[ Masterweb Reports: Uwa Eghomeka reports ] - Amidst the uproar that followed the partial removal of fuel subsidy in January of 2012 came the announcement that a new federal government programme would be created to ease the effect of government’s decision on the average Nigerian. When the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) was created and a committee inaugurated in February of the same year, their focus was to ensure that the funds accrued by the federal government as a result of the subsidy removal would be reinvested into programmes and initiatives that would be easily accessible by all. Thus, the SURE-P committee began their arduous task under the leadership of Dr Christopher Kolade. Many may have thought that SURE-P would fail; that as other ventures had before it, it would be ‘business as usual’. Those people, I believe, have to date, been pleasantly surprised to find that not only has SURE-P remained, it has grown in spades.
Since its inauguration two and a half years ago, SURE-P, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, has been involved in several projects such as the procurement and management of mass transit, maternal and child healthcare, community service programmes, HIV/AIDS Intervention, Polio Eradication and other noteworthy causes. Chief among their projects are the vocational training and Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS).
Nigeria’s Minister of National Planning had declared that the current unemployment statistics for Nigeria as at 2011, stood at 23.9%; which translates to almost 40 million citizens. Another figure from the National Bureau of Statistics had indicated that over 70% of Nigerians live on a USD a day or less. These figures are frightening, to say the least. Thankfully, there is some ray of hope on the horizon.
With the vocational training project which has as its areas of focus; hands on skills, life skills and entrepreneurial skills, SURE-P has invested in reducing unemployment through skills acquisition and development. As of today, they have arranged over 6,000 job placements for skilled labour, with 1,000 technicians registered at the NationalAutomotive Council. Quite impressive, one might say, but that is until one learns that through SURE-P, about 185,000 Jobs have been created.
While this may be a mere drop in the bucket when you consider the almost 40 million jobless Nigerians, it is a drop nonetheless, and one that will be accompanied by many more drops with the passing of time. Admirably, we do not have a bunch on delusional people forming that committee that manages the president’s SURE-P pet project. These are men and women who are fully convinced that the government alone cannot employ all the unemployed. Thus, apart from the encouragement and training of youths towards the pursuance of entrepreneurship, the committee also launched one of its most laudable projects; the Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS).
Based on the figures which the government has to work with, the only way the GIS will be able to reach its full potential and be a rewarding enterprise is if the government, non-governmental organisations and private business owners all key into its vision. The beauty of the GIS is that it is not restricted to any industry and the government has made it more attractive to business owners by committing to pay the allowances of all graduates taken in by different organizations.
Thanks to the GIS initiative by SURE-P, over 3,000 graduates have found placements, while others are awaiting theirs. In a country such as ours, this is a step in the right direction. So far, SURE-P and the Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala led Federal Ministry of Finance have proved to be a formidable team focused on improving the lot of our youths.
Uwa Eghomeka ( Email: email@example.com ), teacher and budding writer reports from the ancient city of Benin.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports ] – The attention of our organization-International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) has been drawn to the above referenced subject. After the traditional ruler of Nnobi Community in Idemmili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Eddy Ezeokoli joined his ancestors in 2003, the issue of selection of his successor fell on three quarters in the Community; namely Ebenesi, Awuda and Ngo. The Constitution of the Community had earlier in 1988 been amended to provide for rotational Igweship among the three quarters of Ebenesi, Awuda and Ngo. For administrative convenience, the Nnobi Community is divided into 72 administrative wards with each of the quarters given 24 administrative wards. While the late traditional ruler of the Community (late Igwe Edmund Ezeokoli) hailed from Ngo quarters, the Ebenesi quarters produced the Okpala who is also called the traditional prime minister. The Ebenesi quarters also has the king crowner called Isiani. The Igweship, the Okpala/traditional prime minister and the Isiani are three reigning royalties in Nnobi Community. The present Okpala/traditional prime minister has....... Read More
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - President Goodluck Jonathan, this afternoon, at Eagles Square, Abuja declared his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Below is full text of President Jonathan’s declaration speech.
1. Four years ago, precisely September 18, 2010; I stood in this Eagle Square, to offer myself for election as the President of our beloved country on the platform of our great party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
2. Seven months after that declaration, you elected me to lead this country with overwhelming support from all parts of our Nation. I remain grateful for the trust you reposed in me to lead our Nation through uncommon challenges in our march of progress as a united and democratic country.
3. Over the years, the Almighty God has made it possible for me to develop a bond with you and I am grateful for your support and understanding in the difficult periods we have journeyed through.
4. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our stewardship has not been without challenges. We have had to deal with the wave of insurgency that has swept through some parts of our dear country. Only yesterday, Government Science Secondary School in YobeState was bombed by insurgents, killing our promising young children who were seeking education to build the country and support their parents. Many Nigerians have lost their lives and property to these mindless killings. Let me crave the indulgence of all present here to stand up to observe a minutes silence in honour of these young lads wholost their lives. Clearly, this has cast a dark cloud on our Nation but we will surely win the war against terror. A number of young men and women have been kidnapped by these criminal elements including our daughters from Chibok. We will free our daughters and defeat terrorism.
5. We are equipping the armed forces and deploying special forces to engage the terrorist and end this senseless war. We must protect our country. We must save our people. I will do everything humanly possible to end this criminal violence in our Nation.
6. To ensure the long term stability and development of the affected areas, government has launched three programmes: The Presidential Initiative for the North East, the Victim Support Fund and the Safe School Initiative. The Presidential Initiative for the Northeastis focused on improving infrastructure and economic growth in the region. The Safe School Initiative is centred on creating a safe environment to encourage our children in the communities to acquire education. The Victim Support Fund, a partnership with the Private Sector, has raised about 60 billion Naira, which will help to empower and rehabilitate victims of terror. I promise the victims of these dastardly acts that we will continue to stand with you.
7. I am grateful to all Nigerians for standing with me.
8. Let me also thank the leaders and elders of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party, for the opportunity you have given to me to serve our country, Nigeria.
9. I am overwhelmed by the trust, confidence and support of the various organs of our party, the Board of Trustees, the National Caucus, the National Executive Committee, the National Working Committee, the PDP Governors Forum, members of the PDPCaucuses of the National Assembly, and others.
10. This day affords me the opportunity to continue the conversation of development we started together.
11. Infrastructure has been a major focus area of my administration and so, we pursued the power sector reform to this point of irreversible progress. Nigeria has undertaken a most transparent and corruption free bidding process, attracting global commendation. The on-going 450MW Azura Power Plant in Edo State is a testimony to the success of this transformation.
12. We have also resumed development of our Hydro-Power potential, with the construction of the 700MW Zungeru Hydro-Power Plant, while construction work on the 3,050MW Mambilla Hydro-Power Plant is about to take off.
13. Our power generation and distribution companies have now been privatized. We are firmly on the road to guaranteed regular power supply in the months ahead. This our bold move, is paying off!
14. We are committed to environmental protection and conservation and reducing vulnerability to climate change. In this regard, we have embarked on a number of projects across the country. Of particular note is the AfricanGreat Green Wall Programmed, where we have released about 16 billionnaira for implementation. The project will create a green belt across 11 states from Kebbi to Borno.
15. In the past three and half years, the water sector has witnessed unprecedented improvement. Access to potable water is now 67%, up from 58% in 2010, while sanitation coverage is 41%, from 32% within the same period.
16. Major developments in water include the completion of 37 Dams and rehabilitation of 10, with several others on-going construction. The flagship Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam which is being built to contain flood from Lake Nyos, is now at 90% completion. We have also completed about 5,000 rural and semi urban water schemes.
17. We are reforming the National Urban Water supply programmes in 12 states, with 385 formal and informal irrigation projects, covering a total land area of 118000 ha, cultivated mostly by small holder farmers. This has yielded over 3 million metric tons of assorted grains and vegetables, with a market value of about 45billion naira.
18. Before the advent of this administration, the Railway system was practically dead. Today, we have revived the rail sector. The narrow gauge line from Lagos to Kano has been rehabilitated with improved coaches providing regular services. The rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt-Maidugurirail line is progressing with the Port Harcourt-Gombe segment as well as the branch line from Kafanchan to Kaduna expected to be completed and fully operational by December 2014.
19. Already, work on the Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail line, is progressing. The tracks of the rail line will be completed by December this year 2014. Upon completion of the project in the first quarter of 2015, itwill be possible for Nigerians to live in Kaduna and work in Abuja. The Itape-Ajaokuta-Wari standard gauge line has attained an advanced stage, with the track completely laid. We hope to commence full operation before the end of 2015.
20. Other segments of the new standard gauge speed train network are planned with contract already awarded for the Lagos –Ibadan Segment. There will be more of such modern and faster rail connections in the coming years. Already, discussions are now at advanced stage, for the Coastal rail line that will traverse through 10 states, from Lagos through the South-Southand South-East, all the way to Calabar.
21. My administration has successfully completed the dredging of the lower River Niger from Baro in Niger State to Warriin in Delta State. The cheering news is that over 6.7 million passengers and over 1.6 million tonnes of cargo have been moved through this channel in less than three years.
22. I am happy to also report that our ports now operate 24 hour service, which has led to the reduction of clearing time and improved efficiency.
23. When I assumed office in 2010, out of the 35,000km of federal roads nationwide, only about 5,000km were motorable. Today, that number has increased to about 25,000km. We expect to complete the remaining 10,000kmin three years while initiating new ones.
24. I made a commitment to build two new major bridges across the River Niger and River Benue. Today, the new bridge over the River Benue, connecting Loko in Nassarawa State to Oweto in Benue State has reached an advance stage of completion, while work has commenced on the Second Niger Bridge.
25. Beyond these, my administration has concluded plans to re-commence the construction of Bodo-Bonny Road with three major bridges on the alignment that will link the Island of Bonny with Rivers mainland.
26. Preliminary works have started on my administration’s planned re-construction and expansion of the MurtalaMuhammed International Airport Road in Lagos to a world class entry point into our country. Only a few months ago, work started on the dualization of Kano-Katsina Road. While many Nigerians are celebrating the marked improvements on our roads, I want to assure that it will get even better as we move forward.
27. In the pursuit of an integrated transportation system, we embarked on the construction of five new Airport Terminal Buildings and Air-field facilities. We are also re-constructing existing ones.The re-construction upon completion, will lead to improved passenger processing, increased cargo handling capacity and enhanced Air-field facilities that meet international standard and improves safety. These efforts have been met with global acknowledgement including the attainment and retention of the FAA Category One status.
28. In housing, we signed the National Housing Policy to kick-start the framework for providing more affordable homes for our people. We have also expanded the National Housing Fund to accommodate more Nigerians. We have started a revolution in the housing sector with the start of the Nigerian Mortgage and Refinanced Company(NMRC) a new initiative of my administration, that will enable more citizens in the lower income bracket to become first time home owners.
29. Our partners such as the World Bank group are supporting this with US300million dollars interest free credit, while my administration will back it with over 100billion naira in bonds. We are already processing 66,000 mortgage applications for our young people. We have amended the PENCOM Act to enable the pension funds invest in housing sector bonds. This will create a boom in the housing sector.
30. In the Federal Capital Territory, we are rapidly building a befitting National Capital by expanding and providing new infrastructure, developing ten new districts and Satellite Towns to cater for the ever increasing population. In no distant future, you will be able to arrive at the NnamdiAzikiwe International Airport and proceed to the city using the Abuja Light Rail. In addition to providing durable health, educational and transportation services, we are also collaborating with Organized Labour to build functional, affordable and social housing in Abuja.
31. Other critical capital developments that are being packaged by this Administration include the development of the Ultra-Modern World Trade Centre, the Abuja Town Centre, the Jabi Lake Comprehensive Centre, the Centenary City and the Land Swap Districts. This private sector driven infrastructural development will positively change the skyline of the city and provide the required office and residential accommodation, shopping and recreation as well as tourism and entertainment facilities of the FCT.
32. In our determination to encourage much greater participation of Nigerians in the oil and gas industry, one of the first actions I took, was the enactmentof the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act. As a result of this law, indigenous Nigerian participation levels, in upstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas industry have increased by over 45%, thereby increasing employment opportunities for our youth.
33. We have also succeeded in eliminating the long queues that previously characterisedour filling stations, through regular and sustained product supply.
34. Gas infrastructure to ensure adequate Gas to Power and Gas to Industry, is being aggressively put in place.Over 450km of gas pipelines have been installed over the last 3years. Another 2,000km is planned over the next 4years. Critical petrochemical and fertilizer facilities have commenced including thegas industrial park in Delta State, for which I am scheduled to perform the ground-breaking this Friday. This will create millionsof jobs and make Nigeria a regional hub.
35. In addition, as a result of government favorable policies the private sector is investing over 12 billion dollars in the petrochemical sector, over the next 4years. This will surely create millions of jobs for our people.
36. In terms of gas supply, we have grown from less than500million cubic feet per day, 4years ago, to about1.5 billion cubic feet per day currently. Our goal is to attain 4 billion cubic feet per day, over the next 4years.
37. We have changed the face of agriculture. We moved agriculture away from a development Programme to agriculture as a business. My vision is to create wealth for our people through agriculture.
38. We have focused on encouraging the private sector to boost investments in the agricultural sector. As a result, the number of seed companies rose from five to eighty in the past three years. Private sector investment in the agricultural sector expanded by $ US 5.6 billion across the Agricultural value chain.
39. We ended decades of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors. We developed a transparent and efficient system of reaching farmers directly with subsidized farm inputs. Before our reforms, fertilizer procurement and distribution took from the needy and gave to the greedy. We restored dignity back to farmers. Today, 14 million farmers, of which 2 million are women, access fertilizers with their mobile phones, through an e-wallet system. Nigeria is the first country in the world to develop an e-wallet system to reach farmers with subsidized farm inputs on their mobile phones. Several African countries are now borrowing this transparent and efficient e-wallet system for their own countries.
40. Our national food production expanded by an additional 21 million metric tons between 2011 and 2014, a record, exceeding our set target of 20 million metric tons set for 2015.The Dangote Group, has committed to invest $US 1 billion in commercial rice production and processing. With all these developments, we are expected to be an exporter of rice in the next five years. This will be a new dawn!
41. The benefits are showing on our food imports. Our food import bill has declined from 1.1 trillion Naira in 2009 to 684 billion Naira by December 2013, even with our increasing population, a reduction of 40%.
42. Nigeria met its Millennium Development Goal One on reducing hunger and extreme poverty, two years ahead of 2015 target set by the United Nations, and was given an award by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
43. To sustain this trend, we are encouraging young graduates through the Nagropreneurs Programme to go into commercial Agriculture. We are also encouraging our students in Post Primary Schools to embrace commercial Agriculture through the National School Agriculture Programme.
44. My dear people, corruption remains a big challenge in our national life. It corrodes our efforts at development and at motivating competence in critical sectors of our national growth. We have eradicated it in the agricultural sector and we will surely eradicate it in other sectors of our economy.
45. Going forward, my focus is to continue to reinforce institutions, systems, and processes to tackle corruption, and also to bring to justice those that perpetrate corruption. Through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System(IPPIS), we have weeded out 56,000 ghost workers from the Federal Civil Service, saving 162 billion naira.
46. I have directed ICPC to bring the perpetrators of this criminal act to book. Let this be very clear, public officers must live by example, fully accounting for the national trust and resources in their care.
47. In our journey to progress, knowledge is indispensable. Knowledge is power! This is why my administration established 14 new Universities out of which 12 are conventional and two are specializedPolice and Maritime Universities. Under my watch, every state in Nigeria, now has a Federal University.
48. In addition, over 500billion naira have been spent, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and the special NEEDS assessment fund on various projects to increase access and improve the quality of infrastructure at the tertiary level of our education system.
49. To provide equal access and opportunities in education and ensure that no Nigerian child is left behind, we have established and equipped 150 Almajiri Schools across the Northern states and the Out-of-School-Children Programme including Specialized Boys and Girls Schools across the country.
50. Fellow Nigerians, our country was faced with a major National security, humanitarian, and economic threat in the form of the Ebola Virus Disease, which arrived in the country on July 20, 2014, by way of a foreign national, Mr Patrick Sawyer.
51. Realizing the imminent threat, I declared a national emergency, pulling states, local and federal government into action as well as individual Nigerians to combat this disease. Without the quick action of patriotic Nigerians in the First Consultant Hospital, as well as the co-operation of Lagos and Rivers State, where the disease occurred, working with the Federal Ministry of Health and the co-operation of all Nigerians we could not have succeeded in overcoming this deadly disease. Fellow Nigerians we stopped Ebola together.
52. Just as we stopped Ebola, we are on our way to eradicating the Polio Virus in our country. We have reduced the incident of new Polio Virus from 300 in 2010, to 6 today.
53. My brothers and sisters, to encourage entrepreneurship and self-reliance among our teeming graduates, we have developed creative opportunities for enterprise for our young people.
54. Programmes such as YouWIN, the Graduate Internship Scheme, the Nagropreneurs Initiative, the 220 Billion Naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fundand the 3 Billion Naira Grant to Nollywoodare empowering our graduates, the creative industry and other young people to start up their own businesses and employ others.
55. We have supported the growth of industry through policy and action. We launched The National industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), and the National Enterprise Development Programme as key drivers to bring about our desires in the industrial sectors and to diversify our economy. Our new National Automobile Policy is transforming Nigeria into a vibrant hub for the automobile industry. Our own Innoson Motors is producing world standard vehicles, and Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia, have set up factories in Nigeria and are employing thousands of our people.
56. Our support for cement production is unprecedented. We have increased our installed capacity from 16.5 million metric tons per annum in 2011 to 39.5 million metric tons per annum in 2014. Nigeria is now exporting cement. We are moving forward!We must produce what we consume and consume what we produce.
57. Our efforts to create an enabling environment for job creation in different sectors of the economy including the MSME sector, agriculture, housing and manufacturing have yielded results. Between the third quarter of 2012, when we started tracking jobs created and the end of 2013, 1.9 million jobs were created. To deepen our success in this area, I have created a Presidential Jobs Creation Board headed by the Vice President with the mandate to create at least two million jobs a year.
58. My brothers and sisters, our economy is heading in the right direction and our efforts are yielding positive results. Our economy continues to grow at the rate of 6 to 7 percent annually, one of the highest in the world. Our country is now the top investment destination and the largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of 80trillion naira (510billion dollars) as well as the 26th largest economy in the world.
59. As part of its efforts to support inclusive growth and economic development in Nigeriathrough the CBN, my administration has created and disbursed the sum of 200billion naira via the Commercial Agric and Credit scheme, 300billion naira Power and Aviation fund, 220billion naira Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Fund, as well as 300 billion naira rail sector refinancing facilities at single digit interest rate. We will continue to deepen the reforms in the financial sector,in order to sustain thegrowth of our economy and uplift our people from poverty to prosperity.
60. Dear Compatriots, I promised as President,that we woulds anitize and restore integrity in our electoral process, by ensuring that our votes are not only counted, but truly count. We have gone to great length to ensure transparent, free, fair, and credible elections. Elections have been conducted across the country with local and international election observers testifying to their transparency.
61. On the international scene, we have advanced our regional, continental and global objectives. We have strengthened our relationships with our neighbours and in many instances supported them to protect their democracy, security and stability.We are serving for a second time within a period of 4years at the United Nations Security Council.This is unprecedented in our Nation’s history. My brothers and sister, this is a growing attestation of our country’s growing influence.
62. In the first quarter of this year, our country celebrated its centenary. To prepare the nation for the challenges of the next one hundred years, I convened a National Conference where recommendations and resolutions were reached towards a more perfect union. We shall implement the report.
63. Four years ago, I made a commitment to advance the rise and rise of womanhood. Today, I am glad that we have made remarkable progress in this regard, trusting in the potential of our women and reaping from their dedication and ingenuity. I believe that any nation that ignores womanhood cannot achieve its full potential. It is in this regard that I ensured that women were given more opportunities in government, and I have notbeen disappointed.
64. Specifically, I doubled the percentage of women in the cabinet and gave them more challenging assignments.
65. The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), is now admitting female cadets as regular combatants and it is now possible for a woman to rise through the ranks to the peak in military service,and become a full general.
66. We must continue to sustain the banner of freedom and justice that we have held high in our country. I am proud to say that there are no political prisoners in Nigeria today.No Nigerian has been driven to exile and no one will be, under my watch.
67. It is in furtherance of a peaceful, participatory and inclusive democracy that I signed the Freedom of Information (FOI)Bill into law, to expand the frontiers of our fundamental freedom.
68. Let me re-affirm that under a Jonathan Presidency, your views, no matter how freely expressed, will not send you to prison or into exile.
69. I am convinced that I have kept my pact with Nigerians, and it is now time to look to the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and half years, but to take our country to the next level, there is still more to be done.
70. History has shown that the path of honour for any true leader is not to walk away from his people in moments of challenges. We must stand together in adversity and overcome all threats to our development. We must defend our future, for the sake of our children.
71. So many things have inspired me in the journey to this moment. I want to appreciate ordinary Nigerians, especially young people, for the solidarity shown to me by contributing their meagre resources to enable me arrive at this point.
72. I appreciate the kind gesture of the Cattle Breeders Union, Miyetti Allah, and the Market Women Association, who encouraged me by coming together to contribute to the purchase of my Nomination form.
73. In the same vein, I am touched by the National Association of Widows who also encouraged me with their widow’s mite.
74. This labour of love, from ordinary Nigerians, has increased my appreciation of your solidarity, my trust in our joint destiny, and all we have achieved together these past three and half years.
75. Therefore, after seeking the face of God, in quiet reflection with my family and having listened to the call of our people nationwide to run, I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, have acceptedto re-present myself, on the platform of The Peoples’ Democratic Party, for re-election as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the 2015 general elections.
76. Democracy is a collective action, energized by individual responsibility. Your mandate at this time will inspire in me the strength to complete the good work we have started together.
77. My dear people of Nigeria, we must complete the task of ensuring that we lift the poor out of the depth of want, and place their feet firmly on the ladder of prosperity.
78. In this election season, I appeal to all of you, not to harm, maim or kill; and not to incite violence of any kind. We must never forget our common bond, one people from the womb of one Nigeria. Again I say: My ambition to serve you is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. I remain committed to this principle of non-violence.
79. If you believe that we must build a country that works for all, where the strong lift up the weak, and not trample upon them, where the vote of every citizen determines who governs or represents you, where the democratic space is open to all citizens to fulfill their aspirations, irrespective of the circumstance of birth, your brother, GoodluckEbeleAzikiweJonathan stands ready to continue in service to you.
80. My brothers and sisters, we cannot go back to the old ways! Our railways were allowed to rot in neglect, we have revived and are modernizing them.
81. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our road infrastructure collapsed. We are reconstructing, and expandingfederal roads across the country.
82. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our airport terminal buildings were dilapidated and our airspace unsafe. We are fixing this.
83. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our agricultural practices did not benefit our farmers and our people. Fertilizer distribution was a major source of fraud and we were importing food more than our budget can carry. Now we are on our way to self-sufficiency in food production.
84. Do you want to go back to the old ways?
85. We cannot go back to the old ways, where there were long queues at our filling stations due to irregular supply of products and our people were exploited.
86. We cannot go back to the old ways, when women and youths were denied opportunities in government and in responsible positions.
87. Do you want to go back to the old ways?
88. We cannot go back to the old ways!We had skewed distribution of tertiary institutions.Whereas some states had more than onedegree awarding institution, some had none. We have nowmade sure all states have at least one Federal University.
89. We cannot go back to the old ways! Our economy is now the largest in Africa. Once, we were virtually importing everything, now we are exporting several products,including cement.
90. We cannot go back to the old ways!In 2009, average life expectancy was 47 years, by the end of 2013, it was 52 years. Some of our hospitals now perform open heart surgeries, kidney transplants and other challenging operations as we re-position our health service to end decades of medical tourism that drains our scarce resources.
91. We cannot go back to the old ways!Together, in unity, we overcame Ebola, and in the process demonstrated the strength of the Nigerian spirit. And together, united, we must maintain our vigilance.
92. Do you want to go back to the old ways?
93. We cannot go back to the old ways where individual freedoms were trampled upon and citizens were locked up for expressing their views or criticizing government.
94. Do you want to go back to the old ways?
95. We cannot go back to the old ways! We must continue to have free and fair elections. We cannot go back to the era where ballot box snatching and stuffing became the norm.Where your votes never counted.
96. Certainly, we cannot!
97. We have to move forward! Only forward!!, my dear people, Forward!!!
98. In moving forward, I see a Nigeria that thirsts for progress with children across the nation, eager for knowledge and safely in schools!
99. I see a Nigeria where all who have taken up arms, would again embrace peace!
100. I see a Nigeria where our women can aspire to any heights, without hindrance!
101. I see a Nigeria where the flames in the Eagles will rekindle, and the Falcons soaring higher in victory!
102. I see a Nigeria where the children of Mustapha, and Christopher, Ade and Ada,Timi and Bunmi, Nnamdi and Namadi, do not go hungry!
103. I see a Nigeria where all, no matter their beliefs, live in peace and harmony!
104. I see a Nigeria where the green passport is accorded a royal reception the world over!
105. I see a Nigeria where one day the next generation will take us to outer space.
106. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, leadership is about staying focused to achieve goals despite challenges. I have been faced with many challenges since coming to office as President. With your support and encouragement, we have stayed the course.
107. We are succeeding, against all odds. For the young Nigerian child, who grew up in the rural area, just like me, we are expanding opportunities and giving them hope. For the market woman, we are expanding opportunities. For our young entrepreneurs, we are expanding opportunities. For the right of our people to vote and for their voices to be heard, we are expanding opportunities. For Nigerians to have the right to free speech, we are expanding opportunities. For the job seekers, against all odds, we are expanding opportunities.
108. While serving our people, I will always ensure the rule of law. I do not intimidate, I expand the democratic space. I give voice to the voiceless and uphold the weak, for the nation belongs to us all. Fellow Nigerians, as we build our democracy, leaders must show temperance at all times. That is a virtue, one which I treasure, and will always uphold.
109. My people, Nigeria is destined for greatness. Today, here at Eagle Square, I say to Nigeria, that working together in love, in strength and in faith, we will build a nation of one people, united in purpose and in action.
110. Fellow Nigerians, it is forward ever! We must put our hopes to work! Together, we will realize our collective destiny.
111. Thank you!!
112. God bless Nigeria!!
*Photo Caption - President Goodluck Jonathan
[ Masterweb Reports ] – The fear of Ebola is the beginning of life. Ebola is the most dreaded terror and scourge to humanity at moment. It is no respecter of persons, color or race, white and black, it is without boundary. Mere glimpse of any sign of Ebola at a distance will make even the American Special Strike force to take to their heels. The best of medical personnel cannot stand at the sign of Ebola. So was the case on October 18, 2014 at Barajas Madrid Airport Spain, where a Nigerian drug peddler was mistakenly abandoned and left to stew in his own juice by the airport security and medical team because of Ebola scare. If not for the Ebola fear the life of the Nigerian may....... Read More
*Photo Caption - Late Ikenna Nzeako
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety Reports ] - (Civil Liberties & Rule of Law, Onitsha Nigeria, 4th November 2014)-In 2011, under the leadership of former IGP, Hafiz Ringim, age-long discriminatory practices were discovered in the Nigeria Police Force by our leadership in the course of our advocacy activities. The discriminatory practices were administrative and structural in nature. They have existed since 1975 with a structural code name: the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service (TWS) Decree (Act) of 1975. This was also incorporated into Sections 59 to 69 of the Nigeria Police Force Act of 2004 (NPF Ordinance of 1930).
By the provisions of these obnoxious legal creations, the TWS was created and put under the midwifery of the Nigeria Police Force. The TWS was created for the purpose of ensuring safety of persons and properties on all Nigerian roads and strict compliance to road use and safety rules by all Nigerian road users. Those wishing to join the TWS must possess same academic, mental and physical qualifications and qualities with those wishing to join the Nigeria Police Force. Both of them also undergo same field training and spend almost same number of period before being commissioned as officers of the NPF.
Sadly, when it comes to ranking, promotion, remuneration and manning of duty posts or offices; deep discrimination and discrepancies occur. By virtue of the provisions of the TWS Decree (Act) of 1975 and Sections 59 to 69 of the Nigeria Police Act of 2004, the highest rank to be attained by a member of the TWS is called Senior Traffic Warden (STW), which is equivalent to the rank of Inspector in the Nigeria Police Force. The major ranking grades available and traditionalized in the Nigeria Police Force are: constable, corporal (first & second), sergeant, inspector (confirmed & unconfirmed), assistant superintendent (confirmed & unconfirmed), deputy superintendent, superintendent, chief superintendent, assistant commissioner of police, deputy commissioner of police, commissioner of police, assistant inspector general of police, deputy inspector general of police and inspector general of police. This means that there are fourteen major ranking grades in the Nigeria Police Force; whereas only four ranking grades exist in the TWS.
Administratively, there is age-long promotion stagnancy policy against members of the TWS whereby their promotions from one rank to the other are delayed up to five years and above. Key officers of the TWS are also denied office and departmental duties. For instance, key members or officers of the TWS are not allowed by the leadership of the NPF to take charge and full responsibility of the TWS designated duties and offices like Divisional Traffic Officer or Office usually located in every divisional police station; whereas in the same station, divisional crime officer or office is manned by officers from the NPF Criminal Investigation Department. Another discriminatory practice exists whereby a deputy superintendent of traffic (DST) or a senior traffic warden (STW) is made to take orders from a police sergeant or corporal. Deep discrimination and discrepancy exist too in handling the affairs of members of the TWS whereby while personnel of the NPF receive salaries and emoluments much fatter than members of the TWS who share equivalent ranks with their NPF counterparts.
It is view of these that several attempts were made by concerned and courageous members of the TWS to address the age-long structural and administrative anomalies leading to several court actions in the past. During the Obasanjo’s presidency, a presidential proclamation was issued creating two extra ranking grades of assistant superintendent of traffic (AST) and deputy superintendent of traffic (DST), which are equivalent of the NPF’s assistant and deputy superintendents of the police (ASP & DSP), yet the TWS Decree (Act) of 1975 and its NPF Act incorporated Sections 59 to 69 were left un-amended or un-repealed till date.
These un-healed wounds were re-opened in 2011 after the NPF Headquarters’ terrorist bomb blasts that killed scores of people including a gallant officer of the TWS who was on duty. In firm solidarity with their slain colleague, some courageous officers of the TWS read a funeral oration at the funeral of their colleague where they appealed to the NPF top leadership to use the tragic death of their colleague to redress the age-long discriminatory practices complained of. The authorities of the NPF reacted furiously and dictatorially by hounding the affected officers including STWs Samuel Uwakwe, Emmanuel Mlanga and Adamu Dogari into the NPF cell at the Force Headquarters. They were further meted with orderly room trials and handed down sundry harsh punishments including dismissal from the NPF.
Hon Afam Victor Ogene & House Intervention As A Welcome Development: We commend the intervention of the member, representing the Ogbaru Federal Constituency, Hon Victor Afam Ogene and the Nigerian House of Representatives for their timely legislative intervention by introducing a bill seeking to repeal the TWS Act (Decree) of 1975 and creating an independent Nigeria Traffic Warden Service. The leadership of our organization-International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, which has been at the fore front of advocacy for redressing the said age-long anomalies since 2011 had during the 2012 Constitutional amendment awareness stakeholders’ consultation session held in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State approached Hon Afam Ogene with the issue. As promised, Hon Afam Ogene went on and introduced a private member bill before the House to that effect, which is now one of the House legislative businesses for 2014 legislative year.
We see this bold legislative step as a primus inter pares of a legislative duty. It gladdens our heart the more that the said Bill has survived second reading and has been referred to the House Committees on Police & Justice for further legislative actions. While calling for similar legislative step at the Senate for the purpose of legislative coherence and concurrence, we wish to add “informedly” that another alternative way of addressing the said age long ill treatments of members of the TWS is to allow them to take over the near moribund Nigeria Police Motor Traffic Division as fully fledged department and members and officers of the Nigeria Police Force. This should be done alongside repeal of the TWS Decree (Act) of 1975 as well as Sections 59 to 69 of the Nigeria Police Act of 2004 (Nigeria Police Ordinance of 1930. Our recent investigations have continued to show that a member of Nigeria Police Animal Division, for instance, can occupy any rank or earn any position or promotion or emolument in the NPF without any form of discrimination or ill treatment.
We thank every Nigerian that has supported this cause. We also thank the Nigerian media particularly the online department of the Nigerian media operating within and beyond the shores of the country. The office of the Attorney General and the Presidency are also called upon to be supportive of this noble cause by joining hands with the House of Reps to end these age-long ill treatments that are unwarranted and uncalled for. The ill treatments complained of are also grossly at variance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended in 2011.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
· Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
+2348174090052, +2348100755939 (office only)
· Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
· Barr Obianuju Igboeli, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
· Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Photo Caption - David Oyishoma, a traffic warden (TW) Grade 111(Constable) in 2011.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Over 2 million Nigerians are currently living in Bokoistan, the occupied territories in Nigeria’s northeastern States; Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. According to a report in Daily Trust Monday, November 03, 2014 by Abdullahi Idris, the total land mass currently captured by Boko Haram is over 20,000 square kilometers, which is bigger than three Nigerian States. Over 10 local governments have been swallowed by Bokoistan, they include as we have earlier listed: Gamboru-Ngala, Dikwa, Abadam, Marte, Bama, Madagali, Gulak, Gwoza, Mitchika, Mubi, some names of occupied towns are: Vintim, Ran, Gulumba, Ngala, Wulgo, Banki, Darjamal, Nguro Soye, Izge, Ashgashia, Pulka, Ngoshe among others.
A Serf System
Naira is no longer the currency of occupied Bokoistan. Trade is by barter and all enslaved citizens are forced to submit their earnings and produce to the Boko Haram authorities. Women we spoke to in the occupied lands explained how the terrorists come and seize all valuables and essentials of living from their homes including stored food and kerosene. Terrorists also seize the young at will for sex or to be forcefully trained in large groups of thousands of conscripted youth, new armies. In regions like Gwoza and Bama, over the last two months of occupation, thousands have been slaughtered at will as genocide is the way of the new nation: 4,333 have been killed in Bama by the Tashama Bama, escapee count from last Monday.
Nigeria’s military has collapsed. Years of massive embezzlement and sabotage of the military under the PDP political administration has left the military totally unable to mount a résistance to Boko Haram invading forces, talk less reoccupy annexed land. The 40,000 Nigerian troops can no longer defend Nigeria from the 30-50,000 and increasing Boko Haram French controlled forces. Boko Haram is conscripting thousands of able youth in Bama, Gwoza, Mubi and all other occupied areas. They celebrate the systematic handing over of Nigeria’s arsenal to them as happens each barrack they take over. From Mubi, Boko Haram have been rejoicing the receipt of container loads of new arms and ammunition which their new conscripts will be armed with.
While The Jonathan-led Nigerian government refuses to enable the arming of civilians in the northeast and volunteers from around the nation to defend the integrity of the rest of Nigeria; Boko Haram on the contrary is arming all who it occupies to develop a most deadly army that will have the potential to overpower any in West Africa.
No Hope From Religious and Traditional And State Leaders
The state representatives; the various traditional and religious leaders as well as the Statesmen and other northern and entire Nigerian co-called elders have abandoned the cause of the people in occupied lands and the cause of Nigeria as a whole in effect. Leadership is no longer a pride and office of service, but simply an opportunity to amass cash and purchase property abroad (to evacuate the family). The plight of the people of Borno has probably been left to the Sheikh of Borno who has likewise not been very publicly noticed shouting and making resolutions for his people to be defended and to defend themselves.
The plight of the people of Adamawa perhaps has been left to the Lamido of Adamawa alone. There has been no uproar and notable decision from the Sultan of Sokoto towards proactive involvement of the north in the defense of territories being lost. Perhaps these leaders are not cognizant of the fact that the Boko Haram forces will stop nowhere and will stop at nothing till they overtake the entire north and nation.
The new Emir of Kano, who the people of Nigeria stood up to defend; rather than being heard and seen proactively engaged in the organization of a northern and Nigerian civilian and army response to defend and recover the north, has been seen lately making peace with the ruler and enemy of Nigeria who made peace with the Boko Haram nation at war with us and enslaving our millions. The friend of your enemy is your enemy, it is said. It is hard to recognize as friends, those who choose to befriend the leadership of Nigeria, proud friend and peace maker with occupying terrorists and the sponsors of these.
Will Nigerian civilians stage a response? What is the value of Nigeria’s leadership system; traditional, military and democratic in light of the lack of foresight, commitment, skill and ability to recognize the serious threats as we face and to direct and coordinate the urgently needed responses to them? The governor of Borno like many other educated Nigerians was fooled that a ceasefire was logical, tenable and in process. It is clear that few have the requisite ability to understand the reality and demands of the current desperate situation Nigeria has been forced into by the Jonathan years. Will Nigerian masses resort to solving this problem themselves as the terror hits breaking point; and will that be too late. And finally in the event that we the people do so; what will be the fate of these leadership institutions after we do? Nigeria dangles.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing its six geopolitical zones.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Before proceeding with this position piece, it is important to establish as I have been corrected of in the past, that “Jihad” means, “Strive” and not “Holy War.”
Ok, so indeed the northern peoples and religious leaders have been completely exposed. They – mostly – are a fraud. Where is the Jihad to free Bama? Where is the Jihad to free Gwoza? Where is the Jihad to free Mubi? No, we will not/ have not heard those quick calls for Jihad this time. But when it is an issue in far away America, Nigeria’s so-called northern ulamahs will be the first and loudest to proclaim their “loyalty” in defense of the faith by making a call for the numerous alMajiri and other poor youth to run out as so-called warriors to fight innocent, unarmed guests in their midst and burn religious sanctities. When it is a cartoon of the Prophet of Islam that Muslims are never instructed to fight about, or beauty pageant, then you will hear these people sending out legions to the so-called Jihad; daring to violate the law of the land. When it is a matter of controversial Islamic banking that the Prophet of Islam on whom be peace never instituted; then you will hear them promise fire and brimstone and violate the tenets of Islam and laws of the land by having Churches and other religious buildings attacked rather than protected as the Muslim Quran commands. [Quran 22:40]
But today and in fact for the most of the past 6 years of the Jonathan administration, the true need for Jihad has presented itself, but these people have been loudly silent. Unlike the religious leaders of Iraq who at the instant that ISIS raised its ugly head called for immediate amassing of Noble youth, hundreds of thousands of whom proceeded to bear arms and have defended the nation from falling to the terrorist group; the Nigerian religious leaders made no call; and if they did, I apologize, I did not hear it.
Where is the call for Jihad? Did the Prophet of Islam teach them that when there is a true war and a tyrant leadership and terrorist partners are hacking de-armed civilians, Muslims, Christians and others; that it is their duty as religious leaders to leave it up to the “government” to solve? Did the Prophet of Islam teach them that in this case of clear oppression where the freedom of worship and of residence is being deprived; it is their duty to be silent and wait for some certain colonial democratic election charade? Does Islam tell them that when they see their brothers running into the mountains, being chased from their homes by a handful of vagabonds and by the processes of a callous and clueless government that declares a unilateral cessation for fire against these hoodlums to allow them the opportunity to conquer the land; that they should not declare Jihad against this clear terror, but should rather be silent and stay warm under their blankets?
There are few things Boko Haram can be credited with; but this certainly is one and we do hope the northern youth are watching and realizing that they as with the rest of Nigerian youth and poor have only been pawns sacrificed for the political and ungodly ambitions of those who call themselves elders.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing Northern and Southern Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports: Eddie Onuzuruike reports ] - The faceless Save Abia Group emerged overnight with publications armed with false photographs on The Nation newspaper of October 24th. They shifted to Thisday Newspaper on Tuesday 28, same month with another publication on page 57.
Going through the disjointed sentences and phrases, it was highly evident that they lacked vision and therefore presented a coterie of lies and false claims.
These are not surprising as they were foretold like prophecies of the good book. On October 1st, in the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, where Abia State Government marked the independence day celebration in style, which took the mode of thanksgiving as nine Abia sons and a daughter were for the first time honoured in the largest number by the President and Commander in Chief of the armed forces, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan with National Awards in the 2014 edition.
Many of the recipients who were around like Hon Arua Arunsi and Dr. David Ogba spoke in appreciation of the gesture by the Chief Executive of Abia State, who staged the gathering. His Excellency Chief T. A. Orji spoke last. He prognosticated that election time was approaching when friends will become enemies and enemies friends. So many things will be said, bulk of it will be damaging lies but people should remember that there will be a judgment day when we will give account of all we that
This pontification took just 23 days to become reality not even waiting to the end of the month of October. This vindication came too soon for Chief T. A. Orji as complaints have risen from inconsequential quarters about the constitution of the Abia PDP primaries committee and unfounded accusations of using cronies and family members etc.
It will not be out of place to ask: Is T. A. Orji the Party Chairman who set up the committee or should Barrister Nwaka have selected Orji Uzor Kalu as the chairman or one of the members for the faceless group to feel good?
Photographs purported to be Aba roads were used as evidence. Questionable as these were, the main Agbama Road that leads to the estate was constructed by Ochendo. In their hurry to smear Abia leadership, they forgot this fact and nobody has commended the much done but just as the drowning men that they are, grabbed the internal roads as straws.
The negative publication in all intent spells evil and doom. When they bemoaned the presence of gullies on all roads leading into Abia, they seem to forget that all inter-state roads are federal roads. They quickly cited Arthur Eze and the falsely credited speech. Eze though not a superior authority on issues in Abia did not speak of Abia roads but actually complained about the express road from Enugu to Umuahia which
he plied on his journey.
According to their claims that graduates are being turned to touts, but the Save Abia and their likes previously claimed that the cars were not free or that people were getting it on hire purchase. They may have even forgotten that their acolyte gave out barrows and shovels. Well, the truth is that the empowerment cars are not compulsory; the recipient is free to employ a driver. On the other hand, most of our folks drive taxis in New York, London and Paris and repatriate money home. Most of our self-made men today drove taxis belonging to other people in their humble days. It was actually such situations that provided the springboard for success.
Questions that boggle the mind are: what have this Save Abia Group been doing since and only came out on election eve. They have not commended the Governor ever since he has been toiling, providing health centres, building 100 bed hospitals in ten LGAs. They have refused to see Abia Specialist and Diagnostic centres, legacy projects. They would rather not believe that markets were moved and new ones created.
Aba has gotten more attention from T. A. Orji much more than all the governors in the history of the state put together. Where were Save Abia when this state was pocketed by one family? When Aba was sacked by kidnappers and armed robbers, what did they do? Did they as much as raise a voice in ululation or hooting, but now, they have strength and money to pick up pages of calumny.
They talked of Arthur because he fills the blackmail mould. What about the visits of the Good Governance Tour of January 2013, led by Lebaran Maku that gave Abia a pass mark? Olisa Metuh's PDP performance media tour three weeks ago spoke of the conspiracy against Abia after moving to some project sites where they saw wonders. Journalists and religious sects have come and all acclaimed. Ochendo’s works are imposing and dwarfing, little wonder, Save Abia imported photographs to hoodwink the unsuspecting people.
If Save Abia and their friends have some facts, they should have named the candidate or candidates that are being followed about by government appointees, or even name the government officials that are aiding these aspirants.
From the look of it, Save Abia and group have a candidate in mind and have broken the rules by having started campaigns before the approved time. Shame on Save Abia for placing their selfish interest before the collective aspirations of Abia.
Onuzuruike reports from Umuahia, Abia State.
*Photo Caption - Map of Abia State
[ Masterweb Reports: Emeka Umeagbalasi reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 30th October 2014)-In the first part of this publication, dated 28th of October, 2014, the inevitability of social contradictions in human and other social interactions was clearly pointed out likewise their positive and negative handling styles. Social Contradictions lead to greatness and social harmony when handled positively and bring about destruction and backwardness when handled negatively. In modern warfare, solutions to social contradictions have replaced interstate warfare with intra state warfare. Technological advances brought about by information technology have also created crimes without borders such as cyber terrorism likewise “positivities” and negativities of globalization.
It was also social contradictions inherent in human society and its social environment that brought about the Hobbessian state of nature where life was said to be short, nasty and brutish. This nasty state of nature later gave birth to government; which in turn gave birth to social contract. The primitive or Hobbessian state of nature was characterized by sundry social vices such as crimes, violence, politico-economic exclusion, murder, intimidation, hunger and starvation, slavery and servitude, suppression and denial of religious freedoms, etc. Social contradictions also abolished divinity of monarchies and replaced it with supremacy of the people’s voice. These were captured in the British Bill of Rights of 1689, USA Independence Declaration of 1776 and the French Declaration of the Right of Man and Citizen of 1789.
Social Contract is understood to mean irrevocable memorandum of understanding between the peoples who took their destinies in their hands following the escalation of the nasty state of nature imposed on themby their few wicked fellows who were militarily and economically advantageous. The irrevocable memorandum of understanding or social contract was designed to be permanently binding between the peoples and a body of noble personalities charged with the responsibility of overseeing the collective affairs of the society particularly provision of social basic amenities, services and security. The peoples, in turn pledged to be bound by a code containing civic responsibilities. In a nutshell, social contract means the agreement between the governed and those chosen by electoral and appointive processes to govern in the context of shared or mutual social responsibilities.
The phrase social contract has since been called different names by different ages, groups, individuals and institutions. In nongovernmental and inter governmental circles, it is called human rights (civil, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental rights). In governmental circles, it is called public or social responsibilities. In business/social enterprises’ circles, it is called corporate social responsibilities. The famous social contract concept has been enacted as a social responsibility guide into thousands of global, regional, sub regional, national and local documents. In the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011, the social contract as a guide for publicly elected and appointed officers is located in the Chapter Two (sections 13 to 21). It is commonly called the Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of the State or dos and don’ts of the public office holders. On the other hand, the civic responsibilities as a guide for the citizens are contained in Section 24.
The role of the mass media as a bridge linking the government and the citizens is contained in Section 22. The mass media is also tasked by the same provision to ensure that the social contract provisions are upheld at all times and not violated by the government and the citizens. In the Chapter Four of the Constitution under reference (sections 33 to 46), the other aspects of the social contract are captured as Fundamental Human Rights. While the citizens are empowered to enjoy them within constitutional moderation, the government is constitutionally commanded to protect them at all times and is prohibited from abusing them as well. To ensure full compliance to the obedience of the social contract by the government and the citizens, judicial, legislative and executive bodies are put in place. The notion of violence is also recognized as social contract enforcement mechanism. The use of it is contradictorily divided into legitimate violence and illegitimate violence. The use of former is approved for the government, while the use of latter by the citizens (except in legitimate and clearly defined self defense) attracts criminal punishment.
It is important to remind that the title of this publication is: Making of Anambra Social Contract & Detoxifying Its Polity: Understanding Intersociety’s Stabilizing Roles. The roles of a vibrant nongovernmental organization like Intersociety in ensuring strict adherence to the dictates of the social contract by the government and the citizens have exhaustively been captured in the part one of this publication. Part of the explained NGO (Intersociety) roles particularly in Anambra State under the prevailing socio-political circumstances is to work towards detoxifying Anambra Polity in the context of playing stabilization and public interest roles or saving the State from the toxic substances of Anambra’s wicked and mercantilist political players.On the other hand, we hold a firm belief that when harlotry and stomach politicians of Anambra extraction gather to scatter, we gather to gather; when they tell lies, we correct and reinforce facts; when they loot, we expose; when they misdirect and misinform, we inform and direct; and when they direct and inform, we concur.
This publication of ours is wholly brought about by the need to remind the major political players in the State particularly the present and the immediate past democratically elected governments not to lose the sight of the fact that they are still under irrevocable social contract with the great people of Anambra State. This firm reminder is sequel to our observation that their camps appear to have been infiltrated by anti democratic and good governance forces that held the State hostage and brought untold social sufferings to the State and its people particularly between 1999 and 2006. They are reminded that the great People of Anambra State have no time for political frivolities, but real and consolidated development and transformation of their beloved State. The People of the State are deeply in a hurry to develop humanly, materially and socially and consolidate the gains of such developments.
Politics of distraction and misdirection have wrecked havoc in several States in Nigeria in recent times. In Rivers State, real governance has lost direction and media/propagandist governance has taken over. In Imo State, roots to social contract and its governmental obligation have long been lost. In Lagos State, productive or economic governance has eluded the State. Despite being the epicenter of opposition political activism with its social development and civilization dating back to 153 years ago or since 1861, Lagos State is now a N400Billion plus deficit loan based economy with over 75% of its residents wallowing in poverty.
The priceless fortunes of Anambra State must not be lost to political distraction and misdirection. For no matter how eruditely a professor is, once he or she loses his or her professorial direction, he or she becomes a professorial moron. Anambra State cannot afford to lose its new pride of place as Nigeria’s newest epicenter of economic governance. The last eight years saw the State witnessing great infrastructural transformation and massive deployment of non-loan fiscal resources for multi-sectored development of its social structures and services; yet it ended its financial records with only N10.7Billion local and foreign loans and N86Billion worth of fixed cash and investments or credits. The State is also credited with over $300Million worth of direct foreign investments between 2010 and 2013 with thousands of direct and indirect employments. In Nigeria’s justice sector, the State also triumphed over others by inventing staggered electoral calendar in the country. In the electoral process, the State fought poll rigging in the country to a standstill and ended the infamous era of demographic poll roguery.
In the past thirty years or more, no State in Nigeria has recorded these great feats. Intstead, fiscal recklessness has become messier in many States including the super oil States of the South-south zone. They are not only grossly indebted locally and internationally, but misapplication and misappropriation of public funds have become second to none. At the Federal level, similar rots hold sway. It is also heavily indebted locally and internationally. While internal debts of the Federal Government increased from N1.8trillion (roughly $13Billion) in 2006 to N10trillion ($72.5Billion) in 2014; its external debts have risen from about $3.5Billion in 2006 to about $10Billion in 2014. These explain why we are deeply worried over these triggers of social backwardness rearing their ugly head in Anambra State. From every social index, Anambra State has made giant strides and cannot afford any form of manmade setback. The woes of the State in the past were traced to the doorsteps of harlotry politicians. They misdirected the like of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju and he failed in governance like Somali Currency. It is our firm position that they must not be allowed any room in Anambra State of present time.
Having carefully studied the current turn of events in Anambra State, we have come to a conclusion that the people of the State will not tolerate their State and governance being delayed, distracted or toyed with. Political frivolities must give way for political realities and consolidated development of the State. In case the two camps have forgotten, art of governance is not a private liability company; rather it is a social contract concept that must be strictly adhered to at all times and inexcusably. Fundamental governance requirements in Anambra State are rested on development and sustenance and these require beyond the border resources mobilization approaches without exposing the State to serial indebtedness. Certainly, good governance has no place in the atmosphere of political distraction and uncertainty. Allowing the exit of one person or a group of persons from one political group to the other to endanger the course of public affair in a State does not augur well for the society. Governance, at all times, must be separated from party politics.
Finally, the incumbent government in Anambra State has mountainous tasks before it that give it no time for distraction and misdirection. Governance is clothed in the layers of social contradictions and the way they are handled make or mar political leaders. Years ago, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, with his basketful of university degrees, was faced with the task of handling Anambra’s social contradictions as Anambra governor; he lost focus and failed disastrously.
Today, he is not counted among those whose names are written in the Anambra’s Gold Register. Similar social contradictions laid on electoral roguery brought Dr. Chris Ngige to power in the State and it was a handling style brought by Obi and Company that changed the course of social events as we are seeing them today. Mbadinuju has come and gone, Ngige has come and gone and Obi and Company have also come and gone with history taking note of their activities in office and treating them accordingly. Now, it is Willie Obiano’s turn to shine or darken himself in the eyes of people, history and God. Our support for good governance in Anambra State remains irrevocable.
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (41, Miss Elems Street, Onitsha Nigeria). Emeka Umeagbalasi is also a Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies; and MSc candidate in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi (Left), speaking at a conference.
[ Masterweb Reports: Emeka Umeagbalasi reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 28th October 2014)-Solutions to social contradictions have always produced heroes and villains right from the time of the Yore. This is because the entire global community and its environment have at all times been clothed with social contradictions. In the laws of the nature, contradictions abound. Among all living things including animals and plants, there are contradictions. The moment philosophy gave birth to natural and social sciences, contradictions set in leading to the birth of more philosophical children (disciplines). Science gave birth to technology, but today technology is its greatest headache and the environment’s number one enemy owing to its hazards. The biblical genesis is inherently contradictory. In modern Christian and Muslim teachings and practices, there exist contradictions. There are inherent contradictions in cultures, values, mores, traditions, customs, etc. In international political and legal systems, there are contradictions.
In the early eighties, when Aids/HIVs erupted, Christianity and other religious bodies saw them as end time punitive divine viruses and they offered total sexual abstinence as a solution and declared their victims as hell fire candidates, but science thought otherwise and swung into action to find its cure. While religious bodies followed them up with global stigmatization campaigns, science countered them with counter-stigmatization campaigns added to its feat in successful invention of their therapies. As recently as few months ago, when Ebola virus erupted in Nigeria, the Nigerian Christian clergies including the Catholic clergy changed their orders of service and introduced segregated service proceedings with their service sermons on the deadly virus centering on end time divine affliction to sinners. Science responded with curable solution leading to the recent declaration of Nigeria by the World Health Organization as ebola free country.
Very close to the year 2000 when it was popular among Christian populations that Jesus Christ might come in that year, most of the ICT appliances and applications ranging from television sets, mobile phones, internet or world wide web, creation and use of website; to social media like facebook and twitter were declared satanic devices or marks of biblical 666 by the said Christian preachers including their Nigerian counterparts and a ban for their use was handed down to their followers. But after the year 2000 passed and Jesus Christ elected to remain where he is, the reverse became the case. Today, another popular tone replacing the former is that Christ comes the day someone dies with instant judgment that follows it. Social contradictions in Nigeria have also created a culture of opulent clergies and impoverished laities. They have also led to total elimination of middle class and existence of a spiral gap between the haves and the haves not. Instances of the menace of social contradictions in the country’s polity are too many to mention.
In the laws of man, there are a whole lot of contradictions. In the art of government and its concepts, contradictions exist. Among natural and social science scholars, contradictions exist. The hallmarks of theories are their ability to contradict themselves. In art of governance, there are contradictions. As a matter of fact, contradictions are solely responsible for the birth and invention of government, laws, cold-war, world wars, civil conflicts, crimes and social vices, IGOs, NGOs etc.
Contradictions also divided criminal laws into mala inse and mala prohibita. In human rights, contradictions abound deeply. In family right of marriage, for instance, a cousin is granted a constitutional right to marry a fellow cousin in certain States in the USA, but denied in a number of other US States. Open exercise and enforcement of gay rights are not permitted in Nigeria, but they are the other of the day in the United States and other advanced countries.
Handling of social contradictions have made or marred families, persons, groups, religions, governments and societies. Once two persons or more start interacting, contradictions set in resulting in dispute, conflict or harmony. An individual is also confronted by contradiction leading to either self immolation or self harm or even self harmony. Social contradictions are usually noted with negative effects but when transformed, they are the best path to greatness. Those who transformed social contradictions inherent or implanted in their societies and localities always have their names written in gold. From Martin Luther, Pope John Paul 2, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi, Ms Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Comrade Xanana Gusmao, to Nelson Mandela; the list is endless. On the other hand, they also produce villains in the context of those that failed woefully in handling them. From Mobutu Sese Seko, Mengistu Haile Mariam, Adolf Hitler, Mohammed Farrah Aidid, to Omar Hassan el-Bashir; the list is also endless.
In Human Rights Community, the ability to understand these social contradictions is a fundamental step towards exhibition of competence in handling them. Understanding the theoretical and practical meaning of nongovernmental organization-NGO is also as important as understanding its roles in civil society. The fundamental role of a vibrant nongovernmental organization is to serve as a bridge through which the government and the people can reach and interact with one another. This includes narrowing the wide gap between them, getting government’s attention towards making people’s lives better and improved by way of delivery of social amenities and services. It also means getting people to act and live according to the dictates of the laws and popular policies as well as getting them to perform their civic responsibilities like common and community services, payment of legitimate taxes and utility bills and participation in electoral processes and art of governance.
The second most important function of a vibrant nongovernmental organization is to play the role of societal watchdog at all times. This includes critically and seminally studying and assessing government policies and actions to ensure they are in tune with legitimate popular demands. Where such policies and actions wholly or in part are considered inhumane, it is the duty of the NGO to blow its whistle with solutions consistently until its voices are heeded. In practical sense, no serious minded and vibrant NGO can separate itself from people and government; instead a balanced relationship is the best. This is because human rights and good governance are interwoven. There can be no human rights without good governance and no good governance without human rights.
When an NGO is too attached to the government or people, it loses its ability to be credible and powerful. Effective thematic areas of activity make it very difficult for an NGO to lose its focus and direction. Any NGO lacking these is a riff-raff NGO. Also any NGO that forms the habit of partnering with any government in power particularly in Nigerian context is doomed. NGOs must be part and parcel of enthroning democratic governance in Nigeria or any part thereof.
This is to ensure that the person chosen to govern does not emerge crookedly. NGOs and human rights fare much better under a popularly and credibly elected government be it at local, State or federal level. NGOs must change with changing circumstances including periodic modification of their thematic areas of activity. The world’s first NGO-Anti Slavery International formed in 1839 died or fizzled out with abolition of slavery in the 19th and 20th centuries. Most of the cold-war era anti nuclear and chemical warfare NGOs have died or fizzled out except those that changed into their post era. Self sustenance both for NGOs and their leaders as well as choosing sizeable areas of advocacy is another good feature of vibrant and focused NGO. For an NGO to be able to function well and handle social contradictions in its fold and between government and people or among political actors without seemed compromised, these attributes are fundamentally needed. Public interest must be at the center of NGO’s activities at all times.
Our organization-International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law has since its formation in 2008 carried out all its activities in accordance with its clearly defined mandates (thematic areas). These mandates, defined for advocacy convenience are: democracy & good governance, civil liberties & rule of law, security & safety and international justice & human rights programs. Under the immediate past regime of Mr. Peter Obi in Anambra State, we functioned as a development partner and a bridge between the people and the government. While the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization left an indelible mark in the State owing to its successful fight against poll rigging and stealing of poll mandate culminating in Obi’s Appellate Court victory in March 2006 and his gubernatorial enthronement, Intersociety also left a “legacious” mark in the area of partnership for good governance leading to unprecedented positive turn of social events in the State including massive infrastructural, educational, health and other social transformations.
The highlight of the governance style under reference (economic governance) was the ability of the former government under reference to go beyond borders in search of positive and huge resources mobilization leading to massive resources deployment for multi sectored development without incurring huge public indebtedness. Loan regime governance in the midst of plenty and huge wealth potentials is worse than governance regime failure.
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (41, Miss Elems Street, Onitsha Nigeria). Emeka Umeagbalasi is also a Criminologist & Graduate of Security Studies; and MSc candidate in Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi