[ Masterweb Reports Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu reports ] - In Amos chapter 3 verse 3, the Bible asks a very fundamental question; can two walk together except they be agreed? The answer to this question touches on the very essence of the Nigerian crisis of nationhood. Basic commonsense suggests that two cannot work together except they have some form of agreement. This saga underscores the necessity of a sovereign national conference and indeed a second independence. Nigeria continues to suffer the consequences of the contradictions in her DNA. Created through an arbitrary process that was triggered by the exploits of a British trader; Tubman Goldie whose foray into the area lured the British government to establish administrative units, solely to enable imperialist exploitation. It was thus, never from the onset, a nation whose inhabitants had any agreement to create a nation, nor whose creation by the colonialists had the interests or the harmony of the disparate cultural, ethnic and religious groups forced into a union at heart.
Not surprisingly, the monster of ethnic and religious contradictions has continued to dog the nation throughout her unfolding history. It has led to strife, a needless war and continuing ethno-religious conflicts which now include terrorism. To make matters worse, Nigeria has never had the good fortune of having a nation builder at the helm who might have tried to turn the tide. All the leaders since independence have variously exploited and furthered the contradictions through their actions and policies. This has had the effect of exacerbating an already bad situation. The needless Nigeria-Biafra war which consumed millions of lives on a false premise was fought because there were underlying forces which in exploitation of the ethnic contradictions preferred war in place of a pragmatic approach that would have resolved the contradictions that put the nation on the brink in the first place.
The choice to go to war rather than resolve the contradictions that created the crisis has proven to be the most costly mistake in the nation’s chequered history. It has inadvertently created a permanently divided nation and a deeply resentful citizenry in some parts of the nation. The opportunities presented in the immediate aftermath of the war for aggressive nation building was not seized as punitive policies of marginalisation, abandoned property, confiscation of all monies owned in banks and a litany of exclusionist policies were embarked upon by the federal government in place of reconciliation, reconstruction and reintegration as promised. The Northern leadership increasingly saw Nigeria as their private estate and enthroned themselves as the only “owners and rulers” of Nigeria while all others were consigned to second class citizenry. In no time the contradictions they sought to muzzle with the war came back full cycle to haunt the nation.
By the time the military took their exit in 1999, Nigeria was a cauldron of ethno-religious conflicts. Major Gideon Orkar and his group had attempted to balkanise the nation in a failed coup in 1990. Religious riots/mass killings were routine in the North, while militancy was surging in the South. The wounds of the cancellation of the June 12 elections and slaying of Moshood Abiola was still festering and the media was littered with calls for a sovereign national conference to discuss the Nigerian question. As earlier stated, the fundamental declaration made in Amos chapter 3 verse 3 aptly made it clear that, “the two cannot walk together, except they are in agreement.” Nigerians have thus; found it impossible to walk or live together in peace because they have never been in any agreement to do so. This underscores the necessity of a sovereign national conference and consequently a second independence.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. The second independence will give every ethnic nation a choice to choose self determination or an appropriately restructured nation based on mutual agreement. Most importantly, it will free the nation from the internal colonialism/yoke of decades of oppressive, rapacious, malevolent and hegemonic Northern rule. It will set the nation free from the psychological overhang of erstwhile military dictatorships and its corrupt patronage system; unleash new nations or a nation of free men where justice, equality, prosperity and harmony will reign supreme. President Goodluck Jonathan has the historic opportunity to be Nigeria’s Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who finally set free and gave a second independence to the many ethnic nations trapped in Nigeria’s inferno of oppression, hate, prejudice, Northern hegemony and misrule.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption – President Goodluck Jonathan
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] – We remember when Igbos ran massive educational programs in the then Benue-Plateau State, There were Igbo camps with primary schools at Igumale, Utonkon, Oturpko, up the reaches of Ghoko and the mountains of Zaria, Kano, and the Muslim-dominated wastelands. Igbos came up with the CMS (Church Missionary Society) and the MC ( Methodist Church) to Christianize the people and rescue children and adults from the thralldom of ignorance and superstition. Church groups like the Sudan United Mission (SUM) and the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) ran excellent secondary schools and Teacher-training colleges. These efforts were responsible for providing the North with its early crops of teachers, doctors, and several of the University Vice Chancellors. We salute Igbo teachers, pastors, catechists, headmasters, and early pioneers without whose selfless sacrifices Northern Nigeria would be in an extremely worse shape than it is today.
Is the attempt to educate Northern Nigerian children an orchestrated subterfuge (trick, ploy, or ruse) to grab our oil money and make it be “gone with the wind?” Did Ahmadu Bello, Sir Alhaji Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, and gworo-eating emirs care for their kids? No, they were fooling their people and impressing the public (sidetracked and blinded by religion) with how they could trace their historical roots to the Seventeenth Century Fulani religious leaders or ancient caravan traders and marauders on camelbacks in the Arabian Desert. Weren’t they diverting funds to Britain in exchange for the right to rule Nigeria forever? How much of our money was keeping Buckingham Palace wealthy as the center of the British empire? Truth will be spoken, and we don’t care about whose horse is gored. Time was when the Fulani-Hausa-Kanuri jealousy of Igbos became so overwhelming, the Muslims came up with the infamous Northernization Policy that denied education to generations of Igbo children and other Southerners. Now you want me to forgive and pretend that Igbo children weren’t abused in Northern Nigeria in the 60’s, 70, 80’s, and 90’s? And pretend that the Northern children were not being cheated in the process? It was a case of defecating or emptying one’s bowels in the bedchamber.
Now, the North is engulfed , overwhelmed, swallowed up, and surrounded by anarchy. No meaningful schooling goes on, and under Sharia law, Muslm morality police are providing the only available education consisting of ensuring there is the covering of women’s head and legs with black veils. Those who dare to protest are flogged, beheaded, or buried alive. The results are mass ignorance, exploitation of teenage girls and poverty-stricken boys by the mullah. Didn’t they shoot the 16-year-old Pakistani teenager named Malaa in the head for advocating the education of women? There is abject poverty and crass religious indoctrination of the most pronounced proportion that rob Northern children of the use of the minds. This writer is deeply concerned about the 14-year-old boy who hadn’t gone beyond Primary 4 at Abuja. Where there is no education, there is poverty just as there is darkness in the absence of light.
Noting that poverty in Northern Nigeria is 3 times greater than it is in the Lagos area, former American President Bill Clinton, suggests that we should alleviate extreme poverty in the North through education to halt the wave of bombings, shootings, and kidnappings by Islamic extremists. We agree. While we wholeheartedly support the former popular President’s position, may we be allowed to ask one question: ISN’T THIS EASIER SAID THAN DONE? What happened to the trillions of Naira sunk into bottomless abyss that was Northern education for nearly 50 years? Did the Hausa-Fulani kids go to school? No, they were very busy following cows around the country and reciting undigested Koran and Arabic phrases. Are we being asked to consider sinking further trillions of Naira in some arid, sacrosanct desert reserved for descendants of Usman Dan Fodio and princes of erstwhile prophet? What have these people done for my people besides the promotion of violent jihads? Let Northern teachers tell you of their frustrations as they gather a group of Hausa-Fulani kids in a clearing under a tree and attempt to teach them English alphabets and the number system. The children would disappear into the grasslands when you turn your back or before you begin the lessons. You can’t even count 1-2-3 before the kids vamoose like drops of water on red-hot steel. I’ll be damned if this is not the case.
We swear we are 100% in support of honest efforts to educate learners in Northern Nigeria but their hatred of education (boko haram) is believed to be responsible for their senseless blood-thirsty madness. But the education will be done under one condition: Islamists must renounce violence immediately. Violent Muslim leaders, including Abubakar Muhammed shekau, should be rounded up and delivered to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. We find it unacceptable to send teachers from Diaspora or southern Nigeria to be butchered like nama (cows)? How do you educate a person who believes in BOKO HARAM = WESTERN EDUCATION IS SIN? What do you teach the children of Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haran, who should have been long dead and gone by now, and who is promising greater bloodshed unless he establishes an Islamic state in Nigeria? I invite you my readers to look around at the so-called Islamic, sharia-law countries around the globe. Is any Islamic nation practicing strict Sharia law worth anything other than trouble? Consider Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Gaza? These are violent regimes or killing fields, haters of progress and oppressors of women
Dr. James C. Agazie ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption - Study Books
[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu reports ] – One of the most fundamental reasons for Nigeria’s failure is the opportunism of the leadership who most often put their personal interest above the common good. This phenomenon has been evident from the 1st republic when some national and regional leaders were so intent on furthering their personal and sometimes regional interests that they were willing to incite carpet crossing, rig census results, rig elections, arm thugs and unleash violence on the citizenry without minding the short and long term implications of their actions. When lawlessness, election rigging and violence led to a coup and pushed the nation to the brink of war; again opportunism and self interest pushed some of the regional and national leaders to opt for an unnecessary war that could easily have been avoided without reflecting on the future implications of such needless conflict.
Nigeria has since remained in dire straits as a direct consequence of the shenanigans that truncated the first republic and the avoidable war it occasioned, particularly the unresolved and worsening contradictions that led to the conflict. In light of this reality; President Goodluck Jonathan bowed to a longstanding pressure to convene a sovereign national conference (SNC) which is anticipated to be an opportunity to hold exhaustive dialogue among Nigeria’s various ethnic nations in view of seeking permanent solutions to the issues of nationhood, true federalism and self determination. But yet again, crass opportunism by the likes of Chief Bola Tinubu who having gone into a political alliance with the conservative North, whose unhidden interests lie in maintaining the status quo and all its inherent injustices is now doing everything to sabotage the SNC in the calculation/hope that his alliance with and support for the North will escalate him to power.
In choosing to take sides with the conservative North and their intent to maintain a status quo that has engendered misrule, ethno-religious conflicts, apartheid/marginalisation, corruption, tribal domination and all facets of social injustice, Bola Tinubu like the erstwhile selfish leadership is not thinking of the common good, nor the implication his actions would have for the nation’s future. He is thinking only of himself and how his self interest will be served by scuttling the genuine aspirations of the people for dialogue. What is most surprising is how Bola Tinubu himself has found it convenient to change his principles and political direction to suit his self interest. This is after all the same Bola Tinubu who twenty years ago, following the cancellation of the June 12 1993 elections practically became a militant. He was amongst the founders of the NADECO pro-democracy movement that campaigned ceaselessly for the validation of the June 12 elections and for convening a sovereign national conference.
When the heat of General Sanni Abacha’s clampdown on the opposition became too much, Bola Tinubu went on exile where he continued his advocacy both for the validation of the June 12 elections and for hosting a sovereign national conference. Indeed, Bola Tinubu was one of the pioneers of the campaign for an SNC and until recently one of its most vocal advocates. Even after the return to democracy and his emergence as a governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu remained for all intents and purposes a militant, thus when in 2003 the national assembly bandied the idea of impeaching the then president Olusegun Obasanjo, Tinubu threatened that the Southwest would secede from Nigeria if Obasanjo was impeached. The question that many must ponder is; why has a man who militated against Nigeria’s ethnic contradictions and injustices now turned around to back the status quo? Why has a man who was one of the earliest advocates of a sovereign national conference now turned against it?
What if anything has changed in Nigeria? Has the fundamental character of the North and their hegemonic penchant to internally colonise and oppress others under their “born to rule mantra changed”? Has Nigeria become a harmonious nation free of prejudice, conflicts and hate? Has the North learnt the importance of nation building and to treat other Nigerians as equals in a federation premised on mutual consent, justice, respect and progress? Have the various ethnic nations so described as Nigerians in any forum free of coercion decided to mutually consent to being Nigerians under a negotiated arrangement that will guarantee harmony, peace and progress? Has the killings and intolerance of other ethno-religious groups which has been a permanent fixture of the North since 1945 ended? Has the blatant segregation of Northerners from Southerners in the North and South (Sabon gari in the north and Hausa quaters in the south) as organised by Northerners who loath mixing with southerners ended? Can a so called Nigerian live in other parts of the country different from his ethnic origin and feel free or be part of that community?
Since none of these fundamental questions can be answered in the affirmative, it is obvious that Bola Tinubu’s decision to align with the status quo he once maligned and rejected is driven by calculated self interest and not any change in circumstances. Nothing has changed from when he became a NADECO militant and advocate of SNC. If anything, Nigeria’s ethno-religious contradictions have gotten worse with ethnic militias such as OPC, MASSOB, MEND and Boko Haram terrorists holding the nation hostage. The decision by Tinubu to sabotage the SNC for personal gain is eerily reminiscent of the Nigeria-Biafra war and the opportunistic politics played by some leaders particularly in the South who felt they had a lot to gain from the demise of the East, the end of the war proved them wrong as the North in the aftermath of the war created a Nigeria that practically became the “federal republic of the North” in which they were absolutely dominant while the rest of the country were consigned to 2nd class citizenry.
A culmination of such post war Northern excesses led to the brazen cancellation of the June 12 elections and the unconscionable slaying of Chief MKO Abiola which turned Bola Tinubu into a militant. Nothing in the character of the North has changed from the past. By sabotaging the SNC, Bola Tinubu will only help the North maintain the lopsided status quo that helped them foster internal colonialism, injustice and oppression into the future. The North is not interested in a restructured Nigeria that will bring equity, justice, fair-play and prosperity; they simply prefer to maintain the status quo that gives them undue leverage at the expense of others. Once they succeed in scuttling the SNC, their excesses in no time will be unleashed all over again. It happened after the Nigeria-Biafra war and it will happen again. Bola Tinubu should be wise enough to realise that the North will only use him to achieve their aim and dump him afterwards. History books are there to testify to such scenarios in the past. His motivation and decision should at all times be driven by the common good rather than short term parochial interests.
The nation has suffered incalculably from the personal choices and opportunism of some of the 1st republic civilian and military leaders who put their self/regional interest above the common good. We need not travel through that tragic route again. Nigeria needs the SNC to finally determine her future to live in harmony or separate in peace. This is a duty that we owe the next generation. Dialogue is the best way to bring peace and progress and Nigeria urgently needs it. Anyone who acts against the SNC is a selfish sell out and an ultimate enemy of the people. Bola Tinubu should not be that person.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption - Bola Tinubu
[ Masterweb Reports ] - All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate, Chief William Obiano emerged the front-runner (‘winner’) with 174,710 votes. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Comrade Tony Nwoye polled 94,956, trailed by Dr. Chris Ngige of APC with 92,300 votes and Ifeanyi Uba with 37,446 votes to place fourth. INEC declared the election inconclusive because the total number of cancelled votes (113,113) was more than the difference (79,754) between the number of votes cast for the ‘winner’ (APGA) and the runner up (PDP) in the election. INEC is currently meeting to........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - The summary table
[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – Enugu State Government House has always been associated with acts that suggests cycles of wife hostage, wife sacking and wifeless tenures of governors. During the era of the charismatic governor Jim Nwobodo, it is well known fact that his first wife never surfaced at government house. The duo had fallen apart and Jim Nwobodo remained wifeless in the Lion Building throughout his tenure, and daughters of eve struggled for his attention. Immediately after he left the Buhari-Idiagbon imprisonment, under the magnanimity of Babangida, he married a former girl friend, Patricia, and they have lived happily after.
His successor on the throne, Christian.C Onoh, Bianca Ojukwu’s father never accepted that he had any First Lady. Though his tenure was short, he was man alone and ran his government without any input from his wife, Caroline. The supposed first lady was confined to her Ngwo village .
Chimaraoke Nnamani came back from the United States in 1998 and got elected as governor. His marriage to Nnenna was a sweet affair until he entered into the Lion Building and the way he treated the Iga, Ohafia born mother of two changed. The first feelers that all was not well between the governor and his wife came about a year after his tenure, around early 2000, when the wife complained to people that the office of the First lady is not functional. According to Nnenna, the governor has refused to release any money for her to run her office. She asked some clerics from both Methodist and Pentecostal Churches to pray out the anomaly. She later accused the governor’s chief spiritualist Kate Ene, also known as Ada Nkanu, of collecting all the money meant for the governor’s kitchen and assigning her daughter as the governor’s chef and executive maid while she is abandoned in the Lion Building to watch DSTV.
Soon the issue degenerated to the extent that she does not attend functions without the strict permission of the governor. She at times moves about with bruised faces and people rumored that she might have been manhandled.
Days, weeks and months brought the relationship between the duos to a standstill that she was partially restricted from moving about except for some shopping. The Lion Building became her boring confinement. Nnenna Nnamani’s resort to pastors for help further infuriated the deteriorating situation that she was at a time barred from spiritual activities and fellowship prayers she manages to attend.
When the German Evangelist, Reinhard Bonnke visited Enugu State for crusade at Okpara Square, Nnenna Nnamani, so excited at the visit of the Evangelist, was barred by the governor from attending the 3-day crusade. She had to watch the crusade from the windows of her wing overlooking Okpara Square and participated in all the prayers from her window. Nnenna openly told pastor, priests and family members that the governor’s sisters, Chinero Nwigwe and Ngozi Ugwu are inciting the governor against her and planning to marry another wife for him.
Months after the Reinhard Bonnke Crusades, real problems started for Nnenna. She was sent packing to the United States and another woman, a young girl of about twenty, replaced her. The new wife, beautiful Nkemdirim Ene, daughter of the governor’s chief spiritualist, Kate Eneh, became the First Lady until Chimaraoke handed over to Chime in 2007. When it was obvious that Sullivan had refused to submit to the ‘Ebeano Family’, the Governor’s campaign structure, an act they termed as betrayal, an enraged Chimaraoke sacked the second wife because her mother couldn’t divine spiritually that Sullivan will be a bad investment.
Sullivan Chime became governor without wife in 2007, the first wife having walked out of the marriage. He desperately wanted a First Lady and her efforts to draft Clara Chime’s elder sister, Bridget also known as Ngozi as wife failed. Bridget told the governor that with the recent death of the husband and the accusations from the husband family, it is inappropriate to marry him so soon. The governor then turned attention to the younger sister.
This marriage to Clara Chime, young, beautiful and ebullient, seemed rosy and lots of irresponsible girls in the city wished they were in Clara’s shoes. Hundreds of millions of naira was spent especially on the traditional wedding and people hoped that playboy will settle down.
The love between the governor and the wife started fading gradually especially after she was accused of sponsoring some women to confront the all powerful Chief of Staff, Ifeoma Nwobodo, over allegations of husband snatching, at a PDP function, shortly before the 2011 elections. According to sources, the lady Chief of Staff swore to teach Clara a lesson and ensure that she is eventually bundled out of government house. The governor has more regard for the Lady Chief of staff who helps her in running the state than the First Lady and anyone who challenges her is in trouble, and Clara realized too late that her husband has lost interest in her. Some persons reported that there was a little merry making in the Chief of Staff’s house after Clara was finally sent packing from Enugu Government House some days ago.
It is a publicized fact that Clara was held hostage at government house Enugu, and security officials were under orders not to let her leave her wings under any circumstances. Those security aides sympathetic to her were changed to less friendly ones until she cried out for help.
Curiously the ex-governor Nnamani and wife seems to be living happily in the US before they moved to Lion building and strangers tore their marriage apart. Sullivan and Clara family had known for quite a while, especially the elder sister, whom the governor actually wanted to marry. The early years of their marriage was sweet and the Isuochi born first lady was enjoying marital bliss until strangers tore the marriage apart. Part of those strangers includes unholy affairs between the governor and Clara’s family members and pressures from strange women seeking the governor"s attention.
It is most likely again that the next governor of the state will have problem with the wife midway and the woman may be held hostage, ignored, disenfranchised and ultimately sacked. This is the cycle operating in Government House ,Enugu and it always constitutes a distraction to the effective governance of the once Biafra Headquarters, Igbo Nation headquarters and Headquarters of Eastern Region.
Blaming Governor Chimaraoke Nnamani, Sullivan Chime or whosoever for whatever transpired between them and their spouses is unfair. As stated in the first part of the piece"Enugu Govt House and the Cycle of Madness",two evil spirits operate in that Lion Building, madness and wife sacking and any governor who steps into that place is preyed by this force until they succumb.
The next governor who steps into that place must tackle this nuisance and break the cycle of wife hostage, wife sacking, wifeless tenure, madness and hallucinatory conditions so that they do not constitute a distraction to the business of governance.
Obinna Akukwe ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - The Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition is a coalition of eight like-minded rights groups of the Igbo Southeast extraction with thematic focus on building and sustaining democracy, citizens’ rights, good governance and rule of law in Southeast Nigeria. It also fights for Igbo rights and interests in Nigeria including protection of top Igbo political and public service appointees at the Federal level provided they are not criminal appointees. It supports creative governance and fiscal prudency and opposes jamboree governance including huge public debt policy. The G8 Rights Coalition does not support Igbo rights and interests that are repugnant to equity and fairness. This means that Igbo rights and interests should stop where those of other Nigerian nationalities begin. While the name Southeast G8 Rights Coalition remains, names of its participating groups are not steady. This method allows any group to opt out any time it chooses. It is also designed to ward off parochial interests and possible infiltration of the group by criminal politicians and their agents in Nigeria. The G8 Rights Coalition is coordinated by........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map of Anambra State.
[ Masterweb Reports: Comrade Aloysius Attah reports ] – It was on a Friday, the 1st Nov. 2013, time was 8:45 pm. As a devoted Roman Catholic by the grace of God, I had attended mass in the morning to mark the All Saints Day. I was supposed to be in Nsukka to witness and cover the Stigmatic signs often happening to Sister Martina Offorka, a mystic nun residing at Enugu – Ezike who sheds blood mysteriously with pains all over her body during Easter and All Saints period. I had done a story about her before in the Sunday Sun newspaper and wanted to do a follow up but because my wife and I had earlier agreed to attend the Holy Ghost Adoration night vigil, I had to shelve the Nsukka trip.
I once attended the Uke Adoration Thursday morning programme in the past and knowing how difficult it was for me to find a parking space for my car; I acted on the same impulse to tell my wife that we are attending the night programme without the children which she concurred.
And so, we set out. Tell tale signs of what to expect that night hit me when on taking the Ideani tarred road; we saw long stretch of vehicles. Negotiating the road leading to St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, Uke premises, we couldn’t drive an inch again as the entire road was filled up. We had to park immediately and joined other vehicles on double parking as directed by some stewards on duty. Henceforth, all other vehicles coming in had to park along the Ideani road and everybody trekked down to the adoration ground. There was serious human traffic not to talk of the gridlock already formed by the vehicles.
We trekked for about 30 minutes until we entered the adoration ground only to be confronted with a sea of human heads. Lights provided at the venue shone so brightly and the crowd therein was so unprecedented. The only place I’ve ever seen such large number of people in the past was at Fr. Mbaka adoration ground, Enugu and Shiloh convention of the Winners Chapel in Ota, Ogun state.
Though we carried our own chairs from the house, finding a space to perch was such a Herculean task. We finally attached ourselves in a little space through the assistance of an unknown Good Samaritan who offered to adjust for us, hers different from others who howled at us when we approached them with a similar request.
By this time, the presiding priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obimma a.k.a Ebube Muonso was at the stage calling on the worshippers to support the adoration project with donations. This was done in between sharing of testimonies. Soon thereafter, around some minutes past ten, the mass of the night started. As the priest was still at the opening stage of the mass, I looked side ways and guess whom I saw walking close to my side as our eye contacts met – It was Governor Peter Obi walking majestically , quietly and unannounced as a local steward was leading the way for them to proceed to the altar side. Coming in tow behind Peter was Willie Obiano, the APGA Guber candidate, with others like Chief Victor Umeh, Obi’s media assistant, Barr. Valentine Obienyem, Ifeanyi Ibezi , Chief Joe Martins Uzodike and few others I can’t recollect now. What struck me first was that they entered without noise and fanfare and without any single armed security on their trail.
It was after the mass that Fr. Obimma announced Obi’s presence and called on him to make a speech. Obi mounted the stage alone without Obiano or any other aides. He also did not make any reference to Obiano as he spoke briefly. He said that he did not come to the adoration ground for politics but rather to thank God for the gift of the church through Fr. Obimma. He reminded the congregation that his brother is a catholic priest while his sister is also a Reverend Sister. He made a pledge of N5million as part of his bazaar support to the center coming up the next Thursday and for the rehabilitation of facilities at the adoration ground and also promised to asphalt roads leading to the adoration ground with drainage and erosion control facilities. He said he would have loved to attend the bazaar if not that he was traveling outside the country with President Jonathan within the same period. He also told Fr. Obimma to send a list of 20 indigent worshippers at the adoration ground to him to be sponsored on a pilgrimage at the holy land in the next two weeks.
What I noticed was that immediately Obi mounted the stage to talk, some worshippers who positioned themselves within the front row suddenly brandished posters of Ngige and Ifeanyi Ubah and started waving them to Obi’s face. Obi who did not betray any emotion ignored them and continued his speech. There was no single supporter of Obiano there and nobody raised APGA logo or posters there thereby justifying Obi’s assertion that he did not come for campaign. It was Fr. Obimma that eventually reprimanded those Ngige and Ubah supporters and told everybody to comport themselves. He said that he has resolved not to turn the adoration ground into a political gathering and also declared that God has shown him who will be the next governor of the state. Fr. Obimma said that he was shocked when he received the revelation on the anointed governor now in waiting after Obi and reminded the people on the need to pray for a violence free and successful election. He thereafter called out the President General of Uke community who extolled Obi’s virtues and later presented an award to the governor. Fr. Obimma later told Obi to kneel down and asked all the priests in attendance to raise their hands and pray for the governor.
Soon after, the adoration to the Blessed Sacrament and other prayers commenced in earnest for the night. At about 3:30am, Obi and his group also filed out quietly leaving the arena through the same route they came.
Fr. Obimma continued in the programme and prayed for the people till around 5 am when majority of the priests who came to assist him in the vigil began to leave quietly back to their parishes because of the Nov. 2 All Souls day mass which they will celebrate in their various parishes too.
Before the formal closing of the programme around 5: 20am, Fr. Obimma admonished the worshippers to ensure that they attend the All Souls mass in their various parishes when they return. He also prayed for safe journey on all the participants. Before his final blessings, many have started leaving in droves leading to another rush.
When my wife suggested we join the queue immediately, I instinctively told her that we don’t need to rush after all, even if we succeed in pushing our way out of the crowd, we shall still remain stuck when we get to the car since we shall encounter another serious traffic there. And so we waited till around 6 am before stepping out of the adoration podium.
On trying to join the line of people filing out of the main access road out of the place, we encountered the worst gridlock ever seen in history. People were pushing and shoving. Some were battling to maintain composure even with their plastic chairs and wooden benches. Women battled for their own and for the safety of their children clutched in their hands and some tied on their backs.
People were getting choked up and I sensed that there may be a stampede the next moment and signaled to my wife that we must get out of the queue without further delay. Trying to wriggle out of the tight scene was like a war front but I managed to use the ‘last’ strength in me to push and pulled my wife out of the scene and we stood aside to allow the ‘Russians’ to continue their rush.
Not up to 5 minutes after, my worst fears was confirmed. Few meters away from my presence, the pushing and shoving turned into great fall and stampede. That the road was sloppy and the ground wet compounded the whole situation. Many tripped over and fell, others rolled on the ground while many others stepped on people’s heads and bellies. The next thing was suffocation and exhaustion, injuries and bruises.
While casualties were many, rescue operations were stalled by vehicular and human traffic. The stewards on duty had to jump fences to smuggle the affected people back to the podium for resuscitation and first aid.
Of particular commendation are the nurses, local workers and men of the Red Cross Society who worked tirelessly to save lives. Some of the victims were carried on stretchers, others strapped on the backs while some were carried on the head like dead bodies being conveyed after fighting in a war front.
It was a pathetic sight that women and children not affected my wife inclusive wailed uncontrollably.
While resuscitation was ongoing, the prayer warriors also embarked on intensive prayer warfare with Fr. Obimma leading the pack. People like us also provided emergency phone numbers of the police and Road safety corps while assisting in rescuing the affected.
As the day progressed and the reality dawned that many will not survive the accident, some mischievous people began to make snide remarks.
Some said “Look at what Peter Obi has caused us; Ngige came in the day why did he come in the night”? “They have come to use our blood to win this election” and so many other unprintable things.
As I listened to these unfounded remarks, my mind began to wander that wicked and desperate politicians were at work. A reliable source had earlier told me that Dr. Chris Ngige and his political allies in APC planted an informant in Obi and APGA government’s camp who gives them reliable information on the governor and APGA campaign train activities. That in most instances, Ngige tries to beat the governor by first of all visiting any place the governor scheduled to visit ahead of time and make political statements to rubbish the governor’s image or most times, he will wait till the actual time of the governor’s visit, storm the venue when Obi will be making a remark and eventually cause a stir and distraction with cheers of Onwa! Onwa! from rented crowd . I never believed this until events were to prove my source right.
While we were still at the adoration ground trying to save lives, the same source alerted me that Obi will see fire from this incident going by the propaganda machine APC and Ngige will make out of his coincidental visit and the tragedy that happened. I was therefore shocked to the marrow when on reaching home around 12pm, the story was all over the internet that the stampede and deaths were caused by Obi’s thugs and security who fired shots and tear gas on the worshippers in anger because Obi was booed at the adoration ground. Haba! Are they trying to tell us that Obi’s security details that never entered or got close to the adoration ground could come into the same arena by dawn when Obi had left with them by 3:30 am?
Even our fellow Awka based journalists (correspondents) who have never hidden their loyalty to Ngige though they freely participate in collecting any ‘jenwu’ and ‘gbalamu’ dropped from the governor’s camp decided to wickedly anchor their story on this falsehood without bothering to cross check facts or visit the scene of the incident.
Nothing can be more wicked and inhuman than this kind of malicious politicking and journalism. Till now, I’m still wondering and searching to find out how Obi could be held responsible for this calamity either directly or vicariously. Between Obi who dropped his security details along Ideani road and trekked for more than 30 minutes to and fro the adoration ground and Ngige who allegedly planted his supporters at the adoration ground for sinister motives, who is responsible and who should be held liable?
The desperation of some politicians in Anambra State has got to be addressed and curtailed. There will only emerge one governor at a time after the Nov. 16 2013 elections in Anambra state and I don’t think the race to the Awka government house is worth dying or killing for.
Our catechism doctrine taught us that one can also commit murder not only by physical killing with guns, weapons or poisoning but also by character assassination and verbal missiles. It is quite painful that instead of people having real sympathy for the dead and the bereaved, they turn around to feast on such tragic incident to score cheap political points. The wrath of God is coming and it will be disastrous.
We thank the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke for getting first hand information from the Spiritual Director of the ministry, Rev. Fr. Obimma and issuing a statement immediately clarifying issues about the unfortunate incident.
We condole with the families of the affected and the Spiritual Director for this unexpected challenge and call for effective crowd control measures that will avert this kind of incident in the future.
Governor Obi should also be commended for the prompt response and empathy shown to the victims as he immediately cancelled all other engagements for the day and visited the scene and all the hospitals where the victims were taken to.
Efforts should be made to identify all the affected families, with the adoration ministry and the state government playing lead roles in their burial, funeral and other expenses for the survivors.
Eternal rests grant the dead oh lord and may your perpetual light shine upon them forever, amen.
Comrade Attah ( email@example.com ), Chairman, Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) reports from Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - Comrade Aloysius Attah
[ Masterweb Reports ] - This is the continuation of our public information, which was first issued on 20th of October, 2013 and titled: “Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: APC’s Attacks On Our Leadership Another War Against Igbo Gods & A Boarding Pass Off Anambra 2013(part one)”. On 23rd of October, 2013, the second part was issued and it was titled: “Separating Igbo Cause, Democracy & Good Governance In Nigeria (Egalitarian Partisanship) From Pecuniary Politicking (Libertarian Partisanship): Putting The Records Straight”. The issuance of the Public Information under reference is in response to coordinated attacks launched against us from several angles by the All Progressives Congress using its key members, branches, malicious elements in the media and some conformists in the rights community. We wish to reassure our teeming followers and supporters all over the world that the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria ).
[ Masterweb Reports ] – In what was to be a sensational 10-round battle, our son Nigerian born Enobong achieved the unthinkable, succeeding as a promoter & fighter and, at the same time, capturing the UBF International Heavyweight boxing title by a 2nd round TKOwin over the former USA Olympian Dante Craig.
Umohette entered the fight with only 9 fights to his record and faced Dante Craig who won 15 of his 20 wins by TKO and held 4 national & international titles.
Enobong, in his victory speech showed his respect for the USA Olympian and thanked Nigerians, friends and well-wishers for their support.
Ladies & Gentlemen, please join me in congratulating our boxing ambassador,Mr. Enobong Umohette (The Nigerian Gentleman).
More details and pictures to come…………. Call to congratulate Enobong at +1 4147954293.
*Photo Caption - Enobong Umohette pose with members of Nigerian community in Milwaukee after his TKO victory and speech. Click link below for Enlarged Photo:-
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Name-calling, blackmail and character assassination using highly sectionalized Nigerian media have remained major weapons of many gullible groups and individuals in Nigeria including the leadership of All Progressives Congress and its tribal media war mongers. Those who did not have effective counter forces to tame them especially those in plum public offices have been consumed by such weapons. The list ranged from the likes of Prof. Bath Nnaji, Immigration CG Uzoma, Senator Chuba Okadigbo to Eze Festus Odimegwu. The likes of Diezani Allison Madueke, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Ministers Okonjo Iweala and Stella Odua are still sitting on the keg of gunpowder. The weapons were also used to scuttle Prof. Charles Soludo’s second term as the Nigeria’s CBN governor in about eight years ago. The worst victim of such destructive campaigns is President Goodluck Jonathan. Among few that have survived are the leadership of this organization, Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo and Peter Obi of Anambra States. Where statutory........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria ).