[ Masterweb Reports: Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha reports ] - There comes a time in the life and existence of every individual, organization, and nation to take a stock to reflect and re-evaluate its steps, achievements, goals and objectives as an appraisal to ascertain their relevance in the society they belong. For Ohaneze Ndigbo, and Ndigbo in general with the birth of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) I proclaim;
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder”…. Isaiah 9 : 6. Yes, for the first time in the history of Ohaneze Ndigbo, on April 5,2014, Ohaneze mid-wifed the birth of the Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), through a well-organized democratic process which elected Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro and other members of his executive as the new leader of Ohaneze youth in Nigeria and worldwide. By virtue of that election lies on him and his executive the onus of the power to mobilize Igbo youths worldwide.
Considering the enormous task involved, the (OYC) has taken a wise decision to appoint Chief Charles Okereke, a worthy Igbo son, media practitioner and publisher as the Ohaneze Youth Council Ambassador at large / diaspora and media consultant to champion the cause of mobilizing Igbo youths in diaspora to come together as one as a mighty force. The Ambassador has commenced work immediately to lay the foundation that will set up the structure to mobilize Igbo youths by appointing leaders in various countries of the globe to bring Igbo youths into the fold of Ohaneze.
In Spain Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, an Igbo Zealot, Journalist, Prolific Writer and Author was appointed to organize Igbo youths in the kingdom of Spain and bring them into the fold of this large family. Chief Okorie Mbah, a deserving well decorated Igbo son, and a Shipping Merchant based in Mali was appointed as Ohaneze Youth West Africa Co-odinator. And Pastor George Otubo Nwafor, a worthy Igbo son and a servant of God was appointed as Ohaneze Youth Burkina Faso Co-ordinator. Subsequently, appointment for leaders of chapters of other countries worldwide continues.
As mentioned earlier,” unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder”. Today, the birth of OYC is a new dawn and a new trend to Ohaneze and Ndigbo and before I proceed to highlight more on the relevance of this new trend, it is important for us to reflect on the history and the road Ohaneze has traveled to this point. Because if we know our history we would know where we are coming from and where we are going to, and will not be like “Buffalo soldiers”, because Ibo says, “akoruo, egeruo”.
That will help us to examine if the major objectives of the founding fathers have been achieved, and how we as members of this large family in this dispensation can hold forth not to allow the dreams and good intentions of the founding fathers fizzle out or die in our own hands. Let us take our mind back in retrospect to recollect a brief history of Ohaneze as to know why,how, what, where and when it started.
The history of Ohaneze Ndigbo according to some reliable sources dates back to the early 1930s when some Igbos in Lagos brought together divisional organizations, clans, and several town unions and formed the Lagos Igbo union in order to organize a reception for Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the second Igbo medical doctor on his return after his studies abroad in 1937. The union gained momentum with the return and backing of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. Dennis Osadebe. It later became a voice for the Igbo, and its objectives were mainly for the welfare and interest of the Igbo in Lagos. In 1943, the organization changed its name to Igbo federal union. This union brought the Igbo together and instilled in them the consciousness of being Igbo and to always think of the development and progress of home land while contributing to the good of their host communities. As a union, it waxed stronger and spread to various parts of the country.
In 1948, it gave rise to Igbo state union which was inaugurated in PortHarcout. The union flourished until 1966 when all state unions, tribal and socio-cultural organizations were banned by the military regime of Major General Aguiyi Ironsi. There was what seemed like a void after the ban, as there was no other voice as powerful as the Igbo state union to speak for the Igbo. The void ensued after the gruesome experience of Ndigbo in the Nigeria/Biafra war, an experience that remains a watershed in the history of Ndigbo in Nigeria, as there was no family in Igbo land that did not count a head loss. The horrific and heartbreaking experience had a psychological trauma on the Igbo. The Igbo emerged from the war, devastated, poor, and helpless but not spiritually broken and defeated. Their spirit of self-help and industry still survived. And after the war, there was a vacuum and a need to have a voice and an organization that would be a rallying point for the Igbo.
In 1976, our elders, royal fathers, jurists and eminent personalities Ndigbo could boast of, thought it wise to resurrect the pan Igbo spirit and form an organization in line with the objectives of the Igbo state union. Through the efforts of these founding fathers like, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Dr. Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dennis Osadebe, Chief Jerome Ugorji, Dr. Pius Okigbo, His Royal Majesty Eze Cletus Ilomuanya to mention but a few, gathered and proclaimed the need to unify Igbos under a common umbrella organization. By that act, Ohaneze Ndigbo which is a successor to the Igbo state union was born and became the post war pan Igbo socio-cultural organization and the single most powerful, respected, and recognized body for the Igbo in Nigeria and outside. It has always been the reference point and a clearing house for matters affecting the interest of the Igbos within Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
A new dawn is here today for Ndigbo by virtue of the birth of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) on her status as the youth wing, it will work in partnership with the parent body for the interest of Ndigbo as to achieve and accomplish the objectives and aims of the founding fathers. While Ohaneze remains the supreme body, heart and soul of Ndigbo, the OYC is meant to be the active force. And its decisions and activities which are democratically oriented will be virtually binding. While OYC is not a political party but a socio-cultural organization, and is concerned with the socio-economic problems that affect Ndigbo, it will not turn blind eyes to political issues such as marginalization, inequity and injustice as they affect the young generation of Ndigbo.
They will strongly add their voice in the Nigerian polity to emphasize that Nigeria belongs to all and should be free and fair to all citizens. And that Ndigbo, considering their adventurous spirit, courage, self-confidence, determination and liberty will continue to work with all for the progress of Nigeria, in line with the visions of the founding fathers which were structured to take care and protect the interest of Ndigbo. Therefore, I use this medium to call on all Igbo youths in Nigeria, Spain, and all over the world to support and become a member of this great family by joining hands to make Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) great and relevant. God bless Ndigbo, God bless Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), and God bless Nigeria.
Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Ohanaeze Youth-Spain Chairman and Media Coordinator reports.
*Photo Caption - Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) logo
( Masterweb Reports ) - (Security & Safety, Onitsha Nigeria, 18th of June, 2014)-The attention of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety has been drawn to the reported arrest in the blue hours (2.am) of Sunday, 15th of June 2014 of 486 Nigerians at Abia and Imo portions of the Port Harcourt-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, Southeast Nigeria. According to media, military and government reports, the 486 Nigerians in the age categories of between 16 and 24 years were being conveyed in 35 buses with undisclosed identities when the military road guards intercepted them and later impounded 33 out of the 35 buses carrying about 486 Nigerians of northern origins. The remaining two buses reportedly escaped. The sources labeled them “Boko Haram suspects” and transferred them to the nearby 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army where they were detained and later paraded before the media and further tagged “ Boko Haram suspects”. In another Southeast Nigerian State of Imo, two unexploded bombs were said to have been uncovered at the Living Ministry-Winners Chapel. The bombs were said to have been planted by unknown people.
For us at Intersociety, the labeling of the arrestees as “Boko Haram suspects” without establishing preliminary facts about them is too hasty. This is likened to 76 indigent Igbo-Nigerians rounded up and deported in July 2013 to Onitsha Upper Iweka by the Government of Lagos State, which labeled them “mentally challenged/destitute”. The 76 Igbo-Nigerians under reference were crammed in buses provided and escorted by the Government of Lagos State and dumped in Onitsha at about 3.am (hours of the blue law). Investigations later revealed that they were traders, hawkers and others begging for alms in the streets of Lagos or “lands created from lagoons” originally by Benin warriors as war camps (Eko) and later by Portuguese settlers for urban dwellers.
Every civil or criminal investigation is usually composed of preliminary and tertiary elements. Conclusions drawn outside the two are usually speculative, unverifiable and unscientific and any labeling and actual punishment originating therein amounts to jungle justice or trial by ordeal. The preliminary findings that ought to accompany the official public pronouncements on the arrestees under reference should have included the names of the arrestees, their particular northern States and LGAs of origin or residency, their religions and marital statuses. Others are their venues of convergence and dispersal, the identities of buses conveying them as well as those of the drivers of the buses and those who hired or arranged for the buses. It is only when the arrestees have failed to furnish those carrying out these preliminary findings on them that it can validly and safely be concluded that the arrestees have malicious intents. Unfortunately, those who paraded the arrestees and tagged them “Boko Haram suspects” did not publicly give out these basic facts about them. That they were being conveyed in the hours of the blue law is not a valid excuse to tag them “Boko Haram suspects” especially if they are IDPs escaping insurgency zones.
Until recently, not many Nigerians are aware that most of the killing sprees and abductions embarked upon by the Boko Haram murderous squads in northern Nigeria are targeted and directed at communities with large Christian populations. It took the courage of a Christian Pentecostal Church leadership to publicly reveal that out of 180 of the 276 Chibok girls abducted by the violent Islamists on 14th April, 2014, 165 are Christians and only 15 are Muslims. The governing authorities in the insurgency areas including the authorities of the Nigerian security forces have for long hidden and refused to disclose the ethnic and religious identities of those abducted or felled by the violent Islamists’ bullets or bombs.
In view of the fact that there have been a steady mass movement from northern parts to southern parts owing to ceaseless killings, maiming and property destructions under reference, caution must be applied to avoid infringing on the fundamental rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from insurgency zones so as to safeguard their right to life and other constitutionally guaranteed liberties. We are aware that Christian northerners and other non northern Christians are fleeing their residences for safety. A number of them have re-settled in many Southeast cities including Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Nsukka and Owerri. We are also in the know that a number of innocent young Muslims from the insurgency areas have relocated to southern cities and rural areas. It is to our knowledge as well that selected leaders of Christian communities and socio-political community leaders have been making efforts to facilitate relocation and possible evacuation of residents of minority Christian communities particularly young male population to areas considered safer so as to save them from Boko Haram’s well coordinated ethno-religious cleansing and genocide targeted and directed at northern Christian communities and residents. In the last Gwoza Christian community massacre of June 2nd, 2014, for instance, all the male Christian citizens caught by the violent Islamist sect were nearly mass murdered.
These explain why we hold a strong view that it is totally hasty, speculative and fallacious for the governing and security authorities to label the 486 citizens under reference as “Boko Haram suspects”. Besides, in modern military and warfare science, it is a total blunder for Boko Haram bombers and fighters to be conveyed in such manner, timing notwithstanding. In asymmetric war technology, which the violent Islamist sect has adopted against Nigerians and the State of Nigeria, it is toyish to apply such method. But for the fact that rooms are still given for war blunders, the impoundment of the 33 buses and arrest of the 486 citizens is not out of place. What is out of place is the hasty manner in which they were so maliciously labeled, which can earn them official mass murder (torture, enforced disappearance and extra judicial killing) or stigmatization in the hands of the host civil populace.
Our firm position is that they should be diligently investigated and if they are found to be those fleeing insurgency areas or refugees or IDPs, they should be apologized to and publicly quartered pending when they harmlessly integrate with the host civil populace. Profile of each of them should be built and kept by the government and relevant authorities of the Nigerian security forces for security reasons. We call upon leaders of Christian churches or communities, who may have been responsible for relocation of endangered Nigerian citizens from insurgency areas to safe areas to come out and speak concerning the subject matter under reference. If such an arrangement is made by moderate Muslim communities, we also call upon them to speak publicly as well. If the arrestees make it difficult to be investigated by refusing to volunteer useful information about themselves and circumstances of their blue law hour conveyance, then there can be reasonable grounds to imply that they are security risk, and as such, they should be sent back and be monitored round the clock.
They can only be tagged “Boko Haram suspects” if there are pieces of credible evidence linking them with the activities of the violent Islamist sect, upon which they can be charged to court of competent jurisdiction within times allowed by law. A recent statement by the Nigerian military sources to the effect that one of the arrestees “has been found to be one of those wanted for terrorism or linked with Boko Haram terror” may still be hasty and questionable and require further independent confirmation. Even if the statement is confirmed to be true, it is still an isolated case, which cannot be a valid premise to mass-label all the arrestees as “Boko Haram suspects”.
We also wish to caution politicians particularly the top elected public office holders representing the Southeast zone at State and federal levels not to politicize the insecurity in the Southeast particularly by compounding the fears and apprehensions created by Boko Haram terror and threats. We understand that the 2015 general polls are around the corner and politicians of Nigeria extraction have world record of expertise in the politics of the graveyard. They are also artistic in human misery merchandise. Politicization of insecurity by these malicious public office holders is usually accompanied by steady bloated increases in security votes and creation of artificial insecurity all for selfish political goals or advantages. The politically oiled abductions and armed robberies in Abia and Anambra States in the immediate past are a clear case in point.
However, we wish to warn those radical Islamists and leftist northern politicians oiling the Boko Haram terror to steer clear of the Southeast zone and other parts of the south. If the rumor making the rounds that Boko Haram reins of terror will soon visit the Southeast geopolitical zone and other southern parts, holds water, then the Rwandan type of genocide is imminent in Nigeria. The country will be sunk and consumed in such a manner that at the end, there will be nothing left to be Islamized, not to talk of conversion of the Aso Rock into Boko Haram Sultanate. If a country of approximately seven million people could lose one million to genocide in hundred days, it will be thunderous and deafening to mention how many million lives that will be lost if Nigeria with approximated population of 170 million is plunged into a genocidal war of Rwandan category. Such genocidal war defies formal and modern warfare approaches as well as humanitarian control and truce until there are few people left to be killed. The governing authorities in Nigeria must quarantine and trounce Boko Haram menace and threats otherwise they, likewise Boko Haram commanders and sponsors will become casualties and refugees overnight if Nigerians are provoked under genocidal circumstances.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge-Onitsha 430003
Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria
+2348100755939 (text 24/7, call 9.30am-4.pm, Mon.-Friday office hours)
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports ] - How do we as Nigerians understand the Boko Haram and what must be done to undermine its power? We have been experiencing a lot of killings and attacks -- not just on Christians but Muslims and other groups since 2004. The world has now awakened to its influence following the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. Discussion with Dr Kusum Gopal in........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Abducted Chibok School Girls in a video released by Boko Haram.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - This part concludes the referenced letter to Your Excellency by the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety. The parts one, two and three were dated 28th and 31st May and 6th June 2014. The subject matter remains a call on Your Excellency for urgent invocation and application of international criminal justice sanctions against those involved in atrocity crimes in both war and peace times in Nigeria since July 2002 in accordance with the international criminal justice, human rights and humanitarian norms. Article 11 of the Rome Statute of the........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - President Goodluck Jonathan
[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] - The new Emir of Kano, SANUSI Lamido Sanusi had always displayed exceptional frankness in the defense of his people in contrast to Igbo leaders who show extreme timidity when it comes to defending Igbo interests. Below is a write up I penned in April 2012, widely published and drawing flaks from most of the personalities mentioned, including Sanusi’s news hounds. The intention of refreshing it is not to malign any Igbo personality, some of whom have displayed rare courage in recent times, rather to draw an analysis between the apologetic stance of Igbo public servants and Sanusi’s bold defense of his people. Igbos made the most noise about national conference and yet the outcome so far is a great disaster for us all . I never wrote anything about the conference because I knew that a fundamental flaw existed in the composition of Igbo delegates and the breeze have exposed the fowl buttocks.
Truly Igbos needs people like Sanusi to rally the appropriate local and international attention to the systematic genocide against a people and their economic fortune as Sanusi did for the north. By Sanusi’s election the north is putting their house in order. We should do likewise in Igbo land and STOP blaming others for our planlessness. Congratulations Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi- may you continue your reformist agenda into your new position.
Read article below
Sanusi, Ohanaeze and Timidity of Igbo Public Servants
Written by Obinna Akukwe (April 2012)
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Dan Maje of Kano has become the most controversial Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria. This grandson of the deposed Emir of Kano was reported to be among the masterminds of the 1994 Kano riot in which Gideon Akaluka was beheaded and thousands of Igbos slaughtered like fowl on the unsubstantiated allegation that Akaluka desecrated the Koran. He was also suspected to have met with Osama Bin Laden during the period he was in Sudan where he obtained a degree in Sharia and Islamic studies from African International University in 1997.
Sanusi, through the help of close family friend, Dr Umaru Abdul Mutallab, former Chairman of First Bank for close to ten years and father of the Christmas shoe bomber, joined the board of First Bank as an executive director in charge of Risk Management in 2005, and later became the CEO of the bank in 2009.
During Sanusi’s tenure as CEO of First Bank, he exhibited a level of fiscal discipline and helped restructure bad loans for debtors in a manner beneficial to the bank. He reduced incidences of sharp practices within First Bank which pitched him in conflict with MD’S of other Banks who derided his toga of a structural reformer. Sanusi reportedly instituted some level of sanity in the corporate governance of the bank and ensured effective risk management strategy.
Sanusi was recommended for the Governorship of Central Bank when the northern oligarchy convinced late president Yaradua that the South cannot control both the banks and the regulatory body at the same time. Sanusi, being a risk management expert, understood all the manipulations of accounting books to produce a determined favourable financial statement and cash flow statements used to hoodwink shareholders, investors and evade regulatory scrutiny. He equally understood the negative impact of massive unsecured loans towards liquidity management in the banking system. Sanusi took the banking industry by storm, by the time he finished the first stanza of his own transformational agenda, a list of monarchical bank MD’S were sent to their villages while others became perennial customers of the EFCC, Nigeria’s anti graft body.
Sanusi’s introduction of Islamic Banking has brought him in conflict with the majority of Christians and Southerners of Nigeria who are suspicious of his intentions. His sympathy for Boko Haram and his position that poverty was responsible for the bloodletting drew flaks from informed sources who believe that Sanusi is deliberately distorting facts to suit the north. When Sanusi donated the sum of N100 million naira of CBN money to his home state of Kano in the aftermath of the dastardly Kano Boko Haram attacks, he drew a lot of criticism from Christians, Southerners and other well meaning Nigerians who believe that Sanusi should have been fair enough to extend the same largesse to other non muslim states.
Ohaneze Ndigbo criticised Sanusi for the selective donation. According to Ohaneze publicity secretary, Ralph Ndigwe, ‘’We want Sanusi to tell us what he has done for the hundreds of Igbos who were victims of Boko Haram attacks in various parts of the north’’ The criticisms by Ohaneze Ndigbo is reasonably to some extent, but inadequate to redress the constant marginalization of Ndigbo. The fact is that Sanusi dared where his colleagues of Igbo extraction trembled. Sanusi, as CBN helmsman, is loquaciously protecting his people with his influence, position and power. He has succeeded in convincing the Europe and the United States of America with his theory of poverty being responsible for Boko Haram terrorism. He has also succeeded in drawing the attention of the entire world to the fact that Akwa Ibom State gets more federal allocation than all the six states of North East put together. How culpable is Sanusi of bias. Sanusi is guilty of bias while fellow public servants of Igbo extraction are guilty of indifference, petty jealousy and timidity in matters relating to their people.
Andy Uba was presidential aide and the most influential person in Olusegun Obasanjo’s cabinet for close to eight years and yet there is no single project that was cited in Igboland as a result of his influence. The Niger Bridge could not get any federal allocation, Onitsha Seaport and Oba Airport couldn’t get federal attention. Enugu-Onitsha expressway was in a deplorable state of disrepair while some other federal roads were getting attention in other parts of the country especially the north. The only federal presence in Anambra State was the security forces who massacred thousands of people at Onitsha while claiming to be looking for MASSOB members.
Chukwuma Soludo was Governor of Central Bank; he discharged his duties professionally for Nigeria but there is no CBN policy of his that is beneficial to the commerce and cottage industry disposition of his Igbo kinsmen. He probably propagated Igbo cause by changing his name from Charles to Chukwuma.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala served Obasanjo and Nigeria to the best of her professional ability and she was another influential cabinet member yet she did nothing to draw the attention of the federal government to the fact that Delta Igbos is the most marginalized in Nigeria. There is no fiscal policy of hers that was favourable to the Igbo race.
Ojo Maduekwe was influential throughout Obasanjo tenure and yet he was never known to have defended any Igbo cause. Oby Ezekwesili was another influential figure during the Obasanjo era and yet none of her policies was of assistance to the Igbo traders and businessmen. While in office it was a taboo to speak Igbo to these women and most of their male counterparts while their colleagues from the north and south west regale in using their native tongue as second official languages in their respective government offices.
When the presidency decided to replace Ringim as the IG of police, they settled for Azubuko Udah, the DIG Admininistration, the most senior public official of Igbo extraction in Jonathan’s cabinet brought a strong counter recommendation in his reply memo to the president which rubbished both Ivy Okoronkwo, 2nd in Command and Azubuko Udah, 3rd in command. The attempt by Elder statesman Edwin Clarke to convince the president to follow seniority and appoint Udah was shot down by his fellow Igbo and former church member. Anyim Pius Anyim, Ike Ekweremmadu and Emeka Ihedioha are senior Igbo public servants in the Jonathan presidency and they have considerable measure of influence. They should remember the South East now that budgetary cake is being shared because nobody knows the fate of Nigeria tomorrow.
Sanusi is implementing policies to help his people especially the masses through his position on revenue allocation, Boko Haram, appointments and donations. What are Igbo public officers doing? They are playing safe in order not to stir the hornets’ nest. They want to be in the good books of everybody in the North, West and South- South. These Igbo public servants should not hesitate to constantly draw the attention of the entire world to the lack of federal presence in Igbo land. They should also donate funds to victims of injustice and Boko Haram attacks from the South East. President Jonathan is channelling over 40 percent of all federal allocations to the Niger Delta region with about 15% of it going to Bayelsa State. He is also ensuring that ex- militants are given adequate professional training by allocating massive funds to the Amnesty Programme. He has handed over Nigeria’s waterways to former militant Tompolo. His people are enjoying unprecedented government patronage. This suggests that Nigerian public officials constantly use state privileges to enhance the progress of their regions. This is not so for Igbo public servants, they are more Nigerian than Nigerians yet the same establishment views them with suspicion.
Igbo public servants should wake up from civil war hangover. The war is over and the position of Biafrans for which over three million people lost their lives is now being revisited by other ethnic nationalities who sold the Igbos during the war. Therefore, instead of focusing on Sanusi, they should focus on themselves and use their offices to redress the constant marginalization and humiliation of Ndigbo in the scheme of affairs of Nigeria.
Obinna Akukwe ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, new Emir of Kano
[ Masterweb Reports ] - The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety writes Your Excellency concerning the above subject. This letter of ours is coming four months, two weeks and two days after our first letter of the year was addressed to Your Excellency. Your Excellency will recall that the first letter under reference was dated 13th day of January, 2014 (averting chaos & bloodletting imminent in 2015 general polls). Today, being 29th day of May, 2014 marks 15 years of return to civilian rule in Nigeria with over 65,000 citizens estimated to have been unlawfully killed within the periods under........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports: Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha reports ] - “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell toll, it tolls for thee”. Many years ago when John Donne made the above statement perhaps he did envisage little or nothing the situation of Ndigbo in today’s Nigeria. But with the events happening today, as a self-made watch man for my people I stand on the roof top and tower and shout “Ndigbo this bell tolls for you”
In April 2014 Sabon Gari area of Kano metro polis, an area designated mainly for strangers majorly Igbos and Christians as inhabitants were bombed by Boko Haram, killing some residents. One of the victim and survivors was six and half month old baby, Mazi Chigozie Nnorom whose parents hail from Abia state. Fragments of bomb lodged into this tender baby body were removed through surgery. The death of our people in that bomb has diminished us and the bell toll, tolls for Ndigbo.
April 14, 2014 there was the NyaNya (Abuja )motor park bombing. Majority of the buses affected were Eastern bound buses to Ibo land. And majority of the dead were Igbos and Christians home bound for Easter to celebrate with their loved ones but were cut off and sent to the great beyond by the Boko Haram bombs. And my people were diminished and the bell toll for us.
On May 20, 2014, Boko Haram struck in a market in Jos killing about 118. And majority was Igbos, and we got diminished, and the bell toll for us.
In all the deadly bombings the terrorist group have unleashed were targeted at Easterners and Christians especially Ndigbo who has been the majority of the victims both dead and injured. And our Northern brothers turned their eyes the other way round.
“When beggars die no comets are seen; but the heaven itself blaze forth the death of princes”… As the government reacted to go after these dissidents, there was uproar from the North. May 1,2014, Governor Murtala Nyako’s letter to 18 Northern Governors, claiming that President Jonathan being an Easterner was using the excuse of Boko Haram to kill innocent Northerners.
In the mixt of all these, Ndigbo has not spoken with a strong voice, no one seems to rise to the challenge of the day. Even the five Eastern Governors, none has come out to speak for our people like their Northern counterpart. Even our legislators seem to be resting in their oars while their counterparts elsewhere are making hay.
I remember yesterday, there was a man, a man who stood in the gap for years for Ndigbo, a man I subscribe to for his qualities, ideals, principles and vision for Ndigbo even after death, Odumegwu Ojukwu, the lion of the tribe of Ibo. In time like this the late Ezeigbo Gburu Gburu would have roared like a lion and the north would panic. (Ukwu ejiala agu mgbada abia ya ugwo) The tiger has broken his leg and the antelope has come to demand his debt.
Today, Ndigbo who will go for us, who will stand in the gap for us. As it were in 1966, when Ndigbo who did not leave the North earlier were hunted, maimed and slaughtered like pigs. Our pregnant women were pierced with daggers and machetes while having their fetus dismembered. Please Ndigbo learn from the past. This bell tolls for you.
Today the war bells are ringing again, Igbos in the North are being killed almost daily. Therefore I call on Ndigbo, Ohaneze, Governors, Massob and all Igbo unions don’t sit tight and keep quiet when the lives of our brothers and sisters are destroyed. Irrespective of our differences please let’s join together as one and resist the evil wind that is blowing against Ndigbo.
Ndigbo, there is a new dawn, Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) as an active force of Ohaneze Ndigbo wish to reiterate that the days of trade by bata with Ohaneze and Igbo interest are gone. And under the new trend Ohaneze Youth Council Worldwide is set to achieve the purpose our founding fathers laid the foundation. And we will not stand by and watch Ndigbo being suffocated in Nigeria.
I feel the pains of my kinsmen. I stand for the unity of Nigeria as a nation. But as Malcolm X said; “Of what use it’s to seek for the brotherhood of someone who does not want it”.
Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Ohanaeze Youth-Spain Chairman and Media Coordinator reports from Spain.
*Photo Caption - Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Chief Charles O. Okereke, Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC) Ambassador-at-Large/Diaspora Coordinator on behalf of OYC and powers conferred to his office, on June 1, 2014 appointed Chief Okorie Mbah, a deserving well decorated Igbo son based in Mali, Ohanaeze Youth West Africa Coordinator. The appointment letter partly read: “I wish to inform you that after due consideration of your immense contributions and zeal towards the progress of Ndigbo, and with the power vested on me as the Ohanaeze Youth Ambassador-At-Large/Diaspora Coordinator and Media Coordinator, I am pleased to appoint you Ohanaeze Youth West Africa Coordinator. By this appointment, you are delegated to direct and coordinate activities that will promote the interest of Ohanaeze Youth Worldwide in the following West African countries - Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. This will........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Chief Okorie Mbah, Ohanaeze Youth West Africa Coordinator.
[ Masterweb Reports: Olusegun Adeniyi reports ] – When I encountered the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi in Abuja about three weeks ago at his hotel room, he was discussing with an estate agent who was trying to secure for him accommodation to rent at his personal expense. Coming at a period in which many of his colleagues have bastardised section 124 (subsection 5) of the 1999 Constitution which deals with the remunerations (including gratuity) of governors and deputy governors, Obi has proved to be refreshingly different. And on a day such as this, he provides a ready example of the kind of moderation expected of our political office holders if this democracy is to endure.
In a nation where accountability is in short supply, there is perhaps no greater threat today than the impunity with which government officials and their spouses, at practically all levels, appropriate to themselves and cronies scarce public resources. They fly private jets (where they don’t buy one with government funds), stay in the most expensive hotels both within and outside the country, erect big mansions they hardly live in while moving around in convoys of the latest automobiles. To compound the situation, it is not enough that they enjoy such luxury at the expense of the people while in office, they also want to continue with it after office hence they now make laws to confer on themselves such criminal indulgences as private citizens.
However, as I said earlier, Peter Obi is different. He remains probably the most modest person to have been governor under the current dispensation while his lifestyle must have saved Anambra State billions of Naira, especially when compared with the cost of maintaining his colleagues. Even when he was already a wealthy man before assuming office, Obi exhibited uncommon decency and humility while in office. Within the country, he travelled light, just with one aide and always on commercial airlines as opposed to his colleagues who travelled by private jets. And whenever he travelled outside the country, you would only find Obi in the business class compartment.
As we therefore mark the 15th anniversary of our democratic journey under the current dispensation, Obi’s story is particularly instructive against the background that on Monday, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly passed an executive bill which guarantees Governor Godswill Akpabio about N200 million annually for life. At a time he would have left Uyo (and probably while still earning several millions of Naira as a sitting senator in Abuja), Akpabio would be entitled to a pension at a rate equivalent to the salary of the sitting Akwa Ibom governor.
The law which only “upgrades” the earlier version signed by his predecessor, Obong Victor Atta, also provides for a former governor and his spouse a sum not exceeding N5 million per month to employ domestic staff and free medical services at a sum not exceeding N100 million per annum. A befitting accommodation not below a 5-bedroom maisonette in either Abuja or Akwa Ibom is also waiting for a former governor. Of course, the bill does not forget to take care of the deputy governor who is also entitled to some form of luxury after office. Yet as scandalous as the foregoing may seem, Akwa Ibom is only following in the footsteps of several other states where former governors have literally put their people in perpetual servitude.
In several of these states, there is a law binding the government to provide mansions both in choice areas of Abuja and their state capital for a former governor who is also entitled to several vehicles and retinue of aides. Kano perhaps provides a prime illustration of this scandal and I enjoin readers to just google the name Shekarau or Kwankwaso over “pension residence” for former governors to understand the abuse to which a simple constitutional provision could be subjected in pursuit of inordinate private interest.
However, as I said earlier, Obi is different because he managed Anambra State resources as he would his own. What is even more remarkable is that in a milieu when many governors have virtually bankrupted their states with loans that can hardly be accounted for by any meaningful projects, Obi left substantial amount of money for his successor without any debt. Yet we are talking of a state that is number 22 (among 36 states) in revenue sharing.
Due to the fact that I visited Anambra State only once throughout his extended tenure, I do not know much about Obi’s stewardship beyond what I read in newspapers. So this piece is not about his achievements in office for which I am not in a position to comment. It is nonetheless noteworthy that the 2013 West African Examination Council (WAEC) results released a fortnight ago put Anambra State students top on the chart. Yet a time was when young men from the state that has produced some of the brightest and the best of our country would rather go to Lagos to sell spare-parts than go to school. To the extent that the state now leads in WAEC, Peter Obi must have done something right with education even though that is not the real essence of this intervention.
On March 17 this year when he handed over to Mr. Willie Obiano, the former governor said he was leaving behind billions of Naira in the state treasury. At the time, I thought it was a remarkable development and I wanted to take it up on this page. Before I could write on it, however, there were advertorials in the newspapers which suggested that Obi might not have presented an accurate picture of things. That prompted me to investigate the veracity of his claim.
In the hand-over note to Governor Obiano dated March 17 this year, Obi indeed gave a summary of the full financial statement of Anambra State as at the close of business on Friday, March 14 (effectively his last day in office) as follows: Local Investments (N27 billion); Foreign Currency Investment (US $156 Million the Naira equivalent of which was put at N26.5 billion); Certified State/MDAs Balances (N28,165,985,574); Federal Government Approved Refund (N10 billion) and estimated balances, including March salaries, pension and gratuity as well as approved certificates of already executed projects (N5 billion). That put the total net balance at about N86.67 billion.
The question therefore is: Is the claim true? I believe it is. A March 5, 2014 document originating from Fidelity Securities Limited and addressed to the Anambra State Accountant General on the investment mandate from the State Government reveals the details of the Eurobond securities purchased for the state as follows: Access Bank with 25 July, 2017 as maturity date amounts to $7,413,619; four federal government bonds which will mature in 2018, 2021 and 2023 total $20,382,500; two Gabonese government bonds which will mature on 12 December 2024 total $7,008,750; a Ghanaian government bond which matures on 4 October, 2017 amounts to $5,451,319; Guarantee Trust Bank bond which matures on May 19, 2015 gives $4,307,500 and a First Bank of Nigeria bond which matures on August 7, 2020 will yield $5,254,062. According to the document, the state has already received “total coupon amounting to $855,400 to date from investment in Access Bank and Nigerian Sovereigns” while awaiting “instruction on account to credit with the Naira equivalent.”
Aside the $50 million invested on behalf of the State Government on 31 October, 2013 by Diamond Bank, an Access Bank document dated 31 January, 2014 also confirms the investment of the sum of US$49,966,504.08 on behalf of Anambra State in six Eurobonds for a period ranging between one and five years and an average yield of between 6.2 and 7.1 percent.
While there may be a debate as to the actual total sum of the investments left by the Obi administration since I do not have all the details, it is remarkable that we had a governor who was not only thinking of the immediate but also considered it imperative to invest for the future, especially at a time he would no longer be in office. This is important because he could have spent all the money since there is never a shortage of projects to undertake.
In a way, we can link Obi’s frugality to his background as a successful business man prior to going into politics. He merely transposed the virtues of private business practice onto the management of public affairs. This contrasts with the vast majority of governors who prior to coming to office had no track record in the management of any organization. Because Anambra State has the added advantage of having one of the most entrepreneurial people in our country, a population that uses self-help for development can only complement the work of a frugal and result-oriented governor.
The greatest challenge of our country today is poverty accentuated by the gulf between the haves and the have-not, which seems to be getting wider by the day. Yet many of our public officials flaunt their decadent lifestyles and revel in ostentation at public expense. Today in Nigeria, the cost of maintaining public officials is huge, and accounts for most of the resources that ordinarily should go to development. That is what endears Obi to me. In or out of office, he remains a simple man and a shining example of what a public servant should be.
Living fast lives at public expense is not only becoming an unbearable burden in Nigeria, it is such wasteful and patently criminal tendencies that now increase poverty, unemployment and insecurity. Because our people have practically endorsed impunity, majority of these governors and other political office holders in the country are crossing the ethical boundary by the manner in which they expend scarce public resources without any regard for the common good.
That I have singled out Peter Obi for commendation is because he has a sense of responsibility when it comes to public fund and has chosen the road less travelled. On such a day as this, Obi’s modesty and frugality are definitely worth recommending to the current and future generations of Nigerian political office holders. Even at that, I hope governors who are making laws for their own post-office comfort can see the danger of what they are doing and the dire implications for the future of our democracy. The lesson is all too clear: If and when they eventually push the people to the wall, there will be serious consequences, not only for them but also unfortunately for all of us.
Olusegun Adeniyi ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption – Peter Obi, Immediate Ex-governor of Anambra State
[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] - Sweet Dieziani, Sweet Goodluck and Sweet Crude ( Click To Read) was the title of a piece I released for the Democracy Day of 2013 asking this woman to do something unique to fight poverty in Nigeria. I advised Dieziani Madueke to gather some more powerful women within Aso Villa to kick start the process of saving Nigeria from poverty but she ignored the advise until the House of Representatives started pursuing her over allegations of illegal charter of private jet for assignments totaling N10 billion dollars. The scandal of the missing $20 billion dollars is another dent on her image and I also have reliable information that all her hidden transactions in the oil industry including allocation of oil blocks is being complied by some aggrieved persons and they are waiting for the current House probe on the jet scandal to die down before they bring out more weightier allegations and the leadership of the House of Reps is aware of the hatch. I advised late Gen Azazi in like format to accept an impending sack and go home but he continued to gallivant around until they sent him to hades in a helicopter crash. Is it too late for her to listen to the noble advice ?It is not yet late for her to listen to advice given earlier which is represented below and move from acquisitive to redemptive, saving Nigeria from poverty before something worse happens to her reputation.
Dieziani Allison Madueke is Nigeria’s oil minister under the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan. This woman has become the second most controversial woman in the history of Nigeria, second to Mrs Turai Yar’adua, wife of the late president Umaru Yar’adua. Turai Yaradua took over the apparatus of governance while her husband was hospitalized in Saudi Hospital and through the use of a cabal, wrestled the acting capacity of the Goodluck Jonathan until human rights activists, Save Nigeria Group and others helped returned the constitutional mandate back to him.
Dieziani Madueke, a former Director in Shell British Petroleum Corporation was appointed a minister under the presidency of late Yar’adua. She was among the two lists from then Vice President Jonathan whom Yaradua brought in as ministers. Therefore, the relationship between the duos preceded his presidency. During her tenure as Minister of Transportation and was moved later to Ministry of Mines and there was no evidence that she left the ministry better than she met it. When Jonathan ascended the throne of Nigeria where food bill is N1 billion naira annually, she was transferred to the ever lucrative Petroleum Ministry. Yet there is no evidence that she has turned around the rot in the industry. Therefore, it is proper to assume that she has not performed creditably in the discharge of official functions.
Despite the above, this woman who had maintained her attractive figure and superlative dress sense is known to have the ears of Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan. A lot of close watchers in Aso Villa knows that Dieziani has lots of favors with Jonathan and anybody in her good books will attract the favorable disposition of ‘Joe Boy’. All the efforts by concerned Nigerians to effect her resignation had met with brick wall because ‘Joe Boy’ has soft spot for her. While the activists, professionals and bureaucrats are calling her incompetent and corrupt, ‘Joe Boy’ sees her as Sweet Dieziani.
How sweet is Dieziani. That story is for another day, however, even the First Lady has been forced to realize that respect and tolerance for Sweet Dieziani is the beginning of Wisdom. Thus her initial venomous attitude towards the oil minister has died by force. Therefore, it could be conveniently said that this woman controls the sweet crude of Nigeria because a sweeter Goodluck is behind her. All these things are quite irritating to me because governance is to be run with utmost selflessness and patriotism devoid of sentiments but since we are still mortals, sentiments sometimes come in.
However, it seems that this controversial woman gave her children some sort of home training and soberness in the midst of opulence. I remarked that during the fuel subsidy riots, pictures of her son Ugonna with some friends, half naked women and bundles of thousands of dollars, in reveling display at a private jet and a stretch limo, was circulated on the internet.
This picture further infuriated the protesters and raised national angst.
Shortly afterwards, this pleasure loving son apologized to the Nigerian people, saying that the pictures was not meant to destroy the already battered psyche. This action from this man caught my fancy. According to the Ugonna ‘‘I sincerely apologise to my family and the Nigerian public for any hurt, anger or embarrassment that might have been caused by these pictures, which were taken completely out of context. I will endeavor to ensure that all my actions in future will be sensitive to the plight of Nigerians’’. This is the first time that a son or daughter of the embezzlers of Nigerian common wealth apologized to a traumatized public. Children of looters of Nigerian funds will naturally scorn at those criticizing their profligacy describing them as ‘Homo Sapiens whose impoverished ancestors kept in their sorry state’ Sweet Dieziani should expand this sober act of her son or step son, towards her relationship with the president and display sensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.
It is time for Sweet Dieziani to convince the president that the process earlier started by late president Umaru Yaradua which led to the revocation of some illegally acquired oil blocks be resumed so that a few people do not control Nigeria, with excess funds to sponsor Boko Haram nd terrorist acivities.
Can Sweet Dieziani convince the president that importation of petroleum products from outside is not beneficial to Nigerian economy, despite the fact that some powerful persons in government are benefiting from it. Can Sweet Dieziani convince the President to support institutionalized transparency in the oil industry so that all these billions of dollars lost to oil theft annually can be blocked? Can Sweet Dieziani convince the president that a situation whereby all our oil savings is shared between the three tiers of government without reserve is another brand of voodoo revenue allocation, capable of putting the nation in trouble if there is sustained fall in oil price? Can Sweet Dieziani convince the president to dedicate more funds to poverty alleviation and job creation and reduce amount spent on frivolities, fighting opposition governors, and related matters, and leave a lasting legacy for the Jonathan presidency.
It is obvious that a lot of sycophants, boot lickers and liars whose selfish interests are suffocating have held the president hostage and the man needs fresh air himself. It is discernible that the way Jonathan’s friends and inner cabinet are handling opposing opinions and actions, there might be no Nigeria by the time he finishes his tenure in 2015 or 2019, whichever one providence allows. Therefore, Sweet Dieziani could bridge the gap and let the President know that he must behave as father to all Nigerians, shun partisanship and take firm action when national cohesion is threatened.
I believe that Sweet Dieziani can do all these if she rises beyond mundane attachments, rids herself of praise singers, shuns corrupt entrapment and uses the same spirit she used to caution her step son who was partying while the nation was burning. In the Ministry of Petroleum resources, the fear of Dieziani is the beginning of wisdom. All the oil hawkers who hitherto turned the ministry into an annex of Arewa House have all scampered back to their villages effectively ending the tenure of few northern cabals in the place. Can she use the same influence to reduce corruption in the Petroleum Industry and save the future of hopeless Nigerians who depend on oil revenue for survival?
Queen Esther in the Bible used her influence to stop the first planned genocide on Jews in the history of the world. Everyone must give account of how he used his or her position to God ,Dieziani inclusive. Nigerians are facing economic genocide due to the fact that government has abandoned the art of providing for its citizenry and wasted billions of dollars on politics.
The EFCC, ICPC, National Assembly and all organs assigned the constitutional duties of checkmating profligacy and corruption in the system, are themselves partners in the corrupt chess pool. Therefore, the hopeless Nigerians have nobody to enforce their rights to dignified existence through equitable allocation of resources.
Based on the foregoing I have no option than to hope that this most powerful woman in Nigeria at the moment can heed the clarion call, use her position and favor with President Jonathan, whichever way it came about, to advance Nigeria in the right direction and stop further economic genocide on unfortunate citizenry. It is not her duty to influence all these but I believe that Sweet Diezani can mobilize other women in that place including Okonjo Iwuala, Stella-Oduah, Joy Emordi to quietly pressurize for a radical change from Sweet Goodluck towards the realization of the promised transformational agenda.
Obinna Akukwe (Profetobinna2@yahoo.com) reports.
*Photo Caption – President Goodluck Jonathan (Left); Mrs. Dieziani Allison Madueke (Right); Oil workers (Center) & Oil Barrels (Top).