*Nigerian Wounds 5 In US Walmart Store Shooting
Soloman Onwukaife, an 18-year-old Nigerian American teenager Sunday morning around 4.30 am at an Austin, Texas-area (Cedar Park) Walmart shot five people in an earlier dispute over a girl. Onwukaife and the gunshot victims after the dispute at a different location, agreed to meet at the Walmart store for a fight. "This stemmed from a party that occurred possibly somewhere either in Williamson County or Leander, in which there was alcohol consumed at that party," Henry Fluck, Cedar Park Police Chief said in a press statement. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Soloman Onwukaife in police custody
According to Cedar Park police, fight broke out in the Walmart parking lot and Onwukaife began shooting hitting five people. The incident took place at a time when there were few customers in the Walmart store parking lot. No Walmart employee nor customer was injured in the shooting. The store closed briefly (as police sealed-off the area conducting investigations) and re-opened at 9 a.m. "This morning at 4:30 a.m. I heard a 'pop, pop, pop,' like firecrackers. All of a sudden I saw police and ambulance," an unidentified woman told reporters.
19-year-old Shayne Davis, 22-year-old Leland McGlocklin, 19-year-old Zacharia Gietl, 18-year-old Cody McGrath and an unidentified victim were wounded and taken to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center. Davis, McGlocklin and McGrath remain in critical condition. Gietl, was treated and released the same day (Sunday). Onwukaife who suffered facial injuries was treated and handed back to police. He has been charged in court with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the incident.
Gietl told police the dispute began when a man choked a woman at a nearby party earlier in the evening (Saturday) and several people agreed to fight at the Walmart parking lot. He said he was not at the party but went to the parking lot to stop his friends from continuing the fight.
*Nigeria Is Negotiable
Two retired generals and former heads of state stirred up a hornet’s nest recently when they proffered solutions to the growing insecurity and hopelessness in the country. Coming on the heels of a war of attrition between them, there was enough reason for Nigerians to be guarded about the intervention by Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida who ruled Nigeria cumulatively for 19 years.
The periods that these generals ruled (1976-79; 1985-93; and 1999-2007) were about the most glorious of the nation’s history, not in terms of development or genuine attempt to redefine the future of the country, but in terms of hope and desire on the part of Nigerians to lift up their country and make it a global contender. As it turned out, Obasanjo and Babangida made sure theirs were the years of the locust. Obasanjo and Babangida orchestrated perhaps the greatest despoliation of Nigeria, its wealth as well as human and material resources. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
Obasanjo and Babangida talked about the greatness of Nigeria and Nigerians, but they did everything possible to undermine the country and its people. They had the opportunity to write their names in gold as true statesmen, but they botched it. Of course, on the personal level, both Obasanjo and Babangida have received adequate response to their unwelcomed intervention so I shall not dwell on that. I shall focus on the thrust of their intervention.
“Nigeria’s existence not negotiable – OBJ, IBB”, was how one newspaper headlined the intercession of the retired generals the morning after. The paper reported Obasanjo and Babangida as saying that “the worrying trend emerging from the violent attacks, bombings and mindless killings of innocent Nigerians was creating room for doubt about the end of the carnage, but that ‘the continued unity of this nation is not only priceless, but non-negotiable’”. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (OBJ)
I wonder what our rulers really mean when they say the “unity of Nigeria is not negotiable”. If you hear this glib talk from people who actually did something to advance the unity of Nigeria, then it is understandable. It becomes worrisome when those who advance this proposition are those who have done everything possible to undermine the unity of the country. In simple terms, “negotiable” means “open to discussion; not fixed, but able to be established or changed through discussion and compromise”. Considering the current state of the nation, the social and political upheavals that go to the very core of national existence, only a masochist will deny that this is time to “negotiate” Nigeria.
A nation is usually united around a common national ethos, a set of values and principles that are abiding. Not so in Nigeria. For the ruling class in Nigeria, the only unifying factor is corruption, as one of their own, Governor Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, eloquently espoused in his speech at Chatham House, London, in June. For the majority of Nigerians, the unifying factor is a life of grinding poverty and hopelessness. No country sustained by corruption and the poverty and hopelessness of its citizenry can survive for too long.
In a sense, therefore, the real threat to the unity of Nigerian has come from those who have succeeded in dividing Nigerians through their pillage and misuse of our patrimony. Our rulers know that the country is not working because of massive corruption and that we can’t sustain the current system for too long. Yet, because our elite, and in some cases ordinary Nigerians, seem satisfied with the proceeds of corruption, they are blind to the danger we are all entrapped in. While we are nibbling at the seams of the nation, we willfully assume that the country will still hold together and that things will get better. It is this same false hope that led us to the London Olympics after just three months of preparation. The London games ended without any medal for Nigeria. Anybody who understands Nigeria will not be surprised that this may yet be our worst Olympics. Regrettably, our youths on whose shoulders the survival of this nation rests, appear to have imbibed the worst examples of the “wasted generation” before them. That is the real tragedy of our situation. Only recently, the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy held a lecture to mark the 2012 International Youth Day. It was meant as a sober occasion for our youths, the greatest resource of our nation, to reflect on their role and contribution to national development as well as the responsibility of the government to the youth. Many of the so-called youth leaders that came for this event arrived with much enthusiasm, with retinues of aides in tow. All someone close by could mutter was: “if these people ever come close to power, they will do worse than our current crop of rulers”. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB)
When I look at corruption in Nigeria, our dismal showing in London, the attitude of our dehumanised and traumatised youths, and the war mongering going on, it all makes sense to me. The conclusion I have arrived at is that it is necessary but not sufficient to do critiques of sectoral deficiencies of our problems as a nation. Nigeria has collapsed. It is imperative, therefore, that the systemic dysfunction in Nigeria is confronted and changed to cater to all in a truly law governed country. And the only way to do this is to “negotiate” Nigeria through a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), not just of so-called ethnic nationalities, but also of marginalised and pauperised people of Nigeria.
Part of the reason corruption thrives so much in Nigeria is the structure of the country. Political violence is rife, states and ethnic nationalities are threatening secession, yet there are people who still insist that it is forbidden to question the status quo. Those who are really concerned about Nigeria and genuinely fear that the country will break up if it goes the route of SNC, as opposed to those who mouth “the unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable” should rest assured that it won’t happen without a very bloody war or wars. It is not exactly clear which ethnic nationality wants to embark on that futile journey. The greater prospect now is that of anarchy (as in Somalia) or the rise of fascism through what Edwin Madunagu describes as “a coalition of the most unlikely bed-follows’”.
What Nigeria needs now is a radical change that will redefine the country and create a new national ethos. It is for this reason that all those who have bled the country and brought it to its knees should be wary, not just of social media, but also the street anger of Nigerians.
This street anger must fester and yield positive results if we are to achieve a national renewal and end what a colleague has described as the hackers’ paradise called Nigeria.
Chido Onumah, Coordinator of the African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Abuja, Nigeria ( Email: email@example.com )
*Rivers 2015 Election: Is it really the moment for Princewill?
Though the 2015 gubernatorial election in Rivers State is a few years ahead, there has been palpable questions, discourse in the media, political and elite circles as to whether the former Action Congress Governorship aspirant in 2007, Prince Tonye Princewill, will contest for the governorship position now that he is an active member of the Peoples Democratic Party. While majority of political pundits who have been watching closely the political arithmetic and pulsations in Rivers State had expressed possibility of Princewill contesting for the governorship position, others are of contrary opinion. This view which is held by majority of political observers in the Treasure Base of the Nation may not be unconnected to the plausible, emulative and commendable roles he (Prince Tonye Princewill) has continued to play particularly in his home state since he joined active politics in 2006. In the course of this write-up such plausible, emulative and commendable acts which have made this scion of the Kalabari King popular and also endeared him to a cross section of Rivers people will be reeled out.
This acclaimed political enigma may not need any introduction to those who are familiar with Rivers State and by extension Nigeria politics, but for the sake of those who are not familiar with him, an introduction in two or more paragraphs may suffice.
Introducing this acclaimed political colossus cum enigma, this writer once wrote: Born a prince to the famous Amachree Dynasty in the Kalabari kingdom with its century-long history of bravery in war and gift of oral narration, trained as an aristocrat par excellence and bequeathed with a rare wisdom from God, this Prince hardly needs an introduction in any political gathering in Nigeria. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Prince Tonye Princewill
Though it was beyond him to be born a prince, it is however in line with his character, remaining at the apogee of his life's endeavour, through sheer hard work. The prince is calm, focused, intelligent, insightful and of humble personality. Known as Tonye to most of his friends; he is a professional engineer and a business magnate who did not take politics as a profession for lack of means of livelihood but as a result of his concern for his people and personal attempts to help them. Even as a private businessman, he has been a people-centered person and has always been critical of corrupt regimes in the state that wasted the enormous resources at their disposal on selfish desires, instead of the empowerment of the people. Before contesting for the governorship position in Rivers state under the Action Congress in the 2007 general elections, Tonye was a senior technical project manager and business analyst of the highest caliber as well as a strategic thinker with an excellent problem-solving ability.
In addition to his educational qualification and being the youngest member of the Economic Think Tank of Rivers State Government that counsels the state on investment and good governance, he is also involved in most key investment decisions of Amaechi Administration. He was member, presidential technical committee on the Niger Delta and was the chairman Niger Delta subcommittee of vision 2020 which he resigned because of government troops bombardment of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Niger Delta
This excellent communicator studied Petroleum Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He is also a graduate of the Imperial College, London. He has a sound working knowledge of both ITIL and Change Management and has until quite recently, been a regular presenter on project management issues. In addition to his Information Technology and Oil and Gas interests, Tonye has a business empire that cuts across the aviation industry and haulage of petroleum products for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and OANDO, a major oil marketing company in Nigeria. But more recently, with his just concluded agreements with several strategic investors, his company is involved in strategic placement of resources with the targeted placement of investments from outside and within Rivers state. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Rivers State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
In an unemployment ravaging society and being an employment agent, Princewill has been able to employ women, youths and graduates through his investment initiatives and connections which cut across oil and gas, telecommunication, information technology, environmental sanitation etc. These women, who sweep major streets and roads and the youths in particular would have been unemployed, indolent or at worse dregs of the society. Princewill is the brain behind his father's Pet Project and Scholarship Scheme where commendable numbers of Rivers State natives are given scholarship to study one course or the other in the higher institution.
In addition, he has not relented in giving arms to the less privileged individuals, groups or organizations either morally, financially or otherwise. He had in the past donated a bus to the National Association of Ijaw Female Students NAIFS (an umbrella body of Ijaw female students both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora), set of computers and undisclosed cash to the Rivers State Chapter of NUJ, three laptops to the tide newspapers, sponsored twenty youths of Niger Delta stock, plus a few journalists to watch and cover the match between Portsmouth and Man U in Abuja in 2009 where cosy accommodation, feeding and daily allowance were generously provided for two days, sponsored the likes of Mr Valentine Ohu in Broadcast Journalism, Miss Crystabel Goddy in Acting, Mr Telema Senibo in 3D Graphics, Miss Mercy Akudo also in Acting and Mr Stanley Kotey in 3D Graphics to the Del-York Film Academy. The above persons are currently owners of million Naira worth of standard studio that will aid them practice all they were taught at the Del-York Film Academy.
According to the Prince, it is one thing offering scholarships to people and another thing providing them what to do after acquiring the training; that is why I have to go a step further by providing a Studio to make these youth's employers of Labour and not liabilities to the society. “I wish the Nigerian government, major multinationals, other businesses and blessed individuals will take a cue from this by providing jobs for most of the students enjoying support to acquire knowledge which cannot be channelled.
As one of the prominent facilitators and sponsors of the first movie (NNENDA) to be premiered in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in October, 2009, Prince Tonye Princewill ensured that the orphans in Port Harcourt were part of the great event. It was indeed a remarkable treat for different orphanage homes in Port Harcourt at the time, when the movie captioned “Nnenda” which highlighted the plight of orphans in Nigeria was unveiled. More than one hundred orphans who had resigned themselves to fate were given red-carpet reception and assured that the future is still bright for them. The orphans were drawn from Lifetime Caring Orphanage Home, Seventh Day Adventists Homes and Port Harcourt Children's Home and given a treat comparable to the one given to the elites' children by Prince Tonye Princewill.
In his additional attempt to reveal to the world the plight of the less privilege, the Melody Shelters Nigeria, a Prince Tonye Princewill backed brainchild with a mandate to raise awareness for the plight of the less privileged in the society especially orphans, set up its first TV Reality Talent competition for orphanages in the country, tagged the Melody Shelters Singing Talent Show. Melody Shelters Singing Talent Show, was a live-in reality programme, where participants were sheltered in a house for a period of one month, which featured singing groups drawn from eight orphanages in the country: Lifetime Caring Orphanage, Rivers State; Rachel Orphanage, Abuja; Susanna Homes, Abia State; Gidan Bede Orphanage, Benue State; Godswill Orphanage, Kogi State; Compassion Home, Abia State; Adonai Orphanage, Kaduna and Our Saviour's Orphanage, Delta State. The performance was judged by professional musicians and viewers at home.
The final event saw Godswill Orphanage of Kogi State clinching the coveted trophy and the Championship Prize of N10M while the Runners-up, the Lifetime Orphanage of Rivers State got the Prize of N5M. Rachael Homes, Abuja came in third carting home the N3Mprize.Five Hundred Thousand each was given to the other remaining five Homes as co-champions and what the Prince called “combined winners”.
Given all these good works that have endeared Prince Tonye Princewill and the political acceptance and popularity that he enjoys among his people, he has not yet come out publicly to declare his intention to run for the gubernatorial post.
While doing a comparative analysis on the strength and weakness of four likely aspirant who have not yet declared their intention to contest for the gubernatorial office in 2015 to wit; Engr. Tele Ikuru, Dakuku Adol Peterside, Sen. Abe and Prince Tonye Princewill one Mr. Bekee Anyaleweichi at the tail end of his piece captioned Amaechi’s fears for 2015 wrote: “Princewill is Amaechi’s friend but had not been in the governor’s caucus. Once the leader of the Action Congress, AC in the state, Princewill did a carpet-crossing prior to the last national polls. He had said he did so because his political mentor, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, had earlier done the same. At recent media events, the Kalabari Prince denied upped activities had something to do with the politics of 2015. However, his denials are familiar with men of his class".
"Yet Princewill stands the strongest contender for the governor’s office from the riverine area but Amaechi’s fear in Princewill, The Neigbourhood gathered, is that his core loyalists and associates would label him a traitor should he hand-over to Princewill considered an ‘outsider’ to the camp".
Prince Tonye Princewill may not be everybody’s ideal politician or business tycoon. This is because in the realm of active and or passive politics or entrepreneurship one must have stepped on allegedly perceived untouchables but touched toes who are believed to be kingmakers or installers of governors, state house of assembly members as well as their national counterparts, chairmen and councillors of council areas who can constitute an obstacle to those who are seeking elective posts. The above may be the challenge the Prince of Niger Delta politics as he is fondly called by his associates will surmount in the coming years if he declares his intension to vie for the governorship seat in Rivers State.
For now, the question on the lips of political pundits, analysts and observer in Rivers state is whether 2015 national polls with particular reference to Rivers State is really the moment for Prince Tonye Princewill. Time will definitely reveal.
Nwaorgu Faustinus writes from Port Harcourt. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Nigeria: My Hero Pastor Is A False Prophet (Part 2)
The false prophets of Nigerian extraction have the notion that they are gods, therefore when a religious faithful happens to get wearied of their antics and decide to leave the congregation for another; they use the pulpit to castigate such. They make no effort to know why people are leaving, rather they heap curses on those escaping for their lives. Some of them go on to pray witchcraft prayers for their fleeing members such that all the seeming breakthrough, security and finances obtained from their place of worship disappears after a while and the parishioner is left in a sorry state as evidential lessons for others who want to toe the same line.
A popular prophet in Nigeria had a cousin whom he healed of blindness and after some years the said cousin discovered that his prophet used to disappear into the streams near the worship centre, perturbed by the constant discoveries, he decided to leave the church. The prophet warned him that the blindness will return if he leaves. He ignored the prophet and left and his blindness came back months after. He was carried from church to church in the South West and South East between 2002 and 20003 until God intervened. However, they do not frown when others abandon their former church for theirs.
These false prophets usually pay more attention to the wealthy and influential members of their churches at the expense of the poor and hungry ones. Once the tithe and offerings from the parishioner is not fat enough, they are not given attention. Apprentice pastors are assigned to look into matters concerning their poverty stricken members while they devote hours, days, weeks and months of fasting, prayers, and deliverance for the influential members and release all sorts of anointing on their head. Their spiritual eyes always watch over the wealthy ones while the impoverished will have to contend with evil spirits without any help. They forgot that Jesus groomed groups of fishermen and others until they became a force to reckon with. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Holy Bible
These false prophets equally reserve special seats in their churches for these influential members and their families. These rich men are quickly converted to pastors, elders, deacons, deaconesses due to their financial maturity rather than spiritual maturity. When other church members see how spiritually empty moneybags are granted pastoral and presbyterian privileges, they develop an impression that without money the Church and even God does not recognize them. That is partly responsible for the craze of Nigerian church goers to loot national treasury to impress their pastors, priests and prophets and receive titles in the church.
These false prophets live a life of sexual immorality. They have sexual affairs with choristers, ushers, sanctuary keepers and different categories of church workers in the church. It is part of conditions for release of strange powers to a pastor. Since the powers used to do miracles are not of God, they more they commit sexual sin, the more anointed they become to see more visions, prophesy and do wonders. When concerned members draw their attention to their immoral life they rebuke them and quote copiously verses like ‘’ touch not my anointed...’’( psalm 105 vs 15) , ’’ there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus..’’( Romans 8 vs 1), ‘’judge not that ye be not judged..’( Matthwe 7 vs 1)’ among others. Instead of repenting and asking God for grace to overcome sin as Jesus told the adulteress in Matthew 8 vs 11’’11 … And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.’’ Jesus also said to the man He healed of sickness of 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda in John 5 vs 14 "…See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you’’
Therefore. Jesus enjoined sinners to sin no more while the false prophets conjecture excuses while iniquity should be tolerated. In the past when a pastor or church member misbehaves, the senior pastors gives them back sit for a while until it is proven that normalcy has returned. Those so sanctioned equally accept their punishment and will be absorbed back into the fold at the end of the suspension period. This serves as example to others that iniquity is not part of the church. The system has changed and nobody has control over others and the church members are getting confused the more. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A Christian Church service
There are false prophets in every denomination. The Roman Catholic Church has a strict process of determining whether a priest or brother exhibiting charismatic gifts is of God. Priests with charismatic powers like Rev Fr’s Ede, Njoku, Mbaka and others in Nigeria passed through some scrutiny before their Diocese and their Congregational Orders gave them clean bills of health to operate beyond the normal limits of the church. In older Pentecostal fellowships like Assemblies of God, Grace of God, Apostolic Church, Scripture Union, etc some level of scrutiny is given those operating charismatic powers to ensure that strange powers are not in operation. The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, in recent times, is finding it difficult checkmating the activities of strange powers among people claiming to be Pentecostals. Some of these people are actually converts from some white garment churches and some shrine attendants and native doctors who refused to relinquish strange powers they used before they turned their enterprise to church-they are not Pentecostals and they refuse to submit to PFN authority.
A Church member who has doubts over the genuineness of his pastor should go through the check lists earlier enumerated in part 1 and 2 and if still in doubt, should pray, fast and seek God’s clarifications. God is ever willing to shine light through darkness and once seriously solicited would find a way of confirming it through the revelation in the Word of God (2 Timothy 3 vs 16), inner witness of the Holy Spirit (Acts 11vs 12), dreams (Matthew 1 vs 20-21), visions (Acts 10 vs 9-18) counsel from matured Christian leaders (Proverbs 12 vs 15), audible voice of God (Acts 9 vs 4-5), angels ( Luke 1 vs 26-38) among others.. Once there is enough confirmation from God that your Hero Pastor is a False Prophet, then it is time to escape for life as lot and his family escaped from Sodom and Gomorrah. The church member should prayerfully ask God for an exit strategy especially to avoid the satanic curses and vendetta emanating from these servants of devil whenever their secret is exposed.
*Nigeria: Governor Obi Seals Two Buildings Linked To Kidnappers
Governor Peter Obi has sealed off two more buildings suspected to be linked to a kidnap racket. The buildings were a one storey structure under construction at Uruoji, Agukwu-Nri and a bungalow at Obeagu village, Agukwu-Nri.
When the Governor and his entourage entered the compound of the building at Uruoji, they met a middle-aged man who identified himself as Mr. Banabas Masamu from Adamawa who claimed to be a security man in-charge of the compound since January this year. Mr. Masamu confirmed that before he assumed work, he heard that some kidnap suspects were arrested by security agents. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Obi officially sealing off one of the buildings suspected to be used by kidnappers
Speaking in a similar vein, one of the uncles of the owner of the building, Chief Christian Obidike said the kidnap suspects were arrested last year by joint police and military team and identified one of the suspects as a trader occupying a shop beside the building.
At the building at Obeagu village, one of the cousins of the owner of the house and a native doctor, Mr. Sunday Okoye said one of the nephews of the owner of the house, one Mr. Okwudili Okoye was on the run from security agents because of suspected involvement in the kidnap racket. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Anambra Integrated Development Strategy ( ANIDS ) symbols
Governor Obi said security report confirmed that the buildings were linked to heinous crime of kidnapping. He announced that the two buildings would henceforth be sealed off in line with the policy of the state on kidnapping whereby structures determined to be used by kidnappers are to be sealed off and confiscated by the State Government.
The Governor said the government would now determine the owners of the building, their sources of livelihood and degree of involvement in the crime and made clear that at the end of the investigation, government would either demolish the buildings or put them to government use.
Governor enjoined property owners to take full ownership of their buildings and remain security conscious to ensure that their facilities are not compromised.
*Ohanaeze SG Writes On 'Association of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Presidents-In-Diaspora'
31st July 2012
Re: Association of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Presidents-In-Diaspora
The attention of Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Secretariat has been drawn to the divisive activities of a group that calls itself “Association of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Presidents-In-Diaspora” led by one of the Chairmen of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Branches in the South-West Zone who claims that the group was “inaugurated” by the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State.
2. For the avoidance of all doubt, all Ohanaeze Ndigbo Chapters/Branches, as well as Affiliates, are alerted to avoid dealing with this group without clearance from this Headquarter. The Constitution of Ohanaeze Ndigbo (worldwide) has no provision for Presidents-In-Diaspora. Its structure provides only for ONE President-General (worldwide); SEVEN Chapter Presidents (in the core Igbo States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo, Delta (Anioma) and Rivers; and Chairmen at the Branch/Local Government Levels as well as States outside Nigeria. Ohanaeze Ndigbo also has affiliates such as Igbo World Assembly (IWA), Igbo World Congress (IWC), Igbo Delegates Assembly (IDA), Igbo Communities eg. in Ghana etc where Ohanaeze Branches do not exist.
3. Therefore, any Chapter/Branch/Affiliate that allows itself to be destabilized by this illegal/unauthorized group should be aware of the risks there-to its solidarity and stability.
Chief Nduka I. Eya fcipm
Secretary-General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo
Copy to: The President-General
“ “ All Members of the National Executive Committee (NEC)
“ “ All Chapters/Branches/Affiliates of Ohanaeze Ndigbo
Photo Above: Chief Nduka I. Eya, Secretary-General (SG), Ohanaeze Ndigbo
*Nigeria: Governor Obi Presents Cheque for Heart Centre
Governor Peter Obi has presented another cheque of ten million naira for continuation of work on Dr. Joe Nwiloh Heart Centre at Saint Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu. Governor Obi presented the cheque after inspecting the project at the weekend.
The Governor said the State Government embarked on the project in honour of the renown world surgeon Dr. Nwilo, to encourage the up-coming generation to emulate positive role models who have contributed to the growth and development of the society.
He explained that his administration will continue to recognize and honour those who have distinguished themselves in various fields of endeavour. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
Governor Obi who said he was encouraged by the pace and quality of work and, promised to initiate more projects in the area soon.
Receiving the cheque, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Paulinus Ezeokafor, while thanking the Governor for the gesture, noted that people of the area are major beneficiary of the project. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Anambra Integrated Development Strategy ( ANIDS ) symbols
Most Reverend Ezeokafor who described Obi as the best Governor Anambra has had, observed that the Governor has remained steadfast in his drive to develop rural areas and provide them with basic necessities of life with his policy of pursuing the common good of all.
The Bishop assured that the funds will be judiciously used, while the church will uphold the existing partnership with the State.
*“Kill the Igbo, General Azubuike Ihejirika, and Jonathan Will be Plucked Off.” - Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Just a few days ago, as attributed to the said outspoken Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, these statements were made in response to Boko Haram and the Nigerian military approach in response: “Take them [soldiers and police out from the Boko Haram’s ravaged areas of the north] to the barracks or rooms, and we (the north, Nigerians?) will get peace.” Furthermore, he said, “there was a plot to oppress Muslims since the Chief of Army Staff is a non-Muslim.” Then he fumed, “We are back in the Ironsi days.” The reason these statements made in the height of bigotry and utter hate deserve any scrutiny and response is because they were made, not in any other place by this Sheik, but right on his pulpit as he delivered a sermon to Nigerian Muslims at the famous Sultan Bello Mosque in Kaduna at a largely-attended Ramadan sermon on Friday evening. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Islamic Cleric Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi
This man who obviously intends to breed more anti-Igbo/Christian/Southerners northern Muslims went on to say, “What we are saying is in the spirit of peace; they should remove these soldiers and police on the roads and nothing will happen to us in the name of Allah…If the Boko Haram (terrorists) are Muslims, they should leave us with them, and enter their barracks. Muslim cities like Sokoto, Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and all others should be vacated.” Now, to men of/in his religious and ethnic class and to many other political slaves who lead their people in many Southern States in Nigeria, these statements are harmless and made “in the spirit of peace.” Well, I disagree, and I’m certain that the true Spirit of Peace equally disagrees. Let me tell you why:
1. He said that there has been a plot to oppress Muslims since the Chief of Staff is no longer a Muslim. What he actually revealed is that their kind of peace will never be attainable in Nigeria unless a Muslim is the Chief of Staff; in other words, when a Muslims is at the helm of national security, then the Muslims are secure, but, when they are not, their security is not guaranteed and the “peace of a peace-loving people” is threatened. It will be noted that Lieutenant general Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika is the first Igbo man who has ever attained to such a position, and that, for over forty years, it has been these bigots who have ruled and claimed Nigeria as their spiritual birthright. For half a century and more that they have ruled and administered their kind of peace, war, deprivation and outright denial of justice are what they have delivered to other Nigerians (and themselves, sadly) as symbol of peace. The emergence of a non-Muslim Chief of Staff and the President from the South-South who is equally a non-Muslim did not bring about violence and all the atrocious and anti-people activities of the northern children.
2. Then he claimed that Nigeria (or, specifically, the north) is now back to the times when Ironsi was in power. It will be recalled here that this very Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, an Igbo man, was the most qualified of the army officers after the first coup (which, by the way, has been established to be anything far from being “an Igbo coup,” but the first Nigerian military response to the general chaos, mainly in opposition to the dominance privileges given the north by Britain, Nigeria’s colonial master, as terms to get northern oligarchy into a One-Nigeria for the then sole purpose of serving the British. This dominance by the north made things unworkable for the whole of the South in particular and for the new independent Nigeria in general) and, therefore, rightly assumed the post of the military head of the then Nigeria when he survived the assassination plans by the coup plotters. But just about six months into his leadership as the first Nigerian military head of State, as he moved about trying to make peace and settle every unrest and reasons for unrest, the northern oligarchy then championed a purely religious and ethnic coup in which both Aguiyi Ironsi and his host, Lieutenant Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, the then Military Governor of Western Nigeria, were ridden with bullets by Theophilus Danjuma (the vagabond who still wanders in the corridors of power in the abominable Nigeria) and his northern soldiers. His crime was that, although he was not a part of the coup plotters which saw to the death of Ahmadu Bello, the then Sarduana of Sokoto, his delay or refusal to punish those behind the coup within the six months of his assumption, brought about his death and the deaths of mostly all Igbo high-ranking military officers. And although these bigots and brutes would neither see reasons with Aguiyi Ironsi when he swiftly did all he could to, firstly, douse tension by appointing the northerners to most of the top positions, nor would they give him time to amend what was lightly fractured, they carried out pogrom and then installed a puppet, Gowon, to perfect their wickedness. By the statement of this Islamic scholar, Sheik Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, he has reawakened the spirit of the 60s and is now telling the northern children that the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan and General Ihejirika were, in every way, to destroy the Muslims and the northerners. This is the very spirit which brought about the “Araba” pogrom and the genocide. Since this very spirit was wrong then, he is still wrong today because it’s proven to be alien to peace; it’s clearly the spirit of the Antichrist – the spirit of falsehood.
3. And, finally, he demanded that the government of Nigeria should leave the northern parts of Nigeria for the terrorist Boko Haram because “they are Muslims.” In saying this, he has moved too quickly and has now blown the cover of their new “northernization policy,” a sequel to that which Ahmadu Bello brought about. He is, in clarity, saying: “These people you call terrorists are Muslims and are doing the works of peace. If the government of Nigeria loves peace, they must take the police and the army off Muslim cities like Sokoto, Kano, Maiduguri, Kaduna, Bauchi, Yobe and others. In other words, he is saying that he, in all he preaches, stands where Boko Haram stands, that is, that a federal government, where Muslims will be a part and where Sharia system will not take over State law, is an abomination. Furthermore, he is affirming that all northern cities should be rid of the Igbo, Christians, Southerners, the police and the army. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Having given these few lines, I’m still certain that any other able person could carry out a critical evaluation of these statements of bigotry made by a religious leader to whom many northern youths listen and still arrive at these discoveries:
1. He speaks the mind of the north
2. He intends to create a 21th-century Araba in the north
3. Just as the entire north renounced the good gestures of Aguiyi Ironsi, he has clearly told northerners to renounce both President Goodluck Jonathan and Lieutenant general Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika.
4. He has, invariably, emphatically and pointedly, through his “Ironsi days” speech, told all Muslim serving in the army to mutiny and to kill Gen. Ihejirika so as to be able to either use Goodluck Jonathan, as the puppet Gowon was used, to carry out further genocides, or kill him as well.
The question now is: against which ethnic group, against which nationality do they plot these in vain? The answer may not be as clear as what we must all do to ensure that the reign of evil is cut short. I therefore remind the President, Goodluck Jonathan, that he is not actually far from his enemies and that, a stich in time saves nine. To you, Mr. President, I say: you clearly have two choices to choose from:
1. Work towards a so-called second term, and be sure that you may not enter it in one piece.
2. Use your position as a South-Southerner and immediately kick in steps for the peaceful dissolution of this country (since we all know that it will be dissolved some day soon).
3. If you choose the first, be sure that your generations and your people will become eternal slaves in the new Nigeria (although the Igbo will not be part of it). If you choose the second, you would have created a name for yourself above the names of all who have ever ruled Nigeria; a name which will not only be synonymous with freedom, but will be the pride of your people for generations to come. And you can be sure that supports will galvanize themselves towards you and this noble action. However, as for those who plot wickedness and exult the reign of evil, I say: You will be thrown down into the valley of regrets, and the days of your wickedness are over!
The Irish man, Edmund Burke, a onetime statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher who served for many years in the House of Commons of Great Britain as a member of the Whig party, was quoted as having said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Although many have said that he never used this quote often attributed to him, however, my interest lies in the truth of those words. How true they are! But, then, one is often moved to ask: how much of good deeds and responses can men do and give to stop the reign of evil? And in the case of Nigeria, it would be: how much of these revealed truths can the enslaved, shackled, yoked, used, frustrated, destroyed Nigerians hear, see and take to heart before they can understand that their destinies lie with them? Better still, when will Nigerians, and especially those continually used, understand that our silence, ineptitude and nonchalance approach to issues which bother on us, as a people, and on our posterity will not reduce evil, or at least, apportion it its place by law, but will multiply so much so that even we, ourselves, will eventually get ultimately consumed in our silence?
Nevertheless, we will not relent, ignore, treat with kid-glove, or change course in our responses to that spirit which has designed his destiny in the annihilation of our people. Although we have no interest in waging any war or killing people who have not done us any harm or even avenging, blood for blood, the genocide crimes carried against us by the north and Nigeria, we know that the sensitization of our people will eventually set them free from the psychology of the genocide and embolden them to defend, even defend themselves, against further acts of terror, bigotry, hatred and domination; as Dalai Lama (Seattle Times, May 15, 2001) once said, “If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. While we make known to him (the antichrist who brings war and calls it “peace”) that he is a failure from inception, we also remind those who have comfortably worn this spirit of injustice, destruction, bigotry and all manner of evil that there is a time for everything: a time to sow and a time to reap; a time to be arrogantly wicked and callous, and a time to swim in the consequences of such inhume and godless arrogance towards other humans and towards all God’s creation.
Sahara Reporters (2012), “Sheik Gumi: Soldiers Are Fighting Innocent Muslims, Not Boko Haram”, Sahara Reporters, New York, http://saharareporters.com/news-page/sheik-gumi-soldiers-are-fighting-innocent-muslims-not-boko-haram (Accessed on 08/13/2012)
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Should Nigeria's Media Be Censored Or Is This Tactic To Muzzle Nigerians Even More?
By Chuks U.C. Ukaoma
Dating back to Fredrick Lugard's days, people at the top always desire to keep the masses in the dark while they rebarbatively divide and conquer. Thank goodness, there are always few brave souls who risk it all to fight every insidious “dual mandate”. They creatively use the media to liberate the oppressed and to give voice to the disenfranchised. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of every true democracy.
When the likes of current Nigeria's Senate President Mark David call for heightened media censorship, Nigerian independent website operators should loudly protest. Citizens ought to draw a line in the sand and peacefully declare that the dog is not going to hunt anymore.
Nigerian website operators are today's freedom fighters with battle scares to prove it. They have written and/or published articles that attracted the wrath of the big wigs. Some have used that badge of honor to garner more credibility and popularity.
The pioneering websites are: NigerianVillageSquare.com, NigeriamasterWeb.com, NigeriaWorld.com, ElenduReports.com, SaharaReporters.com, NigerianVoice.com, etc. I hope NigeriansInFrance.com and AfricanUndisguised.com are restored soon. Nigerians should regularly visit each of these websites to show support and to keep them in business. Nigerians need more websites to haunt the do-nothing-good politicians. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Chuks U.C. Ukaoma, Article authorLegendary Fela used his music and fame to fight the power. Likewise, these websites employ their sites as powerful thorns on the side of errant leaders; proving the pen is mightier than the sword. How these people muster enough courage to operate their websites should be studied, commended, and replicated in other aspects of Nigerian society.
The websites perform other societal functions. For example, after reading about a woman with serious sickness, a reader contacted the NigeriaWorld operator. He was prompt in tacking down the news reporter to find the sick woman. A Harvard-trained surgeon Dr. Brian Camazine had volunteered to perform the surgery pro-bono and an anonymous reader had agreed to chip in N400,000 the newspaper article sought to treat the woman. Reporters covering such pleas should include adequate contact information, in case a reader has the wherewithal to assist.
The websites foster training ground for budding writers. Seasoned authors can use the venues to mentor future writers and to showcase their craft. Hats off to prolific Internet writers, such as Rudolf Okonkwo, Peterside Chamberlain, Nasir El-Rufai, Okey Ndibe, Femi Awodele, Femi Ajayi, and others. One does not have to agree with everything writers publish to appreciate their contributions. We need more authors to write about what we need to know, not just what they think we want to read.
My favorite contributors are: Rudolf Okonkwo and Peterside Chamberlain and Nasir El-Rufai. These writers know how to breakdown complex topics so the average reader can understand them. Mr. Okonkwo's pieces are esoterically great; read his articles!. Mallam El-Rufai's articles are often right on; however, the reader needs to know that the Mallam's nursing a political ambition. I miss Mr. Chamberlain's financial articles.
Surviving In Biafra by Alfred Uzokwe is a book one of the sites helped popularize. It's a unique book that narrates that vicious civil war via a child's lens. To obtain a copy of the book, either ask your local library to stock it or buy one.
It's ironic that some Nigerian websites are censoring contributors. Some of the writers think their work became too thorny that some politicians called in censorship favor. While a few others think there are tribal or regional politics being played beneath the surface. Some websites want exclusive right to articles they publish. Then there are personal fall outs that result in writers being banned. Whatever the reason(s), the duties of these websites are too important to allow them to be attenuated.
It's a competitive business but the websites could emulate NigerianVoice and Nigerian Village Square and Sahara Reporters who publish articles without exclusivity requirement. These three sites are progressive and delightful, in deed. Sahara Reporters goes a step further by advertising competing websites. Bravo to NigerianVoice.com! It's a comprehensive website with instant publishing and editing functions.
Unfortunately, a few writers have traded their fame for seats at the fleecing table, once the price is right. These people pen critical articles about the government or politicians but as soon as their bread is buttered, they begin to sing a different tune.
Website owners have their work cut out for them. While they remain the vanguards of Nigerian fledgling democracy, they should have enough courage to broadcast news from their pipelines without fear or favor! Finally, it's up to the readers to collectively let the leaders know they won't stand for media censorship of any kind. That is the essence of a democratic Nigeria.
Chuks U.C. Ukaoma resides in Austin, Texas, USA. Read his other articles on this and Yahoo website. Email: email@example.com
*Why I Left AC in 2010 (Interview) -Princewill
Masterweb Reports - Friday, July 27, 2012: Prince Tonye Princewill the crown Prince of the renowned Amachree dynasty in the Kalabari Kingdom in Rivers State of Nigeria and the scion of His Majesty King Prof T.J.T. Princewill, CFR, the Amayanabo of Kalabari Kingdom, a scholar, an aristocrat par excellence, endowed with remarkable wisdom comparable only to King Solomon of the Bible, A Petroleum Engineer and a consummate business magnate with diverse interest in Oil and Gas, Hospitality, Haulage, IT etc. A Gubernatorial candidate under Action Congress in the 2007 elections in Rivers State, a strategic thinker, a philanthropist and an outstanding senior technical project manager.
A distinguished and selfless politician whose hope and vision for Nigeria and Rivers State his home State is uncommon and unparallel. As a strategic thinker, he knew continuing with the challenge of the results 2007 Governorship elections in Rivers state at the tribunal would ultimately scuttle the newly installed government of Rotimi Amaechi courtesy of Supreme Court ruling, Tonye Princewill unconditionally withdrew his case at the tribunal to the consternation of many of supporters and even his political party then, the Action Congress. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Prince Tonye Princewill responding to questions during a live chat on Cool FM
At the National level, he has proved himself as a beacon of hope for our region and indeed the country when as a member of the Presidential Committee on Niger Delta; Federal Government Vision 2020 Committee, as the Chairman of the Subcommittee On the Niger Delta, he resigned his membership of the committee on 19th May, 2009 in protest of the bombardment by the JTF of Gbaramatu Kingdom because he feels that his people were about been annihilated from earth. This singular act of the Prince set the stage to the eventual declaration of amnesty by the Federal Government thus bringing the much needed peace to Niger Delta region. A sustained economic growth of the country through increased oil export has been recorded since then. Sacrificing personal and monetary gains for the advancement of the people’s cause is one of the hallmarks of a good leader; Tonye Princewill has clearly demonstrated this rare trait leadership. Princewill whose recent philanthropic activities at alleviating poverty through micro financing of rural women commerce in Rivers State, Scholarship to indigent students in Rivers State, talent hunts among the youths, hope to the orphans and the less privilege in Nigeria have been described in some quarters as the road map to a greater and better Rivers State. This great son of Nigeria took time to address various national issues and Rivers State politics. He spoke to Chief Eze C. Eze, his Media Consultant on his way out of the country to Europe on investment and business trip.
[Chief Eze]: You have recently continued to state that both your party PDP and other political parties in Nigeria does not have ideology, are you not lacking in principle by jumping from PDP to AC and back to PDP?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: Oh yes, I maintained that both my party PDP and other political parties in the country lacks ideology if one is to consider what are obtainable in advanced economies. In Britain for instance the principal political parties are noted for one ideology or the other. Conservative and Unionist Party are centrist to right-wing and traditionally centre-right and pragmatic while Labour Party on the other are centrist to Left-wing and traditionally socialist; and Liberal Democrats, radical-centrist heavily influenced by social liberalism. In America the two major political parties are Republican Party and Democratic Party. Republican party is conservative usually backs limited government and an unrestrained global free market while the Democratic party tends to favour greater government intervention in the economy and to oppose government intervention in the private, noneconomic affairs of citizens. In Nigeria, let me ask, what does PDP or ACN, APGA or any of the other political parties stands on Education, Security, Heath, Transportation, democracy are? Nothing so definite, to me the political parties in Nigeria are like Manchester FC in London or Chelsea or Liverpool all based in Britain where players changes club in order to achieve victory and not that any of the club stands for any ideology apart from achieving victory at end of any football season. The only scenario I can attest about lack of ideology in our parties are the regimes of our late President, Yar’Adua and our incumbent President, Dr Goodluck though from the same platform. Critically observe the approaches of these two leaders and you will see the different and remarkable differences and total lack of any common ideology or approach to governance by the two regimes though on the same platform. Take the administrations of Sir Peter Odili and Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi from the same PDP but different approaches to governance. Is the ideology of PDP in CRS the same with the PDP in Akwa Ibom? Are the administrations of ACN in Edo and Lagos the same? Of course the answer is capital NO these administrations are all driven by the thinking and drive of those at the helm of affairs in these states and not necessarily because of their different political parties. I have pleaded with the leadership of my party under the able leadership of Alh. Bamanga Tukur to ensure that the party is ideologically driven and I have offered myself to assist in this regard if my services are required accordingly. I was in a plane the other day with Ibru and I asked him, ‘is this the Nigeria that you wanted?’ Recently, a new political movement has started to resurface, the Peoples’ Democratic Movement, the foundation structure of the PDP. Now, if the PDM will ultimately meet to think on how to address the question: PDM, the foundation structure of PDP, what ideology did they promote? I remember in the days of NRC and SDP in the aborted third republic, there was an ideology; the ideology was this party represented this set of ideology, this other party represented this set of ideology; which one did you want to belong to? So, in the choice of political party, we had a message, we had an idea, what do they want? Is it free education? If it is free education, what exactly does it mean? Is it free education as per tuition, or free education, as per free uniform, free sandals as what are doing in Rivers State? Is it free education at primary level, secondary level or university level? What does it mean? So, political parties would need to identify an ideology. Now, what am I saying? I am saying is that we have to ask ourselves in the country, where are we going and start to define what our ideals are for us to adopt. If you remember Martin Luther dream speech, he was talking about dreams of their founding father in America. If you look at our pledge, “the labour of our heroes past” you then ask: What were these people labouring for? What were the dreams of our founding fathers? I am afraid that the generation coming behind me, who would recite the pledge and sing the national anthem sometimes wonder, what they are talking about. So asking me if I am principled or rather I lack principles in moving out from AC to PDP is not a fair question but with what all that I have stated above both ACN, PDP etc are all the same in implementation of policies. I moved out from ACN back to PDP because I wanted a platform that is more nationalistic in outlook than a regional political party which ACN is at the moment coupled with other factors.
[Chief Eze]: Sir, in that case what are the other factors that caused you to leave ACN that was capable of making you the Governor of Rivers State?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I have much respect for the leadership of ACN at the national level but when I was left alone to sustain and sponsor the activities of the party in the State and the region at large it becomes a load, I could not continue to carry besides when it becomes the acts of most of my followers then to capitalise on my relationship with Gov Chibuike Amaechi to demand that I must ask Amaechi to empty the Rivers State treasury for them, I could not hesitate to leave such a crop of people back to PDP. Most importantly, I was being threatened and harassed left and right that if I fail to ask Amaechi to release much money to them they will turn over the party to Dr Abiye Sekibo and Sir Celestine Omehia to use the platform to fight Amaechi and I have no interest or intention of contesting the 2011 general elections to fight against Amaechi seeing that he needed the second term to consolidate on the good jobs he is doing in the State so I have to leave the party as I cannot continue to hold on a party that I have no use of using to contest any election.
[Chief Eze]: You are involved with a lot of Philanthropic activities recently, are all these geared towards contesting the 2015 general election?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: It is sad that my involvement recently to assist the orphans through Melody Shelters by organising the first TV Reality Show for orphanages in Nigeria which Godswill Orphanage in Kogi State came top and carted away the sum N10M with the runners up and the third placed Homes carting home N5M and N3M respectively, releasing funds to Micro-Finance Agency to intervene in emancipating our rural women, offer scholarships to our indigent students in Higher Institutions from Rivers State, talents Hunts and creating and offering jobs to some of youths in dare need of jobs and other interventions that I have put on to assist the less privileged are being interpreted that I want to contest the guber election of 2015! Those saying all these forgot the role God played in the elections of Ada George, Peter Odili and Chibuike Amaechi in Rivers State. Those manipulating and strategising for the 2015 elections which is about three years ago should please go ahead but why should I be embarking on projects that are geared at 2015 in 2012? Why don’t I have to wait till 2014 in order to use all these funds if I have actually wanted to invest them because of 2015 elections? In one of my billboards in Port Harcourt, I stated that “If you are blessed, try and bless others” so what stops me from practising what I am preaching seeing that God has blessed me by affecting the lives of the less privileged. I am only interested in what is happening in 2012 while if God gives me life till 2015 and if the people of Rivers State want to me to play any role in the 2015 elections, I will make myself available but now, people should leave me alone to assist our people in their desire for a purposeful leadership and assistance.
[Chief Eze]: Your Politics is woven around Atiku, Amaechi, Alaibe Asiawaju, what do you find in these great men that fascinates or rather influences your style of politics?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I cannot deny the fact the roles these great men played in shaping my politics. Atiku stood by me when the entire AC Leadership by 2008 wanted me disgraced because I resolved to withdraw my gubernatorial case against Gov. Amaechi, and from this misunderstood leader, I have learnt much on how politics should be played and practised and learning from such a political institution is an honour only lucky ones like me are entitled to. To many people Amaechi is not only a friend but a true brother that no matter what ever maybe our differences this great political wizard and strategist has taught me a lot of political lessons that have sharpen and prepared me for greater task ahead of me. For Asiawju Bola Tinubu, many people do not know my relationship with this great man. Apart from Atiku, Asiwaju was the next person I contacted when I decided to remove my gubernatorial case from the court to support Amaechi government seeing that he was the one that solely sponsored all the SANs that handled my gubernatorial case. This great politician and fearless mobiliser and strategist of the highest repute is one of my political mentors that I will continue to admire and respect. For my own brother Alaibe, many people do not know that if not this man there would not have being Prince Tonye Princewill the business man. It was this man who decided to influence me to come back to Nigeria after he visited my home in 2001 and literally moved me to Nigeria and that is how I started the journey that have taking me this far. Ironically, all these great men names starts with A and truly they are the ‘As’ in the politics of Nigeria and I am happy to be their disciple.
[Chief Eze]: You are the crown Prince of Kalabari Kingdom, we do wonder at times what have you actually contributed towards the development and emancipation of this area that have suffered untold hardship in present and previous administrations of Rivers State?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I am happy about this question as many people have asked me the same. It may interest you to note that that it was the Buguma crisis of 2003 that turned the Buguma town into a war zone amongst the militant groups pervading in my area at that time that actually brought me into politics. After I did the much I could do to bring sanity and peace to my people I started to ask what actually the essence of governance is all about while my people are been encouraged to slaughter themselves. My first achievement to my people was restoring peace to them by 2003. Apart from offering job opportunity to them, I initiated a scholarship scheme that I started in the Kalabari Kingdom which has now being extended to all the other Local Government Areas in Rivers State. I am only an individual and can only do the much that I am doing.
[Chief Eze]: In this regard, can you kindly educate us accept being a close associate of Gov Amaechi what your relationship with him has brought to the Kalabari Kingdom seeing that most of the key projects are not attended to?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: To Governor Amaechi, I am a riverine politician because of the way I have continued to plead with him to assist in fulfilling most of his promises to our people in the riverine areas. I have said earlier, Gov Amaechi is a friend and brother but there is a limit of what I can do or influence him about but I am mostly saddened that most of the keep projects like the Trans-Kalabari Road that would have assisted in linking the Local Governments in the kingdom is not implemented. It is only unfortunate that my relationship with the Governor have not resulted to much development to my area but we should exercise patience and pray that God will touch him to ensure that this particular road is attended to and other development brought to bear in the entire riverine area as obtainable in other areas of the State. To drive home the plight of my people, let us imagine an area like Onlega that is the highest oil producing area in the country without any visible development to show for what all the resources being exploited from this area that shows you how the towns in the riverine areas where I came from are treated.
[Chief Eze]: You are the Consultant to the Government of Rivers State on PPP and a member of the Rivers State Advisory Economic Committee, sir, why are the PPP programs not working in Rivers State and were you adequately consulted in implementing the Monorail and other such unprofitable projects in the State?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: Yes, I am a Consultant to the Rivers State Government on Public Private Partnership (PPP) and I have in that capacity attracted over N50B investments to the State and was a member of the Advisory Economic Team but have stopped attending most of their meetings recently as the idea behind setting up such a Committee are no longer attainable as those surrounding the Governor have usurped most of our activities and they would not have being any need attending a meeting just to answer present while most of the recommendations are not implemented. My stand on the Monorail no matter the challenges and criticisms is that the project was well conceived as it was to be a PPP driven project initiated by a onetime Governor of the State but along the line after the Government has invested a lot of money in it and sadly the private partners could not meet up with their own side of the bargaining and in order not to lose out totally the government resolved to go it alone. Instead of passing judgement now let us wait until the Governor leaves office before we can pass any judgement on this crucial project but to describe it as unprofitable is not a fair assessment as it will be a legacy that Amaechi will for long be remembered with. Other PPP driven projects working in the State include the Silver Bird Cinema and the Call Centre etc.
[Chief Eze]: Sir, would you have done some of these PPP projects a bit different from what the present administration are doing if you were elected the Governor in 2007?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: Of course yes, there are certain areas I would have adopted a different approach but as Sir Celestine Omehia once told me when we met some time ago, “TP, bear in mind that if this administration succeeds it will rub on you and if it fails, you should be ready to bear your cross because you cannot exonerate yourself from most of the ills or otherwise of the administration” and I agree totally with Sir Omehia and that is why I am doing my best to guide and assist the Governor to succeed if those around him will permit it.
[Chief Eze]: Is the Rivers State Government doing enough to create employment among our uncountable graduates roaming the streets jobless?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: The problem of governance both in Rivers State and the country at large is the inability of the various governments in the country to understand the language of business until that is done; the ability of government to create jobs for our teeming youths will be sceptical and slim. I don’t believe and support the stand that government should be disturbing itself to employ people, to me the government should create the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive to create jobs for our people, the government should thereafter ensure that these private driven initiatives employ our people instead of engaging others from outside the country. I learnt that the government is about employing over ten thousand Teachers to teach in most of our schools, this is commendable but the fact remains that we need to do more to save our your youths from falling into criminalities.
[Chief Eze]: Recently the residents of Abonemna wharf were sacked and their houses demolished, is this right if we are actually praticising democracy of government by the people and for the people?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I don’t support people to be treated as if they are not sons and daughters of the State. The essence of governance is the people so any policy and project of the government that does not know bring happiness and joy to the governed cannot be said to be people driven. Though I have being outside the State for some time and I have not been properly briefed on what actually transpired to warrant the demolition of the Abonemna wharf that housed the down trodden and less privileged ones. But if the little I heard that instead of the commercial rate under which Njamanze wharf was demolished a devalued rate was used in the case of Abonmna wharf then it is sad and unfortunate. I wish to counsel that next time the government should handle such an issue with human face but consult extensively to carry the people along. On the other hand, the government may have good intentions to arrest insecurity in the area but we cannot because of the acts of few miscreants punish the majority from the area in the manner the community was sacked without much consultation.
[Chief Eze]: Sir, the new National Security Adviser, Dasuki recently told Nigerians that he has the gsm numbers of the leaders of Boko Haram and will soon engage them in discussion to find a way of this imbroglio of insecurity in the country. What is your take on this?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: Many approaches have been adopted to arrest this perennial insecurity challenge which is threatening to disintegrate this country, so whatever the new NSA may decide to use to arrest the menace of the Boko Haram is acceptable to me, though telling us on the pages of newspaper of whatever strategy they are adopting does not make any meaning to us, what matters is result and action even as I wish him the best of luck.
[Chief Eze]: Some people have advanced the logic that the scary security situation in the country was as a result of loss of power by a certain zone; they are also of the opinion that if power returns to that section of the country, we are likely to witness a reduction, or total stoppage in the spate of bombings. What’s your take on this?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I have to be honest with you, there is merit in these statements you have made, but I will like us to dig a little deeper. Why do I say that? It is human nature to want to simplify, but I want us to desist from taking that path. I want us to look at the problems and be a little bit more detailed. I think the issue of bombings and so on seem to be multi-faceted, I believe that there is political element to it; I believe there is a religious element to it. I also believe that there is ethnic element to it, but I don’t want to rule out the fact that there is a global element to it. Now, if I look at each of these elements, independently, and exclude the others, I simplify it. In fact, just put it down to politics, just put it down to religion, just put it down to people having a grouse based on ethnic divide, I forget that there are other issues associated with it. I will give you a typical example. In the United Kingdom, we had bombings under the banner or guise of Irish Republican Army. It had a political dimension; what people saw as the political wing of the IRA, Sinn Fein, was denied what you can call political right. Was that the cause of the bombings? May be, but again, you simplify it. There was a religious component to it as well, the Catholic versus the Protestants. But is that the cause of the bombings? Again, you simplify it. There was an ethnic problem of the Irish versus the English. Is that the cause of the problem? Again, yes, but you simplify it. So, we must refrain from the temptation to box our problem. It is human nature. Oh, he is doing it, because he is an Ibo man; oh, he is like this, because he is a Yoruba man, or people from Niger Delta, they are all militants. We always, by human nature, simplify and I want us to avoid that. The reason I want us to avoid that is, because the leadership has such problem and, if you are saddled with the responsibility of solving a problem, it is important that you understand the problem. It is only when you truly understand the problem that you can resolve it and that’s why I said that the solution to Boko Haram isn’t bravado, it is intelligence. You need to gather intelligence; it isn’t ‘we are going to crush’. I remember somebody, somewhere, issued a statement that Boko Haram will be crushed by June. It isn’t about crushing Boko Haram; as much as a menace as they are, it isn’t about crushing Boko Haram, just as it wasn’t about crushing the IRA. There are ways and means and I believe, strongly that these ways and these means need to be looked into.
[Chief Eze]: So what needs to be done?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: I believe there is a holistic problem that our security agencies, our government and our leaders need to begin to address. Now, you asked a second question: is it not likely, therefore, that if Jonathan doesn’t acquire the office of the presidency in 2015 and the North, for instance, does, that isn’t there a likelihood that we would see the return to normalcy? Well, I cannot predict, but I do know that, if we want to avoid it, we can. There is a common phrase that, if you want to keep getting what you are getting, keep doing what you are doing. And so, if we want to keep getting this tit—for-tat ethno-religious violence, then we should recognize that where we have come from has produced the current circumstance.
[Chief Eze]: Why must you continue advocating for National Conference?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: We need to sit down and ask ourselves, some basic fundamental questions, some core truths. I believe that this sovereign national conference discussion is one that we need to have. I don’t know if the word, sovereign, applies, because I don’t expect anybody to give up its sovereignty, but there is a need for a national discourse, where we can sit down and talk about our ideals: where are we going? What do we want to achieve as a country? Where do we stand on the issue of zoning or no zoning? Aren’t we advanced enough to start to worry about what somebody’s merits are, as opposed to where the person comes from? Where does the person want to take off? I think that what we should do, but to cut the long story short, your question about what would happen, in a couple of years if power rotates, is a question that many people are asking. I think that the only answer to that question will come from the leaders sitting round the table and having a discussion. If that doesn’t happen, I am afraid that we will continue to rely on trial and errors, reluctant presidents, people who didn’t want to lead but are being forced to lead, for whatever reason or the other. We wouldn’t have a proactive, well thought out Nigeria, but instead we will have a reactive Nigeria that reacts to circumstances and give reactions like we saw in Kaduna, spontaneously and negatively.
[Chief Eze]: You are in support of sovereign national conference; should there be no-go areas?
[Prince Tonye Princewill]: No, I am not saying there should be no-go areas, but, unfortunately, in the past three months, I have been hearing my northern brothers say, if we should separate, let us separate. I have heard a lot of my northern brothers echo that sentiment and I believe strongly that unless we can provide all these sentiments good reason to do otherwise, this sentiment will continue and maybe even strengthened. I believe, with my experience, that people who are next door to you aren’t necessarily people who love you. So, if you have disagreement with people who live across, that doesn’t mean that we should separate. I believe that the country as Nigeria can work, but I believe that people need to sit around the table and have a discussion. So, if you have a referendum in Nigeria, I believe that the majority will opt for one Nigeria that is based on equity, fairness and justice; one Nigeria where the leadership is transparent and accountable. If we can provide that kind of a Nigeria, then we will stay as Nigerians and continue to thrive as Nigerians. So, I don’t think there should be no-go areas; I believe what we should be discussing is how we come together and how to move forward as a nation. Our generation cannot promote that discussion, the people who have put us in this mess need to get us out of it and I think it is their responsibility.
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