*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: email@example.com and we will get back to you. You can also leave your comments on Facebook: Nigerians For Referendum
Chief Evans Akpanobong
*Lord Lugard’s Cage Challenged As Biafra Drags Nigeria To Court October 30
[ Press Release For Immediate Release ]
By Bilie Human Rights Initiative
Bilie Human Rights Initiative is a human rights organization and the only legal entity in Nigeria registered with the United Nations as an Indigenous Peoples Organization (IPO) and also as Incorporated Trustees by the Corporate Affairs Commission Abuja for the purpose of protecting, defending and advocating for the rights of indigenous people of Biafra and all other indigenous peoples and nationalities within Nigeria whose rights and freedoms are violated by the Nigerian Government contrary to the United Nations Charter on Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. The word “Bilie” means “Stand Up” or “Arise” in Igbo Language. We are calling on all Igbo speaking people in Nigeria to stand up for their rights. Bilie is a human rights group advocating for the rights of the descendants of the ancestors of Biafraland who are the remnants that were not consumed by the 1967-1970 genocidal war in which about three million Biafrans were killed. Bilie Human Rights Initiative is a national liberation movement for the purposes of international law with power to represent all indigenous people of Biafra in legal actions against any person Upholding justice and the rule of law or any Government whether in the Nigerian Courts or in the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Gentlemen of the Press, we are here today to let the world know what is happening in Nigeria. The safety of the lives and properties of indigenous people of Biafra living in Nigeria are no longer guaranteed. The Biafrans were forced to surrender their sovereignty and become Nigerian citizens on the promise that their lives and properties would be protected by the Government of Nigeria. Now, it has become clear that the Government of Nigeria is impotent and incompetent to protect the indigenous people of Biafra who were not consumed by the war. In fact, the Nigeria Police and Army Officers have continued to harass, intimidate, arrest, detain and kill Biafran human rights activists who are agitating for the self-determination and independence of Biafra by peaceful means but spare the militant activists from other nationalities agitating for similar outcome. There is clear and demonstrable policy of discrimination, marginalization, oppression and racism against the remnants of the indigenous people of Biafra living in Nigeria which has caused some of them to deny their identity in order to receive favours from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The situation has compelled Bilie Human Rights Initiative to file multiple suits against the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agents on behalf of the indigenous people of Biafra to protect their human and peoples’ rights. At the moment, the two suits Bilie Human Rights Initiative has filed are as follows:
(a) Case number 1 is for the Self-determination and Independence of Biafra
(b) Case number 2 is an order seeking restraint on the part of the Federal Government of Nigeria and her agents from the continued intimidation, harassment and threat to life of the publishers and distributors of Eastern Pilot Newspaper and violation of the publication’s freedom of expression as guaranteed under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The Case for Self-determination and Independence of Biafra:
On behalf of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Bilie Human Rights Initiative has filed the case, Suit No. FHC/OW/CS/102/2012 in the Federal High Court of Nigeria in the Owerri Judicial Division against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation seeking to enforce the rights of indigenous people of Biafra to self-determination and independence. The said suit brought by way of originating summons requires the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation to appear in court to answer fundamental questions impinging on the rights of Indigenous People of Biafra which to date has remained unanswered and untested in any competent court of law.
LET the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Attorney-General of the Federation within thirty days after service of this summons on them, inclusive of the day of such service, cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon the application of BILIE HUMAN RIGHTS INITIATIVE representing INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA who are indigenes of the South East geopolitical zone of Nigeria, parts of the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria and parts of the Middle Belt zone of Nigeria seeking to enforce their right to self-determination pursuant to Articles 19 - 25 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990, and to redress all wrongs occasioned on them by the Defendants in consequence whereof the Claimants pray for the determination of the following questions:
1. Whether the Indigenous People of Biafra who are the remnants that were not consumed in the Nigerian-Biafran war of 1967 – 1970 have the right of self-determination pursuant to Articles 19 – 25 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
2. Whether the Claimants who identify themselves as Biafrans by indigenous identity are committing any offence by doing so contrary to any provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 or contrary to any provisions of the Criminal Code and whether it is a crime under any national or international law to mention the name of BIAFRA or for the remnants of the Indigenous People of Biafra who were not consumed by the war to maintain their indigenous identity as Biafrans with their native emblems and symbols as they do now even though they are Nigerians by citizenship and nationality laws; and if the answer is in the negative, whether the Defendants are justified to arrest, detain, shoot and or kill the children of the Claimants for identifying themselves as Biafrans by indigenous identity contrary to the rights of indigenous peoples as guaranteed by Articles 19 – 25 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.
3. Whether by the interpretation of Section 2 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 it is a crime for the Claimants and or the people of other ethnic nationalities held together in Nigeria against their will to exercise their right to self-determination by seeking for independence under the law as guaranteed by Articles 19 – 25 Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and the United Nations Resolution 61/295 of 2007 known as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
4. Whether it is lawful under the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 for the Defendants to hold the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria together by force against their will who now constitute the six geopolitical regions namely: South East, South South, South West, North Central, North East and North West, in a forced marriage akin to slavery contrary to their human and peoples’ rights of self-determination as there is no provision in the Nigerian law or international law that makes it a crime for a people to seek for freedom by the rule of law.
5. Whether the amalgamation of the peoples of the south and north by the British Government to form one country called Nigeria was with the consent and agreement of the indigenous peoples of the lands; and if the answer is in the negative, whether the Order-in-Council 1910 – 1913 made by the British Government to create Nigeria in 1914 was null and void ab initio for lacking legitimacy as it could not form the basis of the Nigerian Constitution thereby rendering the amalgamation invalid.
6. Whether by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1963 which took effect on 1st October 1963 and remained in force until the midnight of 30th September 1979 the Defendants were right to seize and confiscate the assets, properties, money, and all treasures belonging to the Claimants by promulgating the Abandoned Properties Act of 28th September 1979 while the 1963 Constitution was in force, being more than nine years after the war and after the declaration of “One Nigeria” while regarding the Claimants as Nigerian citizens but depriving them of their properties, money and assets; and if the answer is in the negative, whether the Defendants are still justified to withhold the said money, properties and assets belonging to the Claimants.
7. Whether the Defendants were justified to violate the International Humanitarian Law and the Laws of War known as the Geneva Convention 1949 (to which the Defendants acceded and ratified on 20th June 1961) by bombing the Biafran civilians, killing the Biafran civilians and using starvation to kill the children, women and the elderly of the civilian population of the indigenous people of Biafra in the war of 1967 – 1970 in order to win the war.
8. Whether the Defendants by registering Nigeria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in 1986 and licensing an Islamic Sharia Bank in Nigeria under the 1999 Constitution contrary to Section 10 of the Constitution of Nigeria have violated the Constitution and turned Nigeria into an Islamic country; and if the answer is in the affirmative, whether the Claimants have the right to dissociate themselves from the Defendants and refuse to answer the citizens of an Islamic country in the exercise of their right to freedom of worship, freedom of association and self-determination as a people.
AND LET THE DEFENDANTS TAKE NOTICE that the Claimants who are called Biafrans by indigenous identity and Nigerians by nationality have commenced the legal processes leading to their referendum for self-determination and shall at the hearing of this summons pray the Honourable Court for:
(a) An Order declaring that the Claimants have the right to self-determination pursuant to Articles 19 – 25, Cap 10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990, and are therefore free to exercise their right to self-determination for independence or any other political status of their choice.
(b) An Order declaring that the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria are not held as slaves under Section 2(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and therefore have the right of self-determination to decide their political status by the rule of law.
(c) An Order declaring that the Defendants are liable to pay to the Claimants by way of compensation or reparation the present value of all the money, properties and assets of the Claimants seized by the Defendants as a result of the Nigerian-Biafran war of 1967 – 1970 since the properties were not seized in wartime but nine years after the war based on the post-war discriminatory policies and laws made by the Defendants to suppress the Claimants from generation to generation.
(d) An Order directing the Defendants to comply with the provisions of Article 20 (3) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 and consequently give all assistance to the Claimants in the exercise of their right to self-determination for a peaceful conduct of their referendum for independence or for any other political status of their choice.
(e) An Order granting judicial protection to the Claimants, their homes, their offices and their correspondences individually and collectively as they exercise their right to self-determination and an Injunction restraining the Defendants, their agents and privies, from interfering, arresting, molesting, intimidating, disturbing, hindering or harassing the Claimants or doing any act or omitting to do any act aimed at frustrating the Claimants’ exercise of their right to self-determination which they have commenced with a referendum.
(f) An Order compelling the Defendants to release from its prisons and detention centres all indigenous people of Biafra who are agitating as pro-Biafra Movements for Independence of Biafra by peaceful means and to drop all charges of treason or treasonable felonies made against them and to release all their properties seized by the Defendants.
(g) An Order affirming the Memorandum of Ohanaeze Ndigbo dated 28th June 2012 submitted to the National Assembly for the restructuring of Nigeria into six autonomous self-governing regions, namely: South East, South West, South South, North East, North West and North Central, as a manifestation of the Will of the People in the exercise of their right to self-determination and directing the Defendants to present an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for a law granting autonomy and self-governing status to the six geopolitical regions in Nigeria; OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, in the role of the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man, an Order directing the Defendants to present an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for a law dissolving Nigeria in peace along the compatible ethnic groups instead of allowing the country to break up in bloodshed.
(h) An Order declaring that the Defendants by registering Nigeria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) have turned Nigeria into an Islamic country contrary to Section 10 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and therefore the Claimants being Christians have the right to dissociate themselves from the Defendants and refuse to be called the citizens of an Islamic country. The facts of the case and exhibits relied on are contained in a 44-Paragraph Affidavit filed with the suit. Bilie Human Rights Initiative is by this legal action accelerating efforts to bring legal clarity to the issue of arbitrary arrests of indigenous people of Biafra. We believe that what Biafra lost after the war was its sovereignty and not its people since we were not annihilated by Nigeria as Rome annihilated Carthage.
About 99% of the population of the indigenous people of Biafra are Christians holding tenaciously to their Christian faith, believing in freedom of worship, freedom of religion, freedom of association, freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of expression, and separating the State from Religion. We believe in democracy as the only system of government that guarantees our fundamental human rights. Unfortunately, the Moslems from the North who were merged with us in the country called Nigeria do not believe in democracy and do not separate their Religion from the State. They do not believe in freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of expression. In a conflict between the law of the State and the law of Islam, the Moslems insist that the law of Islam must prevail while we insist that the law of the State must prevail. They regard democracy as a false religion as shown by the fliers and posters they are spreading in Britain, America, Nigeria and other countries of the world where democracy is practised. This shows fundamental irreconcilable differences in the ideologies of the two peoples. All the efforts of their ethnic militia called Boko Haram are aimed at Islamizing the whole country and forcing us to become Moslems! The Biafrans saw this Islamic virus ahead of time and sought to free themselves in 1967-1970 but the odds were too much against them since Great Britain and other developed countries of the west could not see what the Biafrans saw. In the Ahiara Declaration, General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu revealed that the Biafran Struggle was not only a political or military struggle but also a struggle for religious freedom. In his words, “The Biafran struggle is, on another plane, a resistance to the Arab-Muslim expansionism which has menaced and ravaged the African continent for twelve centuries.
Our Biafran ancestors remained immune from the Islamic contagion. From the middle years of the last century Christianity was established in our land. In this way we came to be a predominantly Christian people. We came to stand out as a non-Muslim island in a raging Islamic sea. Throughout the period of the ill-fated Nigerian experiment, the Muslims hoped to infiltrate Biafra by peaceful means and quiet propaganda, but failed. Therefore, to militant Islam, Biafra is a stumbling block to their plan for controlling the whole continent.
Nigeria obtained only a military victory over Biafra but not spiritual conquest. Nigerians and their Governments treat us like a defeated people though mouthing “No Victor No Vanquished” in hypocrisy. Any person who identifies himself as an Ibo or Biafran receives persecution, hatred and rejection from Nigerians. Fair-minded Nigerians have acknowledged that the Government of Nigeria is designed to marginalize and persecute us. Alhaji Salisu Lamido Salisu, in his Conference Lecture at Arewa House in 1999, said concerning us as follows: “They have been defeated in war, rendered paupers by monetary policy fiat, their properties declared abandoned and confiscated, kept out of strategic public sector appointments and deprived of public services. The rest of the country forced them to remain in Nigeria and has continued to deny them equity. The Northern Bourgeoisie and the Yoruba Bourgeoisie have conspired to keep the Igbo out of the scheme of things. In the recent transition when the Igbo solidly supported the PDP in the hope of an Ekwueme presidency, the North and South-West treated this as a Biafra agenda. Every rule set for the primaries, every gentleman’s agreement was set aside to ensure that Obasanjo, not Ekwueme emerged as the candidate… Now, with this government, the marginalization of the Igbo is more complete than ever before. The Igbos have taken all these quietly because, they reason, they brought it upon themselves. But the nation is sitting on a time-bomb”.
Yes, indeed, Nigeria is sitting on a time-bomb. Fair-minded northerners and westerners have acknowledged that the Government of Nigeria has been quite unfair to us. The maltreatments and persecutions have caused some of our people to deny their native identity in order to survive in Nigeria. Some of our people in the South-South region have changed their names to sound foreign in order to escape the persecution while some towns and villages have been forcefully assimilated into neighbouring tribes. Our spirits are still alive despite all the persecutions we suffer in Nigeria. This is why we are insisting on regaining our freedom because we still believe in our indigenous identity as Biafrans.
We want the Court to determine whether it is an offence for the remnants of the ancestors of Biafraland who were not consumed by the war to maintain their indigenous identity as a people and exercise their right to self-determination. We want the Court to determine whether it is an offence to mention the name of BIAFRA and believe in Biafra and preach Biafranism as a gospel of national liberation. We are fast-tracking legal efforts to compel the Nigerian Government to stop arresting anybody answering to or wearing Biafran emblem, insignia or any material that reflects their belief in Biafra. We believe that this a test case for the development of human rights law, not only for the benefit of the Nigerian legal system but also for the benefit of other countries of the world who are bound by the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
Concerning our people who have denied their ancestral identity as Biafrans and Ibos in order to survive in Nigeria, we do not hold the denial against them as we see it as a self-preservation technique which is often caused by fear and lack of boldness. We remember the biblical example of the Apostle Peter who denied his Lord and Master Jesus Christ when his life was in danger. But as Peter repented and wept for denying his identity as a disciple of Christ, we advise our brethren who have denied their Igbo and Biafran identity to repent and return to their ancestral roots because our deliverance has come.
Gentlemen of the Press, we cannot comment on the merits of the case now since it is before the court but we enjoin you to follow the proceedings and give it a wide publicity in the interest of the public for the advancement of human rights law. The Court has fixed the case for 30th October 2012 when the parties will appear in Court for the first time. Thank you, Gentlemen of the Press, for your patience and rapt attention to this briefing.
Elder Eddy Anyanwu
Bilie Human Rights Initiative
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
*Kidnapping: Governor Obi Demolishes More Buildings
Two bungalows linked to a kidnap suspect Mr. Emeka Ezekwe have been demolished by the Anambra State Government at Umuihepune, Umuatu Village, Ihiala Local Government Area. Governor Peter Obi who led the demolition exercise said the war against kidnapping and other crimes in the State must be won.
The demolition followed the arrest of Mr Emeka Ezekude and recovery of arms and ammunition hidden underground in plastic containers in his premises. Among the items recovered were, one rocket grenade, three grenade propellers, two A.K. 47 riffles, zero six riffle, twenty-seven A.K 47 magazines, one hundred and seventy rounds of live ammunition and nine chains used in restraining kidnap victims. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: The Deputy Commissioner of Police, operations, Mr. Ayole Abeh (left) and Gov. Obi (right), during the demolition.
Governor Obi said that the demolition was in line with the State government policy that any property linked to a kidnapper will be acquired by the Government and demolished.
He made clear that government will not allow anybody to benefit from proceeds of kidnap and other forms of crime and disclosed that government. The Governor assured that government was already winning the battle as the wave of kidnap across the State has drastically reduced. He thanked the police and other security agents for their sustained efforts to rid the State of criminals and hoodlums. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: One of the buildings shortly before the demolition.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police, operations, Mr. Ayole Abeh said Mr. Ezekwu was a member of the kidnap gang led by Mr. Olisa Ifedike, alisas Ofeakwu who was arrested last month and whose houses have equally been demolished by the State government. Mr Abeh explained that the suspect was arrested through the statements by Mr. Ifedike alias Ofeakwu. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Underground plastic containers where arms and ammunition were hidden.
People of the community, Mr. Ambrose Ezekulie, Nnamdi Mbenobi and Juliana Elendu, disclosed that Ezekude has been masquerading as sand and stone supplier. They commended Governor Obi for his determination to eradicate crime in the State and assured him of total support.
The two demolished buildings consisted of nine rooms and parlour and four rooms and parlour respectively.
Photo Above: Police showing Gov. Obi underground plastic containers where arms and ammunition were hidden.
*Why Ondo State Election Results Are Beyond Judicial Revocation, Salami Magic & Media Noise-making
Masterweb Reports - Friday, October 26, 2012: (Onitsha Nigeria, October 26, 2012)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law notes with gladdened heart the true reflection of the will of the great people of Ondo State in choosing their public officers democratically particularly the occupant of the office of their governor, who was democratically re-elected on 20th day of October 2012, having first been sworn in on 24th day of February 2009 after revalidation of his mandate by the Court of Appeal, Benin Division. The results of the October 20 Governorship Election, announced on Sunday, 21st were another credible match towards the institutionalization of the sanctity of the electoral ballot in Nigeria , which is in tandem with the immortal principle of-it is better to have 10.000 live votes than to have 10million dead votes. Unlike in Nigeria’s previous elections, particularly the pre-2011 elections where dead voters and votes held sway; the Ondo State election voters and votes were not robotically created. With 1.638,950 registered voters and 624,659 voted; out of which 594, 244 votes were valid and 30,415 invalid, the Ondo election is demographically and scientifically incontestable. It also passed the litmus test of common sense. The voters were also conscientiously fair in the choice of their candidates, especially their vote-distribution and electoral choice index reflected in the votes received by the three leading candidates-Mimiko, Oke and Akeredolu, who are now winners and losers.
By simple calculations, the 260,199 Ondo valid voters chose Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and his Labour Party as the most favoured and popular candidate and party in the State; the second most popular and favoured candidate and party went to Barr. Olusola Oke and his PDP with 155,961 valid votes, while the ACN; the Southwest (Oduduwa) regional party and its candidate, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN (former NBA boss) was chosen as the third most popular and favoured party and candidate in the State with 143,512 valid votes. By Local Government distribution, Labour Party and its winner was more popular in 13 LGAs, PDP and its candidate was more popular in 2 LGAs with runners up in others that made it to garner more votes than the ACN, while the ACN and its candidate was more popular in 3 LGAs. As a result of this, the people of Ondo State have spoken again in collective hallowed voice through their 594,244 valid representatives. They first spoke in April 2007, but the forces of evil and organized ballot criminals quenched their hallowed voice temporarily until in February 2009 when some mortal angels in the temple of justice returned their sacred mandate to its rightful owner, having been emboldened by Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State and the State-based progressive democratic forces.
Lessons Learnt: One of the bitter lessons of organizing credible elections in Nigeria of late, such as the Ondo Election is the blatant refusal of the defeated politicians and their parties to accept defeat and use of some, if not many media establishments to discredit the credibility of such polls. Even when such media establishments are drafted to observe the elections and put their outcomes in black and white, the same media bodies go hell wire in discrediting the credibility of the said polls under the guise of hear the other sides and cash-and-carry journalism. Today, for reasons of parochial and material interests, defeated politicians, their parties and media collaborators have refused to adopt the natural and universal best parameters for determining credible polls and their results. It is correct to say that these malevolent political players never wish Nigeria and Nigerians to have credible elections and their results in their electoral industry.
The second bitter lesson is the trial of election cases on the pages of newspaper by lawyers hired by the defeated politicians and their parties. Court-room matters including election matters are like criminal investigations that strictly require confidentiality and authenticity to retain their substances. The raging Salami Scandal is a case in point. The undue uses of media by practicing lawyers make them the worst in litigation performance index. These lawyers are best described as 911 Lorry or Gwongworo lawyers. For instance, one of Nigeria’s new breed most creative and noiseless lawyers is Mr. Onyechi Ikpeazu, SAN. He is hardly heard on the pages of newspaper in litigation matters, whether civil, criminal or electoral, yet he has turned out to be one of the Nigeria’s finest lawyers. On the other hand, the Nigeria’s most talkative lawyers are some, if not many of the Lagos-based SANs, who have also penetrated Abuja. Apart from getting fat briefs through media noise-making and litigating by media, their contributions towards the growth of law and rule of law in Nigeria are near-zero. They commit legal and professional blunders and turn them into objects for media and legal canonization. They function simultaneously as members of political parties, pro-democracy groups, civil rights groups and legal profession. The case of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, who was the NBA boss during the Salami Scandal of 2009/2010 with alleged ACN links and the party’s governorship candidate in the just concluded Ondo governorship poll, is a typical example. Also, the case of Ayo Isa Salami, who was the Appeal Court boss then, accused of being the ACN sympathizer, is a second typical example. Through the antics and exploits of these Lagos lawyers, some, if not many of the Apex and Appellate decided cases in the country are not socially developmental in comparison with their counter-parts in Brazil, Ghana, South Africa and the Scandinavian countries. They dominate national discourse on socio-economic salvation yet they are the same accomplices who collude with Nigeria’s master economic criminals to return the country back to cave. Nigeria’s statutory laws and case-laws are steadily retrogressive courtesy of her rogue members of outer, inner and bench Bars (talkative lawyers).
The third good lesson is that in no distance future, indiscriminate filing of elections petition cases in electoral courts in Nigeria will fizzle out if the polls’ outcomes continue to reflect the true wishes of the Nigerian people. For instance, most of the 1,695 existing Federal and State electoral seats in the country were judicially unrevoked after the 2011 general elections. Unlike in the previous elections where petitions were filed in almost all of them, a reasonable number of the said seats were not judicially contested, while most of those contested were judicially affirmed particularly the 31 governorship seats. These were and still are hugely attributed to a slight departure recorded in the 2011 general polls, from the usual armada of frauds that characterize the Nigeria’s electoral industry especially the previous rogue voter-register. It is our total submission that the July14 and October 20 staggered governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States are an appreciable improvement in Professor Attahiru Jega’s Nigerian election midwifery. It is our firm hopes that billions of Nigeria’s tax payers’ money spent directly and indirectly during elections seasons in election petitions cases will be maximally reduced in no distance time if elections continue to be credible. Kudos to INEC over the Ondo credible poll!
Why Ondo Poll Is Beyond Judicial Revocation, Salami Magic & Media Noise-making: Unlike in Osun and Ekiti States’ governorship election disputes which were resolved through Salami Magic, the Ondo State election litigation, from all intents and purposes, is judicially irrevocable. It is also immune from the viruses of Salami Magic. Not even media noise-making can alter the sacred decision of the respected Ondo voters. Judiciary as the bastion of the commoners cannot taint the hallowed electoral decisions of the Ondo people no matter the amount of media noise-making and threat of litigation by the defeated sectional political players, who blatantly refused to accept defeat banking on judicial one-chance. Also, the possibility of Salami Magic replicating itself in the instant case has been done a fatal blow by many emerging factors. For instance, by Section 285(2) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended, the governorship election tribunal is created and the governorship election petition originates therein; by Section 246(3) of the same Constitution, first appeal from governorship election matter lies at the Appellate Court; and by Section 233(2)(e)(iv) , it ends or terminates at the Supreme or Apex Court. By the provisions of Section 285(5) (6) and (7), filing of the governorship election petition takes 21 days after the date of the declaration of the official results (i.e.22/10/2012); the matter is originally heard and determined within 180 days at the tribunal; re-examined and disposed of at the Appellate Court within 60 days; and affirmed or rejected at the Apex within 60 days. The foregoing provisions are subject to exceptional circumstances such as retrials at the original electoral tribunal as may be so ordered superiorly. In all, the entire governorship matter is to last for 10 months, from the tribunal to the Apex Court.
So even if Salami Magic still holds sway at the tribunal and the Appellate Court, it may not see the light of the day at the Apex Court, which is a mirror through which the country’s judiciary performance index is viewed by the outside world. To avoid the hallowed mandate freely given by the Ondo people being a victim of technical justice, we advise the winner of the sacred mandate to scout for and assemble sound, creative and noiseless lawyers both Silk and non-Silk so as to judicially prove the authenticity of the sacred mandate within the confines of preponderance of probabilities or credible pieces of evidence and retain same with a view to holding it in competent trust for the people of Ondo State in the next four years. The Ondo governorship election outcome is a critical moment of assessment and re-assessment for the losers especially the Action Congress of Nigeria in its zone of grip it came abysmally third despite its thirst and raging policy of politics of malevolent ethnicity and exclusion as well as candidates’ imposition and assemblage of election riggers in its fold. It is shocking and deafening that the party is relegated to the background as the third most preferred party after PDP; a party some have described as , a celebrated party of rioters and brigands. For ACN to have lost Ondo State poll after it lost Kwara and Kogi States as well as all its governorship elections’ litigations arising from the 2011 general poll, means that its sectional policy, among others require radical review. Judicially speaking, the party’s victory in Edo State in 2008 is still worth celebrating, but its victories Osun and Ekiti States in 2010 are still seen by many as a coup using the hallowed temple of justice. Once again, we congratulate Citizens Peter Obi of Anambra State, Adams Oshiomole of Edo State and Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State for their resilient judicial struggles to reclaim their stolen mandates from Nigeria’s unrepentant electoral criminals, who have been allowed to walk the country’s streets as free members of the society despite their heinous electoral crimes. Citizen Peter Obi is particularly commended for sleeping in electoral courts for almost three years in order to get back his brutally stolen mandate, which emboldened others to follow suit. The trio of Obi, Oshiomole and Mimiko are Nigeria’s three-pillared inventors of staggered election chemistry in the 21st century Nigeria.
We heartily commend INEC and the credible election monitors and observers including the media, the TMG and the Women Arise for their dogged roles that made the poll a success.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, BOT Chairman
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Giant Strides in Sokoto State's Education Sector
By Amiru Adamu
There is no doubt,that Sokoto State was before now regarded as one of the educationally backwards states in Nigeria. However this assertion can no longer be made,considering the efforts that have been made by past and present administrations in the state to reverse the hitherto status of Sokoto State as one of the educationally backwards states of the country.
Like most administrations,the present government of Sokoto State being led by Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko,came into office with a promise of kick-starting an educational reform. It promised to take Sokoto State to greater heights in terms of education. Hence my decision to write this brief review of its strides in the sector for others to read, verify and come to their own conclusions.
At its inception in 2007 Wamakko's administration declared a state emergency in the educational sector and committed 22 percent of the state's budget to the sector. Structures such as classrooms,libraries,workshops,hostels etc are important considering the fact that effective teaching and learning process can only take place in a conducive learning environment. It is with this fact in mind,that the Sokoto State government expended over 3 billion naira into the construction,rehabilitation and expansion of most primary and secondary schools in the state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State
Poverty is the excuse often given by parents as the reason why they keep their children most especially the girl child out of school. The administration took measures to arrest this situation by abolishing fees from the school system in Sokoto including examination fees,for all students non indigenes inclusive. It also increased the feeding allowance of its students by 100 percent. This 2 policies have since yielded results,as survey has shown an increase in students enrolment to about 50 percent so far.
The fact that many women have married without completing their secondary education,prompted the creation of women education centres within the state and one in each of the 3 senatorial districts in the state,for women to enrol for their secondary education that will qualify them for tertiary education. This policy has given married women a renewed opportunity to acquire western education.
Qualified and competent teaching force,is essential to any educational reform. The administration has so far recruited over 1000 additional primary school teachers,1000 secondary school teachers,300 teachers for arabic and islamic board and over 200 lectures and support staffs for its college of education and polytechnic.
There is a tremendous increase in the provision of teaching and learning materials. Textbooks,science equipment s and other related learning materials are being provided to all schools in the state. It is in-line with its drive to foster effective learning that the administration recently approved a 46 million naira one laptop per child pilot programme, that will introduce its students to the new global ICT trend. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Sokoto State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
The vexed issue of almajiri also received a commendable attention from the government. It committed over 70 million naira in the establishment of a specially equipped boarding school that incorporates western and islamic education in the curriculum. The school now has an enrolment of over 600 children. The government provides feeding,clothing and other needs of the these children. The federal government has also partnered the state in this regard;it recently built and equipped another almajiri modern school in the state.
The Sokoto State government,has secured admissions for its indegenes in various higher institutions within and outside the country.NECO,WAEC,JAMB and DE forms are also being purchased on a yearly basis for distribution to its students free of charge. Over 1000 students with deficiencies in o/level were registered for extra mural lessons. The programme is being supervised by a consultant with coordinators that engaged qualified teachers for the programme. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Study Books
The administration also secured accreditation by NUC,for 17 B. ed programmes for its college of education and secured HND courses accreditation for its polytechnic. The state has further established a state university that shall accommodate the envisaged turnover of secondary school leavers.
Scholarships and study grants are necessary incentives in order to provide equal opportunities for all. The administration has done a lot in this regard. Apart from the payment of school fees and allowances to all Sokoto State students studying at home and abroad,it has sponsored a substantial number of its students to study specialist courses abroad. These projects and policies are all on ground in Sokoto State today for individuals or groups to come and verify. Perhaps the keen interest being shown by the Sokoto State government, in the development of education is due to the fact that the founding fathers of Sokoto helped in the spread of islam in Africa. And islam as a religion made it mandatory for every Muslim to seek for knowledge.
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.
*Nigeria: Governor Obi Grants Amnesty To 12 People
Masterweb Reports - Thursday, October 25, 2012: In exercise of his Constitutional powers and to mark the 52 Independence anniversary of our country, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON, Governor of Anambra State has granted amnesty to 12 persons.
A memo from the Attorney-General of Anambra State/Chairman, State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Barr. Peter Afuba referenced AG.AN/S.198/Vol.VI/134, dated 5th October, 2012 states that these persons were serving terms in Enugu , Ibite-Olo, Onitsha , Awka and Aguata Prisons. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
From Enugu Prison, Ikechukwu Nwafor had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment while Emmanuel Izuchukwu Nwaziri from the same prison was released.
From Ibite-Olo Prison, Chinagorom Eze and Onyeka Okona were released, while Jude Okolo, Joy Audu, Chukwudum Nwasogu, Ngozi Chukwuasonibe and Felicia Asonibe were granted reprieve from Onitsha Prison.
Awka Prison had one beneficiary, namely Peter Chukwuka Asonibe while Ogbonna Okeke and Emeka Ukpabi in Aguata Prison were also lucky.
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State
*Re: Okonjo Iweala: Nigeria’s Weakest Link
By Ayodeji Sunday
My attention was drawn to an article (Ngozi Iweala: Nigeria’s Weakest Link) by one Sonala Olumhense. After reading the piece, I concluded that only someone who has absolutely no regard for conscience and truth could have attempted to create such large-scale deception as is being peddled by the writer of this malicious article. It is indeed amazing the extent some people can go just to bring themselves to limelight.
The efforts of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to reinvigorate the economy and fight corruption have been widely acknowledged by Nigerians and the world at large. Therefore, such a prejudiced concoction, as Olumhense’s, is not just a distractive tactic but also a tit-for-tat attempt in connivance with corrupt individuals in high places, whose evil machinery has been grounded by this exceptional woman. Indeed, this is another manifestation of the Nigerian analogy that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back! ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Without much ado, I will like to examine the ten points on which Olumhense premised his baseless case.
Point One: His report on the failure of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) is a blatant lie. Under this programme, Nigeria was able to pay its debts arrears owed to some International Finance Institutions (IFIs), particularly the Paris and London Clubs via: (1) Direct repayment where $6.4b was paid (2) Debt buy-back arrangement where $8b was settled at 25% discount, and (3) Debts write-off where $16b was written-off by the creditors. The entire Paris Club debt relief enjoyed by Nigeria totalled US$18b, or a 60% for a US$12.4b payment of arrears and buyback. Similarly, the debts owed to London club commercial creditors were also restructured and paid off. The domestic debts constituting about 12% of GDP in 2005, owed to contractors and civil service pensioners were systematically paid.
Other economic spheres where NEEDS recorded appreciable achievements include fiscal and monetary policies. Public spending was reduced from 47.0% in 2001 (before she assumed office) to 35.4% in 2004, which resulted in budget surplus of 7.7% of the GDP for 2004, up from deficits of 4-5% of the GDP in 2002-2003 (USAID, 2006). The list is endless. Anyone can search the records and see for themselves.
Point Two: Sonala claimed that billions of naira was drained and is still being drained into the poverty eradication programme involving 13 federal ministries. However, this is another vituperative attack against the person of Okonjo-Iweala. How could he possibly link the Finance Minister with the performance or otherwise of 13 other ministries in such a direct manner? As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, she is supposed to carry out oversight functions – and that she seems to have been doing quite well. Her efforts to ensure that MDAs deliver have been widely acknowledged. Ministries, departments and agencies that are not living up to their billing are constantly being checked. It is only fair to acknowledge that, in spite of the challenges of corrupt officials who may be trying to divert the poverty eradication funds, the programme has recorded a commendable degree of success in the areas of youth employment, rural infrastructural development, social welfare services and national resources development. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes
Point Three: The writer also claimed that in the negotiations with the Paris Club, one “top member” of the government walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion. He went on to indict former president Obasanjo and Okonjo-Iweala claiming that none of them had ever challenged it, as if that would validate his spurious allegations. Obviously, madam minister has enough work on her table and is more concerned with serious matters of state to be taken in by such rootless ranting. How can someone who prides himself as a neutral social critic make such bogus claims as these without backing them with concrete facts? Who is the “top member” of the government that walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion? I dare Olumhense and his sponsors to name the person if indeed his claims are true. It is only unintelligent people like Sonala who would make stupid accusations like that in a process that is vetted internationally.
Point Four: The success of the MDG programme is another area where the writer of this malicious article has chosen to ignore the facts. Apart from the records, which are readily available, the impact of the MDG programme has been widely felt across the nation. Ask the students who now have new classrooms, or the rural dwellers that have now have access to basic facilities including well-equipped health centres. Time and space will not permit me to give a detailed analysis via this medium. But, really, how necessary is that when anyone can easily check the facts for themselves?
Points Five and Six of Olumhense’s article refer to Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure as finance minister during the Obasanjo regime without due recourse to the fact that she left that office in 2006. For conscience’s sake, you cannot hold her responsible for events that transpired when she was not in office!
Point Seven: Olumhense wrote, In a speech after she left office, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said: “General Abacha looted about $3-5 billion from the Nigerian treasury in truckloads of cash in foreign currencies, in traveler’s checks and other means. Most of these monies were laundered abroad through a complex network including some of the world’s best known banks.” Now, how does that prove his point? Isn’t it obvious that this writer is only attempting to insult our intelligence? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ( Photo 2 )
Point Eight: Olumhense wrote, the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and a very close friend of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, has confessed that the Obasanjo government was more corrupt than that of Abacha. This is another serious blunder. I thought the EFCC is saddled with the responsibility of stemming the tide of corruption. Since when has that become part of NOI’s job description? Even at that, her relentless commitment to tackle corruption has been so effective as to have earned her the name “Okonjo Wahala” by those whose corruption coffers are being ripped open.
Point Nine: Obasanjo was said to have indicted Mr. Jonathan’s government of squandering $35 billion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves since May 2007, saying the money may have been “shared.” This is another lame point begging for validation. It is too bad that Olumhense would use this as a point against the Finance Minister, thinking Nigerians would be as gullible as himself to accept it hook, line and sinker. If he possesses such evidence of corruption against Mrs Iweala, then his patriotic duty is to report her to the EFCC. People like him are responsible for the persistent lack of progress in Nigeria, because they will rather have a mediocre in charge of the economy.
Point Ten: The writer’s claim that the ‘Transforming Nigeria Document’ is not yet available is the easiest pointer to his malicious intentions as the article has long been published and has been in the public domain for nothing less than seven months. Anyone can simply Google and download the document from the National Planning Commission website: http://www.npc.gov.ng/vault/Transformation.pdf.
How come Olumhense did not see all the good things being done by the Finance Minister? Why did he not mention the reduction in recurrent expenditure, the bringing of oil subsidy profiteers to book, the ports reform, the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the poverty eradication and women empowerment policies and other good things being implemented by the minister? Olumhense is like the proverbial loafer who, whilst ignoring the life-sustaining functions of the sun, frequently complains that it casts shadows. Sonala Olumhense and people like him must realize that any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.
I pity the future of this country with people like him wielding whatever modicum of influence they have on hapless Nigerian readers with the liberty that their pen – or more appropriately – their computer and internet modem afford them. Olumhense’s argument is warped and his reasoning debased. People like him don't amount to much on a penny worth of paper. And they make far worse administrators than the people they set out to criticise. It is obvious that Olumhense is the weakest link in all of Nigerian media given that he is an outright liar!
Ayodeji, a social commentator and community development advocate, writes from Lagos.
*Bishop Oyedepo, Prosperity Gospel, and 419 in the Church – Part 1
By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke
Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo is in the news again – this time in the United Kingdom. Sadly for him, Britain is not Nigeria, where the corrupt courts absolved him of all wrong doings, his abuses and violence against a young worshiper of his church at Winner Chapel – aka “Cananland” It was the video of his satanic slap of a young girl, probably an uneducated parishioner, who didn’t know how best to express her love and witness for Jesus, that exposed the abuse and muddled message that is being promulgated by the bishop to his gullible and biblical ignorant followers. Since then, I have penned a couple of articles calling on the federal government intervention to enact laws and policies to checkmate abuses - physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and moral abuses in places of worship in the nation in order to protect the vulnerable. I’m not too concerned about the learned and intelligent parishioners that sit under such blasphemous teachings every week. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” To earn a PhD or have a lucrative job or business does not make one knowledgeable. However, it still baffles me how an educated and intelligent person could sit under such teachers and listen to the junks that some of them teach from their pulpit every week. So, it behooves the government to protect the weak and vulnerable especially from physical and sexual abuses in the name of God.
Christianity is no longer an intellectual exercise in an age of prosperity gospel
The Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Walton, the new Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church, and professor at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in his first “morning prayers,” a ritual of welcoming freshman move-in day to Harvard University at Cambridge, said, “Religion (faith) is an intellectual as well as spiritual exercise. The Memorial Church, he declared, is a place to educate minds and expand hearts - action that defines faith, belief that encourages discussion, and joyousness that allows for the occasional bout of existential angst.” I agree with Professor Walton. If theology, spirituality, faith, religion and the call to teach the infallible Word of God, was not an intellectual exercise, I would have quit being one long time ago. Training to become a priest/pastor takes years of study and preparation. Sadly the “holy office” is no-longer sacred and intellectually stimulating because cone men and women, who have no business with the “holy calling”, have desecrated it in order to dwindle and deceive the gullible and weak in the society. This kind of unbalanced gospel messages that are being promulgated by the so-called “men of God” and super pastors and preaches of our day around the world is appalling and troublesome.
Christianity has lost its moral mandate and mission. Today, the gospel message, the good news of the kingdom is perverted. What we have nowadays is another gospel, a false gospel, and a religious syncretism. “The gospel teaching that subtly implies and often overtly states that God wants you to be rich is a false gospel,” writes Pastor Jim Bakker, a former prosperity preacher and proponent of “God wants you rich theology,” who dwindled his parishioners millions of dollars and later while serving term in prison, he diligently read and studied the Scripture and God opened his understanding. That teaching he says, does not lineup with the tenets of the Holy Scriptures. It is another gospel – another Jesus, in fact, a gospel of Satan and message of hell fire - a prosperity-tinged Pentecostalism.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Bishop David Oyedepo
Christianity is in crisis
Dr. Hank Hanegraaf, president of Christian Research Institute in California, and one of the finest and courageous Christian apologists of our time, in his book, “Christianity in Crisis” prophetically and passionately argued that modern-day Christianity is in crisis. He said that the Church is undergoing a major transformation and that millions of Christians have embraced another gospel, another Jesus, a gospel of false promises of prosperity, wealth, healing, signs and wonders. He attributes the problem to lack of sound biblical training and Seminary education. George Barna, the famous Church consultant, researcher and writer, also supports Dr. Hanegraaf postulations that the Church is dying due to lack of sound Bible teachers and strong Church leadership. There is no doubt that the Christian faith has lost its value, respect and dignity. C. S. Lewis, the famous Oxford apologist for the faith, wrote: “We must return to Christianity in order to preserve the things we value. But we cannot return to Christianity at all unless the thing we value above all else is Christ….. Otherwise, we are in effect, asking to save our idols for us.”
In his best-selling book, “Crisis in the Village,” Dr. Robert M. Franklin, a theologian and public intellectual, wrote that the “Church has lost her moral mission, call and commitment.” Today baby boomers and the new “millennials” are flooding to churches and synagogues because of widespread hunger for meaning and many bring aversion to such traditional teachings such as sin, evil, forgiveness, commitment, even truth itself. As a result, what we have today in many large churches is “designer gospel message” and “religious syncretism” where the gospel are re-packaged to suit those who want a faith to satisfy their “felt need,” the gospel message that “God wants you to be rich.” “Send money as a step of faith and God will bless you message.” “Give a $1,000 pledge and God will bless you.” Name it claims it.” “Give to get rich message.” “100 fold return-blessing and even 1000 times return” is another gospel, a different gospel from what Jesus Christ taught. Their tricks are working because many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are biblically ignorant and gullible and that is why ‘god-want-you-rich theology’ is a booming business for their proponents. It is true that Jesus taught on the subject of money and finance more than any other subject in the Bible – but all His teachings on money were in negative connotation. I will write more on Jesus’ teachings on prosperity in the part-2 of my article.
Big faith equals wealth $millions$
In the July 2007 edition of Christianity Today, it carried a survey conducted in 2006 by the PEW forum on religion and public life. They found that 25% of Nigerian Christians are renewalists - that is Pentecostals and Charismatic. The same survey noted that 33% of South Africans and 50% of Kenyans were also renewalists. Out of nearly 900 million Africans, which include Christians, Muslims, pagans, Atheists and other religious persuasions, about 150 million Christians are now renewalists. Professor Paul Gifford of the University of London, England, in his 2004 book: “New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalizing African Economy” writes, “African Christians believe that success is determined by your faith.” Professor Gifford notes that these renewalists have moved beyond traditional Pentecostal practices of speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing to the belief that God will provide – money, cars, houses, and even spouses – in response to the believer’s faith – if not immediately, then soon. In the same 2006 survey by PEW forum, 92% Nigerian Christians, 90% South African and 85% of Kenyan Christians agreed that “wealth and material blessings are based on one’s faith.” What a tragedy and travesty!
This is how sad and drastic prosperity gospel has become among Christians in Nigeria and most of Africa. Prosperity message is destructive and has negative effects. This blind spirituality is not only destructive, damaging, and deceptive but worse than slavery. It is bondage, abuse, deception, manipulation, godlessness and satanic capitalism. Most Nigerian Christians are only not enslaved spiritually, morally and financially but intellectually as well. It is economic, moral, and intellectual slavery. Million of Nigerian Christians are now victims of Satanic Churches and their false prophets. The prosperity gospel is also destroying Nigerian society –family, homes, causing a combination of disappointment, hurts, discouragement, and anger toward God and sometimes causes people to turn away from God. What we have nowadays is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance, a modern day voodoo and satanic spiritual spiritualism. In a nutshell, what we have today is 419 in the Church. What we have today is materialistic Christianity and there is enormous danger in it. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: US Dollar Notes
Warning against false doctrine and false prophets and teachers
Jesus Christ warned his disciples and followers about false prophets who would rise up to lead many astray and to destruction (Matthew 24:11). In Oliver Discourse, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name. And will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). Jesus said if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – John 8:31-32. People remain in bondage when they are ignorant of what has been provided for them through the life and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, today, too many Christians are more interested in this present world materialism than in the balanced teachings of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul dedicated the entire epistle of Timothy to teach against false prophets, false doctrines and godlessness in the last days. He warns Timothy, his son in the ministry, to flee from such things. He writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul warns, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 say, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Apostle Paul charges Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” As teachers and preachers of the Word of God, we are reminded to do our best to study and show ourselves approved to God, a workman who odes not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
There is no doubt that that the Nigerian Pentecostal Church and certain bishops in the fold are emulating and borrowing from the rich American Church and her superstar pastors, bishops and televangelists like Pastor Benny Hinn, Bishop TD Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Dale Bronner, Pastor Joel Osten, Pastor Joyce Myer, Pastor Paula White, and Pastor Darlene Bishop etc. These imitators and imposters refused to understand that United States is a rich and capitalist country. The American Church organizations are big businesses and they have learned to tap into the wealth and prosperity of the nation without depending on the meager tithes and offerings from their members. Today, the streets of major cities in Nigeria are littered with all kinds of Churches promising healing, wealth, prosperity and happiness and yet Nigeria and vast majority of its citizens are among the poorest people in the world. Additionally, the presence and practice of rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo, magic, envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, hypocrisy, ungodliness, wickedness, lust, immorality, adultery and corruption remain rampant and alarming in the society. There is no sign of righteousness, love, peace and hope, but injustice, unrighteousness, hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, evil, wickedness, violence, killings, and hopelessness reign supreme in every household, neighborhood and city.
Modern-day designer Church is perverted
I’m afraid to say that what we have today is a perverted Church; a Church that is totally misconstrued, misguided and misinformed where spiritual witchcraft and biblical ignorance are in abundance. What we have today is a Church that is bewitched, a Church that is preaching and teaching another gospel; another Jesus and a message of “get rich and get healed theology,” a Church were the so-called men of God are preaching eisegesis rather proper exegesis and sound exposition of the Word of God, where they are using pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success and for solving spiritual issues rather than sound exposition of God’s Word, men who are using the Word of God for lucre and for profit.
The Church was called upon to uphold the honor, glory and authority of Christ on planet earth. Instead of upholding this divine mandate with dignity, the Church and her leaders have been deceived and trampled upon by demons of antichrist and cultic and pharisaic associations where the presence of God is completely absent and self and pride are enthroned. What we have today are Church buildings where sin, wickedness, witchcraft and all manners evil are practiced and people accept it so; multimillion dollar buildings and temples where the spirit of Christ has been thrown out and Satan himself is enthroned on the altar. No wonder atrocities and exploitations of worshipers such as the ones we read in our newspapers and watch on television are happening every day. The Church must pray for revival and renewal. I agree with Rev. D. Peter C. Moore, who wrote that, “The Church that God cherishes is one that is “Evangelical in Teaching, Catholic in Sacrament, Reformed in Doctrine, Charismatic in Ministry Gifts, and Liberal in Ethos and Global in Scope.” Anything else is just humanistic and designer religion.
The danger of prosperity and materialistic message rather than true gospel
The danger of Pentecostal prosperity and materialistic message is giving people false hope – that God will fulfill His promises based on their twisted interpretation of Scripture. Biblical hope is more of a simple wish; it entails certainty based on God’s demonstration of faithfulness to people in the history of salivation recorded in the scriptures and as experienced by promise of Christ’s return and the anticipation of resurrection from the dead. That is the blessed hope in God. Most of these prosperity preachers may have earned PhD’s in other fields of study but not in theology, divinity or ministry. They should go back to school – Seminary to study the Scriptures – and take course in exegesis, biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, homiletics, and biblical languages such as Hebrew w and Greek in order to be qualified to correctly teach the Bible. Because what most of them are teaching today is another gospel, a twisted and muddled gospel - a gospel of hell and that of Satan designed for the coming of antichrist. Prosperity teachers are preaching arrogance, foolishness, sin, and false doctrine – because what most of them are propagating today is not true gospel but another gospel, a muddled message. They should repent and confess their sins for contradicting and twisting the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Ondo Guber Poll: Before Okei-Odumakin & Co Are Attacked By Extremist Sectional Politicians
Masterweb Reports - Thursday, October 18, 2012: (Onitsha Nigeria, 18th October 2012)--Four years ago, history repeated itself in Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria, when it became the third State in Nigeria, after Anambra and Edo to restore through credible judicial pronouncements, the sacred mandate of the Ondo gubernatorial voters to its rightful owner. These sacred judicial pronouncements were to be replicated in Osun and Ekiti States two years later, only for them to be brutally corrupted and bastardized by the Judases in the Silk and Bench as well as extremist sectional politicians, masquerading as central opposition party politicians. The abominable acts have since exploded into an unquenchable scandal called Salami Scandal. Like the brutal murder of the Igwes in Anambra State in September 2002, which has refused to be forgotten despite over N1.5billion squandered by the chief culprits to cover it, the Salami Scandal is still raging not minding that procured and stage-managed rallies, protests, processions, media propagandas, etc, gulping billions of naira of the public wealth have been squandered to cover it as well as to canonize its chief culprit.
Today, more revelations pertaining to the dastardly acts are coming out in torrents both by facts and by figures. Apart from one of the indicted, who vehemently denied being a card-carrying member of the political party at the center of the scandal, but a practicing Silk, being made the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the gubernatorial election coming up in Ondo State on 20thOctober 2012, the ongoing brutal verbal attacks directed at the national leadership of the Women Arise led by Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin by the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria and the responses by the former is another eye-opener to the Salami Scandal. In less than 48hrs, the ACN image maker has issued three public statements, attacking the Okei-Odumakin leadership of the Women Arise over its accreditation by the INEC to observe the said crucial poll. The worse is that the ACN image maker has reduced his position to a market square women’s gossip and tongue-wagging and coloured and clothed his responses in the layers of gender and religious sentiments, thereby making mockery of his party and office. His accusations against the Okei-Odumakin leadership of the Women Arise are both morally and legally baseless. Also, the former’s party cannot go to equity with soiled hands. Instances abound.
The vehemence with which these attacks via three vitriolic public statements in less than two days are being so directed are giving us mountainous worries. They are both politically jittery and life-threatening. To confirm our intense fear, the Okei-Odumakin’s group has cried out and raised an alarm over possible violent attacks against its members and its leadership before, during and after the crucial poll. This is more so when her leadership has voiced out why it boycotted the so-called pro-Salami rally and issues therein, which suggest that the pro-Salami canonization bids, from the beginning,are politically oiled. The philosophies of hegemonic politics, information warfare and political intolerance are no longer in vogue in the polity of comity of nations. We not only support the Women Arise’s right of observation in the Ondo gubernatorial poll, but we also adopt it as our proximate rep in the said crucial poll. The ACN must be tolerant and accommodating in politics, and must no longer repeat its seeming infamous politics of exclusion and ethnicity especially in Lagos where despite the teeming population of the people of the Southeast resident in the strategic parts of the State including Ojo LGA, none of them was allowed to occupy by popular votes, an elected LGA/LGDA seat, not even in Ojo LGA that is popularly called Igbo LGA.
We wish to warn sternly that if anything untoward happens to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin or any of her group’s members before, during and after the crucial Ondo gubernatorial poll, heavens will let loose locally, nationally, sub-regionally, regionally and globally. The coming Ondo poll must be totally participatory, popular, credible, free and fair, irrespective of political party, CSO and marital affiliations in the State and beyond.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, BOT Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Atlanta 2012 Igbo Day Symposium: Call For Paper Presentations
By Igbo Union Atlanta
Igbo Union Atlanta USA, Inc., in collaboration with the Igbo Community and friends of Igbo people, will hold the 2012 Igbo Day Symposium on Friday, November 9th, followed by the main event on Saturday, November 10th, 2012, in the Igbo Community building [aka “Obi Ndi Igbo”] in Atlanta. This symposium is one of the activities marking this year’s 2012 Annual Igbo Day celebrations and fund-raising events.
In our quest to advance the collective interests and well-being of Igbo people (Ndi Igbo), this symposium will focus sharply on the imperatives of the daily challenges of life and prosperity for Ndi Igbo who reside in the international community (aka Diaspora). Therefore, we are looking for dynamic presenters and creative, interactive presentations that can deliver unique insight and best practices on topics focusing on these three broad areas: (1) social family/youth/marriage issues, (2) transitioning/relocation to Nigeria from the USA, and (3) practical ideas on wealth building/financial management.
The Igbo Day Symposium Committee is now accepting presentation proposals that address any of the following topics of interest:
• Transitioning or Relocation to Nigeria - Best Practices and Strategies for Success
• Family/Marriage Challenges for Ndi Igbo in the USA
• Roles of Igbo Community Organizations and Framework for promoting and facilitating successful transitioning of Ndi Igbo to Nigeria
• Family Crisis – Strategies for Restoring, Rebuilding, and Strengthening our Igbo families
• Financial Management and Wealth-Building Strategies – Best Practices for Retirement and Education
• Facilitating Marriages among Young Igbo Adults in the Diaspora – Strategies and Supportive Networks.
Please submit your presentation proposal for review to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Saturday, October 27, 2012. Include the title and a brief summary/synopsis of your presentation. Selected presenters will be notified by email no later than Saturday, November 3, 2012.
Symposium Subcommittee: Prof. Martin Okafor (Chair), Dr. Chinedum (CT) Nwosu, Rev. (Dr.) C. Kingston-Ekeke, Dr. Bonn Otor, Dr. Jones Nwagbara, and Chief Ugo Onyemaobi (Igbo Day Event Chair).
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)
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