*Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria
Intersociety Fights For Igbo Cause & Good Governance In Nigeria: APC’s Attacks On Our Leadership Another War Against Igbo Gods & A Boarding Pass Off Anambra 2013
(A Public Information, 20th of October, 2013)-Name-calling, blackmail and character assassination using highly sectionalized Nigerian media have remained major weapons of many gullible groups and individuals in Nigeria including the leadership of All Progressives Congress and its tribal media war mongers. Those who did not have effective counter forces to tame them especially those in plum public offices have been consumed by such weapons. The list ranged from the likes of Prof. Bath Nnaji, Immigration CG Uzoma, Senator Chuba Okadigbo to Eze Festus Odimegwu. The likes of Diezani Allison Madueke, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and Ministers Okonjo Iweala and Stella Odua are still sitting on the keg of gunpowder.
The weapons were also used to scuttle Prof. Charles Soludo’s second term as the Nigeria’s CBN governor in about eight years ago. The worst victim of such destructive campaigns is President Goodluck Jonathan. Among few that have survived are the leadership of this organization, Governors Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo and Peter Obi of Anambra States. Where statutory tenure of office is provided, planted disloyalty among the subordinates and “forced resignation” are applied. The ill-fated resignation of Eze Festus Odimegwu from the chairmanship of the National Population Commission is a clear case in point. Political appointees from the Southeast and southern and northern Christian minorities are recklessly eased out through internally and externally instigated set ups or scandals, whereas those of the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba extractions remain untouchables. The case of retired Justices Aloysius Katsina Alu and Ayo Isa Salami is another case in point.
In the CSO community in Nigeria in general and rights community in particular, any activist, especially that of the Southeast, who proudly asserts his or her ethnic origin and culture is hated ruggedly, except he supports Southwest or Yoruba agenda. You are addressed as “progressive comrade” if you belong to the latter and called “tribalist” if you are of the former. CSOs’ meeting are unduly interrupted in other to observe “minute’s silence” in honor of an obscure quantity that once lived in the Southwest zone. Till date, many of the rights leaders in Nigeria especially those with Igbo identity, are highly “yorubanized” and brain-washed with the so called “progressive (Yoruba) agenda”. This age-long warfare is also imported into the economy, government ministerial and parastatal appointments and the media. The police, army, custom & excise, immigration, navy and air force, etc are not exempted.
The major cause of insecurity and political tensions in Nigeria today is the refusal of the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba sections of Nigeria to let go their age-long political slavery sustained through old North and West political dominance of Nigeria. The recent formation of All Progressives Congress; a fusion of CPC sympathetic to Hausa-Fulani/Boko Haram cause, and Action Congress of Nigeria sympathetic to Yoruba cause; is a clear return to this age-long political dominance of the country. This is as a result of the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is of Nigeria’s small Ijaw tribe. To the Hausa-Fulani and the Yoruba political slave masters, the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, this if unchecked, may lead to the emergence of a core Igbo person as Nigeria’s President. This is considered a taboo that must be cleansed to facilitate the restoration of the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba political slavery of other members of the Nigerian Federation.
The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is not unaware of a sustained campaign of name calling, blackmail and character assassination being carried out against our leadership by the All Progressives Congress including its Anambra State chapter. Though, Intersociety was founded in 2008, but such attacks against our Board Chairman, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi date back to the Mbadinuju’s inglorious epoch during which he was accused of being paid N4million by the Emeka Offor group to fight Mbadinuju’s infamous policies. Then he was the Anambra State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization. During the illegal regime of Dr. Chris Ngige, he was reported to the SSS and the Anambra State Police Criminal Investigation Department in July 2003 through a criminal complaint personally signed by Dr. Chris Ngige whereupon he was labeled “seditionist”.
This was followed by a 2004 civil suit personally instituted by Dr. Chris Ngige whereupon he claimed that the Anambra CLO leadership under Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi libeled him. In 2005, our Comrade’s CLO leadership was again accused of receiving N6million from Mr. Peter Obi to fight the Ngige’s illegal regime. The accusation was sequel to his group’s public condemnation of an attempted poisoning of Mr. Peter Obi through the inducement of his then personal aide (John Bosco Muonanu), who was later smuggled out of the country to Cameroun when he leaked the plot.
Prior to the 2010 staggered governorship poll held in February, 2010, the Anambra ACN and its Dr. Chris Ngige maliciously alleged that Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi and his Intersociety was paid N12million by the Peter Obi administration to carry out “campaign of calumny against him and his party”. Since then, there have been countless print, electronic and audio-visual media attacks by the ACN and its Chris Ngige against our leadership. As the Anambra 2013 governorship poll drew nearer, the APC (former ACN) again renewed its country-wide attacks against our leadership, calling us all sorts of unprintable names.
The latest of such destructive campaigns by the APC is consistent harassment and threats to some leading media houses in Nigeria including print and social media to stop our facts boggling public advocacies from seeing the light of the day. Those media establishments said they are under threat and have been told by the APC to give our public information a news blackout. Other torrential calls to that effect have continued to come our way from our idolized associates in the media industry. Just some days ago, one of the assistant editors of a national daily reportedly summoned his Anambra State correspondent to Lagos where he was grilled for over an hour. One of the reasons for summoning him was that the APC complained that the newspaper was giving our publications undue public attention. The correspondent was asked severally to say all he knows about Intersociety, Emaka Umeagbalasi and Peter Obi.
While the leadership of APC is doing all it can to put us out of social equation and existence through “konja” processes, it has never for one day challenged, statistics by statistics, facts by facts and law by law, any of the issues we raised. Instead, it prefers to chase shadows and seeks for our destruction, which is an act of impossibility because Igbo gods are not asleep! In the case of Obiano’s alleged double registration, for instance, the APC is yet to challenge our legal citations or come out with counter factual facts that there are verifiable records available at it from Anambra INEC and Obiano’s sources showing that he never engaged in any voters’ card transfer within the stipulated time frame as allowed by Section 13 (1) (2) (3) & (4) of the Electoral Act of Nigeria 2010. Also, its unfounded allegation that N500million was given to an Anambra INEC ICT official, named Chidi Ahanotu, to effect the deletion of Obiano’s voter registration data from the Aguleri unit in Anambra State suffered further damage because if that is the case, then with which voters’ card will he vote in the election?
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria )
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Where INEC Failed & Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant
By SE Group 8 Rights Coalition
Anambra Voters’ Register & Related Issues: Where INEC Failed & Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant
(A Joint Statement, Onitsha-Nigeria, 19th of October, 2013)- We, the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety), the National Secretariat of the Civil Liberties Organization, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of the LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria), the Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Global Rights & Development International and Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), known as Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, have resolved to speak on the underlined subject matter with a view to guiding the Anambra electorates and other Nigerians and putting the records straight.
Final Release Of Voters’ Register:
It is recalled that we had on 15th day of October, 2013, addressed a joint letter to the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra State on its planned release of the final list of registered voters who will vote in the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the State; and need for the Electoral Residency to address before the release, a number of demographic anomalies complained of. On 16th of October, 2013, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC made public through the 23 participating political parties, the voters’ list as scheduled. The exercise was carried out through a press briefing in which the political parties were given soft copies of the revised and updated registered voters.
According to Section 20 of the Nigeria’s Electoral Act of 2010, the final list of registered voters is composed of the main voters’ register and supplementary voters’ list, which includes transferred voters’ list (for those who relocated from their previous polling areas). The Section directs the exercise to be carried 30 days before the date of an election. Section 34 of the Act also directs INEC to release or publish same day through online and offline full names and addresses of all candidates standing nominated. Anambra State is the 10th most populated State in Nigeria with the 2006 census of 4.18million people (the current population is estimated to be up to 6million). The State measures about 4, 416 square kilometers of landmass with 21 LGAs, 326 electoral wards and 4,608 polling units.
Where Anambra Electoral Residency Of INEC Failed:
Though, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC released the list as legally required, but the anomalies complained of, and sought to be addressed, have remained unaddressed. From the Electoral Residency’s accounts as released, the total number of registered voters in Anambra State tentatively rose to 2, 011, 746 in 2011 and decreased to 1, 711, 061 voters in July 2013. It increased again to 1, 784, 536 voters in October 2013. This simply means that only 73, 475 new voters were captured during the continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercise that took place between 19th and 25th of August, 2013. The Electoral Residency further said that the 18-35 registered voting age bracket constitutes 52%; 36-59 25%; 51-69 18%; and 70 years and above 5%. According to the Commission, the total number of female registered voters in Anambra State is 900,701 or 52%, while the number of male registered voters is 883,000 or 49%. Ogbaru LGA has the highest voting population of 139, 000 registered voters. The number of double registrants in the Anambra Voters’ Register was put at 93, 354. In all, the total numbers of registered voters who will vote in the November 16, 2013 governorship poll is 1, 784, 536 (one million, seven hundred & eighty four thousand, five hundred & thirty six).
Other than the foregoing, the Anambra Electoral Residency of INEC did not disclose whether the 53 missing polling units in nine LGAs of Awka South (34), Ayamelum (1), Anambra East (2), Ihiala (2), Idemmili North (1), Nnewi South (4), Nnewi North (5), etc, have been found and restored or not and the fate of the affected registered voters in the areas. The public did not know whether the 93, 354 double registrants have been deleted from the voters’ register. The number of dead and fictitious voters that were possibly deleted was not disclosed, so also the number of voters registered during the continuous registration and revalidation exercise and number transferred into the Transferred Voters’ List.
No information was given with respect to the alleged discovery of illegal polling centers in Ogbaru, Onitsha North and Oyi LGAs as well as those malicious citizens imported by criminal politicians from neighboring States during the continuous voters’ registration and revalidation exercise. Whether the “evil forest and shrine” bound polling units still exist or not was not disclosed. Information about issuance or otherwise of a certified true copy of voters’ register to the ANSIEC for the purpose of conducting the December 14, 2013 LGA poll was also not made available.
Why Obiano Is Electoral Law Compliant:
Our in-depth investigation into an allegation that the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, Mr. William Obiano was involved in double registration as a registered voter in Nigeria clearly shows that he acted within the law. While double registration as a voter in Nigeria contravenes Section 12 (2) of the Electoral Act of 2010 with a fine on conviction of N100, 000 or one year imprisonment or both, unlawful possession of voters’ card, buying or offers to buy same or selling of it is a contravention of Section 23 of the Act and attracts on conviction two years imprisonment or a fine of N500, 000 or both. The exceptions to Section 12 (2) of the Act are clearly provided in Section 13 (1) (2) (3) & (4) of the said Electoral Act (of 2010). These exceptions can be clearly understood in the context of “Citizen’s Voters’ Card/Data Transfer”.
Section 13 (1) of the Electoral Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2010, states: “Any person who before an election is resident in another polling constituency other than the one in which he was registered may apply to the Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State where he is currently residing for his name to be entered on the Transferred Voters’ List of the constituency”. Section 13 (2): “An application under subsection 1 shall be accompanied by the applicant’s voters’ card and shall be made not less than 30 days before the date of an election in the constituency where the applicant is now resident”. Section 13 (3): “The REC to whom an application is made under this provision shall cause to be entered the applicant’s name in the Transferred Voters’ List if he is satisfied that the applicant is a resident in a polling center in the constituency and is registered in another constituency (former)”.
Section 13 (4): “ Whenever an Electoral Officer (EO) on the direction of REC enters the name of any person (applicant) on the Transferred Voters’ List for his constituency, he shall: (a) assign that person to a polling unit area in his constituency and indicate in the list the polling unit to which that person (applicant) is assigned; (b) issue the person with a new voters’ card and retrieve his voters’ card (former); and (c) send a copy of the entry to the Electoral Officer of the constituency where the person whose name has been so entered was originally registered and upon receipt of his entry, that Electoral Officer shall delete the name(data) from his voters’ list”.
The allegation as made is totally false and lacks fundamental ingredients of truism. While it is necessary to put those aspiring to occupy public leadership positions through elective or appointive processes on their toes so as to ensure the emergence of people with upright and charismatic characters, such activities must be rested in the universally acceptable processes especially in matters of journalistic investigation and reporting. Such must be devoid of political witch-hunting, ill conception and motivation. Nigerian journalists, who are part of the mass media recognized by Sections 22 and 39 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended in 2011 must not endanger the sanctities of the two hallowed provisions. They must also stay away from “konja journalism”.
The sighting of “double registration or data” of a citizen on the INEC’s physical or soft data warehouse without an investigation to ascertain the circumstances of its double entry and existence, amounts to “trial by ordeal”, which has no place in Nigeria’s justice and human rights system. For instance, in 2009, prior to the 2010 governorship poll in Anambra State, the leadership of Intersociety in Nigeria, went to Dr. Chris Ngige’s campaign office in Awka and found that the data including picture of late Chief Gani Fawihinmi, SAN, who voted in Lagos in previous elections such as 2007 polls, was included in the list of registered voters in an Ekwulummili Ward in Nnewi South LGA of Anambra State. Further investigation showed that INEC was solely responsible for such anomaly.
In Mr. Willy Obiano’s case, for him to vote in the November 16 important governorship election in which he is a contestant, he must bear a voters’ card issued him in Anambra State and not that of Lagos State, which is not a party to Anambra governorship poll. His lawyers put INEC on notice on his behalf and exhausted all the processes attached as contained in Section 13 of the 2010 Electoral Act. The job of deleting his previous data in Lagos lies between the two concerned Electoral Officers in Anambra and Lagos States. The EO in Anambra State ought to transmit the information to his Lagos counterpart to facilitate the former’s deletion. The allegation of payment or offer of a bribe of N500m to an Anambra INEC official so as to delete Mr. Obiano’s data is an act of impossibility and a clear case of further injurious falsehood. This is because deleting such data from Anambra angle means that Mr. Obiano has incapacitated himself and cannot vote in the said election he is a contestant.
We reiterate our call on the Anambra State Electoral Residency of INEC headed by Professor Chukwuemeka Onukogu to offer satisfactory explanations to the People of Anambra State and Southeast Nigeria with respect to anomalies complained above. The Electoral Residency is also called upon to be alive to its administrative duties at all times permitted by law. Capturing only 73, 475 voters in the continuous voters’ registration exercise out of teeming eligible but unregistered voters in Anambra State is an example of administrative incompetence. Mr. Willy Obiano’s “double registration” allegation, though false and empty, is also part of it, so also the case of “missing 53 polling units”. Politicians including those controlled by “the Center of Excellence” are advised to stay away from “konja politics” and learn a lesson from the 2012 Ondo “electoral humiliation”. Issue-based politics wins hearts, while mechanical or “konja” politics poisons minds. Journalists in Nigeria must also be alive to their journalistic duties at all times. This includes searching for and arming themselves at all times with relevant materials such as copies of the Electoral Act of 2010, which can be sourced both online and offline. Those who reported the unfounded allegation of Mr. Obiano’s double registration are “electoral illiterates”.
For: Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition:
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Ibuchukwu Ezike: Executive Director, Civil Liberties Organization, Nigeria
3. Rufus Duru: Global Rights & Development International
4. Justus Uche Ijeoma: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety-Nigeria)
5. Emma Onwubiko: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
6. Aloysius Emeka Attah: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
7. Peter Onyegiri: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Samuel Njoku: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
Photo Above: Willie Maduabuchi Obiano
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Igbo Deportation: Fashola’s Apology Ill-Conceived Says SE Group and Rights Coalition
Internal Deportation Of Igbo-Nigerians: Fashola’s Apology Ill-Conceived & Politically Motivated-Says Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition
(Joint Public Statement, Onitsha Nigeria, 29th of September, 2013)-The Southeast Group 8 Rights Coalition, made up of the leaderships of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch, Humane Justice International, Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety) and Global Rights & Development International, Owerri, Southeast Nigeria, wishes to reject in its entirety the September 26, 2013, “apology” tendered by the Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria over his abominable deportation of 72 Igbo-Lagosians from Lagos to the Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria. The punishable act took place on July 24, 2013 at about 3: am or the hours of the blue law (a period prohibited by nature for conduct of official government affairs or transaction of its official business).
It is recalled that seventy-two (72) Nigerians of Southeast Igbo extraction resident in various parts of Lagos State were rounded up between December 2012 and January 2013 at Lagos roads’ bus stops and its streets by the operatives of Kick Against Indiscipline working for Governor Fashola’s administration and detained illegally and solitarily without trial for over six months on the orders of the Governor, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (a supposedly law lord). They were held in an illegal detention premises located close to a border between Lagos and Ogun States.
In the evening of July 23, 2013, they were told to prepare to be taken back home in their Lagos residences and asked to put their names in a sheet of rough paper. Suddenly, four commuter buses with two truckload of anti riot police personnel stormed their illegal detention premises. The two trucks were marked “Rescue Operation” of the NPF, donated by LASG (Lagos State Government). They were commanded to enter the buses, after which, they found themselves under the Upper Iweka Flyover Bridge in Onitsha at about 3: am. By day break, 54 of them with undisclosed social identities had escaped, leaving behind 18, who looked hungry, tired, medically and psychologically challenged.
In the Nigerian legal system applicable to Lagos State, anti wandering, begging and public nuisance offences are usually treated as statutory and strict liability offences (usually no mens rea and witnesses are required during summary court prosecution). In other words, such offences usually receive summary court trials and lighter punishments like fines, rehabilitation and jail sentences for days, weeks and months. They share common boundaries with sanitary and traffic offences. The major safeguards for these categories of offences are the Fundamental Human Rights provisions in the Chapter Four of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011. This is to curb the excesses and harshness of the government in the use and prosecution of such offences. No Nigerian law permits any tier of government or State governor to detain citizens without proper court trial and conviction for months as Governor Fashola has magisterially and arbitrarily acted.
The illegal and unconstitutional internal deportation was greeted by a tray-pan of denials, falsehoods and blackmails by the Government of Lagos State, its ruling party-APC and hired agents including newspaper editors and columnists as well as sectional rights activists, online and audio-visual media. When the denials and falsehoods refused to swallow the abominable action, the Government of Lagos State came up with “14 re-unionized”, “not 72 deportees” theory and blackmailed the Government and People of Anambra State as a party to “re-unionization resettlement of 14 citizens in Onitsha”. The LASG went deeper in its falsehood by manufacturing and releasing names, towns and LGAs unknown to the Government of Anambra State, its traditional naming, LGA and community systems with a view to linking them to its manufactured 14 fictitious names. In the defense of the despicable action, the likes of Mr. Joe Igbokwe, further described Igbo-Lagosians as “419ers”, “kidnappers”, ”fraudsters” and “armed robbers”. The likes of Dr. Chris Ngige also defended the internal deportation by reportedly describing those deportees as “mad people”, “criminals” and “beggars”.
Following from these in addition to the November 16, 2013 crucial governorship poll in Anambra State as well as threats the despicable action constitute to the State’s economic strength, Governor Babatunde Fashola influenced the Silver Jubilee anniversary of one “Aka Ikenga” Igbo socio-cultural group, which is clearly sympathetic to APC and its Anambra Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2013 governorship poll, Dr. Chris Ngige. The anniversary took place on Thursday, September 26, 2013, at the National Institute for International Affair, Victoria, Island, Lagos State.
The “Aka Ikenga”, which initially condemned the callous act later developed cold feet, possibly for political reasons, and published Dr. Chris Ngige’s version of the abominable act to the effect that “Lagos State Government dropped the citizens (deportees) at a government building at the Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha when the Government of Anambra State, which agreed with its Lagos State counterpart to receive the citizens at the border between Anambra and Delta States, was nowhere to be seen”. It is important to state that neither did any government building exist at Upper Iweka nor did Anambra State enter into an agreement with the Government of Lagos State to deport any Nigerian citizens. The deportees were dumped at Onitsha Upper Iweka, not Onitsha Niger Bridgehead.
It is our collective observation that the “Aka Ikenga Silver Jubilee Anniversary”, was deliberately put in place by the APC and its government in Lagos State to offer an ill-conceived and politically motivated apology over the abominable, criminal and unconstitutional deportation of innocent and harmless citizens of Nigerians. The apology is ill-conceived because it lacks rudiments of true apology. Any apology grounded on technicalities is not a genuine apology. True apology frowns at the use of words like “if” and “misunderstood”. Genuine apology must be total, remorseful, remedial and unreserved.
Also, Governor Fashola’s apology so called, is politically motivated because it is borne of desperation by his APC and its candidate to win by hook or crook the November 16, 2013 governorship poll in Anambra State of Nigeria. On the other hand, it is possible that Governor Fashola and his other APC bigwigs has a strong feeling that they have been declared “persona non grata”, by highly irritated mass brigades in the Southeast zone, which, if true, will threaten their participation in their party’s governorship campaign rallies fixed for their governorship candidate for the November 16 governorship poll. In other words, the sudden, infantile, politically motivated and ill-conceived apology is to clear a way for their participation and safety during the rallies.
Another reason for the so called apology may not be unconnected with the recent mass calls by some leading good governance and rights advocacy groups in the Southeast zone for Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians to decongest Lagos socioeconomic dominance in Nigeria, particularly as it concerns transnational movement of persons, goods and services using airports and seaports considered friendly, cheaper, convenient and less risky to them in Nigeria. The torrential heeding of such calls is steadily being observed from left, right and center especially in the South-south, Southeast and North-central parts of Nigeria. As a result of these, the newly commissioned Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria, now hosts up to three major transport aircrafts in a week. This has drastically reduced the age-long passengers and goods and services’ patronage enjoyed by the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria.
For instance, while it takes N17, 000 to clear a cargoed bag from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMA) in Lagos and transport it to the Southeast Nigeria, it costs a total of N7, 000 to clear it from the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu and transport it to Onitsha-the commercial hub of the Southeast Nigeria. It takes up to six hours excluding excruciating Lagos traffic jams to get to Lagos and extra hotel bills to incur before travelling internationally through MMA, whereas in less than two hours without hotel bills, an international traveler is on board an international aircraft at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu. We are also glad to observe that many business merchants from the Southeast Nigeria with their shipping companies are now diverting their goods and services to Port Harcourt wharfs instead of Lagos wharfs.
We commend Igbo-Nigerian business persons and international travelers for heeding these clarion calls by our sister bodies. We urge other major airline operators in the country and beyond her borders especially those flying Southeast Asia, Fareast, Gulf, Middle East and Europe to make maximum use of this wonderful business environment and relocate to the airport with potential milk and honey (Akanu Ibiam International Airport). There is need to teach the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola and his political party the lesson of his life to serve as deterrents to others of his likes.
We consider it as further insult on the collective psyche of the Igbo-Nigerians including Igbo-Lagosians the disclosure by Governor Fashola that “Igbo-Nigerians donated the highest number of cows during his father’s recent funeral”. Apart from the Governor engaging in reckless abuse of animal rights by admitting to have accepted “high number of cows”, which must have turned the Alausa Government House in Ikeja into “a cow slaughter house”; it is very insulting to draw a conclusion to that effect that “highest number of cows” given and received from his few Igbo contractor-friends means that “Igbo-Nigerians are reckless cow givers and slaughters”. Igbo-Nigerians attach serious values to animal lives, rights and management. The late legal icon and rights sage, Chief Gani Fawehnmi, SAN, during his lifetime, turned down at several intervals the donation of animals, whether domestic or wild, to him during ceremonies.
While rejecting in its entirety the infantile, ill-conceived and politically motivated apology under reference, it is our collective insistence that a sincere apology and sorry must have attributes of long term remedy, clarity, precision, sincerity, genuineness and capability of the wrong or criminal policy not being repeated. The only substance in Governor Fashola’s so called apology is not the apology itself, but the fact that Governor Fashola, his party and cronies have revealed the truth and exposed themselves as liars of unimaginable proportions.
On the other hand, truth has prevailed over falsehood and we are totally vindicated! The so called apology also left unanswered the question of imposition of “Babaloja” on Igbo-Lagosians’ controlled Ladipo Market, the incessant burning of Igbo markets at night and their reclaiming by government in the daytime, various hash policies including excess taxes imposed on Igbo businesses, designed to cripple Igbo-Lagosians’ businesses, the management of “internal census figures” that gave Igbo-Lagosians 42%, which reportedly infuriated the Yorubas of Lagos State, and reportedly is the center of the ongoing “internal deportation policies”, etc.
Like our sister bodies have demanded, the Southeast Governors’ Forum and other key public office holders from the zone must not rest on their oars as it concerns revolutionary development of the zone. The zone needs direly a second Niger Bridge, reconstructed Onitsha-Enugu and Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriage Ways, a standard sea port, a revamped modern railway system, a connecting bridge between Ndoni in Rivers State and Ogwu-ikpere in Ogbaru, Anambra State and adornment of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport with all modern international airport equipment and standards.
Signed On Behalf Of Southeast G8 Rights Coalition:
1. Emeka Umeagbalasi-08033601078, 08180103912
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
2. Comrade Aloysius Attah-08035090548
For: Civil Liberties Organization, Anambra State Branch
3. Comrade Samuel Njoku-08039444628
For: Human Rights Club of LRRDC, Anambra State Branch
4. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma-08037114869
For: Society Watch (a membership project of Intersociety, Nigeria)
5. Dr. Rufus Duru-08037513519
For: Global Rights & Development International
6. Comrade Emma Onwubiko-08033327672
For: Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria
7. Comrade Peter Onyegiri-07036892777
For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy
8. Comrade Ifeanyi Onuchukwu-08096940019
For: Humane Justice International
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Download / Purchase All Hail Biafra (Cry of A Biafran Child) & Other Selected Songs By Composer
(1). iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/all-hail-biafra-cry-biafran/id594341032?uo=4 .
(2). The entire CD or individual tracks can be purchased at amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/All-Hail-Biafra-Biafran-Child/dp/B00B2WRI5K
(3). By searching Google for All Hail Biafra (Cry of A Biafran Child) for other stores selling the CD.
By sending $14.00 by mail to Charles O. Okereke, P.O. Box 11721, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211; and by Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org
On January 12, 1970 at the tender age of 14 as Charles O. Okereke witnessed the end of Nigeria’s historic civil war, enduring firsthand, the horrors of armed conflict as a child, he composed the hymn friends refer to as ‘Cry of A Biafran Child’. The essence of the sale/distribution of this song is not for any political ideology or agenda, but to identify with the history, will and determination of the people on both sides of that historic war, who symbolized a struggle and whose sacrifice, established either positively or negatively what is the present day Nigeria. In the same vein, this launching aims to celebrate the rich values of freedom, liberty and justice which the founding fathers of the great Nation - United States of America have handed down to its citizens, through the struggles of many iconic men and women who have contributed to the civil, political, ideological and social evolution of America.
Okereke says he will never forget January 12, 1970, the day the Nigerian civil war ended, because there was intense and sustained shelling of Orlu and environ as millions of civilians and soldiers were holed up in the enclave. In his words: “Our entire family, my parents, myself and siblings were in the encirclement. Voice of Biafra only played Church hymns with intermittent announcement that there would be a "special announcement" at 2.00 pm as our world was heavily bombarded. We listened to the radio for the announcement as we lay face-down on the floor under cover. I will never forget General Effiong's voice coming in much later after 2.00 pm to broadcast the surrender announcement. Federal troops stopped shelling the enclave about seven minutes into Effiong's speech.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: All Hail Biafra front sleeve (cover)
Click For Front & Back Cover (Sleeves) / Enlarged Photo
The CD insert has a complete history ( "All Hail Biafra Booklet Notes" ) of this song. The CD can be purchased by sending $14.00 by mail to Charles O. Okereke, P.O. Box 11721, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53211; and by Paypal to email@example.com
ALL HAIL BIAFRA
All Hail Biafra was a song that came to my lips as a child (14 years old) in Okporo, Orlu on January 12, 1970, the second federal troops stopped shelling the last Biafran stronghold, about seven minutes after General Philip Effiong commenced his surrender speech on Voice of Biafra. There was peace and short-lived silence as the bombardment of the town ceased as most that took cover on the ground from fear of deafening artillery fire rose up in tears. Everybody around me was crying presumably because of the unquantifiable human suffering and bloodbath that resulted to nothing but an unconditional surrender. I was so moved, refrained from crying but in tears, repeatedly inspirationally sang "All Hail Biafra; Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish; We have vanquished our enemies; All Hail Biafra." Over the next few months, I sang the partial song in my dream until it came to me as a full two verse hymn (song). The third verse came to me later, still a child. The song became very popular over the years. It is all over on the Internet and different groups both in Nigeria and in the Diaspora sing the song on special occasions. Some even refer to it as the "Biafran National Anthem" or "New Biafran Anthem". The truth is that the composer and history of the song remained a mystery until recently.
My first public pronouncement of authorship of the song was at the colloquium on Ahiara Declaration, January 17, 2012, one of frontlines of activities commemorating the life of late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. I sang All Hail Biafra at the end of my speech to a spellbound Igbo elite, some of whom asked me at the end of the event why sing of Biafra at such a sensitive occasion. I explained to them that there was nothing wrong with people singing nor talking about their history, which they agreed with. I also made it known to them that the song was my composition.
My acknowledgment of authorship of All Hail Biafra is to let people know its history. The song can simply be described as a child's cry for his people's wanton bloodshed and persecution in a world that did nothing to unimaginable human catastrophe. The hymn sooths the soul, heals the wounds and scars, and courageously drives away fears. Leaders will learn the lesson that a child witnessing human rights abuses might be writing or singing about them and one day the world may read or listen to music about the abuses. I would also have sung if the violence was meted out to any other group or tribe in Nigeria. The same thing would have been the case if it were animals that were being abused and killed. It is about humanism and love of God's creation. People must be accorded their fundamental human rights. Do not be afraid to demand or defend them. Power to the people!
More revelations would be made on "All Hail Biafra" in my forthcoming book on Biafra. These will include names of those that contributed to the success of the recording of the song in 2003 and disclosure on a 4th verse that was dropped because it was not part of the original composition.
Track no. 6 on this CD "Newstalk Symphony" is my recreation of the background music of Okoko Ndem's Newstalk on Voice of Biafra. Almost everybody I interviewed, with exception of two, said they could not recollect any music in the background of the newstalk. The tune whether an inspiration (just like All Hail Biafra) or reality, was in my lips over the years (just like All Hail Biafra) until its recreation and recording in 2003.
I will never forget January 12, 1970, the day the war ended, because there was intense and sustained shelling of Orlu and environ as millions of civilians and soldiers were holed up in the enclave. Our entire family, my parents, myself and siblings were in the encirclement. Voice of Biafra only played Church hymns with intermittent announcement that there would be a "special announcement" at 2.00 pm as our world was heavily bombarded. We listened to the radio for the announcement as we lay face-down on the floor under cover. I will never forget General Effiong's voice coming in much later after 2.00 pm to broadcast the surrender announcement. Federal troops stopped shelling the enclave about seven minutes into Effiong's speech.
This song is dedicated to the memory of three of my grandparents who lost their lives as a result of the Biafran war, and to all those who died in Biafra. Rest in peace.
May God grant us peace.
Charles O. Okereke
All Hail Biafra Lyrics
1. All hail Biafra
Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish
We have vanquished our enemies, all hail Biafra
God Bless Biafra, in Him we trust
Shout it sing it, all hail Biafra
2. God bless Biafra
We have emerged triumphant, from all our foes
Through the crucible unscathed, we passed victorious
Our trumpets pealing, the glorious song
Play it, sing it, all hail Biafra
3. Oh hail Biafra
We shall always remember, all that perished,
In the struggle for our freedom, all hail our heroes
Our prayers shall bemoan, both day and night
Say them always, all hail Biafra
*Bold and underlined words are refrain (repeated).
*Governor Wammakko In The Eyes of Time And History
By Amiru Adamu
Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko’s journey into politics that took him to the government house sokoto has no doubt been a thorny and trying one. His will and commitment to serve the people of sokoto made him endure the trials and tribulations that he had to go through, though he had the chance to throwing in the towel and working away from the political arena. In politics generally the trouble with mischief makers and other self appointed morality gate keepers starts only when a politician is confirmed as a candidate or even elected into an office. These allegations wither away with time as the individuals are in most cases left alone to face the business of fulfilling the promises they made to the electorates. Wamakko’s political travails started in 2006. As the then deputy governor of sokoto during the administration of Attahiru Bafarawa,wamakko found himself surrounded by plotters who were determined to bring to an end his foreseen ascension to the number one seat in the state.
Malam Dahiru Maishanu, in an article titled: Between Bafarawa and Wamakko posted on Gamji dot com in 2006, described the union between Bafarawa and Wamakko in these words. “The union between Bafarawa and Wamakko was in the first place an unholy one, which at the beginning promised nobody any good. The political marriage was on paper looking rosy being a fusion together of the businessman in Bafarawa and the elite and administrator in Wamakko. But that was as far as that union could go. As soon as they settled for the business of governance, obvious cracks started to emerge between the two, which with time became so conspicuous that both could not be able to contain them. The inclusion of people outside government,notably Ummarun kwabo in the business of governance further compounded the problems, which were fundamentally on background and foresight. The problem shifted to loyalty and patronage.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto State
The bafarawa and Wamakko union came to an end on Tuesday 07/03/2006, when Wamakko sent his resignation letter to the then governor Bafarawa. The letter brought to an abrupt end, the plot that would have led to the impeachment of the then deputy governor Wamakko. His resignation however did not douse the enmity between him and Bafarawa. It was to later result to Bafarawa’s unceremonious exit from the ANPP after a heated disagreement with the then National leadership of the party, because of their perceived support for Wamakko. After leaving the ANPP bafarawa and his followers formed the DPP, and adopted Alh. Maigari Dingyadi as its gubernatorial candidate. 2007 elections in sokoto state will go down in history as one of the most fiercely contested in the country. While Bafarawa tried to use the power of incumbency to his advantage,Wamakko’s popularity soared high because of his humility and demonstration of genuine will to transform to transform sokoto state. It is widely believed that Wamakko’s popularity was what prompted PDP,which had already nominated its candidate to court Wamakko and win him over to the party as its candidate,with mukthari shagari as his running mate. In April 2007,the people of sokoto state voted Wamakko into office. Maigari Dingyadi of the DPP rejected the result, and headed to the elections petitions tribunal to contest the result.
Alh. Maigari Dingyadi’s petition dragged on for a long time, some people are of the opinion that, though Wamakko’s administration performed, it would have done even better if the DPP had accepted the results in the interest of the development of sokoto state. The elections petitions tribunal finally annulled the 2007 elections and ordered a re-run election, which still produced Wamakko as the governor and was sworn in on 28th may 2008.
Politics is a game of numbers. The fact that Wamakko could not be defeated by votes was what made the opposition resort to challenging him in court based on technicalities. Many are of the opinion that DPP as a political party became unpopular in sokoto because of its refusal to accept defeat with honour, even after the re-run elections in 2008.
Though Wamakko had to cross political hurdles set by the opposition, one would have expected him to have the complete support of the PDP in the state. But Wamakko had to face internal hurdles set by the so called “old PDP”. The imaginary “old PDP” went all out to cause rift in the party. The group thought it had its chance, when PDP cancelled an earlier held primary election in the state, due to the postponement of governorship elections in Sokoto to 2012. They (old PDP) staged all sort of stunts to discredit Wamakko and deny him a ticket. Apart from propagating the notion that Senator Gada is the ASO ROCK anointed candidate, they wrote petitions upon petitions, accusing Wamakko of anti party activities and embezzlement of party funds among other charges. Despite the efforts by his detractors, Wamakko scaled through the screening and won the party’s nomination at the primaries held on 17 December 2011.
The imaginary group also got another chance to do what it does best on January 27, 2012, when the Supreme Court ordered Wamakko and four other governors to step aside. They came out in full force flashing propaganda stories, including the planted story that Wamakko would not contest. Their perceived victory however, was short lived, as PDP and INEC issued statements recognizing Wamakko as the gubernatorial candidate. The final nail to their coffin of mischief was nailed in, when Wamakko returned and was received by thousands of supporters at the airport.
Governor Wamakko’s 2nd term bid received a boost on 8th February 2012. When Alh. Ummarun Kwabo A.A, chairman of the Democratic people’s party (DPP), decamped to the PDP,along with thousands of DPP members. Ummarun kwabo was throughout the eight years reign of Bafarawa in sokoto, the most powerful political strategist of Bafarawa. There is no doubt, that his decampment to the PDP helped Wamakko’s 2nd term campaign. In a message to president Jonathan, during the PDP flag off campaign in sokoto,Ummarun Kwabo said “his decampment to PDP signifies the end of opposition in sokoto state”.
Alh. Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko emerged as the elected governor of sokoto state, in an election described as free and fair by INEC and other independent observers. As governor Wamakko continues his 2nd tenure in office, it is our hope that political detractors and other imaginary opposition groups will come and partner with the present administration, in the interest of peace and progress in sokoto state.
Governor wamakko’s administration has 2 remaining years ahead of it, to further transform the lives of the people of sokoto and consolidate the gains of democracy. What is for sure, is that governor Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (sarkin yamman sokoto) will be remembered in the history of Nigerian politics, as someone who had to cross so many hurdles and wither many storms in his quest to serve his people.
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.
*State of Anambra Schools - Photo News
By Citizen Reporters
Since Anambra State was created, there was no Governor that has committed 10% of the resources Gov. Obi is committing across sectors, including education.
The result is everywhere to be seen. Before him, our schools were all dilapidated. Through his intervention, massive rehabilitation had taken place in them - still ongoing. The level of rot is not what anybody can address just like that, but the Governor has done exceptional.
The attached picture of Lorreto Special Science School, Adazi- Nnukwu is a sample of what he is doing. The attachment contains the pictures of what the schools used to be and what they are now.
Let past Governments show us one school they rehabilitated. ( Continues below..... )
Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, thinking that he can use the crooked means he used to dupe people and financial institutions of over 160 Billion Naira that has made AMCOM to take over his company and place his private jet on sale, commissioned some people to get pictures of the schools that have not been rehabilitated, which he is presently fooling himself by paying Millions of people’s money he seized being aired on the electronic media as if all Anambra Schools were like that.
Just recently, Obi paid N1.5 Billion to Churches for continued rehabilitation of schools returned to them and N2 Billion for Government schools.
Those close to Ifeanyi should advise him to stop such externalization of his inward traits - crookedness.
Have your say.
*Letter of Appeal To President Jonathan To Become Mikhail Gorbachev of Nigeria
By Dr. Moses Nwaigwe
Dr. Moses Nwaigwe
P.O. Box 270342
Corpus Christi, TX 7 8427
Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President Of Nigeria
Aso Rock Villa
Central Business District, Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria.
RE: AN APPEAL TO BECOME THE MIKHAIL GORBACHEV OF NIGERIA
Dear President Jonathan,
It is no secret that you are a Nigerian president by accident. When former president Olusegun Obasanjo single handedly picked you to be the vice president under Umaru Yar'Adua, nobody knew that he would eventually die in office. After his death on May 5, 2010, the Nigerian National Assembly confirmed you as the next president in spite of the objection of a majority of the northerners. You were sworn in office on May 5, 2010, to complete the four year term that ended in 2011. Then you contested the election in20LL, won it and are now serving another turbulent term that will end in 2015. During that election in 20LL, we all know that the northerners killed lots of southerners, mostly lbos, after you were declared the winner. The likes of Adamu Ciroma and his northern brothers threatened to make the country ungovernable for you.
It is very unfortunate that the northerners believe that the office of the president is their birth right. They believe that anyone else who is not a northerner or Muslim is not qualified to be president. This is their own concept of "One Nigeria." They did not only make the threat, but carried it out by unleashing their secret army, Boko Haram, to make the country ungovernable for you. No president in the history of Nigeria has been given this kind of treatment. This is happening simply because they see you as coming from the wrong side of the country. lronically, they are criticizing your administration as the worst, knowing full well that they are the ones who have created a hostile environment by making the country ungovernable. There is no president anywhere in the world that can accomplish much given the same hostile environment created by the northerners beginning on day one of your administration. Let us examine the history of Nigerian presidency/heads of state:
1. Abubakar Tafawa Belewa--------Northerner--October 1960-January 1966-------5 years, 3 months in office
2. GeneralAguiyi lronsi---------Southerner----January 1956July 1956---------6 months in office
3. GeneralYakubu Gowon--------Northerner---August 1966July 1975-----------9 years in office
4. General Murtla Muhammed----Northerner--July 1975-February L976--- ----7 months in office
5. General Olusegun Obasanjo-----Southerner-February 1975-September 1979--3 years, 7 months in office
5. Shehu Shagari----- ---Northerner--October l979-December 1983----4 years, 2 months in office
7. General Muhammadu Buhari---Northerner--December 31, 1983-August 1985-1year, 8 months in office
8. General lbrahim Babangida-----Northerner--August 1985-August 1993------8 years in office
9. Ernest Shonekan(interim govt.)---Southerner-August 1993-November 1993-----3 months in office
10. General Sani Abacha Northerner---November L993-June 1998---------4 years, 7 months in office
11. GeneralAbdulsalamiAbubakar--Northerner--June 1998-May 1999-----------------11 months in office
12. Olusegun Obasanjo- Southerner--May 1999-May 2007--------------8 years in office
13. Umaru Yar'Adua---- -Northerner--May 2007-May 5, 2010-----------3 years in office
14. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan-------Southerner--May 6 ,2010-Date----------------3 years, 4 months in office
As you can see, only four (4) people from the list above are southerners and they have ruled the country for fifteen (15) years and one (1) month out of fifty-two (52) years and eleven (11) months. This means that the north has ruled Nigeria for thirty-seven (37) years and ten (10) months. lt is also sad to know that all the southerners that have managed to rule the country got there by accident, either after the death ol or from the stepping down of a northerner occupying the office. lronsi became head of state after the assassination of Belewa, and Obasanjo after Murtla Muhammed was assassinated. Ernest Shonekan became head of state after Babangida stepped down and Obasanjo became head of state again after Abubakar stepped down. Now we have you, President Jonathan after the death of Yar'Adua.
The northerners carried out their threat of making the country ungovernable for you. They have described you as weak and spineless. lt is time you show the world that you are not weak and spineless. lt is time you show the northerners that there will be no Nigeria for them to govern. lt is time that you do for Nigeria what Mikhail Gorbachev did for the Soviet Union. I am not a spokesman for professor Ben Nwabueze, but this is exactly what he was trying to tell you when he told you to reform Nigeria and be a hero. Nigeria is not a single nation, but a variety of nations amalgamated in 1914 by Lord Lugard for British economic interests. This amalgamation will expire in 2014 and SHOULD NEVER BE RENEWED. British economic interests MUST NEVER BE ALLOWED TO OVERRIDE THE LIBERTY AND THE DESIRE OF THE VARIOUS NATIONALITIES THAT MAKE UP NIGERIA. They are all tired of this forced marriage and want to go their separate ways.
Please, President Jonathan, use this opportunity of the expiration of this amalgamation and show the world that you are not weak and spineless. This is the right time for you to join the exclusive club of brave men like Mikhail Gorbachev of the former Soviet Union. This is the right time for you to let go of Nigeria and allow the nationalities that were forced together for British economic interests to go their separate ways and become independent nations. lt is now obvious to the whole world that this is the desire of the nationalities.
Boko Haram are fighting for the establishment of the Arewa lslamic Republic and they have the right of self determination as enshrined in the UN charter. As much as I hate the way they are going about it, by unleashing terror on innocent civilians, their Islamic republic is a certainty. The re-establisment of the Republic of Biafra is also unstoppable. The formation of the Oduduwa Republic is also coming. Some of these republics already have political structures all over the world and cannot be stopped by anyone. Please, do not go against the will of the people by trying to force them again to be one country just like Lord Lugard. Nigeria is already disintegrating, you just have to do the job that has been made easy for you by making it official and not allowing the renewal of the Amalgamation of 1914. Then there will be no doubt in anybody's mind that you are not weak and spineless.
The truth is bitter and most people do not like hearing it, but I must tell you nothing but the truth. The Nigerian army cannot defeat Boko Haram. Nobody can defeat an ideology, and that is what Boko Haram represents. You can kill as many people as possible, but they will regroup and keep fighting until the Arewa lslamic republic is established. They have networks with other lslamic groups all over the world. lt is the same reason the former Soviet Union was unable to defeat the Mujahideens of Afthanistan for almost ten years and had to pull out of the country. History is repeating itself in Afghanistan as the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, along with the allied coalition, have not succeeded in defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is simply due to the fact that an ideology cannot be defeated.
The many sins of Nigeria have started to set in motion the forces that will cause its final disintegration. lt is a country of lawlessness where anything goes. Nigeria is the only country where there is internal deportation. Citizens have been deported from one part of the country to another pan of the same country. What was Babatunde Fashola, Governor of Lagos state thinking when he deponed some lbos to Anambra state? My understanding of him is that he has the title of Senior Advocate Of Nigeria (SAN). As a lawyer, does he know that he violated the human rights of those people and possibly international law? On that note alone, I will change his title from Senior Advocate Of Nigeria (SAN) to Senior Advocate Of Oduduwa (SAO), which will become official next year when Nigeria's amalgamation will expire. Sadly enough, you, as the current president, never said a word about this violation of innocent people's civil rights. This act could have been a violation of Nigerian laws, if the country has any laws and the government of the day can boldly enforce such laws. Equally sad is the continued silence of both the National Assembly and the so called Attorney General Of The Federation. Therefore, you, President Jonathan, your Attorney General Of The Federation, The National Assembly have all earned the title of Silent Advocate Of Disintegration (SAD).
Only in Nigeria will the blind not only lead those with clear, perfect vision, but also insist that he is the right person to lead them. lt is also the same reason why all the oil wells are in the south and a morbid refinery in the north and none in the south. Can anyone explain to me why the northern region with no known resources, control more than 80% of the oil wells in the south while the south is left with LOO% of the pollution and environmental degradation? lt is only in Nigeria that elections are bought and not won. Travelling with a Nigerian passport to some parts of the world is like a death sentence. You will be humiliated, embarrassed and sometimes locked up in police cells. Thank God, I do not have any business carrying this death sentence called a Nigerian passport. However, I sincerely pity those innocent people carrying this death sentence called a Nigerian passport and have to be humiliated and ridiculed in most countries. Nigeria is synonymous with corruption and nepotism. Nigeria is a country where mediocrity is not only the norm but encouraged and rewarded.
In Nigeria, the only job available for university graduates is armed robbery/kidnapping. ls this a country or a jungle? Only in Nigeria will a politician get a headache and fly overseas for medical treatment while a poor citizen is left to die from chronic illiness due to the lack of quality medical facilities. Nigeria is a country where the political class is not only the richest, but the only visible class. These corrupt politicians have mansions all over the world purchased with stolen money that belongs to the poor people of Nigeria. lt is no wonder that many people are desperate to join the political class, even if they have to kill their opponent to get there. Only in Nigeria is a basic necessity like electricity considered a luxury. This explains why more people have died in this country as a result of toxic generator fumes than any where else in the world. Nigeria calls itself the giant of Africa, but the world knows Nigeria as the giant of corruption and mediocrity.
It is absurd to notice that the corrupt politicians in the country have started to fight each other in an attempt to position themselves for the so-called 2015 elections. Are these people out of their minds? Who told them that there will even be a Nigeria in 2015? Are they not aware that the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 will expire in 2OL4? This amalgamation document that created Nigeria was for one hundred (100) years only. Legally, this means that Nigeria WILL CEASE TO EXIST AFTER 2014. Anywhere in the world if a document is expired it is expired forever unless it is renewed. In my part of the world, if your driver's license expires and you are caught driving with it, you will face a criminal charge for violating the law. lf one can face a criminal charge for driving with an expired license, then explain to me why Nigeria will continue to exist with expired document. lt will be absofutefy fraudulent after 2Ot4 for anyone to continue to deceive people that Nigeria still exists. The truth is not only bitter, but sometimes overwhelming. No matter how you look at it, the truth never changes and must be accepted. I am not known to tell people what they want to hear, but what they need to hear. The truth can be bitter and overwhelming if you are used to lies that are camouflaged as truth.
I am not a prophet, but I forsee lots of bloodshed if anyone or any group of people manage to deceive the public that Nigeria still exists after 2014 and heading into 2015. The bloodshed will be so much that it may consume those trying to foist the expired "One Nigeria" on the people. lf some of them manage to escape this bloodshed, they will face insurmountable legal battles from the nationalities. The disintergration of Nigeria has started and nobody can stop it. Again, the only thing you, President Jonathan, have to do is to make it official and not allow the Nigerian amalgamation of 1914 to be renewed and become the Mikhail Gorbachev of Nigeria. This will redeem your image as weak and spineless. Then the whole world will see you as a hero and welcome you into the elite club of brave men and women that have changed history for the better. May God bless the emerging republics of Biafra, Oduduwa and Arewa.
Dr. Moses Nwaigwe
Photo Above: FedEx Shipping Slip issued to Dr. Mose Nwaigwe for President Jonathan's express mail (Dr. Nwaigwe's letter of appeal).
Click For FedEx Shipping Slip & Receipt
*How 17,500 Nigerian Political Office & Industrial Labor Unions Pocket 80% of Country’s Wealth
(Public Information, Onitsha-Nigeria, 23rd of September, 2013)-This is the continuation of part two of our Public Information on how less than 5% of Nigerians continued to corner and pocket close to 80% of her public finances on annual basis especially in areas of spurious allowances and scandalous overheads ( Refer to ). This less than 5% Nigerians comprises 17,500 top public office holders including 12,788 elected LGAs’ chairmen, their deputies and councilors from the constitutionally recognized 774 LGAs in Nigeria. Others are 1,695 elected officials at the 36 States and Federal levels including 72 governors and their deputies, 469 federal lawmakers, 1,152 States’ lawmakers and the President and his deputy.
Also included in the list of 17, 500 milky Nigerians are 3,062 appointed executives at Federal and States’ levels including about 472 federal executives excluding the president and his deputy already added above, about 2, 664 States’ executives excluding 36 States’ governors and their deputies already added above; 792 States’ judges and 142 federal judges. The 14,445 milky Nigerians with other additions by the Salaries & Wages Commission bring the total number of those milking the Nigeria’s public finances in the names of “allowances” and “overheads” to about 17, 500. From the angle of “allowances” and salaries contained in the revised Pay Act of 2008 enacted for them, they pocket N1, 13trillion (about $7Billon) every fiscal year with over 90% or over N900Billion going into payment of “allowances”. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Disgraced and Jailed Delta State Governor, James Ibori
From the angle of “overheads”, which they allocate to themselves through “executive-legislature conspiracy” using Federal Appropriation Acts and States’ Appropriation Laws, they use them as conduit pipes to pocket spurious and scandalous sums amounting to trillions of naira or billions of dollars yearly. Part of these is now commonly referred to as “security votes”. An average Nigerian governor maintains a “security votes” of at least N4Billion a year. The security or defense budgets for Nigeria’s Presidency for 2012 and 2013 fiscal years amounted to over N1, 9trillion or about $12Billion, wich included personnel and overhead costs; yet nobody is secured in Nigeria except by divine intervention. The “security votes’ malaria virus” in Nigeria has since been extended to other holders of top public offices such as LGA chairmen and leaders of their legislative councils, chief judges of the States, FCT and Federal High Courts and their equivalents in Islamic and Customary Courts, President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of the Federation.
Others are speakers and their deputies at States and Federal levels including the President of the Senate and his deputy, heads of key government ministries, parastatals and commissions, chairmen of the governing councils and vice chancellors, provosts and rectors of government owned higher institutions, heads of key security agencies, to mention but a few. There are also over 35, 000 personal aides working for these 17,500 milky Nigerians on average of two for each of them. Some of those occupying plum elective and appointive public offices maintain as much as six aides each. These over 35,000 personal aides are serviced monthly through scandalous allowances smuggled into public budgets and Pay Wage Act with each of them taking home at every month end frivolous allowances ranging from N30, 000 to N100, 000 or more. It is estimated that between N1Billion and N3.5Billion is spent monthly in the maintenance of these personal aides and between N12Billion and N42Billion a year to foot their bills. The least political appointee recognized by the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 is “special adviser” for governors, presidents and their deputies.
But in practice, there are “special advisers” for legislators and their leaders, ministers, commissioners, heads of key public commissions and parastatals , etc. There are also motley of “senior special assistants”, “special assistants”, “executive assistants”, “personal assistants”, to mention but a few. The introduction of motley of “allowances” described in different names by public industrial bodies like ASUU, ASUP,SSANU, NLC, NUT, TUC, NMA, etc, and agitations through industrial strikes for their payment is predicated upon the foregoing. In Nigeria, striking bodies also include academic staff and non academic staff associations for universities, polytechnics/monotechnics and colleges of education; and associations for government primary and secondary schools, medical practitioners, nurses and midwives as well as bodies of clerical office attendants such as NLC and senior civil servants bodies like TUC, etc. Nigeria labour force has one of the lowest labour productivity and highest corruption indexes in the world.
Following from the foregoing including the part one and two of this important public information, it is now indisputably established that the 2009 ASUU-Federal Government Agreement is far from having a concrete answer to the battered and failed standard of higher education in Nigeria. Nigeria, in abundance of plenty has continued to wallow in confusions of various social variables. The hydra headed monsters of corruption, scandalous governmental running costs including spurious overheads and allowances have been solely responsible for socioeconomic downturns including battered standard of her higher education in Nigeria especially since 2007. In the 2011 fiscal year, for instance, Nigerian Government generated $24.54Billion or about N3.9trillion and spent $32.65Billion or about N5.2trillion (CIA World Fact Book 2012).
Beyond these man-made socioeconomic challenges hurting and hunting the country, the Nigeria’s higher education policies are utterly awkward and retrogressive. The carrying capacities of the country’s 297 higher education institutions are very minimal, manual and unscientific. For instance, the 297 higher institutions in the country do not have up to 3million students. The 124 accredited universities have student population of under 2million. On average of 20,000 students for each of the 74 Federal and States’ Universities, the 74 universities’ student population is under 1,5million. On average of 6,000 students for each of the 50 private universities, less than 400,000 student populations abound. And on average of 5,000 students for each of the 173 colleges of education, polytechnics and monotechnics, less than 900,000 student population abounds. This is against the UK Open University’s 193,000 student population made up of “full time”, “part time” and “electronic/distance based” students. Ninety percent of those that take part in the Nigerian higher education entrance examinations are denied admission and out of every five that get distinction in the pre-university exams marks, three are denied admission.
We are deeply sorry for not being able to conclude in this part three. Watch out for part four, which is the concluding part.
How To Manage Industrial Disputes In Nigeria & Save The Economy & Higher Education From Brink
In the part -three (Refer Above) of our Public Information on the smokescreen nature of the 2009 Agreement between ASUU and the Federal Government of Nigeria as per solutions to the failed higher education in the country and how less than 5% of Nigeria’s estimated population of 170 million corner and pocket annually close to 80% of the country’s public finances through scandalous allowances and overheads, we concluded that part by pointing out the inability of the Nigerian citizens to access tertiary education in the country owing to inadequate number of higher institutions, awkward education policies by regulatory agencies and prohibitive running costs of government that take chunk of resources off educational development in the country. That only 297 higher education institutions are left to serve 170 million people of Nigeria is a clear sign of monumental failure of higher education in the country. That the 297 higher institutions including 124 accredited universities cannot boast of at least 10 million student population owing to their manual and unscientific guidelines and methods of tutorship makes the country’s tertiary education not only archaic, but also an opponent of modern educational innovations.
The United States, for instance, has 5,758 degree awarding institutions for her 313 million people. Brazil has 2,368 higher institutions for her 192 million people. Japan has 918 universities for her 127.6 million people. Philippine has 2,080 higher institutions for her 92.3 million people. Vietnam has 146 universities for her 87.8 million people. Ethiopia has 141 universities for her 84.3 million people. South Korea has 432 higher institutions for her 48.5 million people and Taiwan has 173 universities including 9 security universities for her 23.4 million people. While Nigeria, with an estimated population of 170 million people has only 124 accredited universities and 173 other higher institutions.
The UK Open University-an internationally rated distance learning provider and one of the best 500 universities in the world, has a total student population of 193, 835 as at 2012. It is followed by the University of London with its colleges, which has a total student population of 128, 580 as at 2012. In Nigeria, the total student population of the 124 accredited universities is not up to 1.5 million and the entire student population of the 297 higher institutions in the country is not up to 3 million. Out of 20.3 million students in the USA universities alone as at 2010, 14, 6 million enrolled full time and 5, 6 million studied through part-time and distance learning.
Nigeria’s higher education institutions are also highly parasitic and scientifically under-developed. Other than exorbitant school fees, government subventions and loans, they will crumble. Corruption and loss of values have become a serious challenge threatening the corporate integrity of the country’s higher institutions. Award of honorary degrees is now pegged for the highest bidders and given to celebrated generators of violence and public corruption in the country. In the United States, as at 2006, 765 colleges and universities had combined endowment assets of $340Billion, out of which, Harvard University had $29Billion(Intersociety 2012). There are 120 full research universities in the USA using their rich libraries and laboratories to find solutions to social problems, but in Nigeria, none of the 297 higher institutions is socio-scientific research oriented.
Apart from the fact that laws setting up the three main regulatory agencies for the 297 higher education institutions in Nigeria such as the NUC Act of 1974 for 124 accredited universities, NCCE Act of 1989 for 50 colleges of education and NABTE Act of 1977 for 97 polytechnics and 26 monotechnics, are obsolete and out of tune with modern international higher education regulatory requirements, the managements of the three main regulatory agencies are led by BBC scholars; that is to say professors and doctors born before computer age. Because of arrogance and pride, these BBC professors and doctors refused to learn computer and its immeasurable values and cultures. As a result, they have become resistant to computer age education resources. The only infantile efforts they made to beat “compuphobia” so as to remain relevant among their international colleagues was to hire fresh computers graduates, diploma holders and under-graduates as personal assistants for the purposes of opening and maintenance of electronic mails as well as contributing to electronic journals and researches nationally and internationally.
A good number of Nigerian academic scholars at professorial and doctoral cadre are still computer illiterate. Three, if not four out of every five of them cannot make a presentation or deliver lectures using power-point and excel technologies. Most of the 297 higher education institutions in Nigeria still use pen and paper, chalk and manual board mounted under trees, in shanties and prison-like block apartments with their students swelling and smelling like Christmas Goats and refugees.
There is no accurate data for tertiary institutions’ student population in Nigeria and the student data for individual higher institution is very unreliable. Electronic resources for higher education in Nigeria are near absent. The only university in the country that is computer and electronic friendly is the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), modeled after the UK, Hong Kong and India Open Universities, yet its feat is being frustrated by the BBC professors and doctors at the NUC, who belong to the age of typewriter. Recently, a department in a federal polytechnic in the Southeast Nigeria went wild in celebration over its successful experiment in electronic exams, whereas NOUN has successfully used it for four years only for the BBC professorial and doctorial peopled NUC to command it to revert to pen and paper.
In the Catholic Regis University of USA, built in 1877, for instance, all the modern electronic education resources and international network access are in place despite the university’s ancient age. A professor or doctorate degree holder, who teaches in the university, can be a student in another department (i.e. computer and ICT program). A number of their professors teach in the university through distance access remedial resources such as power-point powered by internet access. One of the University’s professors who lives in Indonesia teaches her students from her country’s base using e-education technology. Through this means, 20,000 students can have access to two professors no matter their locations on earth. In Nigeria, this is the secret behind the successful and historic production of first Nigerian powered criminologists and security experts by NOUN in 2012. Career criminologists are very few in Nigeria, but through e-education resources, their seminal works were made available to the concerned students. This is a major challenge facing many Nigerian universities that wish to run such an important program owing to mounting security challenges in the country.
It is our recommendation that the Federal and State Ministries of Education should conduct advanced computer and ICT tests on all lecturers in their higher institutions, starting from graduate assistants to full time and contract professors and those without computer and ICT literacy should be enrolled to study and acquire same mandatorily. We also recommend as a matter of firmness and urgency that all the executive secretaries of NUC, NCCE and NABTE should be sacked and their entire managements overhauled and re-peopled with computer and ICT compliant scholars. The NUC Act of 1974, NCCE Act of 1989 and NABTE Act of 1977, which are the typewriter age enactments should be overhauled and brought in tune with modern international higher education policies and guidelines. Suspension of part-time programs by NUC in 2012 should not only be lifted but also e-education resources including distance learning should be made a policy with merit-based and incorruptible guidelines.
At NOUN, corruption index is at its lowest ebb and to pass exams in the university, course materials must be studied back and front. In its e-exams, exams hours are not only strictly regulated by the computer under the watchful eyes of invigilators, but students’ marks are instantly graded. This gives no rooms for sorting, award of fictitious marks for a fee or for a pant and sexual harassment, violence and student-lecturer cultism. One fundamental way to address the brain drain syndrome in Nigeria is by institutionalizing electronic education resources in the country’s higher education system. The think home philosophy for Nigeria’s tens of thousands of academic scholars teaching in overseas including between 25,000 and 30, 000 or more Nigerian academic scholars in the United States will begin with this noble approach. Through internet powered e-education resources, they can easily teach their country home students without needing to be coming home always, except in a while for purposes of practical, research, etc. It is also cheaper, qualitative, less risky and convenient.
More higher education institutions including universities are not only direly and urgently needed in Nigeria, but also multi-national and multi-billionaire indigenous companies like Shell, Agip, Chevron, GLO, MTN, NNPC, Dangote, etc, should give Nigerians more universities at affordable prices and qualities, as part of their social responsibility obligations to Nigerian citizens. Both Federal and States’ Governments in Nigeria should drastically review and upgrade criteria for membership of higher institutions’ governing councils. Apart from making professors and holders of doctorate degrees heads of governing councils, other members must possess at least first university degrees or their equivalents. Professionals, not career politicians, should head such governing councils and membership of such councils should no longer be used as political settlements.
To effectively manage incessant industrial disputes in Nigeria, all the basic salaries of the leaders and members of the industrial unions capable of downing tools in the country, should be left intact subject to their statutory reviews. But all the allowances with whatever names so attached or called, should be reviewed, aggregated and codified. In the circumstance, we recommend for forensic review of all the allowances presently demandable and payable in respect of all the public industrial unions including ASUU, ASUP, SSANU, NLC, TUC, NMA, NUT and so on. Such review will take into account need to remove ones that are over-bloated and frivolous. The remaining payable allowances after such forensic review should be cut by 30% as a sacrifice to save our economy and resources for the capital development of our higher education. The idea of codification of these allowances with their review periods is to prevent frivolities and proliferation of allowances by demanding industrial unions. Government must honour its obligations with respect to terms so contained and demand maximum outputs from the beneficiaries.
We also strongly recommend that the basic salaries of the 17,500 top public office holders in Nigeria should be left intact. This is because the problem does not lie on salaries but allowances and overheads, which are scandalous and criminal. It is our firm recommendation that all the allowances paid annually to these 17,500 milky Nigerians should be holistically reviewed with a view to removing those found irrelevant such as newspaper allowance of N1.24 Million, hardship allowance of N1.2Million, wardrope allowance of N621, 000, recess allowance of N248, 000, accommodation allowance of N4, 96Million (there is already furniture allowance of N7, 45Million), domestic staff allowance of N868,000(there is already personal assistance allowance of N621,000), entertainment allowance of N828,000 and vehicle maintenance allowance of N1,86Million( there is already motor vehicle allowance of N9,93Million). These categories of irrelevant allowances are basically enjoyed by each of the 469 federal lawmakers in Nigeria and they are extended with minor modifications to others included in the list of the said 17,500 milky Nigerians.
We further recommend that the remaining allowances should be cut by at least 50% so as to save resources for the adequate provision and maintenance of social services including adequate funding of our tertiary education. Nigeria’s 3,500 kilometers of railways are in shambles. The 8,600 kilometers of the country’s inland waterways are not properly developed and policed; her 22 airports are not only too small for 170 million people, but also below international standards. The 34,120 kilometers of federal roads are death trap, likewise the 36 States’ 34, 300 kilometers and the 776 LGAs’ 129, 580 kilometers of roads. The 50% cut in the said allowances will fetch the Nigeria over N275Billion from 12,788 LGAs’ executives and councilors’ allowances, N136Billion from about 2,664 States’ executives, N27Billion from 469 federal lawmakers, N45Billion from about 472 federal executives,N18Billion from 1, 152 States’ lawmakers,N8Billion from 792 States’ judges and N6,5Billion from 142 federal judges, totaling N516Billion a year.
While security votes should be restricted to the president and governors with drastic downward review, such allocation to heads of all top public offices other than governors and the president should be abolished and prohibited by law. The estimated over 35,000 personal assistants working for the said 17,500 milky Nigerians should be trimmed down by 50% with only president, deputy president, governors, deputy governors, senate president, deputy senate president, speaker of the House of Reps and his deputy, Chief Justice of the Federation, the Appeal Court President and Chief Judges of States, FCT and Federal High Courts allowed maximum of three personal assistants other than their constitutionally recognized aides. The scandalous and criminal overhead expenditures in Nigeria should be cut by 50% as well.
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*Socioeconomic Consequences of Industrial Disputes & High Cost of Running Government in Nigeria
(Public Information, Onitsha Nigeria, 21st of September, 2013)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is of the firm view that the real solutions to the failed and battered standard of higher education and its institutions in Nigeria including the 124 accredited universities are beyond the 2009 Agreement between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities. The failure on the part of the Federal Government to keep to the terms of the said Agreement especially on “Earned Allowances” for lecturers of the 37 Federal Government owned universities, which had accumulated since 2009 to the tune of between N87Billion and N92Billion, is basis upon which the recent strike action by ASUU members is predicated.
The strike action embarked upon by the teachers of 74 Federal and State Governments’ owned universities has been on since 2nd July, 2013. The “Earned Allowances” for the lecturers of the 37 Federal Universities are expected to serve as a benchmark for those of the 37 State Universities in Nigeria. Lecturers of the 50 private universities are not part of the strike action, but are expected to draw some currents from the said Agreement if fully implemented especially the issue of “Earned Allowances” for university teachers.
Nigeria, with the 2012 UN and CIA World Fact Book estimated population of 170 million, has four-tier degree awarding post secondary school institutions called “universities”, “polytechnics”, “monotechnics” and “colleges of educations” numbering 297 recognized or accredited as at December 2012. Nigeria has one of the world’s lowest higher education-citizen ratios in the world with only 297 higher education institutions serving 170 million people as against the Republic of Taiwan’s 173 universities for 23.4 million people and USA’s 5,758 higher institutions for 313 million people (Intersociety 2012). The country has over the years, recorded “weak pass” in the African Regional Universities’ ratings and performed abysmally at the international universities and higher education ratings. This is largely due to “brain drain” syndrome, corruption and ill-policies of the government including consistent devaluation of our national currency. There are confirmed over 30,000 Nigerian academic specialists in the United States especially at professorial and doctoral levels. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protesting in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria in 2010. Click For Enlarged Photo
There are 37 Federal, 37 State and 50 Private Universities in Nigeria as at December 2012 bringing the total of accredited universities to 124(Intersociety 2012). Also, out of 97 polytechnics in Nigeria, Federal Government has 36, States 48 and private 13. Out of 50 colleges of education in the country, Federal Government has 17, States 30 and private 3, and out of 26 monotechnics existing in the country, Federal Government has 22, States 2 and private 2. This brings the total to 297 higher education colleges or degree awarding institutions in Nigeria as at December 2012(Intersociety 2012). The teachers’ unions of the 297 tertiary institutions are called their respective names such as “Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU). There are also three recognized government regulatory agencies for them called “Nigerian Universities Commission” for 124 universities; “National Commission for Colleges of Education” for 50 colleges of education and “ National Board for Technical Education” for 97 polytechnics and 26 monotechnics in Nigeria.
The ASUU-Federal Government Agreement of 2009 includes: 1. Funding Requirements for Revitalizing the Nigerian Universities. 2. Federal Government’s Assistance to State Universities. 3. Progressive Increase of Annual Budgetary Allocation of 26% to Education from 2009 to 2020 fiscal years. 4. Amendment to the Pension/Retirement Age of Academics on Professorial Cadre from 65 to 70 years (implemented since 2012). 5. Establishment of Pension Fund Administrator and Governing Council. 6. Transfer of Federal Government Landed Properties to Universities as the Setting Up of Research and Development Units by Companies Operating in Nigeria. 7. Provision of Adequate Teaching and Research Equipment. 8. Payment of Earned Allowances of between N87Bliion and N92Billion accumulated since 2009.
Critics of ASUU strike strongly believe that other than demands for payment of the accumulated arrears of Earned Allowances and Amendment to the Pension/Retirement Age of Academics on Professorial Cadre from 65 to 70 years (implemented since 2012), other demands contained in the 2009 Agreement are mere “legitimacy instruments”, designed to legitimize the industrial action with a view to drawing public supports. In other words, once the “Earned Allowances” are settled, others are kept in the coolers to be dusted up in another industrial action.
A cursory look at the contents of the above mentioned Agreement of 2009 indicates that the battered condition of the Nigeria’s higher education cannot substantially be remedied on the basis of said Agreement. In other words, the Agreement, even if fully implemented, remains a smokescreen solution. Real solutions are far more than demand and payment of “lofty allowances and pensions” for university lecturers or minimum 26% recommended annual budgetary allocations to education in the developing countries put in place by the UNESCO.
It is sad to observe that industrial disputes in Nigeria over the years have only succeeded in addressing the poor wages of the affected striking unions or bodies such as ASUU, NMA, NUT, NLC, teachers of colleges of education and polytechnics/monotechnics especially in the area of “allowance wages”. The positive outcomes (increase in allowances) of such industrial actions have neither solved the problem of “brain drain” syndrome nor improved standard of higher education in Nigeria. On the other hand, their negative outcomes have led to more borrowings with high interest rates for the payment of huge increases in the motley of allowances demanded and agreed upon as well as denial of social services to other 170 million Nigerians.
Sadly and unfortunately, such industrial demands and their agreements have been predicated upon “national cake sharing”, whereby the striking bodies vent their grudges on politicians and other top public officers on the ground that since politicians spend scandalously to maintain themselves, motley conditions of services especially lofty allowances formulated and demanded by the striking bodies, must all be paid to them even if it means borrowing at exorbitant interest rates. In organized democratic climes, such demands, negotiations and agreements are solely predicated on the performances of their economies including percentage of contribution to the growth of such economies by the striking bodies as well as other fundamental yardsticks including public finance prudency and costs of running public governance.
But in Nigeria, reverse is totally the case. It is also fundamentally important to inform that out of the Nigeria’s current estimated population of 170 million, members of ASUU, NUT, TUC, NMA, NLC, teachers of government owned colleges of education and polytechnics/monotechnics and other government controlled bodies capable of going on strike for increased pay wages; when added to the existing 17,500 Nigerians who control top management of the country’s top public offices, are not up to 5% of the entire Nigerian population estimated at 170 million in 2012. Yet close to 80% of the annual public finances, generated and borrowed, is scandalously spent on servicing them on yearly basis, out of which, payment of allowances take up to 90%, whereas salaries account for only 10%.
For instance, according to the revised Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of 2008, the scandalous sum of N1, 13trillion ( about $7.1Billion) is spent annually on 17,500 top public office holders in Nigeria with 90% of the said sum going into payment of allowances. From this, the 12,788 top LGA officials from the country’s 774 LGAs are paid N592Billion (about $3.7Billion), out of which, N550Billion is spent on allowances alone.
Other than this approved bogus Pay Act of the Federation, Appropriation Acts of the Federation and Appropriation Laws of the 36 States in the country are also used to squander monies meant for social developments in Nigeria. This they do by allocating scandalous sums in the form of “sitting, oversight and public function allowances and overhead expenditures”. For instance, the Presidency spends N9.08Billion (about $66Million) annually in maintaining 10 planes in the Presidential Fleet (Ezekwesili 2013). The office of the Senate President is given N250Million quarterly or N1Billion annually as “public office allowances” and a Nigerian Senator enjoys 15 categories of allowances annually including annual newspaper allowance of over N1.2Million (Intersociety 2012).
This is the continuation of our Public Information, dated 21st of September, 2013, on the smokescreen nature of the ASUU-Federal Government Agreement of 2009 as a solution to the battered standard of higher education in Nigeria. Our main concern is to expose and bring to the attention of the world how less than 5% of the Nigeria’s estimated population of 170 million, made up of 17, 500 top public office holders in Nigeria and public industrial unions and their members such as ASUU, NMA, NUT, TUC, NLC, etc, have continued to corner and pocket close to 80% of the country’s annual public finances at the monumental expense of other 170 million Nigerians. This they do by allocating to themselves scandalous sums in the form of “allowances” and “overheads”, using the instruments of “Appropriation Acts of the Federation”, “Appropriation Laws of the States” and “Industrial Actions or Strikes”.
The socioeconomic consequences of the forgoing are totally incalculable. Since 1997 when Nigeria recorded her last budget surplus, it had been budget deficits all through. Simply put, budget is in deficit when its expenditure is greater than its generated revenues and money is borrowed in cash or in kind to finance it. It is over-bloated when it is premised on excess consumption and swollen governmental running costs. It is sizable when it is predicated on core and needy budgetary items including human and capital developments. It is balanced when its expenditure equals its generated revenues. It is surplus when its expenditure is lower than its generated revenues. It is visionary when its makers go successfully beyond its traditional financing boundaries in the form of “decentralization”, “diversification” and creation of “new wealth”. It is positively supplementary when more needy areas are captured and attended to on the basis of excess revenue accruals. And it is negatively supplementary when more items both needy and frivolous are captured and attended to, on the strength of further borrowings and revenue downturn.
Further, budget is traditionally divided into “recurrent” and “capital”. Recurrent budget is further divided into “personnel” and “overhead” costs. Capital budget takes care of provision of social services including key public infrastructures as well as human and material wealth creation. As a matter of fact, the fundamental basis upon which government exists is for the creation and execution of “capital budgets or projects”. Personnel costs of a budget take care of the payment of public workers’ salaries, allowances and other wage entitlements including pensions of the retired workforce. Overhead costs of a budget are for the maintenance of government machineries like buildings, office equipment, vehicular and other vital instruments. Nigeria now has a four-tier budget of “budget capital”, “recurrent personnel”, “recurrent overheads” and “budget debts servicing”.
Following from the foregoing, therefore, Nigerian budgets since 1999 have been deeply debt-ridden and consumptive. They are also static and highly centralized. Between June 1999 and now (2013), the Federal Government of Nigeria had budgeted a total of N37, 665trillion (about $221Billion using N160.00 per $USD), out of which, N21, 7 trillion went for recurrent expenditures; N4,5trillion or about $28Billion went for debts servicing; and only N11.3trillion or about $70Billion went for capital expenditures. Implementation and execution of capital budgets in Nigeria have been marred by “white-collar criminality” such as fraud, over-invoicing, embezzlement, kick-backs, white-elephant project execution, etc.
Also, between June 1999 and December, 2012, a total of N80 trillion or about $500Billion was shared by Nigeria’s three tiers of government-Federal, States and LGAs from the country’s Federation Account (Intersociety 2012). Nigeria’s total domestic and external debts including those owed by States, LGAs and government parastatals and ministries have skyrocketed since May 2007, from about $18Billion including $6Billion of foreign and N1.8trillion of domestic debts; to about $100Billion or N16trillion in 2013 with a staggering difference of $88Billion borrowed locally and internationally by relevant public borrowing establishments. In 2012 alone, Nigeria paid a whopping sum of N699Billion or about $4.4Billion to banks and other lending institutions within and outside the country in the form of “debts or loans’ interests”(Ezekwesili 2013).
A critical look at the foregoing clearly indicates that close to 80% of such huge expenditures and loans were expended and borrowed to service 17,500 Nigerian top public office holders and members and leaders of public industrial unions such as ASUU, under the guise of “allowances” and “overheads”. The major challenge facing the growth and development of the Nigerian economy is institutionalization with reckless abandon, of spurious allowances and overheads.
As we have earlier stated, out of N592Billion spent annually to service the wage entitlements of 12,788 LGAs’ executives and councilors in Nigeria, N550Billion goes into payment of allowances. Only N42Billion is spent on their salaries. Out of N300Billion spent on about 2,664 States’ executives in the 36 States of Nigeria, N272Billion is spent on allowances and only N28Billion is spent on salaries. Out of N60.4Billion spent on 469 federal lawmakers in Nigeria annually, N54.2Billion is spent on allowances and only N6.1Billion is spent on salaries.
Out of N92.3Billion spent annually on 472 federal executives in the country, N89.7Billion is for allowances and only N8.6Billion is for their salaries. Out of N40.9Billion spent on 1,152 State lawmakers in Nigeria, N35.8Billion is spent on allowances and only N5.09Billion is spent on their salaries. Out of N18.5Billion spent on 792 State Judges in the country, N15.4Billion is spent on allowances and only N3.1Billion is spent on their salaries; and out of N14.8Billion spent on 142 federal judges annually, N13.1Billion is spent on allowances and only N1.7Billion is spent on their salaries (Intersociety 2012 and the revised Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of 2008). The forgoing does not capture spurious overheads and extraneous allowances annually smuggled into the Appropriation Acts of the Federation and the Appropriation Laws of the 36 States in the country.
Watch out for Parts 3 & 4 on “a way out”.
Comrade Justus Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
*A Resurgent Nigeria: Forging greater unity, planting the seeds of togetherness. Discussion with Dr Kusum Gopal
By Philip Probity & Babaji Halilu
As we approach fifty-three years of Independence this October from colonial rule, many Nigerians like us continue to reflect on our nation a region of great potential, given the phenomenal talent, material wealth, being blessed to be part of the great African continent. There is always a commentary on our national deficiencies, be it tribalism, the endemic corruption, failure of the public health system, the weakness of civil societies, and in recent years, the carnage wreaked by the Boko Haram. As a nation Nigeria has been facing many challenges and its unity is being threatened. What can be done to remedy it? Is there a way out? Certainly there is a way out, says Dr Kusum Gopal, who has technical expertise on east/west Africa, the MENA region, the countries of the Indian Subcontinent and Denmark. She has worked on conflict resolution, refugee rehabilitation, social development, public health, gender mainstreaming, and, related humanitarian matters.
Q: There are many concerns. Let us begin first with tribalism. Can we overcome this at all?
Answer: We cannot seek to remedy or, seek to cure without a holistic root and branch understanding of the Why question. Shall we now begin by paying homage to the novelist and poet, Chinua Achebe who died in spring this year? He observed correctly that, ”Nigeria is a nation favoured by Providence”. And, that alone with committed, enlightened leadership and honesty could pull the country from its troubles. He also argued that as former colonisers who have benefited greatly from colonisation during the last four hundred years or so and continue to do so, European countries and the Powers-that-Be have an extremely critical responsibility in negotiating peace and prosperity. This means in most instances, that fresh appraisals by all governments and policy makers who are working with such preconceived erroneous, belief systems is necessary as also, the need to engage in these joint conversations, as it is of moral and ethical urgency.
And, thus it is essential for those in power not just in Nigeria but everywhere, including Euro-America nations and networks to learn to listen, and, to reflect particularly, to the voices of suffering tempered by universal principles of good judgement and accountability: judiciousness is rooted in deep understanding of not just one’s own history and culture, but also, that of another country’s history combined with the specificities of cultural reasoning and pragmatism. In Nigeria for example, the past weighs heavily on the present because like nearly all post-colonial nations, the infrastructure, and bureaucracy and, in this instance, the Black letter law dominate proceedings. Historically, intellectuals on both sides of the divide remain deeply critical of the arbitrary Partition of Africa, the root of all present day strife in this great continent. With reference to Nigeria, the politics of divide and rule between north, west and the east, the Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani in the main were consequent to the separatist political parties such as the NPC in the north, the AG in the west and the NCNC. There is immediacy, an urgent need for dialogues for a pan Nigerian identity to be set into motion through en masse education- which could also take place under trees in the fields and, communities engage in these discussions at a national level. The role of schools and more necessarily, universities is very important. Academics should be allowed to conduct research uninhibited and by granting freedom of education knowledge could be disseminated. Ultimately the truth always comes out, but often after the cost of immeasurable human suffering; this can be prevented by encouraging education of the mind and the spirit, at a formal and informal level. Publications must be discussed such as Achebe, Soyinka, Isichei, Dr. Chuks Osuji and so many others indeed, these numerous monographs of valuable research must be made available at low cost. Indeed, also discussions must happen on TV and other media on public platforms, an active engagement with civil societies, communities supported by government.
Here, we need to acknowledge dispassionately, without hate or feelings of revenge to evaluate what has transpired during the last two hundred years and, to resuscitate past pre-colonial traditions that fostered friendship, sharing of the environment and other such understandings. These tribal identities need to be discussed again. That is not to do away with any identity but illustrate how people in these regions have coexisted for centuries. We need to understand the roots of the current divide, of suspicion; when did these tribal names originate bearing in mind, a concept of race or tribe is not indigenous to African cultures? What is meant by Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani or any of the other identities, all of which are equally to be valued. Differences between people were measured by dialects, languages and attire. And, intermarriage was a common practice. A study of the beliefs illustrate that in West Africa and beyond, within the corridors from north to the south, the timing and performance of critical traditional customs and practices are common. For example, the cults of ancestral spirits, burying the chief of a tribe at midnight, divining for rain; social beliefs about the rearing of babies, rites of initiation during puberty, customs such as bride wealth, marriage, pregnancy taboos, dietary regulations, childbirth, postpartum ceremonies remain the same Thus, making separate and dividing peoples on anthropometric basis of invented tribe schemata measures explicitly negated time honoured customs, how people related to each other, or accepted and understood their environments, or, their mutual interdependence with which these cultures had evolved naturally for millennia with indigenous forms of governance that had worked for them.
The loss of certainty has led to new forms of strife and introduced ‘communal’ conflicts: such estrangement has had the effect of foreclosing and truncating indigenous value systems. We also know that by 1914, 90% of Africa had been divided between seven European countries with only Liberia and Ethiopia remaining partially independent nations. Many of the boundaries drawn up by Europeans at the Berlin Conference still endure today with little regard to natural landmarks or political boundaries established by the Africans themselves. Here the role of Oral traditions and the guidance of Elders and Chiefs in educating people will be invaluable in encouraging a Pan Nigerian identity, indeed a common West African or African identity stressing mutual interdependence and commonalities of shared cultural beliefs and lifestyles.
We must not suppress cultural expressions or seek to dissolve tribal identities as they have now come to exist, but we must emphasise unity in diversity as integral to governance. Every country has its own forms of governance, and institutional systems in place that facilitate not just the decision making processes, but representation through bureaucracies’ facilitations.
Q: Yes, compulsory education is the need of the hour. Could you elaborate on this?
Answer: In every human’s lifetime there is formal and informal education. The most important kind of education would knit these two together and education for Life is essential. It is not necessary to get a PhD or go to university, we just need to get the basics right – understand who we are, why we are the way we are and what can we do to make this world a better place. But to get there, there is the dire need for reforming the education system, in particular through the detailed examination and revision of the school textbooks. The specific histories and cultures of the regions such as the Indian subcontinent and the African continent as indeed, also west Asia prior to the Partitions must be understood. In doing so there is a need to deconstruct the logic of prejudices that are detrimental to mutual understanding - and this can be done through scientific, philosophical and literary anthologies and writings - that take into account oral traditions. This way through education, and by films, negative images of others, religious intolerance, incitement of hatred, violence and contempt for one other could be removed. Teachers must be trained as they are the educators and they must not only transmit knowledge but also comment critically on the transmitted knowledge and its content. Cultural diversity is integral to these regions and has always been. It is important to recognise that personal identities are intimately linked with political processes and that social identities are not a given once and for all, but are negotiated over an individual’s lifetime.
Q: You mentioned the necessity of Ethnographic research in policy making. Could you explain from your work on how it can be applied for Nigeria in for example maternal mortality which is a major problem here?
Answer: Indeed, maternal mortality, neonatal deaths are a terrible scourge – and it is one of the MDG’s. Addressing this would have a ripple effect on many other areas—and providing free basic civic facilities and public hygiene is critical. Yes, whether it is public health, conflict resolution, governance such as the idea of a nation state or any activity engaged by human beings, ethnography can offer not just profound insights but also assist policy making that would be culture sensitive, in keeping with local belief systems. There exist collection of writings on this region—from colonial administrator-scholars- and since then to the present much research continues. For instance, there are rich and powerful traditions of ethno-medicine that has much to offer on reproductive health. In Nigeria for example, I would like to highlight the work done on the Igbo beliefs about reproductive status and health which are vital to a woman’s identity and a girl’s honour – as a defining purpose in life. Significant emphasis placed on witchcraft, curses and oaths as the primary causes of reproductive health disorders according a high value to herbal remedies. It shows the immeasurable value of folk beliefs and we need to incorporate all this knowledge into the health system. So much of it makes sense as the ethnographer Izumgura, has pointed out in Igbo, Oria nwanyi sitere na onumara is a diagnosis of inherited reproductive systems – family and heredity difficulty in conception, retention of placenta or Oria nwanyi buovuru futa uwa which is about understanding congenital reproductive systems –And these beliefs have parallels with modern scientific research! Thus, we need to take into account all local belief systems and give them importance. They are essential in choice of words and language as indeed, much else for communicating and, for successful health practices as they will gain local acceptance. That means not to look down or mock people's beliefs but accommodate them within the wider framework of public health practice.
Q: Often religious differences are being cited as the cause of all the violence. Any thoughts on this?
Answer: It is wrong to say that any religion is a cause of violence as all religions preach peace and beneficence for all human beings. As also, to view religions as monolithic wholes, particularly with Christianity, Islam, indeed, Judaism. There are so many different Christian Churches and sometimes families belonging to one will refuse their daughter or son to marry outside of it. Indeed, hostilities exist within Catholic and Protestant traditions - Northern Ireland for example In Islam there are so many traditions and we see today in Pakistan, Syria and in other countries, the persecution of Shiias. Yet interpreting this as Shiia vs. Sunni or, Salafi vs. Alevis is simplistic and, needs deeper reflection and one must journey back in time while taking cognisance of the present. Take for example, the Ottoman Sunnis who built the beautiful Shiia mosques in Iraq; there was much peace during their reign. Once again the Why question. We know that for millennia syncretic traditions of tolerance prevailed. We find mosques and churches housed in the same buildings with the worshippers displaying reverence without any rancour or violence. Islam and popular animism coexisted along with all other forms of spiritualism along with Christianity that was introduced by the missionaries. It is to this sycreticism or traditions of co-existence that we must turn to. Many scholars who write about Nigeria concur it is poverty, unemployment and rampant corruption that has led to these violent attacks. We know that 90% of Nigeria is extremely poor and living on less than a dollar a day. As is the case in any poor country, violence has become commonplace as dignity and humanity is being trampled upon: most people struggle to live with moral courage and spiritual fortitude, trapped as they are. Will it remain as Achebe notes:” why is it the good among us are so helpless, while the worst is full of vile energy?” Only the government and its power base can initiate such changes.
Development and security are interconnected as former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been keen to emphasise. We need to begin a discussion on a Road Map for comprehensive system of collective security beginning at a national level. Often there is no acknowledgement that all threats are interconnected. Thus, accounts of human suffering and exploitation are perceived as being caused by differences of power, wealth, sometimes geography; without collective recognition of poverty leading to initiating programmes/response mechanisms for its eradication, strengthening the public health system the state cannot enjoy peace. Given the rich oil revenues, it would be easy to set up social security for every Nigerian: granting free housing, education, health, and food grains be priced to make some profit for farmers –and infrastructures such as good roads, solar power, rain water harvesting – could generate employment -- all can be put to good use.
Q:What about the Boko Haram? How can we understand more about them?
Answer: Before we discuss the Boko Haram, we need to look into forms of vigilantism which has great popular appeal as they appear to target acts of institutionalised injustice and seek quick retribution while also providing protection. There is now as you know, a proliferation of vigilante militias and cult groups such as the Bokassi boys, MASSOB, Ombatse Cult and OPC among a host of others who have been granted general amnesty and co-opted into the regional governments to fight terrorism. The Boko Haram is not unlike any of these groups. It may have had messianic roots as its idealist founder from Maiduguri sought to hearken back to times of’ a just society’, in this case, pre-colonial west Africa. His interpretation of early form of Islam with Sharia laws providing the Ideal state in control of its resources. In its rejection of western education, values and culture, the Boko Haram has come to be perceived also as anti-Christian. Indeed, it has many self-styled leaders who may be acting alone or in groups of three, or five, several criminal elements cover their activities under the garb of Boko Haram. Prof Jean Herskovits has noted perceptively in an interesting article, that the Boko Haram has now evolved into a franchise that includes criminal groups claiming its identity. And, the Nigeria’s State Security Services also identified members of four “criminal syndicates” that send threatening text messages in the name of Boko Haram. Southern Nigerians — not northern Muslims — ran three of these four syndicates. She notes that 25% of the budget has been put aside for police and army and that the brutality of the security forces and the army is much more feared than the Boko Haram: such brutality is counterproductive and unnecessary. It was reported that the security services arrested a Christian southerner wearing northern Muslim garb as he set fire to a church in the Niger Delta. Nor, she observes is the Boko Haram a well-defined, organised terrorist group!Thus she concludes, in Nigeria, religious terrorism is not always what it seems. Many Nigerians are right to advise the government not to use brutal methods to hunt the Boko Haram. They believe that if ameliorating poverty and unemployment are made a priority much of the vigilantism and anti-state insurgencies would simply come to an end.
Q; There is often talk of the North/South Divide and this is extremely worrying as 2014 elections loom around the corner. And, can you list any parallels?
Answer: The classic North South divide was the cause of the great Civil War in the USA; fortunately Mr Lincoln’s side was victorious. Yes, this reading of a Divide stems from another dangerous meconaissance (Bourdieu’s misrecognition) - the Christian’ south’ pitted against the Muslim ‘north’. But as far as I can see there is no divide – there are Christians and Muslims in the north and south residing together. Also, an analysis of the polls of 2011 is enlightening: Mr Good luck’s People’s Democratic Party which has a strong southern base won 40% of the votes in Kaduna, Kebbi and Jigawa. Even in Sokoto, under the Sultan of Sokoto, one of the most important Muslim leaders in Nigeria, the PDP polled over a third. In total 25% votes in the north that re-affirmed him as President. In contrast, the CPC (Congress Progressive Change) in the north gained majorities in Katsina and Niger- only in the far north-eastern corner. Yes, there have been charges of ballot box thefts, vote rigging and much else. Nevertheless, the voting indicates among other things, the unity and deep sense of understanding of national democracy that exists within the state. Federalism is extremely useful as it allows each region/state to administer according to local government laws. In the USA for example, Louisiana has the Napoleonic code and French influence is evident in cuisine, Creole and much else. It is not pragmatic, indeed, democratic to pursue homogeneity of governance or language, when there is such rich cultural diversity be it in Nigeria, Indian Subcontinent or indeed, anywhere else.
Q: What lessons can be learnt from our past?
Answer: We remain in the grip of geopolitics and all peoples are affected by this – it is why we need to work together to make every region, confederation and nations secure. The Biafra war of 1967-1970 killed over three million people, pictures of the famine still shock people. This in itself should be a stark lesson for any further division of Nigeria. It simply could not have happened on its own. We know how it happened and, how it was dealt with. Boundaries serve to separate and to exclude, and yet the incidence of identical cultures on both sides of the boundary cannot be denied – one has to look at the Nigeria Cameroon divide or Benin which has such a powerful Yoruba culture; indeed, any African country or, the ongoing tragedy of the Indian subcontinent. Deep cultural attachments indeed, loyalties compel inter-community relations whether or not the communities are wholly located within a single country or split between countries. For as long as there has been human society based on territoriality and space, there have been boundaries, and where they evolved naturally, there is much peace, and where they have been forced without the consent of people, a false enmity has been created: the wounds of Partition simply will not heal; it is a brother and sister versus brother and sister thing: nothing can improve matters, apart from an acknowledgement of a deeply shared ancient heritage, and births from a common womb. In truth, Partitions of people who for millennia embraced syncreticism amputate the spirit and cultures of people; an outside Africa example would be the seven Partitions of the Indian Subcontinent, the last in particular between India and Pakistan being the bloodiest continues to reverberate with exceedingly tragic consequences.
Certainly, Africa has a great enviable heritage with powerful egalitarian customs that inspired great civilizations. There has always been great respect for the individual, discriminations based on the colour of one’s skin, physical features, ethnicity indeed status were not practiced, nor were philosophies and religions condemned. It is to this heritage we must delve into and draw solutions from in these very difficult times. And, in doing so the role of elders, priests, rulers and Government cannot be emphasised enough.
Q: Any other final thoughts?
Answer: Yes, let us stress that mutual interdependence and unity in diversity. There are so many common spiritual practices, the most sacred in this region is symbolised by gifting the Kola nuts which embodies peace, respect, good-will, acceptability, settlement of quarrel and in fact anything that stands for love and unity. Dr Chuks Osuji has done extremely important research! Is there not a saying,” Yorubas produce it, Hausas chew it the most and Igbo ritualise it the most.” This could be a point of entry for Nigerians, one and all towards recognising what once was a vibrant syncretism with deep connections: the shared use of metaphors in the languages, customs, music, cuisine as evidence. Also, in all discussions and dialogues, traditional forms of conflict resolution in each of these six regions must be brought to bear and, we need to go back to the pre-colonial times to resuscitate indigenous understandings of democracy whilst locating the roots of the present conflicts.
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