*Nzeogwu—January 66 coup, Corruption and The Price of Tribalism
By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
There has been an attempt in recent times to restrict corruption, its origins and menace to the Jonathan era. The propagandists have sold tales of former president Jonathan’s alleged massive corruption, its purported historic dimensions and how it ruined the nation. But the facts are different. Corruption in Nigeria dates back to the first republic and has since metamorphosed into a national pastime and to a large extent a national culture in which almost everyone to a larger or lesser extent is involved one way or the other. It is a vice that has enriched a few and pauperised the majority. In Nigeria— politicians as well as the Police, customs officials, artisans and even pastors are all involved in corruption. While for many Nigerians corruption means only looting of public funds, in reality looting is only just an aspect of corruption which is more broadly defined as the “misuse of public, private or entrusted power and generally dishonest and illegal behaviour for private gain which includes bribery, election rigging, nepotism, influence peddling, non respect for the rule of law or perversion of justice” amongst others.
With the widespread lack of development and poverty in the land, there is understandably an emotional and somewhat hypocritical outcry against corruption rightly or wrongly perceived to be the major culprit in the nation’s predicament. This is to the extent that many have proposed a Jerry Rawlings kind of coup in Nigeria, while some others for the same reasons are willing to support Buhari even as he disregards the constitution and the rule of law in his so called corruption war that has been largely discredited by its selectivity, double standards and lack of sincerity. Not many though, have bordered to ask how we got to a situation that according to transparency international put Nigeria on the map as the most corrupt country in the world between 1994 and 2003 and remained one of the most corrupt since then. How exactly did corruption and misrule progressively get so bad and why was nothing done to nip it in the bud earlier? Something indeed was done about corruption as early as the first republic, not in any way different from what Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings latter did in Ghana as young officers led by Major Kaduna Nzeogwu struck in the early hours of 15th January 1966 in what became Nigeria’s first and perhaps only anti-corruption revolutionary coup. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late Major Kaduna Nzeogwu
In his coup speech, Major Nzeogwu had declared that “the aim of the revolutionary council is to establish a strong, united and prosperous nation free from corruption and internal strife. Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 percent; those that seek to keep the country divided permanently so that they can remain in office as ministers or VIP’s at least, the tribalists, the nepotists, those that make the country look big for nothing before international circles, those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian political calendar back by their words and deeds.” The putsch led to the demise of the prime minister, premier of the North amongst others and the collapse of the first republic. Its immediate causes could be traced to the general misrule, creeping corruption and in particular the violent crisis in the Western region which erupted soon after Nigeria got independence. By 1962, disagreements between Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Ladoke Akintola had led to sustained violence and acts of lawlessness with law makers engaged in vicious physical combats in the Western regional parliament. Amongst serious injuries and other damages, the mace of office was broken. The federal government intervened to curb the lawlessness and violence by imposing a state of emergency. Dr Moses Majekodunmi was consequently appointed interim premier of the Western region on the 29th of June 1962.
By 1963, the alliance between Akintola, Tafawa Balewa and Ahmadu Bello had been perfected. At the same time Chief Obafemi Awolowo was arrested for coup plotting/ treason. Following his trial he was alongside some accomplices convicted for treason and jailed for 10 years. By the time the federal elections became due in 1964, Chief Awolowo was conveniently out of the way and the election was massively rigged in the Western region sparking off sustained riots (wetie) and acts of thuggery, violence, arson, mass murders and general acts of lawlessness in the region. The violence and lawlessness in the Western region was to continue from 1964 until 1966. In addition to the Western region crisis was also the TIV riot, the frequent resort to bigotry and associated tribalism by regional and national leaders, the saga of rigged census results, bribery and the growing 10 percent corruption scandal etc. An accumulation of these ills and in particular the unending violence in the Western region led to the coup by young officers who were gravely saddened by the deteriorating situation which they saw as a betrayal of the hopes, aspirations and ideals for which the nation fought for independence.
Yet no sooner did the dust of the initially popular anti-corruption putsch settle down, the bogey of tribalism was introduced and the coup was primitively tagged an Igbo coup. Not minding that the coup was crushed by General Aguiyi Ironsi, himself an Igbo and that the coup was most importantly a response to the sustained bloody crisis in the Western region far away from the East. But meat had already been provided to the Wolves of tribalism and feast on it they did. All of a sudden, no one was interested in what little merits the coup had particularly its anti-corruption stance anymore. The baby was effectively thrown away with the bathwater and the only focus was now tribalism and invented conspiracies. Not ending there—it led to a violent counter-coup and pogroms that eventually culminated in the Nigeria-Biafra war. At the end of the war corruption had triumphed.
The forces that disregarded and indeed were even offended by the fundamental revolt against corruption and misrule the January 1966 coup in spite of its imperfections represented had won and from that point corruption was only going to be largely legitimate shielded as it had become by the more powerful forces of tribalism.
Since then, Nigeria has progressively become a republic of corruption and impunity. By the time Umaru Dikko and co, and the trio of Generals Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar finished with Nigeria; corruption had not only been institutionalised and consolidated, Nigeria held the crown as the most corrupt country on planet earth. It is of course not an accident that all the principal characters that consolidated Nigeria’s corruption are the same actors that rebelled against the January 1966 coup and plunged the nation into a civil war. Worse still, these men strut the land like Peacocks, basking in the tribal immunity that has made them untouchable.
The Price of Nigerian Tribalism:
In 1979 Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings organised a revolutionary coup very similar in its anti-corruption ideals to the January 1966 coup. In prosecuting the coup, three former heads of states, five generals and one colonel were executed. Three Supreme Court judges were also executed. A further 155 officers were jailed. Interestingly none of those executed was from Jerry Rawlings Ewe tribe, but Ghanaians did not inject tribalism into the coup. They saw the larger picture and Jerry Rawlings succeeded in eradicating corruption, cleaning up the state, entrenching accountability and laying the foundation for the functional democracy and prosperity Ghana now enjoys. Had tribalism been injected into the Jerry Rawlings coup as it was in Nigeria, the coup would have failed, the forces of corruption would have won and Ghana like Nigeria would since have become a failed state convulsed by massive looting and strife.
Like the Jerry Rawlings putsch, had the Nzeogwu coup and its aftermath been better managed in view of its overall aims to eradicate corruption, impunity, tribalism and misrule at that early stage, Nigeria would have been a far less corrupt and more functional state today and our leaders would not benefit from the “ethnic immunity and support” that has largely shielded them from prosecution. We are in effect paying a heavy price for the mainstreaming of tribalism into Nigerian politics with no end in sight.
By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
*Nigeria: Dambazau As Victim of Gonzo Journalism
By Edwin Uhara
Recently, the Department of State Security Services (DSS) warned Nigerians against falling victim to the activities of fraudsters who have devised sophisticated means of stripping them off their hard-earned money through blackmailing.
According to news reports, the fraudsters have developed a computer animation system which they use to strip people off their clothes among other techniques in their employ! After they might have achieved this, they will then threaten to upload the naked picture of their victim on the internet if he or she refuses to pay certain amount of money demanded.
This revelation was made public recently by the Director of the Department of State Services (DSS) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Abubakar Babuche while parading two suspected fraudsters caught in this very act. His word: ''This is to inform the general public about the activities of criminal syndicates' style of operation which include among others, the use of computer animation to strip off their victims and put their nude pictures on Facebok and other social media platforms. The gang calls up their potential victims and orders them to pay certain amount of money to a given account number or have their personal pictures edited and posted nude on the internet.''
While the DSS exposed their pictorial tricks, these groups ebbed the strategy and moved to using video in carrying out their despicable venture with the Minister of Interior being their first victim!
However, not too long after the statement was issued by the DSS, a video is now circulating online showing the Honorable Minister of Interior, Retired Lieutenant General Abdurrahman Dambazau seating in a public function while a young man in black suit was polishing his shoes while he was paying serious attention to the event he came for. According to one version of the report I came across, it reads: ''A video sent to PREMIUM TIMES by one of its readers showed the minister dressed in white gown, relaxing on a couch with his legs stretched out. The SSS Officer appeared from the other sides with a handkerchief in his right hand and a holstered service pistol protruding from his jacket.'' ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Minister of Interior, Retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau
The story continues, ''He was shown stooping before the Minister using his left hand to lift Mr. Dambazau's right leg, slightly above the floor to clean his loafers.” What a cranky story?
While this latest attempt is part of the clandestine conspiracy designed to malign, denigrate, discredit, demonize and 'murder' the goodwill and reputation built by General Dambazau over the years, the disheartening aspect is the fact that some sections of the mainstream media have crassingly and bohemianingly lend themselves as megaphone to these agents of darkness whose only stock-in-trade is pedestrian blackmail.
Instead of demonstrating in words and in substance to the world that the media is undoubtedly the fourth estate of the realm which means the fourth pillar on which the entire state apparatus rests on- in the cause of advancing democratic odyssey, some sections of the press knowingly or unknowingly have constituted themselves as Trojan Horse lending supports to slapdash quacks who hide under gonzo journalism to give the noble profession a bad name.
For the records, gonzo journalism is the type of journalism that is written without any claim to objectivity and balance. It is the act of reporting emotions or feelings in contrast to traditional journalism which relies on facts and quotations that can be independently verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly-edited news content and editorial policy that guides the activities of the mainstream media. It dwells more on personal approach to news as against the tradition set by conventional media. Practitioners of this type of journalism believe that the personality in a piece is as important as the event on which the write-up dwells on. To achieve its predetermined objective, practitioners use sarcasm, humor, exaggeration and profanity to drive home their point without recourse to the basic ethics of journalism.
The question is should we continue like this? Should we continue turning innocent people in to victims? For how long must the feverish bird tremble in silence before their keepers? The truth is that justice is distorted when the victim is made to pay for the conduct of the accused.
We cannot claim to be fighting for justice and the entrenchment of democratic institutions in the country when we carelessly allow the very same people we are supposed to protect and defend to be crushed in the cause of executing our constitutionally mandated task. While no freedom is absolute, it however pertinent that we exercise such freedom with great responsibility!
The point I'm trying to make is that we should always allow morality which is the grease that enables every society to function well to guild our professional conducts. People cannot simply live and act as they wish in an emerging society like ours because doing so can be likened to a city driver who drives around with no regard to traffic rules. Under such situation, one must not be a rocket scientist to know that his action would only lead to chaos whose potential victim is unknown.
Hence, for the 21st Century media practitioners to outlast the numerous challenges posed by the activities of quacks who hide under the Freedom of Information Act to scandalize people, we should always get our scoops verified before publishing because sometimes an injury caused to an innocent victim while trying to be ahead of competitors may leave lasting scars in their hearts!
As for those who have drawn a line of battle with the Buhari administration by demonizing anybody who openly identifies with Mr. President, I challenge them to unmask themselves by fighting directly instead of hiding under gonzo journalism to fight because it is an act of cowardice.
Comrade Edwin Uhara ( Phone: 07065862479; Email: email@example.com )is a Journalist and Public Affairs Commentator. He writes from Abuja, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: Consequences Of Unaddressed Injustice - Masterweb CEO’s Case
By Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chair - Intersociety
(Intersociety, 11th October 2015)-Chief Charles O. Okereke is the Founder & CEO of the Nigerian Masterweb News, based in Milwaukee, Wi 53209, United States and born in Ndi-Elendu, Alayi in Abia State, Nigeria on 29th July 1956 (59yrs). He won then Imo State Government scholarship to study in the United States. He later earned Bachelors of Science Degree (B.Sc.) -1975-1979 and Masters of Science Degree (M.Sc.)-1980-1981 in Agric from the Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, United States. Chief Charles O. Okereke later founded the Nigeria’s premier online news called the Nigerian Masterweb in the year 2000. The Nigerian Masterweb is one of the earliest, if not the first Nigerian online news through which newspapers were read online in those days.Chief Okereke’s successful exploits in media and communications also saw him composing God Bless Africa (the unofficial African Anthem) in 2002, Rise Up For Africa in 2003 and All Hail Biafra (song inspirationally composed at the end of the Nigerian-Biafran Civil War in 1970, but recorded in 2003).
In spite of these robust and wonderful feats recorded for himself and Nigeria, Chief Charles O. Okereke is far from being happy with Nigeria. From diversion of his scholarship funds in the 70s by corrupt diplomatic officers at Nigeria’s Embassy or Mission in USA, which forced him to seek a menial job in USA to be able to complete his scholarship education; to job retrenchment/unemployment that affected him on his return to the country in the 80s, the Chief is steadily angry with Nigeria since then. The worst of it all was how he was cheated out of the African Union Singing Competition in 2003 that saw him relegated to third position, instead of first position, which he said was doctored and given to the undeserved winner. Chief Okereke’s anger is steadily directed at Nigerian political authorities, who refused to attend to his numerous petitions including those addressed to the Yar’Adua and the Jonathan administrations for the purpose of looking into and addressing, even if belated.
The summation of Chief Okereke’s age-long grievances against Nigeria can be read at http://www.nigeriamasterweb.com/ElectionRev/OkerekeStolenSchoolFees.html . Chief Okereke’s age-long plight is not only a good random sampling as it concerns similar or same ill-treatments meted out to Nigerian citizens by successive public office institutions and holders in Nigeria; forcing most of the victims to run to overseas where many of them give up their Nigerian citizenship; but it exposes the country’s sub-human handling of the plights of its citizens; from sporting to diplomatic and social wellbeing of the citizens. One of such sore cases was total abandonment of late Prof Chinua Achebe by both Federal and old Anambra State (Anambra and Enugu States). It took immediate intervention of the United States Government for the precious life of the renowned Professor to be saved and rehabilitated after his fatal automobile accident.
Till date, Nigerian Government hardly recognizes the ingenuity and scholarly efforts of its naturally and academically gifted personalities while at home. But the same Government roles out drums in cerebration including bestowment of merit awards the moment the personalities under reference excel abroad or internationally in their chosen and scholarly fields. The case of late Prof Chinua Achebe who was offered a National Merit Award in 2004, which he commendably turned down is a typical example. ( Continues below….. )
Chief Charles Okereke in 2012 presenting Chief Nduka Eya, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Secretary-General a copy of the CD of his composition "God Bless Africa" that came in 1st in the African Union Anthem competition and a copy of "Encyclopedia of National Anthems (2nd Edition-Volumes 1 &2)" where he was cited under African Union; both copies of the CD and Encyclopedia were for Ohanaeze library. Extra copies of the CD and encyclopedia were also given to Ohanaeze for submission to President Jonathan along with their petition to him on behalf of Chief Okereke.
This is why clownish and clannish mortals like Mr. Adams Oshomoile will have the effrontery to pour his dirty venom on egg heads like Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, on simple reason of the fact that himself and other clownish and clannish fellows concocted and manipulated existing ethnic and demographic settings in the country, resulting to the emergence of federal ruling party, which he is now a member. Funny enough, the same Oshoimole has gone dumb following the recent double international appointments handed down to the same woman.
It is totally correct to say that 80%, if not more of Nigerian intellectuals overseas are victims of Nigeria’s human neglect and underdevelopment of yester years. In the United States alone, there are over 25,000 Nigerian professors, doctorate degree holders and other experts of international standing and only 10% of them can turn Nigeria into China overnight if given the opportunities. To worsen it all, Nigeria, till date, has not stopped beating about the bush in that respect. Indigenous and Diasporan dichotomy in selected professional fields like medicine and engineering is still very high. In higher educational system, awkward policies still disallow the country from tapping the wealth of Nigerian born scholars abroad. In all, Nigerian society is such that chronically encourages mediocrity and professional quackery and discourages meritocracy and professionalism.
In as much as we totally share Chief Charles O. Okereke’s sentiments against Nigeria particularly its public institutions and administrators, both present and past, we make bold to say that the most important aspect of lifetime achievement is not to be officially recognized and celebrated, but to use it to the better the living conditions of members of the achiever’s immediate and extended societies. In other words, any lifetime achievement that is not directed towards the service to humanity is better not achieved or earned than earned. Lifetime achievement has various ways of recognition and it is generally divided into two categories of formal and informal or remote and immediate recognitions.
For instance, Christopher Columbus as the discoverer of Americas (a word coined from another great explorer-Amerigo Vaspuci) is physically recognized in USA with a tomb/statue, whereas the second discoverer of Americas (Amerigo Vaspuci) is recognized by mind and tongue. Their explorations took place in late 1400s and early 1500s. The Republic of France donated the Statue of Liberty to USA when the US marked 100 years of its independence. The philosophic works of Jean Jacques Rousseau (1762) inspired the French Declaration of the Right of Man & Citizen (French Revolution) of 1789, while the philosophic works of John Locke (1690) inspired Thomas Jefferson, who conceived the American Independence Declaration, proclaimed on July 6, 1776.
The phrase Global Village was first coined and invented in 1400s (15th century) by a Briton named Marshal McLuhan as a village cleared by a high level of information technology. This was on account of, or followed discovery of the triangular trade between Africa, Europe and the New World now called America. It took over 580 years in 1989 (on the heels of collapse of the cold war) for the phrase –global village to be dusted up and operationally defined and designed for present global usage.
The consequences of not attending to public petitions or representations are behind the country’s woes of present time. Nigerian public institutions and office holders must change this awkward and age-long policy and begin to attend to people’s complaints no matter how inconsequential they may be. When the citizens complain individually or collectively, their complaints must be diligently looked into and responded to. This is a major way of giving them a sense of belonging and narrowing the gap between the public offices and officers and the citizens.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies, M.Sc. Candidate, Peace Studies & Conflict Resolution
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Chief Charles Okereke Bags "Ambassador for Peace" Award
By Masterweb News Desk
Chief Charles O. Okereke, CEO/Publisher - Nigeria Masterweb and Africa Masterweb, composer - God Bless Africa, African Union Award Winning Anthem and recipient of several international awards including American Association of University Women (AAUW) Leadership Award, was last Saturday bestowed with Universal Peace Federation (UPF) "Ambassador for Peace" Award by its Nigerian chapter. The award which was also accorded to other accomplished dignitaries was in recognition of recipients' past and on-going efforts in humanism and world peace, as well as a new UPF global commissioning in working towards the realization of a peaceful world for all. The UPF international award was presented to nominees at Apo Apartments Hotel, Apo, Abuja as part of the special program of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of UPF. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Chief Charles O. Okereke
An NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, UPF supports the work of the United Nations, particularly in the areas of interfaith peace-building, peace education, and the strengthening of marriage and family. UPF is the largest and most diverse network of peace leaders commissioned from dignitaries from all walks of life representing different races, religion, nationalities and cultures. It is dedicated to achieving world peace. ( Continues below….. )
UPF advocates renewal of the United Nations, including a proposal that the UN creates an interreligious council within its structures. It also offers relief and humanitarian programs, service-learning projects, character education and sports programs with a special focus on personal leadership and peacemaking skills. UPF encourages all religions to dialogue and cooperate for peace based upon the recognition that human dignity derives from a universal divine source that is the basis of harmony and unification. UPF implements its programs through her global network of Ambassadors for Peace. ( Continues below….. )
BELOW ARE SELECTED QUOTES BY CHIEF CHARLES O. OKEREKE
(1) - "The cross of grief and pain from predators and oppressors in disguise as leaders or liberators ceases with age, but the people live from age to age through generations. Eventually, the nation reverts to the people. Time on your side."
(2) - "Peace and justice are of prosperity, human rights and freedom. These are the main elements of humanism, which is not of tribe, race, group or section, but of God’s love and human conscience. Music and media guided by His Grace are vehicles of everlasting peace and justice."
(3) - "Let the guns implode, the wooden barrels decompose to fertilize a vibrant agriculture, and the metallic barrels and structures melted for industrialization. Let the ensuing abundance fill up the greedy and the rest of society for the complete healing of Africa."
*An Update On Complaint Against Wrongful Allocation Of Results To Deceased Students & Related Issues – Part 3
Prof Godwin Onu
Rector, Federal Polytechnic
The Deputy Rector (Administration)
Office of the Rector, Federal Polytechnic
Oko, Anambra State, Nigeria
An Update On Complaint Against Wrongful Allocation Of Results To Deceased Students & Related Issues (3)
(Civil Liberties, Onitsha Nigeria, 15th June 2015)-Following our letters of 21st May and 4th June 2015 addressed to your respected office on the matter above underlined and reactions so generated, it is our resolution to write to update you and other stakeholders. Importantly, we have observed few errors contained in the two previous letters under reference.
Contrary to our earlier letters, the affected students in the Department of Science Lab Technology-2012/2013 Session; numbering 400, are in the Ordinary National Diploma (OND) category and not HND. In other words, they are OND or ND Finalists; not HND Finalists. Also, late Citizens Offorbuike Ginika and Offorbuike Daniel with Registration Numbers FPO/SLT/ND/R11/012/160 and FPO/SLT/ND/R2/012/212 respectively, are some of the deceased or dead students awarded exam results in the said exams they did not take part. In our two previous letters, they were mistakenly mentioned as some of the students that left your respected School long before the exams were taken or held; but were awarded results of the exams.
School’s Position On Late Citizen Ezeh Uchenna:
The position reportedly canvassed by the authorities of the Oko Polytechnic under your headship to the effect that Ezeh Uchenna with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R1/012/038 took the referenced examinations; is strongly refuted and challenged. The following is the irrefutable account of Citizen Ejidike Stephen(07064601819)-the Course Rep and leading complainant: the exams in contention (2nd Semester ND 1-2012/2013) were supposed to be taken in November 2013, but the protracted strike that started in April 2013 and ended in July 2013 and another that started in October 2013 and ended in July 2014; disrupted the exams. In August 2014, the exams were taken and during the exams, late Ezeh Uchenna called me from his hospital bed in my capacity as the Course Rep.
He pleaded with me to arrange myself or find someone to write the exams for him, but I told him I can’t do that to avoid being caught for impersonation. I advised him to ask his family to go and meet our HOD. Late Ezeh Uchenna was terminally sick and bed-ridden. Throughout the exams he was in the hospital and never seen near the exams hall. He later died in September 2014. Apart from the Course Rep’s account, the School’s reported position suffered another grievous damage on the account of late Citizens Offorbike Ginika and Offorbike Daniel’s involvement in the exams’ result award jamboree. The late sibling, who hailed from Oko; died in a motor accident at Nnewi in October 2013 during the campaign tour of one of the leading gubernatorial candidates in the November 2013 governorship election in Anambra State. But their names were included as those that took the referenced exams of August 2014; ten months after their tragic death. They were also allocated two and four results respectively.
Dead Students Allocated Results:
1. Late Ezeh Uchenna with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R1/012/038. He was given upper credit or “3.05” and awarded 67 in Cell Biology (STB 121), 81 in Organic Chemistry (STC 121), 60 in Physical Chemistry (STC 122), 49 in Electricity & Magnetism (STP 121?), 44 in Optics & Waves (STP 122), 66 in Analytical Chemistry (STC 123), 70 in General Lab Techniques 111, 69 in Computer Packages 1(COM 123), 64 in Research Method (STC 201) and 52 in Citizenship Education (GNS 127). He died in September 2014; a month after the exams.
2. Late Offorbike Daniel with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R2/012/212. He was given 31 in STC 122 (Physical Chemistry), 40 in STP 122 (Optics & Wave), 39 in GLT 121 (General Lab Technology) and 30 in Com 123 (Computer Packages 1). He died in a motor accident in October 2013, ten months before the exams.
3. Late Offorbike Ginika with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R2/012/160. She was given 40 in STP 122 (Optics & Wave) and 14 in Com 123 (Computer Packages). She died with her brother in a motor accident in October 2013; ten months before the exams.
4. Late Maduabuchi Judith with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R1/011/266. She was given 90 in STP 221 (Organic Chemistry), 48 in STC 221 (Maintenance & Repair) and 37 in STB 222 (Ecology). She died in July 2014; a month before the exams.
Award Of Results To Former Students:
1. One of the former students of the School awarded results of exams they did not take part is Citizen Ubah Peter with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R2/012/209. He was given 30 in GLT 121 (General Lab Technology), 22 in STC 121 (Organic Chemistry) and 14 in Com 123 (Computer Packages). He left the School during the protracted strike in 2013 and went in private business and never returned to the School; yet he was awarded exam results of exams held in August 2014. His phone number is +2348039733335.
Further, the purpose of this letter is to reinforce your School’s ongoing internal investigation to enable it address the problem head long. As we have earlier demanded, all the missing and misallocated results should be traced and corrected and staffers or authorities responsible for the anomalies sanctioned. None of the affected students including Agu Oluchukwu (08089958161) and Ejidike Stephen (07064601819) should be maltreated or sanctioned.
We also frown at the earlier refusal of the Project Coordinator of the said Department of Science Lab Technology, one (Mr.) Onyejekwu I. to collect the projects of the duo of Agu Oluchukwu and Ejidike Stephen on the instructions of their HOD, one Dr. Mrs. Rufina Ogechukwu Muoka (08037503949); when the duo went to submit their projects on 9th June 2015. Though they were collected on 11th June 2015 on the intervention of the local authorities of the Department of State Security Services (DSS/SSS); but the action of the HOD is condemnable and sanction-able. Just the other day, some of our friend-journalists reported to us how she attacked them on phone cursing and abusing them in the presence of her students simply because they wanted to hear her own side of the complaint. She is still reportedly going about, threatening the affected students particularly the duo of Ejidike Stephen and Agu Oluchukwu.
We also understand that she was recently elevated to the rank of deanship and made a member of the School’s Governing Council. Our position is that she does not deserve the elevation and appointment. As a matter of fact, she deserves demotion and sanction; not promotion and conspiratorial protection from the School authorities under your headship.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
The Director of SSS, Anambra State Directorate, Amawbia, Anambra State
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Nine Ways Buhari Can Remake Nigeria By Partnering With Private Sector
By Chuks UC Ukaoma
In his well-received inaugural speech on May 29th, President Buhari articulated his plans for solving the same ole problems facing Nigeria. These chronic challenges are epileptic power supply, bad roads, high unemployment, insecurity, environmental degradation, and yes, corruption.
Mr. Buhari also made this ambitious pledge in "My 100 Days Covenant With Nigerians: We promise not to leave any Nigerian behind in our determination to create, expand and ensure equitable and effective allocation of economic opportunities. No matter the amount of funds we generate, unless there is an efficient and effective utilization, it will only create few billionaires. Unless we fight corruption, the economy will only benefit the greedy in our society."
Most Nigerians agree corruption is an evil that needs to be exorcised. Buhari was elected to fight and made promises to win this war. For the record, I support harsh punishment for the perpetrators. However, I question whether fighting corruption should be Job Numero Uno of the new administration… Please hear me out! ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Muhammadu Buhari
The sequence this administration pursues its agenda will be critical. The true mandate could be lost by fixation on corruption at the expense of other challenges that breed degeneracy. Neither the administration nor the people should assume the federal government could solve all these challenges without the private sector. Nigeria needs a boatload of new private sector jobs in a hurry! Ample jobs would help to ameliorate Nigeria's problems, including corruption.
If Nigeria harnesses the power of the media, it would effectively win the war on corruption with little or no public funds and devoid of potential ethnic or selective prosecution. On this I will elaborate later.
Thanks to the cornucopia of evidence, Nigerians stated through the recent elections that derelict elected officials shall be voted out of office. Be warned politicians: going forward, it's all about performance, stupid!
Nigerians, including those of us abroad, need to coalesce to find solutions to our problems. No single group can solve them all.
Before expecting too much from the administration, people need to realize that democracy is an expensive form of government that is sustainable only when efficiently partnered with the private sector.
Positive change does not manifest overnight; it’s often incremental, albeit planned, steady, progressive and cumulative. If the new administration tries to do many things too fast too soon to assuage the voters, it could end up doing none of them well.
Nigeria needs a larger middle class to create a more stable and prosperous society. In turn that would reduce poverty, Boko Haramism, armed robbery, corruption, insecurity, substandard health care and roads, to name a few.
Per Buhari, the challenges of Nigeria are surmountable. No need to reinvent the wheel. Nigeria cannot fully adopt American-style democracy without mirroring the American institutions which foster that government in every level. America, with its glaring imperfections, is still a great country to emulate.
The past and present leaders of Nigeria have traveled to or lived in the United States. They know that a good way to liberate themselves (from the stress of insecurity) is to help create more employment opportunities for all Nigerians, especially the middle class and recent graduates.
The Buhari Administration can positively engrave its name in the history book by doing the following:
1 Housing (Specifically single family homes). "Nigeria is bedeviled with a housing deficit of about 17 million" houses. The private housing industry could create over 50 million good jobs, over time. This alone would solve Nigeria’s unemployment problem. The country can be transformed by establishing new well-planned mega cities near the six super highways (See #3 below and google my article: I am Here to Create New Jobs).
Nigeria should cease wasting money by patching ill-planned cities. Why continue to pour new wine into old wineskins? States should compete by building new cities with ample parks, schools, sports teams, places of worship and commerce, and yes, cemeteries.
The streets must be walkable, bikeable and motorable. The cities should have modern amenities like water, waste water, electric power, and technology network. These amenities are great job-creating opportunities.
As homeownership increases in a growing economy, the problems plaguing Nigeria today would shrink to manageable levels. When your homestead represents your largest single investment and the same is the case for your neighbors (and there is the rule of law), armed robbery and Boko Haram would not gain a foothold in that environment.
The solution is not more (Beverly Hills) Lekkis or Maitamas where homes are out of reach of the average person and where everyone is a billionaire. Rather communities need to be planned like our villages where big and small homes co-exist; and where people can put down roots and know their neighbors. Why live behind high insecurity walls of today's transient cities? People toil most of their lives without owning a piece of the city due to the high cost of real estate.
2. Communication: Nigeria should grant free licenses and provide low-interest loans for ten thousand mini-radio and -television stations. I called for 1000 mini radio stations in a previous article; that number needs to be upped to 10,000 stations to blanket the entire country.
Each station can be restricted to about a 10-mile range. This would make each station truly local. As these stations compete, the better managed ones would emerge and buy the weaker stations to form a network or expand into other media like television stations. Starting cost can be as low as $10,000.
The media is an essential vanguard of democracy. Too much lip service has been paid to corruption; pervasive media is an effective and efficient way of winning the war on corruption. When people have access to timely information on the activities of public servants, public pressure would force behavior modification. For example, if a public servant who makes certain amount of money has unexplainable assets far exceeding the salary, such person should be treated as a common criminal by society. The media is also effective in educating society and curbing crimes. The Chibok girls would have been found by now if Nigeria had tongues wagging 24/7 on 10,000 mini radio and TV stations.
3. Six major highway networks: The super highways should be as straight as possible (even if they bypass today's major cities) because well-planned cities would emerge along these super highways. Notice how the six highways would connect all corners of Nigeria:
A. Sokoto to Badagary,
B. Lagos to Calabar/Oron,
C. Maiduguri/Baga to Calabar/Oron
D. Maiduguri/Baga to Sokoto
E. Maiduguri/Baga to Lagos
F. Calabar/Oron to Sokoto
This would reduce population concentration while spurring development in every part of Nigeria over time. It would also promote trade with neighboring countries.
The private sector toll road system, used effectively in America and Mexico, can fund these six super highways.
If Spanish companies can own toll roads in Texas, international companies can be incentivized to build toll roads and bridges in Nigeria. Heck, the commercial city of Onitsha alone can use 10 bridges across River Niger to eliminate the current bottleneck while stimulating development on both sides of the river; just like Austin, Texas has 10 bridges over the Colorado River. This would free up public funds for other badly needed services like public safety.
A Nigerian (friend of mine, in full disclosure) named Ben Obaretin has a road construction business in Houston, Texas. Other talented folks inside and outside the country should be encouraged to contribute their expertise.
4. Let cities and counties have independent police departments. The police will become more accountable to the citizens when it reports to local city manager, mayor, or county commissioner. This is a more effective system than, say, creating more postage stamp states.
5. Let communities, religious organizations, well-to-do persons, establish for-profit schools (elementary, secondary, and college and university). Create several accreditation bodies with authority to validate any institution in the nation.
Let there be institutions on every corner, online, on the air, 24-7 as they are in Massachusetts and the Dominican Republic. Let them start with as few as ten students! Let the various levels of education compete in sports and academics to promote excellence while generating funds and creating jobs. Let the market determine the quality of education. That's how the Harvards and Stanfords and Oxfords of the world were created and are maintained.
Get the federal government out of owning/operating schools. US government per se does not own high schools or universities or commercial airline companies or sports teams. They are owned by the private sector, state, or local governments, individuals and religious and civic entities. Encourage wealthy Nigerians to build schools like railroad mogul Leland Stanford did for Stanford University (to memorialize his only son) or John D. Rockefeller did in 1891 for the University of Chicago. Rockefeller prophetically described the donation to establish the university as “the best investment I ever made.”
All that (legal or illegal) wealth should be invested in lasting legacies, not misused on disposable luxury cars, rarely utilized mansions without resale values, diabetes-inducing parties, foreign medical treatment travels, and culminating in, elaborate funerals.
6. Former River State Governor Rotimi Amaechi should be commended for promoting the Indigene Law. All states should establish the Indigene Law. The essence of this law in curbing tribalism and promoting unity cannot be overestimated. Nigerians and immigrants should be encouraged to have roots (and have full rights) in a new place in as little of one year of living there. When you own a piece of something, you protect and preserve that asset. This idea of being treated as an alien in one part of Nigeria because your parents were born in another part of the country is destructive to all parties.
7. Progressive Taxation: Everyone wants to receive benefits of taxes but no one likes to pay them. A good taxation system is paramount in the orderly development of a nation. We should support the work of every Zacchaeus because without them, we cannot adequately fund and sustain developments. The cities, villages, local governments and neighborhoods should have taxing authorities to provide the level of service residents demand. Taxation can be a powerful tool of governance and accountability. Where people pay their hard earned money in taxes, they demand better services, and severe punishment for those who embezzle communal resources. Also they welcome new productive residents to help them further develop and maintain that community.
8. Attract Immigrants to Nigeria: Natives are often threatened by foreigners who come in with nothing and through handwork become successful. Instead of being jealous, natives should encourage immigrants to not just come but to establish deeper roots. Immigrants being different bring unique drives, cultures, intellects, education, etc. Those are assets to be harnessed, not chased away.
The United States does this better than other countries. America has the generational benefits to prove it! Elon Musk is a South African genius who is creating scores of jobs in America. How many Nigerians have thrived abroad? The answer is thousands, if not millions. Why have they excelled overseas and not at home? Immigrants are the spice of life! Xenophobia is an ill wind that does nobody good.
9. Promote Food Safety And Natural Healthcare.
Everyone eats and needs good health to perform at optimal levels. Prevention is better than cure as we know. The safety of Nigerian food production should be improved. All foods for human consumption should be produced under sanitary conditions.
Nations like China and India are returning to their roots to promote good health. They realize the virtues of not believing solely in Western medicines at the expense of the true and tested traditional medicines. In Nigeria, Western medicine and religious beliefs have combined to give a bad name to traditional measures that sustained our forefathers for thousands of years.
This is not to advocate one method over the other; rather to opine that the good in both should be studied and allowed to co-exist based on their efficacy. Some Western medical professionals are now touting the benefits of herbs, mind over body techniques of yoga, tai chi, Pilates, meditation, etc. Let us preserve the positive aspects of our medical heritage in combination with scientific advancements of the modern world.
Religious denominations should establish more medical institutions in the communities they serve. These could be professionally managed for-profit institutions. They would prolong the lives of Nigerians, including those with warped habits of shuttling overseas for medical treatments.
The new cities with modern amenities would promote wellness. Too many Nigerians prematurely die from or are sickened by malaria, typhoid fever, asthma, obesity, and dysentery. These are diseases that are either caused or exacerbated by unsanitary conditions. Imagine the productivity loss from sickness and premature deaths! The bereaved suffer emotionally, physically, socially, and financially. Today's high funeral costs are fueled in part by poverty, crime, and corruption. The Federal Government, media, and religious organizations should educate Nigerians to reduce funeral costs. Let us repurpose these funds to improve the lives of the living around us. If elaborate funerals raised the dead, all the pharaohs would be alive today.
Chuks UC Ukaoma and his family reside in Texas, USA He has 20 years’ of experience in the new home industry.
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*Intersociety Files Complaint To Rector On Wrongful Allocation of Results To Deceased Students & Related Issues
Prof Godwin Onu
Rector, Federal Polytechnic
The Deputy Rector (Administration)
Office of the Rector, Federal Polytechnic
Oko, Anambra State, Nigeria
Complaint Against Wrongful Allocation Of Results To Deceased Students & Related Issues: A Call For Investigation & Redress (2)
(Public Issue, Onitsha-Nigeria, 4th June 2015)-Sir, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety, is an international rights organization formed and incorporated in 2008 with headquarters in Onitsha, Southeast, Nigeria. Intersociety thematically works for protection and advancement of democracy and good governance, civil liberties and rule of law as well as security and safety. Our advocacy activities and other information about us are available on www.intersociety-ng.org.
Sir, it is recalled that we have on 21st May 2015 written your respected office through the School’s Deputy Rector for Administration. Our friendly letter arose from several oral and written complaints to us by concerned students of the Science Laboratory Technology of the Higher National Diploma (ND 2) of the 2012/2013 Session or “ND Finalists”. The crux of the complaint-letter is the wrongful allocation of credit grade exam results to some deceased students as well as some students of the said Department of the Science Lab Tech who left the School long before the referenced exams ( 2nd semester of ND 1-2012/2013 Academic Session).
There was also gross mix up and missing results involving many students of the Department who took part in the referenced exams. As we write, the affected students are restless and in a state of fear, anguish and despair following uncertainties surrounding their fate as final year students. We have it on good authority that they will be leaving the School in less than two weeks. In all, 400 students, out of 700 students of the Department are affected by the anomalous results under reference. Reports also have it that the students particularly the likes of Ejidike Stephen (07064601819) and Agu Oluchukwu (08089958161) are being threatened and labeled rebels by the School authorities particularly by their Head of Department, one Dr. Mrs. Rufina Muoka Ogechukwu (08037503949). Sir, the first letter under reference, dated 21st May 2015, is reproduced as follows:
“In April 2015, some students of the Science Lab Technology of the Higher National Diploma (ND 2) of your respected Polytechnic made a complaint to our leadership in Onitsha, Nigeria concerning the above subject. The referenced students, who complained on behalf of themselves and their colleagues, belong to the 2012/2013 Session (ND finalists).
Complaint: That their 2nd Semester ND 1-2012/2013 Academic Session examination results contained fundamental omissions such as missing results, mis-allocation of results and allocation of results to the deceased and former students that never took part in the referenced examination. That prior to the referenced anomalies, your respected office and your person had the honour and privilege to address the students of your respected Poly including the student-complainants immediately the end of protracted public Poly strike of 2013; and assured them of the safety of their academic journey in your respected Poly including safety of their results and related academic records. The referenced assurances of your respected office followed possible misplacement and defacing of academic files and documents owing to the said unfortunate protracted strike.
The referenced students’ complaint followed anomalies found in their results when they were officially released. While some found theirs missing, others were awarded low marks. The most striking of it all was discovery made whereby some deceased students who died long before the referenced exams were held; were awarded excellent marks. Some students who left the respected Poly long before the referenced exams were also awarded favourable marks.
One of the deceased students awarded marks in exams he never participated is late Ezeh Uchenna with Registration Number FPO/SLT/ND/R1/012/038. He was given upper credit or “3.05” and awarded 67 in Cell Biology (STB 121), 81 in Organic Chemistry (STC 121), 60 in Physical Chemistry (STC 122), 49 in Electricity & Magnetism (STP 121?), 44 in Optics & Waves (STP 122), 66 in Analytical Chemistry (STC 123), 70 in General Lab Techniques 111, 69 in Computer Packages 1(COM 123), 64 in Research Method (STC 201) and 52 in Citizenship Education (GNS 127). Some of the students who left the respected Poly after the first semester of ND 1, but awarded the anomalous results are Offorbuike Ginika and Offorbuike Daniel with Reg. Numbers FPO/SLT/ND/R11/012/160 and FPO/SLT/ND/R2/012/212 respectively.
Internal Complaint/Investigation: Following the anomalies under complaint, the affected students made frantic efforts to draw the attention of their lecturers and head of department. They also reached out to the office of the Registrar of the respected Poly as well as Dean of Studies of the School of Applied Sciences. The referenced complaints were put in writing as advised by some of their lecturers. Sadly, their head of department, who is now a Dean, reportedly scolded them and terrified them for speaking out and putting their grievances in writing and availing them outside their department. They were also reportedly threatened with rustication and accused of being instigated by certain malicious persons.
On our part, on receiving the complaint, we reached out to our journalist-friends in the respected Poly’s Public Relations Office and they promised to intervene and get the issue resolved amicably and satisfactorily. But from the middle of April till this date, nothing assuring has come from the said promise.
Call: We call on your respected office to look into the matter and resolve same timorously. Strictly speaking, we see nothing wrong in students raising a complaint over their academic results fate. What ought to and still need to be done is to investigate their complaint with intent to finding merit or demerit in their referenced complaint and if it has merit, the anomalies should be corrected; if no merit is found, it should be communicated to them as well, with facts showing their complaint lacks merit. This is more so when the affected students said they have already conferred with some of the lecturers that handled the referenced courses and the exams, resulting in differences in the lecturers’ raw result score sheets confirming the students’ complaint.
This notwithstanding, there should be formal and comprehensive investigation into the complaint by your respected office or by a body delegated by your respected office. We also advise against meting out any punitive action against any or all of the affected students”.
The Purpose Of Our Second Letter: Our second letter to your respected office follows continuing threats on the lives and liberties of the affected students including the duo of Ejidike Stephen and Agu Oluchukwu, who are accused of being paid or hired by some lecturers to destabilize the School and attack and unseat the referenced Head of Department (HOD). The latter accusation has consistently featured in face to face contacts between the students including Ejidike Stephen and Agu Oluchukwu and the Head of Department under reference. One of such contacts took place on Monday evening of 25th May 2015, when the referenced students went to her office to remind her of their problem. She reportedly not only bashed them, but also threatened their human person forcing them to flee her office.
Just two days ago-2nd June 2015, they were called and invited telephonically by the School security authorities to come and defend the letter Intersociety wrote to the School and defend their involvement over same. The students also informed Intersociety that their names have been forwarded to the School’s Anti Cult Brigade to be treated as common criminals and cultists. As a matter of fact, they have gone into hiding; operating amorphously to avoid being physically assaulted and held captive. Their state of mind is also psychologically battered leading to mental torture.
We regard these approaches as very uncalled for, reprehensible, despicable and condemnable. The School (Oko Federal Poly) under your respected midwifery must not be an outlaw and dangle with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 particularly its Sections 35 (personal liberty), 36 (fair hearing) and 39 (freedom of expression). Your School must also understand that the engine room of the corporate social responsibilities, which it is a party to; is founded on human rights. Students who complain of certain anomalies through duly constituted processes are not only sticklers of due process, but also entitled to fair hearing and free speech or expression.
It saddens our heart that till date, no reasonable investigation over the students’ complaint has been commenced and concluded by the School authorities. As for the referenced Head of Department, who was newly elevated to the academic rank of Deanship, we demand that she should be called to order and compelled to revisit the issue under complaint. As we have earlier demanded, no student of the referenced Department should be punished or maltreated over the issue.
The students’ position and assertion that the lecturers that handled the referenced courses and exams should be compelled to tender their raw result score sheets for the purpose of crosschecking results in their possession with those wrongfully published by the Department and the School authorities; should be commended and heeded. The recent order of the said HOD to lecturers of her Department to upload all continuous assessment works in accordance with published anomalous results; should be suspended until a full and conclusive investigation into the complaint is carried out and its findings made and communicated to the affected students.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Woman Who Denounced Her Nigerian Citizenship To Become Spanish Insults Igbos
By Igbo General Assembly Spain
Igbo General Assembly (IGA) Spain hereby condemn in strongest terms the series of hate speeches and posts going viral in social media directed towards Igbos in Spain by one Mrs. Helen Mukoro (Helynn Harper). Mrs. Helen Mukoro in her articles posted on facebook and other media outlets accused igbos of bringing bad name to Nigeria. She wrote that all Nigerians in Spanish jails are Igbos, that Igbos never put off their eyes in quick and dirty money.
Contrary to her claims, the assembly reiterated that Igbos in Spain and the world at large have always been peaceful, law abiding, blessing and light unto the Nigeria nation and the entire human race. It regretted the dissemination of "malicious and derogatory" rumours which the assembly see as serving solely to involve the tribe in baseless scandal. Mrs Mukoro is not only insensitive, she has displayed her ethnophobia, racial and tribalistic naivety towards Igbos in Spain and the world at large.
IGA is saddened by these articles, some of which are intended to cause harm and to incite hatred, the only aim of which is to implicate the people in supposed infractions that have not been the case. It is surprising that such hateful attack is coming from a woman, from a section of a tribe that believes in making money through prostitution, human trafficking and it's related ritualism. Undoubtedly she is also involved in these nefarious acts.
This same woman claims she is now a lawyer and is contesting for the office of mayor in the Spanish city of Denia and she believes that the best way to run her campaign is by inciting hatred against an ethnic group. Such a person has no place in a democratic world and do not deserve a public office.
The IGBOS have worked hard to build their credibility in the world community. We are outraged that such irresponsible allegations were made by the likes of dubious Helen Mukoro(Helynn Harper). Mukoro tell the people of Denia how she came to Europe and what she has been doing in Padova,Italy before she came to Spain.
It is important for us to separate facts from fiction and point out the numerous discrepancies in the allegations laid against the leadership of the Nigerian mission in Spain by Mrs. Mukoro.
Firstly IGA is not in position to speak for the Embassy, but we must remind Mrs. Mukoro that Nigerian Embassies are not tribal institutions, rather national establishments saddled with the responsibility of catering for the needs of Nigerians abroad and representing Nigeria in the host country. Nigerian Embassy in Spain is not exception to this. In the past three years, Nigerians in Spain have witnessed changes for good in the way the embassy treat Nigerians. Citing reference to the case of a Nigerian who was illegally deported without due process, the embassy compelled Spanish authority to bring him back and till date he still lives in Spain.
Secondly, the case of two Nigerian families who their children were seized by Spanish authority, through the dynamic leadership of her excellency at the embassy they were released and sponsored them back to Nigeria.
Finally, the case of a Nigerian woman who was murdered by her Spanish boyfriend or client in Bilbao, the Embassy stood tough until justice was served.
All the people involved in the three cases above are not of Igbo descent, so how can someone in her right mind say that Nigerian Embassy is favouring one particular ethnic group?
The dissemination of these false allegations is irresponsible and absolute display of stupidity and ignorance, therefore Mrs. Mukoro owe Igbos unconditional apology.
Frank Uche Ononiwu
Sir Chris Offordile
Photo Above: Igbo General Assembly (IGA) Spain logo
Photo Above: Mrs. Helen Mukoro
title="NIGERIA MASTERWEB DAILY NEWS - Publish Yourself" src="/Etc/BlankWhite.jpg" alt="NIGERIA MASTERWEB DAILY NEWS - Publish Yourself " />
*Disastrous Performance Of The Seventh National Assembly Of Nigeria & Challenges Before The Eight National Assembly - Part 1
((Parliamentary Accountability, Onitsha Nigeria, 16th May 2015)-The heart of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is gladdened over the decision of the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria to join the outgoing Government of Lagos State in heeding our recent calls for the account of stewardship of the outgoing executive and legislative arms of government in Nigeria including the Federal and State Executive Councils as well as the Federal and States Legislative Chambers. The call of ours under reference stems from the fact that whatever that has a beginning must have an end as well as the need to institutionalize at all times an enviable benchmark for public governance accountability in Nigeria.
For records, the Nigeria’s National Assembly made up of the Senate called the Red Chambers with 109 Senators and the House of Representatives called the Green Chambers with 360 Honorable Members (Reps) is categorized as follows: First Republic National Assembly(1960-1966), Second Republic National Assembly (1979-1983), Third Republic National Assembly (1990-1991/2), Fourth Republic National Assembly (1999-2003), Fifth Republic National Assembly (2003-2007), Sixth Republic National Assembly (2007-2011), Seventh National Assembly (2011-2015) and Eight National Assembly (2015-2019). The Third Republic National Assembly (1990-1991/2) was a diarchic parliament put in place Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s military regime, which was ousted by the Sani Abacha military coup of 1993.
Report Card Of The Seventh National Assembly: As reported by the Premium Times, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria said it passed a total of 106 bills into law out of 1,063 bills sponsored and brought to its legislative attention in the past four years (2011-2015). Despite earning the world’s record as the most expensive parliament in the world, the number of bills passed by the referenced National Assembly is considered very abysmal when compared to what obtains elsewhere including the United States where the U.S. Congress passed 297 bills between 2013 and 2014. The referenced number of bills of the US Congress is also considered to be one of the lowest in the country’s legislative seasons owing to the fact that the same Congress passed 604 bills in 1999 alone and 460 between 2007 and 2008 (Premium Times Report 2015). Legal bills associated with public order and good governance are usually higher in the developing countries than the developed countries owing to the latter’s development challenges and the former’s development maintenance challenges.
For records, legislative Bills are proposed public laws designed to control human conducts including relationships within persons, between persons, between government and persons, between government and groups, within groups, between groups and between groups and persons. They are also designed to control human excessive activities on the environment as well as effects of natural disasters on environment and the living. Challenges posed by science and technology including harmful chemical substances and excesses and hazards of Information Computer Technology (ICT) are controlled using bills passed into law.
By bills passed into law by elected lawmakers, criminal and civil laws with their administrations are created, repealed or upgraded from time to time. Through mounting social, environmental, technological, cultural, political, economic and human identity challenges, laws originating from bills are moved back and forth. The hitherto rigidity associated with constitutional amendments is steadily fading owing to the mounting challenges aforesaid. Also, through bills passed into law, hash laws and policies as they concern politics, public security and safety, economy, culture, health, education, religion and ethnicity, etc are moderated and liberalized from time to time. It is also through bills passed into law that archaic and anti human rights laws are repealed or rebranded. Electronic navigation and upgrading in law, economy and politics are ensured using bills passed into law. These explain why the fundamental trust of lawmaking in Nigeria is to make laws for order and good governance in Nigeria or any part thereof.
Monetization Of Lawmaking Processes In Nigeria: As correctly reported by the Premium Times, the Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria recorded a monumental failure in its four legislative years. By the provisions of successive appropriation Acts of the Federation since 2011, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly received over N600 billion ($3 billion) in budgetary allocations on annual average of over N150 billion and this translates to N5.77 billion for each of the 106 bills passed into law. In other words, it took the outgoing Seventh National Assembly of Nigeria N5.77 billion belonging to Nigerians to get each of the bills passed into law. Of the said 106 passed bills, most of them are reported to be executive sponsored bills including appropriation (budgetary) and supplementary appropriation bills as well as bills authorizing the Presidency to borrow loans with reckless abandon. Of the 106 bills under reference, expert bills and public interest bills are very minute. Processes of initiating Private Member bills both at the Federal and State legislative levels are also characterized by fraud and bribery. In other words, to initiate a bill through a member of the National Assembly, huge sums of money must exchange hands in some cases. Corporate and professional bodies are hard hit.
Furthermore, monetization had since 1999 taken over legislative intellectualism and selflessness in lawmaking processes in Nigeria. The forefather of the outgoing Seventh National Assembly is the Fourth Republic National Assembly (1999-2003). Owing to the quackery and mercantilist composition of the 469-member National Assembly then dominated by white collar criminal class, military retirees, military contractors and military apologists; the Fourth Republic National Assembly laid a disastrous legislative foundation haunting the country’s legislative and executive governance till date. The quackery and mercantilist composition of the country’s National Assembly robbed it of lawmaking processes of international standards including losing the opportunity of relating with pro legislative advocacy bodies and campaigners, sometimes referred as parliamentary amicus curiae. At the State Houses of Assembly, the quality of laws passed is horrible and in most cases conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and its subsidiary federal laws.
Till date, the chief business of the National Assembly including the outgoing Seventh National Assembly as well as the Houses of Assembly remains passage of appropriation Acts (federal) and Laws (States) as well as oversight civil probes of alleged errant government agencies and parastatals for purely mercantilist interest. These have taken precedence over their core lawmaking functions. At times, the statutory functions of criminal investigative agencies are stampeded or usurped by relevant Federal and State legislative adhoc committees.
Legislative witch-hunting is also very common in the Federal and State legislative chambers. This they do using denial or stifling of budgets of relevant government ministries, departments and parastatals during budget allocation and defense for the purpose of punishing unjustly their heads who dare to challenge their overbearing influence including constant threats and harassment.
At times also, they arrogate to themselves the executive functions through constituency projects execution and callous demand for the sack of head of any government agency that dares to question their overbearing influence. As a result of these, the National Assembly and the State Houses of Assembly in Nigeria, fathered by the Fourth Republic National and State Legislative Chambers of 1999 to 2003, have turned into business enterprises and parliamentary bazaar chambers. They are akin to the biblical Holy Temple of Jerusalem converted to the House of Trade and Commerce by its entrusted custodians.
According to the Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of the Federation 2002 (amended in 2008), which is managed by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation & Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); a total sum of N101.3 billion ($500million) is spent annually on the salaries and allowances of 1, 621 Federal and State lawmakers in Nigeria. That is to say N60.4 billion for the 469 Federal lawmakers and N40.9 billion for 1,152 State lawmakers. There are 469 Federal lawmakers and 1,152 State lawmakers in Nigeria recognized by the RMAFC and the political figures’ wage Acts under reference. Further breakdown shows that of this huge amount, N90 billion or 90% goes into their annual (criminal) allowances while only N10 billion or 10% is spent on their annual salaries. In the case of members of the National Assembly, each member is paid at least N128.5 million annually, out of which only N13 million is paid as his or her annual salaries. It is important to state here that Senators and principal officers of the two-chamber National Assembly receive more than the above highlighted.
In the case of the 1,152 State lawmakers, 90% or N36.8 billion is spent on their allowances while only N5.09 billion is spent on their annual salaries. Each of them gets minimum of N36 million annually from the said N40.9 billion annual legislative remuneration. This translates to N32.8 million or 90% as his or her annual allowances and N3.6 million or 10% as annual salaries. The principal officers of the States legislatures are paid higher than the above highlighted. A number of allowances attached to these lawmakers particularly those at the Federal level are criminal and provocative. In this computer and internet age, a Nigerian federal lawmaker still pockets over N1.2 million per annum as newspaper allowance. Some of the referenced allowances are also duplicated or blurred such as vehicle and vehicle maintenance allowances; housing, furniture and domestic allowances.
Furthermore, a total of N15 billion ($75 million) will be squandered by 29th May 2015 on the severance, housing and furniture allowances of the outgoing and the incoming Federal lawmakers and executives. While the President-Elect and Federal lawmakers elect will receive N9 billion furniture and housing allowances, the outgoing President and Federal lawmakers will receive N3.24 billion and N2.8 billion respectively as severance packages totaling N15 billion. The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed recently disclosed that it is costing the Nigeria’s commonwealth a staggering sum of N27 billion ($123.5 million) to build the official residences of the leaderships of the two-chamber National Assembly.
Criminal Overheads: Apart from the questionable allowance packages above highlighted, the National Assembly of Nigeria including the outgoing Seventh National Assembly in conspiracy with the Federal Executive Council has introduced criminal overheads to further fritter away the common resources of Nigeria and dry up resources badly needed for the infrastructural development and maintenance as well as provision and delivery of social services to other 170 million Nigerians and their landscapes.
Through conspiracy and legislative stampede, outrageous funds are cornered each fiscal year by the referenced national legislature in the form of overheads component of the recurrent expenditures leading to outrageous allocation of funds for the principal officers of the National Assembly including a criminal sum of N250 million allocated to the office of the Senate President in every three months. Despite the paltry allocations to the capital expenditures averaging less than 30% of the total federal budget each year, budget implementation has remained grossly lopsided with over 100% implementation for recurrent expenditures and about 50% for capital expenditures.
While the recurrent expenditures recorded steady and astronomical increase, the capital expenditures have remained steadily declined. In the recently passed Federal Budget of 2015 totaling N4.49 trillion, for instance, a staggering sum of N2.6 trillion was earmarked for non debts recurrent expenditures, while a paltry sum of N557 billion was set aside for capital expenditures. Of the said N4.49 trillion budget, the National Assembly got N120 billion while the N160 billion originally proposed for roads was drastically slashed to N11 billion. The budget under reference also recorded further recurrent expenditure increase of N135 billion totaling N4.49 trillion from the sum of N4.357 trillion originally proposed by the Federal Executive Council. In the same Budget, which has N953 billion for debts servicing and N231 billion for service-wide votes (?); the capital expenditure component abysmally went down to 12% of the total budget.
As if these were no enough, the outgoing Seventh National Assembly magisterially passed a new bill making its principal officers-Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker of the House of Reps and the Deputy Speaker of the House recipients of Parliamentary Life Pension. Further to this shocking, despicable and condemnable scenario is introduction and institutionalization of criminal security votes. This, which started with the President, the Vice President, the Governor and the Deputy Governor has now spread like wild fire and extended to heads of key government tertiary educational and health institutions, chairmen and their deputies in the Local Government Areas as well as the leaders of LGAs’ legislative houses. Others are speakers and deputy speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, the Senate President and his or her deputy, the Speaker of the House of Reps and his or her deputy as well as key ministers and heads of government agencies, departments and parastatals. Totality of these swells the already bloated overheads of the Federal and State Governments and dries up funds needed for general development of the country or any part thereof.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., LLB, BL
Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Unpaid, Workers, Salaries, Allowances, governors
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