*The Art & Culture of Living Above One's Income
By Kali Gwegwe
Corruption has since turned into an art following the sophistication of anti-graft protocols by national governments and the global community. The reason for this development is not far fetched. It has been acknowledged globally that corruption is mostly responsible for the many cases of poor political leadership, pandemic poverty, snail-speed economic growth, decaying socio-economic infrastructure, and political instability especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It has also become an acceptable norm for people who occupy public offices to acquire fleet of expensive automobiles and own landed properties in major cities across the globe. Those who fail to meet this mark are hurriedly dismissed as dull or out of tone with current realities. This is most regrettable. ( Continues below….. )
A careful analysis of this sad development has shown that people are forced into living above their incomes for varying reasons. Chief among them are weak national socio-economic framework which is too feeble to support citizens survive on their legitimate incomes. People are therefore forced to seek alternative means of finding funds to take care of their basic necessities such as shelter, food, clothing, health care, and educational needs of their families. This is one of the many ways corruption grow in developing societies.
There is no gainsaying that in addition to the high level of unemployment, close to 50% of Nigerian subsistent farmers, artisans, and junior workers in the public service earn barely $1 dollar daily. Another 30% earn about $2 daily while 20% earn close to $5 daily. The percentage of Nigerians that earn up to $100 daily is less than 10%. With such realities staring us in the face, one can rush to the conclusion that most Nigerians are living above their legitimate incomes going by the cost of imported cars, household equipments, and sprawling mansions springing up every minute of the day across the country.
Disturbed by the near boiling-point anger of the masses, the political class has now devised some strange mechanisms to launder proceeds of corruption. These are in the form of outrageous allowances, over invoicing of contracts, frivolous travels and seminars among others. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
As part of efforts to discourage people from living above their legitimate incomes, government must act fast and address the following issues:
1. Reduce to the barest minimum, the percentage of unemployment and poverty
2. Carry out Socio-cultural re-orientation
3. Redesign the nation’s anti-graft protocols
In order to achieve these three fundamental objectives, government will need to energise the organized private sector to stimulate rapid national economic growth with specific emphasis on agriculture and other non-oil sectors of the economy. This will not only expand the employment market but also help to reduce poverty significantly. With this development, crime rate will fall drastically.
Furthermore, government will have to embark on the revitalization of all national socio-economic infrastructures like roads and power in order to reduce the high cost of doing business. Government should also pursue the inland waterways and railway transport infrastructure as part of efforts to reduce the high cost of moving goods and services around the country. Insecurity is another problem threatening the nation’s economic growth. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Tafa Balogun, Nigeria's former Inspector-General of Police in cuffs being taken to court by EFCC April 4, 2005, after arrest for corruption.
The various security agencies should collaborate and invest massively in intelligence gathering mechanism. More than that, government should strengthen existing specialized banks like Bank of Industry and National Agriculture and Cooperative Bank to provide cheaper access to funds for farmers and those that desire to establish new businesses. The commercial banks are usually not ideal for these kinds of enterprises.
The National Orientation Agencies to me have not been doing enough to service its mandate. The agency should liaise with religious, social, and community based organisations to re-orient citizens on the importance of hard work and integrity.
In addition to all the existing anti-graft legislations establishing and empowering both the EFCC and ICPC, there is still the important need to establish a National Wealth Verification Commission (NWVC). Whoever- citizen or foreigner that intends to spend N3m or more should be required by law to approach any recognized court of law to swear to an affidavit indicating the sources of the fund and lodge the original copy with the NWVC. Within a maximum of 24 hours, the deponent will be issued a clearance certificate with which to spend the said amount.
However, the issuance of the Clearance Certificate must not be tied to confirmation of facts deposed to by the deponent. NWVC will however within a period of not more than 12 months carry out thorough investigation of sources of funds and issue a Certificate of Confirmation of the previous Clearance Certificate. Where the deponent is found to have sworn to a doubtful or false affidavit, such person will be prosecuted in a specialized court set up to try cases of financial corruption alone. It is my belief that the introduction of NWVC will go a very long way to reduce the menace of corruption in Nigeria.
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Art, Culture, Living, Above, One, Income, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: $800b To Rebuild The East
By Azubuike Ekwueme
Our Eastern ethnicities, the Igbo, Ibibio, Ijaw, Efik, Oron and others, this initiative is for you. We must rise and come together to implement this peace project. In this bid to repair the damaged Eastern third let of the Nigeria tripod, we must never be seen to be afraid or perceived to be afraid. We, the Eastern democrats are not alone, and will never be alone. We need to listen Basil King, when he advised that; Be bold and resolute, and mighty forces will come to your aid. The East being natural democrats, should entertain no fears whatsoever. Democracies all around the world are waiting for us to begin, waiting for us to just say the word. They do understand that East has been hurt in Nigeria, that Niger Delta had been robbed, decimated, poisoned and irreversibly harmed. They understand that the East had been eviscerated, mocked and dumped. We have friends, we have to have our nerves and our thoughts. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing defunct Eastern Region(East)
Fixing the East
The future of Nigeria could have belonged to the East. But the civil war robbed the East of its future. With its ebullient and hard working citizenry, economic drive, a natural democratic DNA, the old Eastern Region could have become the Dubai of Africa, even without OIL. We could have become the shinning region on a hill. However, that was not to be, we have been robbed. Instead of becoming a Dubai, we've became an Ajegunle conclave. When compared to the Western or Northern Nigeria, Eastern Nigeria has returned to the bush. We were and are still defeated, marginalized and robbed. The East has been denigrated, divided and poisoned. Nigeria milked our OIL and decimated our land. They stole from us and allowed us die hungry in the midst of plenty, in our marshes and creeks. So, they deliberately kicked in the eastern third leg of the stool, and dared us to say a word. Soon, they are down in delta to kill and destroy our villages.
Now, we are going to address these problems with a view to fixing the East. This clear-sighted epiphany was imbued in us by our creator, when he made us natural democrats. We have the imprints of Democracy in our DNA. It is a fact.
The time has come for the Igbo ethnic nation to hold hands with Ijaw ethnic nation, Ibibio ethnic nation as well as Efik ethnic nation across the East. Our purpose is to each send a powerful delegation for the unity of the East. Our brother the president, GEA Jonathan will be listening. It is time to fix the broken third leg of our national tripod. This is the time to rebuild the East, all the East. This is the time to uproot the evil tree planted by the last war. Folks, this is what the doctor has ordered. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Delegation members will include all the constellations of stars and great men and women of the East. Great names like, Ambassador Uwechue, Pat Utomi, Donald Duke, Rotimi Amaechi, Oyibo Odinanmdu, Gov Akpabio, Gov. S Chime, Gov. Obi, Gov. Orji, Gov. Okorocha, People’s Servant Charles Okereke, The Obi of Onitsha, The Obi of Asaba, Obi of Agbor, Sen. President Nnamani, Jim Nwobodo and our Catholic, as well as our Protestant Bishops. Let us point them to the reconciliation bar. Let us send these people to President GEA Jonathan to talk unity, unity of all the East. We will fix the East. If necessary, Obama people might be able to help. Fixing the damaged third leg of our tripod is job number one. Tam David West, Edwin Clarke could be invited if they promise to be statesmen in good behavior.
Take a look at the INECS statistics of registered voters below.
South West Nigeria 15 Million
North East Nigeria 8 Million
North Central 8 Million
South South Nigeria 8 Million
South East Nigeria 7 Million
Total 64 million
What do you see in the statistics below? Northern and Western Nigeria are absorbing populations from the S/South and S/East at an alarming rate. This forced migration from the East is the intentional policy of the Federal government to under develop the East, to depopulate the East, and make them inconsequential as a conquered region. The people that fought the war, the East is still paying dearly for that war. That is why fixing the East is vitally necessary at this point in time? With respect to time, there can be no better time than now. Jonathan is key. With regards to why, we must uproot the evil tree planted by the defeating army. It has held the East down from real power. This evil has forced us to become second class citizens. We must refuse to become thirsty in a stream of flowing natural water. Nobody has the right to break up the East. They do not have that right. We will take our East back. Nigerian army destroyed the Eastern region and handcuffed our cohesion. They did this not because of the coup majors, but for the sake of OIL. When they got our OIL, they did nothing for us. Instead they built Abuja, and they built Lagos, and nothing in the East. They took the golden eggs from the Eastern goose. As far as I know, before the war, there had been no major instance of misunderstanding between the ethnic communities of the East region. If there were any, they would be very minimal indeed. The East has got be fixed for the future of the East and its people. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Azubuike Ekwueme (Author of article)
$800 BILLION FOR EASTERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR
The people of the East are going to ask the president, Jonathan to literally, drop $800 billion dollars to rebuild the East from the ravages of the civil war. Eastern region has paid an inordinate price for the war it did not cause. This initiative is vitally important for these two reasons;
1. The quickest way to redevelop Nigeria is to help Lagos with its aggravating population density. If we effectively develop the Easter part of Nigeria, the crowd of unemployed youth will evacuate Lagos or Abuja and head for the East. Employment seekers will have another alternative other than Lagos or Abuja.
2. All Southerners and Middle Belt people in the danger zones of Jos, Plateau state, may now relocate to the East, to jobs and to businesses without fear. Depopulating Lagos and Abuja is vital for wider economic development of the nation. High unemployment index in the East, makes "kidnapping" attractive. This initiative will manage our problems and keep it to acceptable levels. Eventually, problems will go away as the things of the past. The East would then bounce back as the beacon region again.
SENEC (Southeast Nigeria Economic Commission) has its work cut out for it. SENEC, hopefully will have done its job of articulating the infrastructural needs of the East. It will have the opportunity to present the EASTERN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR initiatives. These initiatives are for all of the former members of the Eastern Region. You may read more about this initiative in the link below. http://www.nigerdeltacongress.com/oarticles/opening_up_the_nigerian_eastern_.htm
This commission will advise and persuade president Jonathan's administration to give the East a much needed infrastructural development. The northerners and Westerners had this odious policy of starve, and humble the East. They blatantly refused to build any infrastructure in the East. Take for instance, the much needed second Niger Bridge at Asaba-Onitsha. This is a federal project for interstate commerce. Because if connected Igbo people across the Niger, it was denied. It took an Easterner, an Ijaw man to make Enugu and international airport. The ethnicities that won the war, that had ruled Nigeria since after the war are bad for the East.
From the Onitsha river port to Onne port, from Port Harcourt port, to Calabar port, all the ports in the East will have to be re-developed to the same level as the Lagos ports. Tinapa that is renowned as a world class entertainment destination, must be revived and make to shine. Akanu Ibiam International Airport must be rebuilt to reflect the new international designation and status. Enugu Coal mine will have to be resuscitate and made to provide alternative power source. Mega Mall of the Africa will replace the current Onitsha market. The biggest mall in all of Nigeria, indeed West Africa has to be built at Onitsha. Second Niger Bridge which ostensibly had been a federal project, but then neglected, will have to built to a six lane thoroughfare with zeal and speed. Let us then ask president Jonathan for the first time, to look eastward, and let it rip. It is time to spend $800 billion dollars, not Naira, to develop the patched, hungry, and marginalized Eastern peoples. The Eastern Airspace, and Eastern ports must be completely up-developed. The north has got theirs. The West has got theirs. It is the time for the East, all the East.
Minorities not to fear
One of the great things that emerged after the war is the 36 states structure which has remained a solace for all ethnicities. You know you're in your own state and no one is coming to boss you around. This state structure of Nigeria shall remain inviolable. It gives every ethnicity the sense of belonging. They can now better manage their own people. It has to remain sacrosanct. The states has made each ethnic minority masters of their own domain. There'll no longer a question of the majority riding rough shod over anybody or dominating them. Having own state frees up the East for political, economic cooperation. Such venture will be in the task of creating a fresh ideological based polity. What we are talking about is willful participation in an arbiter summit, to bring the people of the East back together. The East is the fertilized soil from which true Democracy should rise and flower to all Nigerians. We remain the only proto-Republican region in all of Nigeria. We'd hone in on our DNA and become a sub regional Democracy. The East is neither feudal like the Hausa-Fulani, nor monarchical like the Edo and the Yoruba. We are democrats in the making. But this is a matter for another day.
A Plea to the Igbo
Umuigbo, in God's name, please do not ridicule this article, or tear it to shreds, do not call anybody any names, do not insult anybody. Let us remember that if the Igbo ever expect to reconcile with our minority brothers and sisters, we must be seen and understood as "not threatening" either with our words or deeds. We, the Igbo must show the world that we are a compassionate people, as the older George Bush will have it, "kinder, gentler" Igbo people.
The Igbo will find it harder to prosper without Port Harcourt, so reconciliation is extremely vital.
Let the Igbo understand that " a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still" . So, verbally beating an unconvinced Ikwerre man or Ibibio man over the head repeatedly, will never make him or her see things our way. The opposite is the truth. It'll drive them further and further away from us. Let us become more adroit, more compassionate, less confrontational, and while doing this, keep our site on our goal. Our goal is or should be, establishing the Eastern Economic Corridor with Port Harcourt, Calabar, Onitsha as key ports. On the internet, please let us hold back our fire and become less pugnacious. Think of it this way - Ndigbo must understand the burden of being a big brother, a prudent big brother, with the knowledge of how to handle intra-ethnic human relations.
I have said it before, I'll say it again. Let the Igbo become a kinder , gentler big brother, to the Ijaw, Ikwerre, Ibibio, Efik and other minorities of the East. It is in our vital economic interest. Imagine if your brother or sister runs away from home, and says he or she no longer belongs to the family, what'd you do? Prudence will will demand that we go the "kinder, gentler" route. Dragging them by their hair, slapping them, cursing them is definitely NOT the way to go? That is illogical. A thinking person will choose his or her words carefully, obviously. Ndigbo gee nti.
There is no better time than now to rebuild the East. 2011 is the year, our year.
Azubuike Ekwueme can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, $800, Billion, Dollars, Rebuild, East, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Peter Obi: The Risen Sun At Fifty
By Valentine Obienyem
On the 16th of March, 2006, through a piece entitled Obi: the Rising Sun, I joined other Nigerians, especially the people of Anambra State in celebrating what I called the epochal liberation of Anambra State from the jaws of election riggers. At that time, Mr. Peter Obi was pronounced the winner of the Anambra State 2003 gubernatorial election. Part of that article reads: “The week before the judgement of the Court of Appeal on the gubernatorial case between Mr. Peter Obi and Dr. Chris Ngige, all the newspapers carried the news of the impending judgement. In our circle, we discussed that up till the 13th of March, when one Mr. Paulinus Adike wrote a rejoinder to my article. Reacting to my friends who called my attention to the article, I said: Ngige’s sun is setting, let us focus on the rising sun.”
I went on, by way of advice, to tell Mr. Peter Obi what awaited him thus: “The rising sun, Mr. Peter Obi, has a Herculean task ahead. Now is not the time for this or that article, it is not even a time to be carried away in the euphoria of victory, but the time calls for deep reflection, especially on the part of Mr. Peter Obi. Though he has long articulated a programme of action, now is the time for soul searching and re-dedication of oneself to the task ahead.”
Worried that he might not have enough time to prove himself, when his full tenure of four years was still a moot point, I wrote: “As Obi takes over the mantle of leadership in Anambra, he has an onerous task of surpassing Ngige’s achievements. In fact, when people were asking him to rest his ambition till the year 2007, I was one of those that disagreed, on the reason that he should prove himself not to be distracted by the clamour of some calling on him to give up. Some people got annoyed and even transferred their support to Ngige. A good lesson that may be drawn from the entire thing is that eternal vigilance and commitment are the prices to be paid for justice. A man should be able to stand for something. As for Obi, he is faithful to the practice of honour and virtue according to the dictates of his inmost voice which is, in some mystic sense, the word of God in the hearts of men; he kept faith with the people of Anambra state.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Anambra State Governor Peter Obi
Always generous to Ngige, I continued: “I particularly commend the passing words from the former Governor, Dr. Chris Ngige, who pledged to support him. Beyond this, Obi should quickly come to terms with the fact that Ngige has set a kind of high jump for him, which also is a challenge. The only way he can prove to the people of Anambra that Ngige actually stole his programme of action is to strive to perform better than he did. Thus, besides repairs and construction of roads, he should look at other areas that Ngige neglected and do something about them. A good case is the issue of an airport for the state. Do not tell me that Enugu and Imo have airports that can service Anambra. Anambra has a lot of distinguished people in business and other areas, who need air transportation to meet their mounting needs.
Another area Obi would have to look at is the issue of some people thinking that Anambra has become their birthright – a version of godfatherism. At the inception of his administration, he should face the task of re-building with his usual puritanical zeal of a Hebrew prophet and the broad calm of the Greek sage. He should choose men of like minds as Commissioners, Special Assistants, and Special Advisers to help him. He should shun the friendship of those that would have eyes on the fortunes of the state. To be steadfast on this would mean making some enemies, but the God that saw your triumph would be with you.”
Not happy with the way Awka looked, I said to him: “Awka, the capital of our state, is developing but needs a facelift that calls for the review of its Master Plan (as at the time of writing, I did not know that no Anambra city had a master plan, which have been provided by Gov. Obi with the support of UNHABITAT). As a new town, Awka is a new city and developing it is relatively easy from the point of view of architecture. Unlike towns such as Onitsha, what should be done is to build roads, provide electricity and water and behold the people of the state would erect buildings and a modern town is built.”
I had some words for him on APGA: “Obi has to realise that All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) remains a party through which he realised his ambition. Unfortunately, crises after crises succeeded in tearing the party apart. While we give kudos to people like Chief Victor Umeh who were steadfast in upholding the principles of APGA, we regret the lack of moral fibre in some that was APGA’s undoing. In the spirit of a new beginning, Obi should be concerned with reconciling various APGA factions and returning it to a happy family that it used to be, especially as election season draws nearer.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi (Left), Wife (Right)
On attracting industries I wrote: “Obi is an international businessman and a lover of education. We expect him to use his international connection to attract one or more serious factories to Anambra state. We commend the refinery being built at Anyamelum Local Government Area by the Orient group. We need more investment of that proportion in Anambra state and the South East. We also need people who can build Universities in the State, especially in this era of private universities. With Madonna as the only private university of big capacity, we are seriously lagging behind.”
On how to keep track with his Government and on a general note, I submitted: “As Obi settles down to work, we shall follow him closely and, by and by, offer more advice and input for the success of his administration. With time, the travails of Mr. Peter Obi need to be documented for posterity. It exposed the nature of man, to see how those who knew about the truth shamelessly decided to be on the part of falsehood. Though their defences suffered from empty amplifications, deceptive analogies and rhetorical tricks, some of them managed to rationalise, here and there. It is a lesson that with logical minds, even evil can be rationalised on that some may be tempted to accept it. Man’s infinite capacity to rationalise made somebody to even condemn forks as contrary to the will of God, who “could not have given us fingers if He had wanted us to use forks.”
But after everything is said and done, we are glad that the truth has triumphed. Once again we commend those who are not from Anambra, but showed more than a passing concern on the travails of the state. Their actions remind one of Terrence’s Self Tormentor, where a father forbade his son from marrying his choice girl. When the son persisted, the father disowned and banished him. A neighbour wanted to mediate; the father asks why he takes so kindly an interest in the troubles of others. He replies – Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum (I am human and nothing human is alien to men). The rationalists tried to warm some non-Anambrarians to keep off, but they commendably acted like characters in Self-Tormentor.
Beyond all this, as it is now, the new reality has overcome everything. This reality calls for all of us to rally round Obi and move Anambra forward, I mean rationalists, idealists, realists and even utopists.”
Now in the 6th year of his tenure as the Governor and in the 50th year that he burst into the world, how shall we describe him?
At fifty, he is in the July of his life. We can no longer call him the rising sun for his sun is risen. What he needs now is to keep the sun aglow as fire keeps water simmering and I am quite sure he is determined to do it.
Today, he is not a member of the PDP, but the chieftains of the PDP prefer to deal with him on matters of values and integrity. He represents the zingiest, what the Germans call the “spirit of the time.” He is bravely championing those things the times require for Nigeria to move on, including cutting the cost of governance, respect for the sacredness of elections, using public funds for what they are meant for, respect for the rights of man and many more. Due to his commitment, he is poised to leave one of the best legacies in governance in Nigeria through his work. Shall we recapitulate them?
On assumption of office, the Governor adopted the Millennium Development Goals as the vision of Anambra State and went on to adopt the Anambra State Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) as a vehicle through which the vision will be achieved. Today, he is passionate about the MDGS and is doing everything possible to achieve it by the year 2015. With ANIDS, he is working on all sectors, developing them simultaneously. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Anambra State Governor Peter Obi ( Photo 2 )
Thus, through ANIDS of Peter Obi, Anambra has made a significant leap on development. Today, among other states, Anambra is regarded as a State of many firsts, because it has a governor who has done many things that ought to have been done in the State a long time ago. It will be difficult capturing all he has done in Anambra State; nevertheless, here we go even if only to clear the doubts intentionally created in the minds of those genuinely looking for what the Governor has been able to do.
Gov. Obi has completed the construction of the 1st and 2nd phases of the Ultra modern State Secretariat – the first Secretariat in the State since creation. He built the Onitsha Business Park adjudged as the first of its kind in the country. He has started another one, now nearing completion because 75% of the cost of the first one realized from rent fees, was ploughed into the second. He has constructed the Faculties of Law, Engineering, Mass Communications and Social Science buildings at the State University. He has started the development of the permanent site of the University’s campus at Igbariam: a 7-km perimeter fence has been completed; three giant buildings are rising up to the sky - faculties of Management Sciences, Agriculture as well as the Administrative/Senate buildings.
Obi has rebuilt all the structures burnt down in the State during the mayhem of November, 2004, when reactionary forces set the State on fire. He started and completed from the scratch, the burnt Umueri General Hospital, and over 20 different buildings in our Hospitals and Medical Institutions. Examples are: Heart Centre (Onitsha General Hospital), Kidney Dialysis Centre (Onitsha General Hospital), An Administrative Block (School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nkpor), Classroom Blocks (School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nkpor), Resident Doctors’ Quarters (Onitsha General Hospital), Medical and Pharmaceutical Stores (Amaku General Hospital), Maternity Complex (Onitsha General Hospital), Special Medical Ward (Amaku General Hospital), Hostel Block (School of Nursing and Midwifery, Nkpor), New Auditorium (School of Nursing, Nkpor), Classroom Blocks (School of Health Technology, Obosi), etc. As a result of this, Anambra State which did not have any accredited hospital and health institution as at 2006, now has Onitsha General Hospital and some health institutions accredited, while the accreditation of Amaku and Ekwulobia are being pursued.
Gov. Obi started the dredging of Nwangene, the first time this is being done since Independence. He also facilitated the on-going dredging of Sacamori. He provided over 40 new buses for the State Transport Corporation (TRACAS) and bought 90 vehicles for ANIDS Transport, which has, through plough back of profit, risen to 185 vehicles. He started and completed two mini-stadia at Onitsha North and South LG Councils.
Gov Obi was the first to start the planned equipping of all Secondary Schools in Anambra State with complete laboratories and computers. He has so far covered about 200 schools. He has also bought over 120 brand new buses for Secondary Schools in the State, the first of such a gesture since the state’s creation in 1991. He is systematically providing computers to schools in Anambra State, apart from providing them with INTERNET connectivity and water.
When he came, no Water Scheme was functional in the State. He has revived the Amawbia Water Scheme; presently he is working on 17 water schemes some of which are: Obizi Water Scheme, Agulu-Aguinyi, Dunukofia, Nibo, Nimo, Ukpor and Azigbo Water Schemes.
Pre-Obi, no international or donor agency operated in the State. Having restored confidence and integrity in Government business, they are all coming back: European Union, World Bank, UNDP, UN-Habitat, USAID, DFID, among others. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.
Through deft diplomacy, he has attracted Federal Agencies to open shops in the State, such as the Corporate Affairs Commission, Central Bank, Standards Organization of Nigeria, among others. He started and completed the Prof. Kenneth Dike Central Library, the first library in the State since 1966. The Obi administration is committed to the building of human infrastructure and is championing training and retraining of civil servants and value re-orientation.
He has asphalted over 500kms of roads, the highest by any administration since the creation of the State. He is also building about 15 bridges in different parts of the State, some completed, others on going. He has also distributed over 300 transformers as part of the measures to tackle energy problem. He has completed the Ministry of Justice Building and Judges’ Quarters in Onitsha and Awka.
Gov Obi is tackling the menace of erosion in the State with the seriousness it deserves; working on over 27 erosion sites, he recently commissioned the Nkpor (Agulu Avenue) and Ebenebe erosion sites.
In his desire to open up the State to foreign investors, he has attracted two fortune 500 companies to Anambra State, one of them SABmiller of South Africa is already building its facility in the State. But rather than appreciate these, some people have vowed to hound them out of the State. But how can we explain this?
Apart from prompt payment of salaries and pensions, he paid all the arrears owed during Dr. Mbadinuju’s Government. He has paid all gratuities up to 2010 to retirees, with promise that gratuities will be paid within three months of retirement.
Obi remains the only Governor to visit schools in the State, including primary and secondary schools. He has sustained the routine grant-in-aid to institutions owned by voluntary agencies that serve the interest of the people of the state such as hospitals and schools.
He has donated communication gadgets, over 200 patrol vehicles and some Armoured Personnel Carriers to security agencies in the State as well as offering them logistics support. Recently, he inaugurated the State Security Trust Fund for the security of the people of the State. He has provided Government Functionaries, Ministries, Agencies, Commissions, etc with official and operational vehicles.
Above all, the State Government does not owe any financial institution, a feat possible only in Anambra State under the man Thisday newspaper acknowledged as the most financially prudent, Peter Obi.
The result of all these and more is that Obi is silently re-branding Anambra State through good deeds that have made the State to be gradually shedding the toga of war for the toga of peace and development.
In private business before becoming a governor, he proved himself in the corporate world chairing many companies, including being the Chairman of Fidelity Bank plc.
With all the foregoing, one can say that it has been 50 quality years. Those that gaze at crystal balls, like our own Igirigi Achusim, will tell us that his future is still greater than his past. Those of us without crystal balls agree with him when we see him through his work. What more dues can history demand from him that he has not paid? We wish him many happy returns.
Obienyem wrote this piece from Awka, Anambra State.
RELATED ARTICLE => Nigeria: Peter Obi Holds Post-Election Press Conference
*Tags: Nigerians, Governor, Peter, Obi, Sun, Risen, Fifty, Africa, Masterweb
*Reuben Abati: Why Snakes Change Skin
By Kali Gwegwe
I grew in an environment surrounded by thick forest on all sides. Seeing snakeskins was therefore not strange to me because there was never a week I did not stumble on one or more while playing in my dad’s then beautiful and serene landscaped compound. In my childhood innocence, snakes meant just one thing to me: a shy crawling creature that loves changing cloths always. I was however not jealous because my father succeeded in making his children to accept the fact that unhealthy desires were sin against God and man. Mind you, not many parents were that lucky.
As years continue to take the better part of my sojourn on earth, my childhood opinion about snakes began to melt like ice-cream on a sunny afternoon in Kano or Sokoto. Interestingly, I have come to realize that snakes mean different things to different people. While some snakes are poisonous, others are not. Even though, many will detest the presence of snakes around them, some keep them as pets. There are others- snake charmers who are believed to possess the ability to manipulate the mind of these multi-specie creatures. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: A python snake
Since I appreciate how much space religion occupies in the consciousness of Nigerians; let me take a plunge into the deep waters of the Bible to appraise the unique place of snakes in the lives of Christians, which I am one. While commissioning His disciples in readiness for the task of spreading the gospel of hope and salvation in an unfriendly world, Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:16: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” What will you find if one takes down the walls surrounding this counsel? Two mysteries. The first one is wisdom if in the midst of unfriendly people. The second mystery is magnanimity in victory. ( Continues below….. )
This brings me to the foundation of my piece. There are usually two camps in human life. You are either on the defensive or on offensive. Whichever camp one finds him or her self, there is a moral code of engagement. This is where many people- especially newspaper columnists have failed. The fact that the media is the conscience of the society is no longer in doubt. The problem has been that many newspaper columnists and reporters only celebrate failures and ignore excellence. They believe that it is unprofessional to clap for political leaders even when the need becomes obvious. Those that sing praises of the excellent efforts of politicians are quickly tagged “corrupt” or “derailed.” Funny enough, the apostles of “anti” and “attack” brand of journalism will not bother to point their high beam torchlights to dry grounds in order to enable the masses walk through hard grounds. This does not make sense.
As a commentator on contemporary issues, I do admire the philosophy behind the “attack” brand of journalism. I however do complement writings with quite a handful of “how tos.” Every criticism must come with one or more alternative ideas. This makes it positive and healthy for the growth of democracy.
Unarguably, Reuben Abati is among the small community of Christian journalists that heeded the counsel of Jesus Christ as recorded in Matthew 10:16. He has lived most of his public life as a snake when the situation demanded and like a dove if it was necessary. This is one reason snakes change skin. ( Continues below...... )
Photo Above: Reuben Abati, Chairman Guardian Newspaper editorial board & Senior Special Adviser On Communication To The Presidency
Now that Reuben Abati has just changed skin, I want to hope that the unambiguous job prescription of a spokesperson of the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria will not make him live all his days in Aso Rock only as a dove. No doubt, the snake in him will help his charmer- the president to be on his toes always. Benefit? Democracy would be energised and the masses will have many reasons to rejoice.
However, while I was on the last paragraph of this piece, a close friend of my family called to inform me that a snake has just bitten its charmer at the market square. I tried to find out what happened afterwards but his line went dead. Each time I made attempt to get back to him, a mysterious feminine voice kept on reminding me that my friend’s number has been switched off. Because of the nature of his job, my friend will never switch off his phone. Could it be a problem of flat battery? Immediately, my mind flashed to PHCN. Abati- sorry, God help Nigeria!
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at email@example.com ( 0806 407 4810 )
*Tags: Nigerians, Reuben, Abati, Snakes, Change, Skin, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Nigeria: Ikemba Nnewi, Ndigbo Remembers You!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
A nation without men is not. Any family without a son needs divine help. But sons are born while men are made. Chief General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was born a son, and having been trained by his noble father into manhood, he became a man with a difference. Because he had a noble birth and knew himself when other sons where busy playing in the sand, God became involved in his life. When he was sent to the United Kingdom by his father to take a seemingly lucrative course, he, knowing his relevance in life on time, decided to read history instead.
As Ikemba returned from the Great Britain to “Ala nna anyi,” and to his father estate, he, having seen the need to be relevant in the history of a great people called Nigerians, he immediately told his father he was going to join the army. But his father, being one of the richest in his time and having built enough business empire for his children, urged, ordered, and threatened his son to give up his ambition of joining the Nigerian army. But Ojukwu wouldn’t bulge. At this time, he has seen clearly his relevance in life. ( Continues below….. )
As a result of his refusal to chicken out and fall under the fears of his father, the fear every father has for his son’s future, he plunged into the army without delay. But he soon discovered that his father, being influential in the society, had asked the officer in charge of recruitment to reduce him to an ordinary private, in one of his efforts to dissuade him from his ambition, even though his qualifications warranted an automatic promotion into an officer. And so, Ojukwu, undeterred by this treatment, went ahead and became a private in the Nigerian army, thus becoming the first graduate to enter the armed force as a “nobody.”
As a result of his many abilities and graces, he climbed to the position of a lieutenant colonel and became the governor of the then Eastern region. But after the first coup which saw Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi Ironsi as the first military leader in Nigeria, a coup which came about as a counter-measure to the killing of the Yoruba in the North, the entire North started a killing spree on all Ndigbo and the South Easterners amongst them, claiming the coup to be an Igbo thing even when it was the military agreement in favour of the Yoruba. Many attempts by Ojukwu and the South Eastern leaders to get the Gowon-led government to stop this pogrom proved abortive, while he, Gowon, the commander-in-chief, was happily watching in silence while his brothers main innocent people in their midst.
It was as a result of this wickedness in the face of a seemingly well-orchestrated plan by the North, in agreement with Britain, to wipe out Ndigbo and their brothers that moved our fathers to long for freedom even when we were trying to manage the wrong and unholy union called Nigeria. Knowing fully well that the best way to deal with an enemy who has sworn to destroy you and everything you stand for is only to cut off from him and protect yourself, Ndigbo, led by Colonel Ojukwu, declared the Republic of the Sovereign state of Biafra on 30 May 1967. And through the years of resistance against evil, strength in the face of danger, faith in the midst of famine, determination in the face of the combined threats of the Nigerian-Gowon-led government and its colonial master, and resilience in opposition to the spirit of defeat, Lieutenant Colonel Ojukwu rightly rose from the insulting rank of a colonel to his rightful place as a general, the general of his beloved people. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria )
Many years later and when it was clear that the Western world were still wallowing in the ignorance of the sanctity of human existence, Biafran elders decided that, as is usually the case, the general leave the new country for a while. When the war was forced to an end by a combined strategy of denial and genocide by the Nigerian government, and many years after the Nigerian government declared it to be a “no victor, no vanquished” affair, the Ikemba returned home.
Forty years has come and gone since the civil war which was declared square, but Chief Ojukwu has been openly and systematically frustrated out of the Nigerian wheel. The result of the war which left us all with N20 each, no matter how much you had, altered Ndigbo. Yakubu Gowon was later, in many places, recognised by the Nigerian government and awarded many medals as a great leader who committed war crimes against the very people he claimed were “fellow Nigerians.” However, not even a deserved recognition of bravery, heroism, and selflessness in his sacrifice for his people whom the Nigerian government still insists are part of them was given to Ojukwu, who was and has since been looked upon by fools and worthless people before whom the Ikemba is a glorious giant were the British brave enough to let men fend for themselves as inconsequential. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( left ), Chuba Okadigbo( right )
To the Nigerian government, I say: if indeed the civil war was a “no victor, no vanquished” affair, why did you honour and still honour Gowon while you disregard Ojukwu? Do you not know, or perhaps, see that it’s no longer a secret your plans to disregard the generation of Ndigbo in the Nigerian government by your complete disregard to the one who led the fight for our freedom and that of our children? If you insist that you were right in ignoring him because ”he lost the war” or because “it was a no victor, no vanquished,” why do you feed on the fear of an independent Ndigbo, a Sovereign state of Biafra?
To Ohanaeze Ndigbo, to all sons and daughters of Igbo land, I say: give honour to whom honour is due. Let it be known all over the world that we are not a forgetful and ungrateful people. General Odumegwu-Ojukwu fought for our freedom with all of him- his conviction, determination, wisdom, freedom, peace, wealth, and that of his father, is it an impossible thing for Ohanaeze to openly and formally recognize this great icon and insist that all his full rights and entitlement be restored to him, rights stolen by the Nigerian government? ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states and capital (Abuja or FCT)
To all Igbo sons and daughters, I say: Whoever amongst Ndigbo thinks that any mistake Ojukwu may have made in the course of this quest for freedom disqualified him from being who he is? It’s unfair and a wicked thing to turn around and condemn your father when all he has been doing all his life is think of you, and work tirelessly for your better future.
To our great father, Chief General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, I humbly say: you are a blessed man, sir; blessed from the womb, and your seed is blessed. We are blessed as a people to have you, both as a son, a father, a leader, and a friend. Ani Igbo will never forget your commitment to her, our children shall always sing you in our songs. No single father in all of Ani Igbo who has sacrificed for his clan what you have for Ndigbo. If you had not stood up for us, we may have been totally swept under the carpet in Nigeria by now.
What you did for us has been a very difficult task for the whole Ohanaeze body to comprehend. But I say: your expectations will not be cut off, your children will be free and your land will bring forth crops again. May God bless a great man who deserves great honour. In the midst of your enemies, may God prepare a giant table of varieties for you. My people and I shall count ourselves honoured to sit with you in your exulted place. Long live the peoples’ general! Long live Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu! Ise!
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Ikemba, Nnewi, Ndigbo, Remembers, You, Africa, Masterweb
*South-South Govs & Niger Delta Challenge
By Ifeatu Agbu
The creeks and streets in the Niger Delta region have been relatively calm and safe in recent times. The isolated case of five youth corps members, who were kidnapped and released a few weeks ago, does not substantially subtract from this fact. Of course, the new found peace is attributable to the amnesty programme, which has so far, reined in the hitherto restive youths of the region. How long this tenuous peace will hold is a matter of conjecture. However, it would help if the post-amnesty programme is pursued with greater vigor and urgency. In this wise, development projects meant to create jobs and fully engage the youths must be executed with dispatch to prevent any resurgence of violence.
The political leaders of the region seem to have read the ominous signs and are frantically raising the red flag. The apparent unease among the elite stems from the sluggish way the development challenges of the region are being confronted. This tardiness manifests in one of the star projects, the East-West road, which traverses most states in the South-South zone. At the rate the construction is going, it may take another ten years for it to be completed. This fear is confirmed by Mr. Michael Hachenberg, the Managing Director of Setraco, one of the contractors working on the East/West Road.
He told the South-South caucus of the House of Representatives last year that it would take 10 years to complete this very important road link. Reason? The Federal Government is not releasing funds as and when due. This nonchalant attitude of the government if not seriously addressed will have dire consequences for the region. Perhaps, determined to ensure that the gains of the amnesty programme were not eroded, governors of the six states of the South-South zone, converged in Port Harcourt recently to chart a new way forward. They met under the aegis of BRACED, an acronym for the states; Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta tates, and signed an agreement for the take-off of a Regional Economic Cooperation Commission. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
According to the Governor of Cross Rivers State, Senator Liyel Imoke, who is the chairman of the group, they also agreed to conduct feasibility studies on regional economic projects. However, the immediate concern of the governors was the execution of projects that would hasten the development of the Niger Delta. Apparently, the people they represent must have been putting pressure on them to rev up action on tangible projects that would impact positively on their lives. So, the governors turned the heat on the Federal Government, asking it to quicken the pace of work on the East-West road as well as kick-start, the actual construction of the coastal road and the East-West railway. Now that the rains have started, the road between Port Harcourt and Warri, two main cities in the Niger Delta, is almost impassable.
There are several gullies that make life unbearable for commuters. Serious accidents and avoidable deaths are common occurrences. Though Setraco is on site, the withdrawal of Julius Berger from participation has adversely affected the speed. What now calls for urgent attention is to fill the gullies and pot holes while the main work continues. The Federal Government should give strong directives to Setraco to immediately fix these death traps. Niger Deltans cannot wait for the East-West road to be completed before they can move from one part of the region to the other. Last year, it took the intervention of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to save the road from total collapse. All the while, neither the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) nor the Federal Ministry of Works lifted a finger to help. Isn’t that the height of negligence?
Today, we are back to square one and those using the road in this horrible condition are cursing and swearing. As if to douse the rising tension, the nation’s number two citizen, Architect Namadi Sambo, quickly put in a word for the President when he attended the convocation ceremony of the University of Port Harcourt just five days after the governors gave their warning signal. He re-assured the governors and leaders of the region that extensive work (the designs) had already been done on both the coastal road and the East-West railway. The leaders of the region have continued to advise that there should be more action and less talk. Thank God that during his inaugural speech President Goodluck Jonathan acknowledged the dangers of further delay. He said: “The time for lamentation is over. This is the era of transformation. This is the time for action.” ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
The president had in the course of his campaigns said that the lofty plans captured in the Regional Development Master Plan, facilitated by the NDDC would be pursued with renewed vigour. “Let me assure you that I am irrevocably committed to the development of the Niger-Delta. We must develop the region to restore confidence and hope among our people and children. To this end, let me assure you that the Niger-Delta Master Plan for development is on course and we will assist the NDDC and all the state governments to faithfully implement it,” the President said.
The NDDC on its part is working through its Partners for Sustainable Development [PSD] Forum to get all the stakeholders fully involved in the development process and also use the body to harmonize projects in the region as enunciated in the plan. Indeed, the first official assignment of the present NDDC Managing Director, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwuoha was the attendance of a workshop by the PSD Forum in Port Harcourt. His remarks at that occasion underscored the importance he attached to partnership. He said: “We know that the task of developing the Niger Delta is enormous. We cannot do it individually but together we can do it.” Ugwoha’s emphasis on the PSD Forum as a platform for collaboration is in line with his desire to engender further buy-in and commitment of all stakeholders to the Master Plan.
It is encouraging that the state governors in the region are beginning to take keen interest in the affairs of the commission which drives the master plan process. Recently, the hitherto dormant Advisory Committee of the NDDC, which comprises the governors and the principal officers of the commission, sprang into life after many years of in-action. The advisory committee intervened in the internal challenges that have confronted the interventionist agency of late. The long expected meeting of that moderating body also deliberated on how to aggressively implement the master Plan. It is good to have the governors on the same page with the NDDC in the onerous task of bringing rapid development to the long-neglected people of the Niger delta.
They should also work in synergy with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs. Such cooperation of all main stakeholders is imperative for the rapid socio-economic transformation of the oil-rich region. The governors of the region should show more commitment to the development of their various states. With prudent management of their resources, they would make by far more impact on the lives of their people. True, a few of them have done creditably well. Others are, however, laggards because there is no comparison whatsoever between the revenue they have received and the development on ground. None of them should use the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage as an alibi for dissatisfactory performance. There is no doubt that there is a justification in the governors’ demand for an adjustment in the revenue allocation formula to put more money in the coffers of the states to enable them pay living wages and provide more basic infrastructure which would spur development in their states.
The Federal Government currently takes 52.68 per cent of the centrally collected revenues, leaving the states and local governments with 26.72 and 20.60 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, the states and the local governments are saddled with more responsibilities like paying teachers and funding health care services. Redressing the badly skewed allocation formula should engage the attention of the National Assembly as it settles down to business. In the meantime, the Federal Government, which takes the lion share of our collective wealth must rise to the occasion and respond immediately to the infrastructural deficit in the Niger Delta.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Goodluck, Jonathan, Niger, Delta, South, Challenge, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Masterweb News Desk
A 48-year-old Southern California real estate broker, identified as Catherine Kieu drugged her husband, tied him to the bed and cut-off his penis. Kieu threw the severed penis into a garbage disposal and turned it on, mutilating the organ. The couple married in late 2009, were involved in divorce proceedings at the time of the attack.
Kieu drugged a dinner meal she served her husband, shortly before her Monday night attack. Garden Grove police arrived the couple's home on the 14000 block of Flower Street after the wife called 911 emergency. The police found the husband tied to a bed and bleeding profusely from his crotch. They untied the 60-year-old victim and rushed him in an ambulance to University of California at Irvine (UCI) Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery. The severed mutilated organ could not be reattached. He was listed in serious condition at the time of this report. Kieu acknowledged committing the crime to police. She was arrested on charges of aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, poisoning and spousal abuse. She is being held at Orange County Jail without bail.
According to Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale, the severe nature of the crime led police to classify it as “aggravated mayhem,” an offense punishable by up to life imprisonment. “The intention by this person was to permanently deprive this victim of his genitalia. You're not just depriving a person of a member or portion of their body or disfiguring them, you're doing something that's so egregious we're not sure what's going to happen: if they're going to be able to reattach this or repair this person after such a violent attack.” Nightengale was quoted as saying. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Catherine Kieu
Kieu's husband (name withheld by police), told police detectives his wife served him dinner which he suspected was tainted, from how he felt after the meal. He said he went to bed and while he slept, his wife tied his legs and arms to the four corners of the bed with nylon ropes. When he woke up, his wife pulled his pants grabbing his penis and severing it with a knife.
Kieu was arraigned in court Wednesday. Prosecutors in a statement allege she got into an argument with her husband about "friends staying at the residence". During the brief court appearance, an Orange County Superior Court judge assigned a public defender to represent Kieu and postponed her arraignment until July 22.
Kieu, was initially identified as Catherine Kieu Becker, but verified records have her as "Catherine Kieu".
*Tags: Nigerians, American, Woman, Cuts, Off, Husband, Penis, Abuja, Africa, Masterweb
*I Love Malaysia, I Love Nigerians!
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
Malaysia is a beautiful country. Of course, by now, some of my brothers and sisters from Africa (just a few of them, though) may have either sighed or spoken some words that are untrue about this beautiful nation of great and beautiful people- just a few of them, though. The truth still remains that Malaysia is beautiful and enviable in many ways. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of this great country, Malaysia, with a population of over 27 million people and located on the South East part of Asia. Its people are indeed wonderful in many ways, and always carry themselves in pride because they know that it could be worse but is better and better by the clock.
Malaysia gained her independence in 31 August 1957, just three (3) years before Nigeria got hers on October 1, 1960, from the same colonial master, the Great Britain. Looking at where this country, Malaysia, is right now, one couldn’t help asking for the most stringent measures by the world community against their counterparts, the Nigeria leaders, to beat them into shape and productivity devoid of fruitless excuses. The three years’ difference between the two independencies are, so far, only identified in history books, journals, records, and memories-there’s no other idea, pointer, or argument to suggest otherwise. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Map of Malaysia
Below will be some of the glaring differences between the Independent Malaysia and its counterpart, the Independent Nigeria. In this article, I’m sorely looking on how its independence of each state has affected her citizens at large:
1. Malaysia gained her independence just three years, before Nigeria did, from the same colonial master, the Great Britain. Although the Malaysians had to struggle a while with the United Kingdom to gain her independence, Nigeria received hers totally on a platter of gold, from honest dialogues by our heroes past with our great colonial master.
2. Even though history has it that Nigeria will always be remembered for bailing Malaysia out during her early days of “independence test drive,” when things got a bit muddled on how to keep the workers on sites, Malaysia is not only grateful to God for every good thing, its great achievements within these periods are so obvious that nobody can help but be cognizant of it. On the other hand even though Nigeria had enough to be able to help “a brother in need,” Nigeria has found it, not just difficult, but near impossible to carry its workers along, let alone the entire nation. Today, the Nigerian government still feels it’s not obligated to consent to the insulting N18,000 minimum wage agreed by the NLC out of frustration and out of dealing with somebody who wouldn’t care if you died or lived.
3. The first things you see from air when you fly into KLIA, Malaysia, are trees-palm trees, majority of which seeds history said were got from Nigeria in their early days. Now, this country can comfortably call itself one of the best palm oil resource-derived countries in the entire world, courtesy of the Nigeria palm seeds. Although Nigeria had and still has enough palm seeds to become the world’s largest palm oil exporter in the world, it barely produces enough oil for its citizens, thanks to our leaders who went into the same colonial school with Malaysia.
4. The so much celebrated “minimum wage” in Nigeria would appear as an insult on the entire “Satu Malaysia” as the said N18, 000, when converted to be about RM360 in Malaysian currency, is inconceivable a salary for any government to pay, even those on no-job lists. A Malaysian who earns as little as RM800 (N40, 000) monthly could be amongst the street cleaners and such jobs and yet, there are plans to make them live a relatively comfortable and fulfilled life.
5. In Malaysia, it’s no common site to see those who sell fast foods (like, Akara or even egg-tea-break kind of breakfast) on street corners drive brand new cars. No matter what one does as a Malaysian, you are qualified to get a brand new car on loan. You can virtually buy anything with your IC card as long as you work somewhere. You may not need to put down a collateral if you want a loan or need a new car or a house to live in, your citizenship is enough collateral for you. Its brother Nigeria, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. For one to have a three bedroom apartment (which is the commonest thing here in Malaysia), you’d be an enviable person, and to single out a citizen who owns a brand new car in Nigeria, you may have either seen a politician, an oil magnet, a banker, or just, maybe just, a conspicuously few number of Nigerians.
6. Shall we talk about the railway industry, or the road transport network? All is a site to behold. Malaysia runs on different efficient and affordable rail systems, and has a wide, ordered, affordable, and accountable road transport system. If it were in Nigeria, the Malaysia trains would transport anyone from Onitsha to Lagos with just a paltry of N300, and this is applicable in every other part of the country-even with cheaper rates, perhaps.
7. Malaysian education system is so beautiful that, since they love technocrats and developments, a Diploma certificate holder is highly valued and would never bother on how to integrate into the work system after graduation-there’s always something to do. Every Malaysian has the full right to education, if he/she is willing to further his/her carrier. The elementary and high education is free while a deposit as little as RM500 (N25, 000) is enough to put a citizen in the university and get him/her graduated. The person will then be offered a job on graduation, and of course, be allowed to pay up in the easiest of ways. Many of our political leaders have sent their children here for the best education, while they frustrate our youths back home even when most of them have practically fought and begged through school. Nigerian education system is a mockery. If one fights his way through to WASC and NECO, the almighty JAMB becomes a near insurmountable difficulty. And, assuming one swims through the JAMB water unscathed, you will face the “tax collectors” in schools in the name of Schools fees and all the other names put up for seemingly legalized extortion methods.
8. The phrase, “basic needs,” is no longer a family name here in Malaysia-basic needs like power supply, housing, water, education, and road networks. If for any reason at least once or twice every year, your apartment water or power supply is temporary disconnected, it’s always for a fast maintenance which often does not take more than fifteen (15) minutes. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR DARKNESS IN MALAYSIA. Nigeria, its counterpart, is the exact opposite of this truth. Soldiers have gone and come, and gone again, the barrack remains, but this time, in a more shabby state. IBB came and went, the great OBJ also came and went, but none had it in him to replicate in Nigeria what they saw in Malaysia, one of the developing countries of the world, even when they had monopoly on the federal authority. At best, what these leaders and politicians in Nigeria try to do is replicate in their own personal kingdoms what they have seen in other countries, most times, with the public wealth.
9. In spite of all these, Malaysia has one of the best securities in the world. No matter whom you are and from which country you came, you could move and drive about through all the cities of Malaysia at anytime of the day or night, for that matter. Although, Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, there is a relative respect for different religious bodies, unlike Nigeria where someone burns churches and walks and nothing is done about it, just like it’s reported near church outside the capital. They are so security-conscious, yet they do not put up roadblocks and checkpoint, like the Nigerian Police does, insulting, attacking, extorting from, and humiliating Nigerians, the very people they are sent to serve.
10. It’s, therefore, with wonder and a bit of curiosity and excitement that I followed the news on Kula Lumpur. Although it’s true that Malaysia is far above Nigeria in general functionality, its citizens know very well that they can have it better than it already is at the moment-that’s why they came out. But my advice to all Malaysian, the great people, is this: Let wisdom prevail in the quest for justice. No one has the right to enslave the other, yet freedom is the offspring of wisdom. You people are a nation well informed on issues and I believe you can get it right and better in a generally agreeable way. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria
Malaysia is a country which a conscience, with a soul. Malaysia is alive. If a nation which gained independence from the very colonnial master that Nigeria gained hers, if Malaysia, a country with three major ethnic groups, religious diversities, and with less resources than Nigeria has could become what it is today, what on earth could our so-called leaders possibly give as reasons why the state failed? But to Nigerians already making plans to come over, just like the plans for everything else in life, you need to find out what things are obtainable here before you make your necessary moves.
There are people destined to come to Malaysia for a purpose, while others would be delaying a lot in their lives coming over. For the average Nigeria: Malaysia is OK as long as you are coming in to study or even to start a business, as long as you have your capital with you. But it’s not like some parts of Europe or other places where you would just come in to continue the normal Nigeria-hustle thing-scampering for crumbs in the midst of plenty, it will wreck your life if you are not willing and ready to stand the test of a true story. Anyone telling you to come should tell you what is obtainable also. DO NOT MAKE ANY PAYMENT TO ANYONE UNLESS YOU HAVE CONTACTED THE RELEVANT AUTHORITIES IN MALAYSIA ON WHAT MALAYSIA IS AND WHAT IT'S NOT.
It is Satu Malaysia! It is One Malaysia! This country has every reason to preserve and feed its unity, love, peace, and progress. There is every opportunity for Malaysia to become better and better by the day. And now that she is seeking for greater integration with the international community, I can only imagine how better it can become because her leaders are humane, responsible, and accountable. But in Nigeria, what are we not talking about? It hurts to discover that many parts of the world still reserve, though secretly, the thought that there could still be a minute possible link between us (Africans) and monkeys-though sarcastically. We are all one in every human aspect, but when one considers most African leaders (especially in Nigeria) and their display of total absence to reality, one can’t help but wonder why the
Nigerian government still deceives itself into thinking that there was, is or ever will be unity among Nigerians with the way they have been going all along and without a swift and immediate change. You leaders are a shame to mother Africa, an affront to humanity. It doesn’t take a man in “Agbada” with a traditional cap, superfluous prefixes and suffixes, and a chain of security escorts to lead Nigeria aright; even a standard school leaver who is willing and ready has what it takes to make Nigeria the newest Dubai. 'No' to Nigerian leaders! Do not seek for unity! Seek for justice, the rule of law, equity, responsibility and accountability, because unity is a conscious and determined union between two or more people who have experienced justice, the rule of law, equity, responsibility and accountability. Call for a Sovereign National Conference because it’s obvious to all that we are a failed state. To my fellow Nigerians, I say this: you will survive, live, and thrive. And to my good people here in Malaysia, to every Malaysian, I say: "Budi Bahasa Budaya Kita!" You are great! You are one! I love Malaysia. Be proud of her!
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
*Tags: Nigerians, Love, Malaysia, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
*Intersociety Comments On The Killing of Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Development
How Over-Bloated Political Appointments & CBN’s Anti-Social Policies Kill Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Development
(Onitsha-Nigeria, July 11, 2011) - An erroneous impression and a misleading parameter have been created and entrenched in the Nigeria’s contemporary society to the effect that once our political leaders fulfil their contractual obligations with those under their direct employment, otherwise called civil servants or public sector employees over their pay, either by way of prompt payment of their pay wage or by effecting an upward review of same, such political leaders are celebrated as “great achievers of our times”. In some cases, bogus meritorious awards are organized by the leaderships of the organized labour, in the form of “the most labour friendly president or governor”, etc. Any labour minister or commissioner that successfully midwifes the resolution of the labour-government industrial dispute is celebrated as “a hero”, even if such minister or commissioner is a profligate or ministerially incompetent. Also, if a political leader is an electoral buccaneer or a rabid thief, as long as he or she pays his or her government employees, he or she is tagged a “God-sent”.
This warped attitude defeats the very essence of “Government”, as invented by the Great Crusaders of the post Hobbesian periods. Just as the grand norm of Budgeting is its capital segment, the grand norm of “Government” is not the welfare of its principal and clerical operators, but the generality of the public. Where over 74% of the 2011 budget goes for the services of the government operators and their subordinates, while the meagre 26% is retained for the over 140 million Nigerians, is utterly impeachable and socially disastrous. Out of 52% of the total federated allocations meant for the federal tier of government in Nigeria, over 70% goes for the services of an infinitesimal federal government operators and its subordinates; out of 42% for the State tier, about 60% goes to its operators and subordinates; and out of 26% for Local Government tier, about 90% goes to the governors, the LGA operators and their subordinates. This explains why within the context of government social service delivery or performance index in Nigeria, State Governments still top the federal and LGA tiers, with about 30%, while Federal and LGA tiers struggle for 20% and 5% respectively. Out of about 30,000 kilometres of the Federal Roads in the country, for instance, about 20% is attended to; out of about 34,500 belonging to the State Governments, about 35% is attended to; and out of about 129,500 belonging to the LGA, about 5% is attended to, with the LGA specifically attending to about 2%, while the States extra-statutorily attend to 3% (under township road or Trunk C road programmes).
At the Presidency and the federal legislatures alone, there are about 1,500 political (personal) aides outside the statutory ministers, special advisers, secretary to the FGN, the national security adviser and the 469 federal legislators. For instance, out of 40 ministers of the Federal Government of Nigeria, there may, at least, be 80 personal aides attached to them, that is to say two for each minister. And out of 20 special advisers recently approved for President Goodluck Jonathan, at least, 40 personal aides may abound. The offices of the Secretary to the Federal Government and the National Security Adviser are usually attached with a retinue of personal aides. Still in the Presidency, there may be dozens of Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Executive Assistants and Personal Assistants, usually attached to the offices of the President and the Vice-President. Out of the 360 members of the House of Reps and their principal leaderships, there may, at least, be about 800 personal aides, on average of two for each member. And out of 109 Senators and their principal leaders, there may, at least, be 250 personal aides attached to them.
In the 36 States and the FCT of the Federation, there are at least 2,700 political appointees in their Executive organ, in the form of “commissioners”, “special advisers”, “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants” and “personal assistants” on average of 75 per State. This is in addition to bogus monthly security votes of the governors, averaging N500Millon monthly. And in the 36 States’ legislatures, there are, at least, 2,500 personal aides attached to the 1,152 States’ lawmakers and their principal leaderships, on the average of two aides per lawmaker, totalling over 3, 652 political appointees. In the 774 Local Government Areas in the country, there are at least, 3,096 LGA executives with extra 3,096 personal aides, on average of one PA for each executive member, and at the LGA Legislative Houses, 8,692 legislators exist, with another, at least, 9,000 personal aides attached to them. In other words, there may be 1,969 political appointees in the federal executive and legislatures, including 469 federal lawmakers; 2,700 in the 36 States’ executives; 3, 652 in the 36 States’ legislatures; 6,200 in the 774 LGA executives; and 17,692 in the 774 LGA Legislative Houses, totalling 31,643 political appointees in the Nigeria’s Executive and Legislative Organs.
It is very important to observe that the judicial arm of government in Nigeria, which is made up of about 934 top statutory principals, remains managerially competent and non-wasteful. Over-bloated and wasteful personal aides are almost non-existent in the judiciary. It is only in rare situations that few domestic aides are attached to principal leaderships of the organ and in some cases; the allowances of such aides come directly from their employers. Despite the fact that the country’s remuneration laws, such as the Salaries & Wages for Top Political Office Holders Act of the Federation 2002, as amended, prescribes the pay scale for political appointees from special advisers upwards, members of the Federal and States’ legislatures unilaterally reverted to an “unwritten code” to milk the country’s commonwealth dry, by fixing bogus allowances for themselves and their political “concubines”. This is truly the secret behind the allocation of a whopping 74% of the 2011 federal budget to service the recurrent expenditures. It is a clear case of 31,643 top executive and legislative managers in the country and their (about) 10million employees (NLC & TUC) squandering over 70% of the country’s public wealth at the dreaded expense of the land-lorded 140 million Nigerians.
On a similar note, we wish to condemn, unreservedly, the unfolding anti-social policies of the CBN, under Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido’s governorship. Apart from his efforts to Islamize the country’s banking industry by attempting to introduce “al-Qaeda banking”, he is also “Northernizing” the Nigeria’s banking system, by returning the foreign exchange transactions to the inglorious past when patronizing foreign currency black marketers was the “beginning of wisdom”. Today, by allocating a paltry 250,000 USD per bank per week, the CBN Governor is deliberately “Hausanizing” this important trade, by encouraging his fellow “Mallams” to be the sole black marketers of “the products”. The effects of this infamous policy on Nigerians are mountainous. The USD, which sold at N153.00 per USD in May 2011, is now sold at N165.00 per USD in black market, as at Friday, July 8, 2011 and the increase is continuing. Similar situation applies to other leading foreign currencies. The new policy of the N150,000 maximum cash withdrawal per day is another undoing of the CBN governor. The consequences of the latter policy on Nigerians are incalculable. One of such is the expected return of “cash carriage” culture, which will lead to an explosion in armed robbery attacks, market and house raids, because the likely counter measures by customers may be to keep huge cash off banks.
The anti-social policies of the CBN Governor reminds of the China’s social stupidity of the 60s, when her rich cultural heritage was massively destroyed in the name of “cultural revolution”. But when she realised herself, she returned to the path of socio-economic greatness. Today, China is the world’s second richest economy. The CBN hash policies are akin to the Nigeria Police crime fighting strategies that are designed to treat violent and property criminals as “kings” and innocent Nigerians as “slaves”. Today, some, if not many directors of the country’s banks serve as conduit pipes through which stolen funds are stashed in overseas through their domiciliary accounts, yet our CBN Governor does not see or notice them, instead, he designs policies that hurt ordinary Nigerians. The solutions to the Nigeria’s socio-economic problems do not lie on these ill-fated policies, but on practically taming the rabid corruption; drastically curtailing the country’s huge recurrent spending or budget of “intestine”; aggressively pursuing economic development (not economic growth), by way of massive industrialization; and proactively tackling the country’s mountainous social vices.
All in all, we call for the immediate resignation of the CBN Governor and reversal by the Federal Government, of these ill-fated policies. Specifically, the foreign exchange trade must be returned to its dual market period and enough quantity of transactable foreign currencies allocated to the participating banks. We also see the so-called “Islamic Banking” as a threat to Nigeria’s secularity; therefore, it should be shelved. It will also heighten insecurity in the country. The Salaries & Wages Commission and relevant bodies at the States’ level are tasked to review the existing laws on emoluments for political office holders in Nigeria with a view to abolishing the bogus allowances for the appointees other than special advisers, ministers and commissioners. The bogus allowances to the President, Vice-president, NSA,SGF, ministers, Senators, House of Reps members, Senate and House of Reps principal leaderships, governors, State Assemblies principal leaderships, commissioners, States and LGA lawmakers, etc should be reviewed downwards. The powers of the courts may be invoked to nullify the present emoluments scale for the present political office holders, whether written or unwritten.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT (+234(0)8033601078)
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Over, Bloated, Political, Appointments, Cbn, Social, Policies, Socio, Economic, Development, Africa, Masterweb
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