By John Araka
Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu Kingdom, in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State is no stranger to violence. May, last year, it made headlines when it was bombarded from the sea, air and land by the Joint Military Task Force (JTF). Since then, the headquarters of the dreaded Niger Delta warlord, Tompolo, has attracted some succour from governments and other quarters. It has, therefore, witnessed some relative calm. The tranquility of the town was, however, violated last week. This time around, it had nothing to do with militancy or clash with law enforcement agencies. It was all about poor facilities in their hospital which caused the avoidable death of a young woman in labour.
Consequently, hundreds of Ijaw youths, women and men poured into the streets of Okerenkoko. They were armed with leaves and tree branches. They mournfully rendered songs of sorrow. Their point of call was the only hospital in that part of the Niger Delta, built years back by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. They laid siege to the hospital. Their reason according to a woman leader, Mrs. Gold Mademi was to protest poor facilities and inadequate personnel which have led to the avoidable death of many women and children in the area.
“The woman that died last week was in labour and she was rushed here with a part of the baby already out. What was needed was CS (caesarian section) to bring out the baby, but because there was no equipment doctors could not perform the surgery. She died on the way, as she was being rushed to Warri for proper treatment” she said. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Tompolo (Left), MEND Militant Leader - Henry Okah (Right)
Pathetic. In the Creeks of the Niger Delta, avoidable deaths of this nature are very common. Most of the communities have no access to medical facilities. In sane societies, a place like the Niger Delta should have a clinic in virtually every community. The clumsiness of the creeks should be no excuse. After all, it is from the bowels of these so-called inaccessible creeks that the wealth of the nation is extracted. We are talking of over 95 percent of our total foreign exchange earnings.
Paradoxically, it is the region infected with all manners of diseases. All because the environment has been seriously devastated in the past 50 years by mindless oil exploitation with countless oil spillages to the bargain. Worse still, is that most of the people in the region have no potable water. They drink water from the same rivers, rivulets and streams in which they wash their clothes, take their bath and empty their bowels. That explains why water borne diseases are rampant. For these reasons, one would expect that the Niger Delta should be given special attention in the siting of health facilities. That unfortunately, is not the case. In several cases, people have to travel for hours to reach a clinic, which is often poorly equipped and poorly manned as was evident in Okerenkoko.
Given the fact that the Okerenkoko hospital was built by the NDDC, one expected higher standards. But what happened was that, it handed it over to the Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission, DESOPADEC, to run. That was to ensure that the state agency took proper care of the place. Since the name of NDDC will inevitably be mentioned when the hospitals that it built are run aground, it should show more than passing interest on how they are managed.
A leader of the area Mr. Momotimi Guwor said “when DESOPADEC was running the hospital it was very well managed. But after the crisis of May 13, 2009 DESOPADEC handed it over to Tare Ventures to manage. The owner of this outfit lives abroad. So, we want a situation whereby DESOPADEC runs this hospital directly because we don’t have doctors here, just a few nurses who merely carry out first aid”. It is difficult to understand why the only hospital which serves several communities was handed over to an absentee management. If DESOPADEC was, for whatever reason, desirous of giving the hospital to someone else to run, it should have looked for a competent organization. Certainly, not the Tare venture man who does not have what it takes to efficiently manage the health facility. The Delta State government should, therefore, heed the plea of the people of Okerenkoko by ordering DESOPADEC to take over the running of the hospital again. Even with all the challenges that the agency is currently facing, there can be no comparison between the level of services it can render with that of the absentee owner of Tare Ventures. Since DESOPADEC was set up solely to cater for the developmental needs of the oil producing areas, it should not shy away for its responsibility. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
It is very painful that various levels of governments in this country and their agencies treat the health of our citizens with levity. They don’t just care. This is most unfortunate. In most parts of the world, the health of the citizenry is given top priority. Enough resources are devoted to it. This is to ensure that there are adequate competent professionals, with up-to-date facilities to do their job. That is the main reason they enjoy longer life span. Nigeria is notorious for having one of the highest infant and maternal mortality in the world. This is the expensive price we pay for having leaders whose only reason for assuming leadership positions is to swell their bank accounts. Service to the people takes the back burner.
One cannot understand why 50 years after independence, most Nigerians can still not have access to basic health facilities. Even when provisions are made for them in the budgets, the money ends up in the private pockets of some of our leaders.
This obnoxious practice is mainly responsible for the stunted growth of the health sector of this country. The issue is further complicated by incessant strikes by doctors in public health institutions. They have a litany of complaints. Their grouse include poor remunerations. They are also unhappy with the cessation of overseas training for resident doctors to hone their skills and make them internationally competitive. They condemn scanty facilities and the purchase of sophisticated medical equipment, without first of all training Nigerian doctors to handle them efficiently. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
This mess in the health sector has been going on for too long. It is now a status symbol for one to go abroad for medical attention and even to die there. Our former President, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was treated unsuccessfully in a hospital of a third world country like Nigeria, in Saudi Arabia. What a shame!
Certainly, we cannot continue endlessly on this inglorious journey. That is why, I support the recent action by a reputable human right activist, and seasoned lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana. He has taken the federal government to court to restrain it from taking any public officer abroad for medical treatment. He wants the court to compel the government to “ensure that there are adequate medical and health facilities for all persons in the country”. I pray that he succeeds in his patriotic mission. If that happens, the nation will save the whopping sum of over $2.8 billion (N450 billion) that our rich men spend on overseas medical treatment every year.
The Fraudian theory of ego, should not only apply to individuals, but also to nations. As a country, we should have a sense of self esteem. Our nation is fast losing its self respect by allowing our rich men to run abroad even for minor ailments that can easily be treated in this country.
Yes, it is the fundamental human right of every Nigerian to seek medical treatment anywhere in the world. Since this right has, however, been flagrantly abused by our leaders to the detriment of the growth of our health sector, it should be tampered with. The money spent on overseas medical consultations, check-ups and treatments annually by Nigerians is more than enough to build some of the best hospitals in the world in this country. President Goodluck Jonathan should, therefore, give us world-class hospitals to end the shame of Nigerians flocking abroad for medical attention.
*Tags: Nigerians, Niger Delta, Abuja, Lagos, Death, Projects, Jobs, Africa, Masterweb
By Lateef Lawal
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ruled in favour of IRS Airlines in a case of alleged voluntary liquidation brought against it by Union Bank early in the year.
The airline, had through its counsel filed a counter motion against the suit claiming that the airline was not going into liquidation as claimed by the bank and that the issue on ground was mere misunderstanding between the bank and its customer which could be settled amicably. IRS also filed all necessary documents to support its grounds of objection.
Giving a ruling recently, Justice A. Abang noted that the issue at stake, he strongly believed could be settled amicably among the parties without recourse to legal battle.
The Chairman of IRS Airline, Alhaji Isyaku Rabiu could not be reached on his reaction to the ruling as he was said to be out of the country to shop for more aircraft to beef-up the fleet of the airline in preparation for the airline’s route network expansion on the domestic and West Coast. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: IRS Airline plane (Right) and copter (Left).
The Assistant Secretary General of the Airline Operators of Nigeria(AON), Alhaji Mohammed Tukur said he was delighted on the outcome of the court decision, as it would correct the wrong signal given to the public at-large and foreign business partners of IRS Airlines.
He advised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA) to as a matter of urgency set up an aviation dispute resolution unit to settle business dispute between airlines and their partners, especially the banks who finance aircraft acquisitions for Nigerian carriers so as not cripple air transportation business in the country through unnecessary litigations.
As a member of AON, Alhaji Tukur said the entire members of the airline’s body congratulated the Chairman of IRS on the manner of the outcome of the case and the manner in which both parties resolved the matter amicably. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
Meanwhile, competent sources close to the airline indicated that the airline is to increase the number of aircraft in its fleet from the present four to eight before the end of the last quarter of the year. It presently operates 4 Fokker100 and 1 Fokker 28.
Presently, the airline has increased its frequencies on the Lagos-Abuja route to 4 daily, same applies to Lagos-Kaduna, Lagos-Kano.
It is also expanding to its operations to Kaduna-Enugu, Kaduna-Yola-Maiduguri, Lagos-Warri, Lagos-Port Harcourt, while she plans to add Enugu-Abuja at a later time. In total, IRS currently operates 36 frequencies daily.
As part of plans to shore up its operations, the management of IRS has sent 21 pilots and over 20 aircraft engineers on retraining at overseas facilities
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, Irs, Liquidation, Airlines, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Engr. Steve Ochonma
My article entitled “Ahead 2011: Abia loot causes rift” which was published on this website few weeks ago, did not only strike the right cord but made some Abia politicians uncomfortable. The reasons were obvious. Meanwhile, I strongly believe that Dim Emeka Ojukwu and APGA are not the agents of change we desire and deserve neither in Igbo land nor in Nigeria. APGA is a regional party and not good enough for the Igbo cause in Nigeria. The Iboman deserves a better bargaining platform. Most of the decisions and moves the Dim and pals made between 1966-1970 were not right. They would have provided better leadership in the mist of the great challenges they faced, if they had been in touch with the realities then, and were also foresighted, and not go on an ego trip.
On the other hand, I believe Gowon and his co-horts were carried away by youthful exuberance and tribal sentiments and considerations. Their motives, actions and responses were characterized by primordial ethnic chauvinism. Again, if the parties to the Aburi meetings of January 4th and 5th, 1967 and the subsequent accord, had understood that what was on the table then (and still is today) was a national question and not a regional survival or winning or positioning strategy, and had respected resolutions reached, we all would have been better off today. But the Dim did not prove his degree in world history, when he declared quick secession instead of re-strategizing and waiting for the right time to make the right moves. Recognizing Gowon after Gowon’s explaination of the brutal murder of the then C in C and his host Fajuyi, and thereafter do what was needed at the right time, would have been a better decision. And we all saw the consequences. Yet today the issues of the past and their ghost still hurt us as a nation badly, still they are not ready to lead yet. They are obviously not ready for good leadership and governance, so why rely on them? They are making similar mistakes, as they did before. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
Ndigbo need to be firm and formidable in a political party with national appeal. Yorubas made the mistake of playing regional politics and payed for it, before M.K.O Abiola and Obasanjo brought them into main stream and today they are better off. So why go back to regional politics. Why tow that ugly path. We must take the bull by the horns, we must earn every position in Nigeria in relation and competition to all Nigerians, and this is the right path to follow. The south-south has it today because they followed the correct path. No section of this country can go it alone, because no section is significantly ahead of the others, politically, economically or by size (population). Please, do not trust those population figures; they are obviously not a true reflection of the Nigerian realities. If you want to discover the truth and be shocked beyond imagination conduct a biometric data based census, with place of origin (tribe) as the focal issue, and this nonsense of a particular region holding the ace will evaporate like gas before a hot sun. Make no mistake about it, no section of Nigeria can go it alone, we must go with the rest. Even if we want to go our separate ways, we will decide it together.
Still on the afore-mentioned article, someone responded and asked “where are we boarding from” in reference to the call for all Abians to come on-board, my answer for now would be let’s wait a bit and see. But the following websites may give us directions; www.nigeriapmm.org, www.nigeriamasterweb.com, www.steveochonma.org, www.abiaforum.ng.org, www.organizingforabia.com, and www.organizingfornigeria.com.
Some of these sites are still being developed, so do not get frustrated if you can’t assess them yet. Now, let me also state humbly that i see some credible candidates in Abia for 2011. Certainly, I am one, Chief Charles Okereke is another and I believe Chief Ikechi Emenike, Mr. Uzoma Azogu, Sir Alex Ottih of first bank, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa and a few others, are there too. But whether or not any of these people will run and how much they can raise for the campaigns will be determined by the political realities in Nigeria today. At the national level, I believe the issue of zoning should not only be rejected but also the discussions discontinued.
Let us ask all candidates respective of areas of origin to unviel their visions, missions and plans for us, to enable us determine whom we will give our mandate to in 2011. We are waisting too much time and energy on the non- important issue of presidency- by- allocation. I believe President Goodluck Jonathan has started well, though i see “ the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau” in his presidency, so far. Again he has this tendency, which he has utilized to his advantage for long, to stay calm and still in the presence of ills. Though he may not be corrupt himself, he had condoned the excesses of his bosses, in order to be seen as loyal. He should have spoken out at least or resigned in some instances. But the forgoing not withstanding, he has good motive for Nigeria and the capacity, and vision to excel if given the opportunity, in 2011. ( Continues below…… )
Photo Above: Nigerians line-up to vote during election, while a cattle herder remains on his normadic job with his herd.
President Jonathan must tackle seriously such issues of urgent national importance as monumental corrupt practices in the Nigeria police, the Military, especially those on joint mission with police in the Niger Delta, South East and elsewhere, who engage in broad day robbery and public extortion, and again amongst the political class, in areas of outright treasury looting through phonzy schemes and award of contracts. Again the issue of power generation and distribution, geunine Electoral Reforms, Authentic biometric data based Voters Register, Guranteed infrastructural developments, amongst others, before the election, if he desires to run and win next year without rigging himself in. I will write a letter shortly to Mr President to furnish him with information on the level of insecurity, lawlessness, looting and extortions within the political class and security operatives in the South East and South-South, and how the security personnels in these regions, both old and newly posited, collaborate with robbers and kidnappers to terrorize the people there. Also I will let the President see why it is wrong to give an award be it local, national or international to people just because the occupy high public positions, even when they have not performed.
The recent national honours conferred on the former speaker of the house of reps., some present public office holders including the police I.G, commerce and industry minister, senators, federal ministers, etc, is an insult to Nigerians. What was the basis and yardsticks for these awards. As the first Nigerian PhD holder to assume the presidency, we expect a clear departure from the failed leadership style of the past, but so far we have seen just very little from him in that regard. He seem to be maintaining the status quo. Obviousy, Mr President is not the best candidate in the political ring today. We need men of higher intellectual and perceptional capacity, and judgement at the presidency of the 21st century Nigeria.
Professor Pat. Utomi and a few others posses these pedigree and should do better. Mr. Donald Duke is certainly in a class of potentail great leaders and therefore may not disappoint the nation, if elected. But he will have hard time explaining to us how he became so rich in government. He is a product of the corrupt military and political class of 1990’s and 2000’s. Though Governors Babatunde Fashola and Chibuike Amechi are fisrt term governors, they have made tremendous marks on our political landscape. Fashola certinly is a man for tommorrow, not today. If keep his cool and continues his laudable projects in Lagos, he will go places, sooner than later. Gov. Amechi on the other hand needs to re-adjust his binoculars. Amechi has the tendency to be arrogant and disrespectful, and has exhibited this, time after time, and again he has a lot of tribal and fraternal attachments that may weigh him down when the time comes. He is certainly not using the best hands around to execute his projects and programmes. Most of his building and road projects are obviously poorly done.
Political patronage rather than professionalism definitly is the motive behind those contracts. Like “they” would say “we don’t want to give jobs to or empower those who will tommorrow use the money from our jobs to fight us.’ But they forget that these are State’s money and not theirs. Senator Ken Nnamani has been tested and found capable, he may be a good material for the presidency. Also senator Ayim Pius Ayim possess the fear of God that is rear today within the political class, so should be a big fish in the Nigeria waters. Vice President Namadi Sambo is a technocrat and carries himself well and therefore should deliever, but he needs to know that corruption can distroy a man faster than he struggled to climb. Retired AIG Nuhu Ribadu has proved himself worthy, though he needs to overcome youthful exuberance and zeal and get matured for a place of such importance. Mallam El-Rufai needs time and another opportunity to rewrite the ills of FCT days before he can be trusted again. But he is a good guy who slipped on the ladder of nepotism. He didn’t have to climb it, but he did. What a pity. Former President Babangida and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar have looted enough and should be greatful to be enjoying the air of freedom still. General Buhari (rtd) is a gentleman to the core, a tested and proven leader, he is one of the rear breeds of the military, so he should be a hot cake in the political market. But his military background and non-strategic political moves may undermine his chances. For me he is good enough for the presidency. The present SSG of the federation, nay, of Nigeria, for there is nothing federation in our union as it stands today, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed is a presidentail materia and maybe one of the finest today from the North.Professor Bath Nnaji has the right credentails for the job and should be given an opportunity. ( Continues below..... )
Chief Emeka Anyaoku has the requisite experience and exposure required today to move Nigeria forward, but age is definitely not in his favour for a 21st century presidency. Senator David Mark is a true Nigerian, accommodative and has done well as senate president, so he has no reason not to do better as president. Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, though not a politician has all it takes to give Nigeria world class leadership, he should be encouraged to run, if not in 2011 but soon.
I can’t understand why someone like that has never been nominated for a federal cabinet position nor asked to run for Governor. I don’t know of any Abian today that has better pedigree and credentails than Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa for the office of Governor. I suggest that He make himself available for that position in 2011. His time for that position may elapse after 2011. The world bank managing Director, Mrs Ngozi Okonji- Iweala is a gift to Abia, Delta and Nigeria. She has the capacity and intergrity to lead either Abia or Nigeria. But I know she may not fancy the idea of leaving such exalted position at the world bank to run for Governor of Abia. Her place may be at the presidency.
If Ngozi Okonji-Iweala and Sam Ohuabunwa would not run for governor in 2011, then let’s file behind people like Chief Ikechi Emenike, Chief Charles Okereke, Sir Alex Ottih or any other honorable man or woman, to give Abia good governance. There are so many other credible Nigerians and Abians that can bring the change we yearn for and need in 2011, whom we cannot particularly mention herein owing to time and space constraints, but whom we will present to Nigerians at www.nigeriapmm.org before the elections, to see, judge, adopt and vote for.
Now back to the comments that were generated there, from that article: Ahead 2011- Abia loot causes political rift. There were many of them, but one by one so-called Onu Otile needed to be responded to here. Just like he claimed his name is, he is truly “onu-otile” Mr Onu Otile had stated therein “my dear Ochonma, you are but a drop of water in a political ocean and you can only make a tum noise,” He went further to insinuate that I was writing for PDP’s interest. Again Mr. Otile posited that APGA and Dim Emeka Ojukwu would bring the change we crave for in 2011, not just in Abia State but in the entire five South Eastern states.
Mr. Otile is certainly among the few disillusioned persons in Igboland today, who are not only politically naive, out-of-touch with present day realities, but also a supporter of the status quo in Abia. They forget that little drops of water make the ocean, as the saying goes. Again, Mr. Otile forgets that change does not just happen by themselves. They are caused to occur. There must be agents of change. And these are those who are not cynical, those who are not bought over and those who will maintain their courage and integrity, regardless. Mr. Otile and his pals forget that change means a shift from status quo. And that T.A., OUK, Paul, PPA and such wanted criminals in Abia represent our ugly immediate past. They certainly represent all we need and want to change, not just in Abia but in Nigeria too. Onu Otile, as he called himself, is not bold enough to mention his real name, he prefers to masqueared and hide in the dark, because his works are evil. Otile forgets that Dim Emeka and APGA have just opened their living rooms to welcome and hide a confirmed rogue. And in this case, they are all accomplices to those crimes against the state of Abia. So what kind of change will those rogues bring and for whom. Certainly not the kind we need and yearn for today both in abia and in Nigeria. They have looted Abia and therefore deserve only a change of environment: from freedom to incarceration. We should therefore not hesitate to give them passports to prison as they rightly deserve. But solitary confinement alone is not good enough. They should be made to return all their loots first, so we could use same to give Abians what was denied them for this long. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Flag
It is therefore on this note that I agree with Mr. Obioma’s comment, on that same article, that those who are thinking that because T.A has gone to APGA, good things will come to Abia, are fools. Nothing can be far-fetched than that. It is without doubt a lie. APGA is a mere political creation of Man. APGA like any other party is controlled by men. And men’s activities are determined by their value systems. If T. A. likes let him join PDP, as he is likely to sooner or later, he will still have nothing to offer to Abia. Certainly, these men who were at the helm of affairs for the past eleven years plus, have very poor value systems. They represent the retrogressive and centrifugal forces that held the Abia project down for too long. You can not be a part of that kind of monumental looting and raping for II years plus and just wake up one morning to start preaching sanctimonious sermons. Such sermons are not only deceitful but insulting too. You needed to have apologized first, and then return all your loots, as a sign of genuine repentance and goodwill, before asking for our vote. You are insulting the intelligence of Abia voters. Do first thing first. Then and only then will Abians take you seriously. Jumping from one political Party to the other will not cover you.
Paul was commissioner for works and earned salaries and other emoulments for years, in addition to his own loots and yet he rendered no service whatsoever to Abia. No road was constructed, repaired or maintained, if they ever did, it ws insignificant and not commensurate with funds available, during this period under review. He never disagreed with his masters and did not resign voluntarily in protest but enjoyed the loot together with his bosses while it lasted. Now he too has jumped to AC or ACN and is preaching his own sermon now, “AC, only hope for Liberation.” what is Paul’s pedigree to desire to run for office of governor? How dare he talk of liberation, why did he not revolt or at least talk against the evil that went on for eleven whole years in Abia? He never opposed it, in fact, he benefited immensely from it and now he talks about liberation. What an insult. From whom or what is he liberating Abia, from himself or those like him? We know those who are wolves in sheep’s skin, and we will not be fooled this time around.
They can rejoin PDP, AC, APGA or any other party, for all I care. They conspired to destroy Abia, they conspired to de-roof Abia house, and now, they seek shelther in the same house, simply because the heat and rains are descending on them heavily. They de-rooted the Abia house; now let the rain drench them terribly. This is the consequences for their individual and collective actions. And mark my words, ‘nmeri ga ama ha nile.’ Make no mistake about that. He that sowed wind shall reap whirlwind. This is the law of nature. Now their harvest is just beginning.
Let me reiterate here that I am not a PDP member as at today. I have never belonged to any political party or movement in Nigeria before now. I am active and a contributory member of President Barack Obama’s organizing for America group. I co-signed the health care bill with him like any other member of that group. But I am a Nigerian and believe that we need to replicate what is happening in America here in Nigeria now. I am open to any political association or relationship that will best serve the interest of the majority of Nigerians. I don’t belong to the elites club and have never benefited from corrupt political class in Nigeria or elsewhere. So I can with good conscience do what I have to do, without fear or favour to anyone. I will join a party at the appropriate time and will make a different in whatever capacity I am mandated to serve, be it on an elective or appointive basis.
Yes, I have political ambition, because I believe that things are this bad in Nigeria today because there are not enough good men in our political rings. We can not sit on the fence and just keep critisizing. We must be willing to sacrifice to make our state and country better, for all.
The Nigeria political environment of 2010 and beyond is such that we should be looking beyond parties, to individual who can deliver, no matter their political inclinations. Credibility and integrity must come first. Some people have suggested that APGA will do well if given the opportunity in the east. Such persons have cited the case of Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra State to buttress their point. I cannot say for certain whether Obi is a success or not in government yet. It may be too early to conclude that. But like it or not, Obi was a successful businessman before joining politics, so if he fails in government I will be puzzled a great deal. T.A, OUK, Ohakim and so many others like them do not enjoy such pedigree as Obi. So it would be wrong to equalt Obi’s performance to APGA’S. There is simply no basis for such. This is also true of Lagos and Rivers governors. They are succeeding because they came with vision and mission. But this cannot be said of majority of the governors and political leaders in Nigeria too.
I am not a pastor or a prophet but let me predict based on my physic abilities, talents and experience that the game is up for those criminals in Abia. They knew that much themselves. Running back to PDP to seek the vice presidency or any other political relevance will not work. If the mission to go back to PDP was to hide under its umbrella, to run away from your crimes, you will be ulterly disappointed. 2011 is the “doomsday” for you all.
The PDP canopy may be large but it is certainly not big enough to hide all those criminals seeking it for cover. Like the police would say ’better come out and surrender’. The earlier the better. We need all that loots back to develop our state. You cannot run away from your crimes for too long.
To all Abians of goodwill, I say congregations, because our set time has come. Our time for change, liberation and quantum leaps has come. The Omnipotent has answered our prayers. All the night vigils for years have not been in vain. The miraculous will take place in 2011. The lion has roared, who will not fear, and the Lord God has spoken, who will but prophesy. Truly when the Omnipotence speaks the miraculous does take place. But who has believed our report and to whom is the Lord’s arms revealed?
Rejoice and be glad Nigerians for our God reigns and rules over the affairs of Nigeria. The Satans Eden built by those evil men will be turn down. All people of goodwill in Abia state, hold on, faint not, help is on the way. To all Nigerians of goodwill, hold on, help is on the way. I see a silverlining in the sky and I know the sun will arise on your behalf for good. Watch out for the people candidates for 2011 on www.nigeriapmm.org. For those who are still fearful and therefore keep silent because of probable evil that will be targetted at them, let me encourage you as Peter did in 1Peter 3:14-17 ‘ And who is he that will harm you, if you be followers of that which is good, but if you suffer for goodness sake, be happy and not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, for it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing than for evil doing.’ Follow Nigerians, hold on and faint not, help is on the way. Till next time,
With loyalty and humility,
Yours in national service,
Engr. Steve Ochonma
*Tags: Nigerians, Political, 50, Hope, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Enobong Umohette (Wisconsin Heavyweight Boxing Champion)
Once again, I am humbled and grateful to you all for giving me the privilege to contribute my quota to inspiring our people, through my struggles in and out of the boxing ring.
Today, August 5th, 2010, our people under the dynamic umbrella of AKISAN will convene in Baltimore, Maryland to celebrate the achievements of our sons and daughters and to show the sense of brotherliness, charity and goodwill that is synonymous with Akwa Ibom people. I stand to identify with AKISAN and its able leadership, whose humanitarian philanthropy for the less privileged by way of scholarships and grants for our sons and daughters back home, has been tremendous. Also, I want to commend the distinguished sons and daughters, whose excellence in professional and humanitarian endeavors have earned a worthy reckon from AKISAN this year. I thank, the Maryland AKISAN chapter youth group, who have given me and my manager/promoter Mr. Emmanuel Usoh the privilege to be a part of their function and to speak to them about chasing their dream.
You were all there in my corner, when I started the journey in professional boxing in April 2009 and with your support, I clinched the Heavy Weight Championship title of the State of Wisconsin within one year.
First let me acknowledge the support and sacrifice His Excellency, The Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Godswill Akpabio has shown towards Akwa Ibom state and our people. Obong Godswill Akpabio represents leadership, and through this dynamic leadership, I am convicted that no matter the challenges we face back home, our state is moving forward for the better. I call on all our sons and daughters to pray for the leadership, show support and encouragement and foster brotherly love for one another.
I respectfully wish to recognize the contributions of People's Servant(Ps.) Charles O. Okereke, an idealist, social reformer and a strong advocate of the rights of the poor masses of Nigeria. People's Servant(Ps.) Charles O. Okereke, has over the years continued to empower the Nigerian people with his progressive articulation. His electoral revolution campaign in south Eastern Nigeria is in itself and ideological landmark, that is re-orienting the minds of Nigerian citizens on their sacrosanct right to free electoral choice. This gentleman has supported my career and is not only a friend of Akwa Ibom, but an asset to Nigeria and Africa.
As we head to a momentous convention in Baltimore, Maryland I want to use this moment to recognize the tireless and selfless sacrifice of Ms. Linda Umoh. She is like a raging fire of progress, passion and dedication to the upliftment of Akwa Ibom people. I salute her dexterity, courage and resilience in pushing the cause of the 'Akwa Ibom Project' as well as her unending support for my career.
In another breath, I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Emmanuel Usoh of Philadelphia who has been a pillar of support to my career since we met at the 2009 Michigan Convention. Despite the enormous cost implication inherent in professional boxing, he boldly took on the challenge of managing and promoting my professional career. Since 2009, Mr. Emmanuel Usoh has contributed immense material resources to fund my training, travels and campaign in the boxing ring. His unflinching faith in the project of inspiring our people has culminated in the first of many Heavy Weight title championships that shall be won to the glory of our people, through my hands. Mr. Emmanuel Usoh, leading the 'Philadelphia group' has taken me all over the United States and exposed me to veteran trainers and fighters who equipped me with the technical know-how to defeat the Champion whose belt I claimed, even when I was completely out-sized and seemingly over matched.
I want to thank Mr. Ufot Kish Ufot, his lovely wife and family and indeed his 'Washington DC crew' who showed their kindness and hospitality to me during the maiden visit of Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan to the United States of America. It was indeed a rare privilege to see His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan again in person, after first seeing him as a Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, in my days as a Federal Civil Servant back in Nigeria.
On a personal note, I want to take a moment to remember our brothers and sisters who have laid down their lives through service in the Armed Forces all over the world, as they fight to keep peace, uphold fundamental human rights and protect the freedom of citizens from tyranny and oppression. I remember also our brothers and sisters who have fallen to conflicts of violence and lost their lives through natural disasters. May their souls rest in peace.
I shall not end this goodwill message without saying a big thank you, to the few who are too shy to see their names in print for their kind spiritual and material support in the journey so far.
Finally, I invite you all to come and fellowship with one another in Baltimore, Maryland, as I will not only be there in spirit but will be there physically to thank you, talk with you and show you my sense of gratitude and association with our people. I shall bring with me, the coveted belt I won in a grueling 7 round battle and will proudly have you earn your right to its glory, because it is yours; an Akwa Ibom inspired championship victory.
I intend to be the next Akwa Ibomite to become Heavy Weight Champion of the world and will be as I have always been, a champion in the heart of the people, who will not need forms filled to be accessed or be aloof and distant from the people but will be a humble servant in the mission of inspiring our people. I respectfully urge you all to extend your prayer and support to our dear champion Samuel Peter who makes his rise and return to capture the undisputed heavy weight championship of the world. Samuel did it before and will shake up the world again.
Also, please join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to a fine gentleman, whose courage and passion for service has written his name on a glorious page in the history book of the great United States of America; I speak about His Excellency, President Barack Obama who clocked 49 years yesterday (August 4th), 2010.
As a citizen of the world, I respectfully thank all my non-Akwa Ibom, non Nigerian and non African partners and friends who have helped in giving me a voice to encourage and inspire through the sport of boxing.
See you in Baltimore and soon again at ring side.
THE NIGERIAN GENTLEMAN (TNG)
*READ TNG's WISCONSIN HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT REPORT AT:- http://nigeriamasterweb.com/blog/index.php/2010/03/21/title_5
Photo Above: 7th Round: McDowell knocked out face-up on the floor
Photo Above: 7th Round: McDowell unable to get up and fight after knock out
Photo Above: Umohette declared winner & new Wisconsin Heavyweight Champion. The referee raises Umohette's right hand and another official (holding Umohette's new belt) raises his left.
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*Tags: Nigerians, Enobong, Umohette, USA, Wisconsin, Boxing, Champion, Niger Delta, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Ifeatu Agbu
The point has been made repeatedly that developing the Niger Delta is not a tea party. In the area of providing infrastructure, the task is daunting. This is understandably so because of the difficult and challenging deltaic terrain, characterized by criss-crossing rivers, creeks and rivulets.
Developing such an environment, therefore, requires special attention and expertise. In building roads, for instance, care must be taken to provide a solid stone-base after the muddy top-soil had been taken off to ensure that the road stands the test of time. This accounts for why roads in the Niger Delta, sometimes cost as much as thrice that of similar roads in other parts of the country.
Given its peculiar circumstances, it is paramount that contractors handling projects in the region must be made to adhere to specified standards to ensure that the infrastructure being put in place are those that can endure over time. Governments and their agencies have a duty to use reputable experts to spell out the standards that should guide all contractors handling jobs in the region.
Since Niger Delta is in dire need of rapid development, there should be no room for unqualified and indolent contractors who often deliver shoddy jobs that would collapse in no time. Setting up the process that would hold contractors accountable also means that the governments at various levels should adhere to established guidelines. This is where the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) Act of 2007, which institutionalized due process and transparency in contract awards and executions, comes in handy.
However, for the due process to be meaningful there is need to clip the tentacles of the octopus called corruption. The set standards have to be strictly adhered to. This is particularly so for those supervising jobs in the Niger Delta States. In fact, the governments in this region should establish a unified standard that will guarantee quality jobs delivery across the oil-rich zone. Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Imo State) and capital (Abuja or FCT)
Today, a lot of projects embarked upon by the three tiers of government and their agencies in the region have been abandoned or are poorly executed. From all indications, the process of screening contractors to ascertain their suitability and capability to execute projects is faulty. The practice world-wide is for the government to outline the parameters for determining whether contractors have the relevant experience, manpower, equipment and monetary resources to successfully execute projects. Contractors bidding for big ticket projects must have good and verifiable track-records to be able to meet the requirements of due process.
Again, it should be made clear to all contractors at the outset that project abandonment would lead to permanent exclusion from bidding for future contracts, in addition to their refund of mobilization fees with appropriate interest. Unfortunately, we seem to have a situation where a contractor could easily abandon a project and just walk away without serious consequences.
Some of the governors in the Niger Delta region are beginning to wield the big stick against incompetent and fraudulent contractors. In Rivers State, for instance, Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi is having a rethink over his government’s policy to encourage indigenous contractors. He said that the performances of some local contractors were very disappointing.
As a result, he said the state government has changed its initial policy of “Rivers money for Rivers people, to Rivers money for competent contractors. Just show me any failed project, by the time you investigate, you will find out that it is being handled by a Rivers indigenous contractor, so we have decided to only give our jobs to qualified and competent contractors, irrespective of where they come from”.
In the neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, Governor, Godswill Akpabio appears to be toeing the same line. He made his position quite clear when he said: ‘’ I am not against giving jobs to indigenous contractors in the name of empowerment but you have to give the jobs to them depending on their technical expertise”.
He advised his fellow governors and other development agencies in the region to insist on high standards so as to provide enduring infrastructure, especially roads. ‘’Let’s set quality and standards. Let’s change the attitude of our people. We require enduring infrastructure and must sustain them.’’, Akpabio said.
It must be noted, however, that the problem of poor quality jobs goes beyond the Niger Delta, as it is a national malaise. Many highways across the country have either collapsed or are in dreadful conditions. Perhaps, more disturbing is that parts of some roads still under construction are often riddled with potholes before their completion. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
The situation has become so pathetic that federal legislators could no longer gloss over the problem. Recently, the leadership of the House of Representatives had some harsh words for officials of the Federal Ministry of Works regarding the poor state of roads across the country. The Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Usman Nafada accused the officials of colluding with contractors to short-change Nigerians. He lambasted them at a public hearing on a bill for an Act to construct, build and maintain roads and erosion projects for five years before handing them over to the government.
“We need to do something on the state of our roads. I don’t want to blame the construction companies, there are people supervising them for a Certificate of no Objection to be raised. There is someone in the ministry that would have said the project was satisfactory. Fraudulent practices by officials cause roads to fail,” Nafada said. The failure of supervisory bodies to play their roles effectively, which was aptly identified by the legislators, complicates the problem of dealing with errant contractors. This notwithstanding, defaulting contractors still have to be whipped into line for appreciable progress to be made towards providing durable infrastructure. Of course, this poses a challenge for the various levels of government and the development agencies.
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, a critical interventionist agency, appears to have taken up the challenge. According to Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha, the Managing Director of the commission, consultants to all its projects must uphold professionalism by ensuring that contractors were monitored every inch of the way. He warned that the commission would no longer tolerate the nonchalant attitude of some of the consultants towards projects delivery. “All projects must be executed in line with specifications. Our people need development. Everyone must partner together to accomplish this for the good of all as you [consultants] are playing a critical role in this direction,” he said.
At a meeting between the management of the commission and members of the House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, who came on projects inspection as part of the committee’s oversight functions, Ugwoha noted that it was only through regular project monitoring that contractors would be kept on their toes, adding that all projects must be executed according to design and specifications. When the NDDC boss led an inspection team on tour of projects in Imo State, recently, he threatened to revoke the contract for Izombe/Obokofia road. By his assessment, what was on ground did not suggest that the firm handling the project was capable of meeting the standard set by the commission.
He said: “In NDDC, we want to do road projects that will last up to 15 years or at least five years before the project starts having any problem. What I am seeing here does not show that the contractor is capable of meeting NDDC standard of my desire.” Ugwuoha expressed disappointment at the level of work on some of the projects inspected and stated that henceforth, all road projects awarded by the commission must be stone-based. He said that in line with its repositioning posture, NDDC had set a standard which must not be compromised and warned that any attempt to do otherwise would be punished.
Since experience has shown that many road contractors have the predilection for short-changing this country, all such contracts should have binding maintenance clauses that would guarantee that every road remains at tip-top shape for at least five years. Strict enforcement of such clauses would force all contractors, particularly the local ones, to embrace best global practices in the execution of their projects.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
*Tags: Nigerians, Niger Delta, Abuja, Lagos, Quality,Projects, Jobs, Africa, Masterweb
By Lateef Lawal
The attainment of Category1 Status of the United States of America’s Federal Aviation Administration (US-FAA) is not one of the set requirements. This clarification was made by the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority(NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren to correct the wrong impression created in the minds of the public by certain section of the Nigerian Press lately.
One of the requirements for the attainment of Category1 Status, he asserts is the certification of at least one Nigerian airline in accordance with the new Safety Regulations stipulated in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations of July, 2009. Nigeria, he says has just completed this process of re-certifying and issuing an Air Operator Certificate(AOC) to Ark Air, a Nigerian registered airline which is already designated and has been flying the US using foreign registered aircraft. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
According to Demuren, other Nigerian airlines, whether flying domestic regional or international are also to go through the re-certification process to ensure very high safety standards and erase the era of recording fatalities in our airspace through plane crashes. "Our target is zero accident and zero fatality. Our commitment in this aspect is total. As an airline operator, you must obey our safety regulation 100 per cent for you to continue in operation", Demuren was quoted as saying.
Demuren pointed out that 80 per cent of countries that have attained Category One Status do not have national carrier and that if there was any need to establish a national carrier now, that decision is that of the Federal Government and is not tied to the country’s quest toward attainment of the most valued safety standard.
According to him, Nigeria has adhered strictly to all the eight critical safety elements sighted by FAA and made sure that, "all the eight critical elements of the ICAO Safety Oversight which is what FAA Category One is all about have been closed by NCAA". ( Continues below….. )
The next stage in the pursuit of Cat1 which is the Mock Audit(FAA Technical Review) was carried out on July 26, 2010 by a team of Inspectors from FAA which is the last final assessment preparatory to the attainment of FAA Cat1.
The NCAA DG therefore appealed to Nigerians especially the media to see the Cat1 process as a national project, requiring the support of all, and added that, "false and misleading statements would only cause unnecessary distraction and jeopardize the strides already attained, especially as the process is nearing completion. Cat1 will put Nigeria aviation on the premier league and we assure all that Nigerian aviation will meet all international standards."
Lateef Lawal (NigerianAviationNews)
*Tags: Nigerians, FAA, Category1, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Dr Solomon Ojehonmon
I beg to disagree with the managing director of Macmillan Nigeria Publishers, Lagos, Dr Adesanya Adelekan, on some of his comments during the interview with Sunday Punch published on the 11th of July. In the article Dr Adelekan intoned that Nigerians do not buy or read books except to pass examinations, and that they are not interested in novels, magazines, articles etc. Sadly, it is now commonplace to hear Nigerian publishers grousing about poor sales and heaping the blame on poor Nigerians while the fault, in my honest opinion, is almost entirely theirs.
With the ongoing revolution in the music and movie industries in Nigeria, interest has been largely drawn away from foreign movies and music. Only last week, I attended a gig and it was local music all through. In a moment of sober reflection, it occurs to me that, ten, fifteen years ago, not a single local song would have been played at such a party. The other day I was watching a group of artistes perform on Silverbird TV and actually thought they were westerners until I was corrected of my erroneous notion by my wife who pointed out that they were selected African artistes, including Nigerians. That is an indication of how far the music industry has developed in Nigeria and Africa.
In recent times Nollywood has taken over the heart and soul of the film industry, relegating foreign movies to the background. Our local movies may not have been upped to western standard but they have enough sap to nosh local and continental interest. Even in western countries most Nigerians, Africans and Caribbean residents now have a predilection for our movies and music. We do not hear much complaining from these sectors. The reason is not farfetched. President Barrack Obama once said during his campaign that the world is changing and we must change with it. Our film and music industries have changed with the tide. ( Continues below..... )
The literary industry in Nigeria and Africa in general has failed woefully to join this revolution. So Dr Adelekan believes we do not read novels. No, sir, Nigerians do read plenty of novels but mostly foreign ones: compelling historical thrillers, intriguing murder mysteries, action-adventures, cutting-edge medical thrillers, spellbinding romance, revolutionary general fiction, and provocative, even controversial, religious thrillers. These are what most Nigerians love to read. So where are Nigeria or Africa equivalents of Sidney Sheldon, Michael Crichton, Dan Brown, Jeffery Archer, Robin Cook, JK Rawling, Steven King, Michael Connolly, etc?
With our rich cultural heritage, a change in orientation, and a small push in the right direction, our authors can produce novels with equal flare to those by these international best-selling authors, and have Nigerians rushing back to the bookshops. But, no, what we are saddled with instead are boring novels on civil wars, slave trade, the colonial era, poverty, disease, prostitution, and politics. Some of these themes may have worked well in the past but not now as Nigerians hurried to keep pace with a fast-moving world.
To make matters worse, most of our publishing houses now prefer the pusillanimous way out to keep afloat: vanity publishing. A manuscript accompanied with a fat check—five hundred thousand to a million—will be rushed into publication without the slightest consideration whether the book will interest the reading public. Of course, the publishers don’t even bother to advertise such books. Why waste time and money when they are already aware that not a single copy will probably leave the bookshops?
Notable exemptions are two relatively young and vibrant publishing houses, Cassava Republic and Farafina, who seem not afraid to experiment with unusual works but they still need to encourage their authors to focus more on entertainment in other to excel in a global competitive market.
The problem is not peculiar to Nigeria, or even to Africa, alone. Publishers and agents on the international scene—America and Europe—most of whom cares nothing for books, only interested in making money, has taken over the industry. Their newest strategic is to hype novels into bestsellerdom. Most of the novels end up in the rubbish bins for recycling only a few hours after they are released, instead of being on their way to Africa and other developing countries as second-hand books. So our bookshops are starved of foreign novels as well. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Macmillan Nigeria Publishers Building Complex
That brings me to the reason I was particularly irked by Dr Adelekan’s comments. A few years back, I realized my appetite for reading novels had considerably dwindled but, unlike our publishers, I quickly realized that the problem wasn’t with me as a reader per se. Instead, I was finding it difficult to read beyond the first thirty or so pages of some of the new books I bought. So I was challenged to write my first novel titled The Methuselah Conspiracy, an historical cum medical cum religious thriller, which centers on man’s epic pursuit of immortality and also offers plausible scientific explanation to one of the greatest mysteries of all times: the longevity of the biblical Methuselah. Even, my wife, Beatrice, enthusiastically joined in by writing her own novel, The Black Omen, a mystery thriller, dwelling on the epic clash between traditional beliefs and medical perceptions regarding mysterious birthmarks. We had hoped these intriguing thrillers will kick start the much needed revolution in Nigeria and Africa literary industry.
After spending the last two years fine-tuning the novels, with the help of members of our international writers club, we passed the books to some Nigerian publishers for consideration. But, no, the publishers did a Hussein Bolt: they don’t want novels in those genres, prefer to leave it to the Americans and Britons to feed our appetite for intrigue and entertainment while they sponsor and publish books that effectively serve as cure for insomnia.
I will like to remind Dr Adelekan that Nigeria comprises of millions of enlightened, well-read people who love entertainment, and will go to any length to get entertained, and not even poverty will stop them from going after a good book, if there are any on the shelves that will merit their time and money. Has the respected Macmillan publisher ever gone to the streets or the local bookshops, to meet with readers and inquire about the sort of novels they like to read?
What must be done is not in the abyss: the literary sector is not just living up to its billing and will need a massive shake-up. Firstly, the publishers must give us interesting books to read. Then there must be effective advertising and distributive network so that books can get to all nooks in Nigeria. Our government must act to make local novels less expensive and more affordable. The media must play their part in promoting novels, as they do in western countries. And, finally, Dr Adelekan and his cronies should realize that books are sold by word of mouth. No reader will recommend a book that did not make any impression on him or her to others, so they should get back to the drawing board.
Article by Dr Solomon Ojehonmon,
*Tags: Nigerians, Air, Force, FAAN, Airlines, Skypower, Catering, Hotel, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Masterweb
By Engr. Steve Ochonma
I want to share this inspiration that came to me recently with regards to the change we yearn for today in Nigeria. This is a message from Christ Jesus to all of us. The me in this poem refers to Him and Him only.
With Humility and loyalty
Engr. Steve Ochonma
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Poetic, Message, Hope, Political, Revolution, Governor, Abia, Loot, ppa, Orji, Abuja, Lagos, Africa, Kalu, Umuahia, Masterweb
By Imo United USA Incorporated
On Friday June 25, 2010 at the Best Western Hotel in Prince Georges County, Maryland USA, Nigerians of Imo State descent, their friends and well wishers gathered for a night of communal rekindling of faith in one another, and entertainment in the launching of Imo United USA Inc. Conceived by certain leading lights of the Imo community in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area, Imo United USA Inc. is intended to fill the vacuum that unfortunately exists in the community in the lack of a strong association that coheres Igbo people of Imo State descent. Many attempts have been made in the past to establish an organization that would provide a platform to address the needs and concerns of Imo people. Within the larger and diverse community of the Washington Metropolitan area, Igbo people of Imo State descent have indisputable concerns and needs, necessitating, therefore, a strong organization that would play a strong advocacy role in addressing those concerns and meeting their needs. Some of the concerns expressed range from cultural issues like the cultural conflicts and consequent difficulties that result from melding African and American cultures in raising children, to the gradual but alarming denudation of lingual heritage in the inability of American born Igbo children to communicate in the 5,000 year old Igbo language.
The needs of Nigerians of Imo State descent are various, but the generally agreed salient ones are economic and social. Economically, there is a need to take advantage of their population strengths in their respective communities by rising to become major economic players ( for example, Ibos make up about 20% of the population of Prince Georges County Maryland, yet have no significant economic presence in major areas of the economy of Prince Georges County). Socially, there is a need to establish a strong advocacy presence in the corridors of power to work for targeted state funded healthcare, pro family and education programs. State or county funded Igbo language programs for Igbo children is an area of great need.
In speeches at the launching of Imo United USA, the speakers covered some of these concerns and needs. The common thread of the speeches, however, was the imperative of Imo United to spearhead a renewal of faith among Imo people that cohesion is once again possible. And that the cynicisms engendered by previous failures to cohere them must be jettisoned for a new day of unity, citizenship, youth development, cultural pride, and vigorous political and socioeconomic advocacy both in the USA and in Nigeria. Speeches were delivered by Chief Sam Uwandu CPA, ACA, chairman of Imo United USA; Dr. Charles Uzoigwe, chairman of the occasion; Prof. Cosmas Nwokeafor, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Bowie State University; Mrs. Margaret Dureke, President of JAHS Enterprises; and Ms. Chioma Dike, a recent Howard university graduate and law school bound, who spoke for the youth.
In his keynote address, Chief Uwandu strongly emphasized the need for the Imo Diaspora to use its numbers to effect positive change, not only in their Diaspora communities, but also back home in Imo State, where the quality of life has been rendered intolerable by high unemployment, and a devastating crime wave whose apogee is a pernicious kidnapping spree. Businesses are closing up shop and leaving the state in droves, and many of the elite and their families are keeping away for fear of being kidnapped. Essentially, Imo State and the rest of the Southeast region are going through a slow socioeconomic death as a consequence of the activities of heartless criminals, while the Igbo political leadership is doing little to nothing to stop them. Chief Uwandu issued a clarion call to duty and an uncompromising commitment to reverse the society-killing trends.
Imo United USA Inc. strongly urges that:
1. The federal government must without delay take steps to deal decisively with the kidnappings spree, but also commends President Jonathan for the steps he has taken so far in deploying additional police to the southeast region.
2. The Igbo caucuses at the House and Senate whose seeming demonstration of a lack of responsibility to their constituents on the kidnappings issue is deeply chagrining and disappointing, must act now in concert with our president to eradicate this societal cancer, which is abhorrently reminiscent of the Transatlantic Slave Trade when Alaigbo was rife with kidnappings for the Slave Trade and no one was safe. In this 21st Century, we insist that we are not going back to the insecurity and darkness of those days. We are disappointed that the southeast senators aren’t aggressively addressing this issue with the police and other stakeholders with the utmost urgency required?
3. A bill must be introduced in the Senate and House without delay to require mobile telephone providers to verify personal data in the sale of sim cards and to register such sales. Additionally, non registered sim cards would be cancelled. Enactment of this law should give the law enforcement authorities a powerful tool in combating crime. Mexico recently passed such a law and is currently making significant progress in denting the crime of kidnapping in its territory.
4. A free and fair election must be insisted upon by Nigerians. In this light, the Imo United USA Inc. commends President Jonathan for his appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega as the new INEC chairman. Professor Jega’s positive antecedents provide hope that it can be done, and we pray that God will give him the wisdom and courage to do it for Nigerians.
Imo United USA Incorporated is a non profit, non political organization registered under the laws of the state of Maryland, USA.
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Imo State) and capital (Abuja or FCT)
Photo Above: Imo State Governor Ikedi Ohakim
*Tags: Nigerians, Communique, Imo, State, United, Usa, Incorporated, Owerri, Africa, Masterweb
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