*Nigeria: The Art of Misleading A President
By Kali Gwegwe
While it is not criminal for a magistrate or judge to err in law, same cannot be said of a president when he or she errs in democracy. In law, an appellate court will simply correct the error which is also seen as “mistake of law.” In a presidential democracy, the electorates will correct an erring president by voting him out of office if he or she is seeking re-election. On the other hand, the electorates are easily persuaded to embrace the opposition if the erring president is not seeking re-election. This has happened several times in American presidential democracy.
There is an emerging line of reasoning that sound political leaders can never be misled by their lieutenants in a democracy. This is not true. It must be noted that different people are in government for diverse reasons. While some are for service, others for personal gains. There are still some who seek power just to protect the interests or agendas of third party organizations. Of greater worry are those who stay in government to deliberately give counsels that will pitch the people against government. In most cases, those who prime themselves to deliberately mislead political leaders wear honourable personalities and also parade very attractive credentials that can flatter anybody. They are the ones I term “false patriots.” This is what Jesus Christ said of such people in Matthew 24:24-25, “For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.” There are very many “false patriots” in the corridors of power in Abuja. The only way to survive this minority but influential clan of “false patriots” is for the president to stand with the masses.
One question that readily comes to mind at this point is: why are political leaders easily misled by “false patriots” even in the light of all the deliberate designs put in place to protect the culture of democracy and promote good governance? Specifically, political leaders are misled due to the peculiar template of democratic bureaucracy, where internal independence is usually granted some specialized sectors such as military, economy, agriculture, science and technology. For instance, current and past global economic crisis are products of internal independence granted some specialised agencies of governments in the West. To be more specific, former president George Bush of the United States was misled into ordering the invasion of Iraq in 2003 owing to false intelligence. It has now become clear that internal independence gives too much room for administration officials to mislead political leaders and heads of national government. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
As part of efforts to effectively tackle this problem, most legislatures in the developed climes have responded by showing deeper interests in critical national issues that are traditionally left in the hands of the executive arm of government. The aim is to safeguard national security and economy. In almost all advanced democracies today, national security has been elaborated to consciously identify causes of dissent arising from unpopular government policies. Members of the legislature and the media play a major role in this regard.
It is in realization of this important fact that the fanatical anti-subsidy apostles in Nigeria have now shifted their battle to the sacred floors of the National Assembly in Abuja. The aim is to lure lawmakers to endorse plans by the federal government to remove fuel subsidy next year after stiff opposition from NLC, TUC, NUPENG, NBA, and other pro-masses organizations. Nigerian masses have come to the conclusion that the promised palliative measures cannot adequately compensate for their already feeble purchasing power that will be further weakened by the increase in the prices of goods and services that have direct and indirect link with petrol. This writer does not know of any product or service that does not have direct or indirect attachment to petrol.
One basic fact need to be highlighted here. The nation’s economic advisers and fiscal policy formulators are lazy and non-creative. They are merely “copying and pasting” foreign fiscal policies. An economic strategy that works in country A may not necessarily do well in country B. This is because population, literacy level, culture, religion, science and technology determines which policy works where and when. The IMF and World Bank have all accepted this fact. Sadly however, both the IMF and World Bank are quick in advising developing economies to devalue their currencies and abandon subsidy regimes. But unknown to many, the United States, Canada, and members of the European Union subsidize critical sectors of their economies in order to protect their citizens cum national security. High unemployment, poverty, and hunger pose great threats to the national security of a country.
In 2010, the European Union spent €57 billion on agricultural development programme. Of this amount, €39 billion was spent on direct subsidies. Who is fooling who? The West is indeed fooling Africans. They are however using some of our willing intellectuals to do so. It is the duty of every government to identify the critical sector in its economy to intervene. Frankly, it would be wide of the mark for Nigeria to remove fuel subsidy because Britain or the United did so. It is so sad that our fiscal policy formulators and economic advisers have become so lethargic that they have relegated themselves to merely copying and pasting foreign fiscal policies that do not fit with our peculiar circumstances. ( Continues below….. )
For months now, our nation’s “false patriots” have been fighting dirty to win the subsidy removal battle. It is extremely absurd for anyone to remind Nigerian masses of the pump price of petrol in the United States, Canada, or Europe all in a bid to buttress their campaign for the removal of fuel subsidy. Apart from the fact that unemployment figures are low in those climes, they also have cheap and efficient mass transportation systems, discounted housing and health care programs. These are just a few of the safety nets put in place by governments in developed democracies to protect the welfare of their citizens. These safety nets were not deployed in four or eight years. For instance, it would take up to a decade to build an effective national transportation infrastructure. That is one reason why those who are in a position to appreciate what it would take government to put in place safety nets to cushion the effects of withdrawal of fuel subsidy suspect government’s sincerity. For the avoidance of doubt, it would cost government more than what it spends on fuel subsidy to deploy effective safety nets to cushion the effects of increase in the price of petrol. Government should not make the mistake of tying the deployment of new and the rehabilitation of existing national public infrastructure to the removal of fuel subsidy. It is something government owes the citizenry.
It will also be necessary to remind the minority clan of anti-subsidy campaigners that Nigerians would be too willing to buy a liter of petrol for even N150 if public and private sector workers earn as much as their contemporaries do in America and Europe. Instead of being creative, the nation’s fiscal policy formulators and economic experts in government have chosen to take the short-cut to national transformation by merely copying and pasting World Bank and IMF prescriptions. It is longer secret that both the World Bank and IMF are tools used by the West to pursue their hidden economic agendas against developing countries especially in Africa. Most of the fiscal prescriptions that come out of the World Bank and IMF are usually anti-people and specifically designed to pitch the masses in developing countries against their governments so as to brew economic crisis and consequent social dissent. With this, they would be able to discreetly sabotage rapid economic growth in Africa and protect the export-based economies of Western democracies. Some of such fiscal prescriptions are Structural Adjustment Program, Currency Devaluation, and Anti-Subsidy policy.
The time has come for President Jonathan to hear the truth. There are too many “false patriots” in his administration. No doubt, they are honourable in appearance and eloquent during debates. The truth is that they do not mean well for him and Nigeria. Like it is in every developed country, the people are the centerpiece of democracy. For this singular reason, any policy that will injure the welfare of the people must be jettisoned. Call for the removal of fuel subsidy is one of them. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
It has been very clear right from the onset that the federal government’s fiscal plan of withdrawing fuel subsidy next year is not the idea of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nevertheless, he will bear whatever consequences that may arise from it. This is the major reason why the president must ignore the minority clan of well-heeled elites and stand with the Nigerian masses like he promised during the campaign season. To do this, President Jonathan would have to quickly separate reality from cheap logic as being postulated by some of his lieutenants in the corridors of power.
For the avoidance doubt, it is the fundamental responsibility of government to see that the welfare of the citizens is protected through deliberate policies with human face. The planned removal of fuel subsidy would not have human face as far as the poor and hapless Nigerian masses are concerned. Government should rather look for other means of raising money to fund the nation’s socio-economic framework. In the last five decades, it has been the low and middle class that have shouldered the burden of national transformation, leaving the wealthy few to swim in their typically questionable affluence. Government can raise up to N1 trillion by imposing 2% annual tax (for 5 years from date of purchase) on every private car above N3 million, 2% tax on every private residential house costing more than N7 million, 1% on each local flight ticket, 2% on each international flight ticket, 2% tax on accommodation in luxury hotels, and 50% reduction in the salaries and allowances of elected and appointed government officials.
Furthermore, government should build more refineries and also ensure that the four existing ones operate at optimum capacities. With this, the pump price of petrol will fall in line with what is obtainable in other OPEC countries, where a liter of petrol sells between N9 and N45. The masses should not be punished for the deliberate ineptitude of some government officials that sabotaged our local refineries in order to promote the fuel import business.
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Nigeria: Aero, Arik Airfares on Lagos-Benin Route Outrageous says Edo Deputy Speaker
By Lateef Lawal
The Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Festus Ebea has described as outrageous the fares being charged by Aero Contractors and Arik Air on the Lagos/Benin routes. Speaking at the just concluded delegates’ conference of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), in Asaba, Delta State, Ebea described the high fares charged on the routes by the airlines as another 'British Airways' price fixing on the domestic routes.
According to the him, charging N26,000 as fare on a thirty five minutes flight was very outrageous and unacceptable and called on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to look into the matter urgently. He declared. “But again I said he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, Arik and Aero the fares they charge between Benin and Lagos, 35 minutes flight is outrageous. But when you fly to Abuja you get lesser fare. What is the NCAA doing about it?” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Aerocontractors Plane
The Deputy Speaker, who was a former Personal Assistant to the managing director of the liquidated Nigeria Airways, while commending the transformation in the aviation sector especially with the attainment of the Category One status, said a lot needed to be done. He remarked that any nation without a national carrier was doomed in the aviation World as it will be difficult to launder her image. “A country that is in dire need of identification, a country that is in dire need of image laundry, we have everything that can showcase that on every front. Even private airlines can exist side by side with a national carrier but I was thinking after the death of Nigeria Airways, allowing private airlines to flourish will answer the question of most of the problems the aviation industry but it is not there. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
On the recent reversal of slot of British Airways by the government, Hon Ebea applauded the action and called for improvement on airport security across the country adding that the airports were porous. “Security is still an issue in the aviation industry. Nigerian airport is the only airport you come to and you will be seeing people you don’t know if they have business being there. You coming out of the arrival hall you are seeing people you cannot even identify”. Ebea called on the government as a matter of urgency address the dearth of pilots and engineers in the country in order to rescue the industry from total collapse.
He noted that in the next two years, most of the ageing pilots and engineers in the system would have voluntarily retired and urged government to further fund the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria, in order to train pilots there instead of sending them to South Africa.
“We still need to do more in terms of training to ensure there is sustainability in the industry. People go to South Africa, they want to become pilots, within two years they are back, we don’t have that because I still know that in as much as we still give kudos to the present administration for sustaining training in NCAT, I don’t think they are graduating as at when due because of lack of training equipment”
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Imperative For Values-Based Leadership In Nigeria, Africa
By Uchechukwu Chris Arinze
The recently released Mo Ibrahim African Governance Index report for year 2011 which ranked Nigeria at position 41 out of 53 African countries in its governance index report inspired this article when viewed against the backdrop of our socio-economic and political condition. The report in its assessment of Nigeria on four governance indicators Viz: Safety and Rule of Law, Participation and Human Rights, Sustainable Economic Opportunity and Human Development returned a damning verdict on the quality of governance and leadership in the country. Out of 100 marks, Nigeria score 41 for governance quality and scored lower than the regional average for west Africa, which was 51 and lower than the continental average, 50. Its highest rank was in sub-categories of Rights and Education (26th) and lowest in Health (51st). In retrospect, over the past five years, between 2006 and 2010, Nigeria has consistently been found wanting on virtually all key governance indicators. For instance, out of the 48 ranked countries then, Nigeria was the 40th in 2010, 35th in 2009 and 39th in 2008 respectively. Despite the fact that the 2011 report includes new indicators for assessment like Physical and Telecommunications infrastructure, Gender, Health, Welfare Service Provision; and Economic Management. Mauritius, Cape Verde, Seychelles and South Africa, performed creditably well in all the four categories. In terms of Good Governance, Mauritius clinched the first position, while Cape Verde came second. Among the 16 nations in the West Africa sub-region, Ghana was rated first in the sub-region and 7th in Africa, while Nigeria, the giant of Africa, maintained the 13th position in West Africa, while Somalia maintained its usual last position in Africa and Liberia and Sierra Leone recorded the most striking improvement in Governance, two countries that have emerged from protracted civil war. While Liberia improved across all four categories of assessment.
From the foregoing, the importance of good governance, exemplary leadership, and efficient management of resources cannot be overemphasized. Good and visionary leadership is necessary in providing a sense of direction towards achieving individual and collective goals, as well as the harnessing and proper management, utilization and allocation of limited resources for the satisfaction of basic needs of the citizenry. At this juncture it is pertinent to define the meaning of the two keywords Values and Leadership in order to avoid ambiguity. The advanced Chambers Dictionary of contemporary English Language usage defines Values as moral principles and standards, while Leadership is the ability to show the way by going first, to direct and to guide. Since there is no consensus as to the acceptable standard definition of leadership which led Warren Bennis et al, an authority in the field of leadership in their book entitled–“Leaders” to posit that “like love, leadership continued to be something everybody knew existed but nobody could define” And they went further to assert that there are more than 350 definitions of leadership”. But they conceded to the fact that one thing which is undisputable and not subject to semantic differences about leadership is that “ it is the pivotal force behind successful organization.” The organization in this case could be the home, government establishment, the places of worship (Churches, Mosques and Synagogues), educational institutions, business organizations (Private and Public) community development associations et cetera. The inference that could be drawn from the above definitions is that a Values-based leadership is a leadership model centered or anchored on moral principles and standards. A leadership that has a sense of right and wrong, and has the moral courage to choose what is right for the benefit of its citizens. A leadership with a sense of compassion and understanding. A leadership based on the core moral principles of interigrity, patriotism, dynamism, pragmatism, vision, courage, social justice, equity, fairness, transparency, accountability, prudent management of scarce, human and material resources, sacrifice, selfless service and above all respect for the value and dignity of the human person. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Since the emergence of Nigeria as a sovereign entity from British colonial rule on October 1st 1960, it has been grappling with lots of challenges. But the most pressing of all its challenges is the absence of visionary, transformative and exemplary leadership. A fact corroborated by the Nigerian celebrated literary giant and author of Things Fall Apart, the David and Marianna Fisher Professor of literature and Africana Studies at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S-Chinua Achebe in his book entitled: The Trouble With Nigeria, rightly posited that “…The Nigeria Problem is the unwillingness or inability of it’s leaders to rise to the responsibility and challenges of personal example, which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” With a population in excess of hundred and sixty-seven (167) million people, according to recent data released by the National Population Commission (NPC) and approximate land mass of one million square kilometers, suitable for commercial agriculture and abundant solid minerals, largely untapped, prides itself as the most populous Black Country in the world. Ranked among the top ten crude oil and natural gas exporters in the world by the Vienna, Austria-based organization of petroleum exporting countries, (OPEC), with daily crude oil output of 2.2 million barrels per day (Mbpd), and a total of 32.8 cubit metres of natural gas daily. Nigeria has a gross domestic product of (GDP) of $ 248 billion, while her GDP Per Capita is $1,600, which when adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP), would be about $ 2,400 per annum.
Yet, Nigeria with all these potentials and resource endowments ranks as one of the poorest countries in the world. With high unemployment rate at an all-time high of 20.1 per cent, low life expectancy, averaging 45 years for men and women, with over 70 percent of its citizens living below the poverty line, coupled with its worst economic indices of human development not only in sub-Saharan Africa region, but the world at large, scoring an appalling 0.511 points and ranked 158th out of 182 countries in the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Human Development Index (HDI) report for year 2009, this ranking placed Nigeria at the bottom of human development, only managed to scale above Togo, Malawi and Niger. In terms of perception and image in the international community, the country has not fared better either. The annual corruption perception index (CPI) report for year 2007 of the German-based Transparency International (TI), ranks Nigeria as the 147th most corrupt countries in the world out of 179 countries polled. The CPI is based on the perception of foreign businessmen and fifteen (15) surveys from nine (9) independent institutions respectively. Prof. Achebe in an Op-Ed article in the New York Times of January 15th, 2011 entitled: Nigeria’s Promise, Africa’s Hope, stated that “since independence in 1960, an estimated sum of four hundred Billion Dollars ($400 Billion) has been mismanaged by previous administrations in this country, which is more than the gross domestic products of Norway and Sweden combined.” This fact was recently confirmed by the authoritative International News Magazine-TIME, in its special Timeframes issue of December 6th, 2010 on page 17, which chronicled global events between 2000-2010, the magazine reported that money leaving Africa illegally (Nigeria, Inclusive!), increased from $13.1 billion in 2000 to $77.8 billion in 2010. In a similar vein, Global Financial Integrity estimates that over the past 40 years over 854 billion dollars have been illegally transferred out of African nations with Nigeria’s estimated loss of over 240 billion dollars topping the list. The United States Foreign Policy magazine published a list of failed states index (FSI), which since 2006 put Nigeria in the highest red alert classification, with FSI of 90 or more. That indicates high vulnerability to collapse. A failed state, according to the Crisis States Research Centre of the United States is “a state that can no longer perform its basic security and development functions and has no effective control over its territory and borders, the evidence is all over Nigeria, that the various indicators released by the various competent international organizations were not mere fabrications, but fact of realities on ground.
Leadership, according to Jean Jacques Rousseau is a social contract between the leader and the followers. This relationship is bound by the element of trust and needs to be nurtured and sustained by a culture of interigrity and uprightness. With it comes responsibility and exemplary conduct. Such leadership has zero tolerance for mediocrity, inefficiency, double standard, favouritism, nepotism, corruption and pettiness. Former U.S President Dwight Eisenhower once described leadership as the “Art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. This demands that a Values-based leadership must command respect from its followers. The apathy, cynicism and pessimism with regard to government policies and pronouncements will give way to fresh air of trust, confidence, optimism and synergy between the leadership and the followers. The impact visionary and transformative leadership has on the Asian Tiger economies led by Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand and Hong Kong, Western countries led by the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland) as well as the emerging BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) respectively, is a testament of its positive effect on the society and the world at large. Singapores’ Lee Kuan Yew is a good case study, whose master piece-from Third World to First World, is a must read for our contemporary leaders and aspiring ones. It is to his credit that Singapore, once an impoverished country is among the fastest growing advanced economies in the world today. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Africa
The leadership crisis in Nigeria is as a result of wrong value system, that places so much premium on material possession (not minding how it was acquired) and status than good name, morals and ideology, greed, crass opportunism, materialism cum primitive acquisition of wealth, inordinate ambition to get rich quick, identity crisis, multiculturalism and diverse ethnic orientation of the country, with over 450 ethnic groupings, that has engendered internal struggle and competition for dominance and resource control at the detriment of other ethnic groups which led to instability in our socio-political system and the inevitable incursion of the military in our body polity with its attendant culture of arbitrariness and impunity, hence our inability to build, nurture and sustain strong social and democratic institutions which will guarantee the emergence of credible, competent, visionary, and exemplary leadership, we all yearn for. Nigeria’s misfortune after the Nigerian-Biafran civil war and the banning from political activities and subsequent death of it’s first generation leaders has seen the emergence of strings of either weak, ineffective, corrupt, demagogic, non-visionary, dictatorial rulers or leaders without much exception. The continuance of all-pervasive, anachronistic and highly damaging feudal system has become a fixed frame of mind for the nation. This is in direct conflict with democracy, progress and freedom, both social, economic and political. Total neglect of education has wide spread socio-economic and cultural implications and clear-cut effects on the society’s moral fibre. This neglect is only the trend of a feudal society like ours, with no any Nigerian University among the Top 200 in the world Universities ranking, after producing Africa’s first Nobel Literature Laureate in the 1980s. Constitutional acrobats of 1956, 1962, 1973 and later undemocratic amendments destroyed the system of government badly and uprooted the structural integrity of our dear country. Weak governments paved the way for abuse of official power, nepotism, tribalism, and favouritism for private gains by government officials, politicians and rulers. The masses were trapped in a vicious triangle of struggling for food, clothing, shelter and survival.
In the quest for the enthronement of credible and Values-based leadership in Nigeria, there is need for a paradigm shift in our leadership, at local, state and federal levels and in private and public life. There should be a top-down change in leadership perception, psychology, attitude and mentality of Nigerians, particularly the younger generation, who are the so-called leaders of tomorrow. By making them to embrace leadership from a service-oriented philosophy perspective rather than see the call to lead as an opportunity to satisfy personal aggrandizement, by amassing public wealth for personal gains to the detriment of our collective interest and posterity. Change to a more engaging, compassionate, patriotic, visionary, courageous and exemplary style of leadership and the higher ideals of selfless service, sacrifice and integrity. This will lift the country out of the morass of socio-economic and political retrogression and place it on the path of prosperity and greatness among the comity of nations. This can be achieved through the introduction of leadership and civics education as a course of study in the school curriculum at both primary and secondary school levels respectively, as well as its incorporation in the general studies programme of tertiary institutions of learning so as to expose the younger generation to the basic tenets, principles and fundamentals of leadership as well as the qualities they should imbibe to be able to provide the transformative leadership our country needs. A Values-based leadership, will not only be sympathetic to the plight of ordinary Nigerians, but will also have a sense of mission and empathy, thereby promoting a culture of peace and stability which are sine qua none for socio-economic and political transformation.
For the Nigeria project to be sustainable and competitive in the twenty-first century globalised economy, were the wind of globalization accelerated by forces of information and communication technology, trade/commerce, finance, nanotechnology, medicine and nuclear technology have combined to make the world a global village, a visionary, courageous, selfless, patriotic and reformist leadership is imperative. Such a leadership will redirect the social compass of this country to the path of moral rectitude, make our economy vibrant and investor-friendly, so as to attract the much needed foreign direct investments (FDIs) and the realization of Vision 20-2020, combat the hydra-headed monster called corruption, which has eating deep into our social fabric, create jobs for the teeming Nigerian youths, provide basic infrastructure like roads, hospitals, schools, utilities and address the myriad of structural and political problems hindering our development and growth, as a nation.
Uchechukwu Chris Arinze, ( email@example.com ) is a Computer Scientist/Public Affairs Analyst, wrote in from Lagos,
*Nigeria: Peter Obi In Trouble - Two Groups After Him
In the middle of this year, the opposers of Peter Obi were very happy because his popularity waned. Now with all he is doing, his popularity is rising rapidly. The opposition are not happy.
His problem is compounded by his refusal to support the Governorship of the owner of Capital Oil, Ifeanyi Uba, who has already hired the building used by Soludo as his campaign office owned by Chief Austin Ndigwe, Ozo Gidigbam Gidigbam as his campaign office.
It is believed that the group had reached to the Governor, Victor Umeh, Ojukwu’s wife to help make Ifenayi governor, but did not get firm assurances as they expected.
On Wednesday, the anchor man of Capital Oil, Austine Ndigwe, arranged for Anambra’s Speaker, Chinwe Nwebili; the deputy Speaker, Orizu, Emeka Idu and the one called AFRICA. With Capital Oil’s plane, they flew them to Lagos where they met with Ifeanyi Uba. The money given to them:
Speaker: 200,000 Dollars
Deputy: Speaker 180,000 Dollars
Idu: 150,000 Dollars
Africa: 150,000 Dollars
They were charged to recruit at 40,000 dollars each any House member that can join their group. After that and seeing how happy they were, Uba flew back to Lagos with them and slept with the Speaker.
Uzu Awka believing that the deal is done, is now going all over town boasting that they are now in charge. The man who talks any how is even boasting that having made love to the speaker that everything is alright.
Obi may be working in Anambra State, he may be saving money for the future of the State, he may be doing what others shied away from, but why is everybody around him, including his wife and the one they call his foolish thoughtless man Friday, Val Obiyem complaining about this? Does it mean that even Obiyem who works for him as if he has no mind of his own not paid handsomely?
The major grouse of politicians is that the man always say that the State has no money and yet in less than two weeks, he released 6 billion naira to the Churches to rehabiliate schools he handed over to them and another 3 billion naira to rehabilitate their health institutions.
What is painful, one politician saying the minds of others, is that these Churches will not give contracts to them as they already have their own contractors.
Since Obi appears not to show interest on who succeds him, some of those working for him who see themselves as anointing ones are not happy, especially Deputy Governor and Dubem Obaze
The more visible group for now is Deputy Governor whose anchor man is one One Ojoto, Okigbo.
Onwa has confided on some people that Gov Obi will not be in charge at the time of election, when he was reminded that the APGA House may not impeach him for whatever reason, he said there are other ways to remove a Governor. Folks, what other ways do you know?
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
*Nigeria's North: What Do They Want?
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Yes, you heard me right: what do our Northern brothers want out of this amalgamation called Nigeria; does anyone actually understand what they really want? I do not, even when I’m convinced I do. The events unfolding on daily basis in Nigeria, right from the colonial days to date, have forced this question, which was never silent, to the forefront of all curiosities. It’s obvious that, like other tribes, ethnic, and ethno-religious groups in Nigeria, our Northern brothers also have an agenda and a focus in Nigeria. The desire of every zone in Nigeria, far above every other need, is to be rightly integrated into relevance as long as Nigeria remains one. However and obviously, the mandates of the majority of Northern Nigeria’s leaders are largely undefined or divergent of the always-thought goal of the senseless genocide against Biafrans: unity.
It will be noted that, from the time of the infamous amalgamation of what was then referred to as the Northern and the Southern protectorate into what is now known as Nigeria, the North has remained the most unwilling and the most appeased and appealed to for a “one Nigeria.” Fraudulent leadership crept into Nigeria for the simple goal of favoring and appeasing the North; the so-called Lord Fredrick Lugard of Britain, James Robertson, with Her Majesty’s approval, assured that. And by so doing, merits and progress were forever buried in Nigeria under the foundation of absolute falsehood. The first election ever held in Nigeria was fraudulent solely because of the unwritten law that the North must be favored above all others in Nigeria. The inflation of the North’s population was born out of that same ill-thought-out belief also. The consequences of these frauds, in a nation desperately fighting to sustain its unity, inspired the first coup, and then the so-called counter-coup which had no bearing to the first coup - so-called “carried out by the Igbos.” The massacre of over 30,000 Igbos in the North, the senseless war and the well-planned genocide by the Nigerian government with the full backing of Her Majesty were all in the bid to further press the claim of Nigeria as “an extension of Usman Dan Fodio’s estate.” Was the massacre reasonable and justified? And with the consequences ever piling up, can Nigeria give any reason today for going to war with Biafra? What about the war and inhumane bloodshed which has remained a major clog in the onward movement of Nigeria, was it justified? Is there anything that is worth looking at today and saying: “yes, we were able to achieve this through the genocide?” Well, I leave every Nigerian, beginning from the blood-thirsty Gowon, to answer that. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
After the war, the Nigerian government, in their inhuman reasoning, assumed that the only way to keep their “father’s estate” (through the pretext of keeping Nigeria indivisible) would be to destabilize the South-East. And so, they set to work; every South-Easterner, no matter their status before the war, would have to start from scratch with the infamous 20. Next, other Nigerians were encouraged to openly and unashamedly seize all properties belonging to Ndigbo in other parts of Nigeria, and the government stood by them and called it “lawful;” calling all that Igbos had ever worked for since the amalgamation “abandoned property” even with the “no victor no vanquished” clause. Since the South-East readily embraced the early missionaries just as the South-West and other parts did, the government set into motion to force out schools from the churches-claiming that it would help to balance education in Nigeria. Who stopped the North from schooling when the South embraced it? And scarcely enough for them, the government had to go further to incite hatred between the South-East and their neighboring South-South; the government carved Igbo lands into other states and, thereby felt as having done something extensive to ‘pacify’ the North because, to them, “these people will always be in disagreement so we could have all the time we need to finish our master-plan.” My questions then, are: did any of these pacify the North; have all these injustices been enough to appease their ‘godness?’ You have that answer to give to your searching soul.
Today, sadly, as a South-Southerner with a middle name, Ebele, which could mean anything in any other language, became the president, the North is at it again. They have suddenly felt that their “father’s estate” is slipping through their fingers and not even a South-South man as the president could assure them that an Igbo will never be president in their “father’s estate.” Today, it is men who represent the North in the highest places of leadership in Nigeria who have sworn to kill every Igbo man and every other Nigerian who is not a Muslim. These so-called lawmakers and representatives of their respective constituents have been the very people championing the killing of other Nigerians in the North, including the Youth Corpers who were out to “serve” their country. Their instrument of terror, the so-called Boko Haram, has killed with impunity all over the North. The saddest part of it is that their leaders, from their Emir through other religious leaders (like the one who vowed that the North would go to war if Islamic banking is not instituted in Nigeria) to every other politician, have largely kept silent while these instruments of terror and death kill citizens of other faiths and tribes. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states, and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Boko Haram, as has been translated, roughly means: “Western education is sin.” As these revelations are forthcoming, it’s been said that the Senate have sworn to defend Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume until he is declared innocent and returned to continue the sponsoring of terror against other Nigerians. If a man who agrees that western education is sinful is a representative of a group in Nigeria to the general assembly, and if the Senate is shameless enough to stand by such a man, then the nation obviously has more to deal with than already known. For one, it’s a clear opposition to everything the western world stands for; this inference can be far-reaching. My questions are these: Nigeria was built largely to favor the North and disfavor other regions, the fraudulent first-ever election, the massacre, and the genocide of the 60s were carried out to the full to appeal to the North; and the abolition of mission’s right to schools was carried out solely to please the North as well.
The NYSC was instituted also to make sure graduates from other parts of Nigeria serve in the North (deceitfully put: to ensure proper integration): if all these sacrifices made only to maintain “one Nigeria” and to continually appease the godness of the North have not appeased them nor achieved anything to pacify whatever it has been which fuel their resentment for other tribes and religions, what then do they want? What was the reason for the war? If they are really tired of the so-called Nigeria and would want out, why not come out openly and declare so; what’s the essence of the senseless killings and destructions? Is it, perhaps, like one state that childishly called itself “born to rule,” all a campaign for total dominance, the spirit brought and entrenched in the North by the raiding stranger of the gone days called Usman Dan Fodio? It has remained obvious that Nigeria was never meant to be one as it was formed, and so many people have voiced their fears in the past against this amalgamation; but fear takes a man nowhere if he does not make a step to counter it. It is clear that Nigeria has remained one, largely to the advantage of the North, especially considering all the sacrifices made and rights forgone by other regions only to agree to every whim of the Northern leaders; why then are there all these manifestation of dissatisfaction and frustration from the North-even amongst the money-men? Reaching here with me, every true Nigerian, especially those close to history, will sigh with me and echo: What do our Northern brothers want; what do they really want?
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*The Arab League And The Biafran Nation
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
No wicked man shall go unpunished and everyone whose support sees to a continuous spilling of innocent blood will have his own blood spilled; those who kill by the sword shall, by the sword, go. That is the story of all the countries that fully supported Nigeria’s genocide against Biafra and those who stood by and watched-saying nothing even when their word counted for much. The wind of harvest shall reach to the uttermost: from Africa to the Arab world, from UK to all Europe; from Rome to America, and round about. It’s gross ignorance to deny someone else of justice and, at the same time, expect to get any; even with bullets and rockets, the only justice you will receive will be your due punishment. That will be the reward of the Nigerian government, Nigerians whose people actively participated in the genocide and rejoiced over the blood of Igbos unjustly spilled; Britain who wanted, from the moment they entered the Southern territory, to wipe out everyone of Igbo extraction, The Arab league (all countries bound by signatories) who openly and forceful backed the Muslim North in what they saw as a total eradication of infidels, the Russian government, who will never rise to relevance again as long as wickedness remains a custom, and Egypt, a country of the Pharaohs and the unbearable plagues.
Having taken more than enough from the Muslim North backed by the Sodom of Europe and the entire Arab league, and as the only solution to stop the furtherance of wickedness which had become the lot of Igbos by the Nigerian government and the North, Col. Ojukwu, in agreement with the elders, announced an independent state called the Republic of Biafra of the 30the of May, 1967; and on the 6th of July, 1967, the Nigerian government, having been fully backed by Britain, Russia, and the Arab League, descended, like locusts, on Biafraland and wiped over 3 millions Igbos off the face of the earth. Although Israel would have actively stood by Biafra alongside states like, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Zambia, they were engaged by this same Arabs on their fronts. And to buttress their point and their wickedness for anything Christian or Jewish, Egypt, like their stories have always been, sent in mercenaries to help the Muslim North and other willing Nigerians wipe out Igbos; these Egyptian pilots had a single mission: target and wipe out civilians-not soldiers. And for 30 months the war raged on until the number of the slain completed and judgment set in. ( Continues below….. )
The Communist USSR shattered-never to be relevant again until a time dreadful visitation shall bring great judgment. The Arab world wants a world without Israel but they already know that the opposite would be the case if men would not respect history. Today, the plague of Egypt has returned, never to go until all of Israel is safely gone. To those countries that signed for an extinct Igbo race and still oppose the prosecution of war crimes against Biafra, and the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra: you will receive your full payment at the appointed time-not even one of you shall go unpunished. Every country that signed for the destruction of Biafra in the Arab world will have more than they know to battle with for decades to come. As for Britain and their allies in that crime, even bank notes shall become millipedes and those who boast in riches shall rust like iron. And for those whose religious mission is an open hatred and gross destruction of anyone who opposes them: the sword is turned on you, and shall never depart until Biafra becomes a Sovereign nation and until divine anger is fully meted out. You fought for a world without Israel and a Nigeria without Igbos; what have you achieved? Since 1967, Palestine has continually paid for your decisions and Nigeria has paid for your wrong zeal. A Palestinian state without a Republic of Biafra would be like a cooking tripod where woods are burnt. As for you, United States of America, who stood silently as Biafrans were massacred for no reasons: you are as guilty as they are and, because you were silent as children cried in Biafra and as blood were poured out unjustly, heaven will be silent as you choke in the results of decades of conspiracy.
That man who is celebrated today for his great impact in the short life he had, the man Steve Jobs, was said to have renounced Christianity because of the great injustice he saw against Biafrans-injustice supported by Britain, USSR, and the Arab League, and overlooked by America. He saw what those who claimed to be representatives of Christ refused to consider, and he was forever changed. I want to believe that what he renounced was not God, who forever is true, but those Pharisees and Sadducee whose claim to spiritual relevance are false. Today, the reasons for the Biafran war are still there, and even in a growing stage-considering the world of today. But what these Pharisees and Sadducee are doing is the very thing they have done from the time of Christ: oppose the truth by every means possible, even if it means opposing God Himself, whom they claim to serve and represent. In Nigeria today, you see them in their numbers moving in and out of Aso Rock, not to deliver Jeremiah’s message which should prompt repentance in a country whose cup of doom was long full, but, like Hananiah, to oppose every truth from the mouth of God. These men of God promise the presidency their prayers, the governors their intercessions, and those who have fought against and delayed the angel of our answers just as their fellow prince in Persian once did, of God’s nearness. But Michael, our prince, is, and nothing shall delay the decisions which have been made and sealed. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
Until the consummation of time, man still has a chance for recompense; until the soul is sold forever, there remains the opportunity for change. Palestine has to be independent, and so does Biafra-much so. The Arab world needs peace, but it will come when they have removed wars in the doors of others. And as long as the blood of Biafrans are not appeased by the establishment of the sovereign nation called “The Republic of Biafra,” and retributions made by countries and individuals who contributed largely to the genocide, one war shall replace another, and bloodshed shall be demanded and paid in successions. As for Britain whose police kill blacks at random: guns will not always go off; you have a huge and urgent debt to pay Biafra and, unless this debt is paid, Britain will lose everything which has ever held it higher above others. Getting to America, God’s own country where men’s hearts have been sealed up against the voice of the same God to whom they claim the country belongs: you will champion the redressing of the injustice which has stayed for decades in Nigeria against Biafra. Lastly, to the Nigerian government which lost legitimacy before God since 1967: if you are not tired, will God, the creator of all, be tired out by you? Nigeria was never a country and, even now that the blood of the innocents seems to hold you together, even that same blood shall be your doom. And none that is guilty will go unpunished. Biafrans did not go out to spill blood nor did they oppose freedom; every country that have opposed the state of Biafra, and still do, will be opposed in every way-in ways that matter most.
To those who do not believe in anything besides themselves, you shall force yourself to believe. And to those whose agenda has remained to wipe Israel off the face of the map: you have dug your grave and, in a matter of days, you shall fall therein. Biafra was born to be free, Biafra must be free. To all who stand for the freedom of Biafra, freedom cannot be far away from you. But to those whose lives are sustained by the pains on Ndigbo, horrors shall escort you out of this lane.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at email@example.com
*Nigeria: Training New CEOs in Niger Delta
By Ifeatu Agbu
Almost on a regular basis now, Nigerians are being assailed with scary economic indicators that are consistently pointing to the negative pole. If it is not inflation index that is sitting pretty in the double digit column, it is the value of the naira that has continued to nose-dive. All these, of course, have serious implications for the labour market and the biting unemployment situation in the country. It is sad that in spite of Nigeria’s oil wealth, our economy has been stuck deep in the woods and no one is sure when we can find the right compass to take us out of the economic labyrinth. While the search for an elixir for our financial system continues, scores of our young graduates continue to pound the streets in search of scarce jobs. For these desperate job seekers, it is now illusory to hinge their hopes on white collar jobs.
All over the world, self employment through small and medium scale enterprises is replacing government and the multinational corporations in providing employment. This is because the big companies can only employ thousands but providing jobs for teeming millions of youths lies in the hands of small scale entrepreneurs.
It gives some measure of comfort that the Federal Government is working along this line and is placing emphasis on economic reforms anchored on poverty alleviation and self-employment. One can see the efforts being made to create jobs for fresh graduates and other school leavers through skills acquisition for the development and management of new Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises.
Even the National Youths Service Corps [NYSC] is being re-engineered to add value to the certificates already acquired by graduates from tertiary institutions. The NYSC Director General , Brigadier General Mahrazu Tsiga said that plans are underway by the scheme to introduce a skills acquisition programme to empower corps members after their service year.
Brigadier Tsiga said the directorate has already asked corps members to carry out feasibility studies on businesses of their choice and that those committed to the programme would be given N250, 000 as take up grant. This initiative was more or less endorsed recently by the Minister of Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi during the media briefing to mark the 100 Days of the Administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
The minister said that time was ripe for the overhaul of the NYSC, from that of national integration to an NYSC of national transformation. According to him, the NYSC should address the concerns and challenges of today. He said the scheme would henceforth emphasise the S (service) in the NYSC. “The central idea is that corps members should serve where the nation has critical needs such as Education, Health, Infrastructure and Agriculture. For instance, young graduates could learn and participate in large scale mechanised farming during their service year and later, can be encouraged to become agro-entrepreneurs.”
Perhaps, the idea is to use the NYSC as a finishing school, where corps members would spend considerable time of the service year learning valuable life and enterprise skills. This would bridge whatever educational gap they might have and provide them with market-ready skills.
It would appear that the battle against unemployment is being waged at different fronts. The Federal Government, for one, is using agencies such as the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, the Central bank of Nigeria, CBN, among others to fight the scourge. The CBN, for instance, introduced Entrepreneurship Development Centres as a means of equipping people with entrepreneurial skills so that they can be self employed and consequently be employers of labour. This pragmatic approach is being run in conjunction with some universities in the country.
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka is one of such higher institutions collaborating with the CBN in setting up training programmes in entrepreneurial studies for graduates and secondary school leavers, aimed at reducing unemployment among youths and checking rural poverty in the country.
The university is currently running the programme under the auspices of its Entrepreneurship Development and Research Centre, CEDR. According to the Executive Director, Prof. Alex Ikeme, the objective of the training was to change the mindset of graduates, school leavers and retired personnel that without government jobs, they could not attain great heights in life.
The NDDC, as an interventionist agency, has also weighed-in to assist in giving practical training to youths in the Niger Delta to ensure that they are gainfully employed. Clearly, this is a very critical intervention aimed at stemming the tide of restiveness in Nigeria’s oil-producing region. One major programme introduced by the commission is the NDDC Technical Aid Corps [NTAC], which is designed to meaningfully engage graduates from the region and serve as an unemployment stop-gap for them. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
Since the programme took off last year, thousands of unemployed graduates have been enlisted by the commission and sent to various companies, including the SMEs to work for two years. During the period the commission will pay each of the beneficiaries N30,000 a month which will be augmented by the employer with N15,000. Like the National Youth Service Corps [NYSC], the scheme is expected to help the young graduates gain the necessary experience, which would enhance their chances of securing gainful employment or to become self-employed at the end of their tutelage in the industries. The NDDC scheme has the potential of reinvigorating the SMEs which are among the most potent forces responsible for the fast-tracking of the economic transformation of any country. Most of them lack the resources to hire graduates to boost their productivity. They can therefore take advantage of the availability of this relatively cheap labour to optimise their productivity and profitability.
The programme is designed in such a way that the young graduates would be given the opportunity to improve their skills in their areas of specialisation, so that at the end of the day they would be empowered to set up their own businesses and stand on their own. The NDDC is also running a wealth-creation programme designed to train entrepreneurs on ways to achieve success in their businesses, thus creating jobs in the region. According to the Acting Managing Director of the commission, Mrs. Osato Arenyeka, the empowerment programme would support entrepreneurs in the micro, small and medium enterprises across the Niger Delta and go a long way in tackling the problem of unemployment in the region. She said the commission had concluded plans to train 1,000 entrepreneurs drawn from the nine states of the region as a way of creating employment and rejuvenating the economy of the states in the Niger Delta.
The NDDC boss said that the programme would enable entrepreneurs to gain access to business development services, increase access to finance and move them from micro to small enterprises. She said: “I believe that the Niger Delta region is gifted with millions of creative, productive and constructive individuals, I am looking forward to seeing made-in-Niger Delta goods all over the world,” she said.
The NDDC has been involved in other training programmes like the elaborate agricultural programme in conjunction with Songhai Delta, a reputable capacity building and youth empowerment centre based in Amupke, Delta State. The scheme was designed to train 3,400 youths in Niger Delta in various aspects of agriculture. In the first phase, 1,700 participants selected from Bayelsa and Delta states were exposed to modern techniques of aquaculture, poultry production, bee keeping, grass cutter production, piggery, agro-processing, among others. No doubt, the various initiatives to empower new entrepreneurs hold out hope for the future. There is a lot to gain by developing the intellect of our youths and showing them the way to prosperity and ensuring that they are engaged in productive ventures that would chart a new course for the nation’s technological and industrial growth.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Nigeria: List of Schools Handed Over To Original Church Owners By Governor Obi
Awka, Anambra State capital, was agog November 21 this month, when Governor Obi handed over a total of 1040 primary schools back to their original Church owners who were equally given six billion naira(N6b) to maintain them. The N6b is to be distributed to the affected churches over a 15 month period based on the number of schools owned by each Church.
Below is a list of the schools a total of 757 schools so handed over to affected Churches.
*Biafran Activist Faces Deportation From UK
By Mark Clint
On 20th November 2006, Mazi King Eze Onuigbo, a Biafran activist based in UK participated actively in disrupting the image-laundering project of the Nigerian government called "Nigeria Heart of Africa", which took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Hall. Till date, the Nigerian government is still looking for the protesters. Mazi King Onuigbo’s participation in that disruption can be viewed via this link:-
Photo Above: Heart of Africa Logo
Furthermore, Mazi Onuigbo is a leader and not an ordinary member of a number of pro-Biafra organizations in the UK. He is a member of Biafra Liberation in Exile (BILIE); the current president of the Good Shepherd Movement and former director of mobilisation Biafra Liberation League/MASSOB INTERNATIONAL.
Onuigbo's arrest by UK authorities instigated by the Nigerian High Commission is illegal and should be deplored. Currently, he faces deportation to Godforsaken Nigeria. Self-determination is right and not a privilege, Biafrans must be free.
Mark Clint can be reached at
Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra
*Nigeria: FAAN In 'Intensive Care Unit', says Chairman, House Committee on Aviation
By Lateef Lawal
The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is about to collapse operationally if care is not taken to urgently rescue it. This was the position of the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha after a visit to the authority's head office in Lagos recently. She specifically said: "FAAN has potentials to make as a huge money spinner for government, but it is sad to note that FAAN is on the intensive care unit, which is about to die, but this committee will rescue it from dying."
The committe chairman raised issues with the management on, why FAAN will pay over N1.2 billion to two of its concessionaires, as opposed to the target N890 million earmarked for such payment?" Other issues begging for answer posed by the Chairman were: "How come the concessionaires are owing FAAN and could not pay ? It is clear that FAAN lacks live cycle. It then follows that FAAN may have failed as an organisation. This is because of the way and manner the organisation runs, the irregularities that surrounds its concession agreements. It also appears there is no plan to make Nigerian airports look like what they should look like. Could it be privatised, considering the huge investment of capital in the airports , which gives the feeling that budgeting in FAAN is just like a ritual ." The committee charged the authority to explain the rationale for its failure to meet up its N35 billion revenue target for the year having chalked in only N20 billion as at the end of the third quarter of the year. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
She wondered why despite the huge budgetary allocation to FAAN, it could not boast of any airport in the country that has the trappings of a modern facility and that FAAN lacked basic airport commercial infrastructure, which disallowed it from meeting its huge potentials. The chairman that the authority appears to have failed in recovering its huge debt profile running into billions on Naira. FAAN, according the House Of Representatives Committee chairman has the potentials to make the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, huge revenue spinner for the Authority, the reliance on aeronautical sources for money has not demonstrated the financial creativity of the authority.
She expressed reservations over the lopsided expenditure profile of FAAN, which weighed higher on overhead costs, running into 60 per cent as opposed to capital projects which pegs around 40 per cent. She however cautioned the Managing Director of FAAN, Mr George Uriesi who is barely three months in office to take responsibility and make the airport system work, as the committee would no longer accept diplomatic answers on key questions that bordered on the processes and procedure for effective airport administration.
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
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