one of his aides claimed was Madu Oha Nile, in fact a serious corruption of the national honour of MON. People should watch their
mouths. Freedom of speech is not freedom to insult.

Alozie reports Aba, Abia State.
 
*Photo Caption - Seal of The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the official symbol of the Nigerian President, first used in 1979 by President Shehu Shagari.
 

[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - On Wednesday, the 24th of September, 2014, my friend, an Anglican Pastor, called and drew my attention to what Dr. Chris Ngige wrote in the day’s Guardian. I was away in USA. “Why must that man be full of falsehoods? I think a rejoinder would counter his efforts to mislead the gullible public”, he reasoned. My immediate reaction was to echo the words of the wise one that God gave us eyes in front to enable us look forward and not backwards. But Ngige, whose attainments to public offices have remained by default, would not stop at anything to court relevance; even when such obsession further exposes his underbelly. I say this because as far as Anambra people are concerned, Dr. Chris Ngige is  has become a piece of antigue fit for the museum,  a  past phenomenon in the politics of the state, despite his peripheral seat-warming in the Senate, and the honour of a rejoinder will surely serve his purpose. But more calls from respected leaders of our people cutting across the divides of religion opined that rational reason should be made to prevail over flowery irrationality, in the interest of posterity and for the health of our society.
 
 
Ngige who seeks to be more Catholic than the Pontiff has some posers from the bishopric realm of the Anglican Communion who insisted I must put the records straight: ‘Did Ngige return our schools to us? Did he show any interest in the people’s healthcare? Did he touch our hospitals even with a long pole? Ngige should please be asked to spare the Anglican Communion treacherous politics. While we insist on fair treatment from government, we least want such hogwash as the Senator presents. Or has he forgotten that he was here once? Ngige should be told that Peter Obi has reached some of us on the crisis in Nkwelle Ezunaka and appealed for peaceful settlement. Somebody should please tell Ngige that it is vain to stoke the fire of divisive politics among our people and that by his article sought to achieve just that. We have not forgotten his lethargy in defending our people when they suffered repatriation from Lagos.’ This submission from the clergy summarized Dr. Chris Ngige’s newfound perfidious tongue. But for the need for a little more elaboration, I would have simply rested my case.  
 
 
In the article under reference, Dr. Chris Ngige’s case against the demolition of an Anglican Church provided a mere platform for his unprovoked vituperations against the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi. In Ngige’s deliberate mischief, he said that Obi built Next Shopping Mall at Abuja as a Governor.  He bothered less about a bigger edifice in Lagos which preceded the Abuja Mall the construction of which started well before Obi became a Governor. Ngige would not observe that before Obi became Governor, he (Obi) was the Chairman of many quoted companies, including  banks, among other privileged financial positions. Ngige sounded disappointed that NEXT thrived instead of going under while Obi was Governor? Obi was simply Ngige’s target who must be hacked down howsoever. Dr. Ngige has no need to begrudge Mr. Obi his profile which has continued to be on the ascent. Accolades that endure are hard-earned and Obi’s stewardship as Governor in Anambra State only afforded him the opportunity to further express himself in terms of functional service to man and God.
 
 
When he was asked about his own stewardship during governorship debate, Ngige, not knowing what to say, told the amused audience that he used it to build toilets, when the likes of Hon. Uche Ekwunife built roads-  good tarred roads – in the towns in her constituency.
 
 
The irony of the article is that while it made its rounds here, Mr. Peter Obi was in faraway New York, where he was invited to speak at a side event to the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, with many Heads of State in attendance. Obi was invited because of how he adopted the Millennium Development Goals and used it to transform Anambra State. Some distinguished Nigerians in that audience included the John Cardinal Onaiyekan, representing Catholic Bishops of West Africa; the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu; the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs,), Dr. Precious Gbeneol, among others. This was the same reason the World Bank commissioned education experts led by Prof. Paul  Colliers of Oxford University to study Obi’s education revolution - they eventually recommended Obi’s formula to other countries. Is it not ridiculous that while the world was in New York celebrating a man of great ideas and will, few fellows wish him circumscribed in Anambra State for banters that do not add value to any life. Such waste is abhorrent! If Ngige does not know that Obi has moved on, somebody should please drum it into his ears.
 
 
In Ngige’s usual, childish and mischievous best, he wrote that Obi neglected other religions in Anambra.  As a Governor, Obi went into strategic collaboration with the Church and released Billions of Naira to them to rehabilitate their decayed infrastructure. In his usual spirit of fairness, the money was shared in proportion to the number of schools owned by each Church. Today, the schools Obi returned to the Churches, Catholic and Anglican, have all been rehabilitated. There is no synod of the Anglican Church in the East Obi has not attended this year or sent a representative. He also gave them money to start micro credit. He does this inconspicuously – no fanfares. As election approaches, Ngige who rarely visits any Anglican-owned institution will now jump out vote-chasing to start visiting them with pretences of love. He will write more offensive article in mock defence of his ineptitude. 
 
 
I am aware that today Anambra people, irrespective of their religious convictions, are happy with Obi and what he did. While Ngige engages in tantrums, hear what Anglican Bishops feel about former Governor Obi. His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Christian Efobi, Archbishop, Province on the Niger, referring to Obi resorted to a biblical quote: “When the righteous are on the throne, the people rejoice.” For the Anglican Bishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Dr. Owen Nwokolo, “What Anambra is witnessing under Obi is a revolution, the likes of which the State had not witnessed in the past.” According to Bishop Ephraim Ikeakor of Amichi Diocese, “Obi has done very well. His return of school to the Churches has made the difference in education. His collaboration with the Church is yielding fruits. Any person who says he has not done well is a blatant liar.” The Anglican Bishop of Ihiala, Most Rev. Dr. Raphael Okafor, during the first session of the Second Synod of the Diocese at St. Andrew Church, Lilu said: “His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON,  the former Governor of Anambra State will always be celebrated in the State. We cannot forget him and his Government, which was a Golden Era in this State which we hope will continue.” At St. John’s Anglican Church, Umueze-Anam, while presenting an award to Obi, the Diocesan Bishop and Synod President, Rt. Rev. Dr. Henry Okeke, said “the award became expedient given that it was the last Obi would attend our synod as governor. He is a friend of the Diocese and he is being honoured in recognition of his contribution towards the success of the Diocese since inception as well as the development of Anambra West as a whole.”  At the 1st Session of the 29th Synod of Anglican Diocese on the Niger at St. Thomas Church, Oraukwu, the Bishop of the Diocese, Right Reverend Professor Godwin Okpala said, “ I thank Mr. Peter Obi  whole-heartedly  for always identifying with affairs of the Church. God will continue to bless and uplift him for transforming the entire State. He has set a standard others will strive to emulate.”  The Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Niger West, Rt Revd Prof Anthony Nkwoka at Archbishop Patterson's Seminary,  Igbariam said this of Obi: “We shall remain prayerful at all times for  God to give the State a Governor that will be like Gov. Peter Obi when his tenure expires. I have followed the Governor's politics over the years and see in him essential godliness that is absent among Nigerian politicians. By returning schools to the missions with sincere apologies and providing funds for their rehabilitation, Obi has left an indelible legacy for generations unborn." In his own remarks about Obi, the Anglican Bishop of Awka, Rev Alexander Ibezim during his visit to Comprehensive Secondary School, Nawfia  said:  “ development under Peter Obi in all sectors, especially education is marvellous. I pity those that will come after him as it will be difficult for them meeting up with the standards Governor Peter Obi has set. Obi’s example in governance is worthy of emulation for building institutions, unlike the past governors of the state that built individuals.”
 
 
One wonders therefore which church and which state Ngige had in mind in his bland fiction. With the Bishops’ verdict on Obi, what more case do I need to make?
 
 
Ngige raised the issue of N250 and wrote that “Ironically, a majority of media persons he (Obi) uses for image laundering are Yoruba journalists.”  Ngige made no point except taking us into the secret of his game – using journalists for laundering his image! Is this not a blanket insult on Nigeria journalists? This is in sync with his planting people at occasions he attends so that they will shout Onwa! on his appearances. I mean, at his age, he is supposed to have overgrown some tendencies, but the contrary is the case.
 
 
Or could Ngige’s write up be borne out of Supreme Court induced frustration; having lost the final and last round of  battle for the governorship of Anambra State to Gov. Willie Obiano at the Supreme Court.
 
 
Ngige loves prancing all over the place bragging of being a knight of the Holy Catholic Church.  A knight who signed abortion bill into law? A knight who manhandled a Rev. Father at Nanka? A knight who was not on speaking term with his father and wife?  A knight whose sister was convicted in the USA for misappropriation of funds traceable to him? And he has chosen to ignore Obi’s Papal Knighthood conferred on Obi by the Pope himself in recognition of his exemplary witnessing in public office?  Obi does not have to flaunt it. Knights are defenders of the Church and not show-masters.
 
 
Service is a vocation reserved for the serious minded, and Obi’s brand of service is such the multiplier effects of which will continue to inform a better Anambra State and indeed better society. A wise man who seeks to advance takes stock of his acts and decides what load to shade to lighten up for the discipline that growth  extracts from admirers of great heights. If Ngige seeks growth therefore, it is time he dropped mischief and his many other untoward acts that tug on his wishes and limit him always, else he diminishes to nothing.  
 
 
Obienyem reports from Awka, Anambra State.
 
 
*Photo Caption - Dr. Chris Ngige   

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance: Onitsha Nigeria, 4th October, 2014)-On 14th February, 2014, the leadership of our organization (International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law) issued a public statement titled “Processes of Filing and Determining Election Petitions’ Matters in Nigeria & Public Expectations from the Anambra State Governorship Election Poll Courts”. In the said statement, we not only pointed and cited relevant provisions relating to the foregoing in both the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011 and the Electoral Act of the Federation of 2010, but also concluded that issues canvassed by the opponent’s parties cannot judicially upturned the declaration of Mr. Willie Obiano as the duly elected governor of Anambra State by the Independent National Electoral Commission. Two topical issues for judicial determination were: Whether the Anambra Governorship poll of November 16, 2013 and its supplementary of November 30 were conducted in substantial compliance with the Electoral Act of 2010 and whether Mr. Willie Obiano was involved, in the eyes of the law, in double or multiple voter registration.

 Our submission then, having investigated the alleged double or multiple voter registration and duly followed and monitored the poll was that he was not involved in any more than one voter registration and that instead he carried out a voter transfer exercise in line with Section 13 (1-4) of the Electoral Act of 2010. We also held that the conduct of the polls under reference was in substantial compliance with the said Electoral Act and that other intervening factors like voter apathy and administrative challenges like missing names and sharp practices of few INEC staffs like in Idemmili North incident; did not amount to “non-substantial compliance with the Electoral Act of 2010” warranting the nullification of the poll. We pointed out that the challenges above cited are like “orbiter dicta” that should be addressed administratively and demographically. We refrained from further public comments or statements so as  not to stampede and distract the three-stage poll court and to allow parties concerned level playing grounds to canvass their opinions no matter how silly or germane in the eyes of the law.

In line with all our submissions under reference, on Wednesday, June 4, 2014, the Anambra State Governorship Poll Tribunal delivered the first verdict and held unanimously that Mr. Willie Obiano was duly elected and that he was never involved in double or multiple voter registration. By Section 285 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended in 2011, the original jurisdiction with respect to filing and determining governorship poll dispute matters is conferred on the “Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal”.  Mr. Obiano’s opponents got dissatisfied with respect to the said verdict and filed appeals at the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal in line with Section 246 (1) (c) of the Constitution and on Friday, July 25, 2014, the Appeal Court presided over by Hon. Justice Mohammed Garba Lawal and his colleagues affirmed unanimously the decision of the lower poll court or tribunal. Dissatisfied again, Mr. Obiano’s opponents appealed to the Supreme Court of Nigeria in line with Section 233 (2) (iv) of the Constitution and on Monday, 22nd September, 2014, the Apex Court re-affirmed the grand decisions of the two lower courts and finally put to rest the matter under contention.

We still deem it necessary to commend and thank all the parties to the Anambra State poll of 2013 and its post poll dispute settlement. Those deserving our commendation include the camps that lost and those that won; the immediate past government in the State, the security agencies, the INEC, the Anambra based rights community and Hon Justices Ishaq Bello and his colleagues at the Tribunal, Mohammed Garba Lawal and his colleagues at the Enugu Appeal Court and Banyang Akaas and his colleagues at the Apex Court. It is our firm call on INEC to address the lapses observed during the poll such as missing names, non deletion of the previous data of voters who successfully applied for transfer of their voters’ cards and polling units, recruitment of rotten and compromise prone staffs as well as card carrying politicians.

Another area to be addressed is the issue of voter apathy. That only 442,000 people voted in the said poll out of total registered voters of 1,784, 536 is not a good development. It is also a big minus to popular participation in governance and a serious setback to the promotion and sustenance of the universal adult suffrage. A way should be found by relevant stakeholders to ensure tremendous improvement in voter participation. Effective voter review and revalidation exercise should be carried out from time to time so as to clean up stuffed and imported names that swell the numbers in the register, while more efforts are needed to capture more unregistered voters.

Beyond Poll Court Victories: Governor Willie Obiano now has full concentration to embark upon maximum delivery of his and his party’s programs and campaign promises to the people of the State. His “3Cs” (Continuation, Completion and Commission) should not only be consolidated, but also be expanded to “4Cs +S” (Continuation, Completion, Commission, Commencement & Sustainability). Having being exposed to and tasted “good governance” after many years of mis-governance and under-development, the residents and people of Anambra State are yearning for more inexcusably. All hands should be on deck to ensure continuation of massive development of the State. The two major challenges facing the Governor remain positive resources mobilization and governance accountability and prudency including minimizing the cost of governance.

Internally, the Governor has to frontally address the menace of the “third party” that has become a major clog in the capacity of the State to harness its internal revenue potentials. It is still observed that the IGR potentials in the State are marred by duplicity, recklessness, touting, thuggery, diversion, favourism and subsistent generation that still make over 70% unaccounted for. Scientific inventory, harmonization and consolidation remain their major solutions. The people of Anambra State remain opposed to negative fiscal or resource mobilization such as local capital bond raising or borrowings as well as foreign borrowings. The State cannot afford to find itself belonging to disastrous local and foreign sub-national debts club in Nigeria under the leadership of Lagos State, which has over N400billion debts stocks in place. We still preach for zero-debts regime in the State and remain totally opposed to recurrent expenditures bound debts borrowing whether locally or internationally sourced.

Governance prudency is another key area the Obiano administration should cue into. The Governor should avoid running “government of political settlement or patronage”. This is because governance belongs to every Tom, Dick and Harry and not small political class alone. Over-bloated or bloated cabinet size is a total distraction to the smooth and effective running of governance and constitutes serious impediment to the overall interest and wellbeing of the generality of the people. The Governor should take a second look at his cabinet size and if it looks like an assemblage of “Onitsha Main Market Traders on Solidarity Visit at the Governor’s Lodge”, then it has to be drastically trimmed in any forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. High cost of governance is a major impediment to economic growth and development in Nigeria. It takes away monies direly needed to touch the lives of 95% of Nigerians in terms of provisions of social amenities and sustenance of key public infrastructures.

Another issue that is very critical to the success of Obiano’s administration is his relationship with the person, character and charisma of his predecessor, Mr. Gregory Peter Onwubuashi Obi, likewise his relationship with local and international development partners and the Federal Government. While he is advised to avoid the likes of World Bank and IMF in the area of fiscal negotiations that breed “structural violence” such as loan borrowing; he should cue into other public friendly packages of such international fiscal groups like development grants and credit facilities.
Core conditions required for our beloved State to be eligible to benefit from their development largesse such as transparency and accountability should be met. Governor Obiano should ignore those planting seeds of discord between him and Mr. Peter Obi and relate harmoniously with him to consolidate the development of the State. Our beloved State under their governance and influences is in dire of more development, which must not be harmful to our environment, collective wellbeing and commonwealth.

Continuity brings about team work, collective achievement and writing of the collective achievers names in gold and their preservation in the hall of fame. During Obi’s time, he continued all that his poll crooked predecessor left uncompleted and got them completed before awarding new ones, which he substantially completed leaving the remainder in Obiano’s hands. On the other hand, Mr. Peter Obi is called upon not to abandon his successor and the great people of Anambra State. This is because no man in his right senses can build a legacy and leave it in ruination. For it is better not to build a legacy at all than to build one and leave it in tatters. With the combined efforts of Obi and Obiano, trailers load of positive capitals will continuously flow into our beloved State for its mega socio-economic transformation from left, right and center.

While we observe a drastic reduction in the high incidence of violent crimes in the State such as abduction and armed robbery, which is very commendable; we still note the prevalence of torture and pretrial killings in handling suspects. While circumstantial suspects pass through torture and other horrible conditions in the course of criminal investigation procession, those considered as “point blank” suspects or those reportedly caught in the act are usually meted with pretrial execution except those with high profile cases. The use of intelligence in tracking the high profile suspects has also improved and has reduced the incidence of indiscriminate arrests and detention. While the efforts of the State Government in taming the killer scourge of violent crimes are noted and appreciated, the civil liberties of  all kinds of suspects should also be recognized and protected at all times.
 
Signed:
 
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
+2348100755939+2348100755939 (office only)
info@intersociety-ng.org, emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk

Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
 
*Photo Caption - Governor Willie Obiano 

[ Masterweb Reports: Theophilus Ilevbare reports ] - Just when we were coming to terms with the precipitous foray to the political scene of some entertainers like Gongo Aso crooner, Abolore Akande popularly known as 9ice, gospel singer, Kenny Saint Best and actor, Desmond Elliot, all of whom have in recent time declared their political ambition and aligned themselves with political parties, Tony Tetuila (reals names, Anthony Olarenwaju) has quickly joined the burgeoning list of Nigerian artistes vying for elective positions in next year’s general election. Even if the joke sounds too expensive and only himself believes it, popular stand-up comedian, Julius Agwu, thinks he can become the next governor of Rivers state. The list of intending artiste-politicians keeps growing as the bandwagon syndrome catches up with more of them. Before the end of the year, more artistes will throw their hat in the ring.
 
Before now, some entertainers have already delved into the murky waters of Nigeria’s politics. Tony Muonagor (aka Tony One Week), in 2011, rode on the back of his popularity to win a seat at Anambra state House of Assembly, making history as the first Nigerian entertainer to win an elective position. Should 9ice fulfill his claim, he will follow in the footsteps of Rotimi Makinde, who was elected into the House of Representatives in 2011 to represent Ife Federal Constituency. And like every other Nigerian politician, Makinde is interested in seeking re-election. Bob-Manuel Udokwu, Senior Special Adviser on movies/entertainment industry to former governor of Anambra, Peter Obi, retained the post after Governor Willie Obiano came into office. Udokwu seem not to be content with a political appointment, he is now gunning for the Anambra state House of Assembly to represent Idemili north constituency. Sir Victor Uwaifo, famed highlife musician, was Commissioner of Tourism and Culture twice in Edo state. Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha, appointed Nkiru Sylvanus as Special Assistant on Lagos Affairs. Kanayo O. Kanayo was recently announced as the Chairman of the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Studies, a new body that oversees the Nigerian Toursim industry. Several Nollywood actresses like Onyeka Onwenu, Hilda Dokubo, Actors like; Dickson Iroegbu, Sam Dede and Richard Mofe Damijo, have all bagged various political appointments between 2011 and now.
 
This latest fad among entertainers has sharply divided Nigerians especially on social media with many claiming they have joined politics for pecuniary reasons. These artistes have argued that elsewhere entertainers have made a success of their political foray citing notable instances like Arnold Schwarzenegger, two term Governor of California and Ronald Reagan, former President of the United States, as examples of actors who ventured into politics. However, they failed to add that both men joined politics at the pick of their careers in a democracy where the President of the world’s most powerful country earns less than a Senator of the federal republic of Nigeria! The debate for a drastic reduction in salaries and allowances of Nigerian politicians to serve as a disincentive to pretenders masquerading as aspiring political leaders, has once again, gained traction.
 
Unlike the American actors highlighted above, most Nigerians think these entertainers could be drifting to politics in a bid to arrest their nose-diving careers, a last ditch attempt to bounce back to relevance. Or could it be that the wealth acquired from the entertainment industry is less fulfilling than what political offices have to offer? Is their ambition borne out of a genuine intention to serve the people or an attraction to the stupendous wealth and power political office holders wield? Unlike the Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti whose songs and lifestyle resonated the streets, this new crop of entertainers seldom compose music with such lyrical content or act movies that speaks truth to power and trumpet the change they seek to effect through the ballot. How many of them have been arrested for demanding accountability and transparency from the present government through their roles in the entertainment industry? What gives them the impression that they can effect change in ways 'regular' politicians can’t? In what way have they given back to the society that made them stars? What makes us think they will act differently as politicians? How have they demonstrated that they can bring the much needed changed by redefining leadership when a good number of them have not previously garnered or exhibited any sterling leadership qualities at any level, not even from the entertainment industry they're hibernating from. These are people whose businesses and daily lives are even managed by Managers! A few could not even manage their marital lives; they’re still single after going through divorce(s). How can the welfare and lives of millions of Nigerians be entrusted to persons with credibility issues of scandals ranging from relationship to behavioural? Nigeria is in dire straits and in need of astute, shrewd and intellectual leadership. Technocrats, not entertainers thought of by many, as people not to be taken seriously, especially in matters political. Moreover, what is their political ideology? Can it move the country forward? I doubt if their ‘brand of politics’ is sellable because there are a lot of question marks over their competence. Without necessarily venturing into politics, they can make more impact and inspire change from within the entertainment industry they already find themselves, with the their music, like late Fela, and right from the movie scripts to the roles they act.
 
Political fans and entertainment fans are different. Their popularity in music arena should not be misinterpreted as acceptance by the general public. Showbiz and politics are two worlds apart. The hope of riding on the crest of that popularity to occupy elective political office might be fantasy, after all. They should not attempt to exaggerate their fame.
 
The present crop of politicians have failed us but entertainers, without a clear ideology of what political leadership entails, moving in droves in their direction is the last thing we want. Their political participation is not about themselves but about the rest of us because it determines the welfare of many Nigerians.
 
At a time we're trying to arrest the tragedy of leadership failure and breaking the vicious circle of leadership bankruptcy, we cannot allow the system to throw up more of such ‘leaders’ who obviously lack a clear vision of what political leadership is all about. We’ve had enough drama in the political scene already; the least we want is for Nollywood to add to it. The country needs true leaders who have prepared themselves adequately to take up leadership positions.
 
Cynics doubt if these artistes can clinch their party's ticket. Can they survive the intrigues and stormy internal politics of power and raw cash? Will these political parties shove aside loyal party members and chieftains for ebbing celebrities? Are they seemingly hoping to be game changers by ‘settlement’ with political appointments?
 
It is too early to say categorically, how far they can go, as it remains to be seen if they will get their party’s nod considering the ever-slippery and tricky game of Nigerian politics where political juggernauts and gladiators are sometimes beaten to their game.
 
Theophilus Ilevbare ( Email: tilevbare@hotmail.com ) reports.
 
*Photo Caption - As seen.

 
[ Masterweb Reports: Patrick Okpomu ] - The mark and traits of a good leader whether in the home, community or the nation at large can only be quantified by the measure of what the said leader was able to do in order to better the lots of the people he leads.
 
 
The country’s moral condition keeps slipping to critical level of disorder there by making nonsense of the eruption in religious piety. Our problems are attitudinal and spiritual, and until we change our attitude our problems will not be solved. We are in a trouble world, where so many things are wrong and there is no way our leaders can perform magic because they are human. There are troubles here and there, the global economic conundrum, the Middle East crisis, and even the Continent of Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria have been threatened by the deadly Ebola Virus Disease, terrorism and insurgency by the Boko Haram group in northern Nigeria whose activities could best be described as a “catastrophic epitome of gross misconduct” have become a thorn in the flesh of our leaders.
 
 
Today with a heavy heart of concern and deep pain of regrets from the hearts of all men and woman of conscience, we make bold to say we are in a very pathetic situation. We have descended to an abysmal level of illogic, glorifying corrupt people and celebrating absurdity.
 
 
Taking a cursory look at the declining state of things, we discover that in the past we have imposed rulers indebted to those who imposed them. Such Nations can never move forward as long as they continue to have leaders who feel highly indebted to perilous importers, unscrupulous oil smugglers, corrupt bankers, dubious industrialists, religious bigots commission agents and other sadistic bourgeoisies who are economic predators of our collective national heritage, whereby the citizens are politically marginalized, economically bastardized, socially peripheralized and even in the threshold of being spiritually traumatized.
 
 
Regrettably, such nations hope of overcoming poverty, hunger, unemployment, wars, terrorism etc, through the so called economic and political reforms-micro and macro economic formulas, devolution of power from unipolar to multipolar global power structure in the United Nations have all crashed due to difficulty in accessing funds in the world financial institutions, lack of viable projects, wrong conceptualization, economic neo-colonialism, world power exploits, world power/third world dichotomy, poor feasibility studies, dearth of infrastructures, corruption, insincerity of purpose e.t.c.
 
 
So while we rest to meditate on the declining state of things, with such a prognosis in mind, I can only urge that we purpose to do things that will restore our dignity and respect as God’s people in the eyes of the Almighty in our political, economic, social and religious milieu. Though, we urge Government officials and those in privileged positions of authority to deliver the dividends of democracy rather than personal enrichment.  The tendency of sabotaging government’s good intentions in delivering the dividends of democracy and working for the common good and peaceful co-existence of the country is unwarranted. Insurgency is the next thing that sits close to the devil and has denied the nation laudable developmental projects. It is human beings that make a country great but not natural resources. Japan and Germany have no oil. These advance countries utilized what they were naturally endowed with to develop. Whatever you want in this world; you get it in these countries.
 

Investigations, research and nationwide consultations carried out by INITIATIVE OF NATIONAL REBIRTH in the analysis of operating principles of governments, have rated the NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION AGENDA of the current administration high and thus be adopted as a policy and regulatory framework, though with slight modifications to conform with current realities of our local environment.
 
 
As a corollary therefore, we make bold to say that President Goodluck Jonathan has performed and is still performing admirably and creditably well in restoring and consolidating political, economic and social stability in the country against all odds.
 
 
At this stage in Nigeria’s history, President Jonathan’s interest in a second term and Nigeria’s interest in the continued existence of the country have become coterminous.
 

The truth of the matter is that opposing president Jonathan’s second term is like opposing the continued existence of Nigeria as one united country.
 

We urge fellow compatriots to rise up against this anti–Nigerian phenomenon. There is no alternative to a united Nigeria where every Nigerian irrespective of place, religious or tribe will have equal opportunities. As the 2015 general elections draw near, we are aware of certain politicians threatening fire and brimstone to take over power by all means. Beware of such persons, they don’t mean well for the country. “Patriots always talk of dying for their country but never of killing for their country”. ­-Bertrand Russel.
 
 
Also the inauguration of the National Conference by President Goodluck Jonathan on the 17th March, 2014, afforded delegates the opportunity to recalibrate Nigeria in every aspect and took advantage of the discourse to effect national economic, socio-political reformation. And Nigerians were given the opportunity to discuss the NIGERIAN PROJECT and suggest ways to move this potentially great country to the next level in prosperity and harmony. “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority”. –Kenneth Blanchard.
 
 
President Goodluck Jonathan has used his influence and privileged position to listen to the yearnings of the people but not authority to subdue them. “There are three classes of people: Those who see, those who see when they are shown and those who do not see”. –Leonado Da Vinci.
 
 
Which class do you fall into?
Decide what you want today. Now!
 
 
“Procrastination is the thief of time”. -Edward Young.
 
 
I thank you sincerely for the courtesy of your attention.
 
 
God bless you.
 
 
Patrick Okpomu ( Email: initiative4nationalrebirth@yahoo.com ) reports.
 
 
*Photo Caption - As Seen

[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (State Of The Nation, Onitsha Nigeria, 1st October 2014)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wishes to observe that the Federation of Nigeria has remained a failed State 54 years after her independence from clutches of colonialism that commenced in 1861 with the infamous signing of the treaty of cession between then Oba Desomu of Lagos and the representatives of the then British Crown. Coincidentally, year 2014 also marks one hundred years or centenary anniversary of the British formal colonial incursion into Nigeria with the amalgamation of the country in 1914.

Standards to measure failed States have been commonly localized and internationalized. Part of such common index is located in the United Nations’ concept of security called Human Security. The human security concept was an effort to expand or broaden the world view of security, which was traditionally and hitherto seen as “State affair”. In 1994, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) issued a report called “Concept of Human Security”. The Report says “the concept of security has for too long been interpreted narrowly: as security of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interests in foreign policy or as a global security from the threat of a nuclear holocaust. It has been related more to nation-state than people. Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary people. For many of them, security symbolized protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression, and environmental hazards”.

The popular report also named seven essentials of Human Security as “food security, economic security, health security, personal security, community security, environmental security and political security”. The Republic of South Africa, as a result, through its Department of Defense upgraded and expanded its notion of security in 1996. It says “Security is an all-encompassing condition in which individual citizens live in freedom, peace, and safety; to participate fully in the process of governance; enjoy the protection of fundamental rights; have access to resources and the basic necessities of life; and inhabit an environment which is not detrimental to their health and well-being”. Unfortunately and sadly too, the Federation of Nigeria has remained acutely static and crippled 54 years after her glorious independence. Using the above Seven Essentials of Human Security, as our standard of measurement, it is our observation that Nigeria has failed woefully in all of them.

 In Environmental Security, Nigeria is a failed State. Since the infamous and criminal dumping of 4,000 tons of toxic wastes in 1988, which raised the country’s environmental awareness, mountainous threats to the country’s environmental security have dangerously remained unabated. Experts report that desert encroachment, for instance, has resulted to 0.6% kilometers yearly owing to publicly unchecked human activities including deforestation and overpopulation. In other words, desertification has continuously claimed 0.6% kilometers of former fertile and animal species-friendly lands annually in the “frontline States” of Sokoto, Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe and Gombe. Experts say the encroachment has affected between 50% and 75% landmass of the affected States, which also account for 38% of Nigeria’s total landmass. The encroachment carries with it health challenges and acute diseases such as heat-stroke, cerebral-spinal meningitis, severe acute respiratory syndrome and avian flu. It has also caused destruction and death of farmlands, crops and livestock.

In the Eastern part of the country, unchecked deforestation and acute absence of public reforestation policy has washed off soil nutrients, solidity and gums. This has led to incessant soil erosions and flooding and extinction of terrestrial wild life. In the West including Edo and Delta States, over logging without effective regeneration has made the inhabitants and wild lives in the area endangered species. Agricultural production in the area is also acutely threatened.  At the State and national levels, Nigeria’s environment is steadily endangered. There are general problems of deforestation, overpopulation, desertification, urbanization and pollution. The country’s atmospheric environment is filled with greenhouse gases especially carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide. Over 60 million homes and industries in Nigeria still operate fuel and gas-powered generating sets owing to electric power epilepsy.
 The various levels of government in Nigeria have continued to promote and tolerate over motorization, in place of effective and efficient public transport system and policy. On average, each economically stable family has at least five cars. In Anambra State, for instance, the menace of motorization was compounded by the immediate past government with the introduction of over 2000 various brands of new vehicles shared among government appointees, civil servants, traditional rulers and community leaders, women’s groups, security agencies, broadcasting agencies, professional bodies and civil society groups.

Though, this policy and largesse was popularly hailed, but its effects on environmental tranquility and healthiness are very devastating. Cumulative negative effects of these bring huge harms to the country’s environment including human, aquatic, terrestrial and wild lives. The country’s agricultural produce is also in danger. The country’s common greenhouse absorber (plant or green species) is steadily facing extinction. There are also high incidences of water pollution and poor management of human and industrial wastes.  Flooding has become a recurring decimal both in the north, west and east.

In Economic Security, Nigeria is a failed State. Till date, the distribution and utilization of the country’s common or public earnings are grossly uneven. Less than 1% of the population including the country’s 17,500 top public office holders at the local, state and federal levels has continued to pocket over 70% of these earnings in the form of security votes, allowances, overheads and emoluments; while the remaining 174 million Nigerians live in abject penury. Most of the country’s renewable and non-renewable natural resources have remained at the subsistent levels of development. Infrastructural development is at zero level and maintenance culture is totally absent. Nigeria has remained a huge importing country importing most of its human and industrial needs. Its balance of trade and balance of payment have remained acutely negative. Unemployment level has become a toxemia.
Nigeria is also a serial debt borrower both at the state and national levels. In 2006, for instance, the country’s total domestic debts were at N1.8 trillion, but today, it has hit N10 trillion. In the same year, the country’s total foreign debts were at $3.5 billion, but today, they have risen to over $9 billion. At the state level, Lagos State with a land mass of less than 4, 600 square kilometers remains the most indebted State in the country in terms of local and foreign debts with over $1billion and N160 billion respectively.

Most of these debts were borrowed under conditions making their servicing and repayments deeply difficult including high interest rates, hash penalties,  crooked borrowing negotiations and consultancies; and utilization of such loans in non-productive sectors like defense and offsetting of overheads (government running costs) and allowances bills.

In Political Security, Nigeria is a failed State. The country has continued to tailor its governance towards politics of exclusion, domination, violence, segregation, primordialism and nonentity. Most of the country’s 1,695 public elective offices have continued to be peopled by a class of people who are inherently anti masses. Public governance in Nigeria has become a private liability company. Promotion of clannish interests and ethno-religious political sentiments has risen to an apogee. There is a clear-cut regime crisis in Nigeria with the country’s sovereignty under intense steady threat. The country’s secularist politico-legal regime is steadily losing its grip owing to sustained threats by fundamentalist anarchist forces. Today, Nigeria is no longer competing for a space in the world’s seminal club of socio-economic giants; rather, the country now competes with the likes of failed State of Somalia in the globalism of anarchist age.

In Health and Food Securities, Nigeria is a failed State. Despite having one of the world’s naturally endowed agric friendly terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environments, the country has remained a major food importing country. Even palm oil naturally given to the country free of charge by nature; is now being imported from the southeast Asia. Nigeria is so blessed that it is naturally given three agric friendly locations of East/West for growing of yam, oil and cooking vegetable families; Middle-Belt for growing of both North and East/West environmentally friendly crops and North for livestock and beans family crops; yet the country’s food production has remained acutely subsistent. Cases of food acidity are very alarming owing to absence or poor monitoring public regulations and agencies.  In Southeast, croplands are facing extinction owing to threats from urbanization and flooding. The level of soil infertility in the zone is growing alarmingly.

Nigeria has large number of bodies of water, yet drinkable water has remained a scarce commodity owing to acute failure of the relevant government agencies including public water providing and regulatory bodies to ensure its cleanliness and safety for human consumption. In the southern part of the country including Southwest and Southeast, most of privately sunk boreholes are unsafe to drink. In urban areas like Lagos, Aba and Onitsha, most of privately sunk boreholes are located few yards close to soakway or latrine pits; yet the relevant public water authorities have turned blind eyes in that respect. Nylon packed and bottled water in the country is acidic and unhealthy for consumption owing to poor public monitoring and regulation.

In Community and Personal Securities, Nigeria is a failed State. Since 1999, over 66, 000 innocent Nigerian citizens have been killed courtesy of State actors and non-State actors including ethno-religious group and individual butchers. While over 23, 000 Nigerians died in the hands of State actors like criminal personnel of the Nigeria Police Force through torture and other unlawful killings; over 17,000 were felled by various armed vigilantes that held sway in the Southeast between 1998 and 2002 and even till now.

Another 22, 000 citizens or more died in the hands of promoters and executors of ethno-religious violence between year 2000 and present. Out of this alarming death figure, Mr. President of Nigeria revealed this month at the United Nations that Boko Haram terror group alone accounted for over 13, 000 deaths since 2009. The remaining figures came from those butchered in various military invasions and mob violence associated with election and ethno-religious differences. The number of people killed in violent crimes including abductions, hostage taking, armed robbery, rape, bank robbery, domestic violence, land and property violence are in thousands. Nigerian space is also highly militarized and turned into a gun culture society. The rate of small arms availability in wrong hands in the country is very alarming. It is estimated by conflict and gun control experts that Nigeria may have between 5million and 7million small arms in circulation. Using the country’s estimated population of 174 million, it simply means that among every 25 Nigerians including day old children, there is one gun. In Nigeria, there are guns and their bearers everywhere, yet there is no security, but insecurity.

In Demographic Security, Nigeria is a failed State. Nigeria has continued to operate porosity of border policy, which allows huge influx of illegal migrants from Afro-Asiatic language family swelling the population that is already overpopulated. Fecundity rate is alarmingly high and uncontrolled leading to population explosion growing in geometric progression with attendant poor space, health, economic, technological, and cultural and food growths. The overpopulation menace in Nigeria is sustained by competition over ethnic population growth supremacy. Over one million Nigerians are internally displaced, out of which, 645,000 are produced by the ethno-religious insurgency in the northeast. Over 200,000 citizens have crossed borders and become refugees. There are also millions of children of the street and children in the street scattered in Nigeria’s poor and slum regions including those in the north, Lagos, Warri, Benin, Aba, Onitsha, Ibadan and the Niger Delta. Part of these street refugees is called alamajiris mostly found in the north.

In summary, Nigeria is a failed State by any standard of measurement. In 1896, a Swedish Scientist, named Swante Arrhennius predicted as follows: “Human activities would interfere with the way the sun interacts with the earth”. Sixty-four (64) years in the 1960s, the world woke up from their slumber and began to act to save humanity from its harmful activities to the environment. In 1972, the UN joined forces and in 1987, it launched “sustainable development strategy” leading to historic Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil in 1992. In 1988, Nigeria was forced to join owing to dumping of 4,000 tons of toxic wastes in Koko Village of Lagos State by Italian bound environmental criminals.

Today, the country has relapsed and become one of the frontline enemies of its environment owing to shortsightedness, primordial, divisive and mercantilist and profligate governance styles that have endangered its environment and inhabitants. In the north, leading politicians in the area who constitute less than 5% of the population of the zone have continued to use Islam and illiteracy to impoverish and suppress over 95% of the remaining poor populations with a view to continue to corner their collective national cakes and political spaces. Class violence remains inevitable in the area. Once religious liberalism replaces existing religious fundamentalism, the north will explode into intra-ethnic violence of intractable proportion between the impoverished have-nots against the malvolent haves.
Generally, Nigeria is chronically sick in all fronts and its governing authorities are sitting in a keg of gunpowder unless things are turned around for better. It is understandable for a people to accept to live in poverty with dignity when it is clear to them that available common resources are very minute and unable to go round. But it is a different ball game when a people are forced to live in abject poverty in the midst of plenty. Nigerian leaders should watch their backs to avoid crashing and falling from corridors of power to refugee camps. This is our early warning message to Nigerian leaders and Nigeria at 54.

Signed:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
+2348100755939+2348100755939 (office only)
info@intersociety-ng.org, emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk

Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
 
*Photo Caption - Map & Flag of Nigeria