*Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Patriot Blinded By The West
By Kali Gwegwe
In one of my books, “Western Democrats in Glass parliament”, published in 2000, I have argued that western democracies will never tolerate Africa’s economic independence owing to the direction of their national ideologies. It is no secret that the economies of many western countries are energized by the inability of Africa’s political leaders to deploy sound fiscal policies aimed at stimulating rapid economic growth. This sad development has continued to keep Africa as an export- dependent economy despite the fact that the bulk of the raw materials used in the manufacture and production of finished goods imported by African countries are sourced from the continent.
There is no doubt about the fact that Nigeria is blessed with great brains and patriots. Among them are Wole Soyinka, Dora Akunyili, Oby Ezekwesili, Lamido Sanusi, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala among others. What is in doubt is whether all of them are aware that the developed democracies will be too willing to do anything under the sun to promote and protect their national economies. Colonisation, the Cold War, civil wars, tribal conflicts, and the several international humanitarian/peace-keeping missions are all tools used by western democracies to secure economic victories over the African continent. It has become evident that both the World Bank and IMF are tools in the hands of western democracies. As long as African intellectuals refuse to accept this overflowing truth, their brains and patriotism will do the continent very little or no good at all. Is it not surprising that the many Africans in diaspora have not been able to make meaningful differences whenever they are given the opportunities to serve their countries in various capacities? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Perhaps, I should also point out here that Structural Adjustment Program, Currency Devaluation, and Subsidy Removal are examples of some of the pills western democracies such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain prescribe as cure for the continent’s economic problems. In actual sense, they hide behind these false fiscal policies to cripple the economies of African countries. As part of the plot, they task international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and world class universities to recruit the best brains from the continent. These intellectuals are hurriedly thought the Core Values of human and economic management. This is aimed at arousing the patriotic fiber in them. At this point, they are drugged (paid far more than their contemporaries at home), blinded (unable to recognize the evil in their employers), and given a pair of “western eyes.” At this point, these intellectuals no longer see things from the African perspective. They both reason and look at Africa with “western eyes.”
It must be noted that every society has its own peculiarities. As a result of this, what has worked in country A may not necessarily work in country B. Africans wearing “western eyes” will never realize this fact even though it is profusely clear. For instance, the governor of Nigeria’s Central, Lamido Sanusi and Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are all bitterly agitating for the removal of fuel subsidy simply because same has worked elsewhere in America and Europe. Since they are wearing “western eyes”, they have failed to realize that: (a) Unemployment figures are very low in America and Europe (b) An average American or European worker earn as much as $130 or N19,500 per day. With this kind of salary, Nigerians can afford to buy fuel even at N150 per liter. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
There is no doubt that both Okonjo-Iweala and Lamido Sanusi will not try stampeding government into removing fuel subsidy if they were earning monthly salaries of N50,000 per month. While tens of millions of Nigerians are earning less than $2 daily, they go home with outrageous salaries and allowances. One had expected them to suggest better ways of putting the nation’s economy back on track. The poor masses cannot continue to sacrifice the little they have while the few well-heeled federal government officials are allowed to laugh away in the comfort of their cars, offices, and houses each time government decides to find solutions to the problems of the country. Okonjo-Iweala and Sanusi do not need to be reminded that the removal of fuel subsidy will translate into the sharp upward movement of the prices of goods and services such as food, rent, transportation, education, health care, and building materials among others.
But if one may ask: What is wrong in subsidizing fuel? Are the beneficiaries of fuel subsidy not Nigerians whose interests the president, ministers, legislators, governors, and governor of the Central Bank all swore to protect? As a matter of fact, owing to the collapse of the culture of sound political leadership, fuel subsidy has turned out to be the only sure way Nigerian masses can benefit from the oil and gas revenue accruing the nation. There is no citizen that does not benefit from fuel subsidy direct or indirectly. Removing it will therefore bring out the fire in the heart of millions of suffering Nigerian masses. This is what the west is looking for. President Goodluck Jonathan must therefore not allow American and European powers to tie his hands behind him and plunge the country into the abyss of socio-economic instability. The west does not want Africa to gain economic independence. It is only through orchestrated socio-economic instabilities that they can achieve such evil plots. This is the more reason why despite all the noise they make about corruption; American and European banks still accept billions of stolen dollars from Africa. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi
With the way Okonjo-Iweala and Sanusi are going about the fuel subsidy removal debate, I am pretty sure that they will one day ask the federal government to stop spending billions of Naira to construct roads. While our fiscal policy formulators and advisers are busy giving subsidy a bad name, agricultural subsidies accounts for more than 40% of the total budget of the EU. Who is fooling who? Hugo Chavez is definitely on my mind. The time has come for President Jonathan to call all the anti-people members of his team to order or fire them out rightly. There is enough evidence to show that the nation’s fiscal policy formulators and advisers are out of touch with the vision of the present administration. They have clearly run dry of ideas. Spending N600b to assist Nigerians buy fuel at an affordable price is not a crime. Rather than call for the removal of fuel subsidy, the anti-subsidy apostles should task their brains and think of better ways to increase the revenue receipt of the nation without worsening the already bad plight of ordinary Nigerians.
In this regard, government should be serious with the war against graft, reduce the monetary rewards of elected officials and political appointees, stabilize electricity to expand industrial production, increase investments in the non-oil/gas sectors, improve basic socio-economic infrastructure such as roads/railway/waterways, provide affordable quality health care service, and provide free quality education from primary to secondary levels. All of these will help energize and expand the national economy. With this, the likes of Okonjo-Iweala and Sanusi will not have any reason to bother about how much government spends to subsidize fuel.
More than that, concerted efforts must be put in motion to stop the continuous importation of petroleum products. This is part of the wider agenda of western democracies. They simply coopt a few willing Nigerians to ensure that our refineries do not work at optimum capacities. With this, they will be able to import crude from us and sell petrol and kerosene to us with a very appreciable profit margin. The same thing applies to the power sector. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala should wake up from her slumber and return the “western eyes” she is wearing. Also help Lamido Sanusi do same.
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at email@example.com ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Okonjo, Iweala, Patriot, Blinded, West, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria’s Terrorism Against MASSOB: An Affront To UN
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
It’s unfair, and the UN knows this well enough. It’s gross injustice yet the UN remains silent. The many atrocious and terror acts carried out against MASSOB and its leadership by the Nigerian government is not only highly condemnable, it’s a direct affront to the United Nations and everything it stands for. The constant harassing, killing, torturing and detaining of many MASSOB members in the South-East of Nigeria by Nigerian security operatives should and must be condemned in its totality by the UN’s body, the United States of America, Britain and other world powers. When an individual or a group attacks a people for no justifiable reasons, it’s quickly called terrorism by the international community, but when a state marginalizes, deprives, tortures, kills, arrests and detains peace loving and innocent citizens because they are asking for their rights through due process, what is it called-modern slavery, perhaps? No! It’s terrorism; terrorism in the highest order! It’s worse that slavery!
In 1960, Nigeria joined the United Nations and consequently became a signatory to the Geneva convention treaty. As a result of this membership, Nigerian government is required by global law of rights and governance to , wholly, abide by all UN accords in relation to how its government is run-whether towards foreigners or its citizens. After the 1967-70 Nigerian-masterminded genocide against Ndigbo, and till date, the very reasons against which the declaration of the Sovereign State of Biafra were made still show themselves; only this time, in a much higher scale. It’s only a man without common sense who sits down and allows others to strangle his children one after another right before his eyes without as much as saying a word. Nigeria prides itself in the systematic extinction of the Igbo race within Nigeria, but Ndigbo would not sit down and watch silently why the very reasons we started our journey towards a separate nationhood repeat themselves; should we? By all mean, no! ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
In line with these United Nations Human Rights declarations, and especially in the general silence of the UN body towards the brutalization, killing and unlawful arrests and detention of MASSOB members by the Nigerian government, I would like to ask from these few articles:
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Question: Many Igbo people in the military answer Hausa and Yoruba names simply because the Nigerian government has a standing order against everything Igbo in Nigeria. How has this law been to the interest of Ndigbo in Nigeria as it has been for other tribes and ethnic groups?
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Question: Since the Nigeria civil war ended and MASSOB came up to continue the fight for a Sovereign State Of Biafra through a non-violent means, they have been brutalized, killed, arrested and detained in their numbers without any reasonable proof of any sort; is this not an affront to this article of the UN declaration? If this declaration covers every person and state in the world, why has the UN remained unconcerned while the Nigerian government continuously disregard these rules? Since no distinction shall be made of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty, why has the UN thought it unimportant to openly defend the rights of MASSOB but allowed the Nigerian security personnel to carry out, in defiance to this declaration, criminal acts against innocent people?
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Question: When the Nigerian government negotiates with and doles out money to Niger-Delta militants, releases without charge and seeks to negotiate with those who murder Ndigbo and other Nigerians all over the North, is it not considered a form of slavery when the same government jumps at will on Ndigbo here and there, throwing them into prisons without charge, and killing some of them even when they are clearly non-violent in their rightful pursuit and determination for a a state where they will be treated as fellow humans?
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Question: Is the unwarranted arrests, torture, detention and killing of MASSOB members by the Nigerian government thugs not an enough subjection to torture to bring the UN in?
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Question: When the Nigerian government negotiates with and doles out money to Niger-Delta militants, releases without charge and seeks to negotiate with those who murder Ndigbo and other Nigerians all over the North, is it not seen as a great form of discrimination when the same government, on the other hand, jumps at Ndigbo here and there, throwing them into prisons without charge and killing some of them even when they are clearly non-violent in their rightful pursuit and determination for a state where they will be treated as fellow humans? The Movement for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) is internationally recognized as non-violent; when the government discriminates in their response to non-violent MASSOB from that of violent Niger-Delta militants and Boko Haram, is that not clearly an affront to the UN and all it stands for? When the people of the North in Nigeria jumps on Ndigbo in the North because of or without any slightest provocation from Ndigbo, killing them in their numbers, burning their places of worship and houses, and carrying away their property and goods as war loots while the federal government does nothing but releases the culprits and arrests and detains, instead, the policemen involved in the arrests, isn’t that enough reason for any group, community, or tribe to be frightened in the midst of the people they live?
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
Question: If the Nigerian government is a signatory to the United Nation, it invariably means that most of Nigerian constitutions are accepted or under review by the international community; if that happens to be that case as indeed it is, then the Nigerian government is clearly violating the rights of movement, speech and pursuit. Why has the United Nations looked the other side when the Nigerian government flaunts their wickedness against Ndigbo? If people indeed have a right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law, would I be faulted if I said that it’s time that UN came in to remedy the many injustice carried out against MASSOB and the entire Ndigbo by the government of Nigeria? Certainly not.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Question: Clearly, this violation of human rights against Ndigbo is perhaps more wicked than terrorist acts. The story of subjected arbitrary arrests, detentions or exiles is a common treatment against the Igbos of Nigeria. Now that hundreds of MASSOB members are in different prisons all over Nigeria, and many other Igbo youths, through many carefully crafted plans by the Nigerian government to achieve its vision of an extinct Igbo race-to achieve the very intent of other states against Israel, have been forced into exiles in different parts of the world, should the United Nations not call the Nigerian government to order and to call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) without further delay; should the UN not accept the fact that Nigeria is long overdue for a peaceful breakup after years of hot and cold war which have all been to the detriment of Ndigbo in a ‘One Nigeria?’
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Question: Every dot in this declaration is clearly bent on maintaining human rights to the highest level. MASSOB members were and still are arrested and detained (for those who managed to stay alive after the indiscriminate shooting from the Nigerian security operatives) without any public hearing. They are kept without any legal rights and against their wish; the UN knows this, why has it kept silent?
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
Question: According to the Nigerian government, Chief Barrister Ralph Uwazuruike, along with other Igbo sons, were arrested in Enugu on the 24th of August, 2011, as they were going for/celebrating an award to Chief General Chukwuemeke Odumegwu-Ojukwu (retd) and charged with ‘treasonable felony;’ since these incessant arrests have become a terror act against, not only Ndigbo, but the entire humankind, should the UN not insist that their case be brought to the international court where all the guarantees necessary for their defence will be in place, and treated, once and for all and without further delay?
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
Question: The Nigeria security personnel shoot at peaceful MASSOB members with live bullets and kill many amongst them every now and then even when it’s clear that MASSOB does not threaten Nigeria in any way. Those that promised threats to the Nigerian government have been carrying them out and the federal government has been pleading with them while, at the same time, killing, arresting and detaining innocent Igbo people simply because they have refused to threaten any part of the country. With the big offices that UN has in Nigeria, why has it refused to defend the rights of MASSOB and that of Ndigbo; why has the UN not considered the action of the Nigerian government against MASSOB and Ndigbo in general a ‘treasonable felony’ since it directly undermines Nigeria’s signatory to the UN?
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Question: Before the war, many Igbos have property in different parts of Nigeria; but after the war, even when most of those property were still standing and valid, the Nigerian government refused every step the Igbo owners made towards reclaiming their property even after the said Nigerian genocide against Ndigbo was declared a ‘No victor, no vanquished.’ The Nigerian government, along with depriving Ndigbo of their many property in different parts of Nigeria outside of the South-East, still deny that it’s been guilty of genocide all along. This is very clear; what has the United Nations done about this and why the continued silence?
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Question: The United Nations had been before Nigeria became an independent state; this means that the United Nations can’t possibly claim to be unaware of matters going on in places throughout the world. Non-violent MOSSOB members have assembled severely in their pursuit for a different state where everyone will be treated with mutual respect and equality; but, with each assembly, has often come a ruthless crackdown by the government of Nigeria. Not only has the government of Nigeria been carrying out this affront against the UN, it has often done it with bloodshed. Why the silence?
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Question: Since the war ended, everyone knows that the Nigerian government has systematically denied Ndigbo of relevance in the Nigerian polity. For forty years and counting, no person of Igbo race has been allowed in the presidency, nor as Nigeria has proven, will ever be elected as a president. A call for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) has been coming out from the great and simple alike in Nigeria, yet the federal government won’t hear anything of it. Is the United Nations truly representing the people or is it just a global body set up to further the destruction of the minorities and the downtrodden by the great and mighty?
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Questions: Clearly, everything the Nigerian government does deprives Ndigbo of the South-East of all these above-mentioned entitlements. Ndigbo have been and are still treated as second-class citizens in Nigeria, why has the United Nations kept quiet as these wickedness continue?
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Question: The people of the South-East Nigeria have cried out for close to fifty years against injustice, and insisted on becoming independence; the government of Nigeria refuses and crushes, with every strong measure, the genuine desires of a people driven beyond the banks slavery. In accordance with this declaration, should not the UN rise up to defend these rights and these people deprived in Nigeria?
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
Question: What wrong has the MOASSOB members in Igboland committed in carrying out the duty of seeking freedom from slavery and marginalization for their community away from the state called Nigeria?
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
Question: The reason that MASSOB adopted a non-violent approach in their quest is clearly in honor to this declaration, why then has the UN kept silent when the Nigerian government refuses to respect the same law and crashes, every now and then upon the MASSOB members and its leadership?
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Question: Like already said above, MASSOB follow due process, why is the UN silent even against the wickedness of the government of Nigeria and its unacceptable crackdown on men seeking peace and their human rights in the most peaceful way in a country where violence is the order of the day?
Having weighed in the balance of these UN declaration acts the reactions of the Nigerian government against MASSOB and what MASSOB stands for, I have come to an obvious conclusion and to make these recommendations:
1. That the United nations and the world powers prevail upon the Nigerian government to call for and hold a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) where every community would be made relevant towards the pursuit for any possible future as one truly functional country or as separate states
2. That it’s high time the United Nations and the world powers, for peace in this geographical area called Nigeria and in Africa as a whole, stood up to the Nigerian government to demand, once and for all, the freedom of the South-Easterners, their rights to an independent and sovereign state of Biafra
3. That a complete release of all MASSOB members held in different prisons throughout the country be immediately demanded by the UN and effected.
4. I further ask that the United Nations, without undue delay, issue a statement which confirms that Ndigbo, the people of the Sout-East of Nigeria, and indeed, the people who have gone through years of masterminded cruelty and genocide from the Nigeria government, be given a clean bill to further their pursuit for a Sovereign State of Biafra.
5. Among these, I request that those in and out of the Nigerian government who have been accused of the genocide carried out against Ndigbo in the Nigeria-Biafra war be summoned to the Hague to defend their cases without further undue delay.
Photo Above: Chief Ralph Uwazuruike (middle) being led into Federal High Court, Abuja., Tuesday, November 9, 2005 to face treason charges.
Photo Above: Chief Ralph Uwazuruike in Federal High Court, Abuja., Tuesday, November 9, 2005 facing treason charges.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Terrorism, Against, Massob, Affront, United, Nations, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Niger Delta Ministry Vs NDDC
By Ifeatu Agbu
There is no disputing the fact that the challenges of developing the Niger Delta are enormous and perhaps intimidating. This gargantuan task, no doubt, requires the concerted efforts of all stake holders. The indications are that the Federal Government understands this, which explains why it adopted a multi-faceted strategy in tackling the challenges, realising that it is not an undertaking for only one or two development agencies. The justification, of course, is that undoing the damage wrought by decades of neglect and injustice would need team work.
Thus, the creation of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs tallies with the reasoning that all hands must be on deck to fast-track the development of the region that produces the oil-wealth of the nation. The ministry was supposed to lead and co-ordinate the infrastructural and environmental development as well as the youth empowerment programmes of the Federal Government in the region.
Despite this good intension, the ministry took off amidst controversies and apprehensions. Those who had reservations about the ministry feared that it would add another avoidable layer of bureaucracy to the effort at speeding up the development of the Niger Delta. However, those who supported its creation were hopeful that it would attract additional funds and expertise for the rapid development of the region.
A lot of premium was placed on the advantage of having two ministers who, as members of the Federal Executive Council would have a platform to articulate the development needs of the Niger Delta. Those who were still not convinced were told that the ministers would have easy access to Mr. President to ensure that he never loses sight of the Niger Delta question.
Today, however, the story appears to be different. The ministry which many had thought was coming to add value to the fortunes of the region is now confirming the worst fears of critics who predicted that it would slow down rather than enhance the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission [NDDC] that it was supposed to complement. This is contrary to the general expectations that the ministry and the NDDC would team up to implement the Niger Delta Regional Development Master Plan. This unpleasant turn of events is, to say the least, shocking. You can be sure that political and community leaders who had justified the creation of the ministry are not amused. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
Most people in the region had thought that a massive inflow of funds would follow the creation of the ministry to translate the lofty goals of the Master Plan into projects and programmes that would make significant impact on the lives of the people of the oil-bearing communities spread across the Niger Delta region. In fact, some people had suggested a Marshall Plan approach in addressing the developmental challenges in the region.
It is rather sad that this has not happened. To make matters worse, the ministry appears to be in a contest for superiority in its relationship with the NDDC. While other stake holders are looking up to them to play a leading role in co-ordinating the implementation of the widely applauded Master Plan, the ministry seems intent on bringing NDDC under its control. The power tussle is uncalled for and the ministry should know that it was not put in place to reinvent the wheel. Basically, it was created to add more impetus to the activities of other agencies of government that are already on ground and partnering with them for the benefit of the region.
Senator Ndoma-Egba, a strong voice in the Upper Legislative House of the National Assembly, puts it this way: “My understanding of the decision by the executive to create a ministry for the Niger-Delta was to empower it to help in the infrastructural development of the area in addition to, not as a replacement for ,what the NDDC is doing.” Another lawmaker, representing Warri Federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Daniel Reyenieju, noted that the commission was established by an Act of Parliament. “On no account should the commission be merged with the ministry because the Niger Delta Ministry was created by an executive fiat while the commission came to life via an Act of Parliament which is far stronger than that of the ministry,” he said. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
Again, the ministry should be conscious of the fact that up to this day, many people still believe that it is a superfluous political contraption. Only recently, for instance, the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufia said “the creation of the Niger Delta Ministry is a political gesture and unnecessary bureaucracy that will fail to solve the problems facing the troubled region.”
Unfortunately, the ministry seems to be preoccupied with annexing more powers and extending its spheres of influence, especially over other statutory agencies. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, has never hidden his disdain for an autonomous NDDC. He has argued at every opportunity that the commission should be supervised by his ministry. Here is what he said in a recent interview published in a national newspaper: “There is no correlation between the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry. If you go and attend a meeting anywhere in the world, people are talking to you about the NDDC, people are talking to you about development and as a minister, you have little or no information about what the NDDC is doing; does that present any meaningful reasoning? A minister of the Niger Delta should be able to tell development partners and whoever that is concerned what is being done by the NDDC. But today, there is no correlation.”
The minister is right in insisting on collaboration between his ministry and the NDDC. But who or what are the hindrances to this very necessary partnership? Before the ministry came on board, the NDDC had already set up a clearing house called the Partners for Sustainable Development [PSD] Forum. This important organ brings together representatives of federal and state governments of oil-bearing states, youth and women leaders, traditional rulers as well as the organized private sector, civil society, the mass media and international development agencies such as the UNDP and the World Bank. Its main function is to ensure that the developmental activities in the Niger Delta by all stakeholders are synchronized. This important organ is all that the ministry needs to key into the development programmes of the region.
Indeed, it is surprising that the ministry has not adopted the Master Plan facilitated by the NDDC as its own road map, since the Federal Government gave its blessings for the production of the comprehensive plan. The 15-year period of the plan must not be allowed to run out without any significant impact on the Niger Delta.
There is no need for this distractive schism in what should be a collective effort to rescue Niger Deltans from the pits of squalor and want. The Act setting up the NDDC clearly puts the supervision of the commission directly under the President. Note, not under the Presidency. This means that there are no obstructive go-between for the commission and the President to ensure expeditious implementation of decisions. The framers of the law were conscious of the fact that the interventionist agency must be freed of all the encumbrances of ministries which are usually weighed down by bureaucratic red tape. Part II, Section 7 of the Niger Delta Development Commission [Establishment] Act 2000 states that: “The Commission shall be subject to the direction, control or supervision in the performance of its functions under this Act by the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Royal fathers in the region, under the aegis of Association of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, have given their wise counsel to President Goodluck Jonathan on this matter. Their warning: “Don’t contemplate merging the commission with the ministry. Such action will be detrimental to the entire people of the area.”
The urgent task now is to secure more finds for the full implementation of the Master Plan for the region. There is enough room for both the ministry and the NDDC to operate and collaborate for the benefit of Niger Deltans.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Niger, Delta, Nddc, Ministry, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Myth of Free & Fair Elections – Even The Almighty June 12….
By Sulayman Dauda Daura
On what basis SAM NDA ISIAH relies upon to insist there was a free and fair election in one part of this country is still opaque and hazy. But let us dissect what those custodians of intellect and wisdom referred to as a ‘’living history’’ in Nigeria’s political timeline; The June 12, 1993 election.
Was the June 12th, 1993 presidential election free and fair? Was it the “freest and fairest election” in Nigerian history? If it was free and fair and it was actually won by Chief M.K.0 Abiola, the candidate of the Social Democratic Party, what electoral mandate did it give him? Did it give him the mandate to become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander - in - Chief of its Armed Forces, for a period of four years, from 27th August, 1993, to 26th August, 1997, under the relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution of 1989? Or, did that election and its results, gave him a special mandate, higher than the mandate given by any previous or, subsequent, Nigerian election, to become the President of Nigeria for four years, from any day he is installed, during his life time? That is, did Chief Abiola, on June 12th 1993, obtain a mandate from the electorate of Nigeria, which is not defined, or limited, by any time framework, any constitution, any laws, and even the existence of the other essential political institutions of civilian democratic government in a federal Nigeria, like the federal legislatures and the state executives and legislatures?
These are some of many questions millions of Nigerians should be asking as their response to the deafening media campaign and threats of secession, since the death of General Sani Abacha, to have Chief M. K. O Abiola installed by the then military regime as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander - in - Chief of its Armed Forces, heading a "Government of National Unity", outside the provision of any constitution, for the period of four years. These questions did, not only not received any answers, but are even being put forward from then up till today as a turning point in having a free and fair polls, promoted as a yard stick of measuring the decency of an election in our political debate in this country. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late M.K.0 Abiola
These questions cannot be avoided, because they address some very important political issues, which go far beyond the fate of Chief M. K. O. Abiola and what is called "his mandate". These issues are central to the building of democratic civilian rule in Nigeria on solid foundations. Nigeria cannot start rebuilding democracy without a clear public understanding of, what actually is a free and fair election and the meaning and the basis of the electoral mandate derived from such an election.
The campaign for what is called “the actualization of June 12th” is promoting the false impression that the freedom and fairness of an election is determined solely by what happens on the day of the election; and has nothing to do with the whole political process of party formation, party control, the nomination of candidates, the election campaign and the extent of the democratic space within which these are conducted. There are six aspects of an election which determine whether, or not, it is democratic, free and fair. The first aspect has to do with the composition of the electorate. The second aspect has to do with the formation and control of the political parties putting up candidates for the election. The third aspect has to do with the nomination of the candidates. The fourth aspect has to do with the election campaign. The fifth aspect has to do with the polling, the counting and recording of votes and the announcement of results. The sixth aspect has to do with the operations of the judicial system in its handling of the election petitions. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Seal of The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the official symbol of the Nigerian President, first used in 1979 by President Shehu Shagari.
The extent to which an election is free and fair, is determined by the freedom with which the adult citizens of a country can participate in it as voters. In an electoral system in which primaries are conducted by political parties for members of each party to elect their candidates, this freedom of participation has to include the freedom to form political parties which can contest elections and to vote for, or against, candidates in the party primaries. This freedom was denied to the citizens of
Nigeria in the presidential election primaries of 1993 which produced Chief M. K. O Abiola as one of the two presidential candidates. The convention of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) which was held in Jos on Saturday, 27th March, 1993, in which 5,215 delegates voted and Chief Abiola won with a majority of 272 votes, cannot by any democratic standards be regarded as free and fair. This is because the S.D.P itself was decreed into existence in 1989 by the Armed Forces Ruling Council. In fact, the formation of the SDP and the National Republican Convention (NRC), violated all universally acceptable democratic principles of party formation. Before the SDP and the NRC were imposed on the people of Nigeria, by the then ruling military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida, 38 political parties and associations had been freely formed to contest for the elections which were to return the country to civilian rule. These parties and associations were, for the avoidance of doubt:
1. People’s Liberation Party (PLP)
2. People’s Front of Nigeria (PFN)
3. Nigerian Peoples Welfare Party (NPWP)
4. Nigerian National Congress (NNC)
5. Peoples Solidarity Party (PSP)
6. Nigerian Labour Party (NLP)
7. The Republican Party of Nigeria (RPN)
8. National Union Party (NUP)
9. Liberal Convention (LC)
10. Patriotic Nigerian Party (PNP)
11. Ideals Peoples Party (IPP)
12. All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)
13. Peoples Patriotic Party (PPP)
14. United Nigerian Democratic Party(UNDP)
15 . Democratic People’s Congress (DPC)
16. People’s Party of Nigeria (PPN)
17. Black But Beautiful Party of Nigeria (BBBPN)
18. Welfare Party of Nigeria (WPN)
19. Liberal New Movement Party (LNMP)
20. Movement of Nationalists And Dynamos (MONAD)
21. Brotherhood Club of Nigeria (BCN)
22. United Front Party of Nigeria (UFP)
23. Abuja United Front (AUF)
24. New Democratic Alliance (NDA)
25. People’s Alliance Party (PAP)
26. The All People’s Party (TAPP)
27. People’s Progressive Party (PPP)
28. National Development Party (NDP)
29. People’s Convention Party (PCP)
30. Oriental Progressive (OP)
31. Nigerian Emancipation Party (NEP)
32. The Voice Group (Bendel) (THVP)
33. Commoners People’s Party (CPP)
34. Nigerian Democratic Congress (NDC)
35. Nigerian Farmers Revolutionary Council (NFRC)
36. Northern Youth Council (NYC)
37. Socialist Party of Workers, Farmers And Youth (SPWFY)
38. Nigerian Republican People’s Party (NRPP)
Of the 38 political parties formed, 13 had applied for registration by 6 p.m. of July 19th, 1989, the deadline fixed for the submission of application. These were:
1. Peoples Front Party of Nigeria ( PFN)
2. Nigerian People’s Welfare Party (NPWP)
3. Nigerian National Congress (NNC)
4. People’s Solidarity Party (PSP)
5. The Republican Party of Nigeria( RPN)
6. National Union Party (NUP)
7. Liberal Convention (LC)
8. National Labour Party (NLP)
9. Patriotic Nigerian Party (PNP)
10. Ideal People’s Party (IPP)
11. All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP)
12. People’s Patriotic Party (PPP)
13. United Nigeria Democratic Party (UNDP)
Among these parties, were several which in the words of General Ibrahim Babangida himself, had “deep roots” in Nigeria politics. Indeed, veterans of the National Council for Nigeria and Cameroun’s (NCNC), Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), Action Group(A.G), and United Middle-Belt Congress (UMBC) of the First Republic, many of whom had played active roles in the struggle for Nigerian independence were found in these parties. Also found, were activists of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), the Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP), the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), the Nigerian People’s party (NPP), and the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) of the Second Republic.
Impossible conditions were set by the military for the registration of political parties. Satisfying the conditions for registration did not only require the parties to spend hundreds of millions of naira, it also required them to put in place elaborate organisation, logistics, equipment and personnel, which even the military government could not fulfill, even when they later banned these parties and decreed the SDP and the NRC into existence. It was clear that the regime had imposed these impossible conditions because it had no intention of handing over to a democratically elected civilian government. This was known to Chief M. K. O Abiola as he himself said in a lecture he gave in a public meeting in London, on 14th August, 1993, to justify his anger at what Babangida later did to him. He said,
“Yes, Babangida is my friend. We have been friends for quite a long time. The first time he started this democratic race of his, I asked him whether indeed there was a vacancy, since I do not like applying for a job which is not vacant”. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.)
When he satisfied himself that the office was not vacant, that means General Babangida had no intention of handing over, Chief Abiola issued a statement to the effect that “over the last few weeks, thousands of people have urged me to stand for the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whilst some have counseled otherwise. Having carefully considered both sides of the argument, I have decided that I will not offer myself for this great office at this time”
In a broadcast to the nation, on the 8th of October, 1989, General Ibrahim Babangida announced that “the thirteen political associations are dissolved with immediate effect.” Not only were these parties banned, they were also forced to close their offices and stop all activities, or risk having their members being arrested and detained by the military regime. The military regime then created two political parties, the SDP and the NRC, and directed all those who were interested in politics to join either of the two.
Thus, the SDP, the primaries of which Chief Abiola won to become the candidate in the June 12th presidential elections, and the NRC, had their constitutions and manifestos produced by the military and formally launched by General Babangida at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Press Centre in Dodan Barracks on Monday, December 4th, 1989. In his broadcast to the nation, on October 9, 1989, General Babangida said that
“The draft constitution of these parties as approved by the Armed Forces Ruling Council shall be identical. The National Electoral Commission shall submit (these) draft manifestoes to the Armed Forces Ruling Council for preliminary approval within two weeks from today…The draft manifestoes may be amended at the national conventions of each party subject to NEC guidelines. They shall then be sent to the Armed Forces Ruling Council, which shall approve the amendments, after which the draft becomes a party manifesto”.
Thus, not only had the parties no independence whatsoever, their members and even the ordinary Nigerian voter were denied even the choice of programmes, as the parties had “identical manifestoes” which they cannot in reality amend. This undemocratic situation was captured by the editorial in The Guardian newspaper of Friday, 22 December, 1989, which states that: “Whether it is in the area of the economy, education, health, etc. that one takes, we find that there is little fundamental difference between the manifestoes of the parties. Even their preambles, which should reveal the basic philosophy and the nature of social order they want to construct, fail to provide any meaningful differences between the two parties. And if parties do not differ in their basic philosophy of society, then, differences over strategies become cosmetics. Their language, uniformly bland, is bereft of the commitment and dedication to goals and ideals that should inform manifestoes’’,
The SDP and the NRC were not only creations of the military regime, but they were also funded by that regime. Their state, local government and national offices were built by the military government. The Federal Military Government alone voted N676.5 million for the construction of 21 party offices in the state capitals, while the state military governors were ordered to construct two offices each for the parties, in each of the local government areas of the country. They budgeted a total sum of N546.6 million for this, making the total expenditure on the offices of these two parties, to come to the huge sum of N1.22 billion, equivalent, at that time to US$111.2 million.
Even the membership cards of the two parties and their symbols and colours were dictated by the military regime of General Babangida. What is very significant with regards to the status of the June 12 election is that the adoption of the two- the party system was what Chief M. K. O Abiola had canvassed for since 1985. In an interview in the New Nigerian of 31 May, 1985, Chief Abiola, “commended a two-party system and described the five party systems as ‘ridiculous rubbish’ because it was expensive to run and did not guarantee a better government.”
Clearing the field for the emergence of Chief Abiola as the SDP presidential candidate by the military government of General Babangida started since 1991. First, General Babangida announced a ban on most people who had held public offices and who wanted to become presidential candidates. When some of these politicians refused to accept such a ban and continued with their political activities, they were arrested and detained on 2 December, 1991, and later arraigned before the Transition to Civil Rule Tribunal, in order to frighten and intimidate them. These politicians were:
1. Major General Shehu Musa Yar ‘Adua (rtd)
2. Alhaji Lateef Jakande
3. Chief Bola Ige
4. Chief Solomon Lar
5. Alhaji Muhamadu Abubakar Rimi
6. Chief Christian Onoh
7. Dr. Olusola Saraki
8. Chief Francis Arthur Nzeribe
9. Alhaji Bello Maitama Yusuf
10. Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu
11. Mr. Paul Unongo
12. Alhaji Lawal Kaita
After this, the effort of clearing the field for General Babangida’s best friend moved to the organisation of the party presidential primaries. One of the conditions for free and fair election is the conduct of free and fair election of candidates by members of the political parties in the primaries. These primaries must be organized by the elected officials of the parties concerned. This was the case with the presidential primaries in the two political parties conducted in October, 1992. However, these primaries which were won by the late Major General Shehu Yar Adua, in the SDP, and Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, in the NRC, were annulled on 16th October, 1992, on the spurious ground that they were not properly done. The candidates, together with all other contestants, were banned again from contesting for the office of the president. Many others were cowered into silence. It was no other person but Chief M.K.O Abiola who rose to defend this brazenly unfair decision by General Babangida saying in The African Guardian of 10 March, 1993 that “I do not agree with those who believe that it was the government that sabotaged the presidential primaries.” When Chief Abiola joined the SDP to contest for the presidency, the ground had been further cleared for him. First, all the elected officials of the parties, from the federal down to the state and local government levels were dismissed by General Babangida.
In their place, the military regime appointed administrators at the national and state levels, on the 26 of January, 1993 to administer the parties. In all, the 88 sole administrators and executive secretaries were appointed to run the parties in all the states of the federation, including Abuja. All the officials were answerable not to the members of the parties they were administering but to the Armed Forces Ruling Council headed by General Babangida through the National Electoral Commission. The undemocratic, and regimented, nature of the parties is even more glaring in the case of the SDP. For, in the period 26 January to 27th March, 1993, when the party’s primaries which produced Chief Abiola as presidential candidate took place, the party was administered by a retired air force general, and former military governor of Kano State, Air Vice Marshal Stephen Shekari. This air force general presided over the Jos convention of 27 March, 1993, which produced Chief Abiola as the SDP’s flag-bearer. As far as the composition of the party electorate which voted for Chief Abiola to become the SDP’s flag-bearer is concerned, there was nothing free or fair about it. There was also nothing democratic, or free and fair, about the formation and control of the party which nominated him. Therefore, Chief Abiola’s candidature had its roots in the military regimentation of the electoral process, in violation of all the norms of freedom and fairness in democratic elections.
Any attempt at honestly, and rigorously, understanding the June 12th, issue, cannot ignore the role of Chief M. K.O Abiola in the campaign for the perpetuation of military rule in Nigeria. Far from being a democrat, as we are now made to understand by those shouting for “the actualization of June 12”, Abiola is one of the leading Nigerian civilian public figures who had always supported military governments. Thus, when he fell out with the National Party of Nigeria, in 1982, over his failure to get elected as the chairman of the party in order to be in a position to contest as its presidential candidate in 1983, he resigned from the NPN, claiming that he had left active politics, while in reality he was busy befriending the military that overthrew the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
When the ‘sterility and repression’ of the General Buhari’s military regime became obvious and its draconian decrees widely hated by the political and commercial elites. Although, the level and extent of system collapse and deterioration of the nation’s moral values is so perverse that make it imperatives for a military draconian rule. Chief M. K. O. Abiola came to the defence of the regime, adding that “Any body that is a threat to the government can be restricted”. As his newspaper, National Concord of 12th January, 1985 reported, he wasn’t putting his full weight behind the curtailment of dangerous elements within the system”. These “dangerous elements” were the 1979 and 1983 democratically elected civilian political leaders at the state and federal levels, who had been locked up in jail for over one year without proper legal trial. Those who were tried were tried before secret military tribunals.
When the Buhari’s regime came under intense public pressure to allow people to discuss the political future of the country, Chief Abiola was one of the very few leading, civilian, Nigerians who gave yet another spirited defence of the military regime, by saying in the New Nigeria of 31st May, 1985 that,
“We have a government headed by Major General Buhari, Head of State and Commander-in- Chief. What is of concern to me is that he rules Nigeria well to the betterment of every Nigerian that is all. It doesn’t bother me how long he stays there. The longer he stays from my point of view the more stability we will have.”
When General Babangida seized power on 27th August, 1985, Chief Abiola became even closer to the military regime, because Babangida was his close friend. He defended almost every action of that regime, stating blandly that “there was nothing they have not done that I don’t particularly like”, as reported in the National Concord of 28th January, 1986. After falling apart with Buhari, Abiola was openly bragging to have supported the 1985 coup with a whooping sum of 10million Naira to ousted the Buhari/Idiagbon lead government for their ‘rigid and uncompromising ideology’ thanks to Prof. West fact on Democracy within the Military during that era. In spite of some hiccups in his relationship with the regime, connected with the actions of some of his journalists and his children, Chief Abiola was seen by the generality of Nigerians as General Babangida’s man. The main pillar of his election campaign was that he was so close to General Babangida and the military, that Nigerians thought, he should be voted for to get rid of the military, who would be willing to hand over to him, as he has been very close to them, at every level. This view was reinforced by the fact that the security apparatus of the regime had imposed a light-weight businessman, Alhaji Bashir Tofa, as the candidate of the other party, the NRC. For, while Chief Abiola is a giant among Nigerian businessmen, Alhaji Bashir Tofa remained, up to his nomination, essentially an errand boy of Brigadier General Halilu Akilu, head of Babangida’s security services; as he has earlier been an errand boy of Kano NPN tycoons, who made him the National Financial Secretary of that party. The election campaign was therefore heavily loaded in favor of M. K. O. Abiola, by this very fact of his personal and warm friendship with General Babangida and the light weight rival candidate produced for him by the military regime. Not only was the campaign made easier by the puny status of Alhaji Bashir Tofa, as against Chief Abiola, even in Kano, but the security apparatus of the regime promoted a campaign against Alhaji Bashir Tofa publicizing accusations of dishonesty in the oil business against him. Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Muhammadu Buhari
Chief Abiola, meanwhile, continued to bask in his aura of belonging to the magic circle of the closest personal friends of General Babangida, A few months before he joined the SDP to contest for the presidency, General Babangida sent him a warm message of congratulations on the occasion of his 55 birthday, on 25th August, 1992. The National Concord of 26th August, 1992, the former editor of which was a close aide to Chief Abiola, Mr. Duro Onabule, who became General Babangida’s Chief Press Secretary, reported that the message was unique. In it, General Babangida said: “…you have not stalled in your philanthropic activities for which I assure you history will duly reward you most appropriately. It is also noteworthy that your business continues to widen, all aimed at providing job opportunities and enhanced standard of living for our fellow countrymen. May Allah grant you more years of useful service to the nation and humanity?”
The conduct of the election of June 12th did not make it the freest and fairest in Nigeria. In the first place, it is well known that Chief Abiola used massive amounts of money to bribe election officials and security personnel to ensure his victory. For, in spite of the way the campaign had greatly favoured him, he was not the one to take any chances with his wily friend, General Babangida. Everybody knows that with regards to the bribing and corrupting of election officials and security personnel, the 1993 presidential election was worse than the 1979 presidential election. As far as the turnout of voters was concerned, the number of people who came out to vote in 1979 was 16.8 million, while in 1993, with a larger population, only 13.6 million voted in the presidential election. There was no time for election petitions, since the results were annulled before they were formally announced. Therefore, it is very difficult to assess the freedom and fairness with which it was conducted and with which the judicial machinery for it operated.
The fact that the results of 12 of June Presidential election were annulled by the military regime of General Babangida cannot by itself make the election free and fair. The evidence available clearly establishes that, right from the way the two parties were imposed by military diktat, funded, housed and controlled by the regime, and had their primaries and campaigns largely determined by the regime, there was very little that was democratic in the whole process culminating in the June 12, 1993, election. The only inference one can draw from the facts available, is that a conspiracy to install Chief M.K.O Abiola was, at the last minute, aborted by General Babangida and others, perhaps including General Abacha. This conspiracy may actually go back to the early 1980s, when these two generals began plotting with Chief Abiola, and others, against the democratically elected government of Nigeria; a conspiracy which successfully bore fruit on 31 December, 1983, when, the then Brigadier General Sani Abacha, announced the overthrow of the democratically elected governments of Nigeria and M. K. O. Abiola led in the campaign to support this act of treason, and General Babangida took up the strategic position of Chief of Army Staff, which in August, 1985 he relinquished to General Abacha on becoming Head of State. Indications of such a conspiracy can be seen in the way Chief M. K. O. Abiola consulted very closely with General Babangida over who was to be his running mate, even after, according to him, he had felt that his friend was no longer with him. He, on the 14 August, 1993, said: “ We got to Jos, the first shocker for Babangida was that I won in Jos very narrowly but I won…the problem is that I need a Christian as a running-mate…The President (Babangida) was suggesting that I should pick Bafyau…So I went back to see Babangida the next day Friday. He was still insisting on Bafyau. It became very clear that we were on a collision course…I phoned the President at midnight before the announcement and told him that out of courtesy I must let him know that there is no way I can pick Bafyua. I was going to announce Babagana Kingibe in the morning.”
Other indications of Chief Abiola’s deep conspiratorial involvement with the military, particularly with the two generals most influential in the overthrow of our last democratic governments, also come out in the way he went to express such public confidence in General Abacha’s commitment to hand over power to him as soon as the latter had executed the November 17, 1993 military coup. Speaking at SDP Kaduna State office, at Kawo, Kaduna, on 28 September, 1993, he said:
“I really commend General Sani Abacha because out of love of the country, he puts his common sense, experience, tact and intellect to ease out (the former President, General Ibrahim Babangida). I have no doubt that it is that common sense, that patriotism, that intellect that will enable him to ease out his Babangida surrogates. But if not for people like Sani Abacha this country would have plunged into bloodshed”. If, what Mrs. Titilayo Abiola told The Post Express in an interview on Sunday, 28 June, 1998, that: ‘’Chief M. K. O. Abiola was so much looking forward to coming out and meeting General Abacha, that he cried when he heard of his death’’ is true, it further indicates that his connections with General Abacha, at least as far as he was concerned, remained a very important part of his life, even after the latter has locked him up for over four years.
It is difficult at this stage to fathom the depth and ramifications of the layers, upon layers, of conspiracy involved. But there can be no doubt that an election cannot, suddenly, become free and fair, just because a military President falls out with one of the candidates in a presidential election, with whom he had a long standing conspiratorial relations against democracy in Nigeria, and goes ahead to annul the victory of his co-conspirator.
The fact that those who campaigned for the “actualization of the June 12 election” refused to face was that out of 36.7 million Nigerians who registered to vote in that election, only 7.7 million voted for Chief Abiola while 5.9 million voted for Alhaji Bashir Tofa and 23.1 million abstained. In other words, 29.0 million Nigerian voters, equal to 79% of the registered voters refused to vote for Chief Abiola, either by abstaining, or by voting for the NRC candidate. How can a candidate, who fails to obtain the support of 8 out every 10 voters in a country, be made to appear to have obtained a special mandate to rule that country, irrespective of time, of laws and of the constitution? Certainly, in democratic elections of the type we had and still have, a candidate can be validly elected, even with a smaller proportion of the registered voters voting for him, or her. But to claim that a candidate has a mandate to rule a country even five years after the election, there surely should be better evidence of solid electoral support, in fact, repeated over a number of elections.
It is not only when looking at the figures for the whole country, that we find that the overwhelming majority of Nigerians refused to vote for him but even in the South-western States of Nigeria, 61.1% of the voters either abstained, or voted, for Alhaji Bashir Tofa, thus effectively refusing to vote for M. K. O Abiola. In Lagos State, where it is claimed he has his main support base, 63% of the registered voters refused to vote for him by either abstaining or by voting for Alhaji Bashir Tofa. The table below brings out these facts clearly.
Those leaders of NADECO, and the pro-democracy groups who threatened that if Chief M. K. O Abiola was not installed as President of Nigeria, because he won the 12 of June election, the Yorubas will break away, have to explain how the political fate of Abiola who 61.1% of the registered Yoruba voters refused to vote for can be used to legitimize the secession of the Yorubas from Nigeria. Is it because this majority does not have any rights because they choose to refuse to vote for Chief M. K. O. Abiola? Clearly, this secessionist threat had nothing to do with justice, equity, and the democratic rights of the great majority of Yoruba voters, who refused to vote for Abiola on June 12, 1993, and, therefore, cannot be expected to fight for “the actualization of the mandate” which they never gave him.
Clearly, Chief Abiola did not obtain any democratic mandate through a free and fair election, for; no such election took place June 12, 1993. But, even, granted that in spite of all its severe limitation, that election reflected the will of the Nigerian electorate, at that point in time, and in those special circumstances, it does not provide a basis for Chief Abiola to be installed as a civilian dictator, outside any democratic political party, without any elected federal legislatures, without any, elected, state executive and legislatures, or, elected, local government councils; leaving him effectively propped up by the military, in this so-called “Government of National Unity”. For, those who advocated that he should have headed that government were asking for this; including his taking the powers to appoint sole administrators over the states and the local governments, for the next two years as at then. If, as has been clearly established above, he received no genuine, democratic, mandate to rule Nigeria, in the years 1993-1997, how could he have had this mandate, after 1997? Is it because Chief Abiola is placed on a special pedestal of representing the Yorubas, even though 61.1% of voters in the Yoruba states refused to vote for him? Those who advocated this, whether explicitly or implicitly, have to explain what it has to do with democracy or national unity. In fact, they have to explain what it has to do with any form of constitutional government under the rule of law. For, to install Chief Abiola to head a “Government of National Unity” as at then simply because of his tribe, or race, is to actually establish a Government of National Disunity and National Confusion. For, such an imposition by the present military regime, even for one month, as NADECO had pleaded, has no basis in democracy, but amounts to an unprincipled and dangerous compromise with the military and civilian conspirators who have taken our country backwards from where it had reached on the weak, but sound, democratic, system we were gradually building in the Second Republic, on the basis of the 1979 Constitution. Even though, it was the reckless behavior of the political class that became a source of concern for the Military to step in at the time of national crisis, yet none of them came of their own volition, according to General Buhari. “…They were pushed, cajoled, encourage and welcome by the civilian, both those in active politics and out of it”
A question to ask here is if India could survive as a democracy despite its population, multi-ethnic and religious diverse and its souring poverty, then why not Nigeria?. We must sincerely stop deceiving ourselves the fact that Nigeria has never qualify to any of either the Liberal-representative, Electoral, let alone Pseudo democracy as termed by Larry Diamond. We can rather call our own type of Democracy as “War in Peace”. After all Nigeria has never witness a credible free and fair Election.
Sulayman Dauda Daura can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Myth, Free, Fair, Elections, Almighty, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Intersociety Submits Memo To Presidential Committee On Cost Cutting
The Presidential Committee On the Restructuring & Rationalization of the Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions & Agencies
The Legal Unit, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation
P-Wing, Shehu Shagari Complex
Three- Arms- Zone
Asokoro, Abuja, Nigeria
Dear Presidential Committee,
Age-long Discriminatory Practices By The Authorities Of The Nigeria Police Force Against The Personnel of Nigeria Traffic Wardens Service: A Memo For Freedom And Justice
Above subject matter refers.
(Onitsha Nigeria, September 6, 2011)-International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law-Intersociety is an incorporated international rights and democracy group based in the Southeast State of Anambra, with a focus on civil liberties, rule of law and good governance.
Power of Representation:
As a matter of public interest, we write to submit this important memo on behalf of the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Wardens Service and millions of concerned Nigerians. We have also been reached and implored by other well-meaning Nigerians to intervene on behalf of members of the Service. Our locus is both statutory and public oriented.
It is our information to your Committee that there is a statutory body known as “Nigeria Traffic Wardens Service”, established by Decree No.21 of 1975. The body was created to: “effect general control and direction of motor traffic on the highway”, “assist pedestrians to cross the road,” and “control vehicles stopping or parking in unauthorized places” etc. In other words, the Service is empowered to take charge of traffic control and related duties on major government urban roads including inter and intra-city roads. Statutorily, the Service was created and handed over to the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force for efficient management including ensuring good conditions of service for its personnel. But the events that unfolded thirty-six years after (1975-2011) have made the personnel of the Service “victims of the modern day slavery and servitude”. Pained and unsatisfied with these sad developments, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, launched an advocacy over same in July 2011 with letters addressed to the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz A. Ringim through the DIG Operations, Mr. Audu Abubakar, dated July 26, 2011; President Goodluck Jonathan, dated August 2, 2011; Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Parry Osayande, dated August 3, 2011; leading foreign missions in Nigeria, dated August 18, 2011; President Goodluck Jonathan, dated August 24, 2011; and leading foreign missions in Nigeria, dated August 24, 2011. Copies of the said letters are hereby marked and attached. For ease of reference, the attached letter to leading foreign missions in Nigeria, dated August 18, 2011, referenced: Intersociety/NG/Vol.02/08/2011/FMs/ABJ/FRN and marked as “Exhibit 4”, contains necessary details concerning the matter.
Owing to the fact that Decree No. 21 of 1975 or “Nigeria Traffic Wardens Decree 21 of 1975” is out-fashioned and discriminatory, we pray your Committee to recommend for its repeal or amendment. In line with your Committee’s terms of reference, we have perused the provisions of the said Decree No. 21 of 1975, Sections 59 to 69 of the Nigeria Police Act and its Regulations, the FRSC Act, the 1999 Constitution, as amended, etc and made the following findings:
1. That the discriminatory practices being visited against the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Wardens Service by the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force are partly predicated on the awkward Decree No. 21 of 1975.
2. That the discriminatory practices predicated on the obnoxious Decree No.21 of 1975 are clearly at variance with Nigeria’s democratic ideals including human rights and natural justice.
3. That it was on the strength of these that various ministerial committees were set up including the ministerial committee set up by Ministry of Police Affairs on August 25, 2010 to look into the said age-long discriminatory practices, which include restrictive ranking, stagnated promotions, indiscriminate arrests and long detention without trials of key Traffic personnel, discriminatory promotions, non-allotment of offices and positions, “outsider” treatment of the Wardens by the Police, imposition of criminal “returns” culture on the Wardens, exclusion of the Wardens from police promotion examinations, over-labouring or over-burdening of the Wardens at their duty posts, maintaining a “Civil Service Grade Level 06” as the highest vertical mobility in the Service, and other poor conditions of service.
As a stickler of “higher capital expenditures and lower recurrent expenditures,” we are totally in support of your Committee’s establishment. In the light of the above, therefore, we wish to align ourselves, with some conditions, the options 1& 2 of the “recommended options”, reached by the Ministry of Police Affairs Committee, on January 24, 2011. It is recalled that a ministerial committee was set up on August 25, 2010 by the then Minister of Police Affairs, on the strength of a petition filed by the leadership of the Vanguard for the Actualization of the Traffic Wardens Service Welfare, led by Mr. J.K Johnsonapla, over discrimination against the Traffic Wardens Service by the Nigeria Police Force. At the end of the Committee’s sitting, the Minister directed his Permanent Secretary to hold a meeting with the Nigeria Police Force Secretary so as to fine-tune the committee’s report before its final presentation at the tripartite meeting involving the Minister, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP. The Force deputy Secretary attended the meeting, which took place on January 24, 2011, on behalf of the Force Secretary. At the end of the meeting, three recommendations were chosen and explained with the following implementation implications:
“That the Traffic Warden Services (TWS) should be granted autonomy as declared in the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna, on Monday 18th, May 2000. In this regard, they would have a clear-cut career structure (organogram) to enable them rise to the peak of their career.
This will result in the creation of an autonomous agency of Government, (b) it will require annual budgetary provision to enable the new Agency carry out its various activities, (c) the creation of the new Agency will be at variance with the recent recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Committee that MDAs have become too many and need to be merged/rationalized to save costs and free resources for infrastructural development in the country”.
“That the cadre of Traffic Wardens should be abolished, renamed Traffic Police and merged with the Motor Traffic Division (MTD) of the Nigeria Police Force.
The TWS will now operate as a cadre under MTD (i.e. wearing the police uniform but with a distinct identity), (b) the TWS is already a part of the NPF, hence merging the service with MTD of the police will make for easy management of the career of the personnel of the absorbed new cadre, (c) the recruitment as well as the career progression and/or conversion of TWS will however depend on the acquisition of appropriate/additional qualification(s)”.
Consequently, while the implementation implications of Option 1 are noted, if your Committee still considers it necessary to be recommended (i.e. granting the TWS a full blown autonomy), we are not opposed to it, however, we are at home with the Option 2 with the following conditions: 1 That the Decree No.21 of 1975 should be repealed or abrogated. 2. That Sections 59 to 69 of the Police Act and the Traffic Wardens Maximum Number of Persons Notice contained in the Police Act as well as related enactments should be deleted or replaced with new provisions relating to the “Nigeria Traffic Police”. 3. That all the discriminatory provisions with which the Decree No.21 of 1975 and Sections 59 to 69 of the Police Act, etc, are known for, must never find their way back into new enactments or provisions relating to the “Traffic Police”. 4. That the personnel of the TWS should take over the full functions of the new Traffic Police, both horizontally and vertically. 5. That the takeover of functions should include the creation of traffic offices in all police establishments in the country, that is to say: from police posts, district offices, divisional commands, area commands, State commands, zonal commands, to the Force Headquarters, and such offices should be manned by qualified personnel of TWS. 6. That the new Traffic Police personnel (i.e. former TWS) should retain their original areas of jurisdiction with further expansion to cover traffic control, checks or investigation of vehicle/motorcycle papers, investigation and prosecution of all traffic offenses including traffic accidents and vehicle/motorcycle paper offenses throughout the country. Retraining of the personnel of the new Traffic Police should be carried out regularly.
7. That the Police Act should be amended to reflect these changes so as to be brought in consonance with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended. 8. That the issue of promotion stagnancy and exclusion from regular police promotion courses or examinations involving the qualified personnel of TWS should be totally addressed, and in addressing same, the years of enlistment and service, as well as present ranks worn by the personnel of the NPF, who have same years of enlistment and service as well as same qualifications with the affected personnel of TWS, should be used in remedying the ugly situation. Credible efforts should be made to ascertain the criminal records, if any, of the affected personnel of TWS with a view to ensuring unstained new Police Traffic. 9. That the positive outcomes of such review should be extended to the retired cadres of TWS, that is to say: a retired Senior Traffic Warden/Assistant Superintendent of Traffic should be addressed as a retired “Inspector/ASP”. 10. That as many WAEC, Diploma, Graduate, Post Graduate Certificate or Degree holders including doctors and lawyers abound in the NPF, so they are in TWS, therefore, there should be re-screening exercise in TWS, so as to ensure and effect meritorious promotion exercises geared towards unveiling the re-branded “Traffic Police.” The birth papers or age declarations of the personnel of TWS should be thoroughly investigated so as to ensure that age falsifiers are fished out and penalized accordingly. The third option of merging the TWS with the Federal Road Safety Corps, canvassed by the Ministerial Committee, may be more cumbersome and friction-ridden, but if your Committee must consider it, then, conditions similar to those stated above, should be attached to it. There should also be injection of more personnel into the re-branded TWS, or “Traffic Police”, or “Road Traffic” (if merged with FRSC) through periodic recruitment, training and retraining exercises, so as to lessen the burden of the present TWS, peopled by only 8,500 personnel nationwide.
In line with your Committee’s mandate or terms of reference, the need to overhaul, legislatively, the Nigeria Police Act and its incorporated Regulations is overdue. Many, if not most of its provisions are inconsistent with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended. For instance, its Section 9 provides: “…there is hereby established a body, to be known as the Nigeria Police Council, which shall consist of- (a) President, as Chairman, ((b) the Chief of General Staff, (c) the Minister of Internal Affairs; and (d) Inspector General of Police”. This is clearly at variance with Section 153(l) and Article 27, Part 1 of Third Schedule to the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, which states that the Nigeria Police Council shall consist of the President (chairman), Governor of the each State of the Federation, Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the Inspector General of Police. The Police Act also recognized and restricted its functions and operations to 21 States and the Federal Capital Territory, instead of 36 States and the FCT, as well as the 774 LGAs. The Act still contains service emoluments for non-commissioned police officers in the form of “N1, 188.00”, “N1, 226.00 per annum” etc. It is also our recommendation that new technologies and modern tools of crime fighting and criminal investigation and their procedures should be recognized and incorporated into the re-branded Nigeria Police Act and its Regulations.
Importantly, high costs of public governance in Nigeria, especially at the Federal level, are not totally rooted in over-bloated Federal Government Agencies, Parastatals and Commissions. Rather, they are substantially rooted in the institutionalized “criminal allowance culture”, indiscriminate use of personal aides by top public officials and coded or classified jumbo pay for federal lawmakers and top executive political appointees, as well as official thievery. It is evidently clear that while statutory salaries for public servants in the country run into tens of billions of naira, questionable allowances for them run into hundreds of billions of naira. Out of the country’s 469 federal lawmakers, there are over 1000 personal aides recruited and attached to them, with tens of billions of naira public funds expended on their needless upkeep annually, in the form of “allowances”. Your Committee, therefore, should recommend for drastic pruning of federal ministries and their supervising ministers. The needless provisions for “Ministers of State” should be recommended for abolishment and their statutory functions, if any, taken over by substantive ministers and their permanent secretaries. Provisions for “Senior Special Assistants”, “Special Assistants”, “Executive Assistants”, etc, other than Special Advisers, Ministers and Commissioners are unknown to the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, and therefore, they should be discarded.
Top political appointees/public officials who hire personal aides, should be made to sustain them through their statutory salaries and allowances. The culture of coded or classified jumbo pay for federal lawmakers and top executive political appointees should be recommended for abolishment, because Nigeria is not secretive but open society founded on ideals of democracy and social justice. The outrageous allowances for top political appointees and federal lawmakers should be radically reviewed downwards and formalized. All these should be geared towards discontinuing the culture of “stomach economy” or “economy of intestine” in Nigeria. The non-justiceability of the Chapter Two of the Constitution should be an interim “defence” for President Goodluck Jonathan in trimming down his federal cabinet, especially the number of Ministers and Special Advisers pending when the relevant provisions are amended.
We hope that Your Committee should consider this memo meritoriously.
For: Intersociety, Nigeria
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Phone: +234(0) 8037114869
Amaka Biachi Nwosu
Head, Research & Strategy
Phone: +234 (0) 8035532707
1. The President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja
2. The Senate President, FCT, Abuja
3. The Chairman, Senate Committee on Police Affairs, FCT, Abuja
4. Speaker, House of Reps, FCT, Abuja
5. The Minister of Finance & Coordinating Minister of Economy, FCT, Abuja
6. The Minister for Police Affairs, FCT, Abuja
7. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, FCT, Abuja
8. The Chairman, House Committee on Police Affairs, FCT, Abuja
9. The Inspector General of Police, FCT, Abuja
10. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
11. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, London, UK
12. Chairperson, African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia
13. Secretary General of Amnesty International, London, UK
14. The Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
15. The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Australia High Commission, Oakland Center, 48, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
16. Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Norway, 54, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
17. Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, the Embassy of Sweden, Plot 1520, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
18. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the USA, Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business Area, FCT, Abuja.
19. Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Canadian High Commission, 15, Bobo Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
20. The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Switzerland, Plot 704, Adetokubo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 11, FCT, Abuja.
21. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, British High Commission, Dangote House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Wuse, FCT, Abuja.
22. The Royal Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Plot 622, Gana Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
23. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria, Embassy of Germany, No.9, Lake Maracaibo Close, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja.
24. The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of France, 32, Udi Hills Street, Off Aso Drive, Maitama, FCT, Abuja
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Submits, Memo, Presidential, Committee, Cost, Cutting, Goodluck, Jonathan, Africa, Masterweb
The Anambra State Chairman of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Akunwata Mike Kwentoh has described the owner of the moribund Rogeny Stadium as among what he called the “disasters that Anambra State harbours.” He said he was among those that the Governor usually described as lunatics that escaped from the asylum that needed to be taken back to the asylum for the health of the State. Kwentoh said this yesterday to some journalist while reacting to the statement credited to Ezeonwuka saying that Obi’s Government was a failure.
Kwentoh said he believed either Ezeonwuka did not understand some of the things he was reported to have said, if he spoke in English or that the interviewer did not translate his Igbo properly into English. He insisted that the man was not qualified to speak about Anambra State. Asked to explain, Kwentoh said that his comments on Anambra were like a bald man lecturing us on how to grow the hair. In his words: “the man has the record of running failed businesses, including the Rogeny Stadium, toothpick industry, among others. One can therefore say that he has rich experience in failure, and a man who has a failure syndrome in life cannot tell you and I how to run a successful State.
Kwentoh said that it was not surprising that Ezeonwuka criticised the practice of equipping schools with computers, donating buses to them and rebuilding their dilapidated structures because, according to him, he may actually be protesting that the Governor did not bring the money for sharing as was the practice in the past. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
“Now I know why he quarrels with everybody that has done one thing or the other with him, including the revered Monsignor John-Bosco Akan over ownership of Tansian University and I believe you guess is as good as mine.”
Kwentoh advised him to go and re-build his battered life and businesses as the Government, as he insinuated in his comments, cannot give him funds directly.
Kwentoh regretted that while the cream of Anambra people the likes of Chief Emeka Anyaoku, HRM, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Muoghalu, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the Deputy Gov. Of Central Bank, among other where pouring encomiums on the Governor and charting a new course for the State, some Charlatans are elsewhere scheming the return of dark ages for the State.
RELATED ARTICLE => Nigeria: Peter Obi Holds Post-Election Press Conference
*Tags: Nigerians, Ezeonwuka, Living, Disasters, Anambra, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
By Jude Otuonu
At last the long awaited day is here. Anambra, a state blessed with enormous and unbelievable human potential is 20 years old today. After tottering, falling and groping for direction, the state has finally steadied her legs and is up and walking at an admirable pace. It may not be running yet, but when what it passed through in recent years is considered, then one will surely doff one’s hat for the efforts, vision and commitment of a certain man called Peter Obi, a.k.a. ROCK of Anambra.
At the formal kickoff of the anniversary, August 26, held at the Women’s Development Centre, Awka, Obi himself echoed this when he said inter alia: ‘we are celebrating because for the first time since the last four years, the state did not experience any form of what we were known for and it is worth celebrating.’ He challenged anyone doubtful of what he said to dig into the state’s recent history.
I will help him here by highlighting some of them. Anambra made notorious history as the first and only state in the world where a serving governor (illegal or illegal) was abducted by civilians. It also became the only state to date where political godfathers went on a wild orgy of burning and destruction of public property in a shameless war with their godson. It was and still is the only state where a governor was impeached for good governance. Recall that Obi was impeached illegally in 2006 because he saved money earlier inflated by his predecessor and house members for rebuilding the burnt govt house and lodge! He did it by far, far less and they were unhappy he blocked their means of milking the state. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Then the state was denied revenue by touts sponsored by the Ubas and the motor parks were a hell to visit. The state had no master plan, Awka was a glorified village as nothing was done there while a past governor spent every kobo on his village axis. Roads were built lopsidedly to favour then governor’s area and all the remaining sectors of the economy were ignored as though they never existed. Touts were glorified and intellectuals blacked out. Hence when Obi’s predecessor was being sworn in in 2003, he devoted a large portion of his address to thank Chris Uba, a common tout, for facilitating his election and for making the day possible! Can you beat that?
Then, and before then, contracts were awarded to cronies and quacks and the results were disastrous. Recall that the ABS mast fell twice during construction, killing the engineers each time because a local chief who knew next to nothing about such work was given the contract in the name of carrying politicians along!
These are some of what Obi stopped and which have triggered off a flurry of mad reactions from the looters but he has remained focused and Anambra adiba go mma taa (is getting better) today. Emeka Anyaoku, the only Nigerian to have occupied the highest post in a world body agrees with this and stated it clearly that day in Awka on the occasion of the anniversary.
‘It’s a celebration for all Anambrarians, irrespective of political affiliation. It is something worthy to celebrate,’ he said.
He described Obi’s projects as things to see and appreciate. ‘In many respects, Obi is building on the foundations and expanding on them in a new way I’ve not seen anywhere in any other state of the federation,’ Anyaoku said.
He hailed Obi’s ANIDS as holistic and one that emphasised the people. It was through this ANIDS that Obi has transformed the entire state, taking development to hitherto forgotten areas and touching every sector simultaneously, be it health, education, sports, commerce and industry, etc. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
Any surprise that this has been winning him accolades and approval from local and international bodies? This Day newspaper first awarded him best governor on fiscal management. Recently the presidency made him honorary adviser on finance and member of the elite Nigeria Economic Management Team because of his financial wizardry that has seen him managing the state’s lean purse so well that he is yet to borrow money like many, many governors.
It was an occasion that saw the governor inviting the who’s who of the state, including his opponents. The roll call included Emeka Anyaoku, chairman and former secretary general of Common Wealth; the finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who was key note speaker; Oby Ezekwesili; Prof Barth Nnaji, minister of power; Mustapha Chike Obi; Prof. Soludo; Prof Akunyili, Dr. Ngige; Chris Okeke; Ambassador Ralph Uwechue; Dozie Ikedife; Bianca Ojukwu; Ambassador Jerry Ugokwe, Ralph Okey Nwosu; Cardinal Arinze; Bishop Anikwenwa; innocent Egbunike (former renowned athlete who was also honoured), ex-Rangers players like Okala; Dominic Nwobodo; Stanley Okoronkwo; Nwabueze Nwankwo; Aniedobe; Francis Nwosu; Ernest Ufele; Luke Okpala; Paul Obiakor; Mike Ogbuodudu, among others. The Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, was also there.
Awards were given to 75 deserving accomplishers and Obi said it would be an annual event.
It was an occasion that united Anambrarians and the governor noted that the state had everything but lacked love and cooperation. He urged everyone to join hands to change the state.
Those who missed the event only have themselves to blame.
Otuonu wrote from Nimo, Anambra State.
RELATED ARTICLE => Nigeria: Peter Obi Holds Post-Election Press Conference
*Tags: Nigerians, Anambra, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Igbo Landlord Away In Lagos & Kano - Shame On You!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
If you are an Igbo man or woman and you have houses in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri, etc but you have none to your name in Enugu, Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, then you are the one I’m talking to; shame on you! If you are the type who would be lost if cut off from the North, the South-West and several other parts of Nigeria just like it happened after the war, then you are the shame of your generation. And I say again and again to your shame: shame on you and whatever has turned you blind! You are not an Igbo blood. You are what our fathers call, “Ajọ nwa sị owere baa nné ya afọ;” you are an evil seed, and as every evil seed is treated, your place with eternity will be in the evil forest. It’s time to talk to some of my people who have gone beyond the border of the living in search of the living; your journey is in the midst of the dead. I’m addressing Ndigbo, so a stranger who jumps into an argument between brothers knows his place.
Ndigbo are hospitality themselves and, in our ignorance, we have imagined everyone- every tribe and group-to be like us; we have imagined everyone to see us as we have always seen them-as one. But, in spite of the many hard and tough lessons which that line of thoughts and actions has taught us in the past, some of my people still go ahead, making enemy out of themselves against their very selves. Before the war, Ndigbo, considering Nigeria as one even when we saw all the glaring and ever-increasing dissimilarities, accepted every Nigerian in our midst, and went, in the same spirit, into every part of Nigeria, developing and bringing every needed help and change to every community we enter-doing all sorts of business. We made our homes wherever we go in the spirit of one who accepts strangers as brothers and sees every Nigerian as a brother. But when the civil war broke out, it became a horror for all Igbo sons and daughters all over the nation. By the end of the war, Ndigbo had lost all their property in all other parts of the country even after the war was declared by the government as “no victor, no vanquished.” The Nigerian government did not stop at their genocide against Ndigbo, it went ahead and stole our money and property in every part of Nigeria, and even encouraged stealing amongst Nigerians as one of the foundational blocks for the post-war Nigeria as long as what they steal, whether they were lives or property, belonged to Ndigbo. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and capital (Abuja or FCT)
After the war, Ndigbo lost money and uncountable houses-uncounted landed property. And even when some of us went back to claim our houses and property in line with “one Nigeria” campaign, the federal government did everything and quashed every claim. Those that were landlords of many houses built through hard labour became not only tenants, but suspects even as tenants. We lost money, houses…everything to those whom we called our brothers; those who killed, maimed, raped our people and then seized all our property. If Ndigbo were known for commerce, it tripled after the war because everyone was squeezed dry of whatever he had and then thrown into the forest, as it were, to live or die. Forty (40) years have come and gone and nothing has changed except that “one Nigeria” became a tool to further frustrate Ndigbo; governments have come, gone and come again, but neither the governments nor those around us whom we still call brothers ever considered it criminal to still hold our lands and property. In so doing, the guilt does not lie with the government alone but also with other states, tribes and ethnic groups who, till date, have not considered it gross injustice that they allowed themselves to seize, loot and retain amongst themselves what we laboured for in their midst. Aru!
Lagos, with all its pomp and circumstance, all its glory, was speedily elevated by Ndigbo. Kano, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt…; there is scarcely a developed place in Nigeria where Ndigbo did not contribute immensely to. Yet, that has not stopped us from being what we are before those whom we call brothers in one Nigeria: strangers.
One would think that, after what happened during the war, Ndigbo would recoil a little and ponder on our true drive-what pushes us to feel relaxed in every other part of Nigeria. One would also think that Ndigbo, having been globally known as rich in commerce, would have, at least, one seaport and airport. But the reverse has remained the case. Some time ago, an airline, on hearing that Enugu airport has been upgraded to an international airport, sought for a license to fly direct to and from Enugu but was bluntly denied. And Ohanaeze Ndigbo kept silent! Onitsha Bridge is an Icon in the whole of Africa, yet turning it into a seaport is out of the federal government’s question. They would readily argue that contracts have severally been awarded for that very purpose; but whoever sends for something and feels comfortable when it’s not bought even after he has paid hugely for it? Who is fooling who? If there are houses in Igboland owned by people from the South-West and South-South, they would be in their few, but I could come close to swearing (which is unneeded, by the way) that there is no Northerner who answers a landlord in all of Igboland, not because we do no have lands nor because we do not lease and sale lands, but only because of one thing: Ndigbo are still looked upon as strangers among Nigerians. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria )
At a time, the Ikemba Nnewi, Eze Igbo, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, on talking to Igbo traders in Lagos, cried and asked them why they can’t develop their lands just as they do in about every other state; why they can’t come home and build their houses and businesses in our lands. He saw before time what has been and what may yet be. I neither accept nor let slide the argument which says that it’s because Ndigbo love money; that saying has become old-fashioned and redundant because Ndigbo today may well neither take the 1st nor the 2nd position amongst people in Nigeria with an acute love for money. Chief Ojukwu knew that there would still be repetitions of what happened to Ndigbo which led to the civil war, he knew that some of those we called and still viewed as brothers in the North would, one day, rise up again to kill Ndigbo for sport while the so-called federal government of Nigeria watches on and does nothing. He knew that if the federal government of Nigeria would condescend to denying us our several property in several other parts of Nigeria after the war, they would not hesitate to repeat the same having seen that Ndigbo are too blinded by “one Nigeria” to read the handwriting on the wall. After what happened to us during and after the civil war-where we were forced to give up our money, businesses and even landed property-one would think it unthinkable for any Igbo son or daughter to ever give a thought to making any other parts of Nigeria his comfortable home, let alone consider buying landed property or even developing any plots. If the federal government reclaimed what they claimed were in one Nigeria, if they reclaimed the whole of South-East and did as they liked with Ndigbo, what has their silence and refusal to return to Ndigbo all our property stolen in broad daylight in several other parts of the country told us?
Lagos is what it is today because it was developed, and so are Kano, Kaduna, Port-Harcourt, Abuja, etc. There are mass acres of uncultivated lands in Anigbo, more than enough for any business we may ever consider venturing into; there are enough lands for factories and businesses that will be enough to feed Africa and beyond. Ndigbo knows that, because we are good at what we do, we would be sought after by consumers from everywhere, no matter where we situate. This year alone, several sons and daughters of Ndigbo were wasted in the North along with their property ranging into hundreds of millions of Naira and the. Yet some are still bargaining for houses and plots in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, etc on which to develop. It clearly seems a true saying that “Ofeke adịghị akọ na-obi.” If you are of Igbo blood but have preferred buying and building houses in other parts of Nigeria instead of Anigbo, you are the ofeke of our time. If your quest for money has turned you into an Esau, you have yourself to blame. And if you answer “ landlord or landlady” in Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Lagos, Abuja and some other parts of Nigeria while no one knows you at home, you are the “Ajọ nwa sị owere baa nné ya afọ.” If you can boast of plots of land in Lagos and all over North, and you can brag about many warehouses and shops to your name all over Nigeria but not in Igboland, you have no Igbo blood; but if by chance you do have, you are living in denial of yourself. A man who denies himself is worse than an infidel.
I congratulate the leaders of Nnewi, Ariaria and Onitsha for what they have made of those areas. The British, in their smallness, were able to conquer most of the world simply because they had a front, they had a base. They were united to the decision of turning their small village into the London of today and did everything needed for that change. The Americans, no matter how much oil you think you have, will never deal with you to the detriment of their greatness. Charity begins at home, my people. Return home, Umuigbo, come and establish in our land because there are enough spaces for everyone. We need landlords and we need tenants. We need warehouses and we need shops. This ought to be a generation of men filled with knowledge, history and wisdom. Ụkwụ adịghị éjị onye nọ bé ya éché onye ọbia. But to you who has sworn to remain on the run, to you who runs when no one pursues him: shame on you! To you who has traded his sweet mother tongue for other languages and to you who brings up his children in other tongues in Nigeria instead of your mothers’, you are of all most pitiable. To you whose motto is “Ala bu otu,” you will be put to shame at last when strange lands will reject strange bodies. To you who would rather answer a landlord in a strange land than have a stone to your name amongst your own people: shame on you! Ndigbo, kéénu nkwucha n’ịhi na nkwucha abughị ajọ ịhe; nkwucha abughị ụjọ.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Igbo, Landlord, Lagos, Kano, Africa, Masterweb
By Masterweb News Desk
Anambra State under the leadership of Governor Peter Obi has concluded elaborate arrangements for the celebration of its founding. The state was created on August 27, 1991 by the military government of Ibrahim Babangida. On that day, East Central State, one of the 12 states created by Yakubu Gowon's military government in 1967 was split into two giving birth to Anambra and Imo States.
In preparation of festive activities which kick-off today and ending on Saturday, streets of the capital city, Awka have been given impressive face-lift. These include paint job and beautification with flowers and banners. The traditional ruler of Onitsha, Obi Alfred Achebe is billed the royal father of the three-day festivity. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: His Excellency Governor Peter Obi
Invited guests, which include important dignitaries and people from all walks of live, will today take an inspection tour of projects completed by Governor Obi's administration.
A special summit/lecture titled "Anambra At 20: A Case For Collective Action" will be held on Friday at the Women Development Center, Awka. This will be followed by the presentation of awards to seventy-five indigenes of the state who have excelled in their various fields of endeavour.
Activities will wind up with an investor’s breakfast forum on Saturday, with Governor Obi as Chief Host and Obi Alfred Achebe as the Royal Father of the day.
Masterweb news team will be on the ground to cover the historic celebration and activities. This will not be the first time Masterweb team is on the ground in Anambra State; our team in conjunction with citizen reporters (live) Anambra 2010 gubernatorial election.
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
RELATED ARTICLE => Anambra Election Watch Log For 6/2/10
*Tags: Nigerians, Digital, Elibrary, Project, Governor, Peter, Obi, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Intersociety Reports Police Service Boss To Jonathan
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
President & Commander-in-Chief
Federal Republic of Nigeria
The State House
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Re-Justice For The “Road Traffic Four” & The Entire Nigeria Traffic Warden Service: Intersociety Has Lost Confidence In The Competence Of The Chairman Of The Police Service Commission
Above subject matter refers.
On 26th day of July 2011, we wrote the Inspector General of Police through the DIG Operations, over the unwarranted detention of some Traffic Wardens and their age-long plight in the hands of the authorities of the Nigeria Police. The letter was referenced: Intersociety/Vol.01/07/2011/IGP/F/HQRS/ABJ/NG. On 2nd day of August 2011, we addressed another letter to Your Excellency on the strength of the refusal of the IGP to release the detained Wardens etc. The letter was referenced: Intersocity/Vol.02/08/2011/C-in-C/Presidency/FRN, and on 3rd day of August 2011, we wrote the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and the letter was referenced: Intersociety/Vol.02/08/2011/PSC/ABJ/NG. These letters were written and rooted to their recipients in accordance with powers vested on them by the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, within the context of the subject under reference. We also alerted the leading foreign missions in Nigeria over the ill manner the authorities concerned responded to the matter. The alert letter was dated 18th day of August 2011 and referenced: Intersociety/Vol.02/08/2011/FMs/ABJ/FRN.
On Monday, 22nd day of August 2011, at 2:47pm, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of this Organization, Emeka Umeagbalasi, got a call from the cell phone No.+243(0) 8064298476 on his cell phone No.+234(0) 8033601078. The lady-caller handed over the phone to a man who introduced himself as Chief Parry Osayande, Chairman, Police Service Commission. After he made sure that the call receiver was Emeka Umeagbalasi, he opened the following conversation: Chief Parry Osayande: “Is that one Emeka Umeagbalasi?” Emeka Umeagbalasi: “You are unto him sir!” Chief Parry Osayande: “You wrote a letter to the President against the IG over some detained traffic wardens, where are they detained?” Umeagbalasi: “Our organization did sir!” Chief Osayande: “Why did you write to the President instead of me?” Umeagbalasi: “Sir, we wrote the President in his capacity as the Chairman of the Nigeria Police Council, who has control over the IGP.” Chief Osayande: “Am I not a member of the Council?” Umeagbalasi: “Yes, you are sir, but you constitutionally have control over the DIGs “A” & “B” Departments, which explains why we also wrote a different letter to you sir!”
At this point, Chief Parry Osayande’s tone became harsher and he exploded thus: “Who are you to be answering me yeah, yeah, why am talking to you!!! Umeagbalasi: “No sir! I was only saying yes, yes, meaning that I can hear you clearly!” Chief Osayande: “You wrote to the President instead of writing me, now the President has referred your letter back to me. You want me to discipline the IGP, what do you know about the police?” Umeagbalasi: “Sir, we never asked you to discipline the IGP, but the President was asked sir! But, we asked you to look into the involvement of the DIGs in the matter because that is where you have constitutional power sir!” Chief Osayande: “You want me to sanction the DIGs, what do you know about the police? You wrote the President instead of me, now he has returned the letter back to me, asking me to investigate it”. Umeagbalasi: “Sir, all I know is that our letters were written in good faith and properly rooted too”. Chief Osayande: “Oh it was written in good faith! Stay there and wait for result, you think you can write!” At this point, Chief Parry Osayande withdrew his voice from the cell phone, left it open and possibly, put it on speak-out and was heard speaking from the background, saying a lot of unprintable things against Emeka Umeagbalasi. Umeagbalasi: “Hello sir! Hello sir!! Hello sir!!!” Chief Osayande (speaking from the background): “He still has the guts to be shouting Hello! Hello!! Stupid Man!!!” At this point, Emeka Umeagbalasi cut the cell phone’s conversation.
Apart from the fact that the above hostility of Chief Parry Osayande is clearly unbecoming of a top public official maintained with public resources, we in the Intersociety are not surprised at his hostile conduct. A rat, they say, will always beget a rat. Appointing a police retired DIG to head the Police Service Commission was and still is a grave mistake on the part of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s regime, deputized by Your Excellency. It also defeats the very aim of setting up the Police Service Commission, which is to civilianize and sanitize the Nigeria Police Force. Judging from the foregoing, Your Excellency, it is very clear that Chief Parry Osayande does not understand the letters of the Nigeria Police Service Commission Establishment Act No.5 of 2001, Section 153(l) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, as well as Article 29, Part 1 of Third Schedule to the Constitution.
For avoidance of doubt, Article 29, Part 1 of Third Schedule to the Constitution states: “The Police Service Commission shall comprise the following members- (a) a Chairman; and (b) such number of other persons, not less than seven but not more than nine; as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly”. Article 30: “The Commission shall have power to- (a) appoint persons to offices (other than the office of the Inspector General of Police) in the Nigeria Police Force; and (b) dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding any office referred to in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph”. On the other hand, Article 27, Part 1 of Third Schedule to the Constitution states: “The Nigeria Police Council shall comprise the following- (a) President who shall be the Chairman; (b) the Governor of each State of the Federation, (c) the Chairman of the Police Service Commission; and (d) the Inspector General of Police”. Article 28: “The functions of the Nigeria Police Council shall include- (a) organization and administration of the Nigeria Police Force and all other matters relating thereto (not being matters relating to the use and operational control of the Force or the appointment, disciplinary control and dismissal of members of the Force); (b) the general supervision of the Nigeria Police Force; and (c) advising the President on the appointment of the Inspector-General of Police”. Section 216(2) of the Constitution states: “Before making any appointment to the office of the Inspector General of Police or removing him from office, the President shall consult the Nigeria Police Council”.
From the foregoing Your Excellency, it is elementarily clear that we acted in accordance with the letters of the law. It is also wrong for the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Chief Parry Osayande, to have questioned the powers of Your Excellency to delegate duties including matters of investigations to any of Your Excellency’s subordinates including Chief Parry Osayande. By telling us to “wait there (till thy kingdom come) for result”, Chief Parry Osayande has defied and disobeyed Your Excellency’s presidential directive and exhibited manifest bias over the matter under reference. We also felt and still feel shock and threatened. If a top public official could exhibit this height of crudity on phone, it is unimaginable inferring the devilish extent he can go remotely. It is also possible that his crude conduct is blessed and aided by the top police officers mentioned in the saga including IGP, Hafiz A. Ringim, DIGs Azubukor Udah and Audu Abubakar as well as CP (Mrs.) Sherifat Disu.
Our immortal question to Your Excellency as a result of Chief Parry Osayande’s militarist utterances is that as a corporate or individual citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, do we not have a right to complain to our President over certain unconstitutional acts by Mr. President’s subordinates? Who is Retired DIG Parry Osayande to question our constitutional right to run to our dear President for succor? Obviously Your Excellency, Chief Parry Osayande is unfit to be a Police Service Commission’s Chairman in a democratic Nigeria. It may be correct to say that he belongs to the military’s inglorious epoch and fits to be made “Ambassador to the Republic of North Korea”, a highly secretive and closed society. This also explains why we think that time is ripe for Your Excellency to release to about 150Million Nigerians Your Excellency’s dedicated phone numbers and electronic contacts. Ordinary citizens of other democratic nations easily interact with their Presidents; unfortunately, Your Excellency has cocooned and barricaded self from Your Excellency’s countrymen and women. In the spirit of Freedom of Information Act 2011, we beg Your Excellency to “democratize” Your Excellency’s dedicated phone numbers and electronic contacts.
In view of all these Your Excellency, we wish to state that we have lost confidence in the character and competence of Chief Parry Osayande, Chairman of the Police Service Commission. We shall not directly or indirectly respond to any correspondences emanating from his office as far as the subject under reference is concerned. We have also suspended all forms of communication with his Commission until further notice. Also, we wish to inform Your Excellency, as the Commander-in-Chief, that we, particularly, our BOT Chairman, Emeka Umeagbalasi, feel threatened by Chief Parry Osayande’s latest militarist disposition, possibly aided by the IGP, the two DIGs and the CP Provost. As a result, if any untoward or unnatural harm is inflicted on our BOT Chairman or any of our principal officers, either overtly or covertly, Chief Parry Osayande, IGP Ringim, DIGs Udah and Abubakar and CP Disu should be held culpable. We have also alerted the international rights organizations as well as the leading foreign missions over this manifest, unprovoked and unwarranted threat.
Finally, Your Excellency, it is our information that in the “police sub-culture”, there exists “police personality”, “blue-wall-of-silence” and “blue-curtain”, all geared towards making a police organization protective of itself and its personnel, especially in intra-police sharp practices. It was in order to cure this serial sickness that an idea of a civilianized and professionalized body of oversight agency was muted in the form of “Police Service Commission” by the framers of our laws. As a result, the Chief Simon Okeke and Barrister Ayoola Obe’s era in the Commission was and still is the best by any standard. Therefore, it is time to reconstitute, properly civilianize and professionalize the Nigeria Police Service Commission for uncompromising competence and efficiency. We reiterate our earlier calls upon Your Excellency to ensure that all discriminatory practices against the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service including the trumped-up recommended dismissal of the “Road Traffic Four” are totally prohibited. Those senior police officers involved should be properly probed and sanctioned accordingly.
Also, credible pieces of information reaching us from various commands across the country indicate that various divisional and area commands of the Nigeria Police Force have continued to sustain all forms of discriminatory practices and ill-treatments against the personnel of the Nigeria Traffic Warden Service, ostensibly, in furtherance of the Force standing policy of “outsider mentality” sustained over the years against the Traffic Wardens. The Traffic Wardens in the said various commands including Cross River and Abia States Commands are extorted, harassed, arrested at their duty posts, falsely accused and made to pay “return” to the “general duty” police officers who control them. Your Excellency should put a stop to all these please.
Despite sustained efforts by the Chairman of the Police Service Commission and his “four espirit-de-corps” to silence us physically and psychologically, we are determined the more to sustain our priceless contribution towards advancing democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria not minding whose ox is gored. It is no retreat, no surrender! Aluta Continua!! Victoria Acerta!!!
We look forward to this letter being considered expeditiously and humanely by Your Excellency.
For: Intersociety, Nigeria
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Phone: +234(0) 8037114869
Amaka Biachi Nwosu
Head, Research & Strategy
Phone: +234 (0) 8035532707
1. Chairman, Nigeria Police Service Commission, FCT, Abuja
2. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
3. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, London, UK
4. Chairperson, African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia
5. Secretary General of Amnesty International, London, UK
6. The Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
7. The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Australia High Commission, Oakland Center, 48, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
8. Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Norway, 54, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
9. Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, the Embassy of Sweden, Plot 1520, T.Y. Danjuma Street, Asokoro, FCT, Abuja.
10. The Danish Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Denmark, Plot 63, Europe House, Usuma Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
11. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the USA, Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive, Central Business Area, FCT, Abuja.
12. Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Canadian High Commission, 15, Bobo Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
13. The Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of Switzerland, Plot 704, Adetokubo Ademola Crescent, Wuse 11, FCT, Abuja.
14. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, British High Commission, Dangote House, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Wuse, FCT, Abuja.
15. The Royal Dutch Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands, Plot 622, Gana Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
16. The Head, Association of Foreign Diplomats in Nigeria, No. 12, Kainji Crescent, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
17. The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of France, 32, Udi Hills Street, Off Aso Drive, Maitama, FCT, Abuja.
18. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria, Embassy of Germany, No.9, Lake Maracaibo Close, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja.
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
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