*Israeli Immigration Police Caught Picking Up African Woman Naked
Friday, June 15, 2012: In this photo, AFP captures a naked African female migrant described as a prostitute in a series of raids by Israel’s immigration police aimed at rounding up and deporting illegal African immigrants. The scene was recorded on Tuesday near Levinsky Park, in the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, where thousands of migrants reside. The question urgently begging for an answer is why was the woman not allowed to put on clothes before her arrest. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Naked African migrant confronted by Israeli Immigration Police without allowing her put on her clothes ( Photo: AFP/JACK GUEZ ).
Israeli authorities on Monday [June 11] rounded up dozens of African migrants slated for deportation, most of them from South Sudan, as the government weighs tough penalties against Israelis who help illegal aliens.
The Population and Migration Authority said in a statement that officers arrested 45 migrants from South Sudan, along with three Nigerians, two Ghanaians, two Chinese, one from Ivory Coast, one from the Philippines and one whose nationality is being checked.
Israeli public radio said that in at least two cases, during early-morning swoops in the Red Sea town of Eilat, women with young children were picked up as they walked on the streets and were driven away.
Journalist and rights activist Toni Lissi told army radio that suspects in the town were picked up on the street, in banks, at their places of work and in door-to-door searches.
"The people arrested were taken on buses to detention centres. Their mobile phones were confiscated," she said.
"Other immigrants are hiding in their homes, not daring to go out until things calm down,' she said.
An Israeli court on Thursday ruled that the lives of an estimated 1500 migrants from South Sudan are no longer at risk in their homeland, clearing the way for their mass expulsion.
Israeli daily Haaretz said that a government committee on legislation had approved submission of draft bills which would raise the maximum penalty for Israelis who employed, housed or transported around the country illegal immigrants to five years in prison from two at present.
The bill is expected to go to parliament for a preliminary reading this week.
The interior ministry says that approximately 60,000 African immigrants have entered Israel illegally, including those from South Sudan, with which Israel has friendly relations.
In the photo above, AFP captures a naked African female migrant described as a prostitute in a series of raids by Israel’s immigration police aimed at rounding up and deporting illegal African immigrants.
The scene was recorded on Tuesday [June 12] near Levinsky Park, in the Mediterranean city of Tel Aviv, where thousands of migrants reside. The question urgently begging for an answer is why the woman was not allowed to put on clothes before her arrest.
*Nigeria: El-Rufai’s Misplaced Gaffe (1)
It is really difficult to understand the motives of Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the newly assumed do-gooder of the Nigerian polity, for his back page column in the ThisDay of last Friday, June 8th, which he entitled Anambra’s Budget of Misplaced Priorities. According to him, he had previously embarked on the analyses of the 2012 budgets of the other South East states. While it might not be apposite to query what might have warranted this sudden interest of Mallam el-Rufai in the affairs of Igbo people, many of whom he had maliciously and deliberately done in, when he destroyed and appropriated their property and means of existence in the FCT which he re-allocated to himself, his family members and friends, as it is his right and preserve to write on anything that catches his fancy.
However, querying eyebrows must be raised when he, in the process of discussing the socio and political economy of the area and one of its components, he takes a jolly ride on a road of abuse, distortion of facts and deliberate lies. By tarring Anambra State, its people and governance in such malicious and putrid brushes as he did in his said article, it would be foolish of him to believe that he would go unchallenged.
On the surface, el-Rufai, gave the impression that he was engaged in an intellectual and analytical treatise, by as usual, employing statistics and data which are not worth the pieces of paper on which they were issued. This is by the very fact that Economics is “a science of the commonsense”, and in daily socio-economic issues that govern human existence, you can tell a blind man that there is no oil in the food, but you definitely cannot tell him that there is no salt there. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Mallam El-Rufai
In order to arrive at his real mission of insulting the people and leaders of Anambra State, El-Rufai, back-grounded his treatise with certain tendentious, but highly naive fallacies that he tried to pass off as facts, having laced them with statistics whose veracity fly in the face of commonsense, and which expose at the same time the woeful capacity of the institutions from which such statistics and date emanate. For instance, El-Rufai claimed that the poverty and unemployment levels in Anambra State are crying to the high heavens for deliverance.
In his words, “unemployment rate in Anambra is among the highest in the South-east zone, at 21.3 per cent, it is higher than the national average of 21.1 per cent”. Because unemployment is always associated with poverty, he then further posits that, “the incidence of poverty in the state is very high – actually disappointing”. He argued further with his weird statistics that, “the South-east has a food poor incidence of 41.0 per cent of which 60.9 per cent is absolutely poor, while 66.5 per cent is relatively poor and 56.8 per cent live under a dollar a day. Anambra has a poverty index of 22.8 per cent, the third highest in the zone, and shares the sixth lowest position in Nigeria with Rivers State which also has 22.8 per cent. About 47.6 per cent of the state’s population is core poor, 45.0 per cent is moderately poor and only 7.4 per cent of the state’s population is classified as none poor.”
As to Mallam El-Rufai, the spectre of the poverty of Anambra State must be driven home, for whatever reasons, so he lamented what he saw as the paucity of natural resources in the state, and that where they exist in any quantity, they are not exploited, like the oil deposits which he claimed are found in where he described as Ebenebe Ridge. According to him, “Anambra State is not much endowed with mineral resources and the few known to exist are not exploited”. Added to what he saw as the high criminality and dire security situation in the state, El-Rufai, in his copious crocodile tears, urged Anambra and its neighboring Igbo states to “ address the security challenges arising from violent crimes and kidnapping that has scared the elite and investors from the state.” ( Continues below….. )
El-Rufai’s motives got a bit clearer when he inferred that this ‘sore’ state of affairs in Anambra State are in place or exacerbated by what he saw as the inability of the administration of the Mr. Peter Obi to rise to or overtake those calamitous situations in his state. That motive could not be hidden right from the title of his piece which indicated that the budget made and being executed by the government of the day which places extreme premium on all-round development of the state and its citizens, as misplaced.
But then, it is not easy to understand Mallam Nasir el-Rufai without understanding the duplicity of his personality and his character as a man whose ego is inversely proportional to his diminutive stature. It beggars understanding as to why el-Rufai suddenly wants Nigerians to start seeing him as the conscience of the public after his dubious performance as the minister of Federal Capital Territory. This is a man who was found guilty of a Senate committee of terrible and unspeakable fraud and told not to hold public office for the next ten years. But then, all that has to wait till the wrap up of this piece, when we shall see what all this has to do to the man’s current quixotic efforts.
Even if El-Rufai who claims to be a wizard in any new field he blunders into, including when he was undergoing tutelage in development studies during the Obasanjo era when he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, all who have amply extolled the management capacity of Governor Peter Obi and have often given an imprimatur to his development strategies. In fact, el-Rufai is an artful manipulator who twists any position he finds himself, including writing a column in a flagship newspaper, to claim laurels which he does not deserve in any form. I have no business defending Governor Obi, but being the governor of my state at a time when I am well appraised on the situation in my state, as well as the motives of the writer are suspicious, there is no way I can stand by and watch an El-Rufai drag my state, its government and pride to the mud.
If El-Rufai had ever physically gone to Anambra State, he would have understood the idiocy of the statistics he employed to interpret what he describes as the ‘poverty’ of the people and the state of Anambra. It has been said that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. El-Rufai has proven to be the master of all the variants of lies. Even while informed Nigerians look on, El-Rufai lies about poverty in the state where the per capita standard of living is about the highest in Africa. He describes Anambra State as a ‘rural state’ with a high level of unemployment even as he refuses to acknowledge that more than three-quarters of communities in that state have installed electricity and other forms of amenities by themselves. These are people who build their own roads, secondary schools, hospitals and cottage industries and where no Anambra indigene has been stopped from going to school on account of financial difficulties.
This is a state where every village has assumed or is assuming an urban status, even as the entire state is growing into a one-town community. If one is driving through the state, it would be difficult to know when one has entered the next local government area. This has been made even more possible through the network of road which has linked or is linking every hamlet in the state. While it is true that the road construction feat was started by Dr. Chris Ngige, it would be stupid not to acknowledge that it was Mr. Peter Obi who has linked all the parts of the state through his array of road networks and bridges which have reached areas which had never dreamt of road communications in their lives. Incidentally, those areas are mostly the hitherto locked out and obscured food baskets of the nation. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
El-Rufai talks about poverty of Anambra people because in his immaturity, he sticks to the classroom definitions of poverty where he divides the amount someone earns over the number of days in the month. That being so, he himself must have been a very poor man too, because hardly can the take-away pay of any public official in Nigerian take him home, and so, if he could garner estates and mansions all over Abuja and the world with his earnings as a minister, then he needs account to Nigerians. Having said so, my people in Anambra State are very communally minded people and as he even acknowledged, we are among Nigeria’s most successful Nigerians materially and professionally. In our system, we speak of “Aku luo uno” doctrine, which translates into the fact that we export all our fortunes home because that is only where we consider them secure and safe from such haters as el-Rufai and friends. They should understand that unlike where he comes from, Igbo fortunes spread to kinsmen.
El-Rufai might have thought that he succeeded in his ploy, alongside other Igbo haters like Obasanjo, to impoverish Igbo people by destroying all their properties in Igboland and allocating them to his people and himself. It must have been a very sad fact to him that he hardly succeeded and that must have been why he rued, that ’75 percent of the property in Abuja belong to Ndigbo and that FCT qualified to be described as the sixth South East State”. Does El-Rufai know that Anambra investors own about half of those Igbo investments in FCT, and not any of them had stolen the money with which they invested?
It is foolish to speak of misplaced budgeting in Anambra State because the government of the day did not put more funds in areas that El-Rufai, in his myopia, was informed by his ‘researchers’ to be more beneficial to the people. How is the man supposed to know where the eyes and priorities of the people lie? While the ANIDS development philosophy of government is geared towards spreading investments to all the crannies and circumstances in the state, Anambra people do not expect to be spoon-fed by any government; that is why the likes of El-Rufai would never understand that the so-called unemployment does not mean to an Anambrarian what it means to el-Rufai’s fellow Kaduna citizen. In fact, an Anambra person is not very hot about being employed by the government, as in fact, the concept of Olu Oyibo is not often a very attractive option. In fact, when el-Rufai believes that the government misplaces its priority when it invests less in agriculture than in education or roads, it clearly means he does not understand the Igbo persona.
It is needless to inform el-Rufai that our people are entrepreneurs and expect the government not to meddle in their lives more than it should. They just expect the government to equip their schools with good teachers and facilities. I did not say that we expect the government to build schools for us because we, have built them through our missions and communities and up till early this year, when Governor Obi handed over more than 1000 primary schools and many secondary schools to their owners, people had grumbled over government messing up things in those schools. A community that built and equipped secondary schools as out 177 communities had done could not be regarded as poor by any stretch of imagination, no matter what the crooked statistics say. In the same token, we expect the government to build our roads and provide policemen and other security officials to watch over and secure our lives and property. And should the appropriate government believes that means doing us a lot of favour, we strive to provide it for ourselves, as we did with the Bakassi Boys.
It is those states where beggars move around in droves and constitute a menace to daily life that are really poor. Poor people beg; in Anambra, the only beggars we have speak el-Rufai’s language.
In the next part of this article, I will strive to educate el-Rufai and his misguided analysts on the true nature of the Anambra person when it comes to industry, commerce and entrepreneurship that has made the state the destination of choice by an array of investors, who are genuine and well-meaning. I will also elaborate on the falsity of el-Rufai’s thesis as it concerns the exploitation of natural resources, so as to show how shallow those analyses have been relative to my state.
It surprises me that a man who flaunts several exposures forgets that in today’s world, intellectual property avails more than all the coal and gold that is under the feet. For, how did Japan become the world’s second largest economy without any discernable natural resources? It might interest the likes of el-Rufai, whose intellect is often questionable, to become aware that the best resource of Anambra State is their bold and bright people, who dare wherever and whenever the need arises.
I will also make an expose to debunk the wishful thoughts of the el-Rufais of this world that Anambra could be deterred by such bogus analyses of jaundiced writers who are seeking undeserved relevance and attention. I will do that by exposing the fallacies in El-Rufai’s analyses of Anambra’s political economy, concentrating on such factors as his take on criminality, natural resources and the way our people view the current efforts to open Anambra to the world to which our people have always looked. After that, those who do not know el-Rufai as many of us do, would start to have a clearer inkling into the man whose stock in trade is to run with the hare and chase with the hound…
So Nasir el-Rufai, keep your powder dry.
*How El-Rufai & Other Northern Elites Underdeveloped & Impoverished Northern Nigeria
By Intersociety Nigeria
Anambra Versus The North: How Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai & Other Northern Elites Underdeveloped & Impoverished Majority Northern Populations
(Onitsha Nigeria, Wednesday, 13th day of June 2012)-In the Social Bond or Control Theory of Travis Hirschi, social deviance including criminal offending becomes uncontrollable the moment people are made to disconnect from the core agents of socialization, especially the four areas that bind them with the core agents of socialization, that is to say: involvement, belief, attachment and engagement. The absence of the foregoing, criminologically speaking, leads to social disorganization as we see it today in the North.
Similarly, in the Strain/Anomie Theory of Emile Durkheim and Robert K. Merton, when there is disconnect between cultural goals and legitimate or socially approved means (when the two conflicts), a state of “anomie”(alienation of self from society due to conflicting norms and interests) sets in. When this state occurs, it results into five categories of social conditions of: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion. Those in the class of conformity accept the cultural goals and legitimate means; those in the innovation accept the cultural goals but use illegitimate means to achieve them; those in the ritualism lose faith in cultural goals but feel obligated to work under routines for legitimate daily life; those in the retreatism, such as drug addicts, reject both cultural goals and legitimate means and transform themselves into the dregs of the society; and those in the rebellion not only reject both cultural goals and institutionalized means, but also seek to redefine new values for the society through uprising and violence, i.e. Boko-Haram uprising in the Northern Nigeria.
It is on the premise of the foregoing that we at the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) , decide to critically evaluate the Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai’s assessment of the public governance in Anambra State of Nigeria, titled: Anambra’s Budgets of “Mispriorities” , which was widely published on 8th day of June 2012. This evaluation of ours, therefore, is in the context of Anambra versus the North in terms of soio-economic comparison. While it is a widely held view that Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, like other Nigerians, is entitled to his opinion, but his opinion should not be expressed at the gross expense of Anambra State and its People, especially in the context of returning the State to its former pariah status, as a pariah member of the States of the Nigerian Federation, which his piece tried in vain to do. As noted by many respected writers including Barrister Daniel Elomba, the Ahmad El-Rufai’s piece is fraught with utterly discredited facts and stranger’s information. It is purely an assessment from outside observation, fed by laptop statistics.
For instance, contrary to Ahmad El-Rufai’s position in his piece, Anambra State has minimum rural-urban drift. Non- Anambra State citizens of Enugu, Imo, Ebonyi, Abia States, etc vastly populate the State’s old urban areas of Onitsha and Nnewi as well as some of the new urban areas in the State. These brother and sister-citizens have also made an inroad into Asaba, Delta State, where they built many residential houses and business facilities. Also, contrary to Ahmad El-Rufai’s submission, Anambra now has over ten urban areas of Onitsha, Ogbaru, Idemmili(Awada, Ugwuagba, Obosi, Nkpor & Omagba), Nkwere-Ezunaka/Nsugbe, Ekwulobia, Oko/Umunze, Ihiala, Awka, Igbariam/Umuleri/Aguleri, Ogidi/Abagana and Oba. Anambra population is over 5million and not “4,2million” as he erroneously stated. The State is highly urbanized and densely populated with commerce as its major economic base, engaged in by over 70% of its adult residents. Anambra State is also second to none in self-help development index with evenly spread incomes per head. In old Onitsha and Nnewi urban areas, for instance, three out of every five commercial multi-storey buildings, have their own sunk bore holes. Also, sophisticated private hospitals adorn many of these old and new urban centers. In terms of primary and secondary schools, the number of government-approved private schools surpasses those of government and missionary schools and they are evenly distributed among the old and new urban centers and semi urban areas in the State.
The number of high and low rising commercial and private buildings in Anambra State surpasses the total number of same, if any, in the seven States of the Northwest geopolitical zone put together, from where Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai comes from. As at 1997, there were over 200 private large-scale industries in Nnewi alone. Presently, the major problem hindering the industrial growth in the State is the power epilepsy, caused not by the government and people of Anambra State, but by the Federal Government (power is in the exclusive legislative list). Presently, there are over 200 markets in the State alone and more are springing up. There is no major industry in Nigeria that does not have a link to Anambra State. Any item of legitimate human use is not in short supply in the State. Forty-percent of the Internally Generated Revenues of Delta State comes from Anambra State. Therefore, the State is typically a blue-collar society and one of the juiciest sources of the police illicit enrichment due to high carriage of cash or hand-to-hand cash transactions.
In terms of public governance, Ahmad El-Rufai ought to know that another name for high self-help development index is “government made easy”, in that a society with high self-help development records reduces the burden of government in the provision of social services to its people. Anambra, like other Southeast States, to a large extent, had two major set backs before now; its post civil war challenges, which deprived its post-civil war generations and their parents of conventional education, resulting in its present adult population’s limited education especially among the male adult traders, as well as the tragedies of the early 2000s when criminal gangs took over the management of the affairs of its men and women. Perhaps, the likes of Mallam Ahmad Nasir El-Rufai are still dwelling in this past ugly history of the State per his recent lopsided assessment of the State and its public governance, by utterly ignoring the great wind of change in the State epitomized by the present popularly instituted governance, which originated in March 2006.
To govern well in Nigeria’s context and under a democratic setting, a governor must not have identity or personality and moral bankruptcy. Very importantly, he or she must not be an electoral robber and he or she must have the hallowed electoral mandate of his or her people. There are four conventional ways of sourcing funds for public governance in Nigeria, that is to say: federation accounts receipts, internally generated revenues, borrowings and local/ international grants or development funds. Among these four core areas, borrowings are not socio-economically helpful because of their devastating effects on immediate and future well being of the affected State or locality. To this effect, we give it to the present government of Anambra State, which has successfully resisted the borrowing temptations in the past six years, unlike Imo State, for instance, that has over N100Billion internal debts to its deficit. In the inglorious epoch of Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, a $10Million loan was secured from an Egyptian bank, for the “building of an international market”, which was never built. Another N650Million loan was secured from a Nigerian bank for “the building of a stadium complex” in Awka, the State capital, which was also never built, to mention but a few. The debt regime under the illegitimate and unlawful regime of Dr. Chris Ngige remains utterly sketchy. Today, these loans with hash conditions are part of the $24.4Million still owed international lending institutions by the government of Anambra State. In the four core areas of fund sourcing, the government of Anambra State, under Mr. Peter Obi, has done well in the international fund sourcing or development partnerships as well as in the area of maintaining almost zero-borrowing culture both internally and externally.
However, true to Ahmad El-Rufai’s observation, the government of Mr. Peter Obi has failed woefully in the area of improving the IGR fortunes of the State, considering its vast revenue potentials. This is due to weak revenue generation mechanisms, which tend to favour illicit revenue agents, sometimes backed by some corrupt officials of the government both at State and local levels. This failure appears to have been necessitated by bountiful international patronage enjoyed by the government as well as the availability of the Local Government funds, used, under special conditions, for the development of selected infrastructures in the affected LGAs. Again, some of the deficiencies of Mr. Peter Obi’s administration are poor maintenance culture, snail-speed response to matters of urgent public importance, non-conduct of the local council polls, armchair syndrome of some, if not many of his bookish top aides and weak/ untimely enforcement of law and other conventional social controls.
As for Ahmad El-Rufai’s criticism of the Anambra’s budgets and their sectoral allocations, he missed the point frontally and logically. This is because there exists legitimate and illegitimate budgeting. Budget is legitimate when it is realistic and executable, not fat and theoretical allocation with little or zero execution capacity. It is illegitimate when it is bloated, loan and white elephant driven. It is better to have a small and realistic budget than to have lofty, loan driven and white-elephant budget. Apart from attention being given to over 20 active gully sites in the State, our field team has also found that there exists a rapid response team that timely checks the newly developed gullies in parts of the State. On-going works on two of such young gullies at Uke Community in the State is a case in point.
Still on Anambra Budgets, the present government enjoys two “government-made easy” packages, one from the high self-help development index and the other from international funding and development institutions like UNICEF, EU, World Bank, UNDP, DFID, etc. For instance, we have found that many of the 177 communities, over 1000 public/mission primary schools and 258 public/mission secondary schools in the State now have bore holes courtesy of European Union, UNICEF, etc. In Ogbaru LGA, 30 boreholes are being sunk in thirty strategic places. In all, there are 434 water projects done in the State, excluding those done by the State Ministry of Local Government & Chieftaincy Matters. Bore holes under MDGs(millennium development goals) are 186, UNICEF through RUWASSA are 154, 17 EU Water schemes, 71 bore holes from MPUWRCD, to mention but few. This is in addition to high private borehole ratio per residence in the State and attention being given to the State’s major water schemes in Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi, Obizi-Uga, etc. State’s community/general hospitals and health centers are not in short supply in the State. Most, if not all of them are provided with boreholes. Conversely, it is very important to point out that there are some boreholes, especially those sunk in hilly and dry areas that are not functioning, either due to shady jobs by contractors or difficult terrains. In the area of education, about 800 mission primary schools and about 42 mission secondary schools were returned to their missionary owners (Catholic church-over 400, Anglican church-over 300, etc), excluding the payment of their teachers’ salaries and other welfare, which is still borne by the State Government, thereby living the State with 261 public primary and 216 secondary schools. The intent for returning the schools is for moral rejuvenation.
In the areas of roads, crime rates and other social services, Ahmad El-Rufai also goofed. While many States still find it difficult connecting one LGA to another, road-wise, Anambra has gone far beyond that. The 177 communities in the State are now divided into first class, second class and third class communities in terms of link roads. All the 21 LGAs, first class and second-class communities are easily accessible road-wise. The third class communities and some important street roads in old Onitsha urban like Iyiowa Odekpe/Odo-Rubber, Okpoko/Nkutaku, Awada, Ugwuagba, Nkpor, Ogidi and Woliwo Layout/ Omagba Phase 11, are still begging for government attention. Some of these areas are new layouts. Also, major parts of the Onitsha-Enugu Federal Road, which is at the heart of the State, are still an eyesore, except few parts that have been rehabilitated. On the other hand, urban areas like Fegge, Inland Town, GRA, Nsugbe 33 and Odo-akpu all in old Onitsha urban and major parts of Nnewi have very good road network. Also, the Omambala area of the State, which used to be utterly neglected, is being transformed. Igbariam/ Umuleri and Nsugbe/Nkwere-Ezunaka are the newest urban areas in the State, which are part of the hitherto neglected areas of the State. Over 15 medium and large-scale bridges and their connecting roads have been constructed across the State’s difficult terrains. Conversely, Awka is yet to wear the deserved look of a modern State capital city, though many of its old-fashioned roads are tarred as well as erection of some key public infrastructures like State Secretariat, CBN, etc
In terms of access to justice, there are court of superior records (high courts) in Onitsha (many sub divisions), Otuocha(serving the river-line areas of Anambra East/West, Oyi and Ayamelum LGAs), Awka (many sub divisions), Aguata, Nnewi, Ogidi and Ihiala. In the area of “ high crime rates”, Ahmad El-Rufai lacks professional know-how in criminology and security studies or related fields to understand what “crime rates” are all about. Though street crimes including property crimes are normal in blue-collar society such as Anambra State, which also provides job for social control agencies, other than Northeast zone which is the most crime-prone in Nigeria presently, it is difficult to pin point any State as “being among those with highest crime rates”. Since Ahmad El-Rufai is not a crime statistician, we wonder how he arrived at the lopsided submission that Anambra has one of the highest crime rates in Nigeria, especially taking into account “dark” and “gray” figures of crime statistics as well as prevalence of white-collar crimes and crimes against persons (prevalent in the North). To credibly assess crime rates, crime must be evaluated holistically. What two white-collar criminals steal in Katsina State in a month, for instance, may most likely outweigh the total proceeds of property crimes generated in one year in the entire Southeast zone by property criminals. Contrary to Ahmad El-Rufai’s submission, crime is not restricted to “property crime” of armed robbery and hostage for ransom.
From the foregoing, therefore, it is clear that Ahmad El-Rufai’s piece is ill conceived and utterly political. It may have derived its motives from the forthcoming 2015 political power games. The piece utterly portrayed Anambra State and its People as backward, manifestly poor, under-developed, crisis and crime-prone, and above all, a pariah partner in the Nigerian Federation Project. By canonizing an electoral usurper and thief, Mallam Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai is encouraging electoral roguery and telling the Anambra electorates to always allow their hallowed electoral mandate to be stolen by an electoral criminal gang. His piece ought to be titled:” How Ahmad El-Rufai & Other Northern Elites Underdeveloped & Impoverished the Majority Northern Populations” and not, “Anambra Budgets of Mispriorities”.
The truth is that Anambra surpasses the entire North West zone by any standards of social measurement. Therefore, it is “Anambra versus the North”. While Anambra is highly urbanized, the North West and the entire North excluding the FCT are bedeviled by higher rural-urban drift because of the primitive concentration of the business of governance in the capital cities of the North. While educational opportunities in the North are reserved for Northern elites like Ahmad El-Rufai, alms and religious radicalism are reserved for the vast majority of their populations. When the Northern elites want political power, they recruit this impoverished majority into misconceived religious zealotry and after ascending to power; they reward them with weekly feeding and chaplet incantations at their palatial homes. While the real political slogan of these inhumane elites is “take money or material things and give me power, but when I get power, I will use my power to take my money back from you”, they indoctrinate this majority with “God giveth and taketh power”
Therefore, in the North, the two theories aforementioned are utterly suitable. The Boko-Haram uprising in the North is not only an “intifada” against the Federal Government, but importantly, it is also an uprising against the Northern elites, who mindlessly blocked social opportunities for the vast majority of their people for more than 25 years they held sway at the presidency. Today, the uprising is against the Federal Government and its security establishments as well as Igbo-Christians and non-Igbo Christians as well, but tomorrow, Northern elites may most likely be joined. Ahmad El-Rufai’ s handling of the landed properties of the Southeast people during his days as the FCT Minister, which made him to reveal that”75% of the properties in the FCT are owned by the Igbo people”, as well as the fate of the displaced local indigenes (Gbagi-Gwari) may be a topic for another day. The foregoing, therefore, is part of how the Northern elites including Ahmad El-Rufai under-developed and impoverished the vast Northern majority. We wish to submit that Anambra State is not poor, backward or socially disorganized, and if the North is Mogadishu, then Anambra is Tokyo.
Even in the area of external borrowings and debts, Anambra State is among the five least indebted States, whereas the North including the Ahmad El-Rufai’s North West, is heavily indebted. Some insiders have also revealed that the heaven will let loose if the internal debts profiles of many States of the Federation including States of the North are made open. The Nigeria’s Debt Management Office’s recent report of March 2012 has it that the Southwest zone is the most indebted in terms of foreign debts, with $810Million or N122Billion, followed by North West zone $458Million or N67.9Billion, with Ahmad El-Rufai’s Katsina State owing $74.13Million or N11Billion (Kaduna State owes $182.2Million or N27.3Million); followed by South-south with $289.2Million or N43.6Billion; followed by Southeast with $193.7 or N29.1Billion; followed by North-central with $190.2Million or N28.7Billon; and followed by Northeast zone with $185.1Million or N27.7Billion. The Federal Capital Territory-Abuja owes $36.84Million or N5.5Billion. Anambra is in the fifth position among the five least indebted States of Borno-$12.9Million or N1.9Billion, Delta-$15.4Million or N2.03Billion, Taraba-$20.4Million or N3.06Billion, Plateau-$20.43Million or N3.07Billion and Anambra-$24.4Million or N3.66Billion, using the exchange rate of N150.00 per USD. The present government of Anambra State is also reputed to have borrowed nothing internally since 2006 except statutory controversial service pay arrears owed the workers of State parastatals like State water corporation, State printing company and the State-broadcasting outfit as well as the Federal Government bonded zero-interest World Bank facilities for health-care delivery in selected States repayable under soft conditions.
Finally, we must avoid the grave mistakes of running down our few comrade-governors, who have come to serve their people, simply because of certain primitive political interests. We have always maintained that Lagos people are lucky to have Tinubu/Fashola as their governors, even though they ran and still run government of budget deficits with staggering foreign debts of $491Million or over N73Billion and undisclosed tens of billions of naira of internal debts. Also, Edo people are lucky to have Comrade Adams Oshomoile as their governor and Anambra people are very lucky to have Mr. Peter Obi as their governor. Ekiti and Osun people may be lucky too to have their governors. Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has the mandate of his people, but he must refrain from further mortgaging the future of the State by reportedly being a loan seeking and borrowing governor. Public governance requires towering personality profiles, creativity and frontal initiatives. Therefore, all the 36 States governors are not the same, comparatively speaking. Some are charlatans with mechanical legitimacy. Others are hedonistic compradors, while the remainders are creative and innovative governors with hallowed mandates of their people.
Photo Above: Mallam El- Rufai
*El Rufai’s Consolatory Piece on Anambra State
Masterweb Reports - Monday, June 11, 2012: In his back page column, hardly does he write without mentioning the name of Jonathan. He has since extended it to those he perceives as close to him. The likes of Dr. Okonjo Iweala and Prof. Barth Nnaji have come under attack from his rude fist. It has become the madness of Rufus about Naevia. Rufus thinks of nothing else, talks of nothing else; and if Naevia did not exist, Rufus would be dumb. In what has turned into his usual pilgrimage of vituperation, he has often described the president in words that question his maturity.
His last piece of June, 8, 2012 entitled Anambra’s Budget of Misplaced Priorities was another piece that sought to stand logic, deep thinking, mature approach to issues and objective appraisal on their heads. I will take the issues he raised seriatim.
I do not have any problem with his voyage into history. Indeed, the basic facts about Anambra, both old and new and other related facts are among the treasures of history which children learn in elementary social Studies and Geography.
First of all, he talked about Gov Obi reading Philosophy, which to my mind only invoked the feeling of “ no wonder the man thinks critically.” He talked about the Gov. as enjoying the title of being the youngest Chairman of Fidelity bank. When I checked his profile, I found out that Obi was also a Director in two other financial institutions and three other quoted companies by the virtue of his investment in Nigeria and the UK. El Rufai ought to know that being the Chairman of a bank is not a title in the manner he talked about it, it was earned. It takes people having confidence in one to make him a Chairman or a director in reputable companies. Has he forgotten that from one small bank, he raised it to one of the most efficiently managed institutions in the country. In spite of his surefootedness in the financial world, he went to Anambra to contribute to good governance rather than sit in Abuja and see everything with negative prisms.
El Rufai lamented that Anambra is witnessing increasing crime rate, infratsucture deficits, a number of strikes over minimum wage, higher tax burdens, and exodus of the elite, among other challenges. This is the height of unfairness. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Mallam El- Rufai
Anambra today, from the reports of security agencies is among the safest States in the country. Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi chapter said so after their last meeting and commended the Governor for tremendous improvement on security. When the Ag., Inspector General of Police visited Anambra State, he said so and even went ahead to commend the Governor for his extra efforts at securing the State. “Many times he was in Abuja, he would visit me on how to secure his people,” the IGP said. In any case, States that have commercial value are more prone to crimes. In the past one year, Anambra has not witnessed bank robbery.
Before Obi came to office, Anambra did not have any relationship with security agencies as various militia groups were in control. Bedlam actually took over and reduced the State to the “Hobbesian State of nature.” Security agencies did not receive any form of support from the Government, but today Obi has donated in excess of 300 vehicles, communications gadgets and offered other forms of logistical support to them. Just last month, he announced that within the next one week, that he would buy security vehicles for each of the 177 communities in the state. These communities receive 500 Thousand Naira quarterly for security.
Because of the stability the State is enjoying under Gov. Peter Obi, many Ambassadors such as those of the USA, Russia, EU, China, Denmark, Canada, South-Africa, among others have visited the State. Many development partners that were not in the State are all there now.
What should worry El Rufai about security is the suicide bombing his brothers and sisters have introduced into the country.
El Rufai talked glibly about deficit in infrastructure in the state. When Obi assumed office, the State did not have Govt. House, Governor’s Lodge, State House of Assembly among other infrastructure burnt down at that time. Today all those things are in place. It was Obi that built the first Secretariat in the State, the first library, the first Business Park, the first mini stadia among other firsts.
On roads, he has done over 600 kms of roads in six years. Anambra is unarguably the state with the best network of roads in Nigeria. There are local Government Areas in the State such as Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ayamelum that are enjoying road facilities for the first time since the State was created.
El Rufai’s reference to Anambra witnessing a number of strikes over minimum wage is laughable. How can one strike be called a number of strikes? When a little research will show him that Anambra is among the very few States that are actually paying minimum wage and the first to start paying in the South-East. In any case, Rufai’s own State is yet to commence paying.
In one paragraph he talked about Anambra’s high tax burden, while in another, he talked about Anambra as having not enhanced her capacity to collect its taxes. This is reminiscent of his contradictory nature. I know in some States in the South-East business have been closed down due to tax issues, but not Anambra. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
El Rufai said that unemployment in Anambra was among the highest in the region. This is far from the truth and nonsensical. In the entire South-East, Anambra hosts more non-indigenes. Some towns now have more people from Ebonyi State than their own people. People flock to places that have more economic value, just like many people are desirous of moving to Abuja.
On the exodus of the elite from the State, it used to be the case in the past, not any more. Those relocating today are those that used to feed on the resources of the State, but are now prevented from doing so. The Phase two of Ngozika Estate made up of about 1000 units of houses have been completely bought by people desirous of re-locating to the State, including victims of bombing by El Rufai’s brothers and sisters.
“The incidence of poverty in the State is very high,” thus spoke El Rufai. He went on to quote faulty statistics that has been adjudged as incorrect for so many incredibilities such as showing Anambra people to be poorer than the people from Yobe, Taraba and Sokoto. Immediately after that publication, i met the Gov. Who said it was faulty and that he had already brought it to the attention of the Ministers of Planning and Finance and the Vice President at National Economic Council meeting.
The poverty Profile Report of National Bureau of Statistics as published in the Punch newspaper of February 14th, 2012 showed that Anambra State, with a poverty rate of 22% is the least poverty-stricken State. Long before that, the former Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to a former President on Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Magnus Kpakol, on the 31st of August, 2010, at the flag-off of the Payment of Poverty Reduction Accelerator Investment and Second Phase of the Care of the People – COPE, Programme by Governor Peter Obi said the Governor was over fighting poverty and wished other Governor could push as hard as he does. Hear Mr. Kpakol: “Gov Obi was the first Governors to visit my office to discuss how to fight poverty in his State and remained determined and dogged by initiating effective economic empowerment programmes.”
El Rufai lamented that under Obi, there is no effort to expand the productive base of the economy of the State. This is pure incestuous analysis. Since Anambra was created, Obi has done more to expand the productive base of the economy of the State. On the 22nd of May, 2012 Obi held the last in the series of routine meetings with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi Chapters. The meeting is held routinely for exchange of ideas between MAN and Gov. Obi concerning their activities in Anambra State. He is the only Governor that does so with the body. The Chairman of the Association, Dr. Chike Obidigbo said Governor Obi had performed beyond expectations in fulfilling the promise to empower and encourage indigenous manufacturers.
Anambra today has special funds in the Bank of Industry for manufacturers. El Rufai can verify this. Obi laid the foundation for the construction of Innoson Motor Manufacturing Company, built the road into the place, supported it until completion and invited the president for its commissioning. He has since inception ordered and paid for vehicles of over 2 Billion Naira. The last batch of 600 vehicles paid by Anambra State is yet to be supplied.
Cutic cable based in Nnewi recently thanked Gov. Obi for constructing road int their company. He has visited Chikason, Orange drugs and other manufacturing companies in the State.
Today, SABAmiller, the second largest brewer in the world with the market capitalization of close to 50 Billion Pounds, twice bigger than the MTN, will commence production in Anambra. According to the Operations Director of SABMiller for West Africa, Simon Harvey, Obi was instrumental to SABmiller investing in Anambra State. The State under Obi invested over 2 Billion Naira in the facility. Chief Executive Officer SABMiller PLC worldwide, Mr. Graham Mackay, commended Gov. Peter Obi for making their investment in the state a reality. He said that what initially attracted them to Anambra was the presence of a strong government.
I am aware that two other big companies are also investing in the State. With over $250 Million foreign direct investment in Anambra State, I do not know any State that achieved the same.
It is on record, and I challenge El Rufai to verify it, that Anambra State has more bank branches than the entire South-East put together. Since Obi became Governor these branches doubled. What this shows in practical terms is that businesses thrive more in Anambra than in those other places. In 2006, Anambra had about three good hotels, today there are about 30. In appealing to statistics that suit his fancy, he suffers from the “fallacy of biased statistics.”
In holding that Anambra has many unexploited natural resources, El Rufai is making the same old mistake peoples of the world are no longer laying emphasis on. Japan has no natural resources neither does Singapore. The best resources any people will have are the human resources. For many years, Anambra was on the precipice. The basis of the Obi administration is re-building the human infrastructure. The fact that Obi administration is re-building the human infrastructure does not mean it is unmindful of natural resources in the State.
To show you that El Rufai is only a pseudo researcher, he said that Government was not doing anything about the large deposit of crude oil in the State. What should be noted here is that Orient Petroleum was formed in 2001. They achieved nothing until Gov. Obi developed interest in it. This much was revealed by the Chairman of the company, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who thanked him for his commitment to the project. He did so many things for them, including Anambra State investing 4 Billion Naira. As we speak the State Government has commenced the construction of the road leading to the facility for over 1 Billion Naira. What else does El Rufai think a concerned government should have done?
Until Obi, secondary schools in the State, even those designated as science schools did not have functional laboratories. Today schools are rehabilitated on a massive scale and provided with boreholes, buses, INTERNETS ( supplied and installed by Galaxy), built Microsoft academies and is building Cisco Villages in the 21 local Government Areas in the State, among others. To tell you how committed he is to education, he has visited over 200 primary and secondary schools in the State, including those in my town, as no other Governor has done in the past.
To show commitment to education, when it was clear that fallen standards were because of takeover of schools for over 40 years, he returned the schools back to their Church owners. Besides still paying the salary of teachers, he set aside 6 Billion Naira for them this year to rehabilitate the schools. For this gesture he was heavily commended by the highest Church hierarchies. The results of the return of schools are manifest as standards have gradually started to rise. This year alone, Anambra did not witness cases of Exam malpractices. A visit to some of the schools handed over, such as CKC, QRC and DMGS would tell the story.
Anambra remains one of the most educationally advanced States in the country. JAMB is one education body that has maintained clear statistics since it was established in 1977. Their statistics show that Anambra is usually among the first three in terms of number of applicants. The 2012 statistics show that Imo came first, followed by Delta and then Anambra State.
Before him, the State University did not have any infrastructure, today it has changed. At the Anambra State University he has constructed the Faculty of Law building, the Administrative Building, the Faculty of Management Sciences, the School Library, Faculty of Mass Communications, Faculty of Biological Sciences, among others.
In 2009, when Universal Basic Education Commission reviewed the performances of States on Education, Anambra was the no 1 in the entire South-East. By picking one statistics that may not be favourable to the State and ignoring others, El Rufai is guilty of the fallacy of improper statistics.
At the last World Bank Spring meeting 2012, Gov. Obi presented what the State is doing on education, he was lavishly commended.
Writing on health, El Rufai’s headache was not what was achieved in that sector or what the sector used to be and what it is now, but the fact that only 1.4 Billion was budgeted for it. Let somebody tell him that everything is not captured in the budget and our health sector is one good example. Anambra State teaching Hospital with over 18 giant buildings is above that amount even as the State enjoys assistance from development partners that are not captured in the budget. Facts on ground show that before this government, no heath institution in the State was accredited, today two hospitals are accredited and many institutions such as the College of Heath Technology, Obosi and the College of Nursing and Midwifery in Nkpor, School of nursing, Iyienu and many others are all accredited. Hospitals have been built and rehabilitated, hospital equipment have been procured, various health programmes are implemented.
This year, for example, the Governor is funding 10 hostels in various missionary owned hospitals such as Our Lady of Lordes, Ihiala; Water side, Onitsha; School of Midwifery, Adazi, but they are not captured in the Budget. He attracted the new Maternity Complex at Waterside; the construction is on-going. This year, Borromeo hospital Iyienu and Adazi got over 500 Million attracted by Government from development partners which are not captured in the budget.
The above is also applicable in the water sector where he lamented that the State Government budgeted only 800Million Naira. Anambra is working on many water projects with support from development partners and in such a situation, will a wise man not put more money in sectors that do not enjoy the same support, for example, the EU, UNICEF and MDGs are all assisting in the water sector. Last year, MDGs did 6 major town water schemes; this year, they are doing 8. UNICEF is providing water to 30 communities in Ogbaru, etc.
In Agriculture, the same scenario is playing out. There are sectors that are best developed with the involvement of the private sector. El Rufai presided over privatization and ought to know that many things are better privately- driven. What Government is doing in Agric sector is to encourage private enterprises. Just recently, the State secured 1 Billion Naira loan for farmers. We also have projects such as FADAMA where government is committing close to 1 Billion Naira. It is not for nothing that Anambra FADAMA 111 is regarded as the best in the country by the World Bank.
On roads and erosion, El Rufia is not even worth listening to. Today, Gov. Obi is working on over 27 erosion sites, either on-going or completed. Some of them are at Ebenebe; Umudim, Nnewi; Umuchiani, Ekwulobia; Umuchu; Umeze Uga, among others.
Disguising as a genuinely concerned crusader, El Rufai advised the government of Peter Obi to cut down on the size and cost of Governance. The sad implication of this is that Obi spend more money on governance. It is this singular line that exposed him as being after something else. How can somebody say this about Governor Obi? Obi has successfully cut the cost of governance in the State by 40%. Each year, he under utilizes the money for his office. In terms of security vote, it has remained the same since 2006 shortly before he became governor, in spite of the fact that he does visible, verifiable things with it.
By El Rufai’s viewpoint, he was being true to character. The opportunist and an inconsistent character that he is, he once considered Atiku a saint only to treat him as a sinner when the chips were down. Today, he speaks about him unrestrainedly, the same for Gen. Buhari, late President, Alhaji Musa Yar’Adua. Shall we sample him using just Yar-Adua?
“Yar'Adua comes from a tradition of high reverence for public service. I knew him more than three decades ago. While I was entering Barewa College , he was in the final year. Then, he was our House Captain, a leader right from his school days. I put my name and credibility on the line to say that Yar'Adua is the most honest governor in Nigeria. This can be judged by his achievements. People have to review what Governor Yar'Adua has done in the last eight years. Then, they will discover he has done excellently well unlike most of the state governors we have in the country today.” This is El Rufai, when he was campaigning for him to become President. When Yar’ Adua failed to appoint him a Minister, he described him in terms fit for renegades, calling him a complete failure both in business and governance. He spoke about his irresponsible smoking habits, his insubordination to school authority and many more.
Whenever something is at stake El Rufia takes leave of his reason and acts unbecomingly. What he is doing in Anambra State is trying in his own little way to deal with APGA government in the State since his party, CPC and ACN are discussing about going into alliance .
It is strange that Thisday newspaper, in its collective wisdom said in its paper of May 31, 2012 that Obi is the 4th best performing governor in the country. For El Rufai to still go ahead and write his piece means it is either Thiday as an institution is right and El Rufia wrong or vice versa. ( Continues below….. )
If we turn away from this gale people like El Rufai enjoy raising, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: Peter Obi clearing the arrears of pension, building over 20 bridges as nobody has attempted doing in the Sate, recording breakthroughs in erosion control , sustaining the culture of prudence being among the four States said to be financially sound. What else do you expect from him? This is perhaps the reason why he told me that he did not read the articles of people like El Rufai, who believing themselves to be geniuses lack the humility to understand the essence of things.
*DANA Plane Crash & On Overcoming Crisis and Tragedy
By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke
Since DANA plane disaster that killed all 153 passengers on board in Lagos a fortnight ago, I have followed the news very little due to my traveling itinerary for the past week and half. First, may the souls of DANA plane crash victims in Lagos, Nigeria rest in peace! Amen. May God Almighty comfort the bereaved families and give them the fortitude to bear these incalculable losses! The DANA plane crash that killed all 153 passengers on board including un-accounted people in the two-story building and its environ in Lagos, Nigeria, two Sundays ago is more than a national tragedy; I think it is a national disgrace and shame! The plane crash could have been avoided if DANA management is not so much interested in profit more than safety of human lives. I read that an investigation will be conducted. I hope they make these profiteers compensate handsomely for the incalculable loss of human lives.
I cringed and cried as I watched on a foreign news channel, the rescue and clean-up effort. It was the most disorganized, disorderly, and poorly managed rescue effort I have seen in my life. Thousands of ordinary citizens festered on the crash scene - some climbed on top of the wings of the plane that crashed. I have never seen such a horrible rescue mission like that before. Where were the so-called NEMA and other rescue operators in the State?
By the way, the DANA plane incident is just one among the series of tragedies that have befallen the nation since May 28, 2011. The nation is in a serious crisis and challenge of leadership – insecurity & terrorism, bribery& corruption, scams & 419, armed-robbery& kidnapping, jobless economy & high roof unemployment, among many social, economic, political, religious and moral issues. The nation needs lot of prayers and God's intervention now.
Interestingly, the DANA plane crash has become a big religious and spiritual discussion on the Internet. Many are asking: Why didn't God stop this tragedy? Why did God permit innocent children to perish like that? What has an entire family of wife, husband, and four babies including the unborn done to perish at one instance? Apparently this particular family lives in Connecticut, USA and had travelled to Nigeria to attend her younger brother's wedding. No doubt, this is going to be a dark and sad period for the surviving Anyene’s family! Also two sisters that reside in Houston, TX died in the plane crash as well. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An airborne Dana plane
It is always interesting that when tragedy like this sort happens, suddenly people begin to question God and seek explanation from religious and spiritual perspective. After 911, churches in America were packed-out with people who never stepped their foot into a church premises before. Others went to all kinds of religious and spiritual centers seeking for answers. For sure, tragedies such the DANA plane crash, 911, or hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, famines, floods, life threatening illnesses, sickness, disease, divorce, poverty, etc., are horrible and devastating events. And they are all forms of crises and adversities that we face each day in this world.
The Bible is so clear and teaches abundantly about crisis, adversity, tragedy, suffering, pain, grief, etc, that we will face in this world. In John 16:33, Jesus Christ said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Job 5:7 says, “Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Job 14:1 says, "Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.” Another translation said it this way, “man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.”
The reality is that crisis is a fact of life. We live in a crisis world. The Lord did not promise us a “crisis-free-world,” or “crisis-free-life.” What He did promise is that we can overcome each challenge, each crisis, or each tragedy when it comes.
Dr. Charles Stanley, the famous Baptist Pastor/Theologian, in his book: “When Tragedy Strikes,” writes, “Tragedy affects all cultures and societies. Sooner or later, every person will be faced with the difficulties and sadness associated with sudden and unexpected traumatic event that will change forever life as they know it.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: People at the crash siteEveryone who lives in this world will experience crisis and tragedy at some point. We are all vulnerable and fragile human-beings prone to crises and tragedies of life. Tragedy is inevitable and crisis is a fact of life. It may be small or big and it usually comes in different sizes and shapes. No matter how challenges and crisis come, the truth is that we can overcome it. We are all vulnerable to crisis and challenges of life, but we do have the inner strength and capacity to overcome any adversity of life.
Susan L. Taylor, the founder and president of National CARES Mentoring Movement and Center for Meditation Science, former chief-editor of Essence magazine, writes, “Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.”
Prophet Habakkuk, a minor prophet in Judah, prophesized and challenged his country men when he wrote, “But the righteous will live by his faith” - Habakkuk 2:4 (NASB) . The apostle Paul writes, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39) .
Second Corinthian 4:17-18 teaches us that “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Body of a victim being removed from the crash site
Second Corinthians 4:8-9 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” The apostle Paul summarized the care and comfort of God in Second Corinthians 1:3-4, when he wrote, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”
The Psalmist commands us to “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22). Jesus said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Prophet Jeremiah told us that “God promises to heal our wounds and restore us” - Jeremiah 30:17a.
Crisis, tragedy and adversity will come to all of us at some time in this life (Job 7:7; James 1:3, 4). When they do come, we believers must be strong in the Lord. We must look to Him as our refuge (Deuteronomy 33:27) and call on Him with confidence that His promise not to forsake us is true (Hebrew 13:5). To those who faithfully trust in God, He will give us grace and strength to endure (Isaiah 40:29; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Colossians 1:11; Joshua 1:6-9; Isaiah 41:10, 11 Jeremiah 29:11 Romans 8:28). And that’s my prayer for those going through any crises in their life now. May God strengthen each of us in our crisis and give the bereaving family of DANA plane crash the fortitude and strength to bear this huge and sudden loss.
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Asaba Airport: Let The Truth Be Told
Masterweb Reports - Friday, June 8, 2012: The N7.4billion spent on demolishing hills at Asaba Airport is still generating controversy. Government officials and government apologists have been defending the controversial expenditure.
Government officials have been singing discordant tunes on the expenditure. Some have reduced it to ethnic sentiments in order to win support from the people while others say it was part of the overall budget for the airport project and not a new one.
Let it be known that nobody has ever questioned the location of the airport in Asaba. It was a well conceived idea but poorly and abysmally executed. The airport is meant to boost the economy of the state. It is also meant as attract investment to that part of the state while also benefitting from the ever busy commercial city of Onitsha. The hospitality sector will thrive the more. In essence, the Asaba airport is meant to enhance the economy of the state and help in creating employment.
No one too has looked at the airport from an ethnic colouration. Delta Central already has an airport in Osubi near Warri, which serves the need of Delta Central and Delta South. So an additional airport in Delta Central is out of the question.
What Deltans are quarrelling with is the cost of the project. Having spent over twenty billion naira (N20billion) in the airport project without an end in sight, Deltans are querying the wisdom behind spending an additional N7.4billion in demolishing hills at the airport. This is the grouse of Deltans. The airport project is now the goose that lays the golden egg for the looters of the state treasury. This is what government and government apologists have refused to talk about. If there is transparency as claimed by Delta State government, how come no one knows the true cost of the project? Why are they hiding the cost of the project which so far is the most expensive in the country?
Eminent Deltans including “Vanguard” Publisher, Chief Sam Amuka have questioned the wisdom N7.4billion in demolishing hills while there are more pressing needs in the state. A report in the “Vanguard” says “ PUBLISHER and Chairman, Vanguard Media Limited, Mr. Sam Amuka, Thursday charged Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State to tackle the security challenges facing the state. He also asked the governor to explain why over N7.4 billion would be spent on clearing mountains of sand at the Asaba airport, saying Deltans need to know to be more informed on the matter”. M.A Mukoro, Esq, of Delta Rescue Mission (DRM) calls the expenditure “financial recklessness and executive irresponsibility”.
It is only a clueless government that will spend such an amount of money in demolishing hills when students’ bursary are not paid. Where are our priorities?
In a well attended Press Conference in Asaba, a few days before the BRACED Commission Summit, the Commissioner of Economic Planning gleefully announced to the whole world that “Delta State government on Tuesday said it has approved the contract for the demolition of hills surrounding the Asaba Airport to allow for bigger aircrafts to land.
Commissioner for Economic Planning, Kenneth Okpara, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the State Executive Council meeting, stated that the contract was initially awarded to one firm at the sum of N7.4 billion. Okpara stated that the demolition of the hills became necessary so that “special and bigger” aircrafts can start landing before the commencement of the South-south Economic Summit scheduled for April ending.
“The President is coming to the summit and we want him to land here in Asaba and not in Benin,” he stated, adding that “we have just ten days to put the airport in proper shape because that is one of the conditions given by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for bigger aircrafts to land.”
The opposition to this development reverberated all over the state. The state government was going to spend N7.4biilion in ten days to demolish hills at the airport so that President Jonathan’s aircraft could land at Asaba was something the citizens of the state could not understand. This excludes the billions that would be spent in hosting the delegates. This is happening in spite of the myriads of problems confronting the state. To Deltans, it was unacceptable.
This opposition to this wasteful expenditure led the state government to look for ways of managing the situation and diffusing tension. From the Governor’s explanation it became more difficult to know the truth of this N7.4billion. In a forum in Warri “Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan says the ongoing expansion of the Asaba International Airport was aimed at meeting the requirements of the Aviation regulatory authorities to enable bigger planes land at the airport.
“Speaking in Effurun while responding to the issue raised over the airport by the publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka at an on-going retreat tagged ‘Landmarks and Legacies’, Governor Uduaghan said with the success so far recorded in the use of the airport by smaller planes, people are now anxious to see bigger planes land at the airport.
According to him, “We are on target to make the Asaba International Airport meet the required standards set by the aviation authorities and we are doing everything necessary to ensure that larger planes can land there”.
Continuing, he said, “there is so much pressure for bigger planes to start landing at our airport and we needed to speed up the pace so that when the regulatory authorities come, they would see that we have done all we need to do”.
The Governor clarified that the regulatory authorities requested that the hills around the airport must be reduced as one of the requirements to be met before approval can be given to enable bigger planes land at the airport.
The Governor added that the demolition of the hills had nothing to do with the visit of dignitaries to the recently concluded South South Summit at Asaba.
In his words, “the contract to bring down the hills around the airport was not awarded because of the South South Summit, the contract had been awarded from the onset but the contractor was slow, so because of the time frame, we had to engage two other contractors to fast track the completion of the work”.
Explaining further, Dr. Uduaghan said the ongoing work to demolish the hills is at no additional cost to the total project sum as it was conceptualized from the beginning.”
The governor’s explanation raised more questions. Was N7.4billion awarded for the demolition of hills at Asaba Airport? Was this amount not too high for such a project? If actually, the demolition of the airport was not for the presidential jet to land and not for the summit, how come the rush to demolish the hills in ten days before the commencement of the summit?
All Deltans are asking is for the government to honestly tell them the truth about this project and other projects in the state. It is only when this trust have been built that the citizens of this great state will become more responsive to the government.
Threatening Deltans that “the governor has many powers; he can do whichever thing he likes. The governor has powers to demolish any house and he has power to even kill, whatever you can think of...” will not make Delta State a better place. Deltans never elected anybody to kill them but someone that will improve their lives. Any unconstitutional means used by any elected official to suppress the will of the people will be resisted. In any case, history has never favoured any despot.
The only way that Deltans will stop question the actions of government is when there is good governance and provision of dividends of democracy. Let us discuss on ideas that will move the state forward and not threats. Let there be fertilization of ideas in the state.
Meanwhile, what is the truth about this N7.4billion?
Delta Rescue Mission
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
*Nigeria: Poem In Memory of Dana Air Crash Victims
By Ikenna Sampson
THE ILL-FATED FLYING COFFIN
Whose faces are the pretty charm? Gone through this ill-fated harm, Like the burnt woods in the farm, As if it was in their daily plan, But then lies roasted from the jam.
Imagine the times of their departure As they walk into the ill-fated coffin, To migrate from the homely resident shores Farewells and smiles were hands and faces, Waving as they fly to seek western places, Then the ugly scene claimed their faces.
What caused it and from whose authority? That was supposed to be their security. Who would have stood to sight this stains? As efforts were made but all in vain, But then, all had been eaten by the flames, Leaving us with a constant rain of pain, As we watch roasted bodies as the remains.
My cries for the victims and their misfortune All lost on the quest for pleasures and fortunes. My cries for their families now painfully insane, All married to an ugly hollow piecing pain. I shed the tears of our heart broken nation, For gone are our likes the children of the nation.
I cease to watch the pictures of this gloom That keeps me wakeful in tears in my room. The pretty faces which to us are dear, Now no more, and it’s hard to bear. But one thing makes me not to ponder, Even when all day long I still wonder, That the almighty God will grant them rest in his arms And give us strength to bear the loss and the harm. May their gentle soul rest in perfect peace
(IN MEMORY OF THE VICTIMS OF DANA PLANE CRASH VICTIMS)
Ikenna Sampson ( email@example.com )
Photo Above: Body of a victim being removed from Dana crash site
Photo Above: People at Dana crash site
*Pastor Oyakhilome’s Theory of Masturbation, Alcoholism & Smoking
Masterweb Reports - Saturday, June 2, 2012: Pastor Chris Oyakhilome is the owner of Believers Love World Fellowship which metamorphosed into Christ Embassy International Ministries. This Church has a regular membership of over 3 million in Nigeria alone and fans of over ten million people who belong to other denominations but see Pastor Chris as their alternative pastor. Inadvertently Pastor Chris Oyakhilome controls over twelve million people in Nigeria especially the youth and middle aged. His telecast is still the most viewed among Nigerian Christians including Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Methodists and Pentecostal brethren.
This Pastor recently stirred the hornets’ nest in the month of February 2012 when answering a question on how to overcome masturbation said thus ‘’masturbation in itself is not a sin against God. Satan uses it in oppressing the mind and make them feel ineffective and inefficient in the sight of God. But once you understand that it’s got nothing to do with God, its about you and your own body…’’ When people thought that his position was a slip of tongue, He defended it in another telecast weeks later and called it a habit which has nothing to do with God. The same pastor weeks later added that alcoholism and smoking is not a sin, rather it is just a habit. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Pastor Chris Oyakhilome
This theory of masturbation not being a sin is not biblical. Masturbation is a besetting sin. A besetting sin is a habit that sticks to someone as though it is normal. A sin that has become a habit is called a besetting sin. Some people call it entangling sin because it entangles a person, thereby making escape difficult. . In Hebrew Chapter 12 verse 1-2 the scripture says that ‘’ wherefore seeing we are also compassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which easily besets us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith’’ In Nigeria now, corruption has become a besetting sin, our religious leaders encourage it and release anointing for the corrupt Congregationalist to escape the arms of the law. However, this does not remove the fact that corruption is evil in the sight of God.
Smoking of Cigarettes, Indian Hemps, Cocaine, Marijuana or whatever are besetting sins. They are normalised anomalies. Masturbation is one of them. In Nigeria today, fornication has become so rampant that it has a besetting sin. People now discuss their sexual escapades with different people as a status symbol.
The Bible has a standard. In Matthew Chapter 5 verse 8 Jesus Christ said that ‘’ but I tell you that whosoever looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’’ This implies that sin starts from the heart. Masturbation definitely involves constant lustful imaginations which the victim indulges in as a means of vitiating sexual pressures. Students of demonology have discovered that those sexual images which follow masturbation are actually pictures from the marine world juxtaposed on the persons’ sub-conscious and he begins to imagine some sexy looking man or woman. Some persons get initiated into the company of a spirit husband or wife after orgies of masturbation. In addition, a masturbator will definitely get tired of the self indulgence and would want to experiment with actual sex, leading to fornication or adultery.
Smoking of cigarettes has become a fanciful habit which a lot of persons want to break away from without success. The late minister of health Professor Olukoye Ransome Kuti said that he quit decades of smoking the day he was appointed as Minister of Health by Ibrahim Babangida in 1985. All his previous attempts to quit the bad habit failed until he made a resolution that as the chief health officer of Nigeria he cannot be a bad example, which was how he secured his freedom. If those referred to as unbelievers want to quit smoking, how can a Born Again Christian justify feeding on what pagans, atheists and animists are struggling to quit. The producers and hawkers of cigarettes warn that the substance is dangerous to health.
Alcoholism is an intoxicant which persons use to feel good and fight depression. A lot of sicknesses are directly related to it and the manufacturers will always warn that it is not for those below the age of eighteen. A lot of family breadwinners have expended all their live savings on alcohol while the wife and children are left unattended to.
Therefore for a pastor who directly influences over three million persons in Nigeria and indirectly influences another twelve million fans that belong to other churches to encourage these habits, the end has really come. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Holy Bible
The implications of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s open cheque is that many young men and women running into millions will join the league of masturbators, fornicators, adulterers, smokers of cigarettes, Indian hemp, cocaine and consumers of different brands of alcohol; Whisky, Schnapps, ‘Sapele Water’, ‘Kaikai’, Akpuru-achai’ etc. In these trying seasons for Nigeria and Africa, this pastor has led his congregation and that of others astray. Apostle Paul said in Galatians Chapter 1 verse 8-9 says ‘’ but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse ! As we have already said now I say again: if anyone is preaching a gospel other than the one you have accepted, let that one be under God’s curse’’
Influential pastors are now blessing masturbation, drunkenness and smoking. Soon others will bless watching pornographic materials, same-sex marriage and marriage to pythons, cobras, dogs, baboons and horses. Later they will begin to sanction occultism, human sacrifice, flying in the night and astral projections in the church. In the height of it they will remove Christ as the centre piece and replace him with the man of sin, the Antichrist, who will exalt himself as God in the temple of God as illustrated in 2 Thessalonians Chapter 2, Verse 3-8. This appearance of the man of sin will precede the second coming of Jesus Christ. The level of hero worship that Christian faithful give their leaders is a dress rehearsal of the level of worship the antichrist will receive in the church when he finally arrives. Replacing the views of God as outlined in the scripture with the views of the Senior Pastor or Archbishop who is prone to mistakes and fallibility could lead a sincere faithful to hell fire while the errant pastor might repent at the last moment and escape to heaven.
This constant replacement of scriptural truth with the doctrines of men is as old as Christianity but somehow the Church have always found its way back to the path. The early church was moving in the right direction, preserving the faith the Apostles until Emperor Constantine and Co-Emperor Lucinius passed the Edict of Milan in 313 which proclaimed religious tolerance for all religions in Roman Empire, signaling the end of the era of brutal persecution of the church. Constantine the Great became a Christian and his conversion made Christianity fashionable and a lot of pagan converts clung to all manners of practices and theories which formed part of their former religion. These paganistic practices quenched the fire of the early church, leading to a lot of schisms, heresies and apostasies and eventually ushered in the period known as the dark ages of the Church.
The situation so much deteriorated that the church had to suppress the growing schisms with ecclesiastical proscriptions, anathema, imprisonment and in few cases execution. This schism was so intense that in 1378 a group of Italian Cardinals elected Urban VI as Pope while later in the same year another group of French Cardinals elected Clement VII as Pope who established his seat of papacy in Avigon, France. The two groups were excommunicating each other from the church. The Papacy in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation restored the rights of the laity to possess, read and translate the Bible. Therefore the views of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome are a modern day replica of the gradual introduction of strange ideas in the early church which nearly suffocated the spiritual efficacy of the church.
The silence of the mainstream Pentecostal leadership towards this theory is dangerous. Our Christian leaders have suddenly lost their voices while a false doctrine is circulating among the church. Other matters are currently occupying their attention. Whether these ecclesiastical authorities condemned it or not is immaterial, what matters is the word of God. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 19-20 ‘’ do you not know that your body is the temple of the holy spirit who is in you whom you have received from God, you are not your own: you were bought with a price, therefore honour God with your body’’. 1 Corinthians Chapter 6 Verse 18 say’’ flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whosoever sins sexually, sins against their own body’’ while ‘’Isaiah Chapter 5 Verse 11 says’’ woe unto them that rise up early in the morning that they may follow strong drink, that continues until night that wine inflames them’’ and verse 22 says ‘’ woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and .men of strength to mingle strong drink’’
Therefore it is obvious that a Christian has a duty to honour God with his body and not to resign himself to habits injurious to the health of man and the laws of God. These habits and besetting sins are part of why Jesus Christ came, to take away sins and give us power to overcome all these desires. Power over self and sinful habits is more important to the Christian than acquisition of all manners of fame, female and finance but modern days Christianity have elevated prosperity to heights inconsistent with the scriptures. If religious faithful cry unto God for deliverance from bad habits the way they fast and pray for political appointments, marital breakthrough and the death of all their enemies, these besetting sins and habits will leave them and get back to where it came from.
*APGA Crisis: Don’t insult Ojukwu –Uwazuruike warns Umeh
The leader of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike has warned the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Umeh over attacks on the family of the late Chukwuemeka Ojukwu.
According to the MASSOB leader, “we warn Chief Victor Umeh to desist from dragging the name of Ojukwu in the mud. In as much as we are not interested in Nigeria, we will not fold our hands and allow anybody to degrade Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s family.”
Chief Uwazuruike further said “Chief Umeh has no right whatsoever to stop or persuade people not to attend a meeting in Ojukwu’s house. Ojukwu is highly revered in Igboland, his image and personality should not be dragged into selfish and rancorous politics.”
MASSOB also warned the APGA national chairman “to stop using Alhaji Shinkafi to insult Ojukwu’s family or we shall strip him naked and ostracize him for dragging Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s family name in the mud.”
All efforts to get Chief Victor Umeh’s reaction proved abortive as all calls put through his mobile phones were not responding as at the time of filing this report. Meanwhile, Special Adviser to Anambra State Governor on Parks and Markets, Chief Sylvester Nwobu Alor has said APGA has died under the leadership of Chief Victor Umeh.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Chief Nwobu Alor said the party died even before the death of the former Biafran warlord and leader of the party, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Nwobu Alor blamed the development on poor leadership. According to him, the party, under the leadership of the embattled National Chairman, Chief Victor Umeh had not faired well, adding that the party had come to total collapse which only complete restructuring could save.
“All I am saying is that only a restructuring of APGA is good enough and it is being accepted by the generality of the people that we need to put APGA back on track because it is almost dead having lost almost all the seats in the National Assembly, the party is as good as dead.”
Nwobu Alor also accused the national leadership of trying to deceive the generality of the people that all was well with the party while “the party is dead and it died even before Ojukwu, so nobody should believe the death of the party began when Ojukwu died.”
On the recent meeting held in Ojukwu’s residence in Enugu, Governor Obi’s uncle maintained that the aim of the meeting was to brainstorm on possible ways of restructuring the party so that it could win elections in different parts of the country.
Photo Above: Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
Photo Above: Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, MASSOB Leader.
*Press Release (By DRM): Delta State Groping In Avoidable Darkness
May 29, 2012: We welcome all Deltans to this annual ritual of the anniversary of the so called Democracy Day
So it is another Democracy day. What are we actually celebrating in Delta State? What democratic culture, practice or dividend is there to celebrate in Delta State since 1999?
Delta State has not had it so bad. As in the past so it is with the present and even worse with the Uduaghan regime. It is a highly unimaginative and clueless government that has no agenda for the development of the State except wondrous projects such as the asphalt tarring of the middle of a dilapidated road from Effurun Roundabout to the Oleri haven. Or is it the paper tiger that is called Warri Industrial Park? You want a Delta without oil, good, but where do we place the moribund Bendel Glass Factory Ughelli and the African Timber and Plywood Factory Sapele in a Delta without oil? His Excellency has correctly stated unemployment as the most challenging social issue in Delta State as indeed in other parts of Nigeria. How in the past four years of the first tenure has the oil boom revenue to the state been ploughed into the real sectors to generate jobs for the teeming unemployed? The mania about direct foreign investment will only make sense when the state builds confidence in potential investors by showcasing its own investment in the local state economy, If you are serious about the relentless call for Delta without oil, let charity immediately begin at home and the time is now; we have heard enough sermons of intention, we want the intention actioned in concrete policies, programmes and projects to actualise the lofty desires.
Delta Rescue Mission (DRM) has noted with dismay the decay in governance and infrastructure. Since 1999, the people’s will has not been allowed to prevail. There has always been imposition of candidates on the people though later confirmed by the courts because of the difficulty in producing convincing evidence in court, but the people know better who they gave their votes to and who is ruling without their mandate; but the courts have spoken and there must be an end to litigation.
Uduaghan’s Government has been dull and uninspiring but with enough sycophants willing to turn black into white, the people are confronted and confounded with superlative performance on television against the opposing reality in their localities. Rather than the State moving forward, it has stagnated on a number of variables and has slipped into retrogression on many fronts.
Delta State is in a state of collapse and economic quagmire. The filth of copiously hopeless waste management is an embarrassing stigma as refuse from drains heaped on roads does liter those roads for days and weeks on end. The roads, health sector, education, security, employment, agriculture are nothing to write home about. In terms of human indices and development, Delta State is on the slide. The credit claimed for improved security is most insincere; Delta State is fast returning to the hobbesian state of nature where the fittest survive and criminal impunity is on the rise in all aspects of our society.
The only thing that this Government has been known for is profligacy. Over- inflated contracts have been awarded severally and most of the jobs are never done. Abandoned projects litter the State. A Government that spends N7.4 Billion to demolish anthills and refer to patriotic critics as detractors cannot be said to be a serious and prudent Government. Since the inception of this Republic, Delta State has been noted for corruption and corruption alone. Any wonder that the former Governor of this State is jailed in London for money laundering. The same fate awaits those who will not learn any lesson from this.
DRM calls on the State House of Assembly to rise up to the challenge by performing their constitutional functions of oversight so that Delta State will be a place that Deltans will be proud of. Deltans and history will never forgive them if they decide to dine with the executive in a criminal conspiracy of maladministering the State. The temptation to reach the conclusion that the legislators are periodically settled to be idle is substantiated by the curious silence of the honourables on issues of development and corruption and their enviable lifestyles.
DRM calls on all Deltans not to sit on the fence but to rise up as one and democratically elect a Government of their choice come whenever they are invited to the polls. The platform has been provided. DRM will not rest on its oars irrespective of the intimidation from some quarters in ensuring that Delta State is rescued from the hands of shenanigans, looters of the treasury and election riggers. There is no job for youths but there is an armada of political employees called special advisers who have no known jobs but who pick profane monthly pay packages, weep not governor, you have created jobs for those you care about. The rest of us should wait for our miracles.
Today, there is nothing to celebrate in Delta State. We call on all Deltans to begin to sensitize, mobilize and join democratic forces in democratically providing policy alternatives to this inert and inept Government come when the time comes. For now, it is not yet uhuru in Delta State.
M. Ahweyevuu Mukoro Esq
Director General, Delta Rescue Mission (DRM).
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Delta State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
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