Saturday, December 31, 2016

For Ndigbo, Time For Real Politics

By Duro Onabule
It has been the case since ancient to modern that politics in South-east Nigeria is muddled. That is if forty years ago can be considered ancient. Afterall, a former British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, is on record that a week is, in politics, a long time. It is barely a week that South-east zone behaved to type with its open display of muddled politics. Muddled in the sense of cutting its nose to spite its face.
*President Buhari and former VP Dr. Ekwueme
South-east zone invited President Muhammadu Buhari to a summit. Or at least, so the zone appeared to have done through Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu. Ideally, such an invitation should have been properly screened to avoid a last-minute or any clash of interests, especially on a date earlier agreed. Among such exigencies that should have been factored into final preparations is the reality that even on any agreed date, their special guest, Muhammadu Buhari, has virtually, no control over unforeseen, equally or if not more important schedule, both at home and especially abroad that might compel preferential attention.
Experienced technocrats among organisers of the summit would acknowledge such possibilities. Like the sudden political/constitutional debacle in the West African nation of The Gambia, which warranted the intervention of concerned West African countries in the ECOWAS group. Nigeria’s participation in such intervention certainly was a decisive factor.
Another unforeseen hitch, which nonetheless, should not have caught the summit organisers napping, was the rascality by a group for a showdown if Buhari ever showed up. It was not clear if that issue was partly why Buhari did not show up but noticeably, the joke was missing in Buhari’s explanation on his eventual absence.
Third on the list of hitches against Buhari’s presence was the convenient excuse that the summit was fixed for Christmas time when South-easterners would be in festive mood. Who should take the blame for that? Surely, not Buhari. Were the summit organisers ignorant of that universal fact when the date was fixed? At the end of the day, Buhari could not show up. Perhaps, there was no loser but if there was, Buhari was not the loser. And the winner? South-east notorious politics of muddle.
It is all the more disturbing because South-east is the least developed in terms of infrastructure not just by the Federal Government but also by the zone’s successive state governors.
One clear reason for the latest politics of muddle is South-east zone’s disregard for one of its own, Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu, moreso for his membership of the ruling APC. It is only wise that even if the man is politically ostracised, must that be along with whatever amenities that could accrue to South-east from the Federal Government through Ogbonnaya Onu? Furthermore, who is nearer to reach Buhari, Minister Ogbonnaya Onu or years of crying in the wilderness? South-east was close to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo. What benefitted South-east therefrom? South-east was similarly close to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan? For what benefit, second Niger Bridge? Or federal roads in South-east?

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Bestiality In Southern Kaduna

By Dan Amor
Irrational impulses are not surprising in the stress and tension that characterize a demented society. In an atmosphere of violence, reason is sometimes abandoned and humanitarian principles forgotten. The inflamed passions of the time lead men to commit atrocities. But the concern here is not with the psychological pathology of those who commit atrocities but rather with what has turned our nation into a slaughterhouse where human beings are daily killed with intimidating alacrity. 

*President Buhari and Gov El-Rufai
Throughout modern history, atrocity propaganda has often mesmerized readers thousands of kilometres from the scene of the crime. Often, the improbability of the actions described suggests that the stories were little more than fantasies concocted for diverse reasons from even more diverse sources.

But the reading public in Nigeria has invariably evinced a morbid absorption with the most nightmarish aspects of this national aberration. It is indeed fashionable to observe that material which should create a moral aversion to the cruelty of our present times often produces a perverse fascination instead. There is, candidly speaking, an alarming rate of mockery killings in Nigeria, especially under the Buhari administration. There are gruesome stories of rapes, mutilations, perversities and child and mother murders. An extremely partisan and sympathetic public is willing to read and believe almost anything, if it were tinged with sadism. It is hard to explain why the change promised Nigerians by Buhari and his yea Sayers has come with enormous burden including death. Much of the savagery connected with our current bloodletting could be explained in the violence inherent in the characters of the buccaneers who have misruled us for all these miserable years.
If truly democracy is preferred to military rule all over the world, why are Nigerians going through this hell of experience in a democratic dispensation? Why is the government turning a blind eye to the holocaust and pornography of violence going on in Southern Kaduna? If Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna state's revelation that: "the Fulani herdsmen who are killing Nigerians are from other West African States", is true, why are his government and the Federal Government allowing militants from other countries free access to slaughter other ethnic nationalities and the Christian communities in Southern Kaduna? Why are Nigerians objects of intimidation, genocidal massacre, annihilation, rape and abysmal extermination in their country? Why is the Federal Government exonerating itself from responsibility and complicity in the bestiality in Southern Kaduna while claiming that the state government is capable of managing the situation in Southern Kaduna? If the marauders are invaders from other countries, why did el Rufai pay them ostensibly to halt the killings?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Budget 2017 On Our Mind

By Saatah Nubari
The first time this budget analysis series ran was for the 2016 budget; and it becomes visible each day that the 1810-page document was a horrid, hurriedly-put, corrupt-conduit-filled piece of executive cluelessness. Well, since I’m more of a realist than any of the other-ists, I’ll just say that the fact that the world lost an entire tree to the making of the paper it was inked on is a tragedy. We have been given a sequel.
 
*Buhari presenting the 2017 Budget 
The 2017 budget was presented to the National Assembly by the President in the presence of the ministers who drafted it – and even slept while the presentation was on – and it was called the “Budget of Recovery and Growth.” If you noticed, it is quite a change from the previous budget of change just like the government’s change mantra. Here are some quotes from the President’s speech on what when passed, will be arguably the most important document in the country – sorry, just checked and it is 63 paragraphs long so I will just skip to analysing the 2017 budget as we await the implementation report of the 2016 budget.
The 2017 budget is N7.298 trillion. According to the government, this comprises
i. Statutory transfers of N419.02 billion;
ii. Debt service of N1.66 trillion;
iii. Sinking fund of N177.46 billion to retire certain maturing bonds;
iv. Non-debt recurrent expenditure of N2.98 trillion; and
v. Capital expenditure of N2.24 trillion (including capital in Statutory Transfers).
We will begin with the State House budget, which is, N42,917,666,214. This almost doubles what the previous government budgeted for this in 2015 which was N23,465,865,117. Out of this, N19,970,000,000 is the total capital budget while the total recurrent budget stands at N22,947,666,214. The total overhead is 10,171,082,268 and that for total personnel is N12,776,583,946.
This is the first piece in the #SaatahBudgetSeries2017, and I will be looking at the budget of the State House (which was referred to as Presidency in previous budgets).
STATE HOUSE
There are 16 agencies under the State House, and they are: State House Headquarters, The Office of the President, The Office of the Vice President, Office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Chief Security Officer to the President, State House Medical Centre, State House Lagos Liaison Office, Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals(SDGS), National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies(NIPSS). Kuru, Bureau of Public Enterprises, National Emergency Management Agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Bureau of Public Procurement, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission and its centres, and Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President which funny enough the President only appointed in August of this year.
The first piece of shit I was hit with, ironically, was the “Sewage Charges” budget of the State House Headquarters. It was put at N52,827,800. That means N144,733 every day. That’s a lot of shit as far as the eye can see. Compare this with the “Sewage Charge” budget for 2015 which was N4,957,143 and for 2016 which was N6,121,643. This simply means the shit charge went up by 1050% comparedwith the 2015 budget, and 850% when compared with the 2016 budget. The N52,827,800 question I want to ask now is what exactly are they shitting there?
The State House Headquarters budget for “Honorarium/Sitting Allowance” is N556,592,736. Let me remind you that the previous government budgeted N174,471,371 for same item in 2015, while in 2016, this administration jacked it up to N507,518, 861. 

The War Against Terrorism

By Michael Jegede
After his triumphant outing in the poll last year, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated his campaign promise to adopt a different approach, in tackling the Boko Haram insurgency, and securing the release of the girls of Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, abducted in 2014 by the terrorist group.
In his inaugural speech to the nation on May 29, 2015, Buhari, as part of his strategies to ensure that the insurgents are completely subdued, announced the relocation of the Military Command and Control Centre from Abuja to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, believed to be the headquarters of the Boko Haram sect.
For Buhari, who was obviously worried by the extent of damage done to lives and property by the Islamic sect, nothing meaningful could be achieved in the battle to checkmate the Boko Haram militants with the command and control centre based in Abuja.
The authorities of the Nigerian Military seeing the seriousness the President attached to his directive for the Command and Control Centre to be moved to Maiduguri wasted no time in heeding to the order. The centre served as a forward command base for the Chief of Army Staff and other service chiefs with an alternate command centre established in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
With the President’s motivation and the moving of the Command Centre to the North East, the military, via well-coordinated operations was able to reclaim all the Local Government Areas that were fully taken over by the dreaded Islamic terrorists, within one year of Buhari’s assumption of office.
Former Governor of Yobe State and Senator representing Yobe East Senato- rial District, Abba Bukar Ibrahim, attested to the remarkable achievements recorded by the Buhari administration in its effort to decimate the Boko Ha- ram group when he said: “Definitely, there have been a lot of improvements compared to what has happened during Jonathan presidency. After all, when President Buhari took over there were at least 18 local governments which were totally under the control of Boko Haram. As of today, not a single local government is totally under the control of Boko Haram. They are just going round hitting and running hitting of soft spot and the military are doing their best to flush them out.”
The third term Senator who was heavily affected by the Boko Haram onslaught with his personal and family houses destroyed, added: “Quite a num- ber of people have started going back to Goniri, my home town.
A lot of people have started going back to the two local government areas in Yobe which were completely overrun and controlled by Boko Haram for over two years. Several other local governments in Borno too, people have started going back in places like Dikwa, Yala, Gwoza, Mongonu, Kukawa and other areas.”

2016: Year Of Hunger In Nigeria

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
If there were ever a time the famed resilience of the average citizen was lent full expression, it was in the outgoing year. It was a year the citizens were at the brink of despair over which they are still dangerously hovering on the cusp of another year. The year was rendered perilous not by insecurity that manifested through the officially trounced Boko Haram, increasing kidnapping and marauding herdsmen and their wanton killings. It was rather so by the failure to meet a basic need of human nature: food. From the east, west, south to the north, there was the heart-wrenching cry of the citizens for their hunger to be assuaged. But succour remained elusive.

It was not because the citizens were not diligent in the outgoing year. What rather provoked the hunger was an economic environment that was sired by an inept government. The stark upshot was that jobs were not created. Worse still, the available jobs were eroded as companies totally shut down or relocated to economically and politically sane environments for their operations.
Thus, in just one year, as the National Bureau of Statistics informed us, 1.7 million citizens lost their jobs. But this could only be a conservative figure since it could not have included the statistics of the job losses in the informal sector. Even those who still had their jobs were not better off since inflation rendered their wages meaningless. With a dollar exchanging for N500, whatever salary a worker earned could not buy much in an import-driven economy.
The danger of citizens eating from dustbins in an economically ruined state moved from a hyperbolic realm to reality. Indeed, with the increase of scavengers, the dustbins were not even enough. But even such scavenging conferred more dignity than begging. Stripped of the consciousness of their own dignity, many citizens took to begging. Emboldened by a combination of hunger and love, some who could not watch their children die took to stealing to feed them. Typical of this category of the hungry was the young woman in Lagos who stole rice to feed her baby. She was arrested, taken to the police station and detained. She only regained her freedom when the state police commissioner intervened and gave her N10,000. There were others who stole pots of soup while still being cooked. 
Those who could not tolerate the indignity of scavenging from the dustbins and begging took their own lives. But there were others who would have committed suicide too. But they lost their minds before they could contemplate or do this. Thus, the high number of the mentally deranged in the outgoing year. Others deployed prostitution as part of their counter-immiseration measures, while some took to crime. Of course, if the basic need for food was not met, why talk about the luxury of education? Hence, the high number of school dropouts in the year.
 Yes, amid the hunger, the efforts of Lagos and Kebbi state governments to sell a bag of rice for N13,000 are commendable. They well knew that a citizen whose minimum wage was and remains N18,000 could not buy a bag of rice for over N20,000. But was it a bag of rice that the citizens needed? In the first place, offering to sell rice to the citizens at N13,000 did not take into cognisance their poverty. How would a citizen who fed on less than a dollar daily get N13,000 to buy a bag of rice? So what the citizens needed was to be empowered economically so that they could conveniently buy their bags of rice at the appropriate market prices.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Buhari, Call Off Customs’ Siege On Igbo Traders

By Okey Ndibe
A few days ago, a friend sent me a video of a choir made up of members of Nigeria’s security agencies singing “Feliz Navidad,” a popular Christmas song. The rendition was entirely inspiring, a thrilling combination of rousing singing, dancing and festive atmosphere. I was moved by the sheer cheeriness of the service singers, infected by their sunniness of spirit. The high professional quality of the performers was complemented by the outstanding videography.
*Buhari
In between the Christmas lyrics, members of Nigeria’s respective service arms took turns pitching messages. A female officer informed us that the police were our friends, that its officers serve and protect with integrity, and that they make Nigeria secure. Another officer, also female, touted the Nigerian Prisons Service as reformers, keeping society crime-free. A member of the Civil Defense Corps spoke about defending the defenseless.
It was, quite simply, a soaring performance, a tour de force, indeed the best rendition of “Feliz Navidad” I have ever seen or heard—and I have listened to quite a few. I couldn’t help replaying the video several times. Each time, I found myself riveted, beguiled, awe-struck, a dupe for the wholly upbeat service messages organically interjected into one of Christmas’s most captivating anthems.
Again and again, I surrendered myself to be transported by the winsome performance. Yet, I emerged from each session with an afterglow of sadness, brought rudely down to earth by the shattering awareness that there was little concordance between the reality of life in Nigeria and the mesmerizing vista projected by the video. The video vended a beatific vision to me; yet I knew that the reality of life in Nigeria was, for the most part and for the majority of Nigerians, awful, if not hellish. The video was selling me a dummy, attempting to mask the sordidness of everyday life in my country, its enchanting performance no more than an effort to narcotize its audience, to rig reality.
That dominant sense of a discrepancy between performance and reality was reinforced for me in two recent conversations. In one, a writer friend who is an academic in Canada recounted his near-brush with death. Some assailants had cornered this guy and shot him on the leg. Terribly wounded, bleeding, he had limped away from his car to seek help. In some ways, his nightmare worsened once he found the police.
First, the police had no ambulance to drive him to a hospital. They brought him back to his car, which the armed gangsters had abandoned because it was demobilized, and got him to reactivate it. Then, instead of rushing him to the hospital, they took him to their station because Nigeria has this weird practice that hospitals should not treat anybody with a gunshot wound in the absence of a police report. Meanwhile, as the police busied themselves with observing the bizarre bureaucratic protocols of generating a report, the bleeding victim slipped in and out of consciousness, gripped by a sense of his imminent death.
No, he didn’t die in the end, in part because one of the police officers finally recognized him as a senior editor at a major newspaper. Once his quasi-privileged status was established, he was able to muster just enough strength to convince the officers – against what they said was policy – to take him to a private hospital where a relative of his was a medical chief. The drive there was harrowing, marked by a traffic gridlock that slowed the car, leaving the hapless editor bleeding profusely, racked by hideous pain.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

El-Rufai’s Blunders And The Christmas Killings In Southern Kaduna

By Moses E. Ochonu

For the people of Kaninkon Kingdom in Southern Kaduna, this was a bleak Christmas. On Christmas Eve and on Christmas day armed Fulani herdsmen attacked and destroyed Goska village, killing, maiming, and burning. This attack occurred in spite of the area having been put under a 24-hour curfew by the state government, an indication of the brazenness and sense of impunity on the part of the well-armed attackers.
*Nasir el-Rufai
The attack is part of a broader genocidal war against the people of Southern Kaduna, a war that is in its fifth year and has killed thousands of people in their homes and farms and destroyed the livelihoods of tens of thousands more. As we speak an estimated 53 villages lay in ruins, some of them occupied by Fulani herdsmen and their cattle, a forceful annexation that recalls the similarly forceful displacement in Agatu.
Let’s be clear: the crisis predates the administration of Governor Nasir el-Rufai, so he cannot be accused of causing it or of being behind it as some people are insinuating. However, his utterances and actions in the past and the present have exacerbated the problem and emboldened the attackers. An ill-tempered man given to incendiary, inciting, and divisive outbursts, el-Rufai has made several egregious errors in dealing with the crisis. Some of these errors are errors of approach, thinking, and mentality. The errors have inspired actions that have wittingly or unwittingly transformed what was a low level series of massacres into a full-blown genocide.
To understand some of the governor’s current failures in dealing with the killings, you have to understand his past utterances, his incendiary character, his insensitivity, and his inability to moderate his thinking and resultant public expressions, all of which offer clues about why he has no credibility or political capital to solve the problem and why he is widely perceived as part of the problem, not its solution. Let’s consider the governor’s many problems in this regard.
El-Rufai is widely regarded as a Fulani supremacist, and with good reason. On July 12, 2012, he tweeted the following: “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.” The governor’s response to the killings in Southern Kaduna has been eerily consistent with this mindset. In a recent chat with newsmen in Kaduna, the governor made three statements that substantiate this Fulani supremacist statement from four years ago.
First, he said when he became governor, he traced the attackers to Cameroon, Chad, and Niger and sent a message to them that one of their own, a Fulani like them, was now governor. This statement displays a spectacularly parochial mentality. A governor of a Nigerian state was basically making appeals based on ethnic kinship and brotherhood to a group of foreign killers of people in his own Nigerian state! In other words, he was appeasing his murderous foreign kinsmen at the expense of indigenes of his state who are not his ethnic kinsmen but whose safety and interests he swore to defend. The governor’s shocking statement indicates that ethnic solidarity trumped his constitutional obligations to protect Southern Kaduna citizens from the external threats of foreign Fulani herdsmen.
Second, the governor told the journalists that the crisis began in the aftermath of the 2011 presidential elections when foreign Fulani herdsmen passing through Southern Kaduna were attacked, with some of them killed and their cattle stolen. The governor claimed that the ongoing genocidal killings are revenge for the 2011 attacks.

Resolving The Crises Of Nigeria As A Nation State

By Felix N. C. Oragwu
Nigeria’s Post-Colonial Crises and the Civil War of 1967-1970 taught the Nation State of Nigeria the following, namely:
*That progress in socio-economic growth, progress, security and prosperity of nations are driven not necessarily by natural resources endowment but more importantly by the developments in modern science and technology (S&T);

*That a Nation State needs real unity and real peace to develop its economy and to make real economic progress; and
To actualise the foregoing, a nation must have (a) Political Stability (b) Selfless Leadership Elite with vision for modern economic development (c) National Political cohesion and (d) Nationalism, Patriotism, Pride and Love of the Citizens for the Nation.
Most of the above attributes seem to be in short supply in the nation-state of Nigeria, particularly, since the end of the Civil War of 1967-1970.
What conclusions can we as a nation draw from the Civil War and the current endemic  political travails of Nigeria to enable us (Nigerians) build a united nation state? :
These, I believe include the following, namely:

*Understanding that in 1914, Nigeria became a nation state, albeit, by forced amalgamation or cobbling together of various independent and disparate ethnic nationalities and entities (Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Fulani, Kanuri, Ibibio, Tiv, Edo, Nupe, Ijaw, Uhrobo, etc.) numbering well over 200 (some with large, some with small populations) but with different cultures, religions, languages, and in specific geographical areas around the River Niger, by the virtue of British Imperial Power and Colonial diplomacy,
*The Colonial Authorities obviously and deliberately did not develop S&T as domestic instrument for modern economic growth and development, prosperity and security of the Nigerian State, possibly to avoid hurting the British home industry and economy or making Nigeria a prosperous modern competitive industrial and politically united nation, which would have compromised the British main objectives of Nigeria’s colonization;
*From 1914-1960, therefore, Nigeria was sustained as a nation state by virtue of British imperial power and colonial diplomacy but remained in fact a poorly structured and an unstable nation state “on paper, a geographical expression and or an artificial creation” whose political unity and economy was sustained by imported foreign developed (mostly British) industrial, scientific, engineering and technological infrastructure and security apparatus;

Leadership Undercurrents In Yorubaland

By Bolaji Tunji
Soon and very soon, the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would be two years old. The two years is the midterm of his four-year mandate. As Nigerians, we have all seen how the past few months have been, but because  I am not God, I can not say what the outlook would be in the next two years. But God has given me the faculty (brain)to project and take a leap into what the next two years would be based on happenings in the preceding months and the present situation. Without being too pessimistic, the outlook is not too rosy especially on the political front.
*Obafemi Awolowo
My concern is how the South west will fare in the coming years. There is leadership undercurrents in the south west. How will this play out in the coming years such that the Yoruba nation will still be relevant in national politics.
Most importantly, what is the manner of leadership that the Yoruba nation requires at this time. Today, it is not in doubt that the South west can lay claim to installing the present government. It is the first time that the Yoruba nation would be taking a major leap, without prodding, by any of the ethnic groups, to promote governance at the national level. Forget the fact that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a president of Yoruba descent was there for eight years. We all know at the time he was put forward that he was not the candidate of the Yoruba race. He was “coerced” into the race by those who felt it was the only way the Yoruba race could be assuaged following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 elections and the death of the man believed to have won that election, Bashorun MKO Abiola and ideally fit into their agenda.
The story has always been the same from the first republic to the present. The Yoruba race has never progressed to where it was able to promote and subsequently help instal the president as we have today. Not only that, this is the first time the progressives would be in charge of national affairs, all thanks to  Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos governor and leader of APC.
It is not in doubt that he practically assured the presidency of President Muhammadu Buhari who had to contend with former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, former Kano governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso, Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha and founder of Leadership newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, even the present Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki had actually signified his intention to also vie for the ticket. It is thus clear and straightforward that Asiwaju actually took the Yoruba race to the centre through the alliance he coupled with the Hausa-Fulani. In one fell swoop, he achieved what late Premier of Western region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola was unable to achieve. For the records, Akintola had favored an alliance with the North at the time. It never worked. Tinubu brought the West and the North together and helped instal the Buhari presidency. For all that is worth, he is responsible for whatever the Yoruba race has to contend with today.
But where does that take the Yoruba nation? There have been speculations that Asiwaju has been sidelined and has been made irrelevant in the present administration. Is that really the case? Is it really true that he has been sidelined and if that is the case, how did this come to pass? What did Asiwaju do, or did not do that led to him being sidelined, in an administration he helped installed. And most importantly, if he was actually sidelined, what would be the position of the West in the build up to 2019? Lastly, how relevant would Asiwaju be in the general equation as 2019 gathers momentum?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Again, Why Tinubu Must Rescue Nigerians From Buhari!

 By John Darlington
There is no denying the fact that bad economic and foreign policies can precipitate serious crises like such we experience today in Nigeria capable of sparking off dangerous political consequences thus making politicians demand arbitrary power to deal with emergency situations caused by bad government policies. When times are bad many people have no option but are often too willing to go along and support terrible things that would be unthinkable in good times. In Nigeria, for instance, we have had dictators in military garbs and it took us years of dogged fighting, dingdong struggles, and battles to return the country from military dictatorship to constitutional democracy like such Nigerians enjoyed in the past one and half decades ago.
*Tinubu and Buhari 
Prior to the freedom that held sway in the past 16 years of Nigeria's civil democratic rule, Nigerians languished under the jackboot of the military that saw the emergence of many pro-democracy groups, the most vibrant of all being the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). Many of the NADECO chieftains who stood toe-to-toe with the military had their lives cut down by state agents calling to mind the sensational murder of Pa Alfred Rewane and others.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, one of the vocal voices of the pro-democracy struggle was left with no option but to flee Nigeria at the period under sad review when it became clear his life was on the line. As the threat to lives hung over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles, this writer climbed in on the bandwagon to this part of the Old World where he has been to this day watching behind the scenes in open-mouthed astonishment.

Tinubu represented and spoke for the voiceless in the Nigerian society, otherwise, he as one who is well-off could have decided not to confront the military authorities who ruled Nigeria then with a caprice. He saw the evil of the day and decided to join forces with other dissident voices to overthrow tyranny and as luck would have it, tyranny died with his boots on June 8, 1988!
Nigeria began another military adventure under the leadership of Abdulsalami Abubakar who by a twist of fate returned Nigeria to a civil democratic rule in 1997. After a hotly contested presidential election, Obasanjo a retired General and military Head of State emerged the winner and was sworn in as a democratically elected civilian president who ruled the country for eight calendar years under the platform of the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP).
However, the ideals which Tinubu joined forces with other pro-democracy fighters to fight that Nigerians enjoyed through to 2015 is fast being eroded from Nigeria's political firmament while tyranny has staged a come-back and rearing its ugly head on the ascending order of magnitude and this, I dare say, cuts across every facet of our national life.

For starters, it is not in dispute that aspiring dictators give away their intentions by an evident desire to destroy opponents with hate concealed in their hearts, they move on to destroy every perceived opponent and we see this at play in President Buhari whose ways and actions reek of disdain for a particular tribe in our geo-polity. He has demonstrated this in so many ways during his first appearance on the Nigeria's political scene that saw the inceration of many politicians of southern extraction while their counterparts of northern extraction were detained in cosy house arrest calling to mind the detention of Alex Ekweme in Kiriki Maximum Security Prisons while President Shehu Shagari was detained in a cosy apartment in highbrow Ikoyi area of Lagos. Even when others were released they never stayed alive healthy before going the way of all flesh. Prof. Alli went blind in prison and died afterward after his release.

With Buhari's obnoxious Decree Number 4 at the period under sad review, many people were detained without trial with trumped up charges, some of them developed ailments while in detention which some of them later succumbed to in the long run. Today, however, we see a similar scenario unfolding with flagrant abuse of court order that is again attracting the attention of the international community.

Gov Okorocha’s Unending Charade In Imo

By Clement Udegbe
Last December , Imo State built and commissioned a Christmas Tree at a whopping cost of over 600 Million Naira, and in 2016, teachers, government workers, pensioners were owed over eight months salary and pension arrears respectively. Life in Imo State is so rough and tough, yet many wear smiles around the place, hoping that all will be well soon, and some even say it is well.
 
*Gov Okorocha 
One then begins to wonder what has happened to most of  my people who follow the followers? Could it be as a result of  a resolution that they will deal with situation when the time comes, or that they have a clear plan to handle things at the appropriate time, or could something else be responsible?

Could it be the result of beer drinking? Yes, beer drinking. Imo State won the best beer drinking state award this year, and the monument is standing tall in their stadium. Meanwhile Montreal University scientists have revealed that beer contains female hormones called estrogen, and when men consume quite a lot of beer, they turn into women!

All of 100 men that drank large drafts of beer within one hour displayed the following behaviours:
They all argued over nothing, refused to apologise when obviously wrong, gained weight, talked excessively without making sense, became overtly emotional, couldn’t drive, failed to think rationally, and had to sit down while urinating! Drink on these brothers.

I do not mean to insult any beloved Imo man or any beer drinker for that matter, what borders me here is that page 15 of Vanguard of Friday, December 15, carried three very disturbing reports, concerning Imo State. While Anambra State was reported as spending N25 Million to de-worm their children, Imo Governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha, was  accusing the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Ecclesiastical Province, Dr. Anthony .J. V. Obinna of  partisanship, and urging him to face his religious duties, for asking him to give governance a human face. Who does not know that it was a direct affront against the Catholic Church in Imo State, to mind their business?

Imo is  majorly a Catholic State. This same Governor recently produced documents for pensioners to sign forfeiting 40 % of their earned pension! Earlier this year he had forced health workers to sign off part of their salaries, paid civil servants for three days of the week, and asked them to go to the farm for the rest two days. When he won the elections for his first term in 2010, he and his followers trouped to the church for thanksgiving; perhaps they thought all the church cared for was their presence, and not their conscience.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sultan Of Sokoto’s Excuse For The Killing Of Ndigbo In Northern Nigeria

By Jude Ndukwe
The Sultan of Sokoto’s recent visit to Enugu State where he went to felicitate with Enugu Rangers as champions of the 2015/2016 NPFL season has been described by a section of the media and some commentators as a bridge-building one. But then, is it really?
*Sultan Abubakar, Gov Ugwuanyi, Deputy
Senate Pres. Ekweremmadu
In as much as the visit is commendable, the Sultan himself putrefied his own oil when he said that the reason why Ndigbo are killed whenever there is a crisis in the north is “because they are the industrious ones found in everywhere and in every village but nobody plans or sends people to kill the Igbos”.
Apart from being ridiculous, it is insulting to the sensibilities of the Igbo and horrifying to upright members of the society that the reason why a people are usually targeted for mass murder is because of their industry and number. They are not killed because they are bad neighbours; they are not killed because they are trouble makers, they are not killed because they are law breakers; they are killed just because they are industrious and large in number!
This statement by His Royal Highness, Alhaji Mohammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, is a confirmation of what we have always known: that the Igbo are hated for nothing but jealousy and that most crises in the northern part of Nigeria have been instigated not because of anything serious but as an alibi for a systematic extermination of the Igbo people.
Little wonder then the Igbo are targets of northern Islamic extremists when there is a crisis between Israel and Palestine in far away Middle East. When some Danes draw a cartoon of Prophet Muhammed in far away Denmark, Ndigbo in Kano, Kaduna and Niger would have to pay for it with their blood. When there is a furore about Nigeria hosting an international beauty contest in Abuja or Lagos, the Igbo in Zamfara and Yobe would have to be killed and their sources of livelihood destroyed for the message to be passed that such contest is Haram to some people.
When the US bomb Iraq, the Igbo in Adamawa are bombed by northern elements in return. When there is a sharp disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran, it is the Igbo in Bauchi that pay for it. When the Sunnis and the Shi’as have issues with each other in Kaduna or other places, it is a recipe for Igbo sons and daughters to be beheaded in those places even when they are neither Shiites nor Sunnis.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Nigeria: Corruption War Has Lost Momentum

By Lewis Obi
Compared to his 1984 offensive President Muhammadu Buhari’s current war against corruption is looking like a child’s play.  Granted, he does not have the same tools he had in 1984-85, the dictatorial powers which enabled him unleash a blitzkrieg which herded scores of politicians into prison.  But it is also true that the tools he has now, moral leadership, freely granted him by the people, are grossly under-utilized.  Then in 1984, he was literally a young man of 42 with all the impetuosity that comes with youth.  But now he is wise, mature, deliberative but slow.  There’s probably no other way to explain how he did not see the “security report” delivered to the Senate by the Department of State Services on his nominee for chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
*Buhari 
A Nigerian president is a very busy man and is not expected to see most of the things done in his name.  But the fight against corruption is considered Buhari’s priority on which he has staked his reputation and honour.  He is expected to know the demands of Murphy’s Law, and if he would be unable to see the confidential information being forwarded to the Senate about his nominee, his leg man, his liaison to the Senate, should and ought to have seen it, because, conventionally, he is to shepherd the nominee through the confirmation process.  Indeed, it is his primary task to ensure that the nominee is confirmed and it is required of him to do everything, including previewing the DSS report, before it ever gets to the senate chamber.  He, the liaison man, ought to be the one to blow the whistle, to alert the President about the unfavourable DSS report, and to alert the President of the onerous task of securing the nominee’s confirmation, and, if need be, to ask for a replacement, given the negative report.
Thus, the investigation of whether Mr. Ibrahim Magu was suitable or not for the crucial position of the anti-corruption czar ought to have been done before his name was forwarded to the Senate.  The vetting of any official whose position depends on a favourable confirmation by the senate must necessarily be done first by the executive branch with a more rigorous benchmark than the Senate’s, to prevent the kind of embarrassment which has occurred in the last few weeks.  First, it was the $29.9 billion external loan, tossed by the Senate for lack of appropriate documentation.  Now, even if the Senate has an axe to grind or is making political demands, the Presidency ought not to provide the body even better ammunition.

How To Resolve The Biafra Question

By Charles Ogbu
It is no longer news that a secessionist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu who is currently being detained by the Federal Government is seeking the separation of the South East states from Nigeria. The group wants the states to form a new country to be known as Biafra, the name by which the defunct Eastern Region was once known in 1967-1970. IPOB cites institutionalised marginalisation by the Nigerian state and state-sponsored killing of Igbo as reasons for its actions.

Successive Nigerian governments have responded with arrests, detention and outright killing of the group members. Some time ago, the Amnesty International released a damning video detailing cases where the Nigerian military under President Muhammadu Buhari killed not less than 150 members of the group inside a church and other locations in Onitsha, Anambra State on May 29/30 where the group had gathered to remember their heroes who died in the Biafra war four decades ago.
Also contained in the Amnesty report is a case where members of the Nigeria security agencies comprising police and soldiers swooped on unarmed IPOB members praying inside Ngwa High School, Aba, Abia State on February 9, 2016 and opened fire without warning, killing dozens of them and injuring hundreds. This, most certainly, cannot be the best way to solve the Biafra question. When a people complain of marginalisation in a country they call theirs and express a desire to secede as a result of that, it shouldn’t take the genius brain of Albert Einstein to know that the best way to attend to such a sensitive issue is not by rolling out the tanks against them. You don’t use force to keep an aggrieved partner in a relationship he/she has expressed a desire to quit. The easiest way to keep this aggrieved partner in the relationship is by addressing his/her grievances. This is what I believe the government of President Muhammadu Buhari should do with the Biafra issue.
Regardless of what anyone may think about the Biafra question, what even Buhari himself cannot dispute is the fact that some of the grievances of the IPOB group are genuine. It defies common sense that the government has repeatedly vowed never to negotiate with this unarmed group. Personally, I find it criminally offensive that a  Buhari government which is currently negotiating with the deadliest terror group in the whole world, Boko Haram, cannot bring itself to hold talks with the unarmed IPOB group which has been largely peaceful in carrying out its activities. You cannot be negotiating with the Boko Haram terror group which has killed thousands of Nigerians and displaced millions and protecting the murderous Fulani herdsmen with a strong 1000 man military taskforce while you are busy killing the unarmed and largely peaceful IPOB members. This cannot be right!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Double Life In The Buhari Presidency

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
It is only those who have been inordinately enamoured of the Buhari presidency who are now shocked at the bleak fate that has befallen its anti-corruption campaign. But for critical observers who have been contemptuously branded as the stabilising forces for the regeneration of an era reeking with corruption, the campaign was bound to suffer a calamitous end. It was expected, like most of the policies that have been associated with the Buhari government, to be afflicted with the reverse Midas touch. Indeed, the crash of the anti-corruption campaign that has been so much-hyped as the lynchpin of the Buhari government’s quest for the development of the country is symptomatic of the failure in every other provenance of governance in this current administration.
*Buhari 
Clearly, the policies of the government are sullied by a certain antithesis to the improvement of the wellbeing of the citizens because they have been underpinned by unrelieved provincialism that has made them turn out badly. In the case of the anti-corruption, it was bound to fail because the presidency did not pursue it in a way that would have ensured its success. There was no way it would have succeeded when it was not targeted at all corrupt persons who have benefited from the national treasury at the expense of the common good. It was rather targeted at perceived or real enemies of the president, his cronies and political party. This is why politicians who are patently corrupt keep on decamping to the All Progressives Congress (APC) to seek protection from prosecution. And this is why those who consider their political careers endangered by decamping from their parties keep on taking full pages of advertisement pledging their support for Buhari and his anti-corruption campaign. If they knew that whether they decamped or pledged support for the anti-corruption campaign they would be prosecuted, they would not bother themselves with all this.
Because it was not to serve the interest of the country, Buhari did not bother to prosecute the campaign in line with the constitution of the country. The campaign that should have been for the whole country became defined by an us versus them mentality. It was thus inevitable that Ibrahim Magu who knew that he had breached fidelity to constitutionality in a bid to please the president would end up resorting to the same illegality to enrich himself at the expense of a genuine and selfless anti-corruption fight. With the approval of Buhari, Magu prosecuted an anti-corruption campaign that brooked no obedience to the rule of law. Court judgments were remorselessly disregarded. In this atmosphere of illegality, a former National Security Adviser Col. Sambo Dasuki is being held in detention despite judgments from the nation’s courts and even the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

From Hunger In Nigeria To Poverty In Europe

By Charles Iyare
The increasing surge of migrants who cross the Mediterranean Sea from Africa and other parts of the world, mainly into Europe, has become a global threat that requires urgent global attention. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of migrants have fled their countries seeking asylum in European countries. About 90% of migrants are usually from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Mexico, Iran where there are high security risks, insurgency, humanitarian crisis, war, poverty, human rights abuses, among others.
A recent report on Daily Post indicated that from January and April, 2016 the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, has rescued 152 victims of human trafficking in Lagos State. In the report, the Lagos Zonal Commander, Mr. Joseph Famakin said his agency has successfully sent over 276 Nigerians to prison, with 51 cases in the federal and state high courts. He added that there are seven cases in the Court of Appeal and two cases in the Supreme Court. About 316 victims were rescued and brought to Lagos in 2014. While in 2015, a total of 417 victims were rescued.
The Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in its yearly report from January 1, November 13, 2016 stated that an estimated total of 341,055 arrived in some part, of Europe through the Mediterranean Sea while 4,271 deaths were recorded. When compared to 2015, from January 1, November 13, there were 728, 926 arrivals and 3,522 deaths recorded. Despite such alarming figures, three million migrants are still expected in the European Union, (EU) in 2017, compared to 1.5 million in 2016.
Migration has the capacity to alter the total demographic, ethnographic, economic, and productive growth of both the emigrants’ home of origin as well as country of arrival. Migration has adverse effects on the host country, whose public utilities may be over-stretched in receiving migrants from other country. It may also affect the income – per – capita (IPC) of the citizens in the host country as well as the public infrastructure that have been designed to serve a certain population.
Most Nigerians who brave the stormy seas and unfriendly deserts have lost hope in an economic system that is characterised by poor governance, poor income, unemployment, insecurity, corruption, humanitarian crisis and increasing poverty.

As Buhari Fights Corruption Without A Strategy

By Chidi Anselm Odinkalu  
President Buhari’s much-advertised fight against corruption has degenerated into a demolition derby. As happened with many previous efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria, different outposts of power and influence in the president’s coterie appear determined to use anti-corruption as a cover to settle intra-palace scores.
*Buhari 
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), headed by an acting chairman, is pursuing the prosecution of the President of the Senate before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). While those proceedings end, the Senate, whose President is accused of corruption by the EFCC, has declined confirmation of the acting Chairman of the EFCC, citing a report by the State Security Service (SSS), which accuses the nominee of abuse of power and of human rights. These allegations of human rights abuse against the EFCC’s acting Chairman are made without any hint of irony by an SSS that has earned a dismal reputation for respecting only court orders that it likes or in favour of only those it approves of.
Meanwhile, the judiciary, many of whose senior-most officers have become objects of ridicule at the instance of the EFCC and the SSS, must somehow bring itself to arbitrate with a straight face the winners and losers in this squalid mess.
To some, this report card is evidence that there are no sacred cows in this “fight” against corruption. It is indeed easy to mistake injury for progress when the goals are unclear and a strategy is non-existent. There surely is a fight but it is increasingly difficult to sustain the idea that it is President Buhari’s fight or indeed a fight for the interest of Nigerians.
To be sure, this is not the first time an administration will be up-ended by those supposed to implement its proclaimed commitment to fighting corruption. In 1970, General Yakubu Gowon declared that he would “eradicate corruption” from Nigeria within six years. It was an impossible mission proclaimed with the starry-eyed certitude of a 35 year-old intoxicated with power unmitigated by experience. Four years later, Godwin Daboh, instigated, it was suspected, by then Governor of Benue-Plateau State, Joseph Gomwalk, published an affidavit listing sundry allegations of corruption against Gowon’s Communications Minister, Joseph Tarka. Gowon’s indecisiveness turbo-charged the allegations. By the time Tarka was eventually forced to resign, Gowon’s commitment to fighting corruption looked terminally hypocritical. Less than one year later, Murtala Muhammed intervened to put the Gowon regime out of its misery.

Did Nuhu Ribadu Benefit From Dasukigate?

By Ikechukwu Amaechi
*Ribadu
Is it true that the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, also received N100m from the fabled "Dasukigate" to finance his gubernatorial ambition in Adamawa State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as alleged recently by his successor, Mrs. Farida Waziri? If it is true, why has he not been publicly named and shamed like other Nigerians who have been so treated? Could it be that he secretly returned his own share of the loot as we are told some people did?

Or he was simply protected by his protege, Ibrahim Magu, the embattled acting chairman of the commission? Or could it be that his joining ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) is a sort of plea bargain so that his crime will be swept under the carpet using the party's axiomatic broom? If on the other hand nothing like that happened, why has the loquacious Ribadu suddenly lost his voice?

Or could it be he neither heard nor read about Waziri's allegation? Isn't Nigeria itself a huge fraud with fraudsters making the most noise in the so-called war against corruption? Any wonder why we remain where we are as a country.

On The Marble  
*Farida Waziri 
“It is his lust for power, inordinate ambition and desperation for political relevance that continue to push him to dine and wine, and even enjoy the wealth of those he had labelled as corrupt in yesteryears. He can’t hold me responsible for his double face, lack of principle and complex contradictions in his character.
“There is also the need to remind Nuhu Ribadu that before he succumbs to another logorrhoea, he should avail himself a copy of the investigative report on recovered asset during his tenure as EFCC chairman and use the opportunity of the next naming ceremony or birthday party he is invited to, to explain to Nigerians what happened to billions of funds and asset recovered from suspects under him, with no records or documentation.
“He should be grateful to me that I cleaned his mess by creating an Asset Forfeiture Unit to put the records straight and do things rightly.” Farida Waziri



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