[ Masterweb Reports: SBCHROs reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 13th February 2016)-It has come to the notice of the leaderships of Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs), comprising: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy (CHRPA), Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)(HRC), Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights (FJEDHR), Society Advocacy Watch Project (SPAW), Anambra Human Rights Forum (AHRF), Southeast Good Governance Forum (SGGF), International Solidarity for Peace & Human Rights Initiative (ITERSOLIDARITY) and Igbo Ekunie Initiative (pan Igbo rights advocacy group) that the widely condemned way in which Hon Justice John Tsoho of the Court 3 Division of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has handled the case of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu (POC-Prisoner-Of-Conscience)) and ors so far may most likely be connected with ambition as per who becomes the next Chief Judge of the Federal High Court when the current CJ, Hon Justice Ibrahim Auta leaves office in 2017.
Reliable sources have informed that the current CJ (Ibrahim Auta) and his second in command, Hon Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati may most likely bow out of the Bench in 2017 at the same time on the grounds of mandatory retirement age of 65 and 35 years of service respectively; thereby clearing the coast for Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho to emerge as the next CJ. While Hon Justice Ibrahim N. Auta was born on 6th September 1952, Hon Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati was born in 1954. Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho (current third in command), on his part, was born on 24th of June 1959. Though Hon Justice John Tsoho can be made Chief Judge on the basis of his seniority and next in command, but the President is at constitutional liberty to alter his seniority eligibility, particularly if he is found to be in his black book; hence his present hostile disposition in Nnamdi Kanu’s case for the purpose of pleasing the establishment on the altar of his life and liberties.
Appointment into the office of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Nigeria is based on political discretion of the appointing authority (president) or order of seniority. The Retirement age or period for judges of the Federal High Court including the Chief Judge is completion of 35 years of service or attainment of 65 years of age. The appointment as a judge of the Federal High Court is based on mandatory attainment of ten years of practice as a licensed (membership of NBA) legal practitioner in Nigeria. Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho is of the Court 3 of the Federal High Court in Abuja and known in some legal quarters as a pro establishment or career judge.
It is recalled that the current Chief Judge (CJ), Hon Justice Ibrahim Auta headed a military tribunal constituted by late Gen Sani Abacha that condemned to death Late Ken Saro Wiwa and other eight Ogoni activists; leading to their hanging on 10th of November 1995 without a right of appeal. They were arrested in 1993, held without charge and trial until the then military authorities successfully plotted “strawmen” that engineered conspiratorial murder of some elements of Ogoni origin who were military apologists and protagonists of oil spillage in Ogoni Land.
It was upon the said basis that Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others campaigned against and got framed up, arrested, detained, falsely charged, murderously convicted and sentenced by hanging and brutally executed on 10th of November 1995. This is what we mean by Auta Justice! It is therefore safe to say that what is playing out in the case of Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors being handled by Hon Justice Terhemba Tsoho may most likely be the return or repetition of Auta Justice.
From the long delays of the CJ (Auta) in reassigning the case file to a new judge; to belated and careful scouting and appointment of the person of Hon Justice John Tsoho; who is a career judge as the new trial judge; there are intense fears that the matter before him is already sealed and delivered. Further attestation to these facts was the hostile conducts and pronouncements of the trial judge since the commencement of the case.
Even before the trial was yet to commence, Hon Justice John Tsoho had already found Nnamdi Kanu (POC) guilty during his ruling on bail application on 29th of January 2016. To him, Nnamdi Kanu (POC) is already an offender (criminal) who will repeat (career criminal) the offence if granted bail. This is when the phantom charges against him are yet to be commenced, proved and concluded; and when the 1999 Constitution still presumes him innocence until last court says otherwise. As if that was not enough, Hon Justice John Tsoho goofed unpardonably on the point of law during his ruling on whether to release to Nnamdi Kanu (POC) his seized two international passports and some specified amount in local and foreign currencies. The items were not contained in the pieces of investigative evidence pleaded by the DSS, upon which Nnamdi Kanu (POC) requested their recovery and return. The Judge after upholding the arguments of the defense counsel on point of law shockingly opted for his personal opinion and damned the written law.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on 30th of December 2015 told the whole world during a presidential media chat that “Nnamdi Kanu entered Nigeria illegally or improperly (without international passport)”. This was based on false DSS security report given to him, yet the same DSS tendered before the Court seized two international passports of UK and Nigeria origins belonging to Citizen Kanu (POC). It also took the same trial Judge (Justice John Terhemba Tsoho) 13 days (11th of February 2016) to sign his ruling on bail application to enable the defense counsel to properly file their appeal at the appellate court.
The despicable and widely condemned ruling was given on 29th of January 2016 and the 14 mandatory days for appeal expired on 12th of February 2016. That is to say that the ruling was only signed few hours to the expiration of the 14 mandatory days for filing of appeals at appellate court. The trial Judge was approached severally by the defense counsel to sign his ruling and he reportedly kept giving inexcusable excuses until the defense counsel came hard on him, resulting to his belated signing of same on 11th of February 2016. The plan was to frustrate them from filing proper appeal or notice of appeal at the appellate court before the expiration of the mandatory 14 days.
With the way things are going, if not properly checked and nipped in the bud, the trial Judge having appeared biased against Nnamdi Kanu (POC), will detonate the ticking time bomb in Nigeria following the unfolding drama before his Court. A repeat of Auta Justice in the same pattern and manner the current CJ (Ibrahim Auta) handled the phantom charges against Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others 21 years ago (1995) is already around the corner in Nnamdi Kanu’s case. To worsen it all, the DSS and Federal Government have, again, come up with an application seeking to try Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors in camera; “to enable them present witnesses against them under protective circumstances”.
Nigerians and members of the international community should not express surprises if the trial Judge, as usual, grants or rules in favour of secret trial of Kanu (POC) and others. Seeking for secret trial of Nnamdi Kanu and ors is a total indication of trumped up charges and trumped up trial with trumped up witnesses and pieces of evidence. This is not only a case of persecution; but also a clear manifestation of the fact that Auta Justice is already returned!
We, hereby, warn that using Auta Justice and hate rulings in furtherance of judicial persecution of Nnamdi Kanu and ors is a time bomb waiting to explode. Our reasons for this informed position and warning will be fully explained in our coming letters and advocacy positions. The desperation of ethnic cleansers hiding under the cloak of Federal Government of Nigeria to continuously oppress, suppress, subdue and exterminate Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and Igbo Ethnic Nationality in Nigeria, has long been unearthed. It is also alarming and shocking how a child can be beaten and asked not to cry in Nigeria.
To the extent that the Federal Government of Nigeria can send its security forces to go and open fire on innocent Nigerian citizens who gathered peacefully in an open place; is not only a declaration of war against Igbo race, but also amounts to experimenting with Syrian mass butcheries. As if that was not enough, the Southeast zone till date has completely been sidelined in all recent federal appointments. Once the statutory tenures of few sons and daughters of the zone appointed by previous administrations in few federal offices expire, elements from Muslim north are appointed as their replacements in total disregard to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. This is what modern conflict theorists called “entrenching culture of structural violence”. While these are on, the judiciary, which ought to be the last hope of the oppressed and suppressed, is also riotously intimidated and hijacked; all in a bid to deny Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors justice and murder him at all costs.
In all, we are giving the trial Judge, Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho three options. That is to say (1) he should hands off the case and its case file; (2) be dragged before the NJC; and (3) be made to face local and international advocacy campaigns. On the other hand, for the purpose of fair hearing and the avoidance of doubt, we offer him an opportunity to prove us wrong over the foregoing by showing the world that he has nothing to do with the reported CJ ambition between now and 2017 and that he will henceforth change his hostile attitudes and dispositions towards Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors in the case before his honourable Court. \But if truly he is gunning for CJship, then he should hands off the matter for obvious conflict of interest including his compulsory disposition to do that which pleases his potential appointing authority.
Finally, we make bold to say that we shall resist unstoppably all attempts to sacrifice the lives and liberties of Nnamdi Kanu (POC) and ors for selfish interests such as CJ ambition powered by sheer act of puppetry and politico-judicial leprously.
For: Southeast Based Coalition of Human Rights Organizations (SBCHROs)
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law & Coordinating Head, SBCHROs
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Chairman, Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization & Media Coordinator, SBCHROs
Mobile Line: +2348035090548
*Phone Caption - Nnamdi Kanu
[ Masterweb Reports: Ihechukwu Njoku reports ] - Prophet T.B. Joshua continues to fly the flag for Nigeria abroad, having been selected to choose three young leaders who will represent the nation at an internationally renowned conference across Asia and Europe.
According to a post on Joshua's official Facebook Page, Humanitarian Affairs, "an international NGO that aims to empower young people who are passionate about social change to make a real impact in the world", selected the pastor for his dedication in developing 'leaders of tomorrow'.
Joshua has been designated to "select three Youth Leaders between 18-35 years old to represent Nigeria in the 7th University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS)," to be held in August 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam, who "will share the secrets behind his extensive humanitarian efforts around the world".
T.B. Joshua is well known for his charitable work over the decades, especially the provision of scholarships to students such as Mary Jean Nleya who was sponsored to Harvard University, Yinka Oduwole to the University of Oxford and thousands more to academic institutions worldwide.
Humanitarian Affairs, a member of the United Nations Global Compact, will bring together over 1,000 leaders and world leading experts from more than 60 countries at the USLS.
"Ultimately, the organisation envisions building an international network of inspired, empowered and proactive young leaders who will be influential change-makers and decision-makers of the future," their website states.
One of the keynote speakers at the event, Mr Haoliang Xu, Assistant Secretary General, United Nations, said, "I think Humanitarian Affairs has created such a wonderful platform for you to gather together to discuss leadership, to discuss your own actions and to deal with humanitarian and development challenges that the world faces."
Joshua has spearheaded numerous global humanitarian projects including relief in disaster-hit countries such as Haiti and Philippines, alongside support for the physically challenged, widows, little people, orphans and elderly.
Additionally, he founded a football club for the less-privileged called My People FC, which discovered the likes of SS Lazio and Nigerian midfielder Ogenyi Onazi and FIFA U-17 World Cup MVP Sani Emmanuel.
He was also ranked among the most famous prophets in history by American website ranker.com, given the highest ranking by Google for institutions within Nigeria and awarded the 'Yoruba Man Of The Decade'.
Joshua's television station Emmanuel TV recently surpassed 300,000 subscribers on YouTube, making it one of the most subscribed Christian channels worldwide.
Ihechukwu Njoku ( Email: email@example.com ), freelance Nigerian journalist reports.
*Photo Caption - T. B. Joshua
[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke reports ] - I begin this year’s Lenten season with a sense of unbelief. It is not unbelief in the Lord Jesus Christ who enters the city of Jerusalem after his desert 40-day fasting and prayer to face suffering, excruciating pain and ultimately death at the hands of Roman Generals and ignorant Jewish political/religious leaders.
No, I begin this season of Lent like the father of a demon-possessed boy in the gospel of Mark, who cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” – Mark 9:24.
I begin this season of Lent with utter disbelief about what is happening in my country Nigeria under the watch of President Buhari/APC government.
I am in utter disbelief about the state of democracy in Nigeria today. It seems that President Buhari – a former military dictator and self-acclaimed democrat does not understand constitutional democracy, rule of law, human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc.
I’m in utter disbelief of the abuse of human rights, disregard for rule of law, crack down on freedom of speech, freedom of association, etc. The Nigerian State is turning into a military dictatorship where all freedoms are denied and punished wherever found.
I am in utter disbelief of the killings of unarmed and vulnerable pro-Biafra prayer warriors who were invaded by Nigerian Police and Army and shot at indiscriminately massacring ten of them while several others sustained gunshot-induced injuries all over their bodies and vital organs at their usually monthly prayer meetings at National High School Aba in Abia State. They were massacred while praying.
I’m in utter disbelief of the rampant shooting of defenseless young pro-Biafra protesters who are peacefully protesting against the unlawful detention of their leader: Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, who was arrested last October by the Department of State Security (DSS) for speaking out against SE marginalization.
I’m in utter disbelief of a young school girl who was gunned down in Aba while walking to school by a Nigerian soldier who was angry for loosing one of his personal items.
I’m in utter disbelief of the indiscriminate killings of Shia Muslims in Zaria by the army – accusing the group of assassination attempt against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
I’m in utter disbelief of the continued detention of their leader, Sheikh Zakzaky and the brazen destruction of Shia Muslim headquarters in Zaria by soldiers directed by Lawal Musa Daura, the Director-General of the Department of the State Service [DSS] according to the report.
I’m in utter disbelief of the selective fight against corrupt political officials – the selective arrest and harassment of only PDP members and none from APC including the cronies around the president – even though most, if not all members of APC today were once members of PDP. Some APC member were in PDP until President Buhari won the presidential election last May and they started switching party.
I’m utterly in disbelief of the brazen cruelty of the military force against vulnerable youngsters, who are suffering due to yoke of ethnic hatred, religious bigotry, punitive policies and corrupt political leadership.
I’m in utter disbelief of the indifference that world leaders are showing to hurting and marginalized Biafra group, who are simply protesting against joblessness, lack of infrastructure, and marginalization of the region.
Now, we see the hypocrisy of world leaders - especially America, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China. They are only interested in oil resources, contracts, and do not care about human lives - especially Black lives.
I’m in utter disbelief of the deafening silence of Nigerian media, civil societies, human rights organizations, the elders, the statesmen, the politicians, and off-course the religious leaders, who have not courageously spoken out against the rampant shootings and killings of innocent youths by the Army and Police. This is travesty and rape of democracy.
I’m in utter disbelief that all the institutions – courts, judiciary, and legislative body that suppose to protect, uphold, and balance power in democratic presidential system of government are all tamed by this president.
I’m in utter disbelief that Igbos are killed and forced to remain part of Nigeria even when basis of unity does not exist anymore. I’m in utter unbelief of such a forced adulterous marriage even when the Holy Books proscribed separation and divorce on certain conditions. Nigeria’s amalgamation expired in 2014 and the nation is fundamentally flawed and until real restructure occurs, Nigeria’s unity does not exist.
I’m in utter disbelief that while murderous sect like Boko haram has continued to massacre innocent Nigerians in the northeast and IDP centers across Nigeria despite the claim of the government that Boko haram is technically defeated, while the Nigerian Military and Police are busy shooting and killing innocent and unarmed Biafra youths in SE region of Nigeria.
I’m in utter disbelief of the resurgent kidnapping and killings of Royal Fathers, Kings, and Obas for ransom by the Fulani herdsmen in SW.
I’m in utter disbelief that President Buhari spoke recently at EU parliament asking for rights and self determination of the Palestine people but will kill the indigenous people of Biafra in SE of Nigeria for peacefully asking for the same rights. What a hypocrisy.
Ten months ago, Nigerians voted out PDP out of power because of massive corruption and chose APC party leadership to pilot the affairs of the nation. Nigerians wanted change – but the change we are seeing now is not what we voted for. Some democratic gains have been made since 1999 when Nigeria returned to constitutional democratic presidential system of government, but today, Nigeria’s fragile and fledging democracy at risk.
In a democracy, people have of freedom of speech to complain and protest against joblessness, poverty, oppression, injustice, and marginalization. There’s nothing wrong with that in a constitutional democracy. Nigeria is not practicing military system of government anymore and do not have plans to go back to the brutal time of military dictatorship. Nigeria’s fragile and fledging democracy at risk if President Buhari is not going to respect the laws of the Land. If he cannot obey the courts, than Nigeria’s democracy is risk. If the EFCC, INEC, DSS, Military personnel and other institutions of the Federal government cannot use the rule of engagement democratically and wisely, then Nigeria’s unity is stake. People will have no options than to defend themselves.
President Buhari/APC, DSS, EFCC, INEC and the Army – please be warned. Do not destroy Nigeria! Nigeria is a presidential democracy not military dictatorship.
I’m in utter disbelief of some many things, but I remain optimistic and hopeful that President Buhari/APC government will turn-around.
Let me conclude by saying my Lenten prayer: Lord, I believe; help my unbelief even when I just cannot believe the cruelties of men in power.
C. K. Ekeke, M.Div., Ph.D.
Theologian, Author, Activist and Leadership Lecturer
*Photo Caption - C. K. Ekeke
[ Masterweb Reports: Evangelist Chi Benedicta Okonkwo on Love ] - Of this there are five kinds, which vary according to the object upon which love is exercised. The attribute in God is the same; but it is in its exit, or in its termination, that it assumes these different forms.
- There is the love of complacency or approbation. This is exercised towards a worthy object in which excellencies are perceived. This is exercised by God, in its highest degree, in the love of himself, of his own nature and character, because the infinitely excellent must be to God the highest object of complacent love.
The complacent love of God, therefore, extends not only to himself and his will, but to all his innocent creation and even to inanimate nature.
This love of complacency, however, as it is exercised in its highest degree towards himself, so also is it exhibited, in the nearest approach to that, towards those beings who are most like himself, having been made in his nature and likeness. An innocent angel, or an innocent man is therefore by nature a joy to God, as is the child to the father who sees in it a peculiar likeness to himself.
But the guilty cannot thus be loved. Sinful man cannot receive such love, so long as sinful. Even the penitent believer in Jesus, until the time of his perfect sanctification in the life to come, and doubtless even then, has access to God only through Christ, and, of himself, can in no respect secure the approbation of God.
2.The second kind of love, is the love of benevolence, which corresponds to the idea of God’s goodness towards his creatures. This is the product of his wishes for their happiness. It is not dependent on their character, as is the love of complacency, but is exercised towards both innocent and guilty. It is general in its nature, not special, and exists towards all, even towards devils, and wicked men, because God’s nature is benevolent, and, therefore, he must wish for the happiness of his creatures.
That that happiness is not attained, nor attainable, is due, not to him, but to their own sin.
When the benevolence of God is exercised actively in the bestowment of good things upon his creatures, it is called his beneficence. By the former, he wishes them happiness, by the latter, he confers blessings to make them so.
This is done to the wicked also, as well as to the righteous. It is to this that Christ refers, Matthew 5:45, “ He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”
3.The third form of love is the love of compassion.
This corresponds to our idea of pity. It is benevolent disposition to those who are suffering or in distress.
This also may be exercised towards the guilty or the innocent, if it be possible to suppose that guilt and suffering are separable. It has been very commonly held that they are
inseparable. Pain , suffering and distress have been believed to be the result of sin, and consequently, inseparable from guilt. But this is a mistaken notion. Man in a state of innocence was made capable of physical suffering. That capacity was necessary to the protection of his physical organism.
It can be and is also exercised toward the guilty. We see this in the forbearance with which he delays their punishment, in his constant offers of mercy, in his yearnings after their salvation, and most signally, in the gift of his only begotten Son, “ that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16.
4. A fourth form of the love of God corresponds to what we call mercy.
This can be exercised only toward sinners.
Its very nature contemplates guilt in its objects.
It consists, not only in the desire not to inflict the punishment due to sin, and the neglect and refusal to do so, but in the actual pardon of the offender. It cannot be exercised towards a righteous being, because, in him is no sin or guilt to be pardoned.
Under the ancient economy, God ruled as theocratic ruler over Israel. Sins of the nation and sins of individuals in their capacity of citizens of the nation, were pardoned.
Under that dispensation God occupied to that people the position of an earthly ruler, and consequently could pardon sins against his government at will, upon repentance, and upon merely governmental principle-that is, such as would secure obedience to the law, peace and order, and the welfare of the nation. These were offences against the mere person of the king or the laws of his state, and not against the fundamental principles of holiness and righteousness; hence sovereignty and expediency could decide in each case what might be done, and mercy was exercised and justice dispensed accordingly.
But this is very different from the case of God, the righteous judge, the dispenser, not of arbitrary law, but of a law based upon his own nature and that of man, essential obedience to which is necessary, not for maintaining government, but for preserving and maintaining the right and preventing the violation with impunity of eternal law.
In both cases God must act in harmony with his whole nature.
5. The fifth form of love is that of affection.
This differs from that of complacency inasmuch as it does not always demand a worthy object. This is exhibited in the parable of the “ Prodigal Son.”
It differs from that of benevolence, inasmuch as its object is not viewed in general with all others, but is one of special interest.
It differs from that of compassion and that of mercy, because the object may neither be in distress, nor sinful.
It arises from,
- Mutual relationship; as of the Father to the Son, and of all the persons in the Trinity toward each other; of Christ to his apostles, his disciples and his church, and of the adopted sons to God the Father.
- From dependence; as of creatures on the creator, and of the redeemed upon the redeemer.
- From ownership; as of God over man of God over Israel, and of Christ over the redeemed. This is illustrated in the lost coin in Luke 15:8,9.
This kind of love originates in each of these ways in man, and, as the Scriptures show, is also found in God.
It is from this aspect of God’s love that proceeds grace, which is to be distinguished from love, pity, and mercy.
Love, as we have seen, is the general characteristic, exhibiting itself in these five different forms.
Mercy is one of these, but is given to the guilt only.
Pity is given to guilty or innocent, who may be in distress, pain or suffering.
Grace is also given to guilty, or innocent, and does not necessarily suppose distress in the object, but involves an affectionate interest in it, arising either from peculiar relation to it, or ownership of it, or compassion for its dependence.
Grace is undeserved favour to innocent or guilty arising from affection.
Mercy is undeserved compassion to the guilty only.
By Evangelist Chi Benedicta Okonkwo ( Author/Writer)
Vice-President and Financial Secretary, Nigerian Nationals’ Association, Madrid, Spain.
AUTHOR OF THE FOLLOWING BOOKS:
Efficacy Of Prayer
Hidden Secrets To Fulfilling Your Destiny
Evangelist Chi can be reached at +34632325146
*Photo Caption - Evangelist Chi Benedicta Okonkwo
[ Masterweb Reports: Ikechukwu Enyiagu reports ] - "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light." -Matthew 6:22 (New Living Translation)
It is important, first of all, that, in order to adequately comprehend and appreciate the beautifully crafted parts of the body and how they consistently and tenaciously work in pari passu at ensuring the smooth-running of the whole body system in which they are firmly held together, a light has to be shone. It doesn’t matter if it's a human body, a room or a society, without light being shone towards it, darkness naturally overtakes every desire for comprehension and appreciation. That then clearly explains why there has been historically a sharp demarcation between light and darkness; to keep your body healthy, shine the light of truth, and to keep the society growing positively, shine the light of transparency. It is by doing this that every disease hidden by darkness is unmasked and the body saved from death while the society overcomes all forms of moral decay.
Privatization, as said, has to deal with the process of transferring an enterprise or industry from the public sector (the part of the economic system that is run by government agencies) to the private sector. Parts of the argument in favor of privatization are that it will boost the efficiency and quality of remaining government activities, reduce taxes, and shrink the size of government - saving running funds thereby. Proponents have also argued that profit-seeking behavior of new, private sector managers will undoubtedly lead to cost cutting and greater attention to customer satisfaction. At least, on papers, privatization seemed feasible and, to wider margin, even desirable to citizens as arguments that it provides better services, cuts costs through professionalism, demands accountability and saves the public treasury abound. In this piece, however, we will be looking at the interpretation of the privatization of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) for today's Nigerian.
On April, 1, 1972, Electricity Corporation of Nigeria (ECN), carved into force in the 50s by the then-colonial government, merged with the Niger Dam Authority (NDA) to create National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) aimed at giving the government a firmer grip on the power sector so as to ensure productivity and progress. Then NEPA failed only to be soon re-branded as Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHC or PHCN). This failed also. Sadly, the importance of shinning true light seem alien even to those crusaders of power generation and distribution in Nigeria. These phases which were set up to maximize profits while minimizing costs, we must all remember, clearly became the active drainage through which politicians and their allies kept keeping Nigeria on her knees. The Advent of Power privatization, sadly also, has especially through the workings of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Distribution Companies (DISCOs) pushed every merit of privatization further into the dark-covering trying to keep Nigeria and Nigerians encapsulated from the light that assures growth.
Now "change is here" as it is famously sung and danced, with a broom-to-sweep. I firmly believe that true change can be possible when we begin to see clearly and to react rightly to the object of our sight. I sincerely believe that this time calls for less promulgation and more but focused practicalization. If the purpose of privatization in Nigeria as in elsewhere is mainly to maritain a functional and progressing economy for the society where majority of its citizens are relatively content with and trusting in the government structures, then there should be no cogent reason on the side of the 'government of change' as to why privatization now seems to be privatizing individual citizens to hardship. The judiciary, standing as the unbiased upholder of justices, especially firstly where the citizens and the country are concerned, must then not look the other way when privatization tends to mock its rights to defend and uphold justice. On the activities and regulations of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs), it is important that we 'do not muzzle the ox while it is treading the grain,' for how can you claim to have come for the good of the power consumers when you charge for electricity not provided for? It makes no sense and no longer suffices that the power generators and distributors in Nigeria should continue to treat electricity users as milk-cows and steel slaves - demanding, with a whip in one arm, for productivity that advances them solely.
Reiterating, I, too, believe in change. As the Treasury Single Account (TSA) keeps unmasking ghost works, I also believe that none should look for wages where he has not labored and that the law should be strict against such as Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) try to impose on today's Nigerians. We have lived in the darkness in our consciences for too long but 'change' should no longer allow the lack of an infrastructure as common as electricity to keep holding our society down in the dark. I urge the federal government, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) and all stakeholders to desist from privatizing darkness but to, once in Nigeria's history, shine the light that illuminates so that the beauty of this giant cant be seen by all. For once, let change come to, even if it is a thing as common as, electricity. There is no glory without the light and darkness will remain as long as light is absent or is being rationed. Corruption and all its interpretive branches only breathe, live and thrive in the dark and, believe me, electricity has its way of contending even with the darkness lurking in our individual hearts. Lack of electricity is today's foundation for other corruption because nothing else works in a country not powered by electricity except the gluttonous desire to steal and embezzle. Sadly, this country may not shine until the bulbs in our houses and places of work shine with permanent steadiness.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Darkness
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] - The purpose of instant is to focus attention on Nigeria. Nigeria, Africa’s richest country is sick with many ills that are turning this nation of 170 million citizens into an anarchical society. The question as to what proportion of Nigeria’s problems is attributable to the political leaders’ ineptitude and what portion is attributable to the lackadaisical attitudes of citizens, is a conundrum that defies easy answer.
This essay suggests that perhaps my country’s problems are not really problems by themselves but are by-products of a more staid quandary or sticky situation. Remember that since the school is an extension of the larger society, there is a drill-town connection. But it is impossible to discuss all the major issues that plague my homeland in a single essay of about one page.
Many brilliant writers and thinkers inside and outside Nigeria have stated their opinions as to what the most serious trouble in Nigeria, is. Thinkers’ ideas of the cause(s) of Nigeria’a problems are divergent, often contradictory, and there is no meeting of the minds. We balk at recreating the wheel or coming up with solutions that may not address what we are attempting to get at.
According to some writers on the subject, the factors thought to contribute to Nigeria’s malaise have been corruption, terrorism, unemployment, education and university systems, the environment, and infrastructure. Although education is mentioned as a problem, writers have often treated the issue in hurried passing in their attempt to overextend defeat of corruption beyond reasonable limits.
The defeat of corruption and boko haram seem to have been seen as a panacea or cure-all. Would the defeat of boko haram and bribery guarantee that our children will receive quality education? It is doubtful. Corruption and boko haram seem to be tautologies employed to obfuscate. To obfuscate is to conceal the real diagnoses. Tautology is needless repetition of an idea, especially in words without imparting additional force or meaning
Other writers propose three major challenges facing Nigeria, and there are unemployment, corruption (again), and insufficient power supply as priorities. The majority, almost all of the opinions on the causes of Nigeria’s backwardness as a nation, seems to hinge on corruption. No one is paying attention to the causes of corruption in the first place.
Dr. James C. Agazie ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau
[ Masterweb Reports: Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Masterweb Special Correspondent reports ] - Call him the preaching governor, the singing governor, the dancing governor, Victor, and a governor after God’s own heart, for God’s own state, Okezie Ikpeazu would fit in. In September last year in faraway Connecticut in New York I met a man, and a leader who was clothed with Godly humility. His assertion that without God, he cannot stand touched my heart. I watched him sing a song he captioned his battle and victory song: “Obughi mu ji onwem, ma amara ya jim aka kam hara ida”. I hold not myself, but His grace holds me so that I cannot fall. And in faraway Spain, I was moved again when I saw him singing and dancing his victory song once again few days ago after the Supreme Court verdict.
The Supreme Court verdict on February 2, declaring him the rightful occupant of the Abia state government house after a hard fought battle with a well formidable and “never say die” opponent confirmed truly that his victory was an act of God. With the battle that ensued before victory came his way, any feeble mind would have lost vision and focus. But in governor Ikpeazu’s case the challenges on his way propelled him to devote himself more to the service of the people, a rare fit among Nigerian leaders under such circumstances who would have been distracted and lost focus. And like David, a man after God’s own heart would do, Ikpeazu was all songs and took to praising God for his victory after the Supreme Court ruling. And from a distance, I could hear him sing his battle and victory song once again. As his name depicts Victor, you cannot be a Victor without a battle. For Okezie Ikpeazu, the initial battle is won but you have not finished the race.
For his opponent Alex Otti, “Anu laa taa, echi bun ta”. It was not a Victor and vanquished affair. For me you did not fail rather it’s a stepping stone to success. “The phoenix must burn to emerge” The election is over and the winner emerged. Irrespective of political and party leanings, let everybody Join hands to make Abia great. It’s not the Abia state of Ikpeazu or PDP, APGA or APC, but the Abia state of Nigeria.
For Ikpeazu now that you have the full mandate, the gloomy and cloudy storms are gone. The coast is clear. Strip yourself of party politics and god fatherism agenda and go for the real work God has chosen you to do in Abia state. You are not a PDP governor, you are not the Ngwa governor, you are not the Umuahia governor, but you are Ikpeazu, the Abia state governor. And may I remind you during the interview with you in New York September 5 2015 your answer to the question; Abia state is tagged as God’s own state, and you are the governor of God’s own state… would it be right to tag you as God’s own governor?
Your response was “It would be a privilege, an honor, in fact a virtue, it’s not a title I can own, and it’s a title I will work towards to. I wish I could be God’s own governor. And I pray he will be gracious and merciful to give me the grace to be that one day”.
Governor Ikpeazu, the time has come to work towards that virtue and clinch it. Now that the gloomy and cloudy storms that loomed on your path are gone, go for the crown of glory and work to earn that virtue as God’s own governor through your good works as you have already set out to do. In addition to your battle and victory song, you can sing now a new song in the rendition of Jimmy Cliff:
“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s gonna be a bright sunshiny day. Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for”… Indeed here is the rainbow and the blue skies Abians have been praying and waiting for. And surely it’s gonna be a bright sunshiny days and years for the people of God’s own state under God’s own governor.
*Photo Caption – Governor Okezie Ikpeazu
[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu reports ] - In 2011, I was one of those who was understandably very excited with Okorocha’s candidacy in the Imo state gubernatorial elections against an incumbent governor that had no achievement to his name beyond wild unfulfilled promises and propaganda billboards. Okorocha had a great resume in philanthropy that endeared many to him. Through the auspices of his charities, he made it possible for many disadvantaged youths to go school thus giving them a fair chance in life. Like many, I reasoned that a man who was humane enough to float charities dedicated to helping the poor would be better disposed to provide good leadership and to implement policies geared at poverty eradication and the overall development of Imo state.
And so like many others, I supported and wished him well until he won the elections. The interest in Okorocha’s candidacy was such that once he was elected, there was a flurry of agenda setting’s and development plans for Imo state from all corners of the nation flying around in the media— which all sought to help the new administration by providing practical ideas and approaches on development with the demonstrated aim of making Imo state an unusual model of development and good governance. Admittedly, Okorocha met some expectations in his first few years with the launch of the free education programme and the commencement of many infrastructure projects across the state. There also seemed to be some movement against corruption with the removal of the then deputy governor on controversial corruption charges. The one area where there didn’t seem to be much movement or any movement at all was in the area of industrialisation and the establishment of incentivised “special self serviced industrial parks” where small, medium and large scale enterprises can be clustered to unleash and maximise the still dormant entrepreneurial spirit in the area which many had strongly advocated. However, Okorocha’s first few years overall had some positive milestones.
Fast-forward to the later part of his first term and the beginning of his second term in 2015 and the scenario is glaringly different. Okorocha it seems has lost his human side and has become a typical insensitive Nigerian politician. For many of us it came as a rude shock to learn that Okorocha owed salaries and pensions for several months running. I couldn’t understand how a man with a background in philanthropy and supposedly a large heart could descend to the unconscionable depths of owing workers salaries and still find enough good conscience and peace to sleep at night. There is something about Nigerian politics that strips individuals of their human rationality—and it seems Okorocha has finally drank that poisoned chalice that makes them lose their humanity and evolve into an unfeeling and insensitive creature that spares no thought for their subjects. Okorocha’s plunge into the decadence of Nigerian politics became more evident when he sided with Buhari’s exclusion of the Southeast zone in appointments on the basis that the zone did not vote for him against his advice.
Such absurd logic that stands the very concept of democracy on its head can only come from a Nigerian politician. It is a logic that totally repudiates the core essence of democracy which is anchored on competitive elections and the inalienable freedom of the citizenry to choose without fear, favour, intimidation or victimisation. This is the fundamental basis on which functional democracies across the world have flourished. Once elements of victimisation on the basis of voting choices are introduced and the right to choose without fear or favour is abridged, it ceases to be a democracy in the real sense. Indeed, even the Nigerian constitution as dictated by the oath of office unambiguously forbids the victimisation or discrimination of any Nigerian. Thus the implication of Okorocha’s suggestions, who as a lawyer by training should have known better, is that Nigerians must either vote for the winning party or be punished. Not only is this patently undemocratic, it is also unconstitutional and immoral, but having joined the camp of Nigerian politicians it is no surprise that Okorocha now toes the line of illegality against the interest of his own region.
As if that was not enough, the recent sacking of over 3000 workers and the reported non-payment of some workers salaries even after receiving the federal government bailout funds finally confirmed Okorocha’s initiation into Nigeria’s decadent politics and hall of shame. When the sacking of workers is added to crumbling roads in Owerri metropolis and around the state due to poor quality and the increasing menace of filth in Owerri that once had the reputation of being the cleanest city in Nigeria, you get the full picture of Okorocha’s descent from a humane and performing governor to an insensitive and clueless governor. It is a strange place to be for a man that once embodied the essence of democratic choice and in whom so many had placed much hope as an agent of transformation. It is also ironic that a governor who does not hide his ambition for Nigerian presidency is doing all the wrong things to de-market himself for the higher office he seeks.
But sinners can repent and it’s not too late for Okorocha to make amends being only in the beginning stages of his second term. This can be done by firstly recalling sacked workers, clearing all the salary and pension arrears in Imo state and committing through blocking all loopholes of corruption and more prudent management of resources never to owe salaries again. Secondly by slashing the salary and allowances of all political office holders in the state by at least 20 percent to free up revenue for capital projects, thirdly by increasing the drive for internally generated revenue through a more efficient revenue generation system and the introduction of modest annual property taxes amongst other possible taxes, fourthly by embarking on the establishment of special industrial parks to unleash the entrepreneurial acumen of the people, investments in real estate (modern housing estates) through public private partnerships and urban renewal projects, fifthly by cleaning up Owerri and remaking it the cleanest city in Nigeria with tree lined streets/boulevards, constructing long neglected roads and reconstructing some of the already constructed poor quality roads that are already crumbling—making sure this time to pay attention to the quality of the roads and lastly by undertaking some legacy projects for which he will be forever remembered. Some suggestions of a legacy project could be turning Oguta Lake and environs into a tourist hub through the construction of a Disneyland land style amusement park and a Lakeside hotel, the construction of a model new high density (skyscraper) estate, a modern tunnel or flyover to decongest traffic in Owerri etc.
Okorocha must remember that he came to power with a lot of promise, supported by the masses which made it possible to defeat an incumbent governor at a time such a feat was absolutely rare. He now needs to undergo a rebirth and ultimately use every day of his second and last term in office to do justice to Imo State, vindicate his mandate and better market himself for his future aspirations.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: Lawrencenwobu@gmail.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption – Governor Rochas Okorocha
[ Masterweb Reports: Jasper Azuatalam reports ] - Some times, when things happen so fast, it appears unnoticeable. Things have happened so fast since Muhammadu Buhari became President and it seems we have forgotten the past.
Just a quick reminder.
In 2011, former president Goodluck Jonathan cried out that the “cabals” in his government, especially those in the oil industry were holding his government to ransom. He tried to remove fuel subsidy and pegged the pump price of fuel at N148 per litter. Nigerians resisted it and he reduced it to N97 per litre and fuel subsidy continued.
Nigeria was paying over N1.5 trillion for subsidy per year till late 2015. President Muhammadu Buhari came and insisted that there was nothing like subsidy and that the word subsidy is a fraud to siphon Nigerias resources.
President Muhammadu Buhari pulled the string, disbanded the cabals and removed subsidy.
Today, Nigeria no longer pay subsidy to anyone, but the amazing thing is that fuel is now sold below the price it was sold when Nigeria was paying subsidy. Fuel is also freely available everywhere at a reduced price. Who will ever believe that the cabals can be disbanded and subsidy removed without an increase in the pump price of fuel? What a world!
Before now, the federal government operated over 200 bank accounts and the agencies/institutions of government that generate revenue make sure they retire all revenue generated as expenses and management cost. The PDP government suggested a Single Treasury Account TSA, but the fat cows and cabals never allowed its implementation.
Today, President Muhammadu Buhari has disbanded the fat cows/cabals and reintroduced and implemented the Single Treasury Account TSA which has yielded N2.2 trillion naira as at December 2015 which was just a little more than 4 monthsof its implementation.
Federal Allocations are now disbursed as at when due. Before former president Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, Federal allocations were owed like salaries leading many states to bankruptcy, but President Muhammadu Buhari came and paid bailout to states. Today, the monthly allocations are coming as as at when due irrespective of the fact that crude oil which is the major source of revenue has fallen from $140 per barrel under Goodluck Jonathan to $28 per barrel today.
Stealing has become corruption.
Under the PDP administration, stealing was not corruption. It was an acceptable norm. Today, under President Muhammadu Buhari. Those who looted Nigeria’s resources are willingly returning millions of dollars to the government and facing various charges in court.
Discipline has returned in public service and everyone is learning to be accountable knowing fully well that President Muhammadu Buhari will ask everyone to account for his stewardship sooner or later.
I can count to number 100, but the wailing wailers will turn their eyes away from all these achievements pretending they are not aware. It is OK, but we must continue to share them until the blind will see them.
It is not yet uhuru because the system was badly bastardised, but there is hope for a better tomorrow as President Muhammadu Buhari is paddling the canoe slowly and steadily to the promised land.
*Photo Caption - President Muhammadu Buhari
[ Masterweb Reports: Comrade Ahmed Omeiza Lukman reports ] - Honestly, I wish to congratulate his Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello on his successful inauguration as the executive governor of kogi state. People choose their leader to lead them but God choose you to lead the people of Kogi State. A divine mandate to lead the state in a new direction, we give glory to God for the success recorded at the inaugural ceremony. I wish to also appreciate the effort of the Nigerian police force and other security agencies that collaborated to provide adequate security at the inaugural ceremony.
The security agencies were able to avert our fears of proposed disruption of the inaugural ceremony by some disgruntled elements within the state. The epoch-making event of January 27th 2015 remains sacrosanct to the people of kogi state. To some school of thought, it is the birth of a new direction in the administration of kogi state, the leader they believe can bring about the change they have long being yearning for. To other school of thought, it is a day their denied victory was finally coroneted. Whichever the case may be, we must all accept the fact that, it is only God that chooses a leader.
The old and barbaric ways with which the previous governors governed the state is what some indigenes of the state are expecting to continue, most especially the people of central and western senatorial district. They felt it is pay back time for their marginalization in the leadership of the state; no other senatorial district has had the opportunity of governing the state since it creation in 1991. Only the people from the eastern senatorial district have had privilege to govern the state severally. Power they believe has finally shifted and everybody was expecting his Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello to continue with the ethnic cap and lopsided ways of appointing political office holders. Some political appointments have been reserved for only people from eastern senatorial district. Such positions are Chief of staff, commissioner for finance, commissioner for works, accountant general of the state, auditor general of the state, vice chancellor KSU, provost kogi state college of education, permanent Secretary to the government house and several other key positions. There are also several other imbalances, such as commissioners; East – 10, West- 5, Central -4. SA; East – 33, West – 16, Central – 8. S.S.A; East – 60, West – 10, Central - 4. Perm. Sec; East - 24. West- 4. Central- 4. Board Chairmen; East- 14, West- 8, Central-3. Board of directors; East- 198, West- 128, Central- 29. State civil service; East- 24,621, West-6,519 and central- 4,069.
These are some of the reasons why the people of central and western senatorial district are agitating for power shift. There is high level of distrust among the people of the three major ethnic groups in the state and this makes it difficult for the people of Eastern senatorial district to ever wish for power shift.
Beyond the problem of loop sided appointments, distrust among the ethnic groups, agitation for power shift, there is also a high level of debt profile in the state, which amount to the tone of N44.6 billion, lack of payment of civil servants in the state, owning of contractors, poor infrastructures, bad state of roads and above all, infiltrated civil service with ghost workers. Does the man of the new dawn in a new direction expected to continue his administration in this old manner? The answer is a capital NO. His Excellency Alh Yahaya Bello is a progressive minded individual, a detribalized kogits, who believes in equality and fair treatment of all citizen of the state. He is a leader with mission, vision, focused and above all, God fearing. He is the divine leader that God has sent to the good people of kogi state to come and alleviate the state from her present condition. The expectations from the people of state are high as regards dividends of democracy.
His Excellency, the executive governor of Kogi State is inheriting a state in a near state of comatose in the mist regressing federal allocation as a result of the fall in the International crude oil price and a state with low internally generated revenue (IGR). His Excellency Alh Yahaya bello in his inaugural speech has reiterate the quote of the President in person of President Muhammadu Buhari as “I belong to every body and I belong to nobody”. This quote he said defines the purpose and methodology of his Administration. His Excellency has started his administration on a good note by appointing the Chief of staff in person of Hon. Edward David Onoja from a senatorial district different from that of his Excellency. This has actually given hope to the good people of Kogi State that Alhaji Yahaya Bello is ready to work and not the ethnic leader some people had hope for, we believe he will build a new Kogi of power equation and not shift.
To the credit of the new dawn in a new direction, his Excellency has reinstatement the unlawful sacked local government chairmen by immediate past administration of Captain Idris Wasa. He was also able to resolve the six weeks old industrial strike engaged on by the state labour union which has put the state civil service on hold.
We pray that his Excellency Alhaji Yahaya Bello continue in this holy and just path and pay little attention to those who never wish the state well.
Comrade Ahmed Omeiza Lukman,
Chairman Nigeria Community in Ukraine.
*Photo Caption - Alhaji Yahaya Bello