*Nigeria: The Blood is Against You!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
"Be fruitful and increase in number." These were the very words of Yahweh to man as recorded in the Holy book, the Bible. In every home where couples have waited for years but still could not have a child, even one child to their names, ridicule, shame, disappointment and many sorrows become the air around them: the man is ridiculed for seemingly not being "man enough” and his wife is often ashamed to walk in the market-square or even among her fellow married-women because, then, she'd become the topic of all gatherings and gossip. And even if people were scattered about the market or wherever she goes, her presence and passage would usually converge common disagreeing friends to a point where they could have a common interest as they try to figure out her “reasons for being barren." As for close friends, associates and relatives, disappointment dawns on them, not just because their loved ones who got married for years have not been blessed with the cry of a baby - even one baby; but also because as they look at the faces of these couples, they see a people who go about with pains which no man could heal - except God who spoke forth man. As for their parents, if they be still alive, sorrow of their children's childlessness suddenly makes them feel childless themselves. And so we have a close-society of ridiculed, ashamed, disappointed and sorrowful people. Oh! What blessing a child is! What joy we all feel when the blessed baby finally arrives! Thank you, Lord, for the grace of procreation. Nigeria, the blood is against you! The blood of my grandparents, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, in-laws, uncles, aunts, cousins and relatives happily, arrogantly and unrepentantly wasted in 30 steady months of shelling, butchering, murdering, torturing, dehumanization, humiliation, starvation and deprivation, speak against you to this date. What blindness could convince any otherwise? ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
The news going round for some time now, and even coming out from some northern political and religious notables, has been that the highhandedness of the Nigerian government under Olusegun Obasanjo, which led to the death of the leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, brought about the full-blown terrorist activities of the northern-Nigeria religious chauvinists against Ndigbo, Christians and the State. How highly a son is valued! Even if he were the most notorious in town, he'd still be "my beloved!" Hear me, all ye peoples! Boko Haram terrorist group, which has killed over 3000 people (65% of whom are arguably of the indigenous people of Biafra), according to the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Azubuike Ihejirika, has repeatedly been appeased financially, submitted to and, to a larger extent, adored by both the so-called “Nigerian government” and the political pillars of the northern Nigeria. The clear understanding here, then, is that the unlawful death of one man from the north of Nigeria brought about the brutal and unjust murder of over 3000 innocent Nigerians and the destruction of properties (of the State, companies, organizations, places of worship and of individuals) running into hundreds of billions of Naira. To cap this abomination of blatant and arrogant injustice from the Nigerian two-types-of-citizens government, enslaved by the "born-to-rules or destroy," hear The Northern Governors Forum (NSGF) on the murder of a northern ex General whose karma of his genocidal crimes sent home in pain, shame and anguish: " This is callous and one death “too many." Nigeria, the blood of your genocidal victims is against you and you will never prosper! ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Mohammed Yusuf's bullet-ridden body shown to journalists in a video hours on July 30, 2009 after Nigerian police announced they had captured him alive. Police said Yusuf was shot while trying to escape.
They easily waved it aside - the deaths - the gruesome murders committed against the sons and daughters of Ana-Igbo. They even thought it right, lawful and patriotic for us, Ndigbo, to have seemingly forgotten all about the deaths by starvation and bombs and rape and deprivation perpetrated against us by the abominable Gowon with his cabinet of murderers, some of whom ended up taking their own lives or being helped by the principle of euthanasia. Many of them who would evidently still exit via these means still wander about in the darkness of regrets and pride. What degradation! So, understanding this, one gets amazed, even amused at the look of wonder, surprise, confusion, and even ignorance on their guilty faces as they see the Spirit of Biafra stirring every single Biafran remnant to seek a redress. They, probably in their customary arrogant-foolishness, imagined that we, the Igbo, did not hopefully wait for the birth of each and every child they thoughtlessly snuffed life out from, nor did we celebrate their entrance into our homes. When they have succeeded in annihilation over three thousands of our "living," they went to their homes with loots and booties from the helpless innocents. But God is our help! Some even built places of worship with the blood of these innocents slain! They did these and still said: "God is for us, who can be against us?" Well, in the law of Jehovah whose son paid the final price for all with His Most-Precious blood, Nigeria and Nigerians, by happily killing the helpless, deprivedand unjustly treated Igbo children, in blatant and conscious opposition to Jesus' finished work which revealed Him as the Christ, the blood of these children remains against you. And in the slanted, unjust and lawless laws of the so-called "Federated Nigeria," if the northern leaders found justification for Boko Haram's killing of hundreds of my ‘brothers of blood and faith’ in retaliation for the death of one so-called "leader of a sect," and if both the Federal and State governments have continued to financially appease this very sect for the death of "one" man, then the unappeased blood of more than 3 million Igbo children murdered by the Nigerian government and by individuals who still move about all over Nigeria, holding several offices and bragging about how Nigeria owes them obeisance for these abominations done in her name, then the blood is against you. And this blood will reveal to Nigeria that there are only two types of blood that speak before God: that of Abel of vengeance and that of Jesus of Mercy and Salvation. To those who humble themselves and pray - confessing their sins, if they forsake them and turn to God and administer justice in the land, the blood of Jesus will stand in the gap, form a whole and heal every land so the peoples in them can genuinely prosper. But while men brag about not being their "brothers’ keepers," the blood of Abel will continue to speak against them. There remains only one remedy and one justice for Nigeria and the powers that hold unwilling people glued and spiraling towards a destructive destiny: A freed and Sovereign Republic of Biafra. Until then, the blood of vengeance and mercy will keep its stand against Nigeria and continue to speak against her until her remaining glory becomes her greatest burden and curse. Those who reject and oppose the chief corner-stone will forever live in offences and they will forever stumble. Yet Biafra IS and its sovereignty has come!
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Focus On Anambra State (1): Security & Crime Under Review
By Intersociety Nigeria
(Onitsha- Nigeria, 7th November 2012)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law having reviewed the issues foregoing as they concern Anambra State of Nigeria in particular and Nigeria in general, wishes to observe and take the following position:
Security & Crime: Fundamentally and criminologically speaking, Anambra State as one of Nigeria’s six blue-collar unit-societies (States) is crime-prone, particularly as it concerns crimes against person and property. Other Nigeria’s blue-collar unit-societies are Lagos, Ogun, Abia, Kano and Borno States. Semi unit blue-collar societies such as Warri and Port Harcourt also abound in Nigeria. Blue-collar society is synonymous with a society with high commercial activities where high cash carriage abounds. In such societies, high incidences of bribery and extortion on the part of public security agencies and administrative establishments are routine. In the process of committing these crimes, properties and persons are destroyed in the form of extra-judicial killing, etc. They can be described as public crimes against persons and properties. On the other hand, private crimes against persons and properties such as robbery, armed robbery, carjacking, shoplifting, stealing, arson, burglary/house-breaking, and kidnapping, assassination/willful homicide, ritual killing, rape ,aggravated battery/assault and trafficking in persons are common features of the blue-collar/commerce-prone societies. Some white-collar crimes like fraud and kick-backs are also found in blue-collar societies. Traditionally, white-collar crimes are features of the white-collar or civil service societies and can be described as cancerous crimes against members of the public by public officials. The two sets of crimes so described are found in every society with one dominating the other according to the blue-collar or white-collar nature of such society. There are also crimes against the State and crimes by the State such as Boko-Haram insurrection and government hash responses toward same, which are prevalent in the northeast and northwest regions of Nigeria. Cyber crimes also abound. Generally speaking, white-collar crimes are major contributors to other forms of crime in both societies, while law and economic development are their two major antagonists.
Public Crimes Against Persons & Properties In Anambra State: These official crimes are higher in the State Police Command and the local establishments of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria all controlled by Federal Government of Nigeria. On the part of the Nigeria Police Force, Anambra State Command, it may most likely be correct to say out of every five suspected crime incidents reported, four are subjected to bribery and extortion. The saying that he who pays the piper dictates the tune is a norm in matters of criminal complaints, investigations and prosecutions within the Command. It is widely believed in the State that ninety-nine percent of complainants bear the total costs of filing criminal complaints, arrest of the suspects including logistics for the arrests; investigations, obtainment of autopsies/medical reports, writing of police reports, procurement of human and material witnesses and arraignment/prosecution of the suspects/defendants, yet huge overheads go into the hands of the Command’s top echelon monthly. The accused and their relatives/associates are routinely extorted and made to process their defense/innocence through bribery. As a result, the records of dark figures of crime (crimes not reported to police) and grey figures (those reported but not recorded by same) are very high in the Command. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State
Further, instead of complying fully with the IGP’s directive, effected from 30th January 2012, banning mounting of road blocks on Nigerian roads; various divisions of the State Command especially those in urban areas have devised other dastardly means to subvert it, such as going on mufti and stationing at strategic urban locations, arresting, impounding and extorting persons and properties with alacrity. One of the urban divisional commands indulging in the dastardly acts is Okpoko Police Station, which routinely stations over twenty of its mufti personnel between Chisco Park and Aba Park/Ogbaru Relief Market areas of Onitsha Upper Iweka. Another culpable-Police Station is Fegge Police Station, which adamantly stations its uniformed personnel permanently at some commercially busy routes such as Creek Road Roundabout, Niger Street by Zik’s Avenue, St. Jude Cath. Church by Port Harcourt Road and Iweka Flyover all in Fegge, Onitsha. Its personnel also arrest, impound and extort daily dozens of Okada riders before dawn at various locations in Fegge including Zik’s Avenue. Those who cannot afford bribery and extortionist sums are dumped in cells or charged to magistrate courts on trumped-up charges. For instance, on Sunday, November 4, 2012, the extortionist personnel of the Fegge Division were sighted at the afore-said roadblock joints including St. Jude by Port Harcourt Road, Fegge, Onitsha, extorting motorists and motorcyclists. One of those sighted by Intersociety on Port Harcourt Road by St. Jude extortion joint is Corporal Michael Orji. Awada and Ogidi Police Stations as well as the Onitsha Central Police Station and Onitsha Area Command are also very corrupt and defiant to the IGP’s directive. The motorized patrols ordered by the IGP have been abandoned and extortionist approaches adopted and sustained by these divisions of the Anambra State Command. These sharp practices also have tacit backing of their divisional, area and State commanders.
On part of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria-the Federal Government-controlled electricity provider, all its local Business Units in Anambra State particularly Onitsha, Ogbaru, Ogidi, Nnewi and Ekwulobia Business Units are corruptively and bribery disposed. They are also very incompetent and fraudulent. Within Onitsha and Ogbaru Business Units, bribery and extortion are a routine. They institutionalize roguish billing system by abandoning meter-based reading to outright imposition of N5, 000 flat rates for every flat apartment in their Business Units, not minding that 98% of the affected flat apartments operate with consumer-meters. They also create artificial scarcity for new digital pre-paid meters and deny consumers access to them. Few ones they made available were fraudulently sold to the highest bidders with their proceeds unknown to the official PHCN financial records. Pre-paid electricity meters make consumers to pay accurately what they consume and eliminate substantially bribery and extortion against consumers by corrupt PHCN officials. They also make the PHCN officials solely responsible for round-the-clock management and maintenance of distribution transformers and save the consumers from the agony of shouldering same responsibilities owning to near-total abdication of same by the PHCN officials.
But the said officials prefer the use and retention of analog meters, which reading they refuse to pick, and outrageously estimated billing system because of their proneness to sharp practices such as extortions arising from power line disconnection owing to non-payment, late payment or part-payment of outrageously imposed bills, and replacement, reinforcement and maintenance of distribution transformers and their accessories, which the Onitsha, Ogidi and Ogbaru Business Units’ power consumers are forced to bear. Out of every five new distribution transformers installed in the said areas, four are installed at the expense of the consumers; out of every five existing distribution transformers serviced, five are serviced at the expense of the consumers; and out of every accessory replaced, it is the consumers that bear the cost, yet statutory overheads for such works are collected and pocketed by the Business Units’ Business Managers and their Managers in-charge of Distributions at every month end. It may most likely be correct to say that 60% of outrageous sums generated at every month end in Onitsha, Ogidi and Ogbaru Business Units from the imposed N5, 000 flat rates for every flat apartment is not remitted into the official PHCN accounts. In all, the case of new 250KVA Abazuonu distribution transformer located at Iyiowa Layout, Ogbaru LGA, Anambra State, installed in June 2012 by its consumers at a whopping cost of over N2Million is a case in point. The transformer brought by a member of the House of Reps in 2011, from Federal Constituency Project, without its accessories had to be installed by the affected consumers when the top officials of the Onitsha and Ogbaru PHCN turned down the consumers’ request and directed them to a NEPA contractor after being forced to write and sign an under-taking-assisting NEPA (PHCN). When the transformer developed multiple faults in September 2012, two months after its installation owing to shoddy jobs done on it, the Ogbaru Business Unit through its SMD (Senior Manager for Distribution) again referred the consumers to another NEPA contractor, GAESHON ELECTROTECT NIG. LTD. of No.1B Gayius Ezeh Street, Awada by Onitsha-Owerri Road, Obosi, Anambra State, who gave them another bill of N463.000 for its repair. The Business Manager for the Ogbaru Business Unit, carved out of Onitsha Business Unit recently, is Engineer E.C. Anyaelesi. Instances such as the foregoing abound in the PHCN establishments in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria. ( Continues below….. )
Private Crimes Against Persons & Properties In Anambra State: Crimes of kidnapping, assassination, stealing, robbery, armed robbery, pick-pocket, snatching of personal effects, assault/aggravated assault and battery/aggravated battery are Anambra’s leading headache- crimes as a traditional blue-collar society, while crimes of shoplifting, carjacking and political violence are on steady decrease. Crime of torture is still very alarming and routine among the operatives of over 1000 registered and unregistered armed vigilante groups in the State and the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Anambra State Command, particularly the operatives of its Special Anti Robbery Squad and the State Criminal Investigation Department. Torture remains the sole source of obtaining confessional statements among them. The only exception to this is the personnel of the State Security Services, Anambra State Directorate, who apart from applying tortuous methods on their suspects from time to time; also apply some modern methods of intelligence gathering in their intelligence gathering network. Extra-judicial killing is still high among the SARS and vigilante operatives in the State, but not as alarming as it used to be seven to ten years ago. In SARS, it is now substantially restricted to violent criminals like fleeing and detained armed robbery and kidnapping suspects, including those who are unable to buy their lives and freedoms.
There also exists pre-judicial handling of the properties of crime (crime proceeds) by the executive arm of the Government of Anambra State led by Governor Peter Obi, particularly properties belonging to the kidnapping suspects , whereby such properties (residential houses) are demolished by the government before commencement and conclusion of judicial enquiries and pronouncements into the suspected dastardly acts. This is clearly synonymous with extra-judicial execution of violent crimes suspects, be they kidnapping or armed robbery culprits. The legitimization of such blundered practice by the Anambra State House of Assembly via a Law of Anambra State is inexcusable, as such is a typical example of bad laws. Following international best practices and the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended; such properties can be sealed and placed under criminal investigations on the orders of the State Chief Security Officer (i.e. governor) and confiscated afterwards through judicial applications and pronouncements after the persons of crime must have been criminally tried and convicted. Criminal Justice in the world over abhors pre-judicial destruction of properties and extra-judicial killing of persons by State actors or Pseudo State actors whether they are caught in the act or outside the act. The sealing and confiscation of properties (not demolition) that linked to the infamous Otokoto Ritual/Advance Fee Fraud Saga of the late 90s in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria, is a case in point. While the untiring determination of Governor Peter Obi to reduce to the barest minimum the high incidence of violent crimes particularly crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom/political reasons in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, through constructive governance and effective securitization is highly appreciated, but such securitization methodology must be thoroughly subjected to sound judicial processes and rule of law.
Proliferation Of Vigilante Groups/ Illicit Small Arms As A Major Threat To Security & Crime In Anambra: The saying that if you want to know how State Police would be abused and mismanaged in Nigeria, go and study the activities of motley of armed vigilante groups in Anambra and Abia States and government policy/attitudes towards them, has become a popular saying in Nigeria especially in criminology, securitization, arms control and rights communities. While it is widely believed in the security, crime and anti-arms proliferation communities that about, if not over 5million illicit small arms are in wrong hands in Nigeria including the country’s uncoordinated and poorly managed armed vigilante groups, the State of Anambra may account for over 6% or 300.000. A former Nigeria’s defense minister, retired Gen. Theo Danjuma acknowledged this years back when he said that over 1million illicit small arms might be in circulation in the country. Illicit small arms(machine guns, AK-47s, rocket launchers, double/multi-barrel guns, hand grenades, APCs, pistols, pump-action guns etc) are those weapons of death procured from black market or illegal sources, which end up in the hands of wrong bearers including armed vigilante groups and ethnic militias. Just like there are four million hidden security cameras currently in the UK for protective security, conversely speaking, there may be over 16million machetes/daggers/axes in Nigeria, on average of one for 10 Nigerians, which have substantially been converted from domestic/peaceful use to violent use. They are best described as dangerous weapons. Their negative use has skyrocketed Nigeria’s homicidal and social militancy index. Illicit small arms are believed to originate from dark spots in Togo, Ghana and Benin Republics and discharged/sold in Lagos, Onitsha, Aba and Kano black markets with smooth passage through the country’s dry and water borders. With 5million illicit small arms believed to be in circulation and in wrong hands in Nigeria, it may most likely be correct to say that one out of every 30 Nigerians bears same. In the early 2000, the BBC reported that one out of every 20 Africans had illicit small arms.
In Anambra State proper, one out of every 20 residents is in possession of illicit small arms, no thanks to monstrous vigilantism fed by Onitsha arms black markets. Continuing proliferation of armed vigilantes and illicit small arms is a time bomb and government patronage to its disastrous system for political reasons amounts to a suspension of catastrophic war from within for another day. Today, the number of armed vigilante groups in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria, both registered and unregistered, and illegal arms in their hands is still swelling, reaching over 1000 uncoordinated groups. The government of Peter Obi is not helping matters too, as it may have carried out its planned recruitment of more 5,240 armed vigilante operatives (tomorrow’s assassins, kidnappers and armed robbers) into existing vigilante groups scattered in its 177 communities and dozens of urban and semi-urban centers. The militancy culture is steadily being entrenched in the State. Apart from clear porosity of the government management of these armed groups, their source of arms is black market oriented, which is very dangerous for present and future security of the State and the country. The government inventory for their members and arms is utterly shallow and poorly managed. Guns and machetes use by members of the groups freely appear and disappear unchecked because of poor government control and management. Character impeccability, basic secondary education qualification, surety and basic biometrics/computer literacy tests as basics for modern security works are strange and unknown to their recruiters and managers. Effective national and State legislation for their conducts and regulation is either poor or non-existent. The Nigeria’s Private Guards Act of 1986 and the Anambra Vigilante Services amended Law of 2007 are both archaic and poorly legislated and regulated. Most members of these armed vigilante groups are street urchins, ex convicts and indicted, ruffians, primary/secondary school drop-outs, thugs, touts and ex murderers. Public security cannot be entrusted in the hands of the black sheep of the society-akin to social deviants securing the deviant society. Above all, the policy of arms recovery, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration that usually accompanies such quasi security arrangement is totally absent in the social lexicon of the Government of Anambra State. This explains why militant youth groups are springing up from left, right and center within the State with alacrity. Today, even though banned, there still are militant/deviant MASSOB elements, Obosi Youth, Ogbaru Youth, Odekpe Youth, Nsugbe Youth, Onitsha Ado Youth, Fegge Youth, Oba Youth, Nkpor Youth, Awka Youth, Nkwere Youth, Ekwuluobia Youth, Nnewi Youth ,etc, with their stock-in-trade being extortion and other militant activities. In all, homicidal and militant culture is on steady increase in Anambra State. Illegal arms and their illegitimate bearers are flooded at every nook and cranny of the State. Also, armed police personnel and vigilantes are at every corner of the State, yet every corner of the State remains insecured.
Position: We call on the Nigerian authorities concerned to take firmly the social notice of this expert-public statement on Security and Crime, though centered on Anambra State, with a view to addressing frontally and immediately the relevant issues so raised. The over-reliance on manual and arms-and-ammunition concept (AK-47 driven) of security should be deemphasized and global concept of human and intelligence securities fully embraced. Concrete steps should be taken by the Nigeria Police High Command and its supervisory agencies to tackle endemic commercialization of criminal enquiries in the Force particularly in its Anambra State Command as well as to curb same of bribery and extortion. The express attention of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar is also drawn to the clear flouting of his ban on unwarranted roadblocks on Nigerian roads by his Anambra State Command particularly the divisional and area commands so mentioned. Efforts should immediately be made to curb Nigeria of proliferation of illicit small arms and other dangerous weapons of death as well as to effect the amendment of the anachronistic Private Guards Act of the Federation 1986 to ensure proper control of proliferated armed vigilantes in Nigeria including their use of arms. The authorities of the PHCN and the Federal Ministry of Power as well as the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission should beam their searchlights on perceived criminal conducts of their subordinates in Anambra State particularly their Onitsha and Ogbaru Business Units so as to address the misconducts complained of, especially the criminal imposition of outrageous bills outside existing consumer-meters and subsisting tariffs; and abdication of their statutory duties of installing and maintaining distribution transformers. The Peter Obi government in Anambra State should, as a matter as of immediacy and public importance, expertly formulates far reaching policies towards the sound management of its motley of armed vigilante groups and tens of thousands of illicit small arms and other dangerous weapons in their possessions . Other related issues so raised should be tackled as well.
[ Expert-Statement By Intersociety Nigeria ]
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Gender Inequality: The Nigerian Case
Masterweb Reports – Saturday, November 3, 2012: Women are more than fifty percent of the world’s population. They perform two-third of the world’s work, yet receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own one-hundredth of the world’s property. They represent a staggering seventy percent of the world’s one billion poorest people. This is a stack development reality for our world.
My country-Nigeria has the highest population of any African country. With a population of over 162 million, Nigeria is ranked the world’s seventh most populated country. Of this magnitude, forty-nine percent are female; some 80.2 million girls and women. Comparatively, thirty-eight percent of women in Nigeria lack formal education as against twenty-five for men and only four percent of women have higher education against the seven percent of their male counterpart. Nigeria ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index.
Commenting on the fore, it is apparent that no appreciable development can be made either at the local, national or international platform without recognising girls and women as equal players in the game of life whilst empowering, up-skilling and investing in them for a better world. “When we empower women, we empower communities, nations and entire human family” un Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
We live in a world where majority of girls and women face real-time poverty, gross inequality, molestation and injustice, which could run through from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to violence and brutalization to vulnerable and low pay employment, the sequence of discrimination and atrocities a woman may suffer during her entire life is unacceptable but all too common in our global society.
In her assessment of gender inequality, Nigerian Ambassador to the UN, Joy Ogwu, rightly noted, “It is about having half of humanity participate. The progress of women means…the progress of the world”. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Woman & man images against their standard gender symbols.
Undoubtedly, Nigeria and the World at large has in the last decade witnessed an unprecedented expansion of women’s rights, being one of the most profound social revolutions the world has ever seen. Couple of decades back, only two countries allowed women to vote. Today, that right is virtually universal. Millions of men and women around the world now support the call for gender equality although there is much to be done especially in developing countries like Nigeria.
Reviewing the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 2012 Gender Report in Nigeria, “Nigeria’s 80.2 million women and girls have significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in comparable societies”. This reveals the neglect of the Nigerian people and government in tackling the issue of gender inequality despite calls from various quarters. It also brings to bare our frail understanding of preparing the girl child for tomorrow’s motherhood, family and societal challenges.
The report which succinctly stated that “Women are Nigeria’s hidden resource”, exposed that over 1.5 million Nigeria children aged 6-14(8.1%) are currently not in school, a situation which has effortlessly earned Nigeria the world’s largest out of school children country-an unfortunate achievement of a robust nation. “In eight Northern States, over 80% of women are unable to read (compared with 54% for men). In Jigawa State, 94% of women (42% of men) are illiterate”. Apparently, we have failed to realize that just a few investments have as large a payoff as girls’ education.
Some traceable factors to this ill-starred development include lack of funds resulting from wide-spread poverty, traditional and religious inclination which place low priority on educating the girl child, non-provision of educational facilities by government, poor funding of the educational sector, weak educational policies, early marriage, early childbirth, poor sanitation, ignorance amongst others.
“Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of women are concentrated in casual, low-skilled, low paid informal sector employment. Only 15% of women have a bank account”. Educating and empowering the girl child implies preparing her for future motherhood challenges that will in the nearest future affect a family and the larger society either positively or negatively.
The huge geographical and ideological disparities of Nigeria, makes her a unique country with though global yet slightly peculiar challenges and opportunities, even as it relates to gender inequality. Human development outcomes for girls and women are worse in the northern part of the country where poverty levels are sometimes twice as high as in the south. Nearly half of all children under age five are malnourished in the North-East, with the figures expected to increase across the country in the wake of national and international food crises.
On maternal mortality, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria noted that Nigeria has one of the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world, a case where in every ten minutes, one Nigerian women dies in childbirth. With about forty-seven percent of Nigerian women being mothers before the age of twenty, the report cautioned that without access to safe childbirth services, adequate and affordable emergency obstetric care, improved healthcare funding, enormous political will and civil society pressure, Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate could double from its current 545 deaths per 100,000 live births. Note, “Every 90 seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth”, world over.
“Women around the world are dynamic leaders and powerful advocates of change. But space for their leadership and broader social and political participation remains constrained. By mid-2011, only 28 countries could claim that women’s parliamentary representation had reached a critical mass of 30 percent or more. Only 19 women were leading their countries as elected heads of state or government”.
In Nigeria, only 25 out of the 360 members of the Nigerian House of Representatives being women and only about 4% of local government councillors are women, confirming that “women are under-represented in all political decision making bodies and their representation has not increased since the inception of democratic rule”. This could perhaps be an explanation for Nigeria’s low investment in sections that are crucial to human development outcomes such as health and education.
It is pertinent to note that the quality of our democracy, the strength of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of peace —are all undermined when we fail to fully tap half of the world’s talent and potential. Where women have access to secondary education, good jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are enhanced, and we see lower maternal mortality, improved child nutrition, greater food security, and less risk of HIV and AIDS.
In a society like ours, violence against women and girls cannot be ignored though it is being ignored. “One in three of all women and girls aged 15-24 have been a victim of violence. Women who have never married are more likely to have been attacked than married women. Up to one third of Nigerian women report that they have been subjected to some form of violence. One in five has experienced physical violence”.
Rape, sexual insult and assault, brutalization and molestation, domestic violence on girls and women have in recent time upsurge in Nigeria, with victims feeling embarrassed to report such incidence to the right agencies for justice. However, kudos must be given to some individuals, civil society and media organisations that have continually been campaigning against violence on the female folk, though, there is more to be done noting that women and girls pay an unjustifiable price for violence and discrimination, but they do not do so alone.
The United Nation Women says “Ending violence against women requires know-how”. The know-how of judicial and health processes. In her words, Karen Valero, Colombia said “I dream of a world where women are free from domestic violence…Everyone is equal. We have the same rights in every way”
Curbing and stopping violence against women requires the creation and passage of laws regarding such violence, adopting action plans and budgets to implement legislation, instituting prevention programmes and protection services for women survivors, and campaigning to raise awareness whilst instilling sound moral and religious instructions in the girl-child towards a chaste and modest future.
Achieving gender equality and women’s rights in Nigeria and the world at large is crucial to establishing and sustaining developments as specifically addressed by three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Gender inequality has a much greater impact than the explicit MDGs. Gender dynamics underpin all of the MDGs and to make progress, we need specific gender-sensitive policies and action across the entire project.
In promoting women’s livelihood, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria, recommends that “Government policy should prioritise agriculture and rural development, because 54 million of Nigeria’s 80.2 million women live and work in rural areas where they constitute 60-70% of the rural work force”. It also advocates the formulation and implementation of laws that will assist the female gender in actualising her mandate.
On education, the report advised the creation of incentives for all girls to complete primary and secondary education, whilst delivering free education to girls and better funding for the educational sector both at the state and national levels.
This fight for gender equality can only be successful with YOU and I playing our individual yet concerted roles towards successful women’s leadership; strengthening women’s economic empowerment; ending violence against women; promoting women’s participation in peace and security processes; and ensuring that public planning and budgeting responds to the needs and rights of women. Together-we can make it happen!
According to the Executive Director, UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, “Gender equality must become a lived reality”.
At this juncture, let me drop my pen in recognition and appreciation of all female: girls and women across the globe, who despite societal inequality and discrimination have just like my mother and sisters continued to grow in leaps and bounds…I love, respect and cherish you all. PEACE!
Tayo Elegbede Jet reports.
*Anioma State! To be, or not to be: “A Bride of Equity”.
By Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?”
The above Century old quote from William Shakespeare summarizes the predicament that Anioma People must confront as they approach the National Assembly Committee on the review of 1999 Constitution at Constituency level public hearing.
At last or at least it seems to appear, that balancing of the present geopolitical zones on basis of equity and fairness is one issue that Nigerians and their representatives at the National Assembly have come to agree.
A new Anioma State as the sixth State of South East geopolitical zone is being proposed and may well provide this master stroke. If it receives a favorable consideration, it is strongly being tossed as a Bride: “A Bride of Equity” that would bring to an end a history of imbalance and injustice, and provide the closure needed to foreclose the perception of marginalization. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing Anioma
Anioma People without big players in Nigeria politics presently hold the ace that could provide this balancing act for the South-South and South East geopolitical zones. A new Anioma State with the right composition and location in the proper geopolitical zone will be the pride a nation of people and manifestation of the peoples’ ability to solve their problems by compromise and precision.
However, the dilemma is whether a People with the longest agitation for a state in the history of state creation will boggle this chance. As it stands today, if no consensus is reached on the communities that would constitute a new Anioma State, and its best geopolitical location; Anioma People may have to live with a self-inflicted injury in many years to come.
There are propositions that a new Anioma State that is partly different from what has long been pursued or historically proposed may emerge more viable. Reasons are that times have changed, and communities and social formations have evolved and are still evolving.
First there are more challenges and opportunities today than far back when Sir Dennis Osadebe and his folks first conceived the idea of a separate political jurisdiction to be known as Asaba Division in the old Western Region. This political jurisdiction with some modifications constitutes what is presently known as Anioma.
Anioma region and people have evolved from seeing themselves as or being classified as: Western Igbos, Midwestern Igbos, Bendel Igbos and Delta Igbos to seeing themselves simple as Anioma people. This new identity is supported by many factors the most potent being a new Anioma Nationalism fueled by social media communications. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)
To some people a little modification to the composition of communities that would constitute a new Anioma State or realignments both in terms of geographical composition and nomenclature may further promote and assure its future viability.
According to the above, a new viable Anioma state may be that which is created not only to provide succor to Anioma people’s historical demand for a state of their own, but that also takes into account the needs of its closest neighbors and the entire Nigeria nation.
This group advocates for a new Anioma State that is carved out from the present Delta State and that will provide a relief from the persistent tension between Anioma people and the Core Delta people in the present Delta State. This new Anioma will include the Igbankes and Egbedes presently in Edo State; the Ndoni people( Sir Peter Odili’s Community) that was originally part of Aboh Division but presently in Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area (LGA) Rivers State ; Onitasha people now presently in Anambra State but share historical and cultural links with other Onicha communities of Eze Chime Clan in Aniocha Local Government Area, in Anioma region of present Delta State; the Oguta people presently in Imo State but share historical root an culture with Aboh people.
To others, it is either an Anioma State as was conceived by our forefathers or nothing.
The pros and cons of these two positions must be fully communicated to Anioma people by each party making these propositions. In the coming state creation exercise Anioma people will resist to be left with the short end of the stick.
Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili , Email: email@example.com
*Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The Political Moses
By Adedare Oduguwa (Press Release)
Chief Obafemi Awolowo: The Political Moses is a story of a man who dedicated the entirety of his life in the service of humanity and the development of mankind.
27 years old Adedara Oduguwa launched his biographical book on Chief Obafemi Awolowo in front of well wishers and dignitaries on 1st of October 2012 at the university of West England.
He decided to write this book out of admiration for the man he considered the best president Nigeria never had. According to the author,the fact that Awolowo's contributions to the Nigeria outlives his existence is a sign of great leadership.
'The book is about how the struggles of one man contributed to the growth and development of mankind' says Adedara, whose other publications include Love nest in 2005, Chief Kofoworola Oduguwa: A miniature biography in 2010.
In recent month, the accusations against Chief Awolowo by Author Chinue Achebe from his newly published work has left many Nigerians infuriated and disappointed that the hope of a unified Nigeria is still under attack from some group of people.
'This book brings to light the true nature of the man that gave his life for the freedom of our nation. I was inspired to write this, first in 2004 after discovering that most physical developments in Nigeria were as a result of Awo’s efforts.'
Adedara is currently a post graduate student of Management at the University of the West of England and like many other humanists, Adedara’s political ideology is based on equity, justice, equal rights and happiness for all in every society.
Please find attached a copy of the press release questionnaire on the book from publisher and a photograph of Mr Adedara Oduguwa.
Below is a link to the book documentary -
761, Filton Avenue,
Photo Above: Chief Obafemi Awolowo
*How Igbos Shall Build The Igbo Nation
By Dr. James C. Agazie
We Igbos shall surely rise above our present circumstances. We shall not be kept down by any principality. We shall certainly rise to build the Igbo Nation. The hard times we are facing are temporary, redeeming, and transforming. They shall not last. Nothing, not even the menace of Muslim fanatics nor the conspiracies of the West can derail us. They will not, and shall not deter us or daunt our resolve. We shall rise from the ashes of Biafra; we shall mount up with muscular wings of eagles, and we shall build the Igbo Nation that will surpass anything the world has ever seen. This essay intends to instill esprit de corps, a sturdy Igbo group spirit, a new rise-up-and-shine determination in the heart of all Igbo-speaking people the world over.
Yes, you did not misread the title of this essay. It is not a mirage, like the picture of the ocean in a desert. You can define a mirage as optical illusion, a hallucinatory experience, a delusion of grandeur or fantasy. Who tells you that Igbos shall not rise from the ashes of Biafra or that building the Igbo Nation is sheer hallucination? Didn’t the Boers build a nation in South Africa and practice apartheid? The Jews are building a nation in Israel, aren’t they? Wasn’t Biafra a successful attempt to assemble a nation within a nation? Go to Zimbabwe and witness Joseph Mugabe and the white farmers squabble over arable land. Do you ever stop to wonder why those white European farmers were struggling to build a nation in a hostile African environment? That the Igbos can and will build a nation is not far-fetched, and you may dismiss it as wishful thinking if you like. But a wishful thinker just wishes and does little thinking. A journey around the world starts with one foot instinctively put forth ahead of the other with a well thought-out plan, and Einstein’s theory was developed from a figment of Jewish thought process. Therefore, the rise of the Igbos and the building of the Igbo Nation will commence with taking just one purposeful small step. A thought, and that’s all. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)
That the Igbo Nation shall rise from the ashes of Biafra is more than wishful thinking. Doesn’t a wishful thinker just imagine pies falling off the sky into his lap while he is busy drinking Heinekens or stuffing “utaba” (snuff or ground tobacco) into his allergy-infected nostrils? He has not given a single thought to what part of his laps the pie would fall into, or the position his laps would be in if and when the pie starts falling. A wishful thinking woman gets up in the morning and marches to the halls of Abuja Senate Building expecting to catch the eyes of unsightly, revolting men with repulsive legislative powers ordinarily exercised around the treasury. A wishful thinking man lays up in bed and waits for his beleaguered wife to return from the hospital to hand her month’s paycheck over to him. Such male and female wishful thinkers are living in a fool’s paradise, and this isn’t what the Igbos are all about. It is right to sing the song:
All jealousies aimed at us shall not succeed; all guns pointed shall not go off
Shall one bite the feeding finger or suckling breasts, and a mouse the keeper?
All contracts set as traps shall boomerang and be rendered null, void and ineffectual
The precious blood of our children sacrificed at war from the earth cries:
“We cannot be the forgotten sacrificial lamb; for we are Nigeria’s chosen tribe”
Getting back to our topic, the Igbos attempting to build the Igbo Nation, are in enviable position to assert themselves and control their destiny, especially in modern Africa. First, let us enumerate reasons why THE IGBO NATION IS NOT AN IMPOSSIBLE DREAM. The Igbos have distinguished, still are distinguishing, and shall continue to distinguish themselves in all the right areas that are conducive to the building of a mighty nation as well as to the accumulation of massive wealth. All the Igbos need to do is fine tune attitudes and acquire habits that would catapult them to world preeminence never before thought possible. We say this with a lot of conviction parked in every fiber of our being. We use the terms we, us, and our to indicate our resolve and earnestness.
Building a viable nation is nothing new; it is achievable; it is attainable, sustainable, or simply within reach. Building the Igbo nation has three (3) practical steps which include: (a) meaningful relationships: (b) inflexible belief; and (c) failure-proof Igwebuike mechanism. We shall discuss each of these steps and the approaches the Jews are taking and that the Igbos would take toward achieving their goals. Finally, specific ways are presented to resurrect Igwubuike Mechanism which, like the Ogbunigwe of Ojukwu, will position and place the Igbos on the path toward achieving greatness and building the Igbo Nation.
A. MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS
People wishing to maintain health and well-being may require a three-dimensional relationship that is vertical, internal and horizontal. The first dimension is the vertical relationship and corresponds to the relationship with Almighty God. The second corresponds to the relationship with self. It is the internal relationship as measured in terms of those inward qualities that make substantive men and women. To be internal, the quality must be secret, inmost, innermost, or hidden, and originate within the reins. These are the inmost qualities of character, including peace, honesty, joy, patience, and self-control. The third relational dimension corresponds to the relationship with other human beings. It is the horizontal and encompasses such qualities as love, kindness, and compassion expressed towards others.
The Jews have a singular, identifiable relationship with the Almighty Lord. The Hebrews have been known throughout history as God’s own people. They didn’t become God’s chosen people by accident or coincidence. They entered into a contract, a pact, or agreement with Yahweh to “be Thine people” and He in turn agreed to “be our God.” Consider the advantages the Hebrews realized when they added God to their repertoire of relational equation. Abraham, father of the Hebrews, is the first man recorded in history as being the world’s richest man ( Genesis 13:2). Abraham’s descendants, including Isaac, tricky Jacob, even cantankerous Esau, were all wealthy as measured in terms of their possessions, including gold, cattle, servants, animals (camels, donkeys, for instance), land, and wells full of water. Trade along the desert caravan routes provided additional wealth. Hebrew kings David, Solomon, and Rehoboam, and those that came later were all opulent theocrats whose kingdoms extended as far as the eye could see. Moses, head of the first theocracy, led the nation for 40 years without experiencing a single successful coup. The Jews entered Palestine without a single disease.
The Jews rally together in politics, international business, medicine, law, entertainment, and other lucrative undertakings. They stick together and support one another in taking control of areas significant to the economy. While the Arabs fight war of self-destructive attrition with the aim of dying and going to meet 70 virgins somewhere, Jews fight wars with a different purpose in mind. One of the first instructions the Jewish God gave Adam and Eve at creation was: “be fruitful…multiply…replenish…subdue…have dominion…” So, Abraham left Ur in search of a land flowing with milk and honey with the intention and understanding that his children would establish dominion (defined as authority, control, power, command, or say-so). ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Israel
Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank? They are: 1. The Rothschild of London and Berlin; 2. Lazard Brothers of Paris; 3. Israel Moses Seif of Italy; 4. Kuhn Loeb and Warburg of Germany; 5. Lehman Brothers, Goldman, Sachs; 6. The Rothschild-controlled Rockefeller interests of New York. These are all Jewish names. The Jewish House of Rothschild with its International Jewish Banking connections manifests massive control over America’s society. This cannot be scary because it shows what Igwebuike determination can do. Six Jewish companies own 96% of the world’s media, including your TV Networks, your local newspapers, National Public Radio, and your favorite publishing houses. The Jews own Hollywood, including the actors, actresses, producers, and directors. Why were the Israelites hated and chased around the globe for centuries? It wasn’t because they had committed a crime against humanity as boko haran and its sympathizers are doing in Nigeria and throughout the Moslem world. It was because jealous eyes and hearts begrudge, resent, or envy Jewish control of world economy and because Jews are finally in a Jewish Nation which they would defend with the most brutal force, including nuclear arsenal.
With whom have the Igbos contracted to serve? The Igbos cannot get themselves to serve anybody but themselves. Don’t they worship naked cash, or leaders they sheepishly adulate or venerate as ignoble sycophants. Argumentative Igbos cannot bring themselves to see eye-to-eye with a “boss”. The Igbo Governor General/President Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe fought Britain for paper independence, and his followers dropped the baton and battle cry. Ojukwu, developer of ogbunigwe, told Nigeria: “Go to hell; we shall survive.” Where are the Zikists and the Ojukwus, and the Michael Okparas? And where are the Mbadiwes of the forward-ever-backward-never-agada-gbachiri-uzo era? Are Zik and the rest of our champions venerated, vilified or forgotten? Are they gone with the winds?
The struggle for Igbo nationhood shall not cease because Zik and Ojukwu are resting in peace. It is fair to say that the Igbos need to be successful in their vertical relationship with their Creator who is to be worshipped in the spirit and in the truth. Who worship alusi (voodoo), their ancestors, or traditional religion? Many Igbos stride the fence dividing Christianity and traditional religion (another name for paganism or idolatry). Igbos flock to the Catholic Church that mixes Virgin Mary and occultism to create strange, and intoxicating bedfellows. Catholicism tells the Igbos: “Come, come and join us , and bring your juju and charms; your multiple wives and concubines. It’s alright.” Now, Igbos are stumbling over each other as they rush to the Pentecostal prosperity theology with its excessive emphasis on mind control and monetary exploitation. The Igbos are now into secret societies, such as the Ogboni of the Yorubas who usually operate under the illusion that human sacrifice along with the eating of body parts and drinking of human blood will make one super rich. Isn’t this a senseless parody of God asking Abraham to sacrifice son Isaac? Until Igbos extricate themselves from the death hold of love of money, anything else we discuss is a waste of time.
The Igbos do not fare better in the internal (peace, joy, patience, and self-control) or in the horizontal (love, kindness, or compassion) dimension. Stories coming from Igbo States of Anambra, Abia, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi seem rife with inter- and intra-State conflicts which render Igbo statehood a frustrating experiment in democracy. Two things the Igbos lack are unity and brotherly love. Armed robbery and kidnappings are rapidly becoming commonplace and replacing kola nuts, ukwa, and Igbo kwenu as the most talked about topics. More Igbos celebrate Christmas, Easter and all holidays at Abuja, Lagos or any of the big cities than in the villages. Why? They are deathly fearful of their own relatives who have turned to “abali di egwu” (dangerous night thieves and killers) who derive pleasure in maiming or killing others on account of money. There’s reason to distrust your brother and sister, the cousin or little nephew you thought were harmless.
B. INFLEXIBLE BELIEF SYSTEM
It is not reckless to wager that no human action is possible without having the indomitable belief in providential God or in one’s self-efficacy at least based on the teaching of two books: The Magic of Belief and The Magic of Thinking Big. When we think of faith, several imageries come to mind: trust, conviction, reliance, assurance, confidence, and devotion. A popular Methodist hymnal reads:“On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” No Igbo should be involved in animal sacrifice or use of human body parts as Yorubas do. Igbos are not worshippers of unknown, impotent gods., and certainly Igbos cannot worship money. Money is a useful tool in the hands of righteous givers, and not a device to oppress others or aggrandize oneself.
The ancient Hebrews mixed faith and mystery around one God to develop a system of belief that told them they were the chosen people who hold the oracle of God and to whom the whole earth belonged; to whom the earth’s wealth should go; and by whom the entire universe should be devised. The ancient Hebrews believed that all things are possible to him that believeth. The suffering Job declared: Though Thou slay me yet will I trust in Thee. The three brave Hebrew boys, about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for disobeying a king’s order to serve a false god, told the mad king: The God we serve will protect us, oh king, we shall not serve thy god. With the words If I perish I perish, Queen Esther was willing to break the law and die for her people. By faith, a people imprisoned for centuries in Egypt sought an unknown country that only exited in the mind of an old-man named Abraham to whom the old promise to inherit a land flowing with milk and honey, was made.
The Jews, who have suffered a lot throughout their history, were finally able to say to the world: “Enough is enough.” They lived in exile most of their history, and are now ready for a nation of their own. Judaism, Kosher and the Star of David are symbols that set Jews apart as special people to be envied, respected and emulated. They want to and always do control their environments, Have you noticed special schools and universities established to train Jewish minds? Don’t they dominate lucrative professions, legislative bodies and banking institutions? Who do you think control Hollywood, and the entertainment industries? There may not be many outstanding Jewish musicians, but they own music production and merchandizing companies. Have you heard of Jewish singer named Barbara Streisand? Who supplied the arms that toppled, Iran, Iraq, are about to topple Nigeria? Wait a minute and ask yourself who the biggest merchants of petroleum and oil refineries are. It is not far-fetched to say the Jews own the economy of every country, including Nigeria.
Jews own the world’s financial institutions that control economies of Europe, Great Britain, and the United States through the World Bank and International Monetary Funds (IMF). When you own the money bag like the Jews do, (a) you can buy whatever you want (gas, oil, precious minerals, etc); (b) you can control governments (England’s monarchies, Saudi Royal Family, presidencies of Russia, Canada, Germany, all African nations, in fact the entire earth); (c) you can wage wars in Africa, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and the entire Arab world through sales of armaments and control and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WOMD); and (d) you can control world populations through demand and supply, withdrawal of food, manufacture of medicines, supply and withdrawal of life-supporting materials. The Jews are ahead of other people in the control–manage-direct-organize-an-run powerhouse.
How do the Jews do all these incredible wonders? The simple answer is the ability to control the purse strings, the availability and scarcity of money. Push a button at the IMF and currencies are printed to flood the world. Lock the machines to keep world populations (Nigerians, included) subsisting on $2 a day or suffering kwasioko. Throw the key away and the entire earth quickly starves to death. Jews don’t live among common people. Go to a Jewish neighborhood and you notice the difference between the place and where Ndigbo build their mansions. Jewish houses are more unusual, cleaner, and more expensive than Aso Rock concrete alakirija. It makes Jews wonder if the Igbos still live in the Stone Age. The Jews dress differently, speak differently, carry themselves differently, and even swagger their butts differently than my friends from Anambra, Imo, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, World Igbo Congress, Igwebuike Hall, or Atlanta Igbo Union. Jews even dance differently than Odiakosa, Ifekanku, and Naira sprayer Okafor, So, the Jews attract money and have an entirely different world view and aura around them. THEY ARE UNITED BY COMMON RELIGION AND CULTURE. They are God’s people, I tell you.
How do the Igbos fare in their faith? Consider 5 ways in which we Igbos develop our beliefs: (i) evidence-based, rational, analytical and critical thinking part of our mind that says that one thing causes another. Example is that good education causes economic development for the individual and community; (ii) Adopting traditional beliefs perpetuated through families and societies and evidenced in social culture, family biases, and societal prejudices. Example is masquerades at funerals to keep and appease spirit of the dead; (iii) Beliefs steered by such authority figures as new age religious movements, occult leaders, native doctors, etc. Example is belief that human sacrifice brings about prosperity and personal protection; (iv)Beliefs by association which you acquire as you run with the crowds or the herds. Example is the 419 business; and finally (v) Revelation-induced beliefs based on disclosure to man by a divine supernatural agency, intuition, or outstanding sense. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria ) – Map 2
While the Hebrew belief system was held in place by prophets and kings and solidified by code of the Pentateuch, the Igbos flounder unmoored. Igbo evidence-based mind is not unfettered by witchcrafts and superstition. Traditional beliefs handed down by families are often selective, restrictive, censured, or exploitative, and narrowly tailored to benefit some and punish others). Authority figures, like Igbo politicians, will take bribes and walk the other way and abandon their charges. The crowds young Igbos follow may decide to abandon education in search of such get-rich-quick alternatives as 419, illiteracy and occult. Divine belief-based revelations enunciated by Nigerian pastors are unreliable at best and fostered on building churches that favor the rich few, exploit the down-trodden, and neglect the poor masses. The Igbos have no Akaenyi of Osumenyi, and no leaders untainted with corrupting greed and selfishness.
C. FOOL-PROOF IGWEBUIKE MECHANISM
The Hebrews invented the word Unity as the symbol for their existence as a nation. The Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle, and the Synagogue all united them as a people. Because the Jews suffered exiles throughout their history and went through the holocaust together when Hitler baked six million in gas chambers, they have learned to stick together for survival. Jews control the World Bank and other banks, universities, research centers and huge lucrative income-producing establishments. Just to be sure that “never again, never again shall we suffer again,” the Jews pursue anyone remotely connected to the holocaust. They have bounty hunters in every jungle where the Jew haters have escaped to and they drag their enemies to face the World Court and possible execution.
The Jews were so united they forced the League of Nations (precursor of the United Nations ) to carve out the State of Israel which they defend with their very blood. “Never again shall we be homeless,” they cry to their God. Jews have a nuclear capability and would use it on any one who dares challenge their existence. Kill an Israel soldier, and Zion would penetrate deep into Lebanon or Syria and avenge with the lives of 1,000 enemies. Why is it that tiny Israel surrounded by hostile Arab nations has not been wiped out in a day? Try to do so and you will have World War III in your hand. The 6-day War proved that. Yahweh knew His stuff when He permitted Abraham to be the first man recorded in history to organize a private standing army consisting of 318 servants trained in his household (Genesis!4:14) . ALTHOUGH PALESTINE IS THE FOCUS OF THEIR ANCESTRAL HOME, THE JEWS HAVE MANY PHYSICAL NATIONS WHEREVER THEY ARE: IN AMERICA, CANADA, GREAT BRITAIN, GERMANY, AND RUSSIA, TO NAME A FEW. IN FACT, THE JEWS HAVE PHYSICAL PRESENCE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD BY CAREFULLY CONTROLING THE FLOW OF MONEY. Wherever they are and whatever they do, the Jews never fail to contribute 10% of their income to Zion, and we are talking about billions of dollars per year.
My Igbo brothers and sisters have not yet internalized the evil effects of Biafran War. Why must they when backbiting each other, entertaining murderous envy, keeping their women down, and chasing after money are all they care about? Most Igbo organizations are characterized by autocracy, monocracy, or despotism. Watch how the chairmen jockey for the control of the treasury. How many times has the World Igbo Congress been to court to force the chairman to turn over the books and to stop embezzlement? I hear in almost all Igbo organizations (including Igbo Union. World Igbo Congress. Nnewi Organization, Enugwu Agibi Progressive Union, and name whatever Igbo organization you have in mind), IEO ( Izu Ego Ora or theft of public funds) is the order of the day. Damn thieving Igbos! Don’t thieving Yorubas rob Nigeria to feed the West? Why can’t Ndigbo rob the world to establish Ala Ndi Igbo (Igbo Nation)? Why rob themselves of their little change? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
Igwebuike Grammar School (Awka, founded in 1958) is one of the popular premier secondary schools the Igbos had built in the Eastern Nigeria; it is trendy, well-liked, admired, and in style because it represents the hope and pride of the people. Igwebuike means unity is strength. And unity of the Igbos must be nourished from disciplined, stern, uncompromising attitudes. In order to survive as Igbo Nation; the Igbos must stick together as the Jews do. They ought to marinate, fuse, fasten, glue, or gum together until egocentrism, envy, and parochial narrow mindedness, closed-mindedness and clannishness become things of the past.
The early Igbos came to America at a time when minimum wage was $1.75/hour, the INS was chasing Africans around, and you’d hop through the back window to avoid being deported. We survived through a network of Igbo igwebuike mechanism, which might include eating “ofe eju” at Njoku’s from Owerri; sharing bed with Nwariaku from Umuahia; being taken to find a job around a college attended by Okigwe man Joseph, and finally driven home to sleep at the house of an Nsukka man.
“What state are you from and what village do you come from?” are questions the Igbos must stop asking each other. Why should those stupid questions be asked when we are being surrounded by enemies seeking to spill our blood? I feel sorry for Abuja Igbo civil servants who told me they prefer Muslim Heads of Ministries and Commissioners to those from Igbo land because “Awusa give us more benefits and less work than our own people.” We know that but we’ll deal with that in another write-up. The Igbos had suffered under Biafra and are currently being desecrated in northern Nigeria. Isn’t this the time to learn and mobilize for action? Mobilization is not militarily, but intellectually, rationally, psychologically, morally, entrepreneurially, and academically. The Igbo men are so intelligent they can be disproportionately represented in such lucrative professions as medicine, pharmacy, nursing, electrical and nuclear engineering. Igbos are making massive dents in Nigerian economy. We need to expand to other African and Western nations. As a tree does not make a forest, no single Igbo man should expect to stand alone and build a nation or a lucrative concern. Our battle cry is “Unite, ye Igbos, unite!”
I THANK GOD THE IGBOS SUFFERED THE BIAFRAN WAR
Yes, we were slaughtered, but we are still standing and surviving. Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. It takes the hottest furnace to purify the purest gold and Igbos must expect more purifications. There was water last time, says Negro writer James Baldwin who wrote a book entitled Fire Next Time. No Igbos should hang his/her down in shame because of the Biafran experience. We fought gallantly because we were not cowards, and we shall fight again if need be. The Igbos would fight back before another one million Igbo children are to be starved to death through withdrawal of food and medical supplies, just the Jews have been fighting back decades after 6 million Jews were baked in Hitler’s ovens. Period. Remember that millions of Jews were slaughtered in the hundreds of wars fought in Canaan in Biblical times on through the ages. Have you read Shakespearean plays about Shylock the Jews; the Biblical account of Queen Esther; and the slaughtering of Jews in modern history? Come on, my fellow Igbos, wipe off your crocodile tears and gear up for further trials. Now is the time to resurrect the Igwebuike Mechanism like the Ogbunigwe of General Ojukwu. Specific ways to build the Igbo Nation include:
SCIENCE: It is time Igbos undertook research to develop weapons of mass destruction at least to deter enemies wishing to annihilate us. No one dares attack a man who is prepared to unleash retaliatory counteroffensive. The old turn-the-other-cheek stance breeds inferiority. The Jews teach that if you want peace, prepare for war.
MEDICINE: There is nothing to prevent the establishment of Igbo Medical Conglomerate with centers in London, New York, Atlanta, Enugu, Aba, Owerri, Onitsha, and Umuahia We expect our Igbos doctors to have very large offices in both the West and Igboland. There should be a steady exchange of medical specialists between Igboland and the Western nations. Medical students preparing to serve in Igboland should consider remedies for such tropical diseases as leprosy, river blindness, chicken pox, small pox, HIV, AIDS, malaria, yellow fever, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis, African, trypanosomiasis, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dysentery, cancer, among other areas. IT IS TIME WE PERMANENTLY WIPED OUT MALARIA-CARRYING MOSQUITOES FROM IGBOLAND THROUGH MASSIVE FUMIGATION OF FORESTS AND STANDING WATER AND PRACTICE OF CLEANLINESS.
Emphasis should be placed on preventive medicine and proper nutrition, herbal treatments, and vitamins and supplements. What prevents us from encouraging yearly medical missions to Igboland undertaken by our Igbo nurses and medical personnel? IGBO HEALTH SHOULD EMPHASIZE A DEPARTURE FROM THE TRADITIONAL WESTERN OVERDEPENDENCE ON POISONOUS BIOCHEMICALS AND RADICAL SURGERIES TO LAY EMPHASIS ON PREVENTIVE HEALTHY LIVING THROUGH PROPER NUTRITION, REST, AND EXERCISE.
MARRIAGES: The Igbo Ministry of Marriage and the Family creates satellite centers in every Igbo community to provide premarital trainings and counseling for young men and women considering marital unions and bearing children, and to provide preventive measures against wife abuse and abandonment of children. Human behavior experts work tirelessly on strategies to combat typical Igbo males inferiority complex and low self-esteem suspected to be the root cause of broken Igbo marriages. Igbo women should receive training in proper nurturance of spouses and children, and in providing unselfish love, companionship and support for their mates.
LAW: We need to have the Igbo Law Center with a team of over 25,000 attorneys engaged in (a) prosecuting and conviction of corrupt politicians and civil servants; (b) commerce and international transactions; (c) land development; (d) medical malpractice; (e) personal injury and wrongful deaths; (f) cases dealing with tribalism and denial of constitutional rights; (h) abuse and infringement of women’s rights; (i) prosecution of pharmaceutical companies in India, China, and America whose drugs harm our adults and children. THE IGBOS MUST ASK THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE FOR PUNISHMENT OF ALL PERSONS REMOTELY CONNECTED TO THE KILLINGS OF IGBOS IN NORTHERN NIGERIA AND DURING BIAFRA WAR AND WHO USED STARVATION IN THE ATTEMPT TO WIPE OUT IGBO CHILDREN WITH KWASIOKOR.
COMMERCE: There should be a huge Igbo Chamber of Commerce with satellite centers scattered throughout the world. Its responsibilities include but are not limited to helping individuals to develop business plans, sourcing for capital, writing grants, and encouraging community venture. THE IGBOS MUST MAINTAIN STRONG COMMUNITY PRESENCE IN WORLD ECONOMIES FROM MINES OF SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND; TO THE MANUFACTURING CONCERNS IN CHINA AND ASIA; TO THE FISHING VILLAGES OF NORWAY AND CANADA; TO THE REMOTE VILLAGE FARMS IN AFRICA AND ELSEWHERE; AND TO ANYWHERE MONEY CAN BE GOTTEN TO BUILT THE EVER EXPANDING IGBO NATION. This is where Igbos should concentrate efforts rather than fighting each other in mundane stuffs.
ENGINEERING: Igbo Technological Institute should encourage technologies that provide for the basic necessities of life (food, water, housing, electricity, roads, and medications). The development of nuclear weapons and energy should be pursued as a matter of Igbo national emergency and protection. Consider the Iranians and how they are creating fear in Jewish and non-Jewish hearts. Igbos should strike fear into the hearts of enemies by possessing lethal weapons, including nuclear technology, at least to tell the world: “If you touch me, I’ll touch you. Shit!”
POLITICS: Igbos should embrace humane politics that teaches “I am my brothers’ keeper”, not the usual iniquitous (vicious) and recalcitrant (unruly) type represented in the politics of the Nigeria’s divide-and-conquer type.
EDUCATION: Revamp decaying Igbo schools from kindergarten through graduate schools. Institute Igbo language and Culture as a viable academic pursuit to the PhD degree level. Offer free schooling at all levels and provide financing that enables Igbo employers to train their employees. Emphasize such practical trainings as road construction, fishing, farming, plumbing, and manufacture of tools. EDUCATE THE IGBOS AGAINST SUCH DANGEROUS HABITS AS EXCESSIVE DRINKING OF ALCOHOL, USE OF TOBACCO AND UTABA (SNUFFS) AND CAFEINE FROM COFFEE AND KOLA NUTS.
BANKING: The Igbo Department of Banking & Finance should regulate banks to ensure loans are made timely and without discrimination; interest rates should be reasonably geared toward the improvement of the lives of the common man and woman. Igbos ought to steer clear of hoarding billions of Naira that are virtually nonsensical while children and graduates waste away. Igbos should put their money where their mouths are in providing training for the youth, sending children of the poor to universities, empowering women, rehabilitating the disabled, and making loans available for small business people.
ENTERTAINMENT: Inspire Igbolliwood that produces entertainment and realistic documentaries showing Igbo achievement around God’s earth to include Chioma Ogueri’s Miss Igbo Teen Pageants, healthy recreational activities involving the elderly; encouraging communities to write books detailing significance of multifarious Igbo cultures and traditions. NEWS: The Igbo World News will have numerous TV, radio and publications to promote Igbo self-efficacy and well-being. Igbos should encourage and support credible Igbo independent news media and websites.
AGRICULTURE: Extend the arsenal of Igbo diets beyond the usual starchy rice, cassava, and yam to include well-balanced intakes for healthy growth. Strengthen the importance of eating fresh vegetables and fruits and cultivation of good varieties of mangoes, guava, pineapples, oranges, pawpaw, plantains, ube, ukwa, coconuts, udala, ugba, achara, ugu, and all those nutritious and health-giving foods we grew up on.
(The author wishes to thank Chief Okereke for offering useful suggestions to clarify ideas in this essay).
LONG LIVE THE IGBOS. LET’S ENJOY FREEDOM FROM ENEMIES AND BLESSINGS OF PROSPERITY, LOYAL WIVES AND OBEDIENT CHILDREN.
COPYRIGHTED MATERIALS INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION. NO PART IS TO BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM OR SOLD UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS PROTECTED BY LAW.
Dr. James C. Agazie, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone: +1 678-886-1613
*Achebe And The Bitter Truths From True Elders
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Those who boastfully killed God's children with starvation, deprivation and outright murder turned around, after they have made rubbish of their anti-Igbo privatization policy, and started ordaining themselves as priests of the very God whose children they joyfully killed - priests to the "Most High," albeit in hypocritical and demeaning gestures of humility. They have destroyed even the temples in which they make a show of making mention of God's name. What is worse; their seed grew up to see the consequences of the abominations of their fathers, yet refuse to receive the baptism of repentance. Instead, they chose the path of their suicidal fathers and arrogantly revealed the spirit of the betraying humility which their fathers used to expose their indispensableness. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Starving Biafran Children
As the God of all life rejected Nigeria, even from its foundations, so has he rejected the spiritual leadership of these slaves of darkness who resist all truth. To date, their spiritual-fatherism and shepherd-mantle-ship have not been able to provide shelter to hundreds and thousands killed everyday and everywhere in this abomination called Nigeria; they could neither provide spiritual covering nor could they explain to the flock while "the gate of hell" is driving through to their sacred alters and blowing up ‘sincere seekers’ in the smoke of the wrath of satan's urgency - seeing that his time is short upon man. Jesus said: "upon this revealed truth, will my church be built and no gate of hell shall prevail against it." While many extol the bravery with which one of our most-esteemed elders, and father, Prof. Chinua Achebe, tried to make the bitter truths of Nigeria chewable, the majority of those who have hitherto fed the spirit of Nigeria's decay are yet to understand that, as long as nothing is ever hidden under the sun, every callous injustice will inevitably return home to their creators with burning desires to test their surprising impacts upon their gods - gods of gross injustice, wickedness and hell. There's nothing hidden under the sun; it shall be revealed. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Prof. Chinua Achebe
Biafra and her children have and are still being unjustly related to. Let those who claim originality and dominion over Lagos and Abuja stop and think: who gave life to these crowds and lights and growths? As Ahmadu Bello once said, "The Igbo are a type of people who like to dominate everybody by starting as labourers and aspiring to grow into head-men within one year." The only life and light in Nigeria comes from the rejected stone, the land of the rising son. Let those who worship oil and man follow the darkness; the Igbo were bought from inception by the God of Israel and for Him alone we are! To the East go; the Spirit and the Truth lives there! There's no other averting of the punishment still revealing and releasing its volcanic venoms upon and against Nigeria, except through the freedom and independence of Biafrans and Biafra. Biafra lives!
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
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
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
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.
Chief (People Servant) Charles O. Okereke is composer of All Hail Biafra, which came to his lips as a child in Orlu on January 12, 1970 at approximately 2.07 pm, the second federal troops stopped shelling the last Biafran stronghold after Biafra surrender announcement by General Philip Effiong. In a press statement Chief Okereke said: "Everybody around me was crying after the Biafran surrender which moved me, also in tears, to repeatedly inspirationally sing - [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. I am trying to tell the history of the song by coming out openly with it since many are unaware of its origin nor the composer."
All Hail Biafra 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.
More shocking revelations on All Hail Biafra to be made in due course, so stay tuned.
Photo Above: Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Late Chief (General) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu( right )
Click For Enlarged Photo
*Wiping Tears of Flood in Niger Delta
By Ifeatu Agbu
There is a popular quote that says: “It pays to plan ahead. It wasn’t raining when Noah built the Ark.” God saved Noah and his family members when he destroyed the world with water, not only because Noah was righteous but because he followed God’s instructions to the letter.
Our meteorologists warned us about the impending flood but we did not listen, neither did we prepare for the rainy day. We waited for our usual fire-brigade responses. Now, all the communities lying on the path of the River Niger and River Benue are left in tears and pains as they had no defences against the wrath of nature.
For the people of the Niger Delta, the story is even more pathetic. The overflowing River Niger was particularly hard on them as it carried its furry towards the Atlantic Ocean. It practically overwhelmed and devastated the people with its raging water. Farms were inundated, houses submerged and the people rendered homeless.
One of the displaced flood victims in Omoku, the headquarters of Ogba/Egbema local Government Area of Rivers State, Mr. Ikediukwu Adiele, lamented that people in his village lost many property and many of them are now homeless. “For three days now, we have been wading through the water to pick some valuable items from our flooded homes. As you can see, we are now using canoe to move around,” he said. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.
Unfortunately for Adiele and his fellow villagers, a dredging and canalisation project being undertaken by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, which could possibly have saved them from the flood, had not been completed when nature struck.
The commission has since rushed relief materials to assist the people. Dr. Chris Oboh, the NDDC Managing Director, told newsmen in Asaba, the Delta capital, after attending the meeting of the Advisory Committee on NDDC, that the interventionist agency was already working round the clock to help distressed people in the region. “We have already sent relief materials to some camps in Delta State. We are not going to relent until we reach all displaced people in the Niger Delta,” he said.
True to the promise of the NDDC boss, the commission has sent relief materials to displaced people in all the affected communities in the Niger Delta. In some cases, states were given money to procure the relief material for the people.
In Rivers State, Prof Ibitamuno Aminigo, the state representative on the board of the NDDC, visited relief camps in Ahoada East and Ahoada West local government areas. He had to deal with several complaints from displaced people in the camps. The issues raised centred on the distribution of relief materials meant for the camps. “We are not satisfied based on what the masses are facing in the hands of those feeding us. They are mismanaging the relief materials that are given to them; even though government supply those things in quantity; they economise them,” one of the victims complained.
Prof Aminigo advised the people to always cooperate with those managing affairs in the camps, noting that the materials donated by the NDDC would go a long way to ameliorate their plight. He charged the Ahoada West Local government chairman, Hon Awori Miller, who received the materials to ensure that the items got to the flood victims.
Also in Omoku, the Rivers State Director of NDDC, Dr Mrs Akwagaga Enyia , represented the NDDC boss in the presentation of relief materials to the two camps in the town. She urged them to be strong in the face of the unexpected adversity.
In Delta state, the NDDC also presented food items and other relief materials worth millions of naira to flood victims. Chief Solomon Ogba, the commissioner representing the state on the board of the Commission, handed over the items at the state government’s relief camp in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
Ogba was joined at the presentation by members of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC who were in Delta State on a tour of the commission’s projects. Items donated included 150 bags of rice, bags of beans, garri, cartons of tin tomatoes, gallons of palm oil, bags of salt, 2, 000 litres of kerosene, 200 lanterns, 1,000 mosquito nets, beddings, toiletries, among others.
Making the presentation at the Saint Michael Grammar School relief camp in Oleh, Ogba sympathised with the flood victims on behalf of the NDDC board and management. He said the gesture was aimed at alleviating the suffering of displaced persons, urging the people to be prayerful as the storm would soon be over.
Mrs Bethy Efekordi, the Delta State Commissioner for Women Affairs, thanked the NDDC for bringing succour to the people in their time of need. She appealed to other agencies and individuals to join in the effort to “take care of our brothers and sisters in need.”
The situation in Oguta was no less distressing. The NDDC, donated relief materials to victims of flood in Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema local government areas of Imo State. The materials, which included bags of rice, garri, beans, salt, tomato paste, cooking oil, yams, disinfectants, soap, detergent, mosquito nets, were presented to the affected communities at the Civic Centre Oguta and the headquarters of Ohaji/Egbema LGA.
The NDDC MD, represented by the Director in the Imo State office, Mrs Osato Arenyeka, sympathised with the victims and assured them that the commission would do all that was necessary to help alleviate their plight.
She appealed to the community leaders to ensure that the relief materials meant for the flood victims were shared proportionately among the affected communities. She told them that other agencies of government like the National Emergency Management Agency [NEMA] would also intervene in the joint effort to assist the people.
The traditional ruler of Oguta, Eze Chinedu Nzeribe, thanked the NDDC for coming to the aid of his people. He called on other agencies of government to follow the footsteps of the commission in providing succour to communities that have been devastated by flood. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Receiving the relief materials at the Ohaji/Egbema council headquarters, the Director of Administration, Barrister Alloy Obinna, expressed appreciation to the NDDC for quickly intervening to cushion the effects of the flood. He said that 8 communities were affected in the Egbema area alone. “Our fish ponds, farm lands, plantain, cassava, economic trees and crops are now under water. Over 123 farm settlements and satellite towns are under water and about 8,000 persons have no homes now”, he said.
The representative of Imo State on the board of the NDDC, Barrister Peter Ezeobi, said that even though flood was a natural disaster, the commission felt obliged to take action immediately to mitigate the impact on the people. He charged them to be orderly and peaceful while sharing the relief materials.
In Edo State, the commissioner representing the state in the NDDC board, Barr. Henry Okhuorobo, also donated some food items to the state government for distribution to the flood victims.
Okhuorobo said that the gesture was part of the interventionist agency’s responsibility to the people of the state. He commended the state government for its prompt response to the plight of the victims. Some of the items donated include, 100 bags of rice, 20 bags of beans, 30 bags of garri, 100 bags of iodised salt, 100 cartons of tin tomato, 100 pieces of lantern, cartons of toilet soap and 600 carton of bottled water.
Okhuarobo said that the NDDC was prepared to partner with the Edo State government in its quest to cushion the effect of the flood, adding that the donation of bags of rice, garri, beans, tins of kerosene, groundnut oil, and tomatoes as well as lantern, soap, among others, was aimed at assisting the victims. He observed that the state government has done a lot for the flood victims and expressed the concern of NDDC in this moment of challenge and pain for the people.
The Edo State Deputy Governor, Dr. Pius Odubu thanked the NDDC for identifying with the state government noting that the gesture would help ameliorate the pains of the flood displaced persons.
In Cross-River State, the NDDC presented a cheque of N6.062 million to the Cross River Government to procure relief materials for flood victims in the state. Mr Dominic Edem, the representative of the state on the NDDC board, presented the cheque to Mr Fabian Okpa, the Special Adviser to Gov. Liyel Imoke on Special Duties, in Calabar.
Edem said that the NDDC delegation was in the state to express their concern and sympathy over the unfortunate development. He said that the commission deemed it necessary to contribute its quota towards ameliorating the plight of the victims in nine of the 18 local government areas of the state.
According to him, the fund was meant to assist the state government to provide relief materials to cushion the sufferings of the victims. Edem said that on completion of the procurement of the relief materials, the commission would participate in the distribution of the items to the victims.
Okpa commended the commission for its prompt response to the plight of the displaced people. He said that states within the Niger Delta, blessed with forest and oil resources, and mangrove swamp were worst affected by flood, due to their closeness to the coast. He assured the NDDC that the funds would be used judiciously so as to give hope to the victims.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Day One: Lord Lugard’s Cage Challenged As Biafra Drags Nigeria To Court
Masterweb Reports – Wednesday, October 31, 2012: The case was called up at Court Two, Federal High Court Owerri Division, but the assigned Nigerian judge was not present. it was gathered Nigeria had not prepared for the case and needed more time (the statutory 30 days) to prepare their defense. Bilie Human Rights Initiative moved the case the same day to Court One, Federal High Court Owerri Division, where another judge adjourned the case to November 26, 2012.
Biafra was represented by six attorneys, and ordinary law abiding Biafrans - including clergy men came in their hundreds to observe the proceedings. Nigerian police were also present to witness the legal ritual of case adjournment without any major incident. The entire process passed off peacefully.
Bilie Human Rights Initiative said that many never imagined that the day will come when Biafra will face Nigeria in court of law. That day is now upon us and it is only a matter of time before common sense prevails upon Nigeria to let Biafra go.
Bilie Human Rights Initiative reports.
Photo Above: Law books and gavel(A small mallet used by a presiding judge or officer to signal for attention or order)
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Whatever Happened To Nigeria!
By Folorunso Makinde
So much has been said about the problems besetting Nigeria - economic, political, social - name it and you can see the evidence all around. Since 1999 when the Abubakar military regime returned the country back to civilian rule, Nigeria has been enjoying an unbroken era of civilian government and one would expect such longevity era of democratic dispensation to bring unprecedented benefits to this most populated country in Africa. However, the opposite is the case. The arrays of problems facing the country today reveals once again that there are inherent weaknesses in the foundation upon which the country was built and if these inherent weaknesses are not addressed, they may well become the catalysts that will facilitate the collapse of the Nigeria project.
When you look at the country as a whole, what you will see is a given mass area of Africa blessed with unimaginable abundance of natural resources and human resources. One can be forgiven for imagining that the people living in such an area will be enjoying the benefits of such abundant wealth. However, with Nigeria, what supposed to be her blessings have become her curse. You look at the crude oil for instance, this supposed to bring enormous revenue into the country with which the country should be able to utilise to develop itself and be able to take its place among the committee of great nations, but the opposite is the case. The Nigeria set up has not made this possible. One need to be in the corridor of power or at least closely associated with the corridor of power in order to benefit from these abundant wealth. Similarly, if you look at the size of the population, you will be forgiven to imagine that such a large population will be a great source of strength to the country and a blessing in terms of human resources. If one look around the world and compare those countries with large number of population and in fact very few of them, one will see that it is a source of strength and blessings to such nations. With Nigeria, this is not the case. Nigeria is an aberration. What supposed to be her strength has become her weakness and what supposed to bring her together has become the source of her disunity. Then you cannot but wonder where are we heading as a country?
What is wrong with Nigeria?
During the colonial era, the country was governed by a system of protectorates which recognises the diversity of the people in this area of Africa. In the early years of colonial rule, the Niger Coast Protectorate became Southern Nigeria and had its seat of government in Lagos (Southern Nigeria was made up of the Eastern and the Western regions). Similarly, the protectorate of Northern Nigeria was placed under a high commissioner Frederick Lugard. Although, the regions were formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, administratively Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Provinces and Lagos Colony. System of administrations among the regions varied widely and British staffs in each region were encouraged to operate according to procedures developed before unification. In the north for instance, legislation took the form of a decree by the governor and the emir, whilst in the south, the colonial governor sought the approval of the Legislative Council. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria
In 1957, the Western and the Eastern regions became formally self-governing under the parliamentary system and in 1959 the Northern region became self-governing. Although the whole country was said to be under a federal government, there were numerous differences of detail among the regional governments and there were wide differences in the conduct of public affairs among the regions. The only similarity was that all the three regions adhered to a parliamentary form of government but each was autonomous in relation to the federal government at Lagos. The federal government has specified powers, which included responsibility for defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications, but real political power resides in the regions and significantly, it was the regional governments that controlled public expenditures derived from revenues raised within their regions.
This was the prevailing system that the then politicians inherited when Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960 - a system whereby there were three distinct autonomous regions and each with its own parliament but with a federal government with its seat of power in Lagos. The benefits of these arrangements were there to see - each region follow their own ways of life and determine their own pace of development whilst the role of the federal government was limited to the areas where it was most needed and beneficial to the country as a whole - namely defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications.
However, today’s Nigeria is completely different from when the country started. Nigeria have experimented with several systems of government ranging from unitary system to the current muddled-up federal system.
How did we get here?
First Military Government - Aguiyi Ironsi government (January 1966 - July 1966)
When the First Republic under the Premiership of Tafawa Balewa was overthrown by a group of mostly Igbo junior officers under Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and the Aguiyi Ironsi (not connected with the coup) military government took over on 16 January 1966 , Nigeria was deeply divided along ethnic lines. In its effort to encourage unity and prevent the country from breaking apart, the Ironsi government promulgated the Unification Decree 34 which abolished the inherited federal structure and put in place a unitary system in the belief that the new system will move the country away from the brink of collapse. This move proved unpopular particularly among the Northerners who were suspicious of Southern domination. Though the decree was abolished when Aguiyi-Ironsi was deposed and killed on 29 July 1966, it however set the trend for the modern day Nigeria. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State. *In photo - sitting from left to right are Hassan Katsina, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, David Ejoor, J.E.A. Wey and Yakubu Gowon.
Until the incursion of the military into Nigeria politics and the promulgation of Decree 34, the regional governments enjoyed a significant level of independence and could make their own foreign relation policies including having their own so called “mini-embassies” abroad. However, since the overthrow of the Tafawa Balewa government and the incursion of the military into the Nigeria politics, there has been gradual erosion of the autonomy of the regions and their authorities vis a vis the federal government. Subsequent governments over the years and in particular military governments have continued this trend.
Second Military Regime - Gowon Government (July 1966 - July 1975)
On ascent to power Lt Col. Gowon abolished the unpopular Decree 34 however he did not completely restore the federal principle that was in operation at independence. This was evident when the 3 regions were eventually divided into 12 states by the Gowon government. This move by the Gowon government was in response to the tension created between the Eastern Region government headed by Col. Ojukwu and the federal government headed by Gowon.
Following the coup led by some officers of Eastern origin which brought an end to the First Republic and also cost the lives of many politicians particularly many Northern politicians, suspicious were raised among the Northerners who thought the coup was an Igbo conspiracy. Although the Ironsi government made efforts to dispel this notion but his failure to punish the coup plotters lent credence to this suspicion. This led some Northern officers to plan a counter coup which cost the life of Ironsi and the lives of some other notable officers. The counter coup was followed by the massacre of thousands of Easterners throughout the Northern Region. The persecution led to the flight of more than a million Igbo from the North and towards their homelands in Eastern Nigeria. Col. Ojukwu who at the time was the military governor of the Eastern region felt that if the Nigeria state could not offer protection to the Igbos, the Igbos reserved the right to establish a state of their own in which their lives would be protected. He therefore demanded for talks with the federal government controlled by Gowon on neutral soil. In response to the demand, a summit attended by Ojukwu, Gowon and other members of the Supreme Military Council was held at Aburi in Ghana. The outcome of the summit was the Aburi Accord in which it was agreed that Nigeria was to be a confederation of regions. However, this agreement was never implemented by the Gowon government. It was rumoured that Gowon and also Ojukwu had knowledge of the discovery of large oil reserves in the Niger Delta area of the Eastern part of Nigeria in the mid-1960s and this was partly responsible for the Gowon government’s reluctance to implement the agreement. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigeria Ex-Military Head of State, Yakubu Gowon leaving after attending Late Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua's funeral in Katsina, Katsina State May 6, 2010.
In a move to restrict the influence of the Ojukwu's government in the East, the Gowon government divided Nigeria into 12 states: North-Western State, North-Eastern state, Kano State, North-Central State, Benue-Plateau State, Kwara State, Western State, Lagos State, Mid-Western State, Rivers State, South-Eastern State, and East-Central State on 5 May 1967. Until then the only region created after independence was the Mid-Western region which was by plebiscite in accordance with due process as laid down in the constitution. Henceforth, state creation exercise has continued under military regimes and by decree.
The erosion of the authority of the regional governments and the arrogation of powers by the federal authority combined with the discovery of the oil reserve and the control of which was now firmly established in the hand of the federal government, set the stage for a rapid increase in corruption particularly at the federal level. Although Gowon was not personally implicated in any corrupt practices but there were widespread allegations of corruption by government officials and the Gowon government failing to do anything about it. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Ojukwu Statue at Ojukwu Gateway
Third Military Regime - Mohammed Government (July 1975 - February 1976)
As mentioned earlier, during the colonial rule and also at independence real powers resided in the regions, the federal government sphere of authority was limited to defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications . Slowly but steadily, the federal government under successive military regimes arrogate powers vis-a-vis the regional governments. During the Murtala Mohammed regime, the federal government extended its sphere of authority into areas which were formerly exclusive to the regional governments thereby restricting the powers of the state governments in those areas. Under the military set up and in particular under the Murtala Mohammed military government, the newly appointed military governors of the states were expected to administer policies handed down by the federal government through the Supreme Military Council on which none of the state governors had a seat. In addition, the federal government took over the control of the country’s largest newspapers and made broadcasting a monopoly of the federal government. State-run universities were also brought under federal control. Although Gen. Murtala Mohammed made attempt to curb corruption particularly at the federal level but his effort was short lived as his regime was overthrown in a bloody coup which claim his life and the lives of some notable officers on 13 February 1976.
Fourth Military Regime - Obasanjo Government (February 1976 - October 1979)
The Obasanjo military government was an extension of the Murtala Mohammed regime. General Olusegun Obasanjo was the second in command to General Murtala Mohammed when the latter was the head of state. Gen. Obasanjo took over power following the death of Gen. Murtala Mohammed in an unsuccessful coup led by Lt. Col. Dimka. Although the Obasanjo government fulfilled the promise made by the Mohammed government to return the country to civil rule by handing over power to an elected government but corruption was becoming widespread and unabated. There were allegations of massive corruption perpetrated under the Obasanjo military government. Retiring army generals were said to be rich beyond what their life term earnings as military officers could account for. Holding power at the centre had become so attractive since it puts whoever is in power at the centre in total control of the enormous wealth of the whole nation, and with little or no control, subsequent Nigerian leaders particularly at the centre have exploited the set up to enrich themselves with dire consequences for the whole nation. It was during the Obasanjo government that 2.8 Billion Naira (equivalent to about 2.8 billion British pounds sterling at the time) was alleged to have gone missing from the nation‘s account but this was later dismissed as a mathematical error. During the Obasanjo government, the country was further divided into 19 states thereby further reducing the influence of the regions in the nation politics. The mannerism of the state creation exercise have also become detached from any justifiable reason and had become more or less the personal wish and judgement of those in power at the centre rather than the needs or the wish of the people.
Second Republic - Shagari Government (October 1979 - December 1983)
In accordance with the promise of Gen. Murtala Mohammed to hand over power to an elected government and the declaration by the Obasanjo government to honour this promise (Obasanjo government being an extension of the Murtala Mohammed government), Gen. Obasanjo handed over power to an elected government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 1st October 1979. However, the circumstances surrounding the whole conduct of the election and subsequent declaration of results and the controversy surrounding it, suggested that the military were now firmly established in politics as the outgoing regime seemed interested on who succeeded it.
The set up under the civilian government was not completely different from what was obtained under the military government. Before handing over power to elected government the preceding military government always enact a constitution under which the subsequent civilian government is to operate. These constitutions was never a return to the inherited constitution at the time of independence but a constitution that those handing over power prepared and sanctioned. Hence, the continuing trend of the centre arrogating more powers to the detriment of the regional governments. Furthermore, the weakness in such a set up and the consequences of it was the more glaring after just four years of the Shagari government when it became clear that reckless spending and corrupt practises on the part of the federal government had caused irreparable damage to the Nigeria economy leading the country to eventually ask for a bail out from the International Monetary Fund.
By the time the Shagari government was overthrown by the Buhari/Idiagbon regime on 31 December 1983, Nigeria was on her knees economically. Politicians have seen the weaknesses introduced into the system by the military regimes and have massively and recklessly exploited the weaknesses. Corruption was widespread and the use of arson to cover their tracks were common place under the Shagari government.
Fifth Military Regime - Buhari Government (December 1983 - August 1985)
The Buhari regime that overthrew the Shagari elected government stated that the reason for the overthrow was because the Shagari government was very corrupt and the new military government initiated the ‘War Against Indiscipline’ to sanitise the society. Many politicians were arrested and tried for embezzling public money. The Buhari government was praised for its stand against corruption but failed to correct the inherent weaknesses in the system which put the whole nation’s resources at the mercy of the government at the centre and which had made control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians and leaders. The economic problem created by the reckless spending and corruption of the Shagari government meant that austerity measures had to be introduced which resulted in economic hardship for majority of Nigerians. On 27 August 1985, the Buhari regime was overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida, the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council during the Buhari Regime.
Sixth Military Regime - Babangida Government (August 1985 - August 1993)
The Babangida government that took over power following the overthrow of the Buhari government was well known for taking corruption to a level never witnessed before. No Nigerian leader before Babangida had exploited the weaknesses in the system to the extent carried out by the Babangida government and never until then was there such a culture of impunity in dealing with public money. Corruption was widespread and there was a free for all attitude within the polity. At one stage during his administration, it was difficult to delineate between Babangida’s own personal account and the state account as public money was spent with total disregard for due process. As a matter of fact, the Babangida’s regime was criticised by the World Bank for spending two Billion British pounds sterling without budgeting. State sponsored assassination was also introduced into the system to silence government critics. The extravagant spending and widespread corruption together with the infamous decision to cancel what most observers believed to be the fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria (12 June 1993 Presidential Election), brought Nigeria to the brink of economic and political collapse. Facing widespread revolt particularly from the western part of the country, on 27 August 1993 President Babangida as he wished to be called decided to ‘step aside’ and installed an Interim Government led by Mr Earnest Shonekan, an industrialist from the western part of the country.
Interim Government - Ernest Shonekan (August 1993 - November 1993)
The Interim government of Earnest Shonekan that succeeded the General Babangida government was a victim of the Babangida misrule. Nigeria was already on her knees politically and economically by the time President Babangida decided to step aside. There were widespread industrial action by the Labour Congress and the operation of the business of governance had become paralysed. With no form of legitimacy whatsoever, the interim government lasted only three months before it was dismissed by General Sanni Abacha on 17 November 1993 following a court ruling that declared the Interim Government illegal.
Seventh Military Regime - Abacha Government (November 1993 - June 1998)
Following the dismissal of the Interim Government headed by Shonekan, Gen. Abacha took over the rein of power. The Abacha government completely exploited the weaknesses in the system to its advantage and to the benefit of those close to the government and the Abacha family but to the detriment of the country. Corruption was blatant and so also the abuse of power by those in authority. Gen. Abacha simply continued in the vein of the Babangida government.
There were large scale embezzlement of public funds. It was reported that during Abacha's government, a total of £5 billion was stolen from the public purse by Abacha and his family. Abacha was labelled the fourth most corrupt leader in history at the time. A preliminary report commissioned by the Abubakar government that succeeded the Abacha government described to some details how the Abacha government swindled the Nigeria coffer. It described a process whereby Abacha's national security adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, under the direction of Gen. Abacha would make a fake request for fund which Gen. Abacha would then approved. Gwarzo would withdraw the money from the Nigeria Central Bank by way of cash or travellers cheques before depositing the money in Abbacha’s house. Abacha’s son Mohammed would then arrange for the money to be laundered to offshore accounts. It was estimated that about $1.4 billion in cash was taken out in this way.
General Abacha declared on 6 September 1994 that his government had absolute power meaning that his government is above the jurisdiction of the courts. Despite the existence of courts in the country, none was prepared to challenge the authority of the Abacha government. General Abacha also promised to hand over power to elected government in 1998 but it became clear that he only planned to succeed himself as the elected president because he had forced all the five registered political parties to adopt him as the sole candidate.
There were widespread human rights abuses during the Abacha regime. Some Ogoni activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa were hanged whilst Chief MKO Abiola (the presumed winner of the 12 June 1993 Presidential Election), retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were among those jailed for treason. Gen. Yar’ Adua and Chief Abiola later died in prison.
Eighth Military Regime - Abubakar Government (June 1998 - May 1999)
Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar succeeded Gen. Abacha following the sudden death of the latter on June 8 1998. The country inherited by the Abubakar government was in a mess both politically and economically. Successive governments’ mismanagement of the Nigeria economy coupled with some politically insensitive decisions by previous governments have brought the country to the brink of collapse. There were murmurings of secession as many people from the regions started to question the viability of the Nigeria project. The leaders have over-milked the Nigeria coffer and the masses were reeling under severe economic hardship. The Abubakar government knew that time was not on its side and within days of assuming power promised a return to civilian rule within a year. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established to oversee the conduct of elections. However, just as in previous elections conducted under the aegis of the military, the results and particularly results at the centre were more or less stage-managed. Many knew that Gen. Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party was a President in waiting not because of his huge popularity or wider political appeal but because he was a safe pair of hands for the ruling elite - the clique. The prevailing situation at the time threatened the privileged position of the clique - the Nigeria people were near revolt against a system that have yielded nothing but years of economic mismanagement, oppression and a culture of impunity for erring leaders. The clique needed someone who could be trusted to pacify the anger of the people and at the same time safeguard the system to ensure the continuation of their privileged position and their protection. It did not come as a surprise when the conduct of the elections drew strong criticisms from foreign observers for widespread irregularities.
Just as in the past, the outgoing military adopted a new constitution for the country on 5 May 1999. A constitution of their own making which the people have no say in its making nor were they consulted about it. This is a constitution formulated by the leaders, for the leaders, to manage the people.
In fulfilment of its promise, the Abubakar government handed over power to an ‘elected’ government on 29 May 1999 but not without the controversy of corruption as once again the retiring generals have left the seat of power with more than a golden handshake that ensures that their amassed wealth surpassed what their life-time earnings as civil servants could account for.
Third Republic - President Obasanjo Government (May 1999 - May 2007)
The fact that Chief Obasanjo was only called to lead the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after its formation was not a secret. He was the choice of the clique and Gen. Obasanjo now President Obasanjo did not disappoint. With smart political manoeuvring, the country was moved away from the brink of collapse and apart from some cosmetic changes, the system was maintained as the clique had wished. We had gone round in circle and back to where we were before.
Although Obasanjo made fighting corruption one of the stated aims of his first term in office and managed to pass some anti-corruption laws, his government was accused of doing little to control corruption particularly at the federal level. The tone of its government with regards to corruption was encapsulated in President Obasanjo’s response to a question about whether or not his government would probe former President Babangida who had been alleged to have embezzled large sums of public money when in office. President Obasanjo replied that whoever has got any evidence against Babangida should let him know and he would prosecute Babangida. Also the remit of the task entrusted to him by the clique was also revealed in this comment made by President Obasanjo in Dutse, Jigawa state: “In 1999 Nigeria was not looking for a President that will build roads or fix power supply or provide water, Nigeria was looking for a President that will hold Nigerians together." With this kind of comment, one need to ask for whose benefit President Obasanjo came to power in 1999. This is because, building good roads, fixing the power supply problems and providing clean water supply are the issues that matters most to the long-suffering masses, but keeping Nigeria together and maintaining the tainted and discredited system are issues that matters most to the ruling elite. It shows that the Nigeria public without any doubt had been short-changed once again by the ruling elite.
And just as with previous governments under the current system, the Obasanjo government was rife in corruption. There were allegations of large scale mismanagement of funds. There was the allegation of corruption in the sale of the country's businesses like Nitel and Nicon Noga Hilton together with land allocations and oil blocks which Obasanjo was accused of allocating to himself and his cronies. There was also allegation of mismanagement of the funds for road projects. The Obasanjo government embarked on war against corruption and set up Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but it soon became clear that the anti-corruption drive was selective with the government targeting political opponents and ethnic militants, whilst ignoring growing concerns about wide-scale corruption within its own inner political circle. In March 2008, President Obasanjo was indicted by a committee of the Nigeria National Assembly for awarding energy contracts worth $2.2bn without due process. The report of the committee was never accepted by the National Assembly as the entire process was derailed. It was no surprise that Ribadu, the head of the EFCC faced a lot of persecutions after Obasanjo left the seat of power because many had seen the operations of the EFCC during Obasanjo government as selective justice.
Third Republic - Yar Adua Government (May 2007 - May 2010)
It was a well known fact that the Yar’ Adua and Jonathan government that succeeded the Obasanjo government was a brainchild of President Obasanjo. What was not clear was the main reasons behind it. There were those who believed that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Yar’ Adua was one of the few governors without a blemish on their record. There were others who felt that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Obasanjo was close to Yar’ Adua’s late brother as the latter was his second in command when Obasanjo was the military head of state and Obasanjo saw the younger brother Musa Yar’ Adua as someone he could easily control. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua at a Muslim prayer session in Abuja on September 29, 2009.
At the time of his nomination for the candidacy of the PDP, Yar’ Adua was relatively unknown on the national stage although he was the Governor of Katsina State. There was also a rumour about the fact that Yar’ Adua had no presidential ambition but for the persuasion and the support of President Obasanjo who in fact did many of the campaigning on Yar‘ Adua‘s behalf as the latter was always in and out of hospital due to his ailing health.
As for Goodluck Jonathan, he hails from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria where most of Nigeria oil, the main source of revenue for the country came from. His candidature as the running mate to President Yar’ Adua was a way of diluting the protest by the Niger Delta people and to placate the militant organisation, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that had been fighting against the foreign oil corporations and the Nigeria establishment who they felt were exploiting them.
Mr Goodluck Ebere Jonathan is a perfect gentleman. His demeanour not only depicts this but his history in politics confirms it. Whilst the deputy governor in Bayelsa state, even when the then governor was more or less incapacitated due to his involvement in money laundering case and temporary detention in London, Mr Jonathan was reluctant to step into the vacuum of power. Again when he found himself in similar situation as a result of the pro-longed ill health of President Yar Adua, Vice President Jonathan was reluctant to step up and fill the vacuum created by the President’s ill health. Mr Jonathan is not someone that can be described as a career politician but someone who finds himself in politics and then found himself thrust into position of high authority as a result of catalogue of unplanned events - stroke of luck. Goodluck Jonathan also was said not to nurture any presidential ambition until the intervention of President Obasanjo who persuaded Jonathan and supported him.
The inertia of the Yar Adua government caused by the late President’s ill health was there for all to see. As a matter of fact, the issue about the late President’s ill health was not a secret. Whilst he was the governor of Katsina, he was constantly in and out of hospital. Only in Nigeria will someone with such a history of poor health get to win the nomination of his party and then went on to win the presidential election. Even during the campaign for the presidential election, Yar Adua was constantly in and out of hospital for treatment. There was a time during one of the campaigns where the outgoing President at the time President Obasanjo was doing the campaigning for him whilst Mr Yar’ Adua was on a sick bed in a German hospital. There was a rumour about whether or not he was still alive at the time and President Obasanjo had to quell the rumour by phoning him on his mobile phone and had a phone chat with him for the audience to witness. This helped to confirm to the crowd that he was alive and receiving treatment in hospital in Germany. In fact there was some disquiet within the PDP that Obasanjo had imposed Yar’Adua on the party and by implication, on the country.
The successes of Yar’ Adua and Jonathan both at their party’s primary and at the general election were said to be largely down to Obasanjo’s political manoeuvring and the general election in particular was massively rigged in favour of the two. The conduct of the presidential election was criticised by foreign observers which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is Nigeria and we are yet to witness a free and fair presidential election. There is too much at stake for the ruling elite to allow presidential election to be free and fair.
The government of Yar’ Adua and now Jonathan have left much to be desired. It shows that when you put together a team of the unwilling to head the executive of a country, what you will get is a reluctant Presidency and a nation that is left to drift. There was so much optimism at the beginning of the Yar’ Adua government but the fact that President Yar’ Adua was always in and out of hospital due to ill health means the government lacked leadership and direction. And with the Vice President unwilling or unable to lead, a dangerous power vacuum was created which means important decisions were not being made or made late to the detriment of the country. The fact that there was no visible person to effectively take on the mantle of leadership in the absence of the President also allowed many government officials and ministers to dictate their own direction and again corruption went on unchecked.
On 23 November 2009, President Yar'Adua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for a heart condition but was never seen in public again. His return back to Nigeria was carried out under the cover of darkness which generated more controversy as he was flown back in an air ambulance which clearly indicated that something was gravely wrong with the President’s health. On 5 May 2010, the country was informed that Yar'Adua had died and on the following day, he was buried in his hometown.
Third Republic - Jonathan Government (May 2010 - Current day)
Following the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in on 6 May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan had been the Acting President since 9 February 2010 when the Senate decided that presidential powers be transferred to the Vice President until President Yar’ Adua return to full health which he never did. This decision by the Senate was preceded by so much outcry from concerned organisations like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the Save Nigeria Group. On 22 January 2010 the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave the Federal Executive Council (FEC) fourteen days ultimatum to decide a resolution on the capability of the ailing President to discharge his presidential functions. It was clear that Vice President Jonathan was never going to make any move of his own accord or provide the leadership needed at a time when the President was no where to be found to discharge his constitutional duties and despite the fact that the President’s poor state of health was a general knowledge.
On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan's nomination of Namadi Sambo, the Kaduna State governor for the position of Vice President. This continued the unfinished four year term of late President Yar’ Adua. On 15 September 2010, President Jonathan announced that he would run for re-election and on 18 April, Jonathan was declared the winner of the election. His victory was however marred by violence in the northern part of the country over claims of vote rigging.
The election or the assumption to the Presidency of an Ijaw man and in particular someone who did not come from one of the usual major tribes in Nigeria gave many people a sense of hope for the country but so far, the Presidency of Jonathan has left much to be desired. Accounts of events so far over the Jonathan’s Presidency have indicated that Mr Jonathan was either unprepared for the Presidency or he did not fully had a grasp of the magnitude of the task he was taking on. Presidential decisions were either made late or not at all and even in some instances where presidential decisions were made, it is opened to serious questioning the judgement behind such decisions. The Jonathan government so far gives the impression of being in government but not in power. The death of the ailing President Yar’ Adua had not changed anything as the country is still drifting under the Presidency of Jonathan. The country lacked real leadership and many government officials have seized the opportunity to do whatever they like. There was no clearer example than in the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Lamido Sanusi who had become an executive governor in his own right with little or no control from the real head of the executive. Islamic banking was introduced into Nigeria polity not by National Assembly passing any law to that effect or by the Presidency giving the authorisation for the Central Bank governor to do so. Also, following the bombing of areas in the Northern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect, the Central Bank governor had not only been going about making political statements in contradiction of his position as a civil servant but had also been disbursing Central Bank money as he wish without any reprimand from the President. Even pressure group like the Save Nigeria Group who had stood up and decried some of the excesses of the Central Bank governor and in particular when he made political statements as to why Boko Haram engaged in terrorism and then donated N100million to the victims of the Boko Haram carnage in Kano, acquiesced when Mallam Sanusi made a balancing act by giving N25million to the Christian victims of the 2011 Christmas bombing by Boko Haram. Those who kept quiet when wrongful acts are done in their favour loses the moral right to complain when wrongful acts are done against them. Regardless of the balancing act, Mallam Lamido Sanusi was well beyond the remit of his duty and should be censured. He had no authority whatsoever to give the money of the Nigeria Central Bank to any victim of the bombings. His actions are politicising the office of the governor of the Central Bank and polarising the Nigeria society. It is a further evidence of the weakness in the current system which has outlived its usefulness to our country if it was ever useful at all.
Also, there is the issue of the fairness of the current revenue allocation formula which have been left unresolved. Even many from the Delta region that have been agitating for a fair deal for the Niger Delta people have become more or less quiet now that one of their own is in power. It seems it is just enough for them to have one of their own in Aso Rock with little or no benefit to their surrounding and their people. For many of us who supported the derivation formula of revenue allocation and sympathise with the Delta people for their cause, will find it difficult to maintain the support when all that the majority of the Delta people want now that one of their own is in power is just a safe and uneventful passage through Aso Rock for one of their own. What many failed to realise is that, if all they are just contented with now that one of their own is in power is just ensuring a safe passage through Aso Rock and kept quiet on the issue of their agitation for fairness, they will have no moral right to demand for a better deal when the power pass on to not one of their own. Then they will be seen as trouble maker because they were contented with the status quo when one of their own was in power.
Thus events over the years have changed the fate of the Nigeria nation. The current set up in Nigeria today is completely different from what existed during the colonial era and much different to what the politicians inherited at the country’s independence from Britain in 1960. The federal government today has arrogated so much powers that the state governments only exist at its mercy. Control of natural resources and revenue derived from them are firmly in the hand of the federal government with little or no control from the regions. This, coupled with the inherent weaknesses in the system have resulted in unprecedented level of corruption and without doubt make the control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians. These two combined have created a vicious cycle which without any doubt will eventually lead to the collapse of Nigeria if not addressed.
Nigeria leaders over the years (military and politicians) who have been fortunate enough (unfortunately for the general masses) to grace the throne of power in Nigeria have seen the inherent weaknesses in the Nigeria set up and have exploited it for their benefit. Many have enriched themselves and in the process impoverished the masses. As a matter of fact, what past and current leaders in Nigeria have done is to make sure that the current set up with the inherent weaknesses are maintained and would go to any length to defend the status quo. The victims in all these are the Nigerian masses who continue to endure year on year of unprecedented level of misrule and mismanagement resulting in total collapse of infrastructures and normal daily life.
There are talks about amending the constitution and President Jonathan has assigned the task to a commission to look at this. But for anyone to think that the leaders who stands to benefit from the continual operation of the current constitution would then agree to change or amend it in such a way that will deprive them of their privileged position of unfettered access to the nation’s wealth or take away their undue authority is either plain stupid or suffering from the worst kind of brain damage. As a matter of fact asking for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) when it is clear that the federal government is never going to organise one represents a complete naivety to the point of complicity.
The issue here is also about mandate and whether the regional governments should accept such a move. The original constitution make a provision for the regional governments to approve major changes in the constitution before it is implemented but this provision had not been respected over the years. Under the current system, the role and responsibilities of each level of government have been diluted. Military incursion into Nigeria politics have created a great imbalance between the regional governments and the central government resulting in the replication of a military style pyramidal chain of command. The central government has arrogated powers over the years at the expense of the regional governments. This was a de facto arrangement, a consequence of military incursion into Nigerian politics as opposed to a negotiated agreement between the regions. For the regions (or states as they are now called) to subscribe to such arrangement and agrees to the central government undertaking its own constitutional amendment not only amounts to legalising the illegality of central government acts over the years but also meant failing to defend the rights of their people against central government encroachment which in itself a great injustice to the majority of the Nigeria people who have been deprived of any say in the formation of the constitution and its imposition on them over the years. It also means legalising the act of fraud performed on the Nigeria populace when the constitution inherited at independence was replaced by a constitution promulgated by the military ruler and imposed on the people without the people having any say. The current system is a fraud not only on the regional governments but also on the people of Nigeria and should be resisted. The fact that the federal government is now in full control of natural resources like crude oil, makes control of power at the centre very tempting and military coup very attractive to unscrupulous military officers. Even the dedicated and professional officers among them will be tempted to get involved because of the prize awaiting such a successful coup - the control of the resources of the whole country in the hands of the few. Secondly, it discourages enterprising among the states since states can get their hands on money which they do not generate. Thirdly, it encourages the agitation for more states and the creation of more local governments by the states as this is the only way to boost their allocations from the central government. The corollary of this is that it leads to substantial increase in the cost of administration. It is now estimated that Nigeria spends over 80% of its GDP on administrative costs. This is not sustainable and it is a barrier to growth and development. With so much spent on administration, little is left on building infrastructures for the people. Fifthly, it makes the conduct of fair and accurate census impossible as it encourages falsification and artificial inflation of census’ figures. States are using the figures to justify the creation of more local governments and demands for more money from the central government. Up till the present day, Nigeria is yet to conduct a credible census. Therefore, any changes to the current system that leaves the control of the nations resources in the hands of the central government should be resisted. Some people have suggested the limiting of the term of office for elective office holder to a single term of six years, seven years or whatever. How this will help the people of Nigeria or help to fight corruption in Nigeria is yet to be seen. We have witnessed in the not too distant past how our leaders even with not a long time in office have enriched themselves to the detriment of the whole country. The Abubakar government was in power for only eleven months and yet there were allegations of large scale embezzlement of public money. The Abacha government was only in power for less than five years and billions of pounds sterling was siphon from the government coffer. The only people that will benefit from such provision in the constitution are the corrupt leaders as this would make sure that their turns come round quickly. In addition, when those in power realise that they won’t be facing another election make them to act with total disregard for accountability. Those who fail to learn from their past will become a victim of their future.
Nigerians For Referendum (NFR)
This is why we in the NFR believe that a real mandate from the people is necessary to challenge the continuous operation of this discredited system imposed on the whole nation by the few to the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the majority.
Sadly, the situation in Nigeria today more or less resembles the situation prevailing in the old Soviet Union. For a long time, those in position of authority at the centre were aware that the Soviet Union was in a mess politically and economically and there were urgent needs for changes to be made to address the problems but the changes were resisted. There were those who believed that the status of the country as a super power would be jeopardised if the required changes were made and there were those who thought their privileged positions would be threatened if the changes were made. As a result, the problems were allowed to fester until it started to threaten to collapse the whole country. Gorbachev was brought in to try and execute some changes but when his attempts at making changes at the system through Perestroika threatened the privileged positions of some old guards, attempt was made to remove him through a coup d’etat. The coup failed and the old Soviet Union collapsed.
It has become clear that real and required changes will not be effected from the centre when it comes to Nigeria as those at the centre are oblivion to the fact that the corporate existence of Nigeria is under threat. They are too much pre-occupied with maintaining their own privileged position and undue benefits the current system accords those who manage to gain power at the centre. This is the reason why we in Nigerians For Referendum are now advocating for changes effected from the regions. What the country needs is a total abandonment of the current system not an amendment of it. This current system is a complete fraud on the people of Nigeria. A system that put the whole resources of a whole nation in the hands of the few and allow them the authority to deal in the country‘s revenue as they so wish and as if it is their own personal account; a system that allows our leaders to steal our money and then decide among themselves how much they can keep and how much they should return. This is a discredited system which should not be allowed to continue in this day and age. Nigerians have been taken for granted for too long. Nowhere in the world would the public money be treated the way Nigeria’s revenue had been treated over the years and those involved been allowed to get away with it to the embarrassment of the whole nation and to the detriment of the whole country. Everything is wrong about the current system. It was neither negotiated nor agreed upon. It was imposed on the people. This is why we are proposing a return to the original plan put in place at independence (though with some changes) before military incursion into the country‘s politics derailed it. We are proposing a return to regional government based on each state having full control over revenue from resources found within their states. A system that restore the regional autonomy that was taken away by the current system. We are proposing a system that will strip the central government of its unjust arrogated powers and return those powers to the states where their exercise will be for the benefit of the people. We are asking for a system that allows each region the freedom to map out its own path to development dictated by its own chosen pace. This is a plan designed to save Nigeria and restore dignity to our people. This is why we are calling for a referendum based on two issues: returning of the total control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which the resources were found and the restoration of the original regional governments.
Why a referendum? In a democracy power or authority are derived from the people and for any major changes like the one being advocated to be implemented legally and legitimately, you need the full mandate of the people to carry it out. Much have been said about National Sovereign Conference but if one take a good look at it, it is fraught with a lot of difficulties. Firstly, we have an elected National Assembly which is sovereign in its own right. You cannot select a group of people and then accorded them with such privilege which by any means they do not deserve. The corollary of selecting people to undertake the task of debating our problems and finding solutions is just continuing with the same elitist democratic system that allows certain kind of people the honour and undue privilege to decide on the future and direction of our country while depriving others a say on issues that concern them. Thirdly, the authority of the National Assembly is derived from the people, therefore the only power that supersedes this authority is the people themselves as they are the highest sovereign in a democracy hence the need to have the people decide on what they want the government to do on these important issues.
Why the returning of the control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which they are found?
Firstly, this was the arrangement at independence and this arrangement has served us well in the past and we believe it will serve us well now and in the future if adopted. It is evident that most public spending on services and on development projects are undertaken by the states and the new arrangement will stop the concentration of the control of resources of the whole country in the hands of the few at the centre. The current arrangement has become the bane of corruption in Nigeria. This is not to say that the new system being proposed will wipe away corruption or that there won’t be corruption at the state level but never again will the corruption by one individual or group of individuals in a state affects the whole nation as the case is under the current system. In addition, because the state governments are closer to the people, accountability will be more effective and mismanagement easily spotted. Furthermore, state governments are below the regional government in hierarchical order and as each state will only be required to give certain percentage e.g. 20% of its revenue to the regional government, the regional government will have cause to ensure that corrupt state government is exposed since allowing the state government officials to embezzle government’s money would mean a reduction in the amount turned over to the regional government and hence less money for the regional government to spend. Therefore, the new arrangement will have an inbuilt checks which will go some way to discourage corruption.
Why the restoration of the original regional governments? It should be acknowledged that prior to the army incursion into Nigeria politics, the Mid-Western region had been created by a plebiscite in accordance with the constitutional provision. However, the reason behind the agitation was to prevent the domination of the minority Mid-Western people and we believe that the retention of the created states will continue to serve this purpose and allay the fears of the minorities hence the suggestion for the return to the original three regions with the individual states in full control of resources found within their states and revenue derived from them but operating under the umbrella of a region.
We also believe that Nigeria should be a union of autonomous regions and not a federation as it is now. This will allow each region to determine the path to their own development and the pace of their own development. This is what we had before the incursion of the military into the country’s politics. This is not to say that there won’t be any role for a central government but this would be based on cooperation between the regional governments. Also, the areas of cooperation will be clearly defined and will only include those areas that were originally reserved exclusively for the central government at independence namely, defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications. Much have been said about the role of a President for the whole country but we had existed before without a President albeit with a head of state and a prime minister but we don’t have to have a directly elected President for the whole country as the role can be rotated between the elected leaders of the three regions. This will go a long way to resolve the current and continuing tension within Nigeria. And since the area of cooperation is the area already assigned to the regional governments, cooperation in these areas will be more effective and efficient.
In order to achieve these objectives, we are proposing the following 2 point plan:
(i) The introduction of a ‘referendum’ bill in each state House of Assembly. The bill could be sponsored by any member of the House of Assembly or by the state government.
(ii) The bill is to authorise the state government to consult its people to seek their mandate through a referendum on the following issues: (a) should Nigeria continue with current arrangement or be a union of autonomous regions as it was at independence; (b) Should state governments assume control of all resources found within their states and the revenue derived from them.
We urge all Nigerians to join hands with us in demanding for a referendum organised by the states in actualising this plan. We in the NFR believe and justifiably so that what can save Nigeria from the impending collapse is a return to the arrangement obtained at independence where real powers reside with the regional governments. Much have been said about the Aburi Accord which suggested a confederation arrangement for Nigeria but which was never implemented by the Gowon government. The truth is that the Aburi Accord was a negotiated agreement but this current system was neither negotiated or agreed upon, it was imposed. We don’t have to practice federalism, we don’t have to accept someone else’s discredited plan. We are human beings with hope and aspiration and we have a right to self determination. This is more the reason why we are calling for a total change from the path that our past military leaders have taken the country. It is a path leading to nowhere but destruction. The current system favoured no one but our leaders and their families and cronies Other countries in the world are moving forward while we continue to watch in agony how our dear country is being left behind. Many of our children have lost their lives in search for a better future abroad that they are being denied at home. There are tribal and religious tensions which are costing the lives of many innocent Nigerians but with no solution in sight. We in the NFR believes that these problems have solutions and this is why we have suggested a referendum on those issues that if adopted without doubt will bring us nearer to finding solutions to our perennial problems as a country. Together we can save Nigeria from the impending catastrophe and restore dignity to our people but we must be brave to take the important and needed steps to achieve this.
To find out more about NFR, visit us at: www.nigeriansforreferendum.co.uk or if you would like to join NFR, leave your name and contact details at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. You can also leave your comments on Facebook: Nigerians For Referendum
Chief Evans Akpanobong
*HOW TO USE NIGERIA MASTERWEB DAILY NEWS BLOG:
(1). To Post Articles:- Click on "Log in" above on the top left hand side of this page, then click on "Register" to set up an account to enable you post articles. Enter required fields including Username, Password and Email Address. You will be required to validate your email. Your membership will be approved 2 to 24 hours after your validation. Thereafter, go to the blog, click on "Log in" and log in and click on "Write" to post articles. *Returning members - click on "Log in" and log in and click on "Write" to post articles. It takes beteween 24 to 72 hours for posted articles to be released by moderators. ( Please note that only news articles can be published here. Unconfirmed reports and controversial articles are not allowed and will not be approved. )
(2). If you do not include your full name in posted articles, they will not be approved and will not be published.
(3). To Read Posted Articles/Blogs:- Just click on any of the "Categories" or "Sub-Categories" below