[ Masterweb Reports ] - My Good People of Abia State; It is with utmost joy, honour, sense of fulfillment and an inestimable gratitude to the Almighty God, that I welcome all Abians at home and in Diaspora into this year of our Lord 2015.
I therefore most affectionately wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year.
Fellow Abians, by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, which guarantees only two terms of eight years for State Governors, this is therefore my last New Year broadcast to you as Executive Governor of Abia State. It is, thus, imperative to reflect on where we are coming from, where we are today and the expectations for tomorrow.
On assumption of office in 2007, we met a state of insecurity where armed robbery, kidnapping and other illicit acts held sway. We met a state lacking in basic foundational infrastructure. We met demoralized and unempowered youths. We met a political class and elites in Aba State polarized into Abuja group, Umuahia group, Lagos group, etc. We met a culture of impunity where idolatry and oath-taking at shrines were the order of the day.
Today, we have not only achieved unity and peace among our hitherto polarized political class and elites but we have also restored security and placed our state as one of the safest states in Nigeria. Abians have also been liberated from bondage and returned to God and to God Almighty, we give all the glory. Our Government is building an ultra-modern permanent Government House and Governor’s Lodge to end the era of a Government House being in a makeshift or rented apartment in the state.
This Administration has also built an International Labour Organization (ILO) complaint Workers’ Secretariat and Abia workers have long relocated from their scattered rented offices to the new workers’ secretariat complex. We have built modern office complexes for the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA), Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA), Abia State Universal Basic Education Board (ASUBEB), the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) and the Joint Accounts Allocation Committee (JAAC) building, which are all of international standard. This Government is bequeathing to Abians, a world class International Conference Centre with over 7,000 sitting capacity. My vision for this conference centre which has 12 robot cameras, 16 languages interpretations consoles, 12 hours power inverter and life satellite
transmission system is to launch our dear state into global tourism.
An International SPAR shopping mall and cinema with basement are also being constructed at the old Garki site in Umuahia and we have already built network of roads to ease envisaged human and vehicular traffic when these world class projects are commissioned.
This administration has also completed a digital electronic library, compartmentalized to accommodate both children and adults. This will greatly encourage the reading culture of our people. In the health sector, we have put in place functional diagnostic centres at Aba and Umuahia. We have also built and equipped dialysis and
ophthalmology (eye) centres for the good health of our people. The chest clinic has also been commissioned. We have built and equipped over 700 heath centres all over our communities. Work has also reached advanced stages in the 100-bed hospitals we are building in Obingwa, Okeikpe in Ukwa West, Osisioma Ngwa, Ugwunagbo, Abia State University Teaching Hospital in Aba, Amachara Hospital, Arochukwu, Ikwuano and in other parts of the state. We have continued to invite foreign medical
missions, at the expense of government, to give free medical services to our people, particularly in special areas.
Amachara Hospital has been upgraded and is now Abia State Specialist Hospital Amachara to specially take care of women and children. We had to build another international market with over 7,000 shops at Ubani Ibeku and relocated traders at the very old Umuahia Market. The space is now being developed as an event centre. We also had to build 5,000 shops Industrial Market at Ahiaeke and relocated the Timber Market in Umuahia. We are equally building Aba mega mall of international
standard in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area. The Geometric Power Plant in Osisioma near Aba will soon be commissioned and this will guarantee uninterrupted power supply to Aba, its environs and will further activate small scale industries in the area.
We have also built many housing estates for our people including the Luxury Apartments on Finbarrs Road, Umuahia, the Isieke, Amaokwe, Amuba, Ohobo and Ubani Ibeku Housing Estates. Our exploits in the housing sector are legendary.
Government is also working towards realizing the 300 hectares of land Abia International Industrial City located at Osisioma. This city will help to decongest the commercial city of Aba and also provide industrial clusters with modern machines for manufacturers in the area.
This Government established Liberation Farms to place Abia tops as a food basket state. We distributed One Billion Naira Agricultural Loan and provided agricultural inputs to our farmers to boost agriculture. We entered into agreement with a foreign firm to manage the oil palm plantation in Ukwa. It is now Shanid-Abia Oil Palm Ltd which immediately employed 1,500 Abia people as workers. The plantation is
now being turned around.
We have built modern court halls in Aba and Umuahia. We have also refurbished others. We have continued to provide free education and free school bus services at primary and secondary school levels in the state.
This administration has returned some schools to voluntary agencies to enhance discipline and morality in our children and improve the standard of our education. Let me state that the exercise will continue and shall include some primary schools.
We have taken steps to revive the moribund Golden Guinea Breweries Ltd, Umuahia. This brewery is almost ready to commence production and I shall commission it before leaving office as another parting gift to my people which will also create employment.
Our Youth Empowerment Scheme has become a reference point as we have
distributed over 2,000 cars to our youths free of charge. We also placed 4,500 youths who are not working on monthly salary. All these have helped to reduce crime and unemployment.
This Administration established free skills acquisition centres all over the state. The students who are paid monthly salaries are also given the necessary support to start their own businesses on graduation.
My Administration has also commenced action to realize Abia State Airport. The aerial survey has been completed and discussions with land owners, traditional rulers and the youths are ongoing to fast-track the project.
We have done many roads all over the State including Aba.
As a profound appreciation of my contributions to history and foundational legacy projects to the state, several groups and organizations honoured me with numerous awards. Some of them include:
· Best Governor on Security Matters by African Security Watch in far away Ghana;
· Best Governor in Agriculture by all Farmers Association of Nigeria;
· Icon of Democracy Award by Champion Newspapers;
· Man of the year 2012 by Daily Independent Newspapers;
· Best Governor on Health by Federal Ministry of Health;
· Housing Governor of the Year 2014 by Nigerian Housing group in Abuja, June 2014;
· Best Governor in Sports in the South East zone by Sports Writers Association of Nigeria;
· Governor of the Year 2014 by Nigerian Pilot Newspapers;
· 2014 Governor of the Year by Champion Newspapers;
· Won the Federation Cup under my watch through Enyimba three times.
Fellow Abians, these awards and honours, I rededicate to God and to you, my good people of Abia State. Without you and the Almighty God, I would not have had the privilege of positively impacting on my generation.
Though we have less than five months to the end of this administration, I pledge to continue to give my best in the New Year and equally work to fully realize on-going projects as our resources may dictate.
I am convinced that this administration has laid the foundation to realize an economically virile, strong, affluent and glorious Abia State of our dream. In this success story, I did not act alone. I did it with my party; the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). I have always believed in equity and together with our party – the PDP, the governorship position was zoned to Abia South Senatorial Zone. The PDP
primaries have also produced a well groomed Ukwa Ngwa man of Abia South
extraction with impeccable character. That man is Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. I call on you to support him to sustain our creative and enterprising Abia spirit and the desired path of irreversible development.
Indeed, I see a greater and more prosperous Abia State, made strong by their toil, triumphant in their travails, ever united as a people and determined never to go back to the dark days of impunity and idolatrous worship.
May the blessings and light of God the Father shine on all of us this 2015 and always.
Once again, I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.
*Photo Caption - Governor T. A. Orji
[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - The concept of granting dignities and honouring people who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields has always been part of man in all epochs and cultures. Its inception might remain unknown to anyone. It probably belongs to the mysteries of origin about which all might guess and propound theories, but none might ever know conclusively.
In the years gone by, there were a lot of values that were applauded in Igbo land and beyond. Then, excellence was the norm; Igbos cherished and applauded it. Titles and dignities were conferred on, and granted to people based on merit and nothing else. As far back as a pry into Igbo history can reveal, it was not in vain that Igbos conferred names and titles such as Diji, Diochi, Dike, Dimgba, di this or di that on people. The bearers of such titles were experts in cultivation of yam, palm wine-tapping, wrestling, or would have performed some heroic acts in other endeavours. These people achieved excellence in their fields and were consequently honoured.
Today, title-taking, granting of honours and awards have been bastardized. Among many cultures today, it has been reduced to commodity that can be bought by the rich. Look around you and all you see is Ukwachinaka, Onwa this, Onwa that; Kpakpando this, Kpakpando that; Akuirighiri this and that. Other tribes have their own variants. These titles, like the Onuku in the masquerade genre, as masterfully interpreted by Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, actually represent degeneration as Ijeles are in short supply. Most often this new crop of title holders are men without noble pedigree. In the past, Igbos preferred a man without money; today they amazingly show preference for the money without the man. This ignoble passion mocks the wisdom in what obtained long in the history of man: many years before the birth of Christ, two suitors who wanted to marry the daughter of Peisistratus were presented to him to choose his preference; he said he would choose the " the man without money", rather than " money without the man." Today, many people will choose one Akuirighiri and Ukwachinaka for awards because of the lures of some wads.
The bastadisation of awards informed the refusal of same by Mr. Peter Obi when he was the Governor of Anambra State. He was frank about that: “I refused awards as the Governor because of my belief that the appropriate time for awards is when one has completed one’s tenure(s) and is thereafter adjudged as deserving of such awards and honours.”
Since March 17th, 2014, the awards have been coming in torrents and from organizations that do not play to the gallery. All of them are full of kind words for him for approaching governance from the point of view of service to the people and the community. If not being honoured for his unassailable efforts towards the renaissance of library culture by the Association of Librarians of Nigeria, or honoured by the Society for Corporate Governance for his innovation in governance, the association of all the Bishops in Nigeria would be honouring him for his giant strides in the rehabilitation of education in Anambra State as nobody has done in recent time. Today, Anambra State comes first in WAEC and NECO, as well as other external examinations. We owe this epochal achievements to Mr. Peter Obi
It is only those who lived in Anambra during the period of chaos who will understand and appreciate the various reasons everybody is desirous of honouring Mr. Peter Obi. In those days, Anambra carried on as if she was controlled by Bedlam. The Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Rev. Dr. Hilary Okeke, who is in a position to judge those days has this to say: “Indeed, before Mr. Peter Obi became the Governor, Anambra State looked like a state abandoned by God. Many people in Anambra State really believed that Anambra State was abandoned. Political turmoil and turbulence generated by godfatherism halted development in the State. The little money that would come to Anambra State was used to settle the godfathers. An attempt to shake off the tentacles of the godfathers resulted in wanton and reckless destruction of government houses and property. Schools at all levels suffered abysmal neglect; public hospitals suffered the same neglect; life was listless as people in Anambra State were bereft of sense of direction and responsibility. One could liken the state of affairs in Anambra State to the situation in Israel at the time of the Judges, "In those days there was no king in Israel, and everyone did as he saw fit" (Judges 21:25). Lawlessness was the order of the day; gross indiscipline, general insecurity and lack of respect for human dignity and life, lack of development in most public sectors and loss of confidence in government.”
Indeed Obi became Governor when Anambra was faced by all manner of problems. His coming into power was equally turbulent. However, in his characteristic doggedness, each challenge he conquered brought out his essence to the people. He was the first person to unseat a sitting Governor through the courts; he was the first to come back from impeachment and to go for tenure interpretation.
Obi's sterling governance in Anambra State has made him not only the darling of the State, but a darling among Nigerians. In appreciating Obi, Bishop Okeke again has this to say: “We commend Mr. Peter Obi for his perceived determination to serve the people of Anambra State through his development strategy of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS); for his courageous return to their legitimate Church proprietors (Anglican and Catholic) of schools forcibly seized by the Government of East Central State under Chief Ukpabi Asika, that destroyed education in our area; his determination to revamp education and health care by partnering with the Churches to reconstruct dilapidated schools, providing buses, computers, generators, laboratory equipment, funds for sports and other needs of the schools system to both public schools and mission schools; his investment in healthcare delivery by uplifting hospitals, maternities and health centres, and schools of nursing, midwifery and medical laboratory to provide suitable personnel in our health institutions. Anambra State enjoys one of the best networks of roads. Retired persons, the poor and marginalized of Anambra State are receiving government attention. Every aspect of life in Anambra State has benefited from the administration of Mr. Peter Obi, CON! Indeed, Anambra State under his administration is no longer an abandoned State!”
Because of what Obi is to humanity, his salient contributions to the Church, innovation in governance and his community at large, his Bishop, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor recommended that he be honoured with the Papal knighthood. Collaborating the reports through independent enquiry by the Holy See, the Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness, Pope Francis, through his Cardinal Secretary of State, signed a Bull by which the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi became a Papal knight of the Order of St Sylvester on the 31st of July, 2013. This made him one of the few to be so recognized by the Pope and one of the first sets to be so recognised by Pope Francis.
We note that in Nigeria, we have Papal knights, but Obi was the first person to merit it through using the instrument of governance to serve God and humanity.
Papal Orders are not easy to come by, and it is not for sale. The holder of the highest among the five Papal Equestrian Orders, granted by the Pope as a temporal sovereign, known as the Supreme Order of Chris, died in 1993. Only one living person is holding the second one, Order of the Golden Spur. The third one, Order of Pius IX may be presented to even non-Christians. We also have the Order of Gregory the Great and Order of St Sylvester Pope and Martyr. There are other orders with religious connotation granted by the Pope such as the Order of the Holy Sepulchre and Order of Malta.
The Pontifical Equestrian Order of Sylvester Pope and Martyr granted to Mr. Peter Obi is awarded by the Pope directly, usually on the recommendation of the local ordinary, in this case, His Lordship, Bishop Paulinus Ezeokafor. A person can also be nominated by the representative of the Pope, the papal Nuncio. The Pope’s Secretary of State can also recommend one for the award.
As the Governor, almost all group of Knighthood in the Church wanted Obi to join them, but he declined. The Papal award thus came to him by surprise, because he was completely unaware of that until his Bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, a prelate who possesses spiritual comeliness, delivered the Papal Bull to him. Each time I visited Bishop Ezeokafor’s residence, the modesty derives me to the conclusion that here is a man of God in fact and in name, just simply after the souls he will win for God as the major part of his apostolic triumph.
Those who knew about the award naturally urged Mr. Obi to roll out drums immediately, but he refused, saying that he preferred the investiture after he would have left office.
But why Obi should he be nominated for the Award among millions of Catholics in Awka Diocese? It is not because he was once a Governor. It is not because he is rich. It is not because his younger brother is a priest, while his elder Sister is a Rev Sister. Anybody who has been following the trajectory of Obi’s life even before he became a Governor will know the reasons he was considered fit for that rare honour. Yes, his stewardship as the governor was the major contributory factor, especially his partnership with the Church that benefited the people of the State in the area of education, health, among others, but there are much more to that.
Obi is one person who believes and lives out the biblical instruction that in charity-giving, one’s right hand should not know what the left is giving. Obi has continued to be part of building of Churches in many communities. Those who attended the dedication of St. Patrick’s Cathedral saw how the Bishop, in spite of Obi’s resistance announced that he was the highest donor towards the building of that Church, the Bishop made it clear that those contributions were even before he became the Governor.
I recall that when the earth shrugged her shoulders (Earthquake) in Haiti and submerged the Cathedral, he visited and offered them enormous financial support. He once told me that charity and philanthropy has the greatest reward when it is inconspicuous. Many politicians publicise their scholarship awards to indigent students, but hardly would one know that Peter Obi has been on that for donkey years.
In governance, he did not disappoint. He carried the Church as well as any organization desirous of the good of the people of the State.
Besides changing the psyche of the people of the state and the reconditioning it to once again think and act for the interest of the State, I consider his return of schools to their original owners as his most important achievement. Some may want to locate this at the number of infrastructure he built, but the fact remains that education, as he always said, is the most important legacy one can possible bequeath posterity. This assertion is not originally his, but has been universally ascertained. Thus, many years ago, when Aristotle was asked to differentiate between the educated and the uneducated, he said it was as the difference between the living and the death. Asked the same question, Aristophanes said it was as the difference between broken and unbroken horses. This informed Zeno’s reference of an uneducated man sitting on a stone as a stone seated on another stone.
For those circumscribing the award to what he did as the Governor, we note here that it transcends it. Obi’s opportunity came early in life even as an undergraduate. Between the time he left the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the time he became a governor, he had attended some of the world most renowned management schools.
In his business, he put what he learnt into practice and rose so rapidly to become the youngest Chairman of a 25Billion Naira Bank. He has never mismanaged public property or funds entrusted to him; rather he has been consumed in the creation of wealth. He was not just on the board of companies that were successful, but was active chapter in the success stories.
If you study successful economies of the world you will see behind them both long and short-term planning. You will hear of projections to the year 2020 and all that. A wise man prepares for winter in summer’s time of plenty, but it is foolishness to encourage Epicurean indulgence, the lower animal’s philosophy of: "Let us eat today for tomorrow we shall die." This was the reason Obi, even when others crippled their states and sold the investments of the State for peanuts to their cronies, left over N75 Billion Naira for his successor in cash and investments.
Obi was neck-deep in the business world and has seen the world, but yet no story of gallantry or dealing dishonourably with anybody is told about him.
No doubt, Nigeria’s politics is that of intrigues, mud-slinging, divide and rule (divida et impera), parochialism, prebendalism, impeachment-scheming, and so on. Such politics has led to our retrogression. Obi has chosen to play it differently and those too backward to understand him call it timidity. Today, as anytime in the future, any political history of Nigeria will be incomplete without Obi as it will be without the Ziks, the Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bellos and the Ojukwus.
Today, Obi is a reference point on playing decent politics, belief in the rule of law and adherence to principles. These are edifying credentials of a true reformist. I expect Obi to suffer because as Machiavelli said, it is difficult to introduce a new order because the person doing so (Obi) will have opposition from those that benefited from the old order and lukewarm defenders in those that are not sure of its success.
In spite of paid critics and lukewarm defenders, Obi matched on and rescued Anambra State. The man is not a saint, but certainly with high moral standards. In the world of wealth, he may be among the first 100 Nigerians and yet he is unobtrusive about it. Obi has a happy family and can be called the man without cant.
When I recommend him as a role model to the youth, it is always after weighing the totality of his life. He is married to Her Excellency, Mrs Margaret Peter-Obi, a woman every inch as noble as nobility dares be. Endowed with physical beauty, her manners and morals are so magnetic that one feels drawn to her in spite of oneself. She shows everybody around her a mother’s surpassing love and care.
There two charming children, Amaka and Eloka will annoy other children of the rich by their simplicity, no airs attached.
If we can tremble before the work of nature, why should we not tremble before a man that exemplifies virtue as far as Nigerian politics is concerned? Though some of his brothers out of envy resent him, the awards he has been receiving from across the length and breadth of the world is a clear statement that he represents the best among men. The Knighthood coming from the summit of Christendom is yet another statement that Obi has become a star among which the scintillating brilliance of other stars pale into insignificance.
Obienyem reports from Abuja.
[ Masterweb Reports: Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Masterweb Special Correspondent reports ] - “Fading away like the stars of the morning, loosing their light in the glorious sun-thus would we pass from the earth and its toiling, only remembered by what we have done”. Horatius Bonar (1808 – 1889). When Horatius wrote this song, he deeply thought about death, the end and leveler of all men. There was a hero whom we remember today for the things he did. Three years has gone byesincethe demise of a great man who lived from November 4, 1933 to November 26, 2011. One of the greatest lgbo, and Nigerian ever to grace the planet earth. A man whose mere mention of his name could provoke lightning and thunder in the sky and could make the rainbow to appear in the cloud. He was the lion of the tribe of Igbo. A hero you would dare to enter into the lion´s den or walk into the valley of the shadow of death when you remember he was with you. The late Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi , Ezedioramma, and Eze Igbo Gburugburu was a hero of his people. In life he was the great Iroko tree. Even in death he towered above all. After death his greatness did not diminish as his name still rings bell.
Ojukwu was born with a silver spoon but he shunned to be dressed with the prince’s apparel and put on long robes and dwell in the palace of the king, but choose to identify with the poor and down trodden. His love and commitment for Ndigbo may never be equaled by any other. From 1966 -1969, Ojukwu,s love for Ndigbo compelled him to put his own life on the line to stop a genocide and annihilation of his own people, but endured a gruesome civil war when he would have lived in the affluence of his father’s wealth. Rather he stripped himself all these and sacrificed all to defend his own people. “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends”. (John 15: 13).
A fast moving intercity train full of passengers was on its way from one city to another. Not knowing the danger on the way. The bridge to its destination has collapsed. A man who saw the danger ahead of the train stood on the way before the hazardous point shouting and signaling the train to stop, but the train would not stop. The man was taken to be mad instead. Realizing the train wouldn’t heed to his warnings as it approached nearer, he threw himself on the railway and was crushed by the train. His action suddenly caused the train to stop. And the passengers came down wondering why the man should do that. But just few meters away from the scene, they sighted the collapsed bridge. They now realized they were headed to destruction if not for that man’s action. Those who realized that the man sacrificed his life to save them wept for their hero. They gathered his remains, each holding a piece saying, this is the remains of he who died for me. Ojukwu was to Ndigbo like the man in this story.
Heroes out of love die for the cause they believe in. And to say that Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, a man who studied history and made history was an Igbo hero who believed in the cause of Ndigbo and stood in the gap for his people until death is like stating the obvious. Permit me to use this medium to pay tribute to my hero, a man I subscribe to his ideals, vision, and philosophy. Though he is gone yet he lives in me. The late Eze Igbo Gburugburu was like a mustard seed that grew to be a giant tree whose large branches offered shelter and became a sanctuary for birds of the air. Many of today’s Igbo now people and politicians rode to greatness through his wings. But many have turned the other way and have shunned the stepping point from where they ascended, yet have not kept their promise and loyalty to uphold the legacy of the hero.
As the third memorial anniversary of one of the greatest Igbo hero that ever lived is recently been observed by his widow, family, and those who recognize and acknowledge what he stood for, I would like to recall some excerpts from his speech in commemoration of his 64th birthday at the main bowel of the prestigious National theater Iganmu Lagos. To those who may have ascended to greatness through him but now seem to dash the board and to the generality of Ndigbo here his voice saying;
“Because of you, I fought a three year bitter war
Because of you, I impoverished myself to buy you protection
Because of you, I stood while others crouched
Because of you, I endured thirteen years of bitter exile
Ndigbo I have paid my dues”.
Indeed Ojukwu paid his dues for Ndigbo, and you owe him no better honour than to immortalize him by upholding his legacy. There was a hero.
*Photo Caption: Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Late Chief (General - rtd.) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right ).
[ Masterweb Reports: Nosa Osazuwa reports ] - On Wednesday 10th December 2014, the presiding magistrate of the coroner court investigating the cause of death of persons in the Synagogue building collapse, Oyetade Komolafe, submitted that the court lacked the powers to hear the application filed by The Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), through its lawyer, Olalekan Ojo, praying the court to stay proceedings pending the determination of the same application by the high court.
Magistrate Komolafe, citing various examples, observed that the coroner’s court was purely a fact-finding one that was not intended to witch-hunt any group or individual. He thereby dismissed the application and ruled that proceedings would continue on Friday, December 12, 2014: “I have said it several times that this court is purely on a fact-finding mission and is not intended to prosecute anybody or group. We are all here to find out the real cause(s) of the death of persons in the building collapse. I wonder why it being painted to look as if we are trying to prosecute anybody. The coroner’s court id different from the regular court and would not entertain any application that is not within its powers to do so. For this reason, the application brought by the counsel to The SCOAN is hereby dismissed. We will reconvene on Friday, December 12, 2014 to continue proceedings”.
Meanwhile prominent Nigerians have continued to storm the court premises in solidarity with The SCOAN and its Founder, Prophet T.B. Joshua. At least three traditional rulers were sighted within the court room. They included: BaaleOnipetesi, HRH. Chief Olusegun Akinola, BaaleAnifowose, HRH. Chief KayodeOkeyemi II and the Ologudu of Oguduland, HRM. Oba WaidiAyinlaFashola.
Many other groups were seen carrying placards and calling on the Federal Government as well as the Lagos State Government to leave Prophet T.B. Joshua alone and dig for the real cause of the building collapse. Prominent among these groups was the Osun State Youth Forum and a coalition of other youths from the entire federation.
Nosa Osazuwa ( Email: email@example.com ) was present during the court proceedings.
*Photo Caption - Prophet T. B. Joshua
[ Masterweb Reports: Olusola Daniel reports ] - Over the past few days, I have read and listened to various discussions about the state of the Nigerian economy, and it is disheartening to see some supposed opinion leaders feeding the public with half-truths or blatant lies all in a bid to achieve their sinister objectives. One would expect an issue as crucial as this to be taken with all seriousness rather than being used as an opportunity to score political points while launching ill-advised missiles at well-meaning public servants.
Like King Solomon said in the Holy Writ, sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it, but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence. This aptly describes what we are experiencing in Nigeria today. Like a sentinel watching over the economic affairs of our nation, the finance minister has repeatedly warned of an impending shock. This apostle of prudence, who set up the Excess Crude Account to build up savings for the nation, has continued to caution the political class against profligacy while advocating for healthy savings.
These moves by the finance minister, in addition to her consistent calls for cutting down recurrent expenditure and setting lower budget benchmark in light of global economic realities, have met with stiff resistance from our lawmakers at the national assembly and our all-powerful state governors. Is it not therefore surprising that some folks would say she didn’t sound the alarm early enough when she has been drawing attention to these realities for more than three years now? Shouldn’t we rather question the governors and legislators who have depleted our reserves by constantly laying heavy demands on our oil earnings to fund their profligacy?
While commenting on the issue in April 2012, the minister noted that fiscal federalism has made it difficult for the country to save. “It is difficult getting governors to agree to $1bn savings for the SWF. We had the state governors saying they can only allow $1bn. Now they say it is illegal and the country is not able to save. In the excess crude account today we have left only about $3.6bn. Should the oil price drop today we have no cushion because $3.6bn for this economy is not enough to take us to any length of time,” she said.
Rather than criticising madam Okonjo-Iweala for everything that goes wrong, we should commend her for working hard to stabilise the economy. She has continued to defend the interests of the average Nigerian in spite of stiff opposition from those who would rather squander our commonwealth on self-aggrandisement. Even in this difficult period, she has advanced measures to protect the poor through the retention of critical infrastructure projects and building of social safety nets. Another commendable move is the planned luxury tax on private jets, champagne and other luxury goods such that the rich would also bear the brunt of the economic downturn.
When one objectively examines the measures that the minister has announced for managing the impact of declining oil prices, one cannot but appreciate her diligent efforts to help the nation cushion the shock. Having helped other countries such as Malaysia which have gone through similar challenges, she has brought her experience to bear to ensure that Nigeria has a robust strategy to confront the situation. As a technocrat, the minister of finance has not ceased to condemn profligacy and wasteful spending by politicians. We ought to team up with her in this fight rather than lending unwitting support to political figures who want to destroy confidence in the economy to help pave way for their selfish ambitions especially as we approach 2015 elections.
Olusola Daniel ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ), political observer and advocate for community development reports from Lagos, Nigeria.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports ] – The inhuman treatment meted by the Spanish security and health authorities to African immigrants under the guise of Ebola scare is worsening every day. Naturally the Spanish do not hide their dislike and discriminatory attitude towards black immigrants. With the outbreak of the Ebola, a deadly virus which Sawyer and company, an American sowed the seed in African soil, Spain has exhibited a high rate of non - chalant attitude and harsh treatment to black immigrants that show any sign of ill health in their territory. Their approach has been to abandon them to die or stew in their own ruins. The most recent incident is the case of 23 black African immigrants who got to the Canary Island of Gran Canarias on their rickety boat on....... Read More
*Photo Caption - Black immigrants being transported in a garbage truck by Spanish authority.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - ''When I say that the Presidency must come to the north next year I am referring to the Hausa-Fulani core north and not any northern Christian or Muslim minority tribe. The Christians in the north such as the Berom, the Tiv, the Kataf, the Jaba, the Zuru, the Sayyawa, the Bachama, the Jukun, the Idoma, the Burra, the Kilba, the Mbula, and all the others are nothing and the Muslim minorities in the north, including the Kanuri, the Nupe, the Igbira, the Babur, the Shuwa Arabs, the Marghur, the Bade, the Bura, the Igalla, the Zerma, the Bariba, the Gbari and all the others know that when we are talking about leadership in the north and in Nigeria, Allah has given it to us, the Hausa-Fulani.
They can grumble, moan and groan as much as they want but each time they go into their bedrooms to meet their wives and each time they get on their prayer mats to begin their prayers, it is we the Fulani that they think of, that they fear, that they bow to and that they pray for. Some of them are even ready to give us their wives and daughters for one nights sport and pleasure. They owe us everything. This is because we gave them Islam through the great Jihad waged by Sheik Uthman Dan Fodio. We also captured Ilorin, killed their local King and installed our Fulani Emir. We took that ancient town away from the barbarian Yoruba and their filthy pagan gods. We liberated all these places and all these people by imposing Islam on them by force.
It was either the Koran or the sword and most of them chose the Koran. In return for the good works of our forefathers Allah, through the British, gave us Nigeria to rule and to do with as we please.
Since 1960 we have been doing that and we intend to continue. The Igbo tried to stop us in 1966 and between 1967 and 1969 they paid a terrible price. They were brought to heel and since then they have been broken.
No Goodluck or anyone else will stop us from taking back our power next year. We will kill, maim, destroy and turn this country into Africa's biggest war zone and refugee camp if they try it. Many say we are behind Boko Haram. My answer is what do you expect? We do not have economic power or intellectual power. All we have is political power and they want to take even that from us. We must fight and we will fight back in order to keep it. They have brought in the infidels from America and the pigs from Israel to help them but they will fail. The war has just begun, the Mujahedeen are more than ready and by Allah we shall win.
If they don't want an ISIS in Nigeria then they must give us back the Presidency and our political power. Their soldiers are killing our warriors and our people every day but mark this: even if it takes one hundred years we will have our revenge. Every Fulani man that they kill is a debt that will be repaid even if it takes 100 years. The Fulani have very long memories''-
My attention was recently drawn to the above tirade written by no other than the former national security adviser Ismaila Gwarzo and published in the NVS http://nigeriavillagesquare.com/forum/articles-comments/85402-nigeria-allah-s-gift-fulani.html .
The arrogant, condescending and utter nonsense written by no less a person than General Sanni Abacha’s former NSA is neither new nor surprising, it is just another confirmation that Nigeria’s core North is suffering from a severe mental disorder better described as the born to rule disease. From Ahmadu Bello, Balewa and other first republic political leaders from the North, such mindset and rhetoric has always been their disposition towards Nigeria. Ismaila Gwarzo and others like Junaid Muhammed, Ango Abdullahi, Murtala Nyako, Adamu Ciroma amongst others who have made careers out of abusing and threatening other Nigerians are all following Ahmadu Bello’s legacy of bigotry. Since they are so obsessed with an unbridled quest for power, one wonders why they haven’t opted to secede and create Arewa republic which remains the best and only option for them to actualise their born to rule caliphate uninterrupted? Perhaps that option has not come into consideration because it will deny them crude oil money to loot and other ethnic nationalities to oppress.
Gwarzo boasts of violence which also is not new. From 1945, 1953, 1966 to date Northern leaders like Gwarzo have thrived in sponsoring violence against other Nigerians. This is what has evolved into the Frankenstein in Boko Haram. The idea that the North or Hausa-Fulani are born to rule is beginning to be the product of mental health disorders that is bound to lead to the eventual decimation of the core north. Not even the British colonial masters who had overwhelming military powers ever considered themselves born to rule. Indeed they eventually handed power to Nigerians. It leaves one to wonder how the Hausa-Fulani hopes to accomplish what the British could not. In terms of demographics a combination of the Hausa and minority Fulani makes up just 29% of the population while the Yoruba and Igbo roughly make-up 40% of the population according to the CIA world fact book. Of Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups two are From the South. Indeed the Ijaw which is considered the 4th largest with 10% of the population according to CIA world fact book is also from the South.
The Hausa plus Fulani does not make-up a majority of Nigeria’s population, as they remain roughly within the same population threshold as each of the other two largest ethnic groups. So one wonders how the Hausa-Fulani who as the article by Gwarzo clearly demonstrates has no regards for other Northern minorities and Christians hopes to further and sustain their born to rule intentions? Most importantly; even if the Hausa-Fulani were to constitute an absolute majority of Nigeria’s population is arrogating to themselves the born to rule arrogance the way to build a nation? Is it not common sense to realise that a diverse and heterogeneous multinational state like Nigeria needs nation building/equality and not a born to rule mindset by any group? In Ghana the Akan ethnic group make-up 47% of the population but they have never gone around parading themselves as a born to rule group. Various ethnic groups in Ghana have freely produced the president without any let or hindrance.
In India the Hindu’s make-up 80.5% of the population constituting an absolute majority but they have not constituted themselves a born to rule group. The immediate past president of India Manmoham Singh is a Sikh which constitutes only 1.9% of the Indian population. Other countries even where some ethnic or religious groups form an absolute majority have been able to build their nations and create harmony by de-emphasising tribe/religion and enthroning equality, but in Nigeria the Hausa and non-native Fulani that do not constitute a majority have continued to harass and abuse the nation with their born to rule nonsense. This is the same Hausa-Fulani that vigorously campaigned against a sovereign national conference on the basis that they want to preserve Nigeria’s unity. I wonder how constituting themselves a born to rule group and constantly harassing, threatening, abusing and even killing other Nigerians can be a reasonable method to preserve Nigeria’s unity?
The Hausa-Fulani and core North constitute Nigeria’s greatest faultlines.They have ruled Nigeria unmeritoriously and destructively for more than 40 years since independence but just for once that a president from the Niger-Delta whose resources they depend on to survive has accidentally come to power they have practically taken up arms to remove him from power. Their opposition to Goodluck Jonathan is based not on policies or bad governance but wholly on ethnicity/religion. How do they intend to sustain a multi-ethnic nation with such obvious discriminating behaviour? The core North has simply made it impossible for Nigeria to become a true nation because of their warped born to rule mindset and penchant for enthroning apartheid, marginalisation, injustice and oppression. It shouldn’t be lost on anyone that it was the decade’s long abuse of power by the North that led to the clamour for and introduction of zoning. Other multi-ethnic countries don’t practice zoning. If the Hausa –Fulani had allowed a level playing field on the basis of justice and equality Nigeria would have had no need for zoning. Politically, economically and socially Nigeria is paying the price for the corrupt, discriminating and malevolent leadership of erstwhile Northern leaders who created the bankrupt system we are still grappling with.
In 2000 twelve states in the North introduced Sharia laws in a vulgar violation of the secular constitution. Riots emanating from this abject abuse of the Nigerian constitution led to the deaths by official estimates of more than 20,000 people. These constitute amongst others the systematic abuse that the core north has repeatedly subjected the nation. There have been two major attempts to break-up Nigeria the first by Odigmegwu Ojukwu the second by Gideon Orkar and both because of the excesses of the core north. The core North in the past and present thus continues to constitute the fault lines and conditions that are leading to agitations and attempts to break-up the nation. Indeed, underlying the calls for a sovereign national conference is the desire by the advocates to provide a peaceful opportunity to separate from the core north or at least change the oppressive domineering system created by them.
Militant and separatist groups such as MEND, MASSOB, OPC and others exist because of injustices engendered by Northern leaders. If the core North does not cure themselves of their born to rule disease and begin to invest in nation building; centrifugal and centripetal forces will continue to be galvanised in due course to stage a third major attempt to break-up Nigeria. No people can perpetually opt to be part of a nation where they are reduced to inequality and slavery by an arrogant, insulting group that refuses to subscribe to the basic and universal tenets of justice and equality for all within the nation. The nation is now so fragile; weakened by decades of injustice, misrule, discrimination and ethno-religious divisions that no soothsayer is needed to determine that any major attempt to break the nation will succeed this time and like past incidents it will be because of the North.
The Gwarzo’s of this world by their bigotry and nonsensical rhetoric are only making it easier for those intent on sending Nigeria to the grave. If he and his co, travellers are wise they should begin to retrace their steps from the treacherous paths they tread before it’s too late.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports: Valentine Obienyem reports ] - Recently, some people circulated malicious news insinuating and even out rightly saying that Mr. Peter Obi did not clear arrears of pension and gratuities before he left as he claimed.
Since I was sure that cheques were issues and that as soon as the new Governor took over, he stopped all cheques issues by Obi, I concluded that if there were retirees that were not paid, that the possibility was that their cheques were among those stopped.
Not satisfied, I called the Union of Pensioners, Anambra State chapter, and other relevant authorities , my findings is that Obi cleared all the arrears of pensions owned retirees in Anambra from 1999 till he left, for this he spent over N35 Billion Naira.
My investigations reveled that Anambra pensioners are only owed from July, 2014 (about 4 months now).
I am not quarrelling with anybody nor am I trying to paint anybody black, it is not in my character. This is therefore, as the title suggests, to set the records clear.
Valentine Obienyem reports.
*Photo Caption - Mr. Peter Obi
[ Masterweb Reports ] – The tenure of Ambassador Chukwudi Newington Okafor, the Nigerian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand has not only heralded several improvements amongst Nigerians living in Thailand but has also moved Nigerians in Thailand in an upward progression in terms of discipline, co-operation and the overall push towards rebranding and repositioning Nigeria’s image in Thailand. Prior to the arrival of Ambassador Chukwudi many Nigerians in Thailand claimed that the Nigerian embassy in Bangkok and her activities in actuality remained alien and unresponsive to the needs and demands of its diplomatic responsibilities towards Nigerian nationals living in Thailand. Many Nigerians had reported some years back that the mission, the vision, and the diplomatic actions of the Nigerian embassy in Bangkok lacked the required diplomatic tenets. By then, going to the embassy as some claimed used to be frightening for many Nigerians, in addition to the fact that the long wait and rude behavior of some of the officials showed that it was....... Read More
*Photo Caption - Map of Thailand
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji, says his administration is willing to partner University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in any field of
The Governor stated this at the Government House, Umuahia, when he met with the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba and other principal officers of the school who paid him a courtesy visit. According to him, Abia State government is ready to open up discussions with the school towards a lasting partnership.
He thanked the Vice Chancellor for being the first from the UNN to visit him and expressed the hope that the visit will open windows of opportunity between the school and Abia State government.
Governor Orji noted that the university has done a lot in producing people of substance who occupy various positions in society today. He stated that the essence of governance is to impact on the people and disclosed that his government has done a lot in the area of health and academics.
The Governor revealed that Abia has excelled in academics and maintained the second position in WAEC in the past two consecutive years. Earlier in his speech, Prof. Ozumba said their visit was to build a partnership with Abia State government and appreciated the Governor for his laudable programmes in the state.
He said he appreciates the import of the position of Governor Orji as the chairman of the South East Governors' Forum and implored him to lend a helping hand to the university.
*Photo Caption -Governor Chief Theodore Orji