[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] – My former student, Dr. Peter O., called to ask one question: “Why are we Igbos falling behind in Nigeria?” It was shocking to think of Igbos as a people falling behind. Dr. Peter O disputed my arguments about Igbo gains of yesteryears. He did so rather strenuously, making me believe he had some good points. I offered some weak counterpoints. Igbo education? Dr. O says: “No”. Igbo money? Again, Dr. O says: “Not at all”. What else? My former student says: “ Nothing”. Dr. O knocked me out with a tirade on the exploding numbers of non-Igbo (Yoruba and Hausa) physicians, engineers, scientists, mathematicians, bankers, politicians, billionaires, and manufacturers that are everywhere in Nigeria. All these are happening while Ndigbo are busy chasing after “toro na afu” (pennies).
The Igbo professors Dr. O has known and worked with in America have recently been dismissed before attaining full professorships, while there are a plethora of Yoruba Deans, Vice presidents, and a handful of U S university Vice Chancellors. I called two Yoruba men I know, a Vice President on the east coast and Associate Vice Chancellor on the west . “What are you doing right that the Igbos are doing wrong?” More Yoruba professors and professionals in the USA appear to be quieter, less troublesome, and get along better with spouses, colleagues, and the Americans in general. More Igbo professionals appear to be louder, more quarrelsome and argumentative, more ostentatious, self- aggrandizing, and showy when displaying material stuffs like vehicles and houses.
Finally, Dr. Peter O. and I agreed on one thing: a blithering indictment of NdiIgbo and their leadership at home and abroad. We condemn the Igbo governors for failure to take care of the rest of us at the difficult time in our history as the Yorubas and Hausas have done for their people. We denounce Igbo parents and elders for over-emphasizing the pursuit of money in opposition to education as an instrument for Igbo nation-building. We accuse Igbo religious leadership of unfaithfulness in abandoning their calling and prostituting (being akwunakwuna) after prosperity. We condemn Ndigbo in general for their excesses (a) excessive pursuit of money; (b) excessive clannish isms– Abiasm, Enuguism, Imoisn, Anambraism, Ebonyism; excessive abandonment of education; and (c) excessive use of Biafran War as excuse for being lazy and in deep stupor (trance, coma, daze, state of unconsciousness).
Having said this, why are Ndigbo falling behind In Nigeria and the United States? Are the Igbos discouraged or brow-beaten in their circumstances? Brow-beaten is synonymous with being downtrodden, subjugated, broken, oppressed, demoralized, oppressed. Does this result from post traumatic syndrome, atrocities of Biafran War? It is believed the Igbos didn’t suffer a defeat in war; they simply gained the opportunity to regroup, rethink, strategize, and return stronger and more resilient. Igbos have always bounced back. There is no shame in falling down from time to time; but it is shameful to remain on the ground after a fall. What seems to keep us Igbos down for 44 years since end of Biafra? Are we Igbos less likely to help each other? Are we carrying unnecessary baggage consisting of guilt, “mmegbu” (oppression); “anya ufu” (jealousy), “anya ukwu” (greed), and “obi ojoo” (bitterness)?
· Fewer Igbo children and adults are going to schools than they once did, than the Yorubas
· More Igbos are interested in making money and dreaming of becoming billionaire Dangote or politician President Goodluck than they are in acquiring education
· More Yorubas are acquiring higher education to the PhD level than the Igbos
· There are fewer Igbos in SEM (science, engineering, and mathematics) and technology (plumbing, air conditioning, airplane mechanic, etc) than there the other Nigerian tribes.
· More Igbos are unemployed and unemployable than any other tribes
· Igbo States are more likely to be hot-beds (or boiling pots)of dissent, with strings of Ngiges, Ubas, and Rochas, Chimes, and “esem okwu” (troubles).
· If you are Nigerian running for dear life from boko-controlled North, you are more likely to be denied employment in Igboland and asked to go to your state of origin than if you run to Yorubaland.
· You are more likely to be robbed, kidnapped, or even killed if you venture into Igbo majority places than if you seek refuse in Igbo minority areas
· More breweries are in Igboland and more Ndigbo are likely to become alcoholics.
No one can compellingly argue against the fact that Ndigbo of Nigeria are a force to be reckoned with. Though Ndigbo did the unthinkable before Nigeria became the Nigeria it is today, long before the granting of self-governing in 1960,they are now as dormant as inactive volcano Though Ndigbo did make tremendous strides during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, happenings among Igbos reflect “backward ever.” Think of the schools and cathedrals the Igbo have constructed throughout Nigeria. Do you remember how Igbos provided the early manpower Nigeria needed as she marched towards sovereignty, teachers, merchants, administrators, health workers, and miners? And if you add the fact that the Igbos have always loved education and are skilled in accumulation of wealth, you’ll begin to appreciate this people’s indomitable spirit and adventurism. Indefatigability seems to be a better choice of words. To be indefatigable is to be incapable of being tired out; tireless, unflagging, unrelenting, unfaltering, remorseless, tenacious, resolute, inexorable Isn’t it true that, all things being equal, some animals are more equal than their neighbors? It seems the Igbos are becoming less equal.
I asked Dr. Peter O. to begin to wonder how much of Nigeria’s money is controlled by Ndigbo (over N930 trillion). A trillion (or a million million) is 1 followed by 12 zeros. A trillion is 1,000,000,000,000 to be exact. It’s fair to wager that Nigeria would not be Nigeria without “ego Ndigbo” (Igbo wealth). My former student Dr. O wasn’t impressed. When I attempted to impress him with a breathtaking estimate of Igbo wealth from the internet. It fell off his brain like water rolls off the back of a thickly feathered duck. Igbo investments are” hugomongous”: not less than N600 trillion in Abuja; N10 trillion in Kano and Kaduna each; N5 trillion in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States each; N15 trillion in Plateau State; and there is no Nigerian state where Igbo investments do not exceed N5 trillion. Read:http://www.vanguardngr.com/2013/07/the-igbos-have-more-at-stake-in-nigeria/
Dr. James C. Agazie ( Email: email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria ).
[ Masterweb Reports ] - GOVERNMENT OF ABIA STATE 2014 BUDGET SPEECH, AS PRESENTED TO THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY BY HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF T. A. ORJI (OCHENDO), GOVERNOR ABIA STATE, HOLDING AT THE CHAMBERS OF THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, UMUAHIA, ON THE 30TH DAY OF DECEMBER, 2013
DISTINGUISHED LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
I have the pleasure and honor to present to this distinguished Honorable House, the 2014 Budget of the State. This budget has been prepared in the context of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, which looks at the projections for the year 2014 to 2016, using the year 2012 budget, as the base year for our journey to 2016.
When we signed in along with other States to commence the Cash Budgeting and Accounting system, we instantly established a continuous improvement process in our budget formulation exercise. The positive impacts will begin to be felt in our 2014 budget process.
It is important that we make public, the efforts being made by this Administration towards the realization of our Development Goals and Objectives for the next fiscal year. It is no longer in doubt that the State is making giant strides to enable us emerge as one of the strongest economies in Nigeria, and this has been given credence through our numerous legacy projects that are on-going in every sector of our economy.
We are presenting this budget at this time of the year, because of our avowed efforts to ensuring that the 2014 budget is compliant to International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). This achievement shows that we are serious in introducing a lasting legacy in our fiscal management process – in line with international best practices, and equally fulfilling a condition necessary for attracting foreign investors to the State.
The new budget has been designed for better policy formulation, fiscal planning, budget analysis, accountability, routine financial management, and international comparisons.
The State Budget for 2014 focuses on continued acceleration of ‘building physical and human infrastructure for job creation and poverty eradication’. We expect to achieve these through scaling up of our expenditures in Health, Education, Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Housing, and Support for Women and Youth Empowerment Programmes.
Distinguished Honourable members of our State House of Assembly, with the features that I have highlighted here, it becomes obvious that the 2014 budget is about People and the speeding-up of the delivery of basic social and infrastructural services in our State.
The 2014 budget is also expected to positively transform our State in the areas we consider more critical and urgent, which include the followings:
Peace and Security
Improved Health Care Delivery
Enhanced Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), and
Focus on these sectoral objectives will enhance the creation of new job opportunities for our youths, women, as well as boost commercial and investment activities in the State.
- FISCAL ENVIRONMENT
Today it is evident that we are recovering from the economic and social costs that accrued from the insecurity of our environment in past, as posed by kidnapping and other violent crimes in the State. Those conditions had left the State with an economic out-look that did not offer much optimism. We can now plan for the future as the anxiety that pervaded the entire State has been permanently put behind us by this Administration.
We will continue to invest in the security of our State and people to consolidate the gains we have so far achieved.
Our State derives the bulk of its budget funding from Federal Government sources, but we are resolved not to continue along that trend that depends on the Federal Government’s economic posture - in the running of our State economy. This is why we are restructuring and intensifying our Revenue Generation efforts, so that it begins to fund our budgets from 2014 and beyond. We have also introduced measures to reduce our dependence on statutory allocations for the funding of both recurrent and capital expenditures.
- FISCAL CONTROL POLICY MEASURES
The Administration proposes to ensure full implementations of the 2014 budget through the following control measures:
International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) will be fully implemented in the State through the adoption of the new Chart of Accounts and domestication of the human resources management into budget classifications.
All Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are henceforth expected to cite IPSAS Codes on the Vote of charge in all requests for release of funds.
Abia State Blue Print for Development Vision 20:20:20 and the MDGs shall continue to be our main focus for economic growth of our State.
Since 2014-2016 budgets are based on well calibrated range of estimates and assumptions, we would continue to be guided by the IPSAS demands of full disclosure in implementing the budget based on that.
Other underlying key assumptions for the budget are as follows:
All Capital projects are tied to specific programmes approved in the National Chart of Accounts.
The Annual estimated recurrent revenue would be N120.0 billion
The Annual estimated recurrent expenditure including debt services would be N62.0 billion
The annual estimated Capital Projects based on programmes would be N87.5 billion
The grants from Donor-Agencies receivable during the year would be N29.6 billion.
2014 BUDGET: A GENERAL OVERVIEW
The 2014 Budget is predicated on Government’s resolve to ensure the adoption of a process which will lead to the social-economic well-being of the citizenry and strategically guide infrastructural development as a central objective of the State. We will focus on the theme: ‘Budget of Legacy Consolidation’, as we pursue the compelling needs of doing more and accelerating the pace of work in on-going projects in the various sectors of our economy.
Against this background, the Budget gives impetus to our vision in the power sector, water supply and distribution, roads, health, reform of Government and governance, security, and education programmes. All these will be targeted at improving the quality of lives of our citizens and addressing the infrastructural inadequacies which this Administration inherited. The Budget equally supports our business people to operate efficiently, grow their businesses, create wealth and generate employment.
We are in a hurry to accelerate the development of our human capital, which is crucial in enabling us attain the objectives and targets of our developmental aspirations in the State’s vision 20:20:20 blue print. In pursuit of these aspirations, our goal is to translate the gains of the opportunities that emerge from the improvement of our social indicators and the quality of human capital in the State, to the advancement of all Abians in all fields of endeavors.
Our strategy is to focus on the completion of all on-going legacy projects, advancing the new ones that are just coming on stream, especially those targeted at providing long term foundations and solutions to lingering infrastructural deficiencies.
2014: BUDGET OF LEGACY CONSOLIDATION
Mr Speaker, Distinguished Honourable Members, I hereby present the 2014 Budget, titled ‘Budget of Legacy Consolidation’. As already noted this budget was prepared within the context of Medium Expenditure Term Framework which outlines key initiatives and are expected to be achieved by key spending Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
To this end, the budget has an estimated outlay of N149.6 billion. The crafting of the budget was guided by the harmonization of MDAs policy thrusts with actual appropriation to ensure that we have a Budget that is pr-poor, and meets the aspiration of the majority of Abians in 2014.
The specific objective for 2014 is effective allocation of scarce resources among identified critical programmes and projects as established in our Blue Print for State Development, which include the followings:
1. To complete all on-going legacy projects and adding a plethora of new projects in the critical areas of needs.
2. To continue to expand our revenue base
3. To integrate the structure of the State Chart of Account into Budgeting and Budgeting-Control mechanism.
4. To provide carefully coded classifications that enhance greater transparency and proper Accounting in Public expenditure management.
5. To produce a conducive environment for investors, and
6. To reduce the level of our State Domestic Debt Profile.
In our resolve to be a part of the Global Village, we therefore cannot remain isolated from changes that are occurring in the larger system. That is why we have adopted the reform process in line with international best practices that provides better and quality information in the management of modernized Government Accounts.
As a part of the progressive implementation of uniformity in the coding, accounting and reporting system in Nigeria, we have prepared a Budget that is complaint to the National Chart of Account. I hereby present to this Honourable House a Budget that consist the following sectors:
Law and Justice
Government has introduced various programmes and measures to promote good governance practices in the public and private sectors.
We have evolved a service oriented Civil Service that is consistent with the provision of efficient services, and we will continue to encourage training, and retraining of our people to ensure a vibrant work force that is multi-skilled for efficient service delivery.
On the provision of befitting and conducive environments for the civil servants of our State, this Administration has almost completed the:
1. Abia State new Workers’ Secretariat (Twin building)
2. Has completed the construction of a Diagnostic Centre and Specialist Hospital Annex at Amachara, Umuahia South.
3. Completed the new BCA Office Complex
4. Building of Governor’s Lodge is on-going
5. Completed the construction of High Court Complex , Umuahia
6. Construction of Ultra Modern Laboratory and Dialysis Centre, Umuahia.
7. Completed the ASEPA Head-Quarters Building
8. Construction of new ASUBEB and JAC Office Complexes are on-going.
The Joint Monitoring/Evaluation of Projects and Programmes by the State Planning Commission will be sustained and strengthened. Abia State is enjoying relative Peace and Security, and this is why we are not relenting in our support to the Police, the Security Agencies and the Armed Forces, so that they continue to render their invaluable contributions to the sustenance of security and public order in our State.
During the fiscal year, our aim is to ensure increased agricultural output through:
i. Continuous introduction of improved technology
ii. Sustain, attract Private Investors to participate in the sector. We have concluded a Partnership with Honeywell Group to participate in this Sector.
iii. Increase value addition to commodities and the reduction of post harvest loss by 10%.
iv. Increase poultry and fish production, including improved animal health and quality of meat for consumption by 10%.
Ensuring availability of farm inputs including improved seed/seedlings, drugs, and agro-chemicals.
vi. Upgrading existing demonstration farms and replication of Liberation Farms in the 17 LGAs.
vii. Sustenance of our Rubber and Palm Estates
viii. Support and encouragement of our local farmers.
Mr Speaker, I will like to recall that this Administration has recorded modest achievements in the agricultural sector through the establishment of Abia Liberation Farms across the LGAs. We established a four hectare Plantain Plantation at Okeikpe, Opertional 5 hectare Cassava multiplication Plots at Lodu Ndume, procurement and distribution of agro inputs to Abia Farmers at subsidized rates and distributed N1 billion CBN loan facilities to support our farmers.
In 2014, we will pursue the objectives of consolidation and scaling up these achievements through the agricultural transformation agenda of our State. We shall vigorously pursue the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger in the State.
The completion of the State Farmers’ Census and the analysis of reports to ensure evidence-based planning including value addition to commodity value chains – where the State has comparative advantages, shall remain our major focus.
WORKS AND TRANSPORT:
Government in 2014 Fiscal Year shall continue to provide good and motor-able road-network connectivity in every nook and cranny of the State, so as to sustain the already established mutual confidence between the Administration and our citizens. This will enable us achieve full inclusiveness, equity and balanced development of the State.
Based on our Government’s plan to recover not less than 15% of existing roads by 2014, rehabilitate and reconstruct major inter-local government roads through effective funding and using the Abia Road Mentainance Unit (ABROMA), and the Rural Road Mentainance Projects (RAMP) in the Ministry of Poverty Reduction that partners with the Federal Government, we expect to achieve a lot in 2014.
In 2014, we expect to achieve the installation of a cost-effective central fire alarm (early fire alarm detection system), which was earlier approved for the State by our Government. It is expected that this system will cover the Modern Markets at Ubani Ibeku, New Industrial Market Ahia-Eke Umuahia, Ariara International Market, Aba, and other notable markets in the State.
In the area of transport, the State shall establish a standardized and functional equipment for testing stations in each of the 3 Senatorial Zones, procure additional Tow-Van/High Capacity Fire Engines for enhanced effectiveness in service delivery. We will equally ensure the construction, reconstruction and equipment of fire service stations at designated places in the State.
COMMERCE AND INDUSTRIES
Desirous of maximizing this sub sector’s contribution to the economy of the State, the Government has signed a memorandum of understanding with reputable investors – Greenfield, ABIIC and Pro-M for construction of modern shopping malls and industrial market in Aba, and a shopping complex in Umuahia at the former Gariki site. Efforts are on to upgrade the Abia Hotel Limited Umuahia to a 5 Star facility and this will boost the hospitality industry in the State and create employments.
The relocation of the Timber Market to Umuohu Azuake as Industrial Market, the development of Ohiya Nsukwe Umuogo Mechanic Cluster, and the new Market at Ubani Ibeku, have become functional, with our Government poised to ensuring the provision of social amenities to these clusters in 2014. Meanwhile all efforts are at top gear to ensure that the industrial growth and development of our State are sustained through PPP arrangements.
We have already commenced the take-off of industrial clusters at Ovom, and Umukalika all in Aba, and these will enhance private sector employment generation as the prime mover to the economy of our State. Honeywell Group has already shown interests in our limestone deposits at Arochukwu and Ohafia, with a view to harnessing these for industrial productions.
LAW AND JUSTICE
Since the inception of this Administration, we have continued to tackle the limited access to justice caused by inadequate facilities and infrastructure, which also contributed to slow enforcement and prosecution process in our Courts. We are bent on ensuring speedy transformation and sustained development of the judicial arm of Government in the State. That is why we have built the magnificent High Court Complexes in Aba and Umuahia, and believe that these will go a long way in decongesting the Courts, as well as raising the status of Abia Judiciary.
In our avowed determination to achieve the objective of ensuring quick, quality and fair judicial services delivery to the public, most of the Courts in other districts and divisions are getting, and will be given the required attentions they deserve, as we continue to make efforts in the provision of reference materials to judges, magistrates and lawyers for proper adjudication of cases.
Realizing that education is the key to developing Abia State, the sector will continue to be a thriving and buoyant industry in the State. Our Government is poised to stamping-out every trace of illiteracy in the State, by ensuring continuous increased allocation of resources to the sector. We will continue to consolidate on the gains recorded through various policies implemented in the sub-sector. We will take specific steps to eliminate cultism, examination mal-practices, male school drop-out, and other vices that plague the sub-sector.
In 2014, more class room blocks will continue to be built and old ones renovated, scholarships and bursaries will be provided to assist our children. The free school bus will be sustained and subventions to Abia Polytechnics and College of Education, Technical , Arochukwu will be beefed up.
The remaining schools belonging to voluntary agencies will be handed over to them by Government. Every LGA is also presently benefitting from the modern 34 class-room blocks being constructed by our Government.
Our Government is committed to ensuring quality health delivery to the citizenry and this is because we are already aware of the critical health concerns and targets in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Based on these, our Government will sustain its efforts in equipment procurement, renovation and upgrading of some of the Health Care Institutions through the on-going transformation of structures in our health sector.
In 2014, we will complete the construction of Abia State University Teaching Hospital Medical Complex Building in Aba, complete and equip the 100 bed hospitals in 9 LGAs. We will renovate the School of Nursing/Midwifery Aba, renovate Aba General Hospital, and the General Hospital/Leprosy Centre Uzuakoli.
We shall give primary attention to primary health care by encouraging breast-feeding, provision of adequate nutrition, clean water, basic sanitation, immunization, oral dehydration therapy and family planning.
We will ensure access to appropriate and quality health care services to children at all levels. This Administration has also completed action on the process for commencement of Abia State Health Insurance Scheme. This scheme which ensures growth in the general well-being of our citizens is aimed at the improvement in the quality of lives of
Abians when it takes off in 2014. By this time, additional Health Centres will be built, equipped and provided with medical personnel to man them in the service of citizens.
WOMEN AFFAIRS AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The Administration will not rest on its oars until we correct the misconception that the female gender should always be seen and not be heard. That is why in this fiscal year, we will continue to place high premium on women development issues which will enable us transform this vulnerable group by providing the required opportunities that come from that sub-sector.
We have concluded arrangements to transform women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly people in our midst, so that they can become productive citizens, through our various empowerment programmes that focus on the grass-roots, especially with the passage of the Child Rights Law.
This Administration has also shown great commitment to the welfare of children, indigents, elderly and all other people living with disabilities. During the fiscal year, we plan to further establish a State Rehabilitation Centre, construct a State Social/Children Home, including establishment of Rehabilitation Centres for People with Disabilities (PWDs).
The State Government through its various Youth Programmes is targeting the creation of strong dependable youths with high morals. Our major policy thrust is to empower the youths through the provision of sound education, and economic empowerment activities that cut across all sectors.
The Youth Empowerment Programme of our Government has been a platform upon which many unemployed Abia Youths have been empowered to become self-reliant and managers of their own micro businesses.
During the fiscal year, the State Government plans to establish Youth Centres/Village Complexes at the Senatorial Zones, and create 5000 functional jobs through the youth development centers. We expect all completed and non functional youth Skill Acquisition Centres to be fully activated and more built in 2014.Meanwhile, we are making huge efforts to reduce the cases of drug addiction and abuse, minimize indulgence in unprotected sex, and increase the campaign against HIV/AID. Through these measures, we expect to build the youths as the sure hopes of tomorrow.
The Administration has been saddled with the overall promotion of sports and sporting activities, because we believe it is a major contributor to youth engagement and employment in the State.
During the 2014 fiscal year, our policy thrust will focus on identifying more budding athletes, so that we can nurture them to stardom through the provision of training and optimal development of sporting skills and modern equipments. We will sustain the gains made by Enyimba and Abia Worriors Football Clubs, and encourage our athletes to participate in international competitions.
In 2014 fiscal year, Government intends to complete the Housing projects in the State and initiate a number of new projects to consolidate and increase our legacy already established in that sub-sector.
Some of the projects which will be completed and commissioned in 2014 include, the new Secretariat for Abia Workers, construction of four (4) additional duplexes at the Commissioners’ Quarters, Umuahia; construction, rehabilitation and fencing of Military Quarters at ADP Premises; construction of Ultra Modern Government House Complexa and Office;
and construction and provision of external facilities at the New International Conference Center, Ugurube Layout, Umuahia,
Also ready for commissioning in 2014 will be the construction of E-Library, ASUBEB Office and JAC Offices at Ogurube Layout, Umuahia. The Housing Estate in Isieke is completed, while that of Amuba in partnership with Aso Savings is on-going and another 500 units of housing in partnership with Trademal at Ubani is also on-going. The housing estate at Ohobo where the Timber Market was relocated-out, is on going for middle class owners, while another for the low income owners at the same site, will soon commence.
The Administration hopes to formulate policies and coordinate environmental protection and conservation of our natural resources for sustainable development. During the plan period, we will make efforts to develop and sustain rural and urban solid waste management system, and encourage community-based waste management.
Our Government has reached the final stage of discussions with environmental management experts to produce a functional sustainable solid waste management master-plan for the State; establish a waste recycling plant and standard sanitary landfill inventrorization of all key environmental challenges in the State. Our goal is to establish an early warning mechanism for containing all forms of natural and man-made hazards.
Mr Speaker, Honourable members, Ladies and Gentlemen, for us to achieve the desired results in our 2014 budget, we must all resolve to pursue the realization of our collective security, unity and development of our State.
Let me sincerely express my appreciation and profound gratitude to members of this House for the cordial relationship that exist between the various arms of government in the State.
I also thank the entire security Agencies for the maintenance of the relative peace in the State, just as I equally appreciate the efforts of our traditional and religious leaders whose untiring efforts have ensured that our people continue to live peacefully and harmoniously, and seeing all existing conflicts settled amicably among the populace.
While we solicit the support of all peace loving Abians in the on-going Abia Projects, I will continue to remind all of us, that our children in the future will not fail to remember us for braving all odds to lay a solid foundation for the development of this State, upon which they are sure to compete favorably with other Nigerians in our Nation.
Let us therefore maximize and sustain our collective efforts to deliver the new face of Abia, where opportunities exist for every citizen to develop their skills and talents, and where our natural and human endowments can be tapped to build a virile and secured economy for all Abians of today and for tomorrow.
Thank you and God bless you.
*Photo Caption - His Excellency, Governor T. A. Orji (Ochendo) of Abia State
[ Masterweb Reports ] - May we recall that in our introductory BULLETIN No.1 titled, AN ALTERNATIVE TO CHAOS, (Vanguard 21/9/13, Guardian 24/9/2013 and Masterweb 19/12/13), MNN undertook to share with all stakeholders through a series of Bulletins, a fresh Diagnosis, Prescription and a Treatment Plan for Nigeria. In that Bulletin No. 1, we traced the Nigerian quagmire to a legion of conspiratorial deformities deliberately inflicted at her inception by Fredrick D. Lugard and his principals in London, culminating in the 1914 Amalgamation which essentially annexed and enslaved Southern Nigeria to Northern Nigeria. We also identified the omnipotent vehicle by which these foundational shackles were transported over the decades to the present Constitutional Order. That omnipotent vehicle, which also constitutes the most accurate compass for navigating the dark labyrinths of today’s Nigeria, happens to be the October 1960 Mission Statement and Battle Script of the then Premier of Northern Nigeria while celebrating this humongous British bequest to him and his descendants, to wit: “The new nation called Nigeria should be the estate of our great-grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities of the North as willing tools and the South as a conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us and never allow them to have control over their future”, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Parrot Newspaper October 1960. MNN posits that the current Apartheid-like Constitutional regime of Nigeria represent........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] – Atheism is on the rise not only in western societies but also in Africa. An outspoken and aggressive publicity program has contributed to the appreciable growth of this particular thought bracket.
Etiology of Atheism
Unanswered Prayers: “As a child, I prayed to God for Him to solve these crises I had. He did not solve my problems. Today I do not believe in God.” This is a common presentation of atheists. In some atheists, one sees the obvious reason for the disappointment in God and abandonment of faith, in physical or mental injury or disability—that likely led to a position of disbelief.
Losing Faith: The above presentation of ‘unanswered prayers,’ however, is sometimes not readily decipherable. There are other factors that precipitate a loss of faith. Before people resort to atheism, there is often a period of lost faith or decreased religiosity.
Several polls over the years have found a decreased belief in God in America. Most recently a Harris poll released this December found that the belief in God had declined from 82% in 2005-2009, to 74% now. That is a whole 6 percentage points. These results are confluent with previous polls.
23% of Americans claim not to be religious. This is double the figure 6 years ago. Only 49% of Americans believe all/most of the Old Testament is the Word of God. 48% do so for the New Testament. This is a 6% decline since 2008.
There is a similar loss of faith in other countries polled. Globally, the number of those asserting to be religious has dropped by over 10% points in the last 7 years.
As people lose faith in God, they are more likely to declare atheism, agnosticism or humanism.
Darwin Doctrine: The Darwin evolution doctrine, which is officially promoted in all educational systems outside the Middle East, deliberately, challenges belief in God. Thankfully for the faithful, people are capable of abstract thinking and as such are able to learn things that contradict their religious belief in school, and pass exams on these while still holding on to their faith.
However the educational boards are sending out directives for teachers to ensure and measure that their students learn evolutionary concepts not just to pass exams, but to be enshrined with the belief system of accidental origin and an ancestry shared with ‘bugs,’ as against what they call the ‘baseless’ Creationist position. Despite a majority of the population still believing in Creation, this alternate explanation of the origin of life is not entertained in the educational system which is not a democratic system; and does not respond to overwhelming preferences. A blending of the two systems is also not allowed.
Darwinism, though not fully understood by most students, silently rips away at their belief in God, because evolution operates on the principle of accidents and probabilities ruled by ‘mother nature.’
Prevalence of atheism
"The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism," a WIN-Gallup International poll across 57 countries found the number of Americans who say they are "religious" dropped 13 points to 60% in 2012 from from 73% in 2005. Similar drops were seen in other countries. In the same period, atheist numbers increased from 1% in America to 5%. The highest population of the world’s 13% atheists is in China, where 47% are atheists, this is followed by Japan with 31%. Outside East Asia, Western Europe has the highest numbers, standing at 14%, with Czech Republic, Netherlands, France, Germany and South republic of Korea holding the higher numbers.
Africa still has the most ‘religious’ people. Ghana scored the highest in the 2012 WIN-Gallup poll with 96% believing in God and 0% atheists. Nigeria came next with 93% believing in God and 1% atheists. However these numbers do not tell us about those who have wobbly faith. It is those numbers that potentially transfer to the atheist pool. In addition in Africa and Black societies, things like atheism are taboo and as such polls sometimes do not present actual figures.
On internet fora, one meets several outspoken atheists these days, challenging the faithful in dogmatic debates. This brings us to the next topic:
Atheism or Rebellion against God
The posture of today’s atheist is far from insular or reserved, but is staunchly aggressive. Atheists can be found not only online, but in cities with large banners making provocative challenges and throwing insults at the faithful. Millions of dollars are spent in promotional material on all media to discredit God and religion. Popular atheists like Dawkins are seen raking in financial profits from writing books and arranging seminars to bash God and religion. Atheism today is not a position of refusal, but a position of stark objection and fanatical condemnation.
The question sometimes asked is why atheists do not forget about God, but take up this obvious position to attack God and promote their doctrine. This has made some regard atheism as a new religion with prophets like late Christopher Hitchens who died of throat cancer, and Richard Dawkins, the author of “The God Delusion.”
When one studies the behavior of atheists from a Biblical perspective, one sees the same example of atheists today in the story of the Nimrod (Hebrews), the first ‘Pharaoh’ and Potentate on Earth, otherwise regarded as King Narmer or King Enmerkar to the Sumerians and the “Tower of Babel;” where the King denied God and yet invested all his time and the time and finance of his people in building a tower to ‘challenge’ God in the heavens.
The position of rebellion supports the theory of disappointment in God, thus designating God as an enemy to be combated. The atheist however will not accept such qualification since he professes a belief in the absence of a God.
The atheist argument
There are several positions put forth by atheists to debate and discredit religions and God.
Popular among them is the question of the origin of God/the Creator. The atheist asks, “where does that ‘man’ in the sky come from that created this world out of nothing?”
This question is indeed a challenging one and one that many billboards have been made out of.
The faithful however counter this question by calling the attention of the atheists to the deliberately left out part of their challenge. Positing that “a question is not an answer or a rebuttal.” This goes further: How does the atheist explain the Big Bang and the intelligence of biochemical and genetic design in life?
The Big Bang theory, which is currently proposed by science explains, “Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing …and according to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure.”
So how do disbelievers explain the “singularity,” and how nothing became something; and in a meaningful and coordinated fashion? Also how life’s complexities, the signature biochemistry and genetics of nature is directed. How also can the atheist, nothing from nothing ask questions?
In a popular televised debate between one of the leading atheists, Richard Dawkins and a Theist, Ben Stein, these questions were raised. Richard Dawkins conceded that there was a signature of higher intelligence to life. He further stated that this could be “aliens” or some other Being(s) from another planet who seeded earth with life. An articulate Ben Stein, recognizing that Dawkins acknowledged an intelligent external Being supervising life on earth, interrogated Dawkins whether perhaps it was simply the Christian God he disbelieved. When Dawkins said no, he pried whether Dawkins believed the Muslim God or any other God.
From this we notice that what atheists like Dawkins have problems with is the Religion based identity of a Master planer, while not denying that there must be a Creator or Master planner for there to be creatures. Dawkins only objects to the Creator/Planner being that is spoken of in religions today, but believes there could have been an Alien “Creator.”
Other arguments proposed by atheists include things like, ‘who did Cain and Abel marry?’ This however is answered by the “Book of Jubilees,” which was recently featured on Discovery channel. The Book details that Abel had a twin sister and so did Cain. In addition as the Book states and is in the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran, Adam lived for over 100 years and had several other children.
The Religious Position Against atheists
The faithful also have frequent accusations and challenges postured at atheists in addition to the responses mentioned above.
One of particular intrigue is the question on the origin and purpose of existence according to atheism. This is a question atheists find hard-impossible to answer. Are we simply animals who live to procreate?
How does the atheist invite the faithful to his fold without an assertion on what his purpose of life will now be? People within religions, live to serve God and declare their origin as from God. This gives a clearly defined origin and purpose. This is not so with atheism.
Atheism operates on a principle that life arose by accident and as such has only accidental purpose and is as useful as accidents can be.
During a recent scientific conference I was participant in, I asked of a pro-accidental evolution biologist why man should prevent global warming? This question also queries the reason why tyrants, the like of Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, prominent atheists who have killed over 100 million people in the greatest incidents of carnage against humanity, should be accused of wrong doing. Or why the dropping of nuclear weapons is wrong.
The atheist responded that it is essential we protect this world for future generations…our children.
I asked, why? She responded, rather flushed, that it is not mete we drive gas-guzzling automobiles and warm up the planet to exterminate life.
Then I submitted: If it is nature or Mother Nature (written with higher-case first letters) that guides evolution and successive development of life, leading ultimately to the evolution of the human species, then when did it become our job to supervise nature? I went further to suggest that if those men who feel like using their ability to destroy, destroyed, and the others who feel their skills are better for repairing, repaired, ultimately if and when we wipe out the planet in the ongoing Holocene human-impact extinction—as happened with the ice age and other extinctions—nature will replace us with perhaps better beings, its next ultimate products. Who says we are the penultimate intelligent, higher species in nature’s accidental plan?
There was an awkward silence in the hall.
The truth is, only religion defines man as the ultimate species.
Today, in westernized societies, natural disasters are blamed on mother nature; but what is mother nature? With the global media and mainstream networks pushing the mother nature attribution of events, the world is secretly boxed into a state of masked disbelief. In African traditional societies, when there is drought, men pray for rain. They pray to God and not to mother nature. This translates- God holds the rain, so also God opens the skies for the rain to fall, in optimal quantities and in excess. Therefore, traditional and faith systems attribute events of nature to the Creator.
The Bible, Quran, Hindu scripture and most other scriptures define a God who controls the weather and ‘nature.’ His blessings and His wrath are elicited in the calmness or hostility of the biosphere.
Faithless systems promote a belief in random events, “it is just nature;” which deny God his faith-based Might.
As more get used to this attribution of cataclysmic events to mother nature, true faith in God diminishes.
Incest, Bestiality, Mass Murder and other Risks
Atheists are known liberals. The words, ‘evil,’ ‘moral,’ ‘incest,’ ‘sodomy,’ bestiality,’ these are religious words that have no meaning and no place in atheistic vocabulary. Theists are worried that atheists will release every ‘Beast,’ known to humanity if they predominate and are leaders of countries. Again we refer to Joseph Stalin who massacred up to 60 million. Stalin said, “Death is the solution to all problems. No man -- no problem.” He also stated, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” Mao Zedong, another popular atheist likewise killed up to 40-70 million.
Without denying the reality that there are religious wars and genocides, the numbers are 20:1 in ‘favor’ of atheist brutality, and the world has only had so few atheist rulers.
Most atheists and atheist fora are silent on or promote incest. This group believes that a brother can sleep with his sister, and the legal system should permit it. These attributes and thought processes cause anxiety between atheists and the faithful.
Africa and atheism
Atheism is not yet significant in Africa. Lack of faith or antagonism to God in atheism is largely foreign to the world’s largest continent. From history, Africa has largely been Monotheistic, with the ‘angels’ and ‘attributes’ of God becoming revered at different times as intermediaries to the One God, sometimes in the form of idols; this can be classified as ‘Substance Monotheism.’
The history of Judeo-Christianity and Islam is enshrined in Africa. Biblically the 10 Commandments were revealed in Egypt; and prior to the tablets, history shows that Egypt/Kemet had similar commandments and religious rituals found in the Abrahamic faiths, including cutting hands of villains, prostration and circumcision. Marriage, burial of the dead and prohibition of incest are other such examples found in Africa for thousands of years.
When sending the colonialists to Africa, genocidal Belgian King Leopold II admitted this in his 1883 letter to the Colonial Missionaries. He said:
“Let your evangelization inspire above all Belgian interests. Your principal objective in our mission is never to teach the niggers to know God. They already know God and His commandments; have courage to admit it. Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators and industrials. Go to interpret the gospel in ways to best protect your interests in that part of the world. Therefore dis-interest our savages from the richness that is plenty in their underground. So you can avoid that they dream and compete to one day overthrow you.
Preach Gospels to make them love poverty, like “Happier are the poor because they will inherit the heaven” and, “It’s very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
Thus, it was in colonial interests to perpetuate a skewed system of beliefs and interpretations of faith upon the continent, as a colonial tool, knowing that true faith serves to protect and empower.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption – As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - As politicians continue their bickering and marauding towards the next electoral round in 2015 and as we approach the 100 years expiration of the Amalgamation Treaty of 1914 by 31st December, 2013, MNN in its grave concern for the next generation, once more, steps into the public space with a series of Bulletins in which we shall be presenting a new comprehensive diagnosis of the ailments of Nigeria, a prescription informed by that diagnosis, and a treatment plan. The Bulletins shall for the first time exhibit freshly excavated revelations from the foundations of Nigeria’s corporate existence (1900 – 1919) together with the poisonous ingredients consciously introduced by Fredrick D Lugard tracing the mutations and trajectories of those debilitating ingredients through to Independence Constitution in 1960 and follow their preservations from the 1966 Military intervention all the way to the 1999 Constitution imposed via Decree 24 of 1999 which we operate to date. In other words MNN in her research has located the mysterious roots of the Nigerian System manifesting in pervasive corruption, reckless impunity, institutionalised mediocrity, perennial political instability, buoyed by violence, insecurity, inept leadership cycles and a whole........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map and Flag of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - We the north of Nigeria are ready for a separation process which will either involve regionalism or total disintegration.
On the topic, Sagir Aliyu said: Yes, I’m in support of BREAK UP. Because most Nigerian minds are full of hatred, sentiments, ethnicity, religious differences and tribalism. Some are calling for revolution, but instead of loosing lives and property; let the romance end. Also if the 2015 election will result to loss of lives and property, the romance should end before then, Please!
Idris Musa also commented on the subject: Break up is long overdue. Why can some have freedom to perform their religious rites while some are deprived? I can't remain at home on Fridays like Christians do Sundays, Marital dossiers is only emphasized for only one wife & four children. Economically, we are considered parasites because they refused to revamp agriculture. They refused to explore oil deposits in more than five places in my region. Let us break so that we have fresh air.
Musa Maiunguwa: I beg it’s long overdue! Let's break up anyhow regardless of the consequences. I want to be governed by ISLAMIC LAW not this Infidel system of government. I hate to be governed by DRUNKARDS.
These comments were the prevalent type of response from Northerners on facebook to my earlier article on the subject, “Nigeria: Do We Need To Break This Up?”
A majority of northern masses are now making this call as situations keep deteriorating in the nation and undeserved ethnic insults and ethnic torment has become the order of the day from certain quarters in Nigeria. Additionally, it appears that Nigeria as formatted and the perceived disenfranchisement of certain aspects of the South, justify and subject us and Nigeria as a whole to a most terrible regime that is unable to secure life in the north and yield for us the social, economic and developmental dividends of democracy; as poverty reigns at its highest level in the north which is unfairly economically disadvantaged.
Today, Nigeria has 100 million poor, however there is an uneven distribution of the poverty with the South doing more favorably, whereas the north suffers the most with its level of poor as high as 80% living under a dollar a day in many states, this compares to the south that has levels from 20-50%. This level of poverty in the north exceeds the level in neighboring Mali, Chad and Niger, all sharing the northern ecological and cultural demographics.
Trading blame as to who and what military and civilian dictatorial and usurpist regime caused this high level of poverty is puerile, meaningless and disingenuous; and it contributes nothing towards addressing the real and present epic crisis. Also, asserting that because northern dictators have ruled the nation for 60% of its independent life over 40% Southern rule is meaningless and does not solve the deadly poverty situation.
The ordinary masses are suffering. We gain absolutely nothing from Nigeria’s oil, apart from what we buy of it at the pumps at a price above the global mean, and rather we suffer from oppression and terror as a consequence of, and thanks to bloody oil money. Only the cabal enjoy from the current state of Nigeria. Let it be known that the voices of many so-called northern leaders, which are obviously the loudest, do not represent the sentiments of us suffering masses, wrecked with poverty and lack of opportunity. These ‘northern elders’ are part of a national cabal that exploits and extorts the nation. These cabal obviously have no honest interest in our region as can clearly be seen by their lack of investment in the north, building all their factories in the South. We the real people of the north are eager for autonomy of our region. This is our position.
The landlocked north is clearly disadvantaged. None of the regimes provided the transportation networks to link the north to Nigeria’s ports as would have been the basic and smallest requirement to re-establish a northern economy.
Our agriculture industry has been left to decay. Our textile industry has been completely abandoned, as we suffer from the ‘curse’ of oil and the illusion of Nigeria’s wealth from a mono-economy, which has satisfied and favored only a set of greedy cabal without regional distinction, north, east, west or south.
We see regionalism with the plan of possible disintegration as an urgent next best step towards a northern cultural and economic awakening.
Many of us across Nigeria now agree that military dictator; Aguiyi Ironsi made an error on 24 May 1966, when he released Decree No. 34 which dissolved the regions. Excerpt: “The provisions of the Decree are intended to remove the last vestiges of the intense regionalism of the recent past, and to produce that cohesion in the governmental structure which is so necessary in achieving, and maintaining the paramount objective of the National Military government, and indeed of every true Nigerian, namely, national unity. The highlights of this Decree are as follows: The former regions are abolished, and Nigeria grouped into a number of territorial areas called provinces. . . . Nigeria ceases to be what has been described as a federation. It now becomes simply the Republic of Nigeria.”
We hope Nigerians in South territories share our sentiments and will be happy to peacefully and respectfully discuss modalities of separation into economically independent regions which will test and pave a path for emotional, marital, economical, military and other national related changes and challenges necessary for possible separation in the future.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption - Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra.
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest… I have kept my pledge, being faithful and loyal; now it is time I am honest. We need to all come forward in the interest of life, to discuss and deliberate on if and how to break up Nigeria into manageable pieces. The nation is simply too large, the people too sheepish and the leaders too opportunist and rapacious for it to work. And in the interest of life, dignity and progress, smaller projects will be more favorable.
Some of us have dreamed of and solicited revolutionary fresh, new leadership; but 157 million Nigerians, who can make this happen, are not ready; and people continue to die, pollution continues unabated in the creeks, poverty deepens, insecurity expands, influence and representation is woeful and hopelessness and depression are the nation’s hallmarks.
Reading a letter the Sheikh of Borno wrote to Sultan Mohammed Bello of Sokoto in 1824, in which Sheikh El-Amin El-Kanemi expressed his country’s desire of the Sultan of Sokoto’s country, I had an epiphany. Like the Emirates United, would we not be better-off as united nations than this clumsy, crippled monster?
We are not patriotic. Our civilians do not care about the country and under such conditions; it is pricking that our soldiers and police, the only true patriotic Nigerians by virtue of their profession, should continue to make the ultimate sacrifice, dying while combating deadly ills in the creeks and in the deserts. I am being honest here; it is my pledge to Nigeria. I will not fight for Nigeria in Nigeria. I will not die in Borno or in the Niger Delta creeks or at the hands of Ombatse to clear up the continued spillage of the recklessness and callousness of our derelict civilian regime and ethno-combatant, intolerant masses.
Those of us who strongly advocated a SoE and full military combat to squash Boko Haram, did not anticipate this… that military engagement will not be properly financed and not accompanied by rounding up of the political sponsors. Something does not add up when the ex-governor of the state who is strongly implicated in the evolution of this menace, sleeps in peace and even purchases the ‘most expensive jet in the nation;’ when indigenous and central politicians responsible live in splendor, while youth from around the nation die in combat. May God bless our soldiers and the Civilian JTF who honestly deserve better than dying for internal, civilian government and politician caused wars and deplorable states of security.
Under different circumstances, had we had real leaders for long in our history, that built the nation and not only robbed it, and who cared about the people and did not hate us, things could have turned out pretty different. We would have truly loved Nigeria. Like Ghana where they all wear the nation’s cloth, have a kente-laced parliament and fly Ghanaian flags. In Nigeria, our flag is money, dollars, not even naira; our presidential podium is laced with dollars and we wear True-religions, Thomas Pink and Polo only.
Goodluck can perhaps better find his level and be appreciated as a leader in Ijaw land. Security challenges can be best managed by domains for their domains. The battle with Boko Haram can best be managed by involvement of the El-Kanemi emirate. The kidnapping in the South can best be managed by their state traditional-political led initiatives. Complicating the management by referring to a center causes suspicion, accusations, desertion and failure. Traditional leadership should either be scrapped or merged back into regional governments. Those who occupy traditional leader seats need have a real role in the progress, safety and security of their regions. They are the first line to the community.
The British colonialist as much as we want to hate them, kept us as three geopolitical regions—Western, Eastern and Northern. Though we could and should have had more, this was manageable and preferable. Unfortunately, ‘hyper-patriotic’ Ironsi, who did not understand the complexities of the problems and saw the wrong solution to a transient problem, dissolved this confederation. It’s the same way our overzealous, rather myopic and careless founding leaders, during Obasanjo’s military regime, copied the American presidential system, not appreciating the superiority of parliamentary leadership, which India, the nation which tops Nigeria in multi-ethnicity utilizes to maintain peace while ensuring successive stable leadership.
Ironsi on 24 May 1966; released Decree No. 34. Excerpt: “The provisions of the Decree are intended to remove the last vestiges of the intense regionalism of the recent past, and to produce that cohesion in the governmental structure which is so necessary in achieving, and maintaining the paramount objective of the National Military government, and indeed of every true Nigerian, namely, national unity. The highlights of this Decree are as follows: The former regions are abolished, and Nigeria grouped into a number of territorial areas called provinces. . . . Nigeria ceases to be what has been described as a federation. It now becomes simply the Republic of Nigeria.”
Gowon’s Decree No. 8 of 1967 which effectively restored Nigeria as a confederacy fulfilled much of what is preferable. This decree as some opine, provided 95% of the Aburi accord’s demands. It stated, “…legislative and executive powers of the Regions have been fully restored and vested in their respective Military Governors. But the provisions of section 86 of the Constitution of the Federation ensure that no Region shall exercise its executive authority so as to impede or prejudice the exercise of the executive authority of the Federation or to endanger the continuance of federal government in Nigeria.” But Ojukwu fought, Gowon created states and the rest is history.
It is extremely sensible we return to being a confederacy of 6 or more pieces. Ms. Ndidi Uwechue [ENDS] from UK suggested toward our Conference that “Nigeria remain one country but administered in 6 Zones, like Switzerland with its 3 distinct areas of German, French, Italian. Abuja to remain the FCT and not part of any Zone. And to scrap the Senate: It is too costly and we need only one Legislative House i.e. House of Reps. In 2012 Senegal got rid of its Senate because of the expense and it’s doing better for it.”
The fear of disintegration is the root of poverty. The average northerner on the streets gains absolutely nothing from the oil of the south and stands to lose virtually nothing if the nation disintegrates. You cannot get more poor than poor. Nigeria’s north, which tops the nations poverty chart (in the 80%s, compared to the South with levels under 20% poor in states like Anambra) is double digits poorer than neighboring Chad (58%) and Mali (50%). Frequently referenced Nigeria averages; poverty level in the 50% range conceals the true picture of suffering of the northern masses, as it also does those in the rural areas where poverty is concentrated. Regions will open much opportunity for the commoner where there has been none. The selfish and insensitive cabals don’t want this.
More on the merits of regions, let’s take a case study of the economic terrorist Pirates in the creeks, or Boko Haram. When there is terror, the state governors fold their arms and blame the center. When the army goes out to capture and kill, the state governors accuse the center of crimes against humanity. We clamour for state police, but we need more than this. We need state or regional controlled army. This is the candid truth; else we will continue to have dangerous kidnapping, piracy and radical terror with a center unable to hold. Had we had real leadership, we could address and resolve all these issues, but as sensible leadership at the center continues to elude us, in the interest of the safety and sanctity of life and in the love of Nigeria—the people and not the sand—it is time we consider other alternatives.
There are 112 million poor Nigerians and of these, 100 million are destitute—living under $1.25 a day. Is this where we wish to be? This does not make any sense. Those who are scared of and staunchly against us sitting to talk seriously about disintegrating into several smaller, more manageable nations are the wealthy cabal, not the millions of dying, distraught poor. The 3000 cabal swallow up 90% of the nation’s endowment and as such, fight to maintain an indivisible nation. ‘Coincidentally’ the cabal never die from terror as the masses and good, brave soldiers do. Unlike us, they are united and they are insulated from our woes. A question Nigerians in areas most interested in a true, no limit SNC should be challenged by is why their elected governors and senators, who represent them, do not advocate in their interest. We have to blame ourselves for our failures since it is we who elect our representatives; we should press for our desires through our reps and make less global, ‘fruitless’ noise.
If our ‘democratic’ leaders know what is right for us, they will go ahead and reverse the major errors of our military years, during which most players were rather young and inexperienced boys. We should strongly consider reversing the transfer to Presidential system error of General Obasanjo and the dissolution of regions error of Ironsi and Gowon.
For those of us who hoped that with ‘democracy,’ we could recover and be able to continue to keep our pledge to serve Nigeria with all our strength, defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory; the 6th republic whose loyalty is only to $$$, has so ethnicized the polity; and looting hungrily daily with their co-conspirator private sector cabal, have denied the nation any left honour and glory to be upheld.
Please join the conversation.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption – Map & Flag of Nigeria.
[ Masterweb Reports Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu reports ] - In Amos chapter 3 verse 3, the Bible asks a very fundamental question; can two walk together except they be agreed? The answer to this question touches on the very essence of the Nigerian crisis of nationhood. Basic commonsense suggests that two cannot work together except they have some form of agreement. This saga underscores the necessity of a sovereign national conference and indeed a second independence. Nigeria continues to suffer the consequences of the contradictions in her DNA. Created through an arbitrary process that was triggered by the exploits of a British trader; Tubman Goldie whose foray into the area lured the British government to establish administrative units, solely to enable imperialist exploitation. It was thus, never from the onset, a nation whose inhabitants had any agreement to create a nation, nor whose creation by the colonialists had the interests or the harmony of the disparate cultural, ethnic and religious groups forced into a union at heart.
Not surprisingly, the monster of ethnic and religious contradictions has continued to dog the nation throughout her unfolding history. It has led to strife, a needless war and continuing ethno-religious conflicts which now include terrorism. To make matters worse, Nigeria has never had the good fortune of having a nation builder at the helm who might have tried to turn the tide. All the leaders since independence have variously exploited and furthered the contradictions through their actions and policies. This has had the effect of exacerbating an already bad situation. The needless Nigeria-Biafra war which consumed millions of lives on a false premise was fought because there were underlying forces which in exploitation of the ethnic contradictions preferred war in place of a pragmatic approach that would have resolved the contradictions that put the nation on the brink in the first place.
The choice to go to war rather than resolve the contradictions that created the crisis has proven to be the most costly mistake in the nation’s chequered history. It has inadvertently created a permanently divided nation and a deeply resentful citizenry in some parts of the nation. The opportunities presented in the immediate aftermath of the war for aggressive nation building was not seized as punitive policies of marginalisation, abandoned property, confiscation of all monies owned in banks and a litany of exclusionist policies were embarked upon by the federal government in place of reconciliation, reconstruction and reintegration as promised. The Northern leadership increasingly saw Nigeria as their private estate and enthroned themselves as the only “owners and rulers” of Nigeria while all others were consigned to second class citizenry. In no time the contradictions they sought to muzzle with the war came back full cycle to haunt the nation.
By the time the military took their exit in 1999, Nigeria was a cauldron of ethno-religious conflicts. Major Gideon Orkar and his group had attempted to balkanise the nation in a failed coup in 1990. Religious riots/mass killings were routine in the North, while militancy was surging in the South. The wounds of the cancellation of the June 12 elections and slaying of Moshood Abiola was still festering and the media was littered with calls for a sovereign national conference to discuss the Nigerian question. As earlier stated, the fundamental declaration made in Amos chapter 3 verse 3 aptly made it clear that, “the two cannot walk together, except they are in agreement.” Nigerians have thus; found it impossible to walk or live together in peace because they have never been in any agreement to do so. This underscores the necessity of a sovereign national conference and consequently a second independence.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. The second independence will give every ethnic nation a choice to choose self determination or an appropriately restructured nation based on mutual agreement. Most importantly, it will free the nation from the internal colonialism/yoke of decades of oppressive, rapacious, malevolent and hegemonic Northern rule. It will set the nation free from the psychological overhang of erstwhile military dictatorships and its corrupt patronage system; unleash new nations or a nation of free men where justice, equality, prosperity and harmony will reign supreme. President Goodluck Jonathan has the historic opportunity to be Nigeria’s Mikhail Gorbachev, the man who finally set free and gave a second independence to the many ethnic nations trapped in Nigeria’s inferno of oppression, hate, prejudice, Northern hegemony and misrule.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( Email: email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption – President Goodluck Jonathan
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] – We remember when Igbos ran massive educational programs in the then Benue-Plateau State, There were Igbo camps with primary schools at Igumale, Utonkon, Oturpko, up the reaches of Ghoko and the mountains of Zaria, Kano, and the Muslim-dominated wastelands. Igbos came up with the CMS (Church Missionary Society) and the MC ( Methodist Church) to Christianize the people and rescue children and adults from the thralldom of ignorance and superstition. Church groups like the Sudan United Mission (SUM) and the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) ran excellent secondary schools and Teacher-training colleges. These efforts were responsible for providing the North with its early crops of teachers, doctors, and several of the University Vice Chancellors. We salute Igbo teachers, pastors, catechists, headmasters, and early pioneers without whose selfless sacrifices Northern Nigeria would be in an extremely worse shape than it is today.
Is the attempt to educate Northern Nigerian children an orchestrated subterfuge (trick, ploy, or ruse) to grab our oil money and make it be “gone with the wind?” Did Ahmadu Bello, Sir Alhaji Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, and gworo-eating emirs care for their kids? No, they were fooling their people and impressing the public (sidetracked and blinded by religion) with how they could trace their historical roots to the Seventeenth Century Fulani religious leaders or ancient caravan traders and marauders on camelbacks in the Arabian Desert. Weren’t they diverting funds to Britain in exchange for the right to rule Nigeria forever? How much of our money was keeping Buckingham Palace wealthy as the center of the British empire? Truth will be spoken, and we don’t care about whose horse is gored. Time was when the Fulani-Hausa-Kanuri jealousy of Igbos became so overwhelming, the Muslims came up with the infamous Northernization Policy that denied education to generations of Igbo children and other Southerners. Now you want me to forgive and pretend that Igbo children weren’t abused in Northern Nigeria in the 60’s, 70, 80’s, and 90’s? And pretend that the Northern children were not being cheated in the process? It was a case of defecating or emptying one’s bowels in the bedchamber.
Now, the North is engulfed , overwhelmed, swallowed up, and surrounded by anarchy. No meaningful schooling goes on, and under Sharia law, Muslm morality police are providing the only available education consisting of ensuring there is the covering of women’s head and legs with black veils. Those who dare to protest are flogged, beheaded, or buried alive. The results are mass ignorance, exploitation of teenage girls and poverty-stricken boys by the mullah. Didn’t they shoot the 16-year-old Pakistani teenager named Malaa in the head for advocating the education of women? There is abject poverty and crass religious indoctrination of the most pronounced proportion that rob Northern children of the use of the minds. This writer is deeply concerned about the 14-year-old boy who hadn’t gone beyond Primary 4 at Abuja. Where there is no education, there is poverty just as there is darkness in the absence of light.
Noting that poverty in Northern Nigeria is 3 times greater than it is in the Lagos area, former American President Bill Clinton, suggests that we should alleviate extreme poverty in the North through education to halt the wave of bombings, shootings, and kidnappings by Islamic extremists. We agree. While we wholeheartedly support the former popular President’s position, may we be allowed to ask one question: ISN’T THIS EASIER SAID THAN DONE? What happened to the trillions of Naira sunk into bottomless abyss that was Northern education for nearly 50 years? Did the Hausa-Fulani kids go to school? No, they were very busy following cows around the country and reciting undigested Koran and Arabic phrases. Are we being asked to consider sinking further trillions of Naira in some arid, sacrosanct desert reserved for descendants of Usman Dan Fodio and princes of erstwhile prophet? What have these people done for my people besides the promotion of violent jihads? Let Northern teachers tell you of their frustrations as they gather a group of Hausa-Fulani kids in a clearing under a tree and attempt to teach them English alphabets and the number system. The children would disappear into the grasslands when you turn your back or before you begin the lessons. You can’t even count 1-2-3 before the kids vamoose like drops of water on red-hot steel. I’ll be damned if this is not the case.
We swear we are 100% in support of honest efforts to educate learners in Northern Nigeria but their hatred of education (boko haram) is believed to be responsible for their senseless blood-thirsty madness. But the education will be done under one condition: Islamists must renounce violence immediately. Violent Muslim leaders, including Abubakar Muhammed shekau, should be rounded up and delivered to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. We find it unacceptable to send teachers from Diaspora or southern Nigeria to be butchered like nama (cows)? How do you educate a person who believes in BOKO HARAM = WESTERN EDUCATION IS SIN? What do you teach the children of Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haran, who should have been long dead and gone by now, and who is promising greater bloodshed unless he establishes an Islamic state in Nigeria? I invite you my readers to look around at the so-called Islamic, sharia-law countries around the globe. Is any Islamic nation practicing strict Sharia law worth anything other than trouble? Consider Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Gaza? These are violent regimes or killing fields, haters of progress and oppressors of women
Dr. James C. Agazie ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
*Photo Caption - Study Books
[ Masterweb Reports: Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu reports ] – One of the most fundamental reasons for Nigeria’s failure is the opportunism of the leadership who most often put their personal interest above the common good. This phenomenon has been evident from the 1st republic when some national and regional leaders were so intent on furthering their personal and sometimes regional interests that they were willing to incite carpet crossing, rig census results, rig elections, arm thugs and unleash violence on the citizenry without minding the short and long term implications of their actions. When lawlessness, election rigging and violence led to a coup and pushed the nation to the brink of war; again opportunism and self interest pushed some of the regional and national leaders to opt for an unnecessary war that could easily have been avoided without reflecting on the future implications of such needless conflict.
Nigeria has since remained in dire straits as a direct consequence of the shenanigans that truncated the first republic and the avoidable war it occasioned, particularly the unresolved and worsening contradictions that led to the conflict. In light of this reality; President Goodluck Jonathan bowed to a longstanding pressure to convene a sovereign national conference (SNC) which is anticipated to be an opportunity to hold exhaustive dialogue among Nigeria’s various ethnic nations in view of seeking permanent solutions to the issues of nationhood, true federalism and self determination. But yet again, crass opportunism by the likes of Chief Bola Tinubu who having gone into a political alliance with the conservative North, whose unhidden interests lie in maintaining the status quo and all its inherent injustices is now doing everything to sabotage the SNC in the calculation/hope that his alliance with and support for the North will escalate him to power.
In choosing to take sides with the conservative North and their intent to maintain a status quo that has engendered misrule, ethno-religious conflicts, apartheid/marginalisation, corruption, tribal domination and all facets of social injustice, Bola Tinubu like the erstwhile selfish leadership is not thinking of the common good, nor the implication his actions would have for the nation’s future. He is thinking only of himself and how his self interest will be served by scuttling the genuine aspirations of the people for dialogue. What is most surprising is how Bola Tinubu himself has found it convenient to change his principles and political direction to suit his self interest. This is after all the same Bola Tinubu who twenty years ago, following the cancellation of the June 12 1993 elections practically became a militant. He was amongst the founders of the NADECO pro-democracy movement that campaigned ceaselessly for the validation of the June 12 elections and for convening a sovereign national conference.
When the heat of General Sanni Abacha’s clampdown on the opposition became too much, Bola Tinubu went on exile where he continued his advocacy both for the validation of the June 12 elections and for hosting a sovereign national conference. Indeed, Bola Tinubu was one of the pioneers of the campaign for an SNC and until recently one of its most vocal advocates. Even after the return to democracy and his emergence as a governor of Lagos state, Bola Tinubu remained for all intents and purposes a militant, thus when in 2003 the national assembly bandied the idea of impeaching the then president Olusegun Obasanjo, Tinubu threatened that the Southwest would secede from Nigeria if Obasanjo was impeached. The question that many must ponder is; why has a man who militated against Nigeria’s ethnic contradictions and injustices now turned around to back the status quo? Why has a man who was one of the earliest advocates of a sovereign national conference now turned against it?
What if anything has changed in Nigeria? Has the fundamental character of the North and their hegemonic penchant to internally colonise and oppress others under their “born to rule mantra changed”? Has Nigeria become a harmonious nation free of prejudice, conflicts and hate? Has the North learnt the importance of nation building and to treat other Nigerians as equals in a federation premised on mutual consent, justice, respect and progress? Have the various ethnic nations so described as Nigerians in any forum free of coercion decided to mutually consent to being Nigerians under a negotiated arrangement that will guarantee harmony, peace and progress? Has the killings and intolerance of other ethno-religious groups which has been a permanent fixture of the North since 1945 ended? Has the blatant segregation of Northerners from Southerners in the North and South (Sabon gari in the north and Hausa quaters in the south) as organised by Northerners who loath mixing with southerners ended? Can a so called Nigerian live in other parts of the country different from his ethnic origin and feel free or be part of that community?
Since none of these fundamental questions can be answered in the affirmative, it is obvious that Bola Tinubu’s decision to align with the status quo he once maligned and rejected is driven by calculated self interest and not any change in circumstances. Nothing has changed from when he became a NADECO militant and advocate of SNC. If anything, Nigeria’s ethno-religious contradictions have gotten worse with ethnic militias such as OPC, MASSOB, MEND and Boko Haram terrorists holding the nation hostage. The decision by Tinubu to sabotage the SNC for personal gain is eerily reminiscent of the Nigeria-Biafra war and the opportunistic politics played by some leaders particularly in the South who felt they had a lot to gain from the demise of the East, the end of the war proved them wrong as the North in the aftermath of the war created a Nigeria that practically became the “federal republic of the North” in which they were absolutely dominant while the rest of the country were consigned to 2nd class citizenry.
A culmination of such post war Northern excesses led to the brazen cancellation of the June 12 elections and the unconscionable slaying of Chief MKO Abiola which turned Bola Tinubu into a militant. Nothing in the character of the North has changed from the past. By sabotaging the SNC, Bola Tinubu will only help the North maintain the lopsided status quo that helped them foster internal colonialism, injustice and oppression into the future. The North is not interested in a restructured Nigeria that will bring equity, justice, fair-play and prosperity; they simply prefer to maintain the status quo that gives them undue leverage at the expense of others. Once they succeed in scuttling the SNC, their excesses in no time will be unleashed all over again. It happened after the Nigeria-Biafra war and it will happen again. Bola Tinubu should be wise enough to realise that the North will only use him to achieve their aim and dump him afterwards. History books are there to testify to such scenarios in the past. His motivation and decision should at all times be driven by the common good rather than short term parochial interests.
The nation has suffered incalculably from the personal choices and opportunism of some of the 1st republic civilian and military leaders who put their self/regional interest above the common good. We need not travel through that tragic route again. Nigeria needs the SNC to finally determine her future to live in harmony or separate in peace. This is a duty that we owe the next generation. Dialogue is the best way to bring peace and progress and Nigeria urgently needs it. Anyone who acts against the SNC is a selfish sell out and an ultimate enemy of the people. Bola Tinubu should not be that person.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu ( email@example.com ).
*Photo Caption - Bola Tinubu