*Anambra Governorship Poll: Intersociety Frowns At Nwuruku’s Inclusion, Points Out......
Anambra Governorship Poll: Intersociety Frowns At Nwuruku’s Inclusion, Points Out Other Challenges Facing INEC & Security Agencies
(Public Information, Onitsha Nigeria, 12th of November, 2013)-The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wishes to remind the Independent National Electoral Commission on the urgent need to re-scrutinize all its newly recruited ad hoc staff or workers that will work for the Commission in the all-important Anambra Governorship Election, fixed for this Saturday, November 16, 2013. This is to ensure that card-carrying party members are not recruited as collection officers, returning officers, presiding officers, etc and to avoid a repeat of the 2011 Anambra Central Senatorial poll incident, during which an adhoc INEC returning officer, one Mr. Alex Anene went and announced the poll result in an Awka hotel.
the inclusion of Mr. Lawrence Nwuruku, the former chairman of the Ebonyi State PDP, as one of the Commission’s special Commissioners for the crucial poll is totally frowned at and protested against by our organization. Our firm opposition to Mr. Nwuruku’s inclusion stems from the fact that he is a career politician and a well known card carrying member of the PDP of the immediate past. Many people in Anambra State are uncomfortable with his inclusion as one of the Commission’s special commissioners for the Anambra governorship poll. Every indication clearly points to his inclusion as patently and manifestly bias. It is our call that his name should be removed and another fairly neutral name included.
Ascertaining the true particulars of the adhoc staff recruited by INEC for the poll is extremely important. Recruiting card carrying members of political parties, smuggled into the Commission by their parties with indoctrinated scripts, are very dangerous and have the capacity of rubbishing the credibility of the poll as well as ruining the image of the Commission. The “coupist” announcement in a hotel, of the senatorial poll results for the Anambra Central Senatorial District and the sectional roles played by the electronic and print media therein, is one of such disasters that must be avoided in this respect. Proper policing and monitoring of INEC’s adhoc staff in all the 4,608 polling centers in the State including ensuring that they do not compromise by allowing rooms for holders of faked voters’ cards and non-voters’ card bearers to vote, for a fee, is extremely necessary.
We have credible reports that registered voters are being hunted and haunted in their houses with inducement packages all over the State including Ogbaru, Onitsha South, Onitsha North, Oyi, Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Aguata, Anambra East and Anambra West LGAs of the State. Such compromised registered voters are made to tender their cards for extraction of their polling unit pin numbers and other relevant code numbers. Some members of the public who do not have voters’ cards are also hunted and asked to bring their passport photos and other personal particulars such as residence address, age, gender, ancestral origin, phone numbers, e-mail addresses etc.
The latter is designed for the purpose of “creating” voters cards for them, with a promise by their inducers to sort out the INEC staff manning voters’ accreditation exercise on Election Day so as to allow them vote in off voter register manner. These criminal and morally reprehensible conducts by some desperate political parties and their candidates are incorporated in their so-called “house to house campaigns”. One of the political parties that commenced the said “house to house campaigns” in earliest time is the APC. The exercise was later embraced by other parties including Labour and APGA. Our firm position is that INEC should re-scrutinize its entire adhoc staff both senior and junior and flush out or ground those found to be injected by political parties or with selfish political interests.
The all-important Anambra governorship poll will be conducted in the 4,608 polling centers, 326 electoral wards, 21 LGAs and 3 Senatorial zones in the State. It is also our call that the Nigerian security agencies led by the Nigeria Police Force should brace up for the challenges posed by obvious desperation of some political parties and their candidates to be returned as the winner through acts of political gangsterism and brigandage.
Ominous signs are all over the place that except INEC and security agencies do and get it right without fear or favour, otherwise, Anambra will be set ablaze during or/and after the poll. The role of the media in the important poll is also very crucial. Sensational and sectional media reports of the poll conducts are as dangerous as security lapses and breaches during the poll. Such reports should be ignored by the poll conductors and security providers and not allowed to distract them or make them lose focus, which will give room for the alarmists and their paymasters to have a crooked edge over the collective electoral interest of the Anambra People. Other than these, credible media alarms and reports during the poll should be taken seriously and addressed promptly.
Finally, there are credible reports that our dear State of Anambra is flooded with Lorries of “dregs of the society” and quartered in various hotels and other hiding places for the d-day to come. Many of these “dregs” are “retreatists”, who are “forest or jungle warriors” that have “downed many heads” to their “bravely”. If allowed an iota of breathing space in the crucial poll, they will down more heads and drink their biological water with impunity. It is to the information of Nigerian security agencies that Lorries of these “clearers of road for the person (man) wey sabi” are very much around in town. And they should be confined to the “spectators’ corners” and not allowed into the playing ground so as to avert “downing heads” and emptying their killer “cashew nuts” into the ballot boxes for the purpose of producing Anambra’s next governor through “dead and non living votes”.
To this effect, all the 4,608 polling centers in the State especially in urban and river-line areas must be manually and forensically policed with clearly designated strategic “nipping points” and rapid respond squads. More than deployment of armoured personnel carriers in strategic exits and entries in the State, the RRS formations should be stationed very closed to every polling/collection center. Other than those rapid response squads to be placed for general stationing and patrolling of strategic outer places including roads and routes in the State, there is need to create and station about 1,600 special rapid response squads and put all the 4,608 polling centers and their collection centers under their competent care. This will be on average of one RRS for three polling centers/collection center. Each RRS should be made up of joint uniformed securitization personnel with their rapid response electronic and manual contacts made available to core stake holders in the poll.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Anambra Governorship Election Campaigns & Related Issues
Anambra Governorship Election Campaigns& Related Issues: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly Introduction
(A Joint Statement, 5th of November, 2013)-The Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition is a coalition of eight like-minded rights groups of the Igbo Southeast extraction with thematic focus on building and sustaining democracy, citizens’ rights, good governance and rule of law in Southeast Nigeria. It also fights for Igbo rights and interests in Nigeria including protection of top Igbo political and public service appointees at the Federal level provided they are not criminal appointees. It supports creative governance and fiscal prudency and opposes jamboree governance including huge public debt policy.
The G8 Rights Coalition does not support Igbo rights and interests that are repugnant to equity and fairness. This means that Igbo rights and interests should stop where those of other Nigerian nationalities begin. While the name Southeast G8 Rights Coalition remains, names of its participating groups are not steady. This method allows any group to opt out any time it chooses. It is also designed to ward off parochial interests and possible infiltration of the group by criminal politicians and their agents in Nigeria. The G8 Rights Coalition is coordinated by the secretariat of International Society for Civil Liberties& the Rule of Law in Onitsha, Southeast Nigeria.
Anambra Governorship Poll & Its Campaigns So Far:
Out of 23 participating political parties in the poll, only four are “primus inter pares”. They are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LB) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). The fifth visible party in the race is Peoples Progressive Party (PPA). The five governorship candidates of the parties under reference are: Mr. Tony Nwoye PDP, Mr. Chris Ngige APC, Mr. Ifeanyi Ubah LB, Mr. Willie Obiano APGA and Mr. Godwin Ezemo PPA. By global convention, issue based election campaigns are precursors of positive social change, decency and tranquility. Their collective outcome is free, popular and credible poll. Where these are patently lacking, insecurity and its perception holds sway. The result of this can lead to violence, low voter turnout and election rigging. Campaigns also include mounting of bill boards, pasting of posters and playing of jingles using audio-visual media, public sound system and traditional town criers.
Labour Party is so far leading other four main parties in terms of peaceful governorship campaigns. No strong evidence has been obtained linking it to destruction and defacing of its opponents’ bill boards and posters including those in its stronghold areas like Nnewi where its candidate comes from. Our checks in Nnewi areas indicate that most of the posters and bill boards of its opponents are left untouched. There are very few isolated cases in the area linked to the party, but they are not sufficient. The LB’s campaign jingles are also played on the Anambra Broadcasting Service belonging to the Government of Anambra State, which includes radio and television. The party has not been linked to any physical disruption of campaigns of other political parties in any part of Anambra State or planting of jeering crowds in any rallies or campaigns organized by other parties.
However, Labour Party is strongly accused of money and material inducement of members of the public especially the registered voters. Such material inducements include grading of some streets in the Ugwuagba area of Obosi in Idemmili North LGA of Anambra State and free distribution of premium motor spirit or fuel to selected members of the public. It was also accused of involvement in the purchase of voters’ cards especially in the river line areas of the State where the poverty level still very high. Each voter’s card is reportedly sold for N5, 000. The party was mentioned as being involved in the importation of people from outside the State during the continuous voters exercise that took place two months ago with a view to mass-registering them as voters.
The All Progressives Grand Alliance comes second in the rating as in peaceful poll campaigns. But the party, which is the State ruling party, is accused of using its apparatus to remove and destroy dozens of the bill boards belonging to the All Progressives Congress and its governorship candidate, Mr. Chris Ngige. The APC, on its part, was found to have embarked on indiscriminate and combative erection of its bill boards including in places not environmentally fit to erect such bill boards. Other APC’s bill boards are said to have been erected against the procedures prescribed by the State House of Assembly. For the fact that the State Government was hash in its handling of the APC’s bill boards’ removal at the threshold of the campaigns, denies it the status of the “most peaceful election campaigner” in the Anambra State governorship poll, which has gone to the Labour Party. There are also pieces of evidence that in some places where the APC posters and bills are removed, those of APGA and its candidate are pasted or hung.
The Peoples Democratic Party comes third in the rating. This is largely because of the candidacy tussle, which was ended yesterday at the Nigeria’s Apex Court, which reaffirmed the candidacy of Mr. Tony Nwoye. Now that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has reaffirmed Mr. Tony Nwoye’s candidacy, our searchlight will be beamed on his party’s style of campaign in the remaining ten days.
The PPA comes fourth in the rating. Its campaigns so far have not breached the universal standards for election campaigns. It has so far conducted itself in a very civilized manner. The post of “most violent and trouble-mongering Anambra governorship poll campaigner” goes to the All Progressives Congress and its candidate. The party has been strongly accused of “importation of jeering and booing crowds” into the campaign rallies organized by its main opponents for the purposes of disrupting them. The party’s main target is the All Progressives Grand Alliance, which it considers as its main threat and challenger.
For instance, at the recent rally of the latter at the Onitsha Main Market, a “booing crowd” was reportedly planted. Complaints of disruption of church services by the APC have also been reported in different parts of the State. From Amichi to Mbakwu Communities; from Onitsha Prisons to the Immaculate Catholic Church in Onitsha; and from Awka to St. Gregory Catholic Church, Iyiowa in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State. By Christian convention, late comers in any church service, are seen as recipients of “half blessings” and kept outside the church halls until the end of general sermons.
They are called “bad church attendants or church goers”. Good church attendants are those who get seated before the commencement of church services. They receive “full blessings” from the beginning to end. From our in-depth investigations, it is not that Mr. Chris Ngige and his supporters deliberately storm church services and disrupt same, but they have made themselves deliberate late comers, which disrupt church services anywhere they go by making the seated church attendants and presiding priests and bishops to be distracted. In such occasions, the church halls are flooded with brooms and posters while church services are in progress.
While other political parties and their candidates attend church services with few aides and sizeable supporters and get seated usually before the commencement of services, the APC is in the habit of large recruited crowd movement. Some, if not many members of the crowd are the “dregs of the society” with common trait of unruly behaviors. They are used to mount bill boards, paste posters, destroy and deface bill boards and posters of their main opponents and infiltrate the camps of their main opponents as “booing and jeering crowd” and false alarmists. The recent fatal stampede at the Uke Adoration prayer ground that took the lives of 28 people is a clear case in point. The false alarmists had planned to cause the stampede earlier in the late night of Friday, November 1st, 2013 when a false alarm of sudden snake appearance in the arena was deliberately raised the planted crowd to cause unquenchable commotion.
Our investigation into rampant destruction of bill boards and defacing of posters also indicted the APC and its candidate. This is most likely to be revenge over the State Government’s ordered dismantling of campaign bill boards deemed environmentally “ugly”, which substantially affected those of the APC. Apart from interviewing some residents and traders in the areas where such destroyed bill boards and defaced posters of the APGA and its candidate are located, our field investigators sighted some APC supporters yesterday, being 4th of November, 2013 in Onitsha, Awada, Nkpor and Ogbaru areas. The supporters while pasting their party and its candidate’s posters engaged in malicious and reckless defacing and removal of other posters especially those of APGA.
While the supporters of other parties leave their opponents’ posters untouched and paste theirs in other blank spaces, the APC supporters, seemingly working on instructions, remove and deface those of other parties especially APGA before pasting their own. Our several visits to Nnewi (stronghold of LB), Idemmili North & South (stronghold of APC), Aguata (stronghold of PPA), Anaocha LGA and Omambala zone (strongholds of APGA and PDP), showed that most of the bill boards and posters of the opponents of the domiciled political parties and their candidates are left untouched except in Idemmili North and South LGAs where many bill boards and posters of the APGA and its candidate are either defaced or destroyed. The despicable conduct of the APC, which is strongly being fingered, has also been imported into Awka with a number of the APGA posters defaced or destroyed.
APC is strongly accused further of commissioning some people including women to trace many registered voters to their residencies and market places, using the recently released copies of the final voters’ list Such voters are induced to tender their voters’ cards whereupon the polling unit and other code numbers are copied in exchange for cash gifts. Others are recruited into certain committees and made to give up their voters’ cards or their pin numbers and ordinary passport photographs.
They are said to be paid “one month salary” of up to N15, 000 and given other cash sums and indoctrinated on how to recruit others. These categories of people are tagged “special agents”. This despicable and criminal exercise has been widely reported especially in Awada, Okpoko and Ogbaru areas of the State. Similar patterns may have been applied to hoodwink voters in other parts of the State. This may most likely be a new innovation in election rigging industry, which may be called “forensic poll rigging software”.
Issue Based Campaigns:
Most of the participating political parties in the Anambra Governorship race are far from engaging in issue based campaigns. Rather than convincing the voters by showing them the masterful ways they intend to transform the State if elected, most of the parties and their candidates resort to guerrilla warfare by peddling lies and falsehoods using the instrument of sectionalized media. Some contestants are not even aware of the existence of Exclusive, Concurrent and Residual Legislative Lists of the Federation that divide items of governance jurisdictions among the three tiers of Federal, States and LGAs. Some have promised to do things that are purely outside their jurisdiction like building cargo “international” airport, providing steady power supply, building seaport, etc. Others have promised “free medical services”, “free secondary and university education” and “constant increment in workers’ salaries”.
All these lofty promises are not accompanied with forensic disclosures as per the effective sources of resources mobilization with which to implement the lofty programs. The silence of these candidates and their parties, other than APGA, on how monies will be sourced without mortgaging the future well being of the State by reckless loan borrowings and over-bloated governance including jumbo security votes, clearly shows that the low debt records of Anambra State is a gold mine for these contestants. In other words, their sole hope is returning the State to the status of “a highly indebted State”. Lagos State presently owes a total debt of N330Billion locally and internationally. Campaigns deceits such as the foregoing are called “psychology of politics” or “confusion of many for the parochial interest of the few”.
Lastly, we have also observed that Anambra State is being invaded by some strange faces including social miscreants and recidivists hired by desperate politicians and their parties from neighboring States of Delta, Imo and Enugu. All these are to step up criminal activities of various forms and shapes including politically oiled abductions, real, perceived and false armed robberies and other street criminal activities like youth militancy and pick-pockets.etc.
Extensive intelligence information gathering and other preventive policing measures should be put in place by the present Government of Anambra State and its security agencies to ward off these precursors of anarchy threatening to mar the popularity and credibility of the all-important governorship poll. The collective security of Anambra State of Nigeria must not be compromised and any political party or candidate found fanning the embers of violence must have its wings clipped within the law.
From the forgoing, therefore, the Anambra Governorship Poll campaigns are facing several challenges, which must be nipped in the bud and disallowed from resulting into uncontrollable social disorders capable of robbing the crucial poll of popular participation and credibility. We wish to use this medium to congratulate the Labour Party for emerging the “most peaceful Anambra Governorship Poll campaigner” so far. The winner and the runners up like APGA, PDP and PPA are urged to refuse to be provoked by their opponents and embrace peaceful campaigns premised on issue based electoral campaign messages.
For: Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition:
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Aloysius Emeka Attah: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
3. Justus Uche Ijeoma: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria)
4. Peter Onyegiri: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
5. Samuel Njoku: Human Rights Club, Anambra State Branch
6. Alexander Olisa: Forum for Justice, Equity & Human Rights
7. Anthony Emeka Itanyi: Southeast Emancipation Network
8. Onyeozielu Ujunwa: Committee Against Political Crimes in Nigeria
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria - Part 3
Intersociety, Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: An In-depth Look Into The APC’s Epicenter(Central Point) Of Political Governance & Its Huge Debts In Nigeria
(Public Information, 1st of November, 2013)- This is the continuation of our public information, which was first issued on 20th of October, 2013 and titled: “Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: APC’s Attacks On Our Leadership Another War Against Igbo Gods & A Boarding Pass Off Anambra 2013(part one)”. On 23rd of October, 2013, the second part was issued and it was titled: “Separating Igbo Cause, Democracy & Good Governance In Nigeria (Egalitarian Partisanship) From Pecuniary Politicking (Libertarian Partisanship): Putting The Records Straight”. The issuance of the Public Information under reference is in response to coordinated attacks launched against us from several angles by the All Progressives Congress using its key members, branches, malicious elements in the media and some conformists in the rights community.
We wish to reassure our teeming followers and supporters all over the world that the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is equal to these challenges and unprovoked attacks. It is also our assurance that we will ensure at all times that our armpits are not hairy in order to be competently positioned to set and defend parameters of modern rights activism, good governance and accountability in public governance anywhere in Nigeria and its beyond.
It is sad that many Nigerian NGOs are still peopled and led by military confrontationists who still live in the past. These sets of NGOs’ leaders are not different from “BBC(born before computer) academicians” that are killing the Nigerian higher education because of their insistence on keeping the country’s higher education on “typewriter” path, or the present Nigeria Police Force that still promotes “homicidal policing” in place of modern “electronic and preventive policing”.
Focus On APC’s Epicenter Of Political Governance In Nigeria:
Lagos State is the epicenter of the APC’s political governance in Nigeria. APC’s forefather is the Action Group of the 40s. The AG later begat UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) in the late 70s, which gave birth to AD (Alliance for Democracy) in late 90s. Though AD claims that it still exists till date, but its bones are off leaving it boneless. The mainstream AD begat AC/N (Action Congress; plus “of Nigeria”) in the 2000s and this led to the recent birth of the All Progressives Congress.
Like its forefather, AG, the APC is southwest and northern Muslims’ dominated. Its leadership is presently dominated by its politicians of the Southwest orientation. Lagos has served as the epicenter of “opposition politics” in Nigeria since 1999. The Southwest “opposition politics” collapsed in 2003 and resurfaced in 2007 and 2008. The collapse was owing to the emergence of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as a second term President in 2003. It was then calculated that since Chief Olusengun Obasanjo came from the Southwest, continuing an opposition politics might rob the zone of “its national cake” and mainstream political inroad into the center.
Lagos is Nigeria’s most populated State with over 15 million residents and has 20 constitutionally recognized LGAs. The State is one of the smallest in terms of land mass, measuring 3,577 square kilometers, out of which 787 is occupied by lagoons and creeks. It is also Nigeria’s richest State in terms of internally generated revenues hitting between N288Billion and N348Billion yearly. Its 2013 budget is N499.105Billion with a capital expenditure of N269, 376Billion and recurrent of N229.777Billion. The State has a monthly wage bill of under N7Billion and has served as the capital of Nigeria between 1861 when its illiterate Oba Desomu ceded it and by extension, other “Niger Area” social entities to the British colonialists through the “Treaty of Cession”, and December 1991 when Nigeria’s capital was moved to Abuja. Lagos has lesser land mass than Anambra, which measures 4, 416 square kilometers. Kano is more than two and a half larger than Lagos, measuring 9,398 square kilometers of land mass.
Lagos Huge Foreign & Domestic Debts Of N330Billion:
Recently, Lagos State was in the news in a section of the Nigerian media as the “most indebted State” in Nigeria. Having successfully silenced larger section of the Nigerian media and many of the rights groups particularly those headquartered in the State, pens, voices and tongues were turned in glorification of its attainment of “this wonderful feat” by becoming “Nigeria’s most sustainable loans’ borrower”. The Lagos media and silenced rights groups joined in the “celebration” by making repeatedly a reference by the DMO (Debts Management Office)’s DG to the effect that “owing to Lagos fat revenues accruals”, its loans are “sustainable”. By implication, it has been licensed to borrow with utmost alacrity. Questions such as: “since Lagos is a sustainable or maintenance governance economy with huge revenues’ receipts, why the huge borrowings and for what purposes?” are kept in the cooler.
According to the official releases from the Nigeria’s Debt Management Office, Lagos State is the most indebted State in Nigeria both domestically and externally, with N193Billon (Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, DG-DMO: 2013) as at September 2013 and $857.53Million ( about N137Billion as at June 2013). The State’s total domestic debt as at December 2011 was N157.53Billion. In other words, Lagos State presently owes total local and foreign debts of N330Billion or about $2.07Billion. The Nigerian Senate recently approved another $200Million (N32Billion) for the State to be borrowed from the World Bank in the incoming 2014 fiscal year. The total loan approved for the State by the World Bank in the 2010 Borrowing Plan is $600Million, out of which, first tranche was secured in 2011. With this, Lagos debts by 2014 fiscal year will be N362Billion or about $2.25Billion.
States’ Local & Foreign Debts By Geopolitical Zones:
In the area of geopolitical zone, South-south is the most indebted zone in terms of domestic debt with a total of N508, 692Billion, followed by Southwest with N305.9Billion. The North-central zone and the FCT is the third most indebted zone in Nigeria in terms of local debt with N214.7Billion, followed by Southeast with N107.1Billion. The Northeast zone is the fifth most indebted zone with N72.7Billion and the least indebted zone is the Northwest with N69.8Billion. In the area of foreign debts, Southwest zone is the most indebted with $1,18Billion, followed by Northwest with $540Million. Nigeria’s third most indebted zone in foreign loans is South-south zone with $302.2Million, followed by the North-central and the FCT with $230.6Million. The Southeast zone comes fifth with $217.1Million, while the Northeast is the least most indebted zone in terms of foreign loans with $198.6Million.
15 Most Indebted States:
The fifteen most indebted States in Nigeria both domestically and externally for 2013 are: Lagos N330Billion, Bayelsa N167Billion, Cross River N107Billion, Delta 93Billion, the FCT N91Billion, Rivers N89Billion, Kaduna N75Billion, Ondo 56Billion, Akwa Ibom N50Billion, Ogun N47Billion, Ebonyi N46Billion, Edo N45Billion, Kogi N39Billion, Imo N34Billion and Adamawa N30Billion. Anambra State is one of the least indebted States in Nigeria with a total debt of N10.7Billion, which is made up of a local debt of N6.4Billion and a foreign debt of $27.3Million or about N4.27Billion. The source of the foregoing debts and their statistical breakdown was obtained from the official website of the Debt Management Office of the Federation. While the available DMO information concerning foreign debts is updated to June 2013 that of domestic debts is of December 2011. This clearly shows that the States’ official domestic debts records are most likely to be under-reported.
States’ Domestic Debts Statistics May Be Inaccurate:
While the local debt statistics of Lagos both domestic and foreign, looks officially updated because of a recent statement credited to the DG of the DMO by the media to the effect that “Lagos internal debt as at September 2013 stood at N193Billion”. A further enquiry by the leadership of Intersociety reveals that the States’ internal debts records obtained and used by the DMO may not have represented accurately what most of the States actually owe domestically. The DMO had in 2012 reported that it was having hitches compiling the States’ local debts. Pieces of information supplied to the DMO statisticians by some, if not many States, may have been half-baked especially when some States like Lagos and Imo are said to have reached “debt ceiling”. Yet the DMO official records still put Imo’s domestic and foreign debts to “N25.4Billion” and “$51.2Million” respectively. It appears that some, if not many States particularly those engrossed in huge domestic debts, are hiding the truth as regards their actual domestic loans figures.
Part Four In Making:
In part four of the subject under reference, we shall x-ray the APC and its policy of “loan governance in Nigeria” with Lagos State as a case study. We shall soon return to regional and international levels to take a stock of dictators and tyrants still holding sway in public offices in their respective countries, who continue to bring calamities and hardships to their peoples by their sit-tight.
Bottling APC Flies & Their Ranting:
Lastly, we are not unaware of “flies” hired by our detractors to come and implant hairs in our armpits with a view to blackening us and dampening our spirits locally, nationally, regionally and internationally. We shall bottle them together with their empty noises and put them to shames as we have done to several others in recent past. We urge our teeming followers and supporters not to be distracted one bit. Anambra Governorship poll will come and go and we shall remain. Once the wind of the important poll settles our jungle and paid attackers and other jungle rights activists running riot on us will roost and wait for another poll year.
Refusing To Be Distracted & Matching On:
Just two days ago, our gallant field officers led by Comrades Justus Ijeoma and Alex Ijeoma freed 42 residents of Iyiowa Odekpe in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State, who were mass-arrested by a unit of deadly Anambra NPF’s SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad) in their various residences and streets between 7:30pm and 8:20pm on 29th October, 2013. Among them were pregnant women, husbands and wives. On prompt intervention of our crack team the next morning, all of them were freed and two of them who have paid N10, 000 each as “bail fees” before the arrival of our crack team were refunded after the extorted sums were recovered from the SARS extortionists. The SARS guys later apologized to our crack team with a bottle of “Henkel Wine” and begged us to offer prayers for them with it. Some of the arrested citizens were tortured with gun buts and other lethal objects.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Sokoto Asare water project is now a reality
By Amiru Adamu
“By means of water we give life to everything” Qur’an, 21:30. This quote from one of the world’s most popular books alone clearly spells out the importance of water mankind. Provision of potable and clean water to the people should be a top priority issue to every responsible government. At its inception the present administration in sokoto state met a water system capable of pumping only 9 million litres of water to the state and its environs per day. This prompted it to embark on the Asare water project which will provide 20 million gallons within sokoto metropolis on a daily basis.
The Asare water project linked 40 boreholes drilled at the Asare valley, to 3 water tanks located at the top of Arkilla hills, a distance of about 10 kilometres. This water station is equipped with modern water pumping and treatment machines capable of 20 million gallons per day. Though the Asare water project is its latest, the Wamakko administration has been taking steps to arrest the perennial water shortage in the state. At its inception, the present administration constituted a committee that was charged with the task of making sure the state gets adequate water supply.
Rural water supply was also not neglected by wamakko’s administration. The government through its department for rural water supply embarked on special projects to supply the rural areas with water. Some of these projects include 1000,motorized water schemes,600 solar powered motorized schemes, reactivation of over 250 hand pumps,200 overhead tanks and boreholes. Rural water schemes of Binga,Yaka,Yarabba,Tungar malam rashidu among others were also rehabilitated. Over 200 additional boreholes were also drilled in the guinea worm infested communities of Binji,Gada,Rabah,Silame,Tangaza,Tureta and Tambuwal local government areas.
As the Asare water project is commissioned, it is our hope that those placed in charge of the project, will manage it effectively for the benefit of all. ALU MUNGODE!
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.
*Igbo SE Political Appointees Sit On A Keg Of Gunpowder In Nigeria
Igbo Southeast Political Appointees Are Sitting On A Keg Of Gunpowder In Nigeria: Administrative Investigation Into Oduah’s Alleged Fraud A Bold First Step, But Not Enough
(Public Information, 24th October, 2013) -It has again come to the knowledge of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law that the Igbo Southeast political appointees occupying plum offices including ministries, parastatals and agencies at the federal level, are sitting on a keg of gunpowder in Nigeria. Almost all key Igbo Southeast appointive public office holders serving under the present administration of President Jonathan are under threats. Already, the likes of former Minister of Power, Prof Bath Nnaji, former Controller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mrs. Rosemary Uzoma and the immediate past Chairman of the National Population Commission, Mr. Festus Odimegwu, have either been sacked or forced to resign. The major weapon used for this “ethno-centric warfare” is the Nigerian media, controlled and sectionalized by the Southwest Nigeria.
Apart from thickening plans to restore the age-long Hausa-Fulani/Yoruba political slavery in Nigeria, whereby other ethnic nationalities including the Igbo Southeast will remain politically and economically enslaved under them ad infinitum; extensive sectional media warfare has been massively deployed to weaken and frustrate the priceless contributions of eminent sons and daughters of other nationalities to the national development. Nigeria has three major tribes of Hausa-Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba and two major concentrations of minorities of southern and northern Nigeria extractions. In 1957, “the fears of the minorities” forced the outgoing British colonialists to enshrine the “fundamental human rights code” into the Independence Constitution of 1960.
In other to address these fears of political and economic domination by the three major tribes, particularly the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba nationalities, the 1994/5 constituent assembly divided Nigeria into six geopolitical zones with the mindset of creating two zones for southern and northern minorities. While the minorities of the south were successfully given one geopolitical zone, their northern counterparts were further Balkanized. The mainly Christian minorities of the north are supposed to be composed of southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Kwara and a part of Niger State. It was expected that the last States and LGAs creation exercise of 1996 would have addressed these. But the State creators and boundary adjusters of 1996 twisted the whole thing and included Taraba and Adamawa States in the Northeast geopolitical zone instead of North-central zone where most of others were included.
These arrangements were gazetted and included in the Decree 24 of 1999, which is now called “the Constitution of Nigeria 1999”. Section 14 (3) & (4) was inserted into the Constitution to ensure that no particular zone, area or tribe dominates Federal and State appointments and revenues. This was followed by the establishment of the Federal Character Commission to ensure strict adherence to the geopolitical equity principle. Yet, these provisions have been observed in reckless breach. The Nigeria Police Force and the Police Service Commission, for instance, now promote senior police officers without disclosing the names and geopolitical identities of those promoted. While the Hausa-Fulani nationalities use violence and political suppression to dwarf Igbo-Nigerians resident in the north as well as its mainly Christian minority nationalities, the Yorubas of the Southeast make extensive use of its media to hunt down top Igbo political appointees at federal levels. The Yoruba media canonize Igbo clowns and destroy her upright personalities.
Even where there is no stain or scandal, one will be created using traps and sectionalized media reports. To have their way if no scandal is seen, malicious subordinates and personal aides are induced with scripts aided by malicious media arrangements to blow open the scripted scandals. Today, Southwest political appointees at State and federal levels are shielded from public scrutiny and where it rarely occurs, media formations and legal technicalities will be massively and consistently deployed to shield such appointees from criminal investigation and prosecution.
In the case of, some say, disgraced former Court of Appeal President, Ayo Isa Salami, the highly sectionalized Nigerian media was strongly believed to have been massively deployed to shield him, despite being reportedly caught in the act electronically. Instead, the media attention was massively beamed on Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina Alu; a former CJN over his alleged unethical roles in the Sokoto State governorship litigation. The learned jurist came from a northern minority Christian nationality. Similar case was the in thing in the aborted trial of one Tinubu Ahmed by a Code of Conduct Tribunal. The said ex public office holder is neither guilty nor innocent because of mass deployment of sectional media and legal technicalities. The trial was stalled and inconclusive.
Stella Oduah’s Alleged Fraud:
Though, we believe strongly that Aviation Minister Stella Oduah is being hunted in the immediate by the Yoruba media and their sponsors because of her efforts in making the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu an international one, but if at the end she is competently indicted over rumors of fraud, not by the highly sectionalized Nigerian media, but by competent administrative and criminal investigative agencies, then she should not only be administratively sacked, but should be diligently prosecuted as well. The intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria in this respect is a bold first step. The promise made by the FGN to “set up 3-person administrative investigation committee” is not enough. While the administrative enquiries or investigations only serve the purpose of “administrative punishment or exoneration”, they do not serve the fundamental purpose of criminal law. The issue of fraud is not purely an administrative matter in Nigeria. Its mother name “corruption” is mentioned in about 22 anti corruption agencies in Nigeria. In other words, corruption be it fraud, bribery, over-invoicing, kick-backs, contract inflation, theft or extortion, is a criminal offence in Nigeria.
The entry gate of media is report and the exit gate of media is also report. Punishment of any citizen whether criminal or administrative based on media reports without proper investigation, is the height of injustice. Many Nigerian egg heads, who volunteered to serve their country, have been destroyed by the highly sectionalized Nigerian media. This has scared away others who want to assist in rebuilding their battered country. Nigeria has over 25, 000 professorial and doctorial experts in US alone. The limits of media involvement in the scene of crime and criminal investigation managements are universally pronounced. This is because the potentials of the media to distort facts and destroy pieces of vital evidence because of vested interests and unprofessionalism are very high.
In the world over, any reports solely based on “media reports” are dead on arrival. Once media uncovers a presumed social deviant act or crime, it stops and allows an in-depth ethical and criminal investigation to unravel proper parties to crime or deviant act and related others. In the eyes of criminology and criminal law, no matter how investigative a media report is, it cannot be prosecutorial and judgmental. It does not quality as basis for administrative or criminal punishment, except where the accused openly admits. Other than the latter, it amounts to “trial by ordeal” or jungle justice. Such an investigative media report must be surgically operated by criminal or ethical (administrative) investigative detectives. Keeping the NPF’s Force Criminal Investigations Department redundant and inoperative is totally condemned. The Force CID should go into the matter to look at the criminal aspect of it dispassionately.
Therefore, the Federal Government of Nigeria must be careful and refrain from punishing Nigerians including its political appointees based on highly sectionalized media reports without proper investigations be they administrative or criminal. In Stella Oduah’s case, all the characters mentioned in the alleged scandal or fraud must be administratively and criminally investigated. The idea of forcing any political appointee with tenure of office to resign on the basis of planted subordinates’ disloyalty or uninvestigated media reports must be done away with.
The unceremonious and forced resignation of Eze Festus Odimegwu as the five years tenured chairman of the National Population Commission as a result of his vow to make a difference in the forthcoming census exercise, which has been mired in roguery since Independence, is roundly condemned. The idea of replacing any sacked political appointee with another from the same geopolitical zone, as was the case in the NPC and the Power Ministry, is very commendable. But it is our condemnation that this was not the case in issue of the Nigerian Immigration Service boss.
We call on top political appointees of the Igbo Southeast to always watch their backs because “their enemies are within”. While they must be upright at all times and stay away from any frauds, they should also be careful with the type of personal aides they recruit to work for them including media aides. They should also work harmoniously with their subordinates, but at the same time, watch them very closely to thwart any moves by their hunters to plant or instigate any scandals that may bring their downfall. All the those from the zone holding any command, administrative and other appointive positions should have effective media counter forces including reaching out to those in the social media to fight back when under malicious attacks. They should also establish periodic constituency consultations with formidable CSOs and other upright figures in their zone.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
*Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria - Part 2
Separating Igbo Cause, Democracy & Good Governance In Nigeria (Egalitarian Partisanship) From Pecuniary Politicking ( Libertarian Partisanship): Putting The Records Straight
(Public Information, 23rd October, 2013)-This is the continuation of our Public Information of 20th October, 2013, titled: Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: APC’s Attacks Against Our Leadership Another War Against Igbo Gods & A Boarding Pass Off Anambra 2013.
Ngige, Peter Obi, Poll Rigging, Emeka Umeagbalasi & Intersociety:
In 2002, a coalition of human rights activists in Anambra State were brought together and they joined forces with the “Mother Church” to form a strong coalition to fight election rigging and disastrous governance in Anambra State then under Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju’s inglorious epoch. The “Mother Church” was represented by the JDPC and prominent among the congregated rights groups was the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization under Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi.
In the April 2003 governorship poll, the Coalition, with the help of the “Mother Church’s” JDPC, deployed over 4000 monitoring agents in all the polling booths in the State. Except in two wards in Anambra West LGA, where the poll did not take place, all other results were obtained, studied and analyzed at the JDPC secretariat in Onitsha and they clearly showed that Mr. Peter Obi of the All Progressives Grand Alliance won the poll with a wide margin. But to the shocking of everybody, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige was returned by INEC and later administered with the oaths of office and allegiance. Peter Obi and his party, too, through their agents, collected results, which tallied with ours.
Dozens of ballot boxes filled with cast votes were later found floating on rivers in Omambala or river-line and forest areas of the State including Igbo-ukwu in Aguata LGA. Dozens of the election result forms called “Form EC8As” were also found torn to shreds by Dr. Chris Ngige and his godfathers-led poll agents. Dr. Chris Ngige’s inaugural speech contained some paragraphs dedicated to one Chris Ubah for making him the governor. The speech was also interrupted for minutes in the form of “Ahu Nze, Ebie Okwu” (when a titled man enters the scene, all protocols are suspended in his honor), when the quantity arrived the inauguration ground midway into Dr. Chris Ngige’s inaugural speech, in recognition of his then mastery in poll rigging and coronation of plum public holders, in return for huge financial gains.
After the armada of electoral fraud, the Coalition, including “the Mother Church”, represented by the JDPC resolved to go court or support the presumed winner should he decides to go to court to challenge the heart-breaking rigging. Other public interest groups and public figures like the local branch of Ohaneze Ndigbo supported the Coalition and joined forces with them. In September, 2003, the first hearing of the poll rigging case commenced at the Anambra State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal, sitting at Awka. The five panel tribunal was headed by Hon. Justice Garuba Nabaruma.
Few months after the commencement of the matter, interests and pressures crept into the Coalition. The JDPC of “the Mother Church”, which earlier vowed to appear before any tribunal or court to give evidence, chickened out, citing pressures from “home front”. Few months later, Dr. Chris Ngige became a knight of the Catholic Church and before members of the Coalition could close their eyes and open, 80% of its Coalition partners have thrown in their towel; saying “election rigging has come to stay in Nigeria and you can’t fight, but accept it”. By 2005 August, when the first unanimous verdict was delivered in favour of Peter Obi and Anambra voters, the Coalition camp has emptied, leaving behind few die-hard activists led by Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and his Anambra CLO.
In 2004, the Ngige camp, represented by one Emeka Ngige, SAN, wrote the national leadership of the CLO, asking it to disband the Anambra CLO’s leadership, so that his camp can easily clamp on its leader, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and send him to jail on “sedition charges” or any other spurious criminal charges. An administrative secretary attached to the Enugu zonal office was procured to hand in spurious indictable report to facilitate the Anambra Branch’s “disbandment”. When the national leadership of the CLO stood its ground and rejected the spurious memo of the said admin staff, the Ngige camp opted for libel litigation, whereupon he sued in his personal capacity.
On March 15, 2006, the Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal, headed by Hon. Justice Danladi Mohammed, with Hon. Justice James Ogebe, as the administrative judge, returned unanimously, Peter Obi’s sacred mandate and ordered Dr. Chris Ngige, who was the then interloper governor out of office. During the 27 months (May 2003 to August 2005) proceedings at the tribunal, Dr. Chris Ngige’s camp called 525 witnesses as against Peter Obi’s 45. The Anambra CLO wrote over 72 petitions and press releases in the course of the electoral mandate recovery advocacy and faced several threats of elimination from Dr. Chris Ngige’s camp.
Anambra Rights Community’s Pact With Peter Obi:
Contrary to false impressions that seem to have become a norm in Nigerian culture, non-governmental organizations are not invented to serve as enemies of governments, particularly popular governments. From 1839, when the world first recorded NGO, called “Anti Slavery International” was founded, to the post second world war global NGO revolution, NGO serves to make people’s lives and cultures better and refined by consistent advocacies and constructive and proactive engagements with popular governments in matters of good governance and people’s liberties.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch policies of “dealing with any government in power” in matters of human rights, for instance, have been seminally challenged by many modern thinkers; on the grounds that “human rights and human rights defenders fare better under popularly instituted governments” than under those instituted roguishly.
Flowing from the foregoing, therefore, our pact with the present popular government in Anambra State, which we labored to restore its stolen mandate over seven years ago, is not for clannish political and monetary gains like it is seemingly the case in Lagos and other APC States. It is purely for proactive and constructive engagements or reasons. In June 2006, the then Anambra CLO leadership under Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi held a meeting with Governor Peter Obi at the Onitsha GRA Government Annex. The likes of unforgettable Barrister Chuka, obele-chuka and other activists also attended. They told Governor Peter Obi in black and white that none of them, despite being qualified academically to occupy any public office including the AG of the State, was willing to serve in his government, but to remain in the opposition to checkmate his excesses and point out areas that need to be attended to, in the interest of the public. They also told him boldly and begged him too, not to fail in governance so as not to make voters disenchanted and lost faith in popular poll and government. They charged him to ensure that at the end he leaves Anambra far more than he met it. This hallowed pact has continued till date.
Generally, NGOs’ interest in any popular government is divided into “egalitarian partisanship” and “libertarian partisanship”. But in roguishly instituted governments, any NGO support or partnership with such regimes is solely “libertarian partisanship” oriented. Like in the universal concept of human rights, where that of USA is referred to as “libertarian” ( rights layered in selfishness or rights for only American citizens and death for others) as against Europe’s “egalitarian rights” or rights for Europeans and non-Europeans alike; our “partisanship” interest in the Government of Anambra State is purely “egalitarian” or public interest for public good as against parochial interest for private pockets (libertarian partisanship), which seems to be the order of the day in Lagos and other APC States.
Our popular website (www.intersociety-ng.org) contains series of attacks against some policies considered anti people and unpopular formulated and implemented by the present popularly elected Government of Anambra State. This includes malicious demolition of suspected criminal properties outside court pronouncements, imposition of death penalty on suspected kidnappers, smokescreen security policy of “arming kidnappers, assassins and armed robbers of tomorrow”, using monstrous vigilantism, creation and maintenance of militant entities for collection of revenues, to mention but a few. Our popular website is a guide.
It is correct to say that nine-nine percent of followers and other people who left Mr. Peter Obi today, left because of his insistence that public money is not meant for private pockets, but for public good. This, they tagged “misery” or “frugality”. One of the secret campaign weapon reportedly employed by the opposition parties and their candidates for the November 16, 2013 governorship poll, who may include the APC and its candidate, is a promise to key public figures that such frugality culture will be a thing of the past if put into office. In the past civilian regimes in Anambra State, from 2003 to 2006; be they illegal or disastrous, senators and house of reps members from the State were paid N500, 000 and 250,000 each respectively, at every month end from the State’s meager allocations; using highly inflated security votes. The State Assembly members then routinely fight over “jumbo pay packages”.
A certain former number two man received N10million, likewise other political god fathers. Monies meant for the execution of federal projects in the State, now get into the hands of contractors directly, unlike in the inglorious past when over half of them were shared by federal politicians and their cronies, warranting constructing roads using shovels and head pans. The difference in the quality and pace of work at the ongoing reconstruction of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way as in Anambra and Enugu portions is a clear case in point.
Today, neither Emeka Umeagbalasi, nor Justice Ijeoma, Aloysius Emeka Attah and other key figures in Anambra Rights Community, has any empty plot or developed plot in Onitsha or any part thereof. While Comrade Aloysius Attah does professional journalism to keep family going, Emeka Umeagbalasi, though measured in Criminology & Security Studies, remains a buyer and seller at the Bridgehead Market in Onitsha and still resides where he parked in 20 years ago. Comrade Justus Ijeoma sustains his law program in the university and his family with petty contract business including managing the restroom of the Tools & Allied Market in Onitsha on contract basis.
Therefore, the reported creation of a CSOs’ liaison office by a certain State Government that distributes N100million or there about to them monthly with instant increases in crises times, should not be used to judge situations in other Nigeria’s boundary climes. This is because the two approaches are different and are rested on the premise of “libertarian partisanship” versus “egalitarian partisanship”.
The Part Three of this Moment of Truth is in the making. Watch Out!!!
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria
Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: APC’s Attacks On Our Leadership Another War Against Igbo Gods & A Boarding Pass Off Anambra 2013
(A Public Information, 20th of October, 2013)-Name-calling, blackmail and character assassination using highly sectionalized Nigerian media have remained major weapons of many gullible groups and individuals in Nigeria including the leadership of All Progressives Congress and its tribal media war mongers. Those who did not have effective counter forces to tame them especially those in plum public offices have been consumed by such weapons. The list ranged from the likes of Prof. Bath Nnaji, Immigration CG Uzoma, Senator Chuba Okadigbo to Eze Festus Odimegwu. The likes of Diezani Allison Madueke, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Ministers Okonjo Iweala and Stella Odua are still sitting on the keg of gunpowder.
The weapons were also used to scuttle Prof. Charles Soludo’s second term as the Nigeria’s CBN governor in about eight years ago. The worst victim of such destructive campaigns is President Goodluck Jonathan. Among few that have survived are the leadership of this organization, Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo and Peter Obi of Anambra States. Where statutory tenure of office is provided, planted disloyalty among the subordinates and “forced resignation” are applied. The ill-fated resignation of Eze Festus Odimegwu from the chairmanship of the National Population Commission is a clear case in point. Political appointees from the Southeast and southern and northern Christian minorities are recklessly eased out through internally and externally instigated set ups or scandals, whereas those of the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba extractions remain untouchables. The case of retired Justices Aloysius Katsina Alu and Ayo Isa Salami is another case in point.
In the CSO community in Nigeria in general and rights community in particular, any activist, especially that of the Southeast, who proudly asserts his or her ethnic origin and culture is hated ruggedly, except he supports Southwest or Yoruba agenda. You are addressed as “progressive comrade” if you belong to the latter and called “tribalist” if you are of the former. CSOs’ meeting are unduly interrupted in other to observe “minute’s silence” in honor of an obscure quantity that once lived in the Southwest zone. Till date, many of the rights leaders in Nigeria especially those with Igbo identity, are highly “yorubanized” and brain-washed with the so called “progressive (Yoruba) agenda”. This age-long warfare is also imported into the economy, government ministerial and parastatal appointments and the media. The police, army, custom & excise, immigration, navy and air force, etc are not exempted.
The major cause of insecurity and political tensions in Nigeria today is the refusal of the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba sections of Nigeria to let go their age-long political slavery sustained through old North and West political dominance of Nigeria. The recent formation of All Progressives Congress; a fusion of CPC sympathetic to Hausa-Fulani/Boko Haram cause, and Action Congress of Nigeria sympathetic to Yoruba cause; is a clear return to this age-long political dominance of the country. This is as a result of the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is of Nigeria’s small Ijaw tribe. To the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba political slave masters, the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, this if unchecked, may lead to the emergence of a core Igbo person as Nigeria’s President. This is considered a taboo that must be cleansed to facilitate the restoration of the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba political slavery of other members of the Nigerian Federation.
The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is not unaware of a sustained campaign of name calling, blackmail and character assassination being carried out against our leadership by the All Progressives Congress including its Anambra State chapter. Though, Intersociety was founded in 2008, but such attacks against our Board Chairman, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi date back to the Mbadinuju’s inglorious epoch during which he was accused of being paid N4million by the Emeka Offor group to fight Mbadinuju’s infamous policies. Then he was the Anambra State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization. During the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige, he was reported to the SSS and the Anambra State Police Criminal Investigation Department in July 2003 through a criminal complaint personally signed by Dr. Chris Ngige whereupon he was labeled “seditionist”.
This was followed by a 2004 civil suit personally instituted by Dr. Chris Ngige whereupon he claimed that the Anambra CLO leadership under Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi libeled him. In 2005, our Comrade’s CLO leadership was again accused of receiving N6million from Mr. Peter Obi to fight the Ngige’s illegal regime. The accusation was sequel to his group’s public condemnation of an attempted poisoning of Mr. Peter Obi through the inducement of his then personal aide (John Bosco Muonanu), who was later smuggled out of the country to Cameroun when he leaked the plot.
Prior to the 2010 staggered governorship poll held in February, 2010, the Anambra ACN and its Dr. Chris Ngige maliciously alleged that Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and his Intersociety was paid N12million by the Peter Obi administration to carry out “campaign of calumny against him and his party”. Since then, there have been countless print, electronic and audio-visual media attacks by the ACN and its Chris Ngige against our leadership. As the Anambra 2013 governorship poll drew nearer, the APC (former ACN) again renewed its country-wide attacks against our leadership, calling us all sorts of unprintable names.
The latest of such destructive campaigns by the APC is consistent harassment and threats to some leading media houses in Nigeria including print and social media to stop our facts boggling public advocacies from seeing the light of the day. Those media establishments said they are under threat and have been told by the APC to give our public information a news blackout. Other torrential calls to that effect have continued to come our way from our idolized associates in the media industry. Just some days ago, one of the assistant editors of a national daily reportedly summoned his Anambra State correspondent to Lagos where he was grilled for over an hour. One of the reasons for summoning him was that the APC complained that the newspaper was giving our publications undue public attention. The correspondent was asked severally to say all he knows about Intersociety, Emaka Umeagbalasi and Peter Obi.
While the leadership of APC is doing all it can to put us out of social equation and existence through “konja” processes, it has never for one day challenged, statistics by statistics, facts by facts and law by law, any of the issues we raised. Instead, it prefers to chase shadows and seeks for our destruction, which is an act of impossibility because Igbo gods are not asleep! In the case of Obiano’s alleged double registration, for instance, the APC is yet to challenge our legal citations or come out with counter factual facts that there are verifiable records available at it from Anambra INEC and Obiano’s sources showing that he never engaged in any voters’ card transfer within the stipulated time frame as allowed by Section 13 (1) (2) (3) & (4) of the Electoral Act of Nigeria 2010. Also, its unfounded allegation that N500million was given to an Anambra INEC ICT official, named Chidi Ahanotu, to effect the deletion of Obiano’s voter registration data from the Aguleri unit in Anambra State suffered further damage because if that is the case, then with which voters’ card will he vote in the election?
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria )
*Where INEC Failed & Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant
By SE Group 8 Rights Coalition
Anambra Voters’ Register & Related Issues: Where INEC Failed & Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant
(A Joint Statement, Onitsha-Nigeria, 19th of October, 2013)- We, the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), the National Secretariat of the Civil Liberties Organization, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of the LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria), the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Global Rights & Development International and Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), known as Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, have resolved to speak on the underlined subject matter with a view to guiding the Anambra electorates and other Nigerians and putting the records straight.
Final Release Of Voters’ Register:
It is recalled that we had on 15th day of October, 2013, addressed a joint letter to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State on its planned release of the final list of registered voters who will vote in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the State; and need for the Electoral Residency to address before the release, a number of demographic anomalies complained of. On 16th of October, 2013, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC made public through the 23 participating political parties, the voters’ list as scheduled. The exercise was carried out through a press briefing in which the political parties were given soft copies of the revised and updated registered voters.
According to Section 20 of the Nigeria’s Electoral Act of 2010, the final list of registered voters is composed of the main voters’ register and supplementary voters’ list, which includes transferred voters’ list (for those who relocated from their previous polling areas). The Section directs the exercise to be carried 30 days before the date of an election. Section 34 of the Act also directs INEC to release or publish same day through online and offline full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated. Anambra State is the 10th most populated State in Nigeria with the 2006 census of 4.18million people (the current population is estimated to be up to 6million). The State measures about 4, 416 square kilometers of landmass with 21 LGAs, 326 electoral wards and 4,608 polling units.
Where Anambra Electoral Residency Of INEC Failed:
Though, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC released the list as legally required, but the anomalies complained of, and sought to be addressed, have remained unaddressed. From the Electoral Residency’s accounts as released, the total number of registered voters in Anambra State tentatively rose to 2, 011, 746 in 2011 and decreased to 1, 711, 061 voters in July 2013. It increased again to 1, 784, 536 voters in October 2013. This simply means that only 73, 475 new voters were captured during the continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercise that took place between 19th and 25th of August, 2013. The Electoral Residency further said that the 18-35 registered voting age bracket constitutes 52%; 36-59 25%; 51-69 18%; and 70 years and above 5%. According to the Commission, the total number of female registered voters in Anambra State is 900,701 or 52%, while the number of male registered voters is 883,000 or 49%. Ogbaru LGA has the highest voting population of 139, 000 registered voters. The number of double registrants in the Anambra Voters’ Register was put at 93, 354. In all, the total numbers of registered voters who will vote in the November 16, 2013 governorship poll is 1, 784, 536 (one million, seven hundred & eighty four thousand, five hundred & thirty six).
Other than the foregoing, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC did not disclose whether the 53 missing polling units in nine LGAs of Awka South (34), Ayamelum (1), Anambra East (2), Ihiala (2), Idemmili North (1), Nnewi South (4), Nnewi North (5), etc, have been found and restored or not and the fate of the affected registered voters in the areas. The public did not know whether the 93, 354 double registrants have been deleted from the voters’ register. The number of dead and fictitious voters that were possibly deleted was not disclosed, so also the number of voters registered during the continuous registration and revalidation exercise and number transferred into the Transferred Voters’ List.
No information was given with respect to the alleged discovery of illegal polling centers in Ogbaru, Onitsha North and Oyi LGAs as well as those malicious citizens imported by criminal politicians from neighboring States during the continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercise. Whether the “evil forest and shrine” bound polling units still exist or not was not disclosed. Information about issuance or otherwise of a certified true copy of voters’ register to the ANSIEC for the purpose of conducting the December 14, 2013 LGA poll was also not made available.
Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant:
Our in-depth investigation into an allegation that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Mr. William Obiano was involved in double registration as a registered voter in Nigeria clearly shows that he acted within the law. While double registration as a voter in Nigeria contravenes Section 12 (2) of the Electoral Act of 2010 with a fine on conviction of N100, 000 or one year imprisonment or both, unlawful possession of voters’ card, buying or offers to buy same or selling of it is a contravention of Section 23 of the Act and attracts on conviction two years imprisonment or a fine of N500, 000 or both. The exceptions to Section 12 (2) of the Act are clearly provided in Section 13 (1) (2) (3) & (4) of the said Electoral Act (of 2010). These exceptions can be clearly understood in the context of “Citizen’s Voters’ Card/Data Transfer”.
Section 13 (1) of the Electoral Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2010, states: “Any person who before an election is resident in another polling constituency other than the one in which he was registered may apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State where he is currently residing for his name to be entered on the Transferred Voters’ List of the constituency”. Section 13 (2): “An application under subsection 1 shall be accompanied by the applicant’s voters’ card and shall be made not less than 30 days before the date of an election in the constituency where the applicant is now resident”. Section 13 (3): “The REC to whom an application is made under this provision shall cause to be entered the applicant’s name in the Transferred Voters’ List if he is satisfied that the applicant is a resident in a polling center in the constituency and is registered in another constituency (former)”.
Section 13 (4): “ Whenever an Electoral Officer (EO) on the direction of REC enters the name of any person (applicant) on the Transferred Voters’ List for his constituency, he shall: (a) assign that person to a polling unit area in his constituency and indicate in the list the polling unit to which that person (applicant) is assigned; (b) issue the person with a new voters’ card and retrieve his voters’ card (former); and (c) send a copy of the entry to the Electoral Officer of the constituency where the person whose name has been so entered was originally registered and upon receipt of his entry, that Electoral Officer shall delete the name(data) from his voters’ list”.
The allegation as made is totally false and lacks fundamental ingredients of truism. While it is necessary to put those aspiring to occupy public leadership positions through elective or appointive processes on their toes so as to ensure the emergence of people with upright and charismatic characters, such activities must be rested in the universally acceptable processes especially in matters of journalistic investigation and reporting. Such must be devoid of political witch-hunting, ill conception and motivation. Nigerian journalists, who are part of the mass media recognized by Sections 22 and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended in 2011 must not endanger the sanctities of the two hallowed provisions. They must also stay away from “konja journalism”.
The sighting of “double registration or data” of a citizen on the INEC’s physical or soft data warehouse without an investigation to ascertain the circumstances of its double entry and existence, amounts to “trial by ordeal”, which has no place in Nigeria’s justice and human rights system. For instance, in 2009, prior to the 2010 governorship poll in Anambra State, the leadership of Intersociety in Nigeria, went to Dr. Chris Ngige’s campaign office in Awka and found that the data including picture of late Chief Gani Fawihinmi, SAN, who voted in Lagos in previous elections such as 2007 polls, was included in the list of registered voters in an Ekwulummili Ward in Nnewi South LGA of Anambra State. Further investigation showed that INEC was solely responsible for such anomaly.
In Mr. Willy Obiano’s case, for him to vote in the November 16 important governorship election in which he is a contestant, he must bear a voters’ card issued him in Anambra State and not that of Lagos State, which is not a party to Anambra governorship poll. His lawyers put INEC on notice on his behalf and exhausted all the processes attached as contained in Section 13 of the 2010 Electoral Act. The job of deleting his previous data in Lagos lies between the two concerned Electoral Officers in Anambra and Lagos States. The EO in Anambra State ought to transmit the information to his Lagos counterpart to facilitate the former’s deletion. The allegation of payment or offer of a bribe of N500m to an Anambra INEC official so as to delete Mr. Obiano’s data is an act of impossibility and a clear case of further injurious falsehood. This is because deleting such data from Anambra angle means that Mr. Obiano has incapacitated himself and cannot vote in the said election he is a contestant.
We reiterate our call on the Anambra State Electoral Residency of INEC headed by Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu to offer satisfactory explanations to the People of Anambra State and Southeast Nigeria with respect to anomalies complained above. The Electoral Residency is also called upon to be alive to its administrative duties at all times permitted by law. Capturing only 73, 475 voters in the continuous voters’ registration exercise out of teeming eligible but unregistered voters in Anambra State is an example of administrative incompetence. Mr. Willy Obiano’s “double registration” allegation, though false and empty, is also part of it, so also the case of “missing 53 polling units”. Politicians including those controlled by “the Center of Excellence” are advised to stay away from “konja politics” and learn a lesson from the 2012 Ondo “electoral humiliation”. Issue-based politics wins hearts, while mechanical or “konja” politics poisons minds. Journalists in Nigeria must also be alive to their journalistic duties at all times. This includes searching for and arming themselves at all times with relevant materials such as copies of the Electoral Act of 2010, which can be sourced both online and offline. Those who reported the unfounded allegation of Mr. Obiano’s double registration are “electoral illiterates”.
For: Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition:
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Ibuchukwu Ezike: Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organization, Nigeria
3. Rufus Duru: Global Rights & Development International
4. Justus Uche Ijeoma: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria)
5. Emma Onwubiko: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
6. Aloysius Emeka Attah: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
7. Peter Onyegiri: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Samuel Njoku: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
Photo Above: Willie Maduabuchi Obiano
*Igbo Deportation: Fashola’s Apology Ill-Conceived Says SE Group and Rights Coalition
Internal Deportation Of Igbo-Nigerians: Fashola’s Apology Ill-Conceived & Politically Motivated-Says Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition
(Joint Public Statement, Onitsha Nigeria, 29th of September, 2013)-The Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, made up of the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Humane Justice International, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety) and Global Rights & Development International, Owerri, Southeast Nigeria, wishes to reject in its entirety the September 26, 2013, “apology” tendered by the Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria over his abominable deportation of 72 Igbo-Lagosians from Lagos to the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria. The punishable act took place on July 24, 2013 at about 3: am or the hours of the blue law (a period prohibited by nature for conduct of official government affairs or transaction of its official business).
It is recalled that seventy-two (72) Nigerians of Southeast Igbo extraction resident in various parts of Lagos State were rounded up between December 2012 and January 2013 at Lagos roads’ bus stops and its streets by the operatives of Kick Against Indiscipline working for Governor Fashola’s administration and detained illegally and solitarily without trial for over six months on the orders of the Governor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (a supposedly law lord). They were held in an illegal detention premises located close to a border between Lagos and Ogun States.
In the evening of July 23, 2013, they were told to prepare to be taken back home in their Lagos residences and asked to put their names in a sheet of rough paper. Suddenly, four commuter buses with two truckload of anti riot police personnel stormed their illegal detention premises. The two trucks were marked “Rescue Operation” of the NPF, donated by LASG (Lagos State Government). They were commanded to enter the buses, after which, they found themselves under the Upper Iweka Flyover Bridge in Onitsha at about 3: am. By day break, 54 of them with undisclosed social identities had escaped, leaving behind 18, who looked hungry, tired, medically and psychologically challenged.
In the Nigerian legal system applicable to Lagos State, anti wandering, begging and public nuisance offences are usually treated as statutory and strict liability offences (usually no mens rea and witnesses are required during summary court prosecution). In other words, such offences usually receive summary court trials and lighter punishments like fines, rehabilitation and jail sentences for days, weeks and months. They share common boundaries with sanitary and traffic offences. The major safeguards for these categories of offences are the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011. This is to curb the excesses and harshness of the government in the use and prosecution of such offences. No Nigerian law permits any tier of government or State governor to detain citizens without proper court trial and conviction for months as Governor Fashola has magisterially and arbitrarily acted.
The illegal and unconstitutional internal deportation was greeted by a tray-pan of denials, falsehoods and blackmails by the Government of Lagos State, its ruling party-APC and hired agents including newspaper editors and columnists as well as sectional rights activists, online and audio-visual media. When the denials and falsehoods refused to swallow the abominable action, the Government of Lagos State came up with “14 re-unionized”, “not 72 deportees” theory and blackmailed the Government and People of Anambra State as a party to “re-unionization resettlement of 14 citizens in Onitsha”. The LASG went deeper in its falsehood by manufacturing and releasing names, towns and LGAs unknown to the Government of Anambra State, its traditional naming, LGA and community systems with a view to linking them to its manufactured 14 fictitious names. In the defense of the despicable action, the likes of Mr. Joe Igbokwe, further described Igbo-Lagosians as “419ers”, “kidnappers”, ”fraudsters” and “armed robbers”. The likes of Dr. Chris Ngige also defended the internal deportation by reportedly describing those deportees as “mad people”, “criminals” and “beggars”.
Following from these in addition to the November 16, 2013 crucial governorship poll in Anambra State as well as threats the despicable action constitute to the State’s economic strength, Governor Babatunde Fashola influenced the Silver Jubilee anniversary of one “Aka Ikenga” Igbo socio-cultural group, which is clearly sympathetic to APC and its Anambra Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2013 governorship poll, Dr. Chris Ngige. The anniversary took place on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at the National Institute for International Affair, Victoria, Island, Lagos State.
The “Aka Ikenga”, which initially condemned the callous act later developed cold feet, possibly for political reasons, and published Dr. Chris Ngige’s version of the abominable act to the effect that “Lagos State Government dropped the citizens (deportees) at a government building at the Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha when the Government of Anambra State, which agreed with its Lagos State counterpart to receive the citizens at the border between Anambra and Delta States, was nowhere to be seen”. It is important to state that neither did any government building exist at Upper Iweka nor did Anambra State enter into an agreement with the Government of Lagos State to deport any Nigerian citizens. The deportees were dumped at Onitsha Upper Iweka, not Onitsha Niger Bridgehead.
It is our collective observation that the “Aka Ikenga Silver Jubilee Anniversary”, was deliberately put in place by the APC and its government in Lagos State to offer an ill-conceived and politically motivated apology over the abominable, criminal and unconstitutional deportation of innocent and harmless citizens of Nigerians. The apology is ill-conceived because it lacks rudiments of true apology. Any apology grounded on technicalities is not a genuine apology. True apology frowns at the use of words like “if” and “misunderstood”. Genuine apology must be total, remorseful, remedial and unreserved.
Also, Governor Fashola’s apology so called, is politically motivated because it is borne of desperation by his APC and its candidate to win by hook or crook the November 16, 2013 governorship poll in Anambra State of Nigeria. On the other hand, it is possible that Governor Fashola and his other APC bigwigs has a strong feeling that they have been declared “persona non grata”, by highly irritated mass brigades in the Southeast zone, which, if true, will threaten their participation in their party’s governorship campaign rallies fixed for their governorship candidate for the November 16 governorship poll. In other words, the sudden, infantile, politically motivated and ill-conceived apology is to clear a way for their participation and safety during the rallies.
Another reason for the so called apology may not be unconnected with the recent mass calls by some leading good governance and rights advocacy groups in the Southeast zone for Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians to decongest Lagos socioeconomic dominance in Nigeria, particularly as it concerns transnational movement of persons, goods and services using airports and seaports considered friendly, cheaper, convenient and less risky to them in Nigeria. The torrential heeding of such calls is steadily being observed from left, right and center especially in the South-south, Southeast and North-central parts of Nigeria. As a result of these, the newly commissioned Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria, now hosts up to three major transport aircrafts in a week. This has drastically reduced the age-long passengers and goods and services’ patronage enjoyed by the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
For instance, while it takes N17, 000 to clear a cargoed bag from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA) in Lagos and transport it to the Southeast Nigeria, it costs a total of N7, 000 to clear it from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu and transport it to Onitsha-the commercial hub of the Southeast Nigeria. It takes up to six hours excluding excruciating Lagos traffic jams to get to Lagos and extra hotel bills to incur before travelling internationally through MMA, whereas in less than two hours without hotel bills, an international traveler is on board an international aircraft at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu. We are also glad to observe that many business merchants from the Southeast Nigeria with their shipping companies are now diverting their goods and services to Port Harcourt wharfs instead of Lagos wharfs.
We commend Igbo-Nigerian business persons and international travelers for heeding these clarion calls by our sister bodies. We urge other major airline operators in the country and beyond her borders especially those flying Southeast Asia, Fareast, Gulf, Middle East and Europe to make maximum use of this wonderful business environment and relocate to the airport with potential milk and honey (Akanu Ibiam International Airport). There is need to teach the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola and his political party the lesson of his life to serve as deterrents to others of his likes.
We consider it as further insult on the collective psyche of the Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians the disclosure by Governor Fashola that “Igbo-Nigerians donated the highest number of cows during his father’s recent funeral”. Apart from the Governor engaging in reckless abuse of animal rights by admitting to have accepted “high number of cows”, which must have turned the Alausa Government House in Ikeja into “a cow slaughter house”; it is very insulting to draw a conclusion to that effect that “highest number of cows” given and received from his few Igbo contractor-friends means that “Igbo-Nigerians are reckless cow givers and slaughters”. Igbo-Nigerians attach serious values to animal lives, rights and management. The late legal icon and rights sage, Chief Gani Fawehnmi, SAN, during his lifetime, turned down at several intervals the donation of animals, whether domestic or wild, to him during ceremonies.
While rejecting in its entirety the infantile, ill-conceived and politically motivated apology under reference, it is our collective insistence that a sincere apology and sorry must have attributes of long term remedy, clarity, precision, sincerity, genuineness and capability of the wrong or criminal policy not being repeated. The only substance in Governor Fashola’s so called apology is not the apology itself, but the fact that Governor Fashola, his party and cronies have revealed the truth and exposed themselves as liars of unimaginable proportions.
On the other hand, truth has prevailed over falsehood and we are totally vindicated! The so called apology also left unanswered the question of imposition of “Babaloja” on Igbo-Lagosians’ controlled Ladipo Market, the incessant burning of Igbo markets at night and their reclaiming by government in the daytime, various hash policies including excess taxes imposed on Igbo businesses, designed to cripple Igbo-Lagosians’ businesses, the management of “internal census figures” that gave Igbo-Lagosians 42%, which reportedly infuriated the Yorubas of Lagos State, and reportedly is the center of the ongoing “internal deportation policies”, etc.
Like our sister bodies have demanded, the Southeast Governors’ Forum and other key public office holders from the zone must not rest on their oars as it concerns revolutionary development of the zone. The zone needs direly a second Niger Bridge, reconstructed Onitsha-Enugu and Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ways, a standard sea port, a revamped modern railway system, a connecting bridge between Ndoni in Rivers State and Ogwu-ikpere in Ogbaru, Anambra State and adornment of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport with all modern international airport equipment and standards.
Signed On Behalf Of Southeast G8 Rights Coalition:
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi-08033601078, 08180103912
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah-08035090548
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
3. Comrade Samuel Njoku-08039444628
For: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
4. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma-08037114869
For: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety, Nigeria)
5. Dr. Rufus Duru-08037513519
For: Global Rights & Development International
6. Comrade Emma Onwubiko-08033327672
For: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
7. Comrade Peter Onyegiri-07036892777
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Comrade Ifeanyi Onuchukwu-08096940019
For: Humane Justice International
*Download / Purchase All Hail Biafra (Cry of A Biafran Child) & Other Selected Songs By Composer
(1). iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-hail-biafra-cry-biafran/id594341032?uo=4 .
(2). The entire CD or individual tracks can be purchased at amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/All-Hail-Biafra-Biafran-Child/dp/B00B2WRI5K
(3). By searching Google for All Hail Biafra (Cry of A Biafran Child) for other stores selling the CD.
By sending $14.00 by mail to Charles O. Okereke, P.O. Box 11721, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211; and by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
On January 12, 1970 at the tender age of 14 as Charles O. Okereke witnessed the end of Nigeria’s historic civil war, enduring firsthand, the horrors of armed conflict as a child, he composed the hymn friends refer to as ‘Cry of A Biafran Child’. The essence of the sale/distribution of this song is not for any political ideology or agenda, but to identify with the history, will and determination of the people on both sides of that historic war, who symbolized a struggle and whose sacrifice, established either positively or negatively what is the present day Nigeria. In the same vein, this launching aims to celebrate the rich values of freedom, liberty and justice which the founding fathers of the great Nation - United States of America have handed down to its citizens, through the struggles of many iconic men and women who have contributed to the civil, political, ideological and social evolution of America.
Okereke says he will never forget January 12, 1970, the day the Nigerian civil war ended, because there was intense and sustained shelling of Orlu and environ as millions of civilians and soldiers were holed up in the enclave. In his words: “Our entire family, my parents, myself and siblings were in the encirclement. Voice of Biafra only played Church hymns with intermittent announcement that there would be a "special announcement" at 2.00 pm as our world was heavily bombarded. We listened to the radio for the announcement as we lay face-down on the floor under cover. I will never forget General Effiong's voice coming in much later after 2.00 pm to broadcast the surrender announcement. Federal troops stopped shelling the enclave about seven minutes into Effiong's speech.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: All Hail Biafra front sleeve (cover)
Click For Front & Back Cover (Sleeves) / Enlarged Photo
The CD insert has a complete history ( "All Hail Biafra Booklet Notes" ) of this song. The CD can be purchased by sending $14.00 by mail to Charles O. Okereke, P.O. Box 11721, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211; and by Paypal to email@example.com
ALL HAIL BIAFRA
All Hail Biafra was a song that came to my lips as a child (14 years old) in Okporo, Orlu on January 12, 1970, the second federal troops stopped shelling the last Biafran stronghold, about seven minutes after General Philip Effiong commenced his surrender speech on Voice of Biafra. There was peace and short-lived silence as the bombardment of the town ceased as most that took cover on the ground from fear of deafening artillery fire rose up in tears. Everybody around me was crying presumably because of the unquantifiable human suffering and bloodbath that resulted to nothing but an unconditional surrender. I was so moved, refrained from crying but in tears, repeatedly inspirationally sang "All Hail Biafra; Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish; We have vanquished our enemies; All Hail Biafra." Over the next few months, I sang the partial song in my dream until it came to me as a full two verse hymn (song). The third verse came to me later, still a child. The song became very popular over the years. It is all over on the Internet and different groups both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora sing the song on special occasions. Some even refer to it as the "Biafran National Anthem" or "New Biafran Anthem". The truth is that the composer and history of the song remained a mystery until recently.
My first public pronouncement of authorship of the song was at the colloquium on Ahiara Declaration, January 17, 2012, one of frontlines of activities commemorating the life of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. I sang All Hail Biafra at the end of my speech to a spellbound Igbo elite, some of whom asked me at the end of the event why sing of Biafra at such a sensitive occasion. I explained to them that there was nothing wrong with people singing nor talking about their history, which they agreed with. I also made it known to them that the song was my composition.
My acknowledgment of authorship of All Hail Biafra is to let people know its history. The song can simply be described as a child's cry for his people's wanton bloodshed and persecution in a world that did nothing to unimaginable human catastrophe. The hymn sooths the soul, heals the wounds and scars, and courageously drives away fears. Leaders will learn the lesson that a child witnessing human rights abuses might be writing or singing about them and one day the world may read or listen to music about the abuses. I would also have sung if the violence was meted out to any other group or tribe in Nigeria. The same thing would have been the case if it were animals that were being abused and killed. It is about humanism and love of God's creation. People must be accorded their fundamental human rights. Do not be afraid to demand or defend them. Power to the people!
More revelations would be made on "All Hail Biafra" in my forthcoming book on Biafra. These will include names of those that contributed to the success of the recording of the song in 2003 and disclosure on a 4th verse that was dropped because it was not part of the original composition.
Track no. 6 on this CD "Newstalk Symphony" is my recreation of the background music of Okoko Ndem's Newstalk on Voice of Biafra. Almost everybody I interviewed, with exception of two, said they could not recollect any music in the background of the newstalk. The tune whether an inspiration (just like All Hail Biafra) or reality, was in my lips over the years (just like All Hail Biafra) until its recreation and recording in 2003.
I will never forget January 12, 1970, the day the war ended, because there was intense and sustained shelling of Orlu and environ as millions of civilians and soldiers were holed up in the enclave. Our entire family, my parents, myself and siblings were in the encirclement. Voice of Biafra only played Church hymns with intermittent announcement that there would be a "special announcement" at 2.00 pm as our world was heavily bombarded. We listened to the radio for the announcement as we lay face-down on the floor under cover. I will never forget General Effiong's voice coming in much later after 2.00 pm to broadcast the surrender announcement. Federal troops stopped shelling the enclave about seven minutes into Effiong's speech.
This song is dedicated to the memory of three of my grandparents who lost their lives as a result of the Biafran war, and to all those who died in Biafra. Rest in peace.
May God grant us peace.
Charles O. Okereke
All Hail Biafra Lyrics
1. All hail Biafra
Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish
We have vanquished our enemies, all hail Biafra
God Bless Biafra, in Him we trust
Shout it sing it, all hail Biafra
2. God bless Biafra
We have emerged triumphant, from all our foes
Through the crucible unscathed, we passed victorious
Our trumpets pealing, the glorious song
Play it, sing it, all hail Biafra
3. Oh hail Biafra
We shall always remember, all that perished,
In the struggle for our freedom, all hail our heroes
Our prayers shall bemoan, both day and night
Say them always, all hail Biafra
*Bold and underlined words are refrain (repeated).
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