Saturday, July 30, 2016

July: Nigeria’s Month Of Remembrance

By Dan Amor
 For those of us who were born during or after the Nigerian Civil War, Chief Uche Ezechukwu's Monday column on the 50 years of the assassination of Nigeria's first military head of state General JTU Aguiyi Ironsi, provides an illuminating pathway to the events that led to the war. No nation among the third world countries makes a stronger claim on the interest and sympathy of Africans than Nigeria. What Nigeria has meant to the black continent and to blacks across the world, makes her future a matter of deep concern.
*Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu
taking the oath of office as the leader
of the Republic of Biafra in May 1967
Nigeria might be doddering or tottering behind less endowed African countries as a giant with feet of clay, no thanks to the tragedy of irresponsible leadership. But whatever happens to her usually serves as a huge lesson for other African countries. To view therefore with judgment and comprehension the course of present and future events in Nigerian life and politics, we must possess knowledge and understanding of her past, and to provide such understanding within concise compass, we must consult history. Yet it is an unbiased, disinterested and unprejudiced inquiry into the history of our country that will ensure that we leave a legacy of truth for generations yet unborn.

In fact, the true story of Nigeria must begin with the foundations of the nation – its geographical and economic character; its social-political and religious influences and the psychology of its peoples. Besides the existence of multi-ethnic nationalities before the fusion of the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914 by Lord Fredrick Lugard, a British imperialist military commander, and the almost 100 years of British colonial rule, the great period of post-independence crisis – 1960-1970 – must be vividly delineated for posterity. The death in November 2011 of Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu who has come to symbolise that great epoch of epic struggle brought to the front burner of national discourse, the issues and convergent forces at play in the Nigerian Civil War. But recent developments point to the fact that our leaders who prefer to learn their geology the day after the earthquake would want history to repeat itself.

Unfortunately, rather than telling in bold dramatic relief, the tragic and magnificent story of what brought about the war and its aftermath, some commentators have elected to mislead the reading public on who actually caused the war. Some have even pointedly accused Chief Ojukwu of having masterminded the war in order to divide Nigeria. What can be more mischievously misleading than the deliberate refusal to allow the historical sense transcend the ephemeral currents of the present and reveal the spirit of a people springing from the deepest traditions of their tragic experience? How could one begin to appreciate a legend who continued to be astonishingly misunderstood even when the realities of the factors that pushed him to rise in defense of his people are damning on the rest of us forty-nine years after his action? Why is it so difficult for us to appreciate the fact that Ojukwu has come to represent, in large and essential measure, not only a signification of heroism but also a courageous attempt to say no to an emerging oligarchy which was bent on annihilating his people from the face of the earth?

Friday, July 29, 2016

50th Anniversary Of Africa’s Bloodiest Coup d’état

By Chuks Iloegbunam
The first shots shattered the peace of the night at the Abeokuta Garrison of the Nigerian Army a few minutes after midnight on July 29, 1966. Three casualties lay instantly dead in the persons of Lieutenant Colonel Gabriel Okonweze, the Garrison Commander, Major John Obienu, Commander of the 2nd Reece Squadron, and Lieutenant E. B. Orok, also of the Reece Squadron. It was the beginning of the much-touted revenge coup of Northern Nigerian army officers and men against the regime of Major General Johnson Thomas Umunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi. By August 1, when Lieutenant Colonel Yakubu Gowon assumed power in Lagos as Nigeria’s second military Head of State, the bullet ridden bodies of both Ironsi and his host, Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, the military Governor of Western Nigeria, lay buried in shallow graves at Iwo, outside Ibadan“Within three days of the July outbreak, every Igbo soldier serving in the army outside the East was dead, imprisoned or fleeing eastward for his life”, observed Professor Ruth First in The Barrel of a Gun: The Politics of Coups d’Etat in Africa [Allen Lane The Penguin Press, London, 1970, p317.]


*Yakubu Gowon
But Africa’s bloodiest coup did not stop at that stage, despite the shooting deaths of 42 officers and over 130 other ranks, who were overwhelmingly Igbo. The killing sprees and ever-expanding killing fields spread like wild fire across most of the country. There were three phases to the coup – the Araba/Aware massacres in northern Nigeria pre-July that called for northern secession, the July Army bloodbath, and the ethnic cleansing that went on for months after Ironsi had been assassinated and his regime toppled. The maelstrom prompted Colonel Gowon into making a radio broadcast on September 29, 1966. This was the kernel of what he said: 

“You all know that since the end of July, God in his power has entrusted the responsibility of this great country of ours into the hands of yet another Northerner. I receive complaints daily that up till now Easterners living in the North are being killed and molested, and their property looted. I am very unhappy about this. We should put a stop to it. It appears that it is going beyond reason and is now at a point of recklessness and irresponsibility.”

But Gowon’s salutary intervention changed nothing, as the massacres continued unabated. Northern soldiers and civilians went into towns, fished out Easterners and flattened them either with rapid gunfire or with violent machete blows, leaving their properties looted or torched. According to the Massacre of Ndigbo in 1966: Report of the Justice G. C. M. Onyiuke Tribunal, [Tollbrook Limited, Ikeja, Lagos] “…between 45,000 and 50,000 civilians of former Eastern Nigeria were killed in Northern Nigeria and other parts of Nigeria from 29th May 1966 to December 1967 and although it is not strictly within its terms of reference the Tribunal estimates that not less than 1,627,743 Easterners fled back to Eastern Nigeria as a result of the 1966 pogrom.”

This is contemporary Nigerian history, only 50 years old. But when experts like Dr. Reuben Abati and Professor Jonah Elaigwu write about it, they lose all sense of numeracy and statistical acuity, and glibly state that the July 29, 1966 counter-coup cost “many” Igbo lives. Well, the truth is that the July 29 counter-coup appears to be the bloodiest in the world’s recorded history because the casualty figures it posted far outstrip those registered in decidedly bloody coups like the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in which King James II of England was overthrown by an invading army led by William III of Orange-Nassau; the 18 Brumaire of 1799 coup in which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory on November 9, 1799; the Wuchang Uprising of 1911 that overthrew the Qing Dynasty and led to the establishment of the Republic of China; the Bolsheviks October Revolution of 1917 that led to the creation of the Soviet Union; and the Iraqi coup d’état of 1936, the first among Arab countries. Each of these coups/revolutions led to war. But none of them managed anything near the sea of blood occasioned by July 29, 1966.

Given their interest in posting photographs and videos on the Internet by Instagram and Snapchat, and advertising mostly poor language on Facebook and other such portals, today’s Nigerian youths may know next to nothing about what led to the catastrophe of July 29. But the details follow here for those of them interested in learning. The problem sat rigidly on the superficiality of Nigeria, a geographical expression contrived by colonialist Britain. At Independence in 1960, the country operated a federal system of government with three powerful regions that didn’t take dictation from Lagos, the nation’s capital. A fourth region, the Midwest, with capital in Benin City, was created in June 1963. But destroying the very fabric of the artificial political entity were tribalism and corruption, corruption which by today’s standards, would seem like cloistered nuns delightfully engaging in a game of Ping-Pong!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

W.F Kumuyi: The Missing Link In National Development

By Banji Ojewale
There is a small but vocal circle of Nigerians who do not believe that their country needs more of the quickening touch of the Divine to help turn things around for the prostrate land. They look all over the place and spotting what they see as a sea of churches, they conclude that Nigeria would be better off without a ‘surfeit’ of ecclesiastical industry. They refer to patently disturbing reports of abominable conduct in the Church and return the verdict that the trouble with Nigeria isn’t its politics or economy; it is the Church which encourages a craving for materialist prosperity. They argue that the Church and its leaders no longer aim at addressing the soul as their Lord Jesus Christ taught. Today, they say, the Church is master at pandering to carnal needs.
Pastor W.F Kumuyi
So they want less of sacerdotal activity and more of agnostic enterprise.

Well, this contrasts with the position of a famous French historian and writer as he also studied the role of the Church in the United States of America when that country was struggling with the challenges that came after a war.
The famous French writer Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States of America in the first half of the 19th century and returned with reports of how great America had become not too long after it had emerged from its war of Independence and passed through the teething problems of nation-building. His extensive tour led him to probe the source of this eminence.

When Tocqueville had undertaken an arduous search, he wrote: “I sought for the greatness of the United States in her commodious harbors, her ample rivers, her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there. I sought for it in her rich higher learning and it was not there. I looked for it in her democratic congress and her matchless constitution and it was not there. Not until I went to the Churches of America did I understand the secret of her genius and power”.

Tocqueville attributed the prosperity of the nascent American State to the fact that its leaders instituted a national policy that encouraged the Churches of the day to pray to God on behalf of “kings and… all that are in authority” as enjoined in the Holy Bible (1 Timothy 2:2). As far as he was concerned it was obedience to that Divine order coupled with diligent work that brought down God’s blessings both on the American people and on the land. Indeed the concluding part of the text we quoted says such intercessions will lead to “a quiet and peaceable life” adding that “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God” (verse 3).

Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi, founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) is in the same class as Tocqueville. He believes that the absence of Jesus Christ in the citizen’s life in Nigeria is responsible for the problems assaulting us, the same way that lack is the source of all of the world’s problems at the moment. The point, he argues, is not to have less of Jesus’ message of tolerance, righteousness, Biblical holiness, love for fellow man (even if he is your enemy), abstemious lifestyle, focus on Heaven etc. Outlawing Jesus amounts to outlawing peace and order. Man’s duty is to admit Him and allow Him full reign.

Kumuyi has maintained a diligent outworking of this faith in the power of the Gospel to change the fortunes of society if sincerely embraced. He has embarked on a back-breaking crusade nationwide. It has taken the Deeper Life Bible Church leader to far-flung areas including such so called no-go states as Plateau, Bauchi, Adamawa and Gombe. He was in those places only last week even in the midst of deadly outbursts of violence.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Adekunle Fajuyi: They Want Us To Forget

By Yinka Odumakin
The ancient city of Ibadan comes alive on Friday July 29, 2016 as dignitaries from all walks of life converge to remember that gallant, brave and outstanding soldier, Col Adekunle Fajuyi, who was murdered 50 years ago by Northern military officers who massed on the capital of the Western Region to take out then Head of State, Major General Johnson Aguiyi- Ironsi.
*Col Adekunle Fajuyi
The International Conference at the University of Ibadan is the place to be as prolific writer and teacher, Prof Niyi Osundare, speaks on “Fajuyi and the Politics of Remembrance”. Fiery preacher, Pastor Tunde Bakare and Prof Wale Adebanwi will spice his thoughts.

I spoke with a 27-year-old a few weeks back and I was shocked he had no idea who Fajuyi was. And it quickly dawned on me that those who stopped the teaching of History in our schools have succeeded in wiping off the   memory   card of our pertinent stories. They want us to be blank but we must keep telling our stories. Adekunle Fajuyi did not commit any crime than the fact that he was playing host to Ironsi on July 29,1966 when Northern officers who staged a revenge coup following the Kaduna Nzeogwu-led coup of January 15,1966 struck.

Disgruntled Northern officers led by Murtala Mohammed, TY Danjuma, Martin Adamu and others spearheaded a rebellion within the army after the event of January. On one occasion, Murtala called Ironsi a “fool” in the presence of other officers and threatened to avenge the death of his Northern officer colleagues. His position as the Inspector of Signals became quite veritable for the planning of the revenge coup nicknamed “Operation Araba” (Araba is Hausa word for let’s divide it). Murtala and his Northern colleagues had totally lost confidence in the Nigerian federation and their plan was to break Northern region from Nigeria.

Their politicians had earlier pulled out of the Federal Parliament in 1953 after the crisis that followed their rejection of Enahoro’s motion that Nigeria should become independent in 1956.They produced an eight-point demand which effectively wanted a confederal Nigeria as a precondition to return. As their coup began on July 29, 1966, it was Murtala who coordinated the take-over of  the International Airport in Lagos, an edifice to be named after him 10 years later. When he and his troops arrived the airport, they hijacked planes to ferry their families back to the North as a prelude to the exit of the region from Nigeria.

 An Igbo officer (Captain Okoye) was captured by them and tied to an iron cross and beaten to death. In Military units across Lagos, Kaduna and Ibadan, Northern troops went gaga and murdered their Igbo colleagues in gruesome manner, eliminating hundreds of them. The arrowhead of the whole operation was Murtala who had close links with NPC as his Uncle Inuwa Wada was the Defence Minister. When Danjuma and co arrived Ibadan they made for the Government House where there was a detachment of 106 Artillery commanded by William Walbe from Plateau State on guard. It later came to light that Walbe was part of the conspiracy. He later became ADC to Gowon. By some act of naivety Fajuyi’s ADC was one Lt Adamu, while Ironsi had Lt Sani Bello.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

General Aguiyi-Ironsi: 50 Years After…

By Uche Ezechukwu
Next Friday, July 29th, will mark the golden jubilee milestone in Nigeria’s bloody history. That was the day in 1966, when Nigeria’s first military head of state, Major General Johnson Thomas Ummunnakwe Aguiyi-Ironsi, was abducted and killed by officers led by the then Majors Theophilus Danjuma and Murtala Muhammed, in what was known as the counter to the first ever military coup in the country that had taken place on January 15th of the same year.
*Gen Ironsi 
During the January 15 coup, top political leaders, predominantly from the Northern and the Western parts of the country were slain by the young ambitious military officers. Incidentally, apart from Colonel Arthur Unegbe, who was the quartermaster-general of the army, no other person from the East was killed in a putsch that severed off the top echelon of the political and military leadership from the North. In that coup, both the powerful premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto, who was the leader of the ruling NPC was slain. So also was Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the prime minister of Nigeria. Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, the premier of Western Nigeria and the ally of the NPC was also slain; so was Sir Festus Okotie Eboh, the minister of finance. Topmost Northern military officer Brigadier Maimalari was also killed. 

Incidentally, no politician of Eastern Region origin was killed. The powerful Dr Michael Okpara, the premier of Eastern Nigeria and Chief Dennis Osadebey who was the NCNC premier of Mid-West region, and an Igbo from Asaba, were not killed. Of course, President Nnamdi Azikiwe, who was out of the country at the time, on a medical tour, was also not touched. Even though it would appear as a convenient after-thought explanation to say that the fact that all those Igbo people were spared was not quite planned but was an error of fate.

For one thing, the soldiers sent to Ikoyi to arrest and kill the chief of army staff, Aguiyi-Ironsi, could not meet him at home as he had gone to a party aboard a naval ship at the Marina, Lagos, and had learnt of the on-going coup there. From there, he had found his way to Obalende and Ikeja, where he organised some loyal troops to foil the coup in Lagos. It was also Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the commander of the Fifth Battalion at Kano that foiled the coup in the North.

Yet, how do you explain to the sorrowing Northerners that the coup, whose victims were unfortunately very lopsided at the expense of the North, was not a plot by the Igbo officers in the military? After all, on the list of the coup plotters was mostly Igbo, even as its two leaders, Majors Emmanuel ifeajuna and Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, as well as the other majors and officers were majorly Igbo. It hardly mattered that officers from all over the country including Major Ademoyega, Oyewole, Banjo, etc, were among the ring leaders of the coup. Neither, did it matter at those testy times that the coup plotters had planned to go to Calabar Prison, release Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was serving a life–term for treason, and make him the prime minister. It also did not matter that Nzeogwu whose mother was Tiv and who was very angry over the military campaigns in Tivland in 1965, was only Igbo by name.

Clearly, Buhari Belongs To Somebody

By Gbemiga Olakunle
“I belong to everybody. I belong to nobody.” 
That was the golden statement or word on marble credited to President Muhammed Buhari, GCFR as part of his Inauguration Speech on the day of his Inauguration on Friday May 29th, 2015 at Eagle’s Square, Abuja. Buhari with that particular statement, among other highlights of his Inaugural speech, the nation that has been put in a reverse-gear and in a state of despondency suddenly seemed to be revived and had her hope rekindled that her tomorrow would be better and alright. But some of us with the eyes of the Spirit by God’s grace, refused to be cajoled by that statement.
President Buhari and Emir Sanusi of Kano
The contents of our rejoinder titled “President Buhari Belongs to Somebody”, widely published online and by national newspapers like The Punch and The Sun, say it all. In that article, we debunked that particular statement and remarked that the President actually belongs to the North (especially the Hausa/Fulani) where he hails from and his party- All Progressives for Change -APC (the party that produced him as its presidential flag-bearer).

But some distrust Nigerians, including a well-respected Man of God who is an ardent supporter of Mr. President found it difficult to be on the same page with us on the views expressed in that article. Although this writer is also a supporter of President Buhari but definitely not a blind supporter or follower. I belong to a section of supporters who still have their eyes wide-open and regularly points out the pit-falls that the new administration may not be conscious of. And true to the prophetic insight clearly expressed in our rejoinder then by God’s grace, the President has begun to come up with his sets of appointments which clearly show where he belongs -  the North.

President Buhari rattled everybody including his Party-Chieftains whom God used to work for his good success at the presidential polls against all odds. The clear-cut lopsidedness in the recent appointments into boards of parastatals and key sectors of the Economy and the security apparatus have left no-one in doubt about where President Buhari’s spirit, soul and body belong - the North, with a particular reference to the Hausa/ Fulani. This unfolding scenario seems to have left the Ruling Party (APC) to be dumb-founded and rattled.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Dambazzau And Military Audit Report

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
President Muhammadu Buhari is worried. That, ordinarily, should not be news. A president under whose watch the economy is performing so woefully should be worried. That is the least expected of him.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures inflation has hit 16.5 per cent, the highest in 11 years. Before Buhari took over the reins of power, inflation was at a comfortable single digit.
*Dambazau and Buhari 
But he is not worried because the economy is in recession; he is not worried because of the runaway inflation.
And he is not worried that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Nigeria’s economy will contract in 2016 and cut the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast from 2.3 per cent in April to 1.8 per cent, the lowest in 29 years.
Our dear president is not worried that N375 now exchanges for $1 with the prospect of hitting a scandalous N500 to $1 before the end of the year, contrary to what he promised on the campaign stump.
Buhari is not worried that his All Progressives Congress (APC) has not delivered on its promise to create millions of jobs annually. Instead, thousands are thrown into the labour market and those still keeping their jobs are grossly underemployed with salaries being irregular or not paid at all.
He is not worried that Foreign Direct investment (FDI) has dried up, literally, despite the much-hyped trip to Beijing and other world capitals. He is not worried that rather than new businesses springing up, those already up and running are shutting down.
Buhari is not worried that Nigerians are feeding, literally, from the dustbin.
No!
He is rather worried that Nigerians are bootlegging his "good behaviour," his penchant for labelling every citizen a “thief” with or without evidence, particularly anyone who has served in any government before his.
Buhari is worried that senior government officials are being tarred with the brush of corruption without any concrete evidence.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said his principal has appealed to “discerning” Nigerians to ignore orchestrated attempts to sully the integrity of ministers and other senior government officials and called for decent and civilised comments, particularly on the integrity of those serving the country.
Oh, Really!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Buhari's Second Coming: A Tragic Mistake!

By Remi Oyeyemi


For those who have followed my writings, it is not news to them that I have no iota of confidence in President Muhammadu Buhari either as a candidate or as President of Nigeria. It is not news that it has been difficult for me to believe that anything good could come out of Buhari’s Nazareth. My convictions are based on his trajectory on the political landscape of Nigeria. A trajectory of corruption, incompetence, deceit, nepotism and a genre of noxious tribalism are the contaminating clouds characterizing his contoured career.
*Buhari 
But for someone like me, who is an avowed unbeliever in Buhari, it is nothing personal. It is all about the future of my children who despite having several opportunities for being Americans have fallen in love first of all with Ijeshaland, the Yoruba Nation, the unfortunate country called Nigeria and the continent Africa. That is the order of priority in which I have tried to educate them and they understand, or rather I did everything to make them understand, why it has to be that way.
 
So, because this is about the future of my children, I have prayed ceaselessly and hoped untiringly that President Buhari would disappoint me in his second coming. This is despite the fact that I did not think he would be able to rescue Nigeria. This is despite the fact that I know his second coming is a tragic mistake. This is despite the fact that I know that Buhari is a born-again corrupt military man turned politician dressed in the borrowed robe of integrity. This is despite the fact that I know that he does not believe in Nigeria.
 
But somehow, you just hope that you are wrong. You hope that the man could have been softened by age and experience. You just hope that at his age he would realize the futility of vanity and would seek to ingrain his name in immortality by doing the right thing and disappoint doubting Thomases like me. You hope that some of your friends and colleagues who bought into him hook, line and sinker would come around to wipe it in your face “we told you so.”
 
It would have been beautiful and worth it if I found myself in that position. It would not have mattered if President Buhari had disappointed me and performed very well. I would have appreciated it. I would have praised him. I would have been converted to one of his hailers. I would have been shameless about making a u-turn. All would have been worth it for the sake of the future of my children.
 
But rather than disappoint me, President Buhari further confirmed why I have been against him in the first instance. He cemented his reputation that made Nigerian electorate reject him three times as a congenital failure and incorrigibly untruthful. He continues to prove that he is not worthy of even the fake integrity with which he has been invested by the Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s propaganda machine that ensured his election as Nigeria’s president.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Reject President Buhari’s ‘One Nigeria’

By Ochereome Nnanna
We are now concentrating on the militants to know how many they are, especially in terms of groupings, leadership and to plead with them to try and give Nigeria a chance.

“I assure them that the saying by Gen. Yakubu Gowon that ‘to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done’ still stands. In those days we never thought of oil all we were concerned about was one Nigeria. “So please pass this message to the militants, that one Nigeria is not negotiable and they had better accept it. The Nigerian Constitution is clear as to what they should get and I assure them, there will be justice.” – President Muhammadu Buhari, to some residents of Abuja who paid him Sallah homage recently.
*Buhari 
President Buhari President Buhari’s off-the-cuff statement above provides an opportunity for us to pick the mindsets of Nigerians on what they really mean by the concept of “One Nigeria”. It is obvious that “One Nigeria does not have a single meaning for all of us; going by the way we carry on, especially when we find ourselves in positions of power as Buhari currently does.

Let me describe my own idea of One Nigeria. It is a crossbreed between the Zikist and Awoist visions of the unity of Nigeria. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the father of African Nationalism and foremost exponent of Nigeria’s independence, believed in a Nigeria where all citizens would share one vision and national aspiration, irrespective of their tribes, tongues, regions, religions, majority or minority status. That is the kind of nationalism practised in Ghana, a country whose foremost independence proponent and Pan-Africanist, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was inspired by the Great Zik.

In Ghana, tribe, region and religion are no impediments to national unity. That is why the longest-ruling head of state, John Jerry Rawlings (a minority), was able to seize power and sanitise Ghana. He laid a solid foundation for today’s success story. Contrast this with Nigeria, where an earlier attempt by Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and his colleagues ended up being given an ethno-religious and regional toga. It resulted in a civil war at the end of which Nigeria became a colonial booty of Arewa (the Muslim North). The Awoist version of One Nigeria recognised the differences between the various groups and sought to establish a structure in which all these groups could live within their geopolitical enclaves and aspire competitively for the greatness of a united nation. Nobody’s ethnic, religious or cultural hang-ups would slow down the progress of others who do not share these hang-ups, and yet all would belong equally and equitably to one nation in spite of their complex diversity. This arrangement is often described as “true federalism”.

So, in this Nigeria of my dreams, those who want to practice Islamic Sharia in their home zone can go ahead. Those who want to cut off the hands of their thieves and overpopulate their home zones with illiterate citizens will not be an impediment to my section which wants to exercise population control, give good education to the young people and offer them a modern, civilised lifestyle comparable to the best in the world. You use what you produce to cater for your people but pay rents to the Federal Government to maintain the common services that bind us together as people of One Nigeria. But you do not use your landmass and population to parasite upon and terrorise others and suck their resources dry in the name of “One Nigeria which, you insist, is “non-negotiable”.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Nigeria’s Unity Is Negotiable, Mr. President

By Godwin Etakibuebu
A few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as telling a group of agitators from the Niger Delta region of the country that Nigeria’s unity is not negotiable”. He went further by pulling from a former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, most popular quote while the Nigeria/Biafra war lasted to buttress his point. That quote said: “to keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done”. 

I want to convince myself that the President meant this “clarion” call of “non-negotiable of the Nigerian nation’s unity” for the attention of all militant groups or agitators in the country. This is necessary because what is good for the goose of the Niger Delta geo-political region of Nigeria is even better for other and all geo-political zones of the country. Of course, this slogan of Nigeria’s Unity not negotiable” is not new; it is an age-long and over-used phrase by most political leaders in Nigeria. Proof at hand is that this slogan has failed the test of time.

It is time for us therefore to go to the other side of the current bargain of “non-negotiable” in finding solution to the peculiar and perilous challenge that may likely put Nigeria asunder sooner than expected by exploring the benefits of “negotiating the unity” of this geographical enterprise called Nigeria. First and foremost, there was no country by the name Nigeria until 1914 when the amalgamation took place under the watchful eyes of Lord Lugard. He happily adopted the name Nigeria’, a loudly pronounced thought of that British journalist, Dame Flora Louise Shaw [1852 – 1929], who later became Lady Lugard – the adoption itself was negotiated.

 In a well-researched lecture given very recently [2013] by one seasoned and old British Scholar in the Nigerian House, London, under the chairmanship of Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, then Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, the revelation on the reason for the 1914 amalgamation by the British Empire was laid on the table. I was there at the lecture just by co-incidence of events. The two separate protectorates of both south and north coming together in 1914 was “based on the economic consideration of running the protectorate of the north which could not pay its bill”, according to the scholar/researcher, adding that “while the south protectorate was economically self-sufficient, the north protectorate was not”. It is in the face of this reality that the decision was taken by the Home Office to fuse both north and south protectorates together “so that the ‘unified’ country would be self-sufficient economically.

We, the people of this “area of the Niger, as opined by Lady Lugard, were “negotiated” into a nebulously packaged unity by powers and influences out-side, even the continent of Africa, purely for the economic exigency of the British. I want to submit therefore, that a clarion call for the survival of this fraudulent unity that is operational in Nigeria presently should be negotiation-based, by the Nigerian people. Any opposition to this is begging for rapturous disaster. Let us pull from one major historical event of the past to be surer of the most likely profitable route, in enduring national survival, which we need to follow in this matter. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ndigbo: Why Joe Igbokwe’s Self-Enslavement Worries Me

By Jude Ndukwe
In his well published diatribe against the Igbo people of Nigeria, Joe Igbokwe, the Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State chapter, who is also a son of Igbo, poured invectives on the Igbo nation while making spurious allegations against them. For those who know Igbokwe’s leanings and past stance on national issues, his latest scurrilous attack on the great people of the South Eastern part of Nigeria did not come as a surprise, the only surprising thing is that this latest attack seem to come somehow awkwardly late and too far apart given the man’s relentless and unrepentant penchant for always attempting to ridicule Nigeria’s most resilient and enterprising people in an essay full of contradictions, lame postulations and outright insults.
*Tinubu and Buhari 
His grouse is that, according to him, the Igbo have refused to move on since after former president Jonathan lost the last presidential election to the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari. In one fell swoop, he accused the Igbo of ethnic bigotry and still went ahead to wonder why it is that the people of the South South region have since moved on while their South Eastern brothers have refused to move on from that election. If the Igbo were ethnic bigots, how would they be so concerned about the loss of a Bayelsa man in an election to the extent that a certain Joe Igbokwe is riled by their stoic and unwavering support to such a man even more than a year after his loss?

Rather than paint the Igbo in such uncomplimentary, yet, false light, Joe should turn his focus on his principals and paymasters who are working tirelessly to continually divide Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines. When the president of a country has officially divided his nation into two political, ethnic and religious lines by the virtue of the “97% vs 5%” declaration of no person less than the president himself, the Igbo view him as one who does not mean well for the nation.

 In this light, the Igbo view Jonathan as a hero because, even though he is not Igbo, he would never have made such a divisive and unpresidential statement not to talk of acting it out. And as if to prove that declaration as an official policy of his, President Buhari’s appointments have not been federal either in character or in intent. To this extent, the Igbo view themselves as endangered species in a nation that easily preaches one Nigeria but state actors do the exact opposite. The president’s continued seclusion of certain parts of the country from State offices and projects, if there is anyone at all, is what is crippling Nigeria. The cry of the Igbo, which the likes of Igbokwe have misinterpreted to serve their own selfish purpose, is that Buhari should not crash the nation with his own hands.

 If anyone sees this as ethnic bigotry, the person has urgent need for an optician and a psychiatrist! With the level of poverty visited on us in Nigeria by the Buhari administration, it is enough to make people like Igbokwe spew nonsense in the name of criticism, and also makes it imperative for regular brain checks to be part of such people’s daily menu. When armless and harmless Igbo embark on peaceful rallies and the military shoot at them without provocation, killing many in the process, not once, not twice, and hurriedly bury them in mass shallow graves in military barracks and elsewhere in order to cover their evil, Joe Igbokwe expects Ndigbo to applaud rather than criticize state actors for their wickedness and insensitivity. Enough is enough! 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our Quintessential Soyinka At 82

By Dan Amor
It was once the fashion to single out four men of letters as the supreme titans of world literature - Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Goethe - each the embodiment of a great epoch of Western culture - ancient, medieval, Renaissance and modern. These four literary icons of all times remain secure, but acclamation of Professor Wole Soyinka as the prototype of the inquiring spirit and courageous intellect of modern man has been sharply appreciated in our time, especially as we pass beyond the more leisurely issues of the post modernist era.
*Soyinka 
The intensely contemporary character of his works has made him the tallest iroko tree in the post-modernist forest of global dramatic literature. Yet, the commencement, two weeks ago, of the Wole Soyinka 82nd Birthday Festival, which ultimately climaxes today, July 13, his date of birth, unfortunately doesn't seem to wear the official insignia of the Nigerian government especially because he has started telling them the truth about the Nigerian condition. But, it is expected, as Christ Himself says in Matthew 13:57, "A prophet is not without honour, save his own country and his own house." 

In retrospect, in March 1996 when the Nigerian artistic and literary community was agog with the explosion of a series of events to mark the tri-centenary and two score anniversary of the birth of Von Goethe (1749-1832), the German creative genius and great thinker of all times, the Sani Abacha-led military junta, despite its sadistic, base and tyrannical complexion, surpassingly accorded the celebration an official recognition while declaring Soyinka, the custodian of our artistic signature wanted, dead or alive. Given the authoritarian intolerance of the Buhari government and the President's implacable disdain for anything cerebral, no one actually expected less from them especially at a time when Soyinka is telling him to listen to the cries of the Igbo and the minorities in the country, and to heed to the call for the restructuring of this lopsided federation. Oscar Wilde, the great Victorian English epigrammatist, in a state of protracted gloom once observed that: "Formerly we used to canonize our heroes. The modern method is to vulgarize them. Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable." Indeed, the brilliant Wilde cannot be faulted. But there is no more breeding ground for such critical vituperation than our current socio-political climate.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Killing The Economy To Kill Corruption

By Abraham Ogbodo    
The battle against corruption has become the sole purpose of the Buhari Presidency. It is being prosecuted as if all other things that define good governance shall follow automatically as soon as victory is proclaimed. I can go ahead to suggest that the appointment of ministers in this month of September, which has only 10 days to finish, as early promised, be shelved. It is no longer necessary since the entire business of government has been consolidated into a single effort – war against corruption.
One man or at most one ministry to be called Ministry of War Against Corruption can do the whole job. News that Buhari has branded ministers as noise makers is very encouraging. No serious war anywhere in the world is fought and won with noise makers. In the spirit of the new revelation, a proposal for amendment of the operating constitution to make the appointment of ministers by a sitting president discretionary can be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration.
I am not even too sure if the NASS itself will fit properly into the new order. The members are even noisier than the ministers. They are rascally and violent too; often using fists like junior school pupils instead of debates to settle issues. They are also very lazy. They work for one week and go on recess for four weeks. This war against corruption is neither for noise makers, rascals nor lay-abouts. All of this considered, we can push for another amendment of the constitution to operate this democracy without the NASS. It sounds alarming but since kings can legitimately kill to survive in a Machiavellian setting, we cannot go wrong if we allow the robust end of achieving a permanently corruption-free Nigeria to push us to disband the useless National Assembly.
With PMB, we have one in a millennium chance to catch all the thieves in Nigeria and change our circumstances. And so, if he asks to shut down the banking system, as he has done, to catch thieves who hide their stolen dollars in domiciliary accounts, he should be obliged. He is working to preserve the life of Nigeria and as we all know, in the rule of life, self preservation comes first. On this note alone, the threat by one self-appointed global regulator called JP Morgan to punish Nigeria on account of Buhari’s approach should be completely ignored.
JP Morgan or whatever it is called is not a very reliable teacher. It teaches nonsense and this has serially got it into trouble with the authorities in Washington DC and to which it has paid billions of dollars as fines. Besides, what does JP Morgan know that our own dear JP Clark or any other JP in Nigeria does not know better? And by the way, who made JP Morgan judge over Nigeria that is presided over by PMB?
The Central Bank as directed by PMB (since there is no finance minister till perhaps September 30) is doing a fantastic job. The point is that when there is too much money in the system and the citizens are behaving like lunatic astronauts, going to the moon to build houses, the thing to do is a serious mop up to precipitate a liquidity squeeze that will instill some sanity. This is what Buhari has done. It is a fundamental micro-economic principle and one does not need a certification by Harvard Business School to understand it. I don’t understand why JP Morgan, which should know better, is nagging over this like a bad house wife.

Buhari: A President Frozen In Time

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
There is hardly any Nigerian who is not in a state of despair right now. Since Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as president last year, despondency has enveloped the nation. Disappointment makes the misery worse.
In the build-up to the 2015 elections, Buhari was cast in the mould of Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle (Charles de Gaulle), the legendary French military general and statesman who founded the Fifth Republic in 1958 and was elected the 18th president of France, a position he held until his resignation in 1969.
*President Buhari 
To some others, he was Nigeria’s Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Turkish army officer and revolutionary, who became the first president and founder of modern Turkey.
So beholden was Atatürk to his people that his surname, which means father of the Turks, granted to him in 1934, was forbidden to any other person by the Turkish Parliament.
Many of the promoters of the Buhari candidacy then assured us that by the time he was done with governance, he would be deified.
To be fair, there are still some Nigerians who believe that Buhari is Nigeria’s messiah but they are in a pathetic minority now.
And that is a big tragedy, not only for us but for the man himself, who failed to rise to the occasion when it mattered most. The president has demystified himself.
Yes, demystified himself because his injuries are self-inflicted.
A friend raised a poser last week which I consider very pertinent. What do you do when you have a president who did not come to power through the barrel of a gun but the ballot box and yet does not care a hoot about public opinion, about national mood?
What do you do when even the most sincere attempt to say, ‘hey, wait a minute Mr. President, you are going the wrong direction,’ is hoisted on the pole of deceit as evidence of corruption fighting back?
The answer to this poser, I must confess, is not as easy as it seems; which, perhaps, explains the melancholic atmosphere all around us.
But it seems Buhari is beginning to take the people for granted. His grandstanding is becoming offensive. His ‘do as I say and not as I do’ attitude is beginning to rankle.

Monday, July 11, 2016

How Buhari Ruined Our Economy, Bankrupted 34 States Despite Fuel Price Hike

By Deji Adeyanju
In about one year of Muhammadu Buhari’s misrule, Nigeria dropped from being the largest economy in Africa to who-knows-where, as well as the number one investment destination in Africa to number 13. What a difference one year can make.
Inflation rate that was below 9% when former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to General Buhari on May 29, 2015 is now at 15.6% under Buhari. In one year, Buhari has taken our inflation rate from single digit to double digits.
*Buhari 
Our GDP growth rate was at 6.95% under Jonathan, now it is -0.36%, the worst in Nigeria’s history. Officially, our GDP is in ‘recession’. If this is not a sign that President Buhari has ruined the economy completely in just one year, what is?
In 2013/14, Nigeria was the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world, now we are 29th in the world. With the country’s current negative GDP of -0.36, Nigeria is set to be kicked out of the top 50 economies of the world in no time.
It is important to note that there are only 4 countries with negative GDP growth in Africa in the last quarter and Nigeria is now one of them.
The notion that President Buhari met an empty treasury when he took over is false because President Jonathan handed over $30 billion in Foreign Reserves, $5 billion in accrued Liquefied Natural Gas dividends, $3 billion in the Excess Crude Account, and around $2.4 billion in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Buhari was handed over a budget of about N4.5 trillion passed by Jonathan, few weeks before handover. Around N5.3 trillion was received as oil income in 2015, how was this money squandered by Buhari?
With the landing cost of petrol to the country at N89 per litre given the drop in price of crude oil, the Buhari’s federal government still increased fuel price to N145 per litre. Effectively Buhari is making a profit of N56 per litre of petrol bought by Nigerian. So, why does Buhari keep giving the impression the country is broke?
With this increased revenue from a new income stream, why hasn’t the Buhari government this new income? Why can’t states get more money from the federation account? Why can’t states pay salaries?
There are those blaming governors for their inability to pay salaries after spending one year under Buhari. They are simply naive or uneducated.
The federal government of NigeriaAbuja – is a quasi colonialist that controls everything from the states, yet it starves the states of their own money. When people say governors go to Abuja to beg for funds, I laugh.
What does Abuja generate? Absolutely NOTHING.

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