[ Masterweb Reports: Hon. Chuks Ibegbu reports ] – A few misled and misinformed young men that have disrespect for order and integrity recently launched a campaign of calumny and virulence against me in the social media. They made several spurious claims and tissues of lies which betrayed them as desperadoes and enemies of Ndigbo. These lies bother on the recent arrest of some young men who were parading themselves as the officers of Ohanaeze Youth Council OYCand their mentors and the question of the difference between Ohanaeze Youth Council and Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Wing.
Ordinarily, I would have kept quiet as their vituperations do not deserve my my very scarce attention, but if I do not clear the air, their tirades may begin to have the toga or resemblance of truth.
Though I do not consider myself a Youth by age now , I remain a Youth at heart and will continue to have interest in Youth affairs since OYC was my home constituency from where I launched into other departments of life. I was once the Secretary-General of the OYC and its Ag. National Chairman following the demise of Hon Nnamdi Nwokocha, the former National Chairman. I cannot therefore be far off from an organisation I once played a key role and which I remain the custodian.
Now I will state the background to the formation of the OYC so that those parading themselves as officers of the Council or trying to create parallel outfit with the same name will desist from their unbecoming act.
In the early 2000, when the parent body , Ohanaeze Ndigbo saw the need to set up a Youth wing , they dug into the archives and selected Hon Nnamdi Nwokocha(Carmel) of the Ex Rangers International, and Comrade Chuks Ibegbu (my self) the kickstart the body and bring in other credible young men . Nnamdi was made the first National Chairman and myself became the Secretary -General based on the recommendation of key Igbo leaders running Ohanaeze Ndigbo then and also on the confidence Igbo Youths had in us . Before then there were several failed efforts to put up a formidable Youth structure for Ohanaeze Ndigbo. Then there was the issue of what name the Youth wing would bear. Several suggestions were made including Ebubeagu, Ogbunigwe, Ntorobia Igbo , Igbo third force, etc, but Hon Nwokocha and my humble self brainstormed and tagged it Ohanaeze Youth Council to make other Nigerians have a feel of our national and international colour. We agreed on the LION LOGO and the MOTTO(IN DEFENCE OF IGBO NATIONALITY). The parent body accepted all these suggestion and soon we began to establish the branches of the body in all the states of Nigeria and even overseas.
The Youth wing of Ohanaeze Ndigbo is therefore the same as the Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC and nobody should delude himself or think he is smart enough to seperate the two or distort history.Atleast , I am still alive and am a good student of history.
The OYC underwent several challenges . At a point it was suspended by the parent body sometime in 2002 after they visited President Obasanjo to find out why he was neglecting Ndigbo then.The parent body quarreled with the fact that they were not fully privy to that visit which naturally should have been cleared by the Imeobi(the inner chamber of the body) , even if the visit was germane. The suspension took place at the General Assembly meeting of Ohanaeze Ndigbo and in attendance at that meeting were such Igbo heavy weight such as the Great Ikemba Nnewi, Gen Odumegwu Ojukwu, the late Oyi of Oyi, Dr Chuba Okadigbo, Comrade Uche Chukwumerije and many others. But at another Imeobi meeting at Abakiliki, the Ebonyi state Capital in 2003 , the suspension was lifted after the then President-General of the body, Rtd Justice Ezebuilo Ozobu suggested the doctrine of neccessity and the well tested legal principle of aldi altarem partem (the other side need to be heard) to plead for our case. The suspension was lifted. Nnamdi Nwokocha and my humble self continued to pilot the affairs of OYC during the regime of Prof. Joe Irukwu creditably. When the embattled regime of Dr Dozie Ikedife came on board, he stood down our activities and preferred to use one of our veterans , Mazi Bismark Orji under the auspices of Ntorobia Igbo to carry out Youth activities. That did not however eclipse the legendary OYC headed by Hon Nwokocha and my humble self. We only went into the cocoon waiting for the dark cloud to pass. Ironically even Dr Ikedife bandied about his son as the Youth leader of Ndigbo in one of his trips to South Africa thus pillorying the Bismark led outfit. When Amb. Raph Uwechue took over the leadership of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo , He in his wisdom made me his Senior Special Assistant and Peter Obi made Nwokocha his Special Assistant on Sports, being a celebrated footballer. We set out to make several proposals to Amb Uwechue on how to rejig the OYC and facilitate our smooth handover to younger persons.
Actually Amb. Uwechue who believed so much in the capacity of Youths and women set up a committee headed by the present P G of Ohanaeze Chief Gary Igariwey to fashion out a modality for that.It was in that process and the intervening period that Hon Nwokocha unfortunately died.I was left to act as the Ag. National Chairman and Secretary-General respectively hoping to hand over appropriately once an election is held.
God heard my prayers and the regime of Chief Gary Igariwey and Dr Joe Nworgu acceded to the wishes of Igbo Youths and held the National Youth election on the 5th of April, 2014. Hon Okechukwu Isiguzoro , the former Youth leader of the body in Abia state emerged as the National President in the keenly contested election. Other candidates also emerged from their various states in the positions basketed to them.
The elected NEC of OYC were sworn in immediately thereafter waiting only for the inauguration where I will now officially hand over the mantle to them as Hon Nwokocha and my humble self dreamt. They have set up an inauguration commitee for their official inauguration.
It was therefor shocking when I learnt that a group of young men sought to carry out the inauguration of the NEC of OYC at somewhere in New Heaven area of Enugu at the same date the President of Nigeria was visiting Enugu for a political event. Though my concern was not about the Presidential Rally much as it was on how the young men decided to carry out an illegality on the same day the President was visiting the town under the name of OYC . As an Elder statesman of the body however when I heard they were arrested by the Police I went to the Police station with Isiguzoro and few other dully elected officers of the body around. I later discovered that my good friends Comrade Chilos Godsent and Comrader Zulu Ofolue were behind the purported inauguration. I also saw my veteran good friend Osmond Ugwu at the police station the next morning . I tried to parley with them so that the situation can be settled out of the police nothwithstanding the illegalities.The case was transfered to the state CID at Enugu and I was also there working to see that things did not get out of hand. But there was still an insistence that the OYC that I know of and I headed was different from the OYC Isiguzoro is now heading. Ofcourse I cannot accept that.
Well, the Enugu commissioner of Police decided to take the case to court after interrogating them .Though I did not want a situation where Igbo matters are settled in court , there was not much I could do once the case became subjudice.
Even as the case is now some judice, I was shocked to read a write up by Mazi Okwu Okwu in which he used some unbecoming language on me and claiming I was the BOT CHAIRMAN OF THE OYC which they purported to have held their election in Owerri. Nothing can be further than the truth. At the time there was a lull in our operations following the Dozie Ikedife regimes indecision on the fate of OYC, we learnt that some group of Young men met at Awka under the guise of Ohanaeze Youth and that they had even gone to register the body at CAC which is an anathema and an unpatriotic act anyway. Later I got some phone calls calling me for meetings either at Awka or Owerri. Ofcourse there was no way the custodian of OYC could attend any of such meetings. Rather , I should be the one to call the meetings after the death of Nnamdi Nwokocha. At a point and in order to legitimise themselves illegally they purport to have made me their BOT chairman. All these were in the realms of phone call and virtual media. I did not for one day sit with them and the best Itold them was to come to Enugu and see the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo so that as Igbo sons they would be queued into Ohanaeze activities. They neglected my advice and went ahead to bandy about a parallel group under the sacred name of Ohanaeze Youth Council. This is the height of unpatriotism and I hope they will repent and join hands with the new NEC of OYC to move the Igbo nation forward. I believe they have roles to play in the new NEC or the committees that would be set up.
There is no need for this campaign against the truth nor is there a need to malign an innocent man with known pedigree. I am done.
HON. CHUKS IBEGBU
OJEOZI NDIGBO IV
OHANAEZE NDIGBO CHIEFTAIN
FORMER SSA TO AMB. RAPH UWECHUE, FORMER OHANAEZE PG
FORMER SECRETARY-GENERAL, OHANAEZE NDIGBO YOUTH COUNCIL (OYC)
OUTGOING OYC AG. NATIONAL CHAIRMAN
*Photo Caption - Hon. Chuks Ibegbu
[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] - Muslim-Muslim ticket in the forthcoming 2015 Nigeria’s presidential polls may be good option for the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC) if they intend to get more votes than the 12 million they garnered in 2011.
Many Nigerians have condemned the Muslim -Muslim ticket but they forgot that APC is neither a charity organization, neither is it a football club nor a talk show association- rather it is a political party with intent on capturing power at the centre and states. This theory of Muslim-Muslim ticket not flying is another stupid balderdash from shortsighted politicians. Let’s take a look at some states to buttress just a few postulations.
The North West comprising Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa and Kebbi will definitely have a large voter’s turnout in favor of an all Muslim ticket. Apart from Kaduna where there is a sizeable Christian opposition, the rest are predominantly Muslims and vociferous against the ruling party. However, the Christian population in Kaduna can cast a sizeable protest vote for the ruling PDP.
The North East of Nigeria comprising Borno, Gombe,Adamawa, Yobe, Taraba, Bauchi,etc will most likely get endorse an all Muslim ticket. Apart from Taraba and parts of Adamawa States, the rest are predominantly Muslims and will definitely, especially with the prevailing Boko Haram threat which they believe is being deliberately sponsored by the ruling party, a Muslim- Muslim will be a relief.
North Central-This consists of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarrawa, Niger and Kwara states. While Nasarrawa, Niger and Kwara States will give APC sizeable votes, with equally sizeable PDP second fiddle, Plateau, kogi, Benue states will go the way of PDP. Therefore, with Muslim-Muslim ticket, APC and PDP will share North Central with likely PDP majority.
This consists of Yoruba States of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo. Most South West Muslims will likely vote an all Muslim ticket. However, Yoruba Christians will be sharply divided. Non-indigenous Christians will definitely vote against the Muslim all ticket. Therefore, in South West, APC will still get majority votes while the polarized Christian community will put up a good showing for PDP.
Muslim-Muslim ticket is going to be a hard sell in the South East. The Igbos will oppose it vehemently. Even a Muslim- Christian ticket will not translate to any significant change in patterns of votes. The South East believes that Boko Haram is an extension of Biafra Genocide and APC will not fare significantly there. The idea of a Christian vice president may not elicit much excitement except if the APC does lots of factual campaigns to correct the already existing sentiments.
Muslim-Muslim ticket is a hard sell in the South South . Probably except for Edo and Rivers states where the influences of Oshiomhole and Amaechi can attract significant sympathy votes, a Muslim-Christian ticket can only sell in Edo or Rivers States depending on which of them produces the running mate. However, neighboring states like Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta and Akwa Ibom will definitely not find the idea a good one. They cannot abandon Brother Jonathan for those they term Boko Haram party.
Therefore, from the foregoing, APC with an all Muslim ticket will sweep votes in the in the North East and North West, with its huge electoral capital. The South West can use the Muslim-Muslim ticket to get dormant voters to itself. The North Central will divide votes with PDP getting a simple majority. The PDP will sweep the South-East and South -South States, However, at the end, the amalgamation of votes cast will be too close that the APC can allege fraud and claim electoral victory. With a militarized Muslim population, the nation will likely boil again as it did under during June 12, if INEC chief, Prof Attahiru Jega declares Jonathan the president.
Therefore, a Muslim- Muslim ticket will not injure the chances of APC in the forthcoming pools. Rather, it will activate indecisive Muslims in the North and South West while at the same time polarizing the Yoruba Christians who will be torn between voting for a performing Fashola or Tinubu as running mate and maintaining a Jonathan status quo which many of them see as incompetent. Due to political exegesis, it is obvious that a Muslim-Muslim ticket may not be as injurious to the APC as being feared.
A Muslim –Muslim ticket, though morally wrong, is still politically expedient for APC –afterall the ruling party has taken many morally wrong political decisions in the name of expediency -the Governors Forum elections where 16 votes is greater than 19 is one of such. Therefore, if APC is bent on increasing their votes tally in the 2015 elections from the former 12 million votes CPC got in 2011 to about 18 million votes, a good option is to stick to a popular Muslim as its running mate, put electoral pressure on the ruling party and make the PDP sweat profusely for another victory.
Obinna Akukwe ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption – APC logo
[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonnia reports ] – The Electoral Act of 2010 empowers the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) to regulate the sources and nature of funding for political campaigns in Nigeria. However, even though the 2011 general election was declared free and fair by the government, the chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, would later confess that the Commission “does not even have a desk that handles campaign financing” (As quoted in Vanguard Newspaper, May 8, 2011). After a public rebuke, Jega has decided to toe the path of honor and now says that INEC will monitor campaign funds in the 2015 elections (The Punch Newspaper, April 7, 2014). Similar position is canvassed by a broad spectrum of Nigerian elites, including the National Stakeholders’ Forum on Electoral Reform led by former Senate President Ken Nnamani. But President Goodluck Jonathan has flatly rejected the idea, arguing that regulation can only be realistic, “if you’re getting funds from government, then you must set restrictions; but if you’re generating your own funds, then you’ve no restrictions” (As quoted in Daily Trust, April 8, 2014).
While it can be convenient to lampoon both the INEC and the President for this pattern of inconsistency, the simple truth is that the issue of campaign finance in Nigeria has been a frustrating mirage.
For transparency and fairness, Nigeria should explore the implications of Jonathan’s remarks and adopt without delay full public funding for inter-party elections. This proposal is consistent with the recommendations of notable organizations, such as the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). The proposal is also similar to the McCain-Feingold legislation for presidential elections in the United States of America—without the choice for individual contributions. Unlike before, implementation will not be burdened by the number of political parties since the parties themselves are dramatically decreasing to the desired two-party structure. To frustrate political merchants eager to capitalize on the loopholes of the government funding, the INEC should employ more stringent conditions for registration as well as participation of parties in elections.
Perhaps the process to public funding is not expected to be a cakewalk in this nation. Nevertheless, any genuine effort must ensure that that the long awaited Cashless Policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria is fully implemented and INEC itself strengthened to enforce existing laws on campaign finance, including the costs for elections as stipulated in the Electoral Act of 2010.
Public funding has become necessary for obvious reasons:
To begin with, Nigeria can adequately afford government funding for inter-party elections. After all, virtually all individual elections in the country are already being financed one way or another through looted funds from government treasury. In fact, a cursory look at recent Nigerian political diary readily shows that most elective office holders are individuals who have become wealthy by stealing public money or sponsored by godfathers who thrive in stealing public money.
Second, lack of public funding accelerates the engine of corruption in the country. For instance, the corrupt military brigade that funded President Olusegun Obasanjo’s elections enjoyed immunity while he was in office. President Umaru Yar’Adua’s failure to investigate clear cases of corruption by his predecessor and some ex-governors is tied to the source of the funds used in ushering him (Yar’Adua) to power. Ditto President Goodluck Jonathan, whose party is making matters worse by aggressively soliciting corrupt politicians, particularly notorious ex-governors currently facing charges for looting state treasuries. Besides, public funding will finally allay the fears of some influential Nigerians (including President Jonathan) who claim that their main reason for advocating single tenure for governors and the president is attributed to the fact that cost of re-elections only goes to worsen corruption.
More significantly, lack of public funding has weakened competition as well as opposition in national body politics. Public funding would curtail the prevailing pattern where money, instead of the masses, determines the outcome of our elections. It would also broaden the political process so that true competition for ideas—rather than competition for access to illegitimate funds—is the backbone of Nigerian democracy. The country can then maximize her abundant human resources by attracting the youth, women, and many true patriots who have shied away from politics simply because of funding and manner of the funding. Very essentially, public finance has the potential to engender dynamic opposition activities toward the much desired checks and balances and effective leadership by consequence. Any system—whether native authority, military regime, democracy or quasi-democracy—without true competition, equal opportunity, and viable mechanisms for checks and balances is nothing but dictatorship.
SKC Ogbonnia, Ph.D. ( Email: SKCOgbonnia@firsttexasenergy.com ) reports from Houston, Texas, USA.
*Photo Caption – Nigerians voting in an election.
[ Masterweb Reports: Sulay B. Conteh reports ] – Credit goes to sociology for drawing a clear dichotomy between a village and a cosmopolitan settlement. A village is a small settlement where people personal know one another and relate with each other in such various ways that preserve a healthily and peaceful oneness. In this sense, a village can be viewed as a family of people living within a settlement of a cottage or a cluster of cottages.
As a family, the head commands responsibility of the day-to-day and long-term affairs of the members. The head ensures that a healthy relationship exists among the members and endeavors to create the enabling environment where every member is confident about the sense of belongingness, freedom, fairness and recognition. While this responsibility falls on the elder(s) of a cottage that houses more than one family, this onus falls on the village chief at the village level. However, the fact of being the family head or village chief does not automatically give one the prerogative to impose whatever wishes on the members of the family or village. The members of the family are socially under the prowess of the family head, the family head is in turn under the prowess of the village chief and the village chief under that of the section chief and this list continues up the hierarchy of the social system. Each rank ensures that the code of conduct of the immediate subordinate conforms to the prerequisites for living in peace and oneness.
The village chief is responsible for ensuring that the behaviors of the members of the village at individual, family and household levels do not create crisis situations. The chief maintains order by enforcing what is culturally acceptable behavioral code, personal care or love among the people of the village. This is critical for the healthy cohesion and oneness of the village. The enabling environment should be seen by all as fair, with a level playing field for personal and group development. In fact in most African societies, this goes as so far as viewing a child born in the village as communal property of that village. It is the responsibility of the members of the village to protect and ensure that the child up-growth socially and culturally healthy. This is the truest sense of a village in the Third World, and especially so in Africa. It is therefore what the Third World would like to see the World Powers cultivate in promoting the so-called Global Village in this advanced human modern world.
It should be the responsibility of the World Powers to ensure that this notion of a Global Village is not misconstrued and abused by power-hungry leaders in Democratic States around the world. So much is said about our world as a Global Village and yet so little is done to realize any such features of a village anywhere in the world. Ideally, a village is not by any means a breeding ground for adversaries and lethal conflicts. Conversely, a village is the most appropriate place of simple, relaxed, peaceful and harmonious life; where people are deeply into one another and are true as each other’s confidants and keepers. However, the so-called Global Village remains plagued with a scale of conflict never before witnessed. This suggests a sense of urgency on the side of the World Powers to act swiftly to ensure a conflict-free environment in this new-found Global Village. Contrary to this, the so purported Global Village is bound to collapse catastrophically.
Peace and conflict are two mutually exclusive spectrums of human social world. While peace is illusive, conflict is real in human societies throughout history. With millennia upon millennia of history behind human civilization, the root causes of conflicts are today well known. But rather than investing in sound conflict resolutions, humans are instead lost in developing state-of-the-art weapons systems. Although no one argues the capabilities of weapons use in enforcing a sense of peace/security, it is equally true that the mere presence of cutting-edge weapons encourages conflicts. This is evident in the fiasco with Russia and its neighboring states like Georgian and Ukrainian. Also due to classic weapons developments, the potential for conflict is also evident among several other big and small countries around the globe. This implies that the World Powers need to redefine global efforts on how to achieve durable, universal peace in our today’s Global Village.
Nearly all modern conflicts originate from politics and repressions by power-grabbing governments. As a result of this, the world is today a witness to the genocide in Rwanda, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the apartheid in South Africa, the Al-Qaeda terror in Afghanistan/Pakistan, the Arab Spring in Algeria, Libya, Egypt, etc., the rebel war in Syria, Somalia, Congo, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Central Africa Republic, etc., and the endless list of political unrest in especially relatively less developed countries around the world. This is enough justification that if durable peace is to be achieved in the world, then World Powers (through the UN Systems) should establish some Permanent Electoral Institutions (PEI) in especially the Third World countries around the world.
The recruitment of officers in the proposed country-based PEI should be done by the UN and the work of PEI should include all the processes for conducting free and fair elections. Among others, the role of PEI should include voter education, voter registration, voter verification, ballot paper designing/printing, polling station preparation, vote counting and announcement of voting results. In essence, the UN-managed, country-based PEI should replace institutions of National Electoral Commissions (NEC) in developing countries. As NEC setups are today, the ruling government organizes and runs NEC; including recruiting NEC officers. Almost always than otherwise, the ruling government recruits NEC officers from its Party diehard member-base or Party stronghold. This implies that under the current arrangements, it is real (if not impossible) to build a NEC officiating body that is neutral or without strong allegiance to the party of the ruling government that recruits the body into office. This is the reason why elections are almost always rigged in purport democratic political systems in Third World countries. Replacing the current party-based NEC systems with UN-operated, country-based PEI systems could go a long way to eliminating the potential for conflicts in the world today. This increased vigilance by World Powers could also be an efficient way of building a truly Global Village. On this note, we urge the World Powers to immediately start work on setting the up the proposed PEI so as to build a Third World that is free of conflicts.
*Photo Caption – Map of the world as a globe
[ Masterweb Reports ] - The Anambra Human Rights & Good Governance Coalition is a coalition of human rights and good governance organizations based in Anambra State of Nigeria, formed in 2006 for the advancement of human rights and good governance in the State. While credible coalition groups in the past like the Coalition for Democracy & Good Governance (CODEGG) played great roles in ousting failed governance and political militancy in the State from 2003 to 2006, the Anambra Coalition for Human Rights & Good Governance (ACOHURIGG) contributed immensely towards transformative and strategic development of the State from 2006 till date. The recorded feat was achieved using “commendation, condemnation and a way forward” strategy created and implanted in our advocacy activities since 2006 in relating with the........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Gov. Obi (middle), with his wife, Margaret(right), in 2012 receiving the award of the "Good Financial Planning Governor of Our Time", from Enugu Anglican Church and presented by Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma during the First session of the 15th Synod of the Diocese at All Saints Church, GRA, Enugu, Enugu State.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - We are enjoying a true democracy in Nigeria at the moment; most especially so these last few months to the next elections. A true democracy is a government for the people, of the people and by the people. In a true democracy, you expect the people’s wishes to be done. This is what is happening in Nigeria today.
We scream, we shout, we protest and the government does what we demand, almost. Fuel subsidy removal, we screamed, we shouted, we shut down the nation, we died and the government reversed the abrupt removal, well half-way.
Government reneged on their promise to our teachers. We screamed, we threatened, we struck, we sat at home and then at last the government took some of ‘their’ billions to settle us to return to work and school after 6 months, in ‘compliance’ with our democratic wishes.
Stella Oduah and Coscharis’ BMW robbery: we screamed, we shouted, we protested, we were arrested and then the government nudged her to retire. Well, that’s somewhere midway between her going to jail as we demanded and her remaining in authority. And though Coscharis got off the hook, they at least saw their government business partner retire.
The Tokunbo car ban: We screamed, we shouted, we danced and the government has thus far kept postponing the ban, which is somewhere between the complete expulsion we want and the total ban their pockets crave.
#WhereIsOurMoney: Yes, the ‘missing’ 20-127 billion United States dollars; we shouted, we tore our pants, we protested at embassies from New York to Berlin and on streets from Lagos through Abuja to Kaduna; they tried to sack Sanusi in response, we kept protesting, they ‘suspended=sacked’ Sanusi, we kept at it, BBC joined us, CNN, Aljazeera, Wendell Simlin, aka, Reno Omokri launched Boko Haram at us, but we did not falter, finally they ‘set up an audit’ to ‘look into it.’ Democracy- executing the will of the people, not so?
Selling the refineries: we screamed, we yelled, we threatened and suddenly president Jonathan came out to tell us that Diezani was lying, they never intended any such. Diezani is back at it again, but we can predict that as we scream, shout and protest—the NLC has already warned her and the Jonathan government not to dare sell any more public asset—they will again listen and postpone till perhaps after re-election.
Abba Moro and his Immigration bloody scam: We are screaming, shouting, Omojuwa and Ms Azeerah Mohammed painted “Bloody Murderers,” in front of the Interior ministry... and they have at least called a panel in which they got Moro to blame it on the devil. That is something. As we continue to shout across the world, and be arrested as Omojuwa was, this Wednesday as he delivered 18 coffins to the Ministry of Interior, perhaps in 2 months like Stella, we will see Moro systematically, honourably resign.
Oil goddess Diezani: we are screaming, we are shouting, we have been protesting for years now, even pro-Jonathan diehards as they call themselves are protesting for her and Moro’s sack in Delta state; and at last the government is responding to our democratic desires. Though the presidency has said they will not probe her, the senate is at least. That is something, right? Perhaps her excesses will be limited or at least hidden from our view a little bit (her sack or resignation, we should not hold our breaths on). But at least we are getting something; a whole oil goddess is having to explain herself!
I think we Nigerians can celebrate our democracy. The shouting of the people gets heard and done...well, almost.
The fresh air has been good... that’s the copious amounts we enjoy when we recurrently engage in street protests against governance terror or run from the growing free flowing, epidemic, violent terror that now abounds.
We have all been turned into activists.
Jonathan Now, no impeachment, no coup! Jonathan for 2015, Jonathan forever!
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption – President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Chuks Ibegbu reports ] – Amb. Raph Uwechue, the Ogwuluzamme of Ogwashi-Uku , Delta state, astute diplomat and former President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo died recently in Abuja. The Pan-Africanist, Nigerian patriot and Igbo champion was the first Nigerian Ambassador to France when the civil war broke out in the 60s. He was posted to the far East because of his Igbo root but Amb. Uwechue rather joined his kit and kin in Biafra.
He became the soul of Biafra in France and Europe for a long time. Due to his diplomatic dexterity , the former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo made him the Nigerian special envoy on conflict resolution in Africa. He contributed immensely to the resolution of the crisis in several West African countries especially Liberia and Cote d'Ivoire.
He was one time Presidentilal candidate of the defunct SDP. Amb. Uwechue loved his Igbo people so much that even against some influences, he contested and won the position of the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which he led for four years creditably. His death has robbed Ndigbo of a man of courage, a pan-Africanist, a simple, humble, humane and proactive visionary.
May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.
Note , a pre-burial lecture would be held for him in the second week of April at Enugu, the political capital of Igbo land.
If you are interested in reflecting or analyzing the works and times of this great man please send your papers before then . Every Nigerian and Igbo man is cordially invited to the event. Details of the venue, date and time of the lecture will be made known in the next couple of days.
The theme of the lecture is: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF AMB . RAPH UWECHUE, THE IGBO PATRIOT AND NIGERIAN STATESMAN.
FORMER SENIOR SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO AMB. RAPH UWECHUE, THE OGWULUZAME OF OGWASHI-UKU
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD IGBO LEADERSHIP , EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL COUNCIL (WILECC)
*Photo Caption – Late Amb. Raph Uwechue -Left; Chief Charles O. Okereke, Publisher, Nigeria Masterweb -Right
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - By now a responsible Nigerian government would have done certain things. Either they announce to us that they take this information and threat to national security very serious and are investigating it fully, but assure Nigerians that there is no evidence of credibility to the revelation. Or they announce immediate severance of all ties with Turkey pending a thorough investigation on the allegations of Turkish airlines supplying ammunition to Nigerian terrorists groups.
A lack of a formal statement by the government is troubling. The embattled Turkish Premiere, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected the confession of Mehmet Karatas, an assistant executive of the Turkish airlines.
In an official statement by Turkish airlines, the company categorically declared that it “had not transported arms to Nigeria from Turkey or other countries.”
However, contradicting the statement by the airlines, and appearing in a hurry to squash the possible scandal, Navy spokesman, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu told Nigerians according to the Punch, that Turkish airlines did indeed ship ammunition to Nigeria, not as they denied, and that this March the Navy took delivery of arms imported by the airline through Lagos.
This is serious. Why is the Navy spokesperson contradicting the official statement of the airlines? Who is telling us the truth? Does Turkish airlines ship arms to Nigeria as our Navy has said, or does it not as they have said? Did Turkish airlines ship arms to unknown entities through the Kano international airport as company executive Karatas said? Was Navy spokesperson Commodore Aliyu telling us that the airline does handle weapons shipment to Nigeria to alert us that the airline is lying by saying they do not?
There are many serious open questions that the public wish to have answered. In June last year there was a (another) case of a Ukranian cargo plane, which was detained loaded with deadly weapons in Nigeria. The NSA, Sambo Dasuki permitted this plane which according to the news reports, had claimed it had a technical fault preempting its landing in Nigeria with the dangerous contraband, to continue its alleged journey to the war torn Democratic Republic of Congo.
An earlier instance had a plane land in Nigeria with crates of mines and other weapons, allegedly on its way to war-torn Equatorial Guinea. In each of these instances, the planes apparently did not give the required prior notice that they were loaded with deadly weapons before entering Nigerian territory, and this lead to the publicized alert of their detention. In all cases including the recent report of the Turkish airlines, the planes landed in Kano international airport in the north of Nigeria and the neighborhood of the Boko Haram hot bed.
Again, in May last year when an arms cache was found in bunkers with Lebanese men accused of terrorism in Kano, the nation’s three-time former NSA, Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, now chosen by the Jonathan government as the Minister of defense, was fingered as being involved according to the investigating army spokesperson Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, the NigerianPilot and other dailies reported.
Does Nigeria act appropriately when arms are smuggled or cargoed into and through its borders? Is there a top-level Nigerian government involvement in smuggling deadly arms to terrorist groups in Nigeria, and what level are we talking about who may be involved in the Turkish airline ‘confession?’
Turkish airlines is 49% government owned and Turkey has in the past been accused of supplying weapons including chemical weapons to Syrian rebel groups. The UAE has also announced in 2011 the seizure of a weapons loaded Turkey-originated ship bound for terrorized Yemen.
Are top levels in the Nigerian government involved in the supply of deadly weapons to Boko Haram through our ports? Is Nigeria a hob in the weapons supply path to terror groups and conflict zones in Africa? This matter should be headlines.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - An AK-47 Rifle. *One of the tools of evil in Nigeria and around the world.
[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke reports ] – The Word of the LORD says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 –New International Version NIV).
“When the upright are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan” (Proverbs 29:2-New Living Translation NLT).
As you have been reading and witnessing the National Conference – aka, 'CONFAB' kicked-off in Abuja on Monday, March 17, 2014. This is quite a historic time in Nigeria. Unlike, the previous National Conferences, for instance that of the military dictator, General Abacha era, which was designed to revamp the Constitution and enthrone him a life president or the 2005 Obasanjo CONFAB which was aimed to determine how to divide, distribute and allocate oil revenue as well as add a clause in the Constitution that will allow him to run for 3rd term as civilian president rather than how to fix the structural imbalances of the nation, the 2014 CONFAB initiated by President Goodluck Jonathan seems to be honest and realistic approach to truly resolve the serious challenges and crisis the nation is facing in this dispensation.
While all the previous National Conferences failed to yield result because of those hidden agendas, the 2014 CONFAB has almost everything on the table—including how the country should be governed, resource control, state creation, etc. except the indivisibility of Nigeria, which all major stakeholders agreed to. In fact, all the regions have thirty or more items on their 2014 CONFAB document for the dialogue. The delegates named to the National Conference were impressive as well.
The 2014 CONFAB is designed to examine the Nigerian nation, which is a union created for the economic and political benefit of her colonial master - Britain. As you know very well, in the 1900, when the British invaded and conquered the various kingdoms that make up Nigeria today, despite that these kingdoms—Oyo, Bornu, Hausa, Benin, Bonny, Jukun, Idah, Aro and Iboland and other variant group of peoples had profound and deep linguistic, religious, political, social, tribal, and cultural differences; they were forced to merge as one nation for the benefit of their colonial master and power tussle between the British and French in the continent of origins.
And so, the British created this monstrous nation for their political and economic interest. Therefore, the peoples of Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri, Yoruba, Ibo, Ibibio, Ijaw, Kalabari and many other various groups were forced to live together. And this was done without a well-defined set of core values that addressed national unity, patriotism and parameters to eschew religious bigotry and cultural hegemony among the peoples of this new found nation. And it was simply an experiment as the colonial master called it, which was expected to last for about a century.
The amalgamation of these variant groups has been very problematic and difficult to govern. Since she was granted independence fifty-something years ago, Nigeria has had but only turbulent times of political upheaval, tribal hatred and religious killings that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war in 1967-1970 that decimated about three million lives and left her with so much bitterness, anger, hatred and distrust toward each other. Today, Nigeria is a den of death, of sorrow, sadness, pain, suffering and hopelessness – a lawless and a failed State. “Nigeria has become an embodiment of a degenerate society –a degenerate race of a people” according to the erudite scholar Dr. Joseph Nanyen Garba. We have simply become "educated fools" borrowing from former military dictator and civilian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
For instance, the recent National Immigration Service (NIS) recruitment exercise conducted last Saturday around the nation in which 20 young people perished in stampede and many wounded was due to lack of organization and proper protocol. This is yet another sign of a lawless nation governed by incapable, incompetent and evil rulers. NIS job recruitment exercise was a big reap-off and a Ponzi scheme. Why would 600,000 online applications be sold for about 6,000 vacancies? Who is even sure NIS has up to six thousand vacancies, a nation with 70 million jobless youth. By the way, the Interior Minister, Abba Moro and other senior NIS leadership along with their cohorts should have been sacked by now. In any decent and civilized nation, such recklessness and incompetence cannot be tolerated.
And so in January, 2014, the amalgamation - that experiment called ‘Nigeria’ expired and the Nigerian State celebrated her centenary with fanfare and pageantry. She even elected a centenary queen and initiated a centenary lottery. Really! And now the administration of Goodluck Jonathan has wisely and courageously summed a National dialogue to discuss way forward as one indivisible nation. The indivisibility of Nigeria is “a no go area,” as he said. However, every other thing is on table.
We must pray for the success of the 2014 CONFAB. I appeal to the delegates as well as the so-called Nigerian stakeholders to work together to ensure the success of 2014 CONFAB. The delegate to this important National Conference must be sincere to address economic injustice, political hooliganism, government corruption, religious bigotry, Boko Haram, youth joblessness, and dilapidated infrastructure just to name a few as well as lack of coherent national core value system that gives sense of patriotism and empowers the citizens to believe in Nigeria and trust their leaders. If CONFAB fails to address those kinds of incivilities, injustices and the structural imbalances created due to amalgamation and civil war, Nigeria may cease to exist as one nation.
For me, this CONFAB should be a conference for forgiveness, peace and reconciliation. Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace. It is time for Nigeria to genuinely forgive each other and bury its tumultuous and fractured history and be realistic to share the territory called Nigeria. Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be unity and peace. The declaration for the end of the war slogan: "No Victor No Vanquished" should be revisited during this year’s national dialogue. The country cannot move forward as united nation and fulfill her common purpose and destiny if ethnicity, tribalism, religious bigotry, and injustice are not addressed in the 2014 CONFAB. Nigeria truly needs a national identity that abhors religious bigotry and discourages tribal identity.
It is my hope and prayer that the delegates will be honest and sincere enough to articulate and speak-up at the National Conference. This is perhaps Nigeria’s last chance to correct those anomalies and reposition the nation and her people for greatness.
The CONFAB may yet be President Jonathan’s greatest achievement if it’s done right.
With love & in leadership,
C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., Ph.D. ( Email: email@example.com ) is a Public Theologian, Writer, and Scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Photo Caption – Map and flag of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Jasper Uche reports ] – In my assessment, Simon Kolawole, is one of the most respected and thorough-bred columnists in Nigeria today. I have remained an avid reader and fan of THISDAY Newspaper because of his dispassionate and incisive dissection of national issues, including the likes of Segun Adeniyi, Dele Momodu as well as Eddie Iroh’s periodic interventions. Mr.
Kolawole’s thesis on the Backpage Column of THISDAY of Sunday 16th March 2014 on conflict and underdevelopment with a cursory survey of Abia case is apt and factual. It is an open secret that the political economy of Abia was hamstrung by a plundering and tiny cabal whose obsession to call the shots, even when there is a substantive Governor, impeded development efforts in Governor Orji’s first tenure. What Kolawole observed about the State Capital, Umuahia is a corroboration of what has been attested by not a few local and international guests that had visited Abia. It is therefore a depiction of corrupt mindset and lack of objectivity, to always assume that a journalist or columnist is compromised whenever he appropriates his platform to eulogize and commend performing public officers.
Be that as it may, Governor Orji had humbly admitted that his first term was the locust years, and fought with every inch of his blood, to extricate himself from the godfather that bled the State to a near-stupor. Throughout the larger part of his first term, Governor Orji almost walked on a razor’s edge. His fate was hung on a precipice as a result of the fierce legal battles to consolidate his mandate and the spirited attempts to discredit Governor Orji by the hirelings of the ‘master strategist’.
True to the prayer of Abians and Ochendo’s gallant pedaling, the fox was eventually chased away and Abians heaved sighs of relief. Governor Orji regained a renewed vigour and unfettered momentum to champion an era of legacies in God’s own state. As observed by Kolawole, Abia witnessed a glorious era of rapprochement with the federal government under Ochendo and it had paid off in multiple dimensions. For the first time since the return to civil rule in 1999, Abia elders, founding fathers and the intelligentsia could sit together and discuss like brothers. It has been made possible because of Governor Orji’s accommodating mien, administrative finesse, uncommon urbanity, and unparalleled capacity to galvanize a pool of talents and human capital resources to restore the State to the mainstream of national affairs and the path of socio-economic development. Perhaps, this feat recently threw up Governor Orji to the Chairmanship of South East Governors' Forum, as Ndigbo needs a leader like him to foster robust consensus and minimize the ‘untamed’ individualism that usually trail the corporate strategic interest of Ndigbo.
One does not need a crystal ball to see and appreciate the multi-faceted gains of the relocation of Isi-Gate Market that occupied the centre of the state capital. And that was what first impressed Kolawole, like every other visitor or passer-by. No modern city can afford to harbour a market in a heart of the town and its nuisance effects, with tumultuous and a long stretch of traffic gridlock routinely asphyxiating the decorum and tranquility of a vintage seat of power. It took a rare political will and constructive engagement with the traders by Governor Orji to successfully relocate the market without litigations and protests. This feat had been the dream of over 70 years and it took a hard-nosed reformer like Ochendo to live up to the challenge. Already, a befitting event centre is sprawling up there. Besides, Governor Orji also decongested the city centre by building and relocating the Umuahia Industrial Market to a more spacious site at Ndume and the Mechanic Village /Auto Spare Parts Market at Club Road to Ohiya, a suburb of the state capital. What Governor Orji had done is like the creative concept of an architect which is a manifestation of the aesthetic beauty we admire in a finished building.
A visit to Ogurube Layout, Umuahia will indeed confirm that Abia is a huge construction site. Apart from the dual carriage way of Ndume Otuka Bypass that connects Ikot-Ekpene road to Ogurube Layout and the Ochendo Bypass, all built by Governor Orji that connects Bende Road with Ogurube Layout, which can be called the New Umuahia; there is a growing impression of a government that is in a hurry to reposition the state. It is like building the state from the scratch. One of the twin magnificent and the state-of-the-art four-storey secretariats is already occupied by some ministries that had their offices in old colonial buildings and rented office accommodation. The second complex is at the verge of completion. The high-brow area is also the location of the International Conference Centre that is nearing completion, apart from the gigantic JAAC/ASUBEB four-storey buildings that have reached advanced stages. The new government house, modern office block for the state legislators, the Abia State E-Library Complex and the new court buildings at the Judiciary Headquarters are among the new structures being built by the present administration to give the state a sound footing. It is nacceptable that a state of over 20 years was not considered fit for befitting workers secretariat by the successive leaders, and the efforts of the present administration to regain the lost ground is disparaged by quislings and desperate power mongers. In the health sector, Governor Orji built three 100-bed hospital in each of the three geo-political zones in the state. They are located at Okeikpe Ukwa West, Arochukwu and Amachara General Hospital, Umuahia. He also took health facilities to the doorsteps of rural dwellers by building over 250 health centers across the state. He established the Abia State Specialist & diagnostic Hospital, Umuahia with Dialysis and Eye Centers to curb medical tourism and a Diagnostic Centre at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba. The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria had given approval for training of medical interns at the State Specialist Hospital.
In the education sector, Governor Orji has completed the construction of three model gigantic one-storey classroom blocks of 28-Room capacity in each of the three senatorial zones in Abia State. For Abia North, it is located at Ovim (Technical) Secondary School, Isuikwuato; for Abia Central, it is located at Government College, Umuahia while the one of Abia South is located at Abayi Girls Secondary School, Aba. The State Universal Basic Education Board which in 2012 received the award of the best managed State Education Board in the South East has reconstructed over 154 classroom blocks in both the primary and secondary schools across the 17 LGAs in the state. Under the directive of the Governor, the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) embarked on not only renovation of schools but also carried out other educational programmes. It is on record that Abia students have continued to win laurels in most national competitions.
Glossing over the evident transformation that is quietly assuming its rightful pride of place in Abia has been the trademark of the sworn enemies of the Governor and their hordes of paid emergency social crusaders. They have consistently twisted the environmental challenges in Aba (which is not the making of Governor Orji) to malign his government. Despite the temporary setback caused by kidnapping of workers at construction sites in Aba, the present administration embarked on the reconstruction and ‘dualization’ of the most strategic road in Aba, the Aba-Owerri Road which was a nightmare before Ochendo came on board. People forget easily! Other roads like Danfodio, Azikiwe, Milverton, Brass/Faulks, Georges, Constitution Crescent were rehabilitated while a completely new access road to the Geometric Power Plant was constructed by Governor Orji.
The huge tonnes of refuse generated in Aba daily are promptly disposed by the State Environmental Agency. It is sad that those who cry on the roof top about Aba today could not do anything for them while they held sway. The perennial and incessant erection of unapproved markets, motor parks, residential buildings, petrol stations and business premises are at the root of the seemingly intractable environmental decay and collapse of public roads in Aba. A recent survey of illegal structures indicated that close to 2000 buildings should be demolished if Aba must return to its original master plan, and also protect the road infrastructure from overbearing pressures of hustling and bustling of the commercial town. Yet Governor Orji has been handling the matter with a human face coupled with well-meaning appeals from members of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA). To buttress our point, we reproduce the interview of Governor Orji’s predecessor in The Source Magazine of July 3, 2006 page 15, where he lamented over what he is today struggling to make a political capital from. Hear him: “Even the roads fixed by the Federal Government from Enugu to Port Harcourt, they spoil every year. If you know the number of vehicles that go into Aba and out…Aba is not only my yardstick, what of Umuahia? Nobody talks about it. Aba is supposed to be a disaster area. It is supposed to be taken over by the Federal Government because the amount of environmental problem that comes out of Aba every day, you can’t equate with any other city in Nigeria, even Lagos. This is because everywhere in Aba is market…”. The same person who granted this interview a few years back is now leading a pack of misguided elements to appear people-friendly. But Abians know their history and antics. One irrefutable fact is that today, Aba enjoys a safe business climate occasioned by Governor Orji’s security architecture. Kidnappings and violent crimes that scared investors and made many people to relocate from the city have been stamped out. The security tending apparatus is also sustained and that is Governor Orji’s intangible but greatest legacy. Indeed, conflict is development repellent as espoused by Kolawole.
Jasper Uche reports from Umuahia, Abia State.
*Photo Caption – As seen.