[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Democracy & Civil Liberties, Onitsha Nigeria, 15th March 2015)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law formally acknowledges your Commission’s letter to us dated 17th February 2015 and referenced INEC/CH/GC/073/1. The referenced letter follows our earlier letter to your Commission dated 10th February 2015 and titled Healing The Wounds Of 2015 Polls’ Shift: What INEC & Service Chiefs Must Do. We also received another letter from the Chief of Defense Staff of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 25th February 2015 relating to the same issue. We have since replied or responded to the two referenced letters. Our response to yours was contained in our public statement dated 24th February 2015 and titled INEC Chairman’s Letter To Intersociety: Our Position. A copy of it is hereby attached for your perusal.
Professor Attahiru M. Jega
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
INEC Headquarters, Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent
Maitama, P.M.B. 0184, FCT, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria
Consequences Of Importing Ethnic Cleansing Into The Distribution Of Permanent Voters’ Cards In Nigeria
(Democracy & Civil Liberties, Onitsha Nigeria, 15th March 2015)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law formally acknowledges your Commission’s letter to us dated 17th February 2015 and referenced INEC/CH/GC/073/1. The referenced letter follows our earlier letter to your Commission dated 10th February 2015 and titled Healing The Wounds Of 2015 Polls’ Shift: What INEC & Service Chiefs Must Do. We also received another letter from the Chief of Defense Staff of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 25th February 2015 relating to the same issue. We have since replied or responded to the two referenced letters. Our response to yours was contained in our public statement dated 24th February 2015 and titled INEC Chairman’s Letter To Intersociety: Our Position. A copy of it is hereby attached for your perusal.
Our Involvement In Pre-Election Advocacy:
We have over the years frowned at the age-long attitude of the CSOs in Nigeria, which pay little or no attention to pre-poll advocacy and much attention to poll monitoring. This is fundamentally wrong and it is caused by foreign donors’ interest; which appears focused on monitoring of election and issuance of reports. Our irrevocable position remains that CSOs must proactively and actively engage electoral process at all times and electoral process includes announcement of election dates, registration and updating of voters, issuance and distribution of temporary or permanent voters’ cards, general management of the National Register of Voters by your Commission, processes and procedures for the polls, party primaries, election campaigns, pre election court processes, distribution of poll materials, pre election security, election proper, announcement of election results and declaration of winners and losers; post election security and court processes. We are resoundingly glad that our entry into pre election advocacy as per 2015 polls in Nigeria will eternally remain a reference point particularly as it concerns our exposition of PVC distribution fraud and its ongoing ethnic cleansing handling styles.
Ethnic Cleansing In The Distribution Of PVCs:
We are not in the know or aware of any pre election management in Nigeria’s history that had suffered ethnic bias like the 2015 pre-election handling particularly as it concerns the distribution and issuance of the Permanent Voters’ Cards. For the first time in Nigeria, ethnic cleansing has been so introduced and maintained as a major informal policy of INEC under your professorial midwifery. But for our courageous exposition of the referenced grave anomalies, the 2015 polls would have been conducted under clean up the slaves and enthrone the slave masters circumstances. Fears of the foregoing are still expected in the rescheduled polls.
Till date, complaints of ethnic exclusion and ostracism in the ongoing distribution and issuance of PVCs have remained torrential. In Lagos State, with 40% non indigenous registered voting population, several complaints have been made by non indigenes saying they cannot access their PVCs because some compromised INEC staff connived with the State ruling party to deny them access to their PVCs. Their PVCs are popularly believed to have been destroyed, hidden or deliberately misplaced officially. Amuwo-Odofin, Alimosho, Yaba, Sulurere and Ojo areas or LGAs are worse hit. Protests were recently carried out in the State by the Union of Non-Indigenes in Lagos saying that 70% of them registered to vote have been denied their PVCs. The group’s Chairman, Mr. Francis Abang said they could not trace their PVCs where they registered as voters. The Lagos INEC office merely responded by relieving two staff of their duties; yet the problem remains fundamentally unaddressed (Source: Nigerian Pilot Newspaper February 23, 2015).
Further, the Plateau State branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria similarly protested to INEC on March 2nd 2015 accusing your Commission of a deliberate policy designed to deny Christians in the State of their rights to vote by misplacing or hording their PVCs. One of the Christian residents in the State recently told Intersociety how he accidentally ran into a gathering in one of the electoral quarters populated by Hausa Muslims and saw his PVC and those of his neighbors; over six kilometers away from his registration center. He said himself and his neighbors have severally gone to their registration centers in the State to pick their PVCs only to be told that theirs are not available.
He also told Intersociety that calls he made to his friends and relatives living in some northern States ended with the same complaints. In Kawo district of Kaduna State as well as in Nasarawa and Sabon Gari LGAs of Kano State, the story is not different. PVCs of non indigenes and minorities are reportedly destroyed, diverted, misplaced or hoarded for the purpose of denying them their rights to vote. This is in addition to reported proliferation of registration and voting centers in Muslim strongholds and scanty provision of same in the areas populated by non Muslims and non indigenes and minorities. In all, there appears to be deliberate disappearance, misplacement, defacing, diversion and destruction of PVCs belonging to minority populations particularly the Christians and non host residents in the North and Lagos State with your Commission doing little or nothing to stop it. Excuses offered by your Commission on this are not only infantile, but also a clear case of aiding and abetting. Instances are numerous to mention.
Possible Hijack Of PVCs:
The report of your Commission showing the number of PVCs so far distributed across the country is steadily contradicted and rubbished by independent sources. This has raised a deep suspicion of hijack of the PVCs by powers that be in connivance with some compromised senior and junior staff of your Commission. In Imo State, despite your Commission’s latest update of March 9/12, 2015 showing sudden and sharp increase in the number of PVCs distributed in the State; the registered voters of Owerri North LGA have slammed a civil rights suit against your Commission at the Owerri Federal High Court. As reported by the Vanguard Newspaper of March 10, 2015; they prayed the court to compel your Commission to revert to the use of Temporary Voters’ Cards owing to your Commission’s failure to issue them with their PVCs.
Yet your Commission claimed in its referenced PVC distribution update of March 9/12, 2015 that a total of 1, 707, 440 PVCs out of the total registered voters of 1, 803, 030 have been distributed in the State. This simply shows that only 95, 590 registered voters have not received their PVCs in the State. Imo State has 27 LGAs. Our question is: are these PVCs said to have been distributed in Imo State, in the right or wrong hands? In Kogi State, the Channels Television reported on March 7, 2015 the alarm raised by the electorates in the State over denial of their PVCs contrary to your Commission’s claims of high PVCs distribution in the State (926, 013 PVCs out of 1, 350, 883 RVs or 68%). In all these, is it not correct to say that your Commission designed PVCs and Card Readers not to ward off poll rigging but for the purpose of ethnic cleansing in the 2015 electoral process?
Theft Of PVCs:
As reported by the Vanguard Newspaper of February 27, 2015; over one million PVCs have been stolen across the country since August 2014. Some of the States where PVCs have been stolen according to your Commission are Rivers, Edo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Delta, etc. Your Commission has failed woefully to apply the wisdom of Eze-Ulu (chief priest) and his only son Oduche in the famous Bottled Leopard (Novel) as it concerns the need to embrace the white man’s religion with caution. On the same note, your Commission ought to embrace the ICT with caution. It is like operating a computer without external hard disk. Steady stealing of PVCs clearly shows that ICT age is indeed garbage in garbage out and that in ICT world, there are two traditional owners, operators and beneficiaries: malicious entities and lawful entities. For instance, while there are steady productions of anti viruses with their advancements, there are also steady productions of viruses with their advancements. In all, there must be immediate or remote malicious intents behind proliferation of PVC thefts across the country. The same wisdom above ought to have been applied by your Commission in the foregoing as well as the Card Reader controversy.
Under-Age Voting Population:
It saddens our heart that your Commission has adamantly refused to speak publicly or frontally addressed the issue of under-age voters majorly found in the Northwest and the Northeast zones. As recently as 2014, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of under-age voters turned out with their Temporary Voters’ Cards and successfully collected their PVCs at your Commission and under its watch. Their bodily ages are between 10 and 14 years registered by your Commission as 18 years and above. It is our firm view and conviction that this dastardly act is possibly geared towards shoring up the Northern Muslim population in realization of Presidency for Northern Muslims at all costs project. Despite raising the issue in our recent letters to your Commission with accompanying demands; this barefaced infraction of the Electoral Act of 2010 and the 1999 Constitution appears to have remained condoned and abetted by your Commission. Some of the recent pictures of the referenced under-age voters are hereby attached.
Uneven Voting Accreditation Procedures:
We have not rescinded our fears over the foregoing; instead, they have deepened. Just like the gross lopsidedness inherent in the distribution and issuance of the Permanent Voters’ Cards as well as registration of voters and existing polling units in the country; the possibility of your Commission applying to the letter all the voting accreditation procedures in the South during the rescheduled polls particularly the Presidential poll and relaxing same in the North particularly in the Northwest and the Northeast is very likely.
It has remained our irrevocable position that no matter the advancement of PVC’s anti poll rigging technology, once voting accreditation is compromised through group violence, threat of violence or official conspiracies; which appear to be the order of the day in the Northwest and the Northeast, any voting or balloting that takes place can never be detected. Because of scientific and ethnic corruption of your Commission’s 2015 polls’ midwifery, we still find it very difficult to hold that the contrary will be the case in the referenced zones of the Northern Nigeria. Your Commission’s competence, ability and willingness at ensuring strict application of, and adherence to all voting accreditation procedures including use of card reader and PVCs in all the 119, 973 polling units across the country in the referenced polls irrespective of ethnic and religious landscape or grouping; have steadily diminished in the eyes of Nigerians and international watchers.
119, 973 Polling Units Or 150,000 Polling Units In Nigeria?
We have observed consistent references of your Commission including its National Commissioners, Chairman and Public Relations Officer to “150, 000 Polling Units” as the number of polling units in Nigeria where the polls will take place on 28th March and 11th April 2015. It is a public knowledge that for the purpose of the 2015 polls, the 1996 polling units of 119, 973 polling units are to be used. This is as a result of the cancellation of your Commission’s earlier plan to lopsidedly create additional 30, 027 polling units in August 2014. We firmly demand, in line with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act of the Federation 2011 that your Commission should publicly disclose the reasons behind its consistent reference to “150, 000 Polling Units in Nigeria” since January 2015 instead of the existing and generally recognized 119, 973 polling units.
- Over one million PVCs are yet to be produced, delivered and distributed barely fourteen days to the Presidential Poll.
- Of the over one million unproduced PVCs, the South is owed 807, 553.
- Total Registered Voters (RVs) for the North including the FCT=37, 377, 180
- Total Registered Voters (RVs) for the South=31, 456, 296
- Total gap between the North and the South in RVs=5, 920, 883
- Total PVCs distributed in the North including the FCT as at 12th March 2015=32, 041, 327
- Total PVCs distributed in the South as at 12th March 2015=23, 944, 845
- Total gap between the North and the South in the PVCs distributed as at 12th March 2015=8,096, 482
- Total Registered Voters in Nigeria for 2015 polls=68, 833, 476
- Total PVCs distributed in Nigeria according to INEC as at 12th March 2015=55,904, 272 (ours 55, 986, 172)
- Total Registered Voters (RVs) denied PVCs in Nigeria according to INEC) as at 12th March 2015=12, 929, 204 (ours 12, 847, 304)
- Total Registered Voters (RVs) likely to be disenfranchised or denied PVCs in the March 28 & April 11, 2015 Polls=11,000,000
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the North including the FCT=5, 335, 857
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the South=7, 510, 471
- Total RVs denied PVCs in Lagos State (most populated RVs in the South)=2, 054, 560
- Total RVs denied PVCs in Kano State (most populated RVs in the North)=863, 662
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the Southwest=4, 765, 964
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the North-central=2, 115, 910
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the South-south=1, 693, 582
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the Northwest=1, 522, 376
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the Northeast= 1, 385, 208
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the Southeast=1, 050, 925
- Total RVs denied PVCs in the FCT=312, 363
- Total PVCs distributed in seven States of the Northwest zone (16, 098, 060) are much higher than those of eleven States of the South-south and the Southeast zones (14, 980,699) put together
- 70% of RVs denied PVCs in the Northeast, the Northwest and Plateau and Niger States in the North-central as well as Lagos State in the Southwest by way of seizure, hoarding, misplacement; disappearance or destruction are non indigenes, Christians and minorities.
Consequences Of Ethnic Cleansing In The PVCs Distribution:
The worst undoing trailing the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria is the introduction of ethnicity and religion into it; from the table of your Commission as per the management of the National Register of Voters including voters’ registration and revalidation; distribution and issuance of Permanent Voters’ Cards; to the conducts and conspiracies of primordial and ethno-religious fundamentalist politicians. For the first time in Nigeria under your professorial electoral midwifery, ethnic cleansing has been introduced into the country’s electoral industry and management.
As we have severally observed, the causes of electoral violence in contemporary times around the world are no longer majorly located at the doorsteps of politicians, but at the doorsteps of electoral umpires owing to conducts such as those being complained of. This was why we held and still hold that your Commission must take full responsibility of any riotous outcome of the 2015 polls if it occurs.
Our grand purpose of writing your Commission for the last time before the referenced polls is to demystify the foregoing triggers of violence in the hope that they will be incorporated into your Commission’s final push and bottled up. This must include ensuring that the remaining 12, 847, 304 registered voters in Nigeria denied PVCs till date are provided with same inexcusably even if it means taking them to their homes. Addressing the foregoing anomalies being complained of should go beyond showcasing of professorial and political science grammars in the media and other public forums. The 2015 polls midwifery must go beyond wearing professorial agbada and university classroom tutorship. They require workshop engineering approaches; otherwise heaven will be let loose and the country will go up in unquenchable flames.
From every indication, your Commission’s informal policy for the 2015 polls appears to constitute a dangerous threat to social values and identities of Christians, Igbo nation as well as Southern and Northern minorities in Nigeria. People may let go other intruders, but certainly not intruders questioning, undermining and threatening their social values or ethnic identities.
Recent angry reactions against your Commission across the country by Nigerian mainstream ethnic nationalities such as the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in the Southeast zone, the O’odua People’s Congress in the Southwest zone, the South-South People’s Assembly in the South-south zone and the Southern Kaduna Assembly and Christian/Minority bodies in the North clearly indicate existence and maintenance by your Commission of an informal policy questioning, threatening and undermining their ethnic and social identities. Apart from issuance of public statements including communiqués calling for the sack or resignation of the Chairman of your Commission, they have also taken to the streets to register their anger and seriousness over the referenced particularly as it concerns denial of their PVCs and voting rights. One of such street protests took place in Anambra State on March 13, 2015 at the instance of the leadership of MASSOB. These explain why we hold submissively that ethnic cleansing has officially crept into the 2015 polls under your professorial midwifery.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons.) Criminology & Security Studies
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
- The Secretary to the Government of the Federation
- The Chief of Defense Staff of the Armed Forces of Nigeria
The Director General, Directorate of State Security, Federal Republic of Nigeria
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman, Intersociety
[ Masterweb Reports: Tonia Odili reports ] - According to latest survey released by New York based financial newswire service, Bloomberg, Africa’s largest economy Nigeria has been ranked among 20 fastest growing economies in the World. Leading online shopping community Kaymu.com.ng has attributed Nigeria’s listing to the upshot of e-commerce in the country.
In an accompanying chart by Bloomberg, Nigeria with an expected growth rate of 4.9% was ranked sixth behind China (7%), the Philippines (6.3%), Kenya (6%), India (5.5%) and Indonesia (5.4%).
Managing Director of Kaymu, Evangeline Wiles, in a statement released by the company, said, “Nigeria’s e-commerce space is the fastest growing in Africa contributing a monthly spend of 1.3bn to the Nigerian retail sector. The role the retail sector plays in driving Nigeria’s economy cannot be overemphasized as a country’s purchasing power is a major driver of the economy”.
The explosion of the E-commerce space in the last two years has fuelled a massive consumer behavioral change. E-commerce in Nigeria records over $2m worth of transactions per week and close to 1.3bn per month from the 38% of Nigerians who prefer to buy products through the internet, according to a survey conducted by the business management and consulting firm Philip Consulting.
Nigerians have a vast spending culture both locally and internationally. Recent statistics from Heathrow Airport show that Nigerian travellers – who patronize the service – spend an average of £1,059 per visit on luxury retail.
The Minister of Communication Technology, Omobola Johnson has said that E-commerce has attracted over $200 million foreign investment till date thereby expanding infrastructure, warehousing, advertising and logistics services industry.
Explaining how e-commerce application has impacted the nation’s economy which is projected to have a market potential of over $10 billion, the Minister added that in the last two years (2012), it was worth $35 million, and now (2014) it is valued at about $550 million and has moved from 1000 daily orders to about 15, 000, adding that the sector has in the last two years created 15, 000 jobs.
If there is anything to look forward to in Nigeria this year, it is the rapid growth of the economy. CNN Money in 2014 stated that Nigeria’s economy grew by 7.1% and is expected to grow by another 7% in 2015.
Tonia Odili ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Ihechukwu Njoku reports ] - Nigerian Prophet T.B. Joshua has released a video on YouTube showcasing a side of the cleric unknown to many.
T.B. Joshua is regularly in the news for his alleged prophetic prowess, the controversial deliverance said to be occurring in The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations (SCOAN) as well as the purported miracles, signs and wonders.
However, a video released via Emmanuel TV’s official YouTube channel has shown a comic side to Africa’s most controversial pastor.
The video titled ‘T.B. Joshua – Funny Moments’ shows The SCOAN congregation in stitches due to Joshua’s comic examples and energetic dance steps.
The tagline of the video reads, “In times of tension and pressure, laughing becomes a great relief.”
The reaction from Joshua's over 150,000 YouTube subscribers has been mixed, some enjoying the unconventional comic relief with others insisting that the happenings worldwide called for prayer and not laughter.
YOUTUBE VIDEO: -
Ihechukwu Njoku ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - T.B. Joshua
[Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Fellow patriots;
Nigeria’s leadership crisis is a frustrating detail. The country has seen unprecedented revenue in recent years from the oil sector. The country has also become the largest economy in Africa, with overnight billionaires everywhere. Yet, the ordinary man or woman has waited in vain to feel the welcome breeze of the fortune. Nigeria finds herself in this predicament mainly because many politicians are allowed to loot public treasuries without qualms. They are also allowed to freely collude with contractors to steal the billions allocated for basic amenities and the general welfare of the masses. Given that there are no serious consequences for bad behavior for our leaders, things are only getting worse day-by-day.
The most vulnerable are the masses who continue to wallow in abject poverty and despair. Very sadly, there is a mass exodus of innocent youths and erudite professionals to both richer and poorer countries. To capture a better picture of this irony, some of these fleeing Nigerians seem to have no other choice than to embrace the harsh conditions in immigration jails in the foreign lands as more hopeful than the free life in our native land. A good number of others who do not have the means of leaving the country have resorted to all sorts of crimes—from terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, internet fraud, pick-pockets, motor-park touts, and what have you.
Under normal circumstances, people turn to their faith in times of crises but the Nigerian situation is far from normal: The same corrupt politicians have unleashed the sense of impunity into the religious community. They would pose as benign philanthropists, donating huge sums of money or erecting mega churches and mosques. In the process, they dictate the content, character, and manner of many places of worship. Perhaps to continue to enumerate the Nigerian dilemma here does nothing but further ridicule the notion of common sense. The point is that there are crises in most places, just about everywhere—in the East, in the North, West, and South.
Worst of all, the elected officials no longer seem to care or worry.
But biko, truly speaking, why should they care or worry? Why should our leaders worry when most of them have huge bank accounts overseas, can engage in foreign medical treatment, and place their children in the best schools around the world? Please, how and why are they supposed to worry when they can acquire bullet-proof cars, erect huge mansions, polish them with the posh generators, and avoid bad highways by flying in helicopters and private jets? Think of it, should they really worry when they can deploy the police and the army to guard their families or fly them abroad in times of crises? Should these leaders really worry when it never dawns on them that ‘what goes up must come down’—that they or their loved ones can also be exposed to the same poor amenities on the way to their safe heavens in the villages and while around those villages? Why?
The answer to the above questions is quite simple: Our leaders think the masses are fools. Even though elections are supposed to serve as a day for reckoning for people in positions of power, these leaders believe they can always manipulate the voters by exploiting the miserable condition on the ground. They do so by parting a small portion of the illegitimate wealth to buy their way back to power. They do so by preying on the helpless, the elderly and the poor, who yawn for token needs, such as rice and salt, etc—items that only last till the votes are counted. Yet, the most disheartening are the restless youths who are being enslaved and brainwashed in the process. Not only do these politicians rent the youths as crowds, body guards, thugs, and pimps; they energize the scheme by enticing them with bogus promises and other exigent necessities that serve no purpose than to place the poor boys and girls in perpetual bondage. Today, some of our youths have only grown to emulate the bad behaviors of their corrupt masters while others have become so afraid to express their opinions talkless of criticizing at all. To rub salt in the wound, these political merchants go wholesale, by paying off a clique of barefaced tribal and religious leaders, who claim to represent the interest of all.
Here is a very good witness: The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This new year, January 16th, to be exact, the president was kind enough to admit in his own words that Nigerian leaders from national independence till today, his humble self included, “have been buying and selling votes, and the country is drifting backward.” True!
Also true is that these politicians still think the 2015 elections will be like the others in the past. In fact, the various candidates running for office in the different parties—from the position of the president down to the State House of Assembly—have already amassed tons of money to buy over our votes so as to remain in power or gain power. For example, even though the Electoral Act of 2010 pegs presidential campaign expenditure at no more than N1 billion, the two major presidential candidates seem to be reading the law upside down. At the time of this memo, President Jonathan has opened the floor with over ₦21 billion, rained by billionaires and his serving PDP governors, with many more queued up. His closest challenger, Muhammadu Buhari of APC, is far behind but not entirely left out. The APC candidate has counted over ₦118 million from small sprayers but still hoping for additional N5 billion by selling 5 million yams donated by farmers.
But we have a very bad news for them—this time: Regardless of our differences in tribe, religion or party affiliations; regardless of whatever they bring your way, most of which is our common wealth anyway; this time must appeal to our conscience. True democracy demands checks and balances, transparency, and consequences for bad behavior. Accordingly, the Nigerian situation calls for strong leaders who can provide security for our country and hold people accountable for their actions. The Nigerian situation calls for leaders who will not loot the funds meant for amenities and welfare of the masses. The Nigerian voters are not fools. We need men and women who can lead by example and are serious about curbing the endemic corruption and indiscipline in our society. We need honest men and women who can provide permanent jobs for our youths—not handouts. Now is that time for you to vote for principled leaders who can keep promises. The vote is secret! Now is that time for you to vote your conscience and defend democracy.
Please start by sharing this message!
May God Bless Nigeria!!
Dr. SKC Ogbonnia
Patriots United for Transparency and Accountability in Nigeria (PUTAN)*
*Photo Caption - Map & Flag of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reorts: Ayo Oshewolo writes Gov. Fashola ] -Until recently I have never witnessed such bizarre and stupefying scenes in Lagos like I did when I was in a colleague’s car, driving back from work between Anthony-Oke Bus stop and Oshodi-Oke Bus stop. This was barely some few minutes after eight in the evening, and right in front of Barrack Bus stop, where we ran into a heavy traffic that began to ease out slowly. Suddenly, three menacing looking young boys walked to the expressway and started meandering through cars. Instantly, I sensed and told my friend that these were hoodlums. They sat briefly on the median pavement. You could see an air of evil written all over them. The next thing I saw was that they started walking around cars. One of them went to a black jeep and attempted to open the front door on the passenger’s side. Apparently realising that it had been centrally locked, he backed off and walked away to look for a victim to attack. I couldn’t belief what I saw! It was like a movie, but this was real! I could see fear-ridden car owners looking on helplessly. There was no security operative in sight. Everyone was on his own! And my colleague said, “This is Lagos, this is the situation we have found ourselves!” Deep within, I wondered why this should not be nipped in the bud immediately by our able security operatives under the leadership of our amiable Governor. Something must be wrong.
We had barely gotten over this first shock than the next one surfaced almost immediately. This time, we were right on top of Oshodi Bridge. A lady who must have been coming back from work after a tiring day was walking towards the end of the bridge, clutching her handbag and some other belongings. Two young teenage boys came right after her like hungry hawks with an obvious intent to snatch her bag. The streetlights on the bridge were fully on, cars headlights were blazing, everywhere was bright, and it wasn’t dark at all. So, what emboldened these people to attack innocent citizens without any repulsion? I almost came down to fend them off her, but my friend advised me not to because we were driving on the middle lane. We were not absolutely sure if that lady got away without being harmed by those boys. Something needs to be done urgently!
These same brazen attacks are recurring almost on a weekly basis under the bridge at Toyota Bus stop - close to the Army Resettlement centre - once there is a traffic congestion. I humbly request that our action Governor step in and put an end to this. Our team of gallant soldiers in collaboration with the Police can nip this in the bud under the command of Governor Fashola. These hoodlums can be seen everywhere under the bridge in Oshodi - busy smoking away Indian hemps openly every morning, loitering and sleeping all day, only to start attacking workers on their way home in the evening brazenly with impunity. Governor Fashola can put together some special security patrol teams, some in uniform and some in mufti, whose special duty is to patrol all the dangerous spots of the city at night and keep Lagos safe from the hands of vagabonds and hoodlums. I am fully persuaded that with the help of God, our amiable governor will bring a lasting solution to this.
Eko Oo Ni Baje O!
Email: c/o email@example.com
*Photo Caption - Governor Fashola
[ Masterweb Reports: Fejiro Oliver ] - If Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa had told Deltans that he was organizing a crusade; he would have smiled to the bank on Monday as what happened at the Oghara township stadium, headquarters of Ethiope West was more than a campaign rally.
The governorship hopeful convoy which left Asaba at 9:15am landed the expectant town around 11:03 where Okowa went to pay homage to the King of Oghara, Ovie Noble Eshemitan (Uku Oghara N’ame III) in his palace alongside the State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan. At the palace, the King who could not hide his feelings for Okowa confessed that he has been adopted by the Urhobos; thus killing the much preached Uvwiamuge Declaration of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU).
The sea of head that graced the occasion waited expectantly like the biblical passage of the ‘waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God’ and truly, the son of man came into the venue amidst shouts of “Okowa, prosperity” renting the air, while his ever smiling face beamed radiance to the joyous crowd.
At exactly 12:45 pm, Uduaghan arrived at the venue adorning the same Urhobo attire of blue wrapper and white resource control shirt with Okowa. Speaking at the event, the South South Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Cairo Ojuigbo passed a message to former members of the PDP who have defected to other parties to contest.
“We are giving anyone who has left the party 48 hours to return or he will be expelled from the party”, Cairo warned. Former Governor of Bayelsa State, DSP Alamesigha who was sent by the National body of the party in his speech noted that “We shall not allow that office (President) to be occupied by the opposition. It is the property of the South South for now”, a statement which the party faithful applauded.
And the man of the moment, Ifeanyi Okowa was given the microphone at exactly 1:22 pm to address the audience. In his usual style, he sang a worship song to God, just like he did during his declaration. Preaching unity to Deltans, he pleaded that they vote for him massively to enable the prosperity he preached about to reach the whole of Delta State. He promised to build two more industrial parks in the State if elected as a governor, while making sure that the agriculture sector receive boost to enable Deltans have food on their table.
He thanked the governor as well as James Ibori for building a Delta where there are roads linking each other in the State, a feat which is not in other states in the country. While dissuading Deltans not to be deceived by the opposition who changes name and party every year to contest; he emphasized on the unity of the PDP which has remain same since it was founded and with the word “I love you”, he beamed with smile and gave his running mate, Kingsley Otuaro to speak.
The campaign train moved to Warri North; Uduaghan Local Government, where hundreds of people waited patiently for him. Speaking to the people; he said that his governorship race has been a prophecy so far. He reminded the loyal electorates on how he stated during his primaries that Uduaghan will hand over to him and a particular medium (Vanguard Newspaper) went with a creaming headline that he was boasting. “I didn’t boast. I only knew that since I was the Director General of Patrick Osakwe Senatorial Campaign and when he was to leave the Senate; he handed over to me. Again on December 13th 2006, His Excellency called me to be his Director General, and again I knew that since I was his DG and he is leaving; he will also hand over to me”.
He praised the governor for providing an enabling ground for all aspirants to contest the primaries freely; unlike other states where they are still having problems. He promised the people of Warri North that he will complete all ongoing projects in their domain while ensuring that he do more for them. “When you whisper; I will hear you”, he told them
*Photo Caption - Senator Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa
[ Masterweb Reports: Adewale T Akande reports ] - It is very correct that everything connected with nature and natural laws is based upon cause and effect. Invariabl, every problem we all witnessing today caused by our decisions and we definitely have to be part of the solutions. Gandhi rightly said “We must become the change we seek in the world” some years ago. To buttress this assertion, Barrack Obama said on the 5th of February, 2008 in Chicago, that a “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek”. The development of any democratic nation of the world is a struggle towards three closely related understandings according to Moore. They includeto check arbitrary rulers; to replace arbitrary rules with just and rational ones and lastly to obtain a share for the underlying population in the making of rules.In a truly democratic set-up, the mechanism to achieve this laudable feat is through exercise of political right which is the right to vote and be voted for. Voting is an adequate mechanism for a positive change if there is a free and fair election. Voting is a not a yardstick for representatives to disconnect from the citizens after the election and loot the treasury.
The concept of democracy explains the system of governance in which the people choose leaders by casting their votes which is regarded as their sacred power. Besides, to achieve a lasting and ideal democratic regime, an electoral democracy should be along the same line with the liberal democracy which includes the governance by rule of law and the protection of civil liberties. That is why a former American President, Thomas Jefferson opined that without liberal democracy, electoral democracy is “nothing more than mob rule where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49”.
Meanwhile, if there is a way a democratic government enjoys authority by voting, there should always be the same format of ballot mechanism to show the way out to wanting government. This is not always the same in African context of democracy due to election rigging and mal-practices on the part of the incumbent government and lack of massive participation on the part of the eligible voters. Though psychologists and political scientists explain non-participation of individual behavior depends of rational expectations and lack of trust for the government of the day, but people personal participation can influence the outcome of elections and political decisions. There is no party that cannot win or lose an electionin a situation of classical grassroots commitment, effective use of latest communication network and unbiased personal participation. Participation should not be viewed only to win an election but winning for the purpose of changing the nation for the best.
Voting is an important aspect of citizens’ responsibility. It occurs when eligible voters of a nation defy sun or rain to go to polls and cast their votes for those candidates they think would make good leaders. The greatest opportunity for a change is voting in democratic society. A vote is regarded as a present possession that keeps people from repeating the past mistake in the future. What or whom voters vote for determines the things or events that will eventually bless or mar their happiness. The most vital thing to the society is who you want to vote for and not who other people want to vote for. We are in this present situation today as a result of decisions taken and accepted as true. A purpose does what it must, talent does what it can, but en-masse voting brings what you want.All eligible voters should register and vote en-masse for the best candidate with trust, integrity and credibility who will serve them better. Our choice (not chance) determines our destiny. Any eligible voter that refuses to vote has already been defeated by bad representati in government. People that do not vote have to wait so long for the future which has already gone. The less people vote in an election, the more the chances of bad candidates and mediocres to be in government.An adult who does not vote is a slave and at the same time like a person waiting to board a ship at the airport. Sow better seeds by voting for the right candidates and you reap better lives. Your vote can change your life.
Finally, the electoral authority handling elections must be independent and not partial in order to ensure election results that reflect the wishes of the masses. The electoral body has sole responsibility of conducting a free and fair election in any nation and they must be accountable for this activity. The beauty of voting exercise is that you are free to decide within yourself and your conscience the best aspiring patriotic professional candidate of integrity to represent your constituency without any fear or favour. Also, you havethe right of confidentiality in casting your secret ballot without any intimidation. Your vote is your power for positive change. It is your destiny. Your vote is the fight for the future civilization that has to be won. Your vote is not only to win the war but to win the long expected peace and freedom. Your vote will make you stand together until the end. It is the only answer to the problems. George Jean Nathan make it clearer sa “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”. Your vote is your voice. The voice of the people is the voice of God (voxpopullivox Dei). Remember, you are free to choose your candidate but you are not free from the consequences of your choice.
Adewale T Akande,
An Author and Road Safety Traffic Consultant
based in Barcelona, Spain. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel;0034632511469 (Spain) / 002348125896631(Nigeria)
*Photo Caption - Nigerians casting their vote
[ Masterweb Reports ] – Christmas is an ideal time to express love and good wishes for those we care about. Masterweb cares about all her readers, their families, friends and associates, and wishes them " Merry Xmas & A Happy New Year". May your holiday season be blessed with the true meaning of Christmas. May the timeless message of Christmas fill your heart and home with joy today, new year and years to come. May Africa, the Middle East and the rest of the world find the much peace they deserve. No more wars, nor hunger - May the....... Read More
*Photo Caption - Your Xmas & New Year card
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Deborah Nelson writes Tinubu ] - 1. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was imprisoned on trumped-up charges by Hausa Fulani controlled Federal Government of Nigeria [FGN] because they could not manipulate him. However, following the rebellion by Eastern Region against FGN and likely secession of Western Region from Nigeria, Chief Awolowo was released from prison and appointed Federal Commissioner of Finance and Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council [FEC]. Because of Chief Awolowo’s sincere and selfless contributions to the fatherland, Western Region did not secede and the Civil War was brought to an end earlier than it would have been without him. But when General Mohammed overthrew General Gowon in 1975, he dropped Chief Awolowo as Federal Commissioner of Finance and abolished the office of Vice Chairman of FEC. The question is, if the military could work with a civilian Vice Chairman of FEC during the civil war, what genuine excuse did late General Mohammed have to abolish it after the civil war? Next to this was the barefaced rigging of 1979 presidential elections by FGN in favour of a Fulani Grade 2 teacher, Alhaji Shehu Shagari. In summary, Hausa Fulani politicians jailed Chief Awolowo on trumped-up charges because they could not manipulate him, they later released him from jail so that he could assist them to keep Nigeria united for them to plunder her resources and finally dumped him unceremoniously the moment they achieved their aim.
2. During Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s administration, Chief MKO Abiola used his Concord Newspapers to relentlessly denigrate Chief Awolowo while singing praises of President Shagari’s government to high heavens. However, when Chief Abiola wanted to contest for presidential ticket against Alhaji Shagari on NPN platform, he was derisively advised to forget it because, according to Alhaji Umaru Dikko, ‘presidency is not for sale’. During Babangida’s transition program, he won the presidential elections on the platform of SDP, but was disallowed from exercising the mandate because he was not a core north Muslim. His attempts to claim the mandate led to his unlawful imprisonment and mysterious death in prison. As if these were not enough, his wife, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola was also assassinated.
3. General Olusegun Obasanjo reluctantly assumed power as a military Head of State following assassination of General Mohammed. He knew that if he should openly express interest to replace late General Mohammed, core north military officers would definitely waste him. During this period, real executive powers were exercised by Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, late General Shehu Yar’ Adua. As a nominal Head of State, General Obasanjo presided over state sponsored manipulations of the presidential elections and Judiciary in favour of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979. Following the death of Chief MKO Abiola in prison and the need to pacify your people, core north reached out for Chief Obasanjo, believing that they would be able to manipulate him as before. They first wanted to assassinate him to pave way for his Vice, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku to takeover power. However, they decided to test likely response of your people by spreading rumors of his assassination. Core north was shocked to note that your people were solidly behind Chief Obasanjo, though they did not vote for him. Their plan to impeach him was also vehemently resisted by your people. In their misguided determination to disgrace Chief Obasanjo out of office, core north introduced Sharia Laws in their states and this led to massive destruction of lives and properties of Christians in the north. Consequently, Muslims and Christians do not trust each other and there is no major town in the north today that both Muslims and Christians live together in peace.
4. A contingent of the army of old Oyo Empire under the command of Aare-Ona Kakanfo Afonja was dispatched to Ilorin to protect Igbomina Yoruba people against Nupe slave raiders by Alafin Aole. Afonja later rebelled against the Alafin and declared Ilorin independent of old Oyo empire. In order to sustain his independence, he invited a Fulani charm maker, Sheik Shehu Alimi to relocate to Ilorin from Kuwa so that he could benefit from the Sheik’s spiritual powers. He recruited slaves from everywhere, including old Oyo Empire into his army and granted them enormous powers because he believed the slaves would be more loyal to him than his soldiers. However, Aare-Ona Kakanfo Afonja was later murdered by the slaves when he tried to bring them under his control. When Sheik Alimi died, he was succeeded by his son, Abdul Salami. With the support of the slaves that killed Aare Ona Kakanfo Afonja, Abdul Salami eliminated all perceived obstacles to his ambition to transform Ilorin into an Emirate. In 1823, he declared Ilorin an Emirate, installed himself as the Emir and pledged allegiance to Sokoto Caliphate. Today, none of your people can become Emir of Ilorin, and their traditional rulers are under the Emir, a descendant of itinerant Fulani charm maker because of Afonja’s treachery and inordinate ambition.
5. The real APC’s presidential candidate for 2015 presidential election will be either Buhari, Kwankwarso or Abubakar Atiku, all Hausa Fulani Muslims. Amongst these three crown princes of APC, you prefer General Buhari [rtd] with yourself as the VP. Sir, have you made any genuine effort to know the ‘man’ General Buhari [rtd]? As Head of State, General Buhari [rtd] promulgated Decree 4 to cage press freedom because he felt the press wrongly accused him of stealing billions of US Dollars as a Petroleum Minister. He also promulgated a retroactive Decree which he used to execute Mr Bathlomew Owo and two others by firing squad for an offence they committed even before he became Head of State. In his interview in 2013 with Desert Herald, a Kaduna based Weekly, he promised never to either forget or forgive Chief Obasanjo for undisclosed reasons. In his penchant to burn fingers that feed him, he planned to court marshal General Babangida on trumped-up charges even though it was General Babangida who installed him the Head of State after risking his life to topple the Shagari’s government. After the military coup, ex President Shehu Shagari, a Fulani Muslim like him, was placed under a house arrest in a well furnished Guest House with unfettered access to good things of life while the ex Vice Presdident, Dr Alex Ekweme, a Christian of Igbo extraction was dumped in Kiri Kiri maximum security prison with common criminals. Sir, it may interest you to note that the Buharis regard the rest Nigerians as ‘infidels’, all Yoruba Muslims inclusive. As the Chairman of PTF, over 70% of all major projects successfully executed by PTF were located in North West Geopolitical Zone. He ordered National Security Organisation [NSO] to kidnap Alhaji Umaru Dikko in London and bring him dead or alive to Lagos. Is it proper for anyone to borrow N27.5 million from a Bank without collateral and invest the whole money in politics as he did?
6. Sir, you are the undisputed kingmaker in APC and all core north politicians look up to you for direction and favour. You used this leverage to force Kwankwarso to install the disgraced Governor of Central Bank , Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as the Emir of Kano. Driven by hatred for the Obasanjos and desire to emerge as the leader of your people, you masterminded the installation of Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker of Federal House of Representatives, thereby denying your people the post zoned to them by PDP. You joined forces with Hausa Fulani Muslims, the most conservative ethnic group in Nigeria to form a political party, APC, whose only objective is to wrest power from President Jonathan at any cost.
7. Sir, as you enjoy the ride on tiger’s back and crying more than the bereaved, please always note that one day the tiger will do the ‘needful’. I have made some efforts above to draw your attention to what Hausa Fulani people did to your people on more than three instances. You may wish to find time out of your very busy schedules to ponder over these questions. Why did core north military officers install Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon as the Head of State instead of the most senior military officer then from the south in line with military tradition? What led to Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s imprisonment? What led to Chief MKO Abiola’s imprisonment and subsequent death in prison? What were the reasons behind the creation of Mid-Western Region and Ekiti State from Western Region and Ondo State respectively? What led to the transformation of Ilorin to an Emirate. Why is it that all Yoruba traditional rulers in Kwara state are under the Emir of Ilorin, a descendant of itinerant Fulani charm maker? Why was Oyo Empire moved southwards to its present location? What was the cardinal reason that propelled General Babangida to overthrow Major General Buhari? Sir, no successful leader ignores lessons learnt from history.
8. In Julius Caesar written by Williams Shakespeare, Julius Caesar ignores warnings from a soothsayer and Artemidorus because of arrogance. He thinks nothing can hurt him because he, ‘Caesar’, is more dangerous than danger. This ‘greater than thou’ attitude of Julius Caesar leads to his assassination by Brutus and his fellow conspirators. Sir, here is a portion from Artemidorus’s letter to Julius Caesar for your necessary actions ‘THERE IS BUT ONE MIND IN ALL THESE MEN……..IF THOU BEEST NOT IMMORTAL, LOOK ABOUT YOU, SECURITY GIVES WAY TO CONSPIRACY’. Apart from these Hausa Fulani politicians, there are many credible northerners APC can field as its presidential candidate in 2015 and Sam Nda-Isaiah is one of them. I doubt if you will give this a serious thought because Sam Nda-Isaiah is a Christian. Please learn from what Hausa Fulani Muslims did to Aare Ona Kakanfo Afonja, Chief Awolowo and Chief MKO Abiola just to mention a few and adjust accordingly. Sir, if you decide to ignore this advice, please be prepared to go into self exile again if General Buhari [rtd] becomes president of Nigeria because he will definitely use you to demonstrate his resolve to fight corruption. Security gives way to conspiracy, Senator Tinubu, be wise and watch your back.
Dr. Deborah Nelson
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Alpha P. Conteh reports ] - Kindness is the sense governing one’s thought to do what is right and cruelty, on the other hand, is the sense governing one’s thought to do what is wrong. In spite of the fact that kindness and cruelty are on the opposite spectrums of life, both could yield happiness. Happiness is the state of feeling pleasure or contentment in something, it is that end-state of one’s governing conscience. Conscience is the sense governing one’s thought to do what is right instead of doing what is wrong. What is wrong or right and by extension the perception on conscience is a function of the dictates of culture and society. Thus although driven by conscience and could create that state of happiness, kindness and cruelty are actually mutually exclusive.
It is all now crystal clear that it is culture that molds our perceptions on conscience and happiness, which mold us as kind or cruel people. The virtues of culture have been responsible for our historical past and will also continue to chart our future destiny. There is the European culture, the American culture, the Asian culture, the Australian culture and the African culture. Of course this can be broken down into the cultures of the tribes of individual countries if perceived so sensible. Historically, we have learned just so much of the British culture of slavish colonization and so too have we learned about the African culture of unconditional kindness. Of course there is an endless list of the cultures of other countries identified with colonization, slavery, cruelty and kindness. Irrespectively, these virtues define our perceptions not only on kindness and cruelty, but also on conscience and happiness and mold the human social world.
In this contemporary world, our cultures are, in a profound way, once again redefining our perceptions on conscience and happiness remolding our behaviors as kind or cruel people. While the West and East are relentless in strengthening the moral conscience of kindness, the directionless African world is hurriedly relapsing into immoral conscience of cruelty. A Sierra Leonean local proverb says that when the “hindhead” does not shy, the forehead wallows in happiness. This implies that he who does not have conscience is always happy. Not being able to tell wrong from right or deliberately righting wrong over right is indicative of complete lack of conscience. When this is the case, you take pleasure in the sufferings your actions inflict on others, and by definition become cruel. As this is generally the case in Africa than in other continents, the situation in Sierra Leone can be used to epitomize the level of cruelty unleashed by African Governments on the people of their own societies.
Much of the history of Sierra Leone can be explained in terms of the happenings in two political parties — SLPP and APC. If political parties can be distinguished by ideology, then it cannot be any more so for the SLPP and APC parties in Sierra Leone. Here, though, we will endeavor to compare and contrast SLPP and APC in terms of the conscience of kindness and cruelty. But before we delve further into this analysis on SLPP and APC in terms of these virtues of life, we will like to put this debate out to the public, especially Sierra Leoneans. With your feedback, we will continue this discussion in our next edition of this article.
Please remember that kindness and cruelty are two virtues on the opposite spectrums of life. A party of conscience of kindness is a party that operates on the rule of law, a party that evenly and fairly applies the laws of the state and in every sector of life, including in recruitment for public service positions, awarding scholarships for local and international studies, and awarding contracts to companies and businesses. On the other hand, a party of conscience of cruelty is a party that operates above the rule of law, a party that unevenly and unfairly applies the laws of the state and in every sector of life, including in recruitment for public service positions, awarding scholarships for local and international studies, and awarding contracts to companies and businesses. With this, we look forward to receiving your candid opinions.
God Bless Sierra Leone!
Alpha P. Conteh ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.