Friday, November 24, 2017

Nigeria: From Detribalisation To Retribalisation (2)

By Mathew Hassan Kukah
Click here to read PART ONE

Indeed, these may be poor images, but I think they speak to the issues that we are addressing. We must pose the central question which will naturally be on the lips of all of us who are asked to detribalise: What is in it for me? What do I gain? Who will reap the greater benefit? What will the nation or the one asking me to detribalise offer me in return? When I compare where I am with where I hope to be, I must have good reason to take the leap.
*President Buhari shakes hands with Bishop Kukah
The conclusion here is that first, the tribal tent is my comfort zone because, in it, I am safe and secure. Members of my tribe will fight to protect me and my family, they will offer me food and shelter, among many other things. So, naturally, anyone who wants my loyalty or wants me to abandon my tribal tent must offer me something better than what my tribal tent is already offering me. It is a tradeoff.
Look at our situation in Africa today. Why are our people emigrating and why are young people facing death on the Atlantic Ocean rather than staying in their home tents? Clearly, the home tent has proven to be rather treacherously hostile to their quest for fulfillment. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

End Of The Road For Robert Mugabe

By Anthony Akinola
Had Robert Mugabe bought into the philosophy of Muhammadu Buhari regarding the place of the spouse of a serving political leader, he probably would have held on to his job until God decides to remove him, Were the place of Grace Mugabe to have been in the kitchen and the other room, just as that of Aisha Buhari is in Nigeria, those desperate to succeed Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe might have tarried a little bit. But because ambitious Grace Mugabe was all along eyeing the position of her husband, those who resented such an affront have conspired to bring an end to the 37-year rule of 93-year old Robert Mugabe.
*Robert and Grace Mugabe
Mr. Mugabe, described as “brilliant, intelligent and nasty” by a British commentator, became leader of Zimbabwe after successfully leading a revolt against the regime of Ian Smith in 1980. His emergence from the trenches to lead his people received the enthusiasm and endorsement of fair-minded people who believed it was absurd for the minority white population to be ruling the majority black population as the case was in former Rhodesia. Mugabe was received warmly wherever he went, hailed by all and sundry as a war hero.

Nigeria: From Detribalisation To Retribalisation (1)

By Matthew Hassan Kukah
On February 24, this year, I delivered the convocation lecture for the University of Abuja, titled, Though Tribe and Tongue May Differ: Managing Diversity in Nigeria. Drawing from Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, I came to the very sad conclusion that coming to the critical point where two roads diverged, our leaders have always avoided the road less travelled. The result is that rather than make a difference, many of the leaders have continued to make the same mistakes.
*President Muhammadu Buhari and
 Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah
The cumulative effect litters the landscape and goes by different names: corruption, underdevelopment, stagnation, decay, etc. In the Lecture, I argued that: We have lacked the courage to take some of the tough decisions that would have changed our country today. We found the discipline and demands of equality enshrined in our democracy difficult to uphold and therefore we opted to cohabit with feudalism. The result is that we have constructed a rickety double decker identity vehicle whereby we inhabit one section as citizens and another as subjects. Government has been unable to secure the loyalty of its citizens who prefer to preserve their reverence and loyalties to their local communities. The consequences of our lack of clear choices now stare us in the face. We are unable to submit to a single loyalty code. The elites steal from government and return home to feather the local nest presided over by the local hegemon before whom they prostrate as favourite sons and daughters adorned with feathers of recognition and appreciation.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Alex Ekwueme: The Architect Who Made A Difference

By Dare Babarinsa
Dr Alex Ekwueme occupied a unique space in Nigerian history. As the first elected Vice-President, Ekwueme was the face Nigeria advertised to the world that indeed the Igbos were back into the mainstream of Nigerian politics after the gruesome Civil War that ended in 1970. After that war, he made more money and decided to show the way to other Igbos who had come into wealth. By the time he was made the Vice-President to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, his philanthropy was well known. He single-handedly built the vocational centre, in Oko, his home town which has now been turned into The Federal Polytechnics, Oko. He was highly educated and knew the language of money. In the cacophony of the old National Party of Nigeria, NPN, during the Second Republic, his was a Voice of Reason. Now the voice is stilled.
*Dr. Alex Ekwueme
When Ekwueme died Sunday, November 19 in London, it was at the end of a long farewell. When I met him in his country home in Oko, Anambra State, in 1986, it was for him, the beginning of a new life. In July 1986, my editors at Newswatch, sent me to Oko with the good news that Ekwueme, who had been in Ikoyi Prison since Shagari was toppled on December 31, 1986, would soon be freed. I broke the good news to his mother, Mama Agnes and his younger wife, Ifeoma. Everyone was ecstatic. I met the late Igwe Justus Ekwueme, the traditional ruler of the town who welcomed me with open arms. Few weeks later, Ekwueme rode to Oko in triumph. I was one of the hundreds of people who joined him and his family at the thanksgiving service in the Anglican Church in the town.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Meaning Of Governor Obiano’s Reelection

By Chuks Iloegbunam
Anyone asked the impact of Governor Willie Obiano’s victory in the November 18 gubernatorial ballot in Anambra State could answer with a single word: Crushing. He won in all of the 21 local government areas of the state. His closest rivals came up in dismal second, third and fourth places. The combined total of the votes garnered by the rest of the 33 candidates managed to hit the hundreds. 
*Gov Willie Obiano
Significantly, ex-Governor Peter Obi, the godfather of PDP candidate Oseloka Obaze lost in his Anaocha local government area. Mr. Obaze himself lost in his Ogbaru local government area. His running mate, Mrs. Alexandria Chidi Onyemelukwe, famed daughter of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, lost in her Nnewi North local government area. The string of tragic losses is bewildering. APC candidate Tony Nwoye lost in his Anambra East local government area. His bankroller, the tycoon Arthur Eze, lost in his Dunukofia local government area. The loquacious PDP campaign director-general Joe-Martins Uzodike lost in the polling booth in front of his Awka-Etiti house. Indeed, APGA is a party of giant killers. All their opponents were buried in a landslide!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Robert Mugabe Agrees To Resign

Reports from Zimbabwe say that the 93-year old Zimbabwean President, Mr. Robert Mugabe, has agreed to step down as president.
This is coming a few hours after the ruling party, Zanu-PF, announced his sack as the leader of the party.

*Robert and Grace Mugabe (pix:pressfrom)

His wife, Grace Mugabe, was removed as leader of the Zanu-PF women  league. Reports say she has also been expelled from the party. 

Mugabe has been under house arrest since Wednesday November 15 following his unceremonious removal from office and takeover of the running of the country by the armed forces led by Gen Constantino Chiwenga.
London Telegraph reports that the ruling party “had given the 93-year-old less than 24 hours to quit as head of state or face impeachment, an attempt to secure a peaceful end to his tenure after a de facto coup.”

Friday, November 17, 2017

The APC Should Not Insult The Obi Of Onitsha

By Aniefiok Udoabasi
So I just finished reading the press statement issued by the Anambra Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In it, the party is castigating the Obi of Onitsha, HRM Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe,  for failing to leave his base to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari at the state capital. The Obi had insisted that Buhari should visit him in his palace instead.
Please note that the royal father is not refusing to meet Buhari. He is merely asking to meet him in his palace.
I don't know why any son of the soil should encourage the desecration of his own royal stool because of politics.
When Buhari visits Sokoto, he does not send for the Sultan of Sokoto. He goes to his palace to pay homage.
You don't go to Osun and send for the Oni of Ife. You seek him out to pay homage.
Not just here.
You don't go to England and send for the Queen to come and see you. Donald Trump was in Japan recently. He didn't send for the Emperor. He went to his palace to pay homage.
Royal fathers/mothers are the custodians of their domains. That is why they are universally respected.
Why should the case of the Obi of Onitsha be different? Can Buhari go to Edo and send someone to call the Oba of Benin for him? Why can't he accord same respect to a royal father of the East?
The hatred and disdain that Buhari has for that part of the country are well known. What I don't understand is why any son of the soil should egg him on.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Niger Delta Conundrum

By Ray Ekpu
Quite a number of knowledgeable people have commented favourably on the 2018 budget recently presented by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly. In particular they are enthused by the size of the budget, N8.612 trillion, which is 30% over and above the 2017 budget. But the thrill lies more in the fact that N2.43 trillion will be devoted to capital expenditure. This is about 30.8% of the budget, a strong indication that the government is showing an equally strong commitment to the development of critical infrastructure.
 But this thrill is diminished by two factors (a) all our budgets always have a very low actual implementation regime. They end up as mere paper projects (b) the thrill is also diminished by the threat of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to do considerable damage to our oil infrastructure because of the Federal Government’s failure to live up to the promises it made to the Niger Delta people. The Avengers who have the same acronym as the Nigerian Defence Academy, an institution for the training of Nigeria’s armed forces personnel, had observed a ceasefire for the past one year based on the optimism that was fueled by Buhari’s meeting with Niger Delta leaders on November 1 last year. The group called Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by such eminent Niger Deltans as Chief Edwin Clark, King Alfred Diete-Spiff and Obong Victor Attah had submitted a 16-point shopping list to Buhari for implementation.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The People’s Will Must Prevail In Anambra On November 18

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
On Saturday, November 18, 2017, the good people of Anambra will elect the person who will govern the state for the next four years.
All eyes will be on the state not only because this is a standalone election but also because of the antecedents of the political gladiators. General elections are more than a year away from now. The reason why this governorship election is holding on Saturday rather than the first quarter of 2019 is ensconced in the womb of Anambra politics.
*Peter Obi and Willie Obiano
For those who may have forgotten, in 2003, the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and political godfathers with former President Olusegun Obasanjo as their patron saint orchestrated an unprecedented electoral heist that denied Peter Obi, who ran on the platform of the Chekwas Okorie-led All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), victory. Dr. Chris Ngige, the PDP candidate, was handed the political diadem.
It was a brazen affront on the inalienable right of the people to elect their leaders.

Robert Mugabe Removed From Office By The Military

*Robert and Grace Mugabe 
Zimbabwe's army insisted that President Robert Mugabe is safe as it took over the state broadcaster and arrested a number of senior government officials during a night that saw military vehicles patrolling the streets of the capital while gunfire and explosions rang out.
Military officers denied they had carried out a coup, announcing on state TV that they were targeting a ring of government plotters following a power struggle that saw the vice-president flee the country last week.

The ‘Avengers’ And The Future Of The Niger Delta

By Simon Abah
Medical persons attribute man’s thinking capacity to the balance between the neurons and synapses in the human brain. A normal human being thinks before he acts but in Nigeria, it appears we suffer from a frontal-lobe crisis which makes us act before we think. The Niger Delta Avengers may begin to blow pipelines anytime from now like pyromaniacs and if what I read in the papers is correct, they may also blow up any human being who stands in their way to actualise their bombing campaign. Like Boko Haram, they don’t strike me as a thinking group.

Relationship-building between and among people in the Niger region is abysmal. It has reached the stage that politics in the Delta is war. Is this region the only one in Nigeria where politics is played? Why are they always pointing fingers at other people but themselves for all problems? Why aren’t politicians crying in the pool of democratic baptism? Why have they allowed certain people to give the Niger Delta a bad name by allowing them to be as wild as un-dipped devils?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Willie Obiano Shines In Governorship Debate

 By Chuks Iloegbunam
 Governor Willie Obiano displayed a sense of purpose all through the debate. He was first asked the nature of the quarrel between him and ex-Governor Peter Obi. He brushed it aside, saying that Mr. Obi was not a candidate in the governorship ballot. His preference was to state his work and his plans for Ndi Anambra. In the course of the debate, the Governor was asked if he could authenticate the story that Mr. Obi had demanded a refund of the N7.5 billion he claimed to have invested in his election. Yes, indeed, the demand had been made but Obiano declined to pay any such money because Anambra was not indebted to anybody on campaign funding. These underscore his clarity of thought on the night.
*Gov Willie Obiano 
The issue of probity was raised. Mr. Oseloka Obaze accused Governor Obiano of selling off dollars “they” had saved for “future generations.” This was the Governor’s masterful response: “First, that’s Anambra’s money. In banking, we call it ‘liquidity management’. You don’t leave an idle fund when you desire to put funds into activities. This guy (Peter Obi) left a debt of N127 billion. Contractors have to be paid. While you are balancing your act, you won’t have money sitting in the bank and you are looking for money to pay contractors. That’s a legitimate transaction. It is not a personal fund. So, in liquidating only $10 million (out of over $100 million) in four years to be able to pay contractors in a recession is good. That’s money management.”

Festus Iyayi And The Violence Of Death: Four Years After

By Dan Amor
Even for the casual observer of the convoluted Nigerian social system, the news of the murder of Professor Festus Iyayi, a University of Benin (UNIBEN) Professor, creative writer and human rights activists, was rudely shocking. The former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was said to have died on Tuesday November 12, 2013 in an accident involving the convoy of the then Kogi Sate Governor Idris Wada. He was just 66. This was one inexplicable death too many. Four years after and given the fact that this was now the second fatal crash involving Wada’s convoy, the Federal Government is yet to punish the driver of his convoy’s vehicle that hit the bus in which the lecturers were traveling.
*Festus Iyayi 
Like Chima Ubani, another fire-brand activist who was killed in a similar circumstance a few years back, Iyayi was yet another victim of the penchant for the Nigerian State to murder its best and brightest stars. But I write of him today not only as a committed intellectual and activist but also as one of the best literary minds to have emerged in the twentieth century anywhere in the world. For Iyayi, one of Africa’s shining titans in the literary firmament, there is no more intrinsic and indivisible quality of art, no better, no other initiation is there into the craft of creative writing but the most discriminating and appreciative practice of the literature of engagement. The Nigerian politicians’ betrayal of national trust and the general apathy of the citizens provoked a fighting (revolutionary) literature from writers through committed satirization of society with prophetic dimensions.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Reflections On Rotimi Amaechi And Nyesom Wike

By Pius Adesanmi

Yesterday, the convoys of Rotimi Amaechi and Nyesom Wike clashed in Port Harcourt. Today, the airwaves will be flooded by their aides. There will be narratives and counter-narratives. Colourful lies will clash with colorful hyperbole. Aides will be locked in a competition to win public sympathy for their bosses. On all sides, the scramble for the winning story has actually begun.
Amaechi and Wike 
Citizen, let me advise you. Let the aides do what they are paid to do. You have no dog in this fight. It is just two irresponsible Nigerian leaders involved in a street fight. Who is right and who is wrong between Wike and Amaechi is none of your business. Both men are mountains on your back. They are your oppressor. In these tough economic times, do not be misled by aides to waste your precious data taking sides with one man against the other. The only way this applies to you is that you are the grass beneath the feet of the two elephants going at it naked in public.

Do you want to know how you are the grass? Come with me.
Thanks are due to Sahara Reporters for providing photographic slides of the street location of the skirmish in Port Harcourt. They are fighting in dirty, rain-soaked streets. Evidence of horrible drainage abounds in the photos. There is some flooding. Everything looks jaga jaga like the streets of urban Nigeria look whenever the rains come.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Nigeria: APC And Its Rotten Eggs

By Ike Abonyi
“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems – not people, to focus your energies on answers – not excuses.”
– William Arthur Ward
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is desperately searching for the cause of its inability to raise their governance beyond plinth level. 
There is no doubt that the party has been struggling in its administration of the country in the past 20 months. As they try to cover one hole another opens. The fight against corruption which is their biggest strength has been trapped in the intrinsic contradictions in the regime.
The government has been rolling in and out of series of embarrassing scandals even as it tries to hold on to the acclaimed status of being a cleansing government. As the party strives to find its bearings, it has been groping aimlessly trying to look for whom to blame for its failings. For two years, it can hardly cough without calling on the past government. Even when their people face personal domestic problems they try blaming the past administration.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Governor Willie Obiano’s Staying Power

 By Chuks Iloegbunam
 The electioneering campaigns in Anambra State are grounding to a halt, making way for the governorship ballot of November 18, 2017. It is necessary to review the road since travelled, and project on expected outcomes. For those with an ear to the ground, the campaigns unofficially started when, a year after he got into office, Governor Obiano made it clear that he was not interested in being anyone’s stooge.
*Gov Obiano
Now everything is coming to a dazzling conclusion. The campaign convoys are backing out of streets and squares and veering into parking lots. Loudhailers are coming unstuck from sundry lips, stopping the torrents of flowery promises. Those that have screamed their vocal cords sore can now race to “chemist” shops for lozenges. Branded T-shirts and ankara wrappers will thenceforth constitute little other than fashion statements and bed sheets.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Nigeria: Who Are The Civil War Victims?

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
No one who is actuated by a keen sense of justice and patriotism that is hallmarked by a desire that the nation’s cohesion remains inviolable would inveigh against efforts to give the people of the south-eastern part of the country the assurance that there is no deliberate state policy to consign them to a benighted realm of the polity. There is the overarching need for such an assurance since 47 years after the three years of the civil war that inflicted monumental catastrophes on their lives and property, they are still chafing under a sense of alienation. There is a constant reminder of this exclusion by the fact of their being the only people who make up the so-called tripod in the country who are yet to produce the nation’s president.
Thus, what we witness when the Federal Government moves in the direction of breaking this exclusion is a cascade of plaudits from different parts of the country. This was why when in 2000 the then President Olusegun Obasanjo commuted to retirement the dismissal of the military personnel who fought on the side of Biafra, he was commended. Similarly, the decision by the President Muhammadu Buhari government to pay the entitlements of former Biafran police officers has been justifiably applauded. And this is why the government’s further demonstration of its magnanimity by announcing its decision to pay the victims of the civil war N50 billion and deploy N38 billion for the evacuation of abandoned bombs and construction has equally elicited approval from the citizens.

Is Nigeria Heading For Food Riots?

By Steve Onyeiwu
Nigeria is no stranger to riots and demonstrations. From the days of “Ali Must Go” in the late 1970s, the SAP riots in 1989, the June 12, 1993 protests and the perennial outbursts by the various militant groups in Nigeria, the country appears to have become accustomed to riots. While the Nigerian state has managed to weather these storms, the country can ill-afford food riots. As the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man. Nigerians are already very angry about the high level of corruption in the country, the ongoing recession, the lack of inclusive growth, the high unemployment rate, chronic poverty, infrastructural decay and the lack of economic opportunities. For many Nigerians, a persistent increase in food prices would be the last straw that would jolt them into food riots.
(pix: WB)
Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President, understood the severity of the problem when he established a Presidential Task Force last February to address the problem of escalating food prices. But long-term solutions require much more than the mere setting up of a task force. Some of those solutions will be discussed later in this article.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

President Buhari's Alleged Northernization Policy

By Reuben Abati
Perhaps the biggest news this week so far, has been the attempt by the Presidency to debunk the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari has been kinder to Northerners and Muslims in the recruitment of persons into his administration. The published list, itself a response to an earlier indictment by the BusinessDay newspaper, has been dismissed as incomplete, selective and misleading but all of that draws attention to a crisis at the heart of Nigerian politics, nay African politics. Matthew Hassan Kukah once described this in our context as “the-myonisation-of-power”.

That is when a Nigerian from a particular part of the country becomes President, his people including his kinsmen and his friends and associates from his community and other parts of Nigeria see his ascendance as their own opportunity to have a taste of the national cake. They fight over the proverbial cake. Invariably, they benefit from what is called the politics of proximity. They get appointed to the best positions. They gain better access to the seat and the man of power than everyone else. Nigeria is not alone in this regard.
The same politics plays out in other African countries. In Kenya, John Githongo, their once-upon-a-time anti-corruption czar, in a book on him, the author, Michela Wrong complains that what prevails in Kenyan politics is the syndrome of “it-is-our-turn-to-eat.” In that country, the emergent politics is not even just about what to eat, it is about ego, elite contestation, dynastic rivalry and power. Wrong is right in many ways. That drama has been played out in the recent elections in Kenya but here in Nigeria, we have also been dealing with the same crisis since independence.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Fulani Herdsmen: Grim Statistics Of Their Bloody Exploits

By Dan Agbese
You probably thought it could not get more unsettling. You were wrong.
Here is some evidence. Former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, addressed a one-day forum organised by a group known as the Search for Common Ground on his farm October 30. In it, he released some grim statistics about the killings and maiming in clashes between Fulani herdsmen and peasant farmers in four states – Plateau, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Benue – in just one year. These figures are certain to chill your bones and make your eyes go rheumy for the present and the future of our country.
Here are the details he gave for 2016 only: 2,500 people killed; 62,000 people displaced; $13.7 billion lost to the clashes and 47 per cent of the internally-generated revenue in the affected states lost. 
The problem with statistics is that when they are about human beings, you cannot put faces to them. Human beings are thus reduced to stark, impersonal numbers. The death of 2,500 Nigerians and the displacement of 62,000 others may do no more than give you a momentary jolt only for you to shrug it off. You are not likely to think of them as struggling Nigerians in our rural areas who were doing nothing criminal but pursuing their legitimate livelihood as peasant farmers who fed the nation.

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