Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Buhari: Where Is The Change Promised?

By Martins Oloja 
This is not a time for speaking in tongues. It is a time to tell President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and all the governing APC chieftains that two years should be enough to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, as someone once put it comically too, there is neither a tunnel nor light in the country where mediocrity is daily nurtured by sycophancy. 

Indeed, a season of sycophancy is here again and the cheer leaders and mega sycophants who are members of a mega party called AGIP (Any Government in Power) will heap mega praises on the Buhari administration for dealing decisively with corruption and insecurity in the North East. And we in the media will readily assist them in propagating the ‘monumental achievements’ in the last two years. In fact, their consultants within the media have begun the journalistic legwork. And from tomorrow (May 29, 2017), we will be reading balanced stories with headlines such as “Knocks, Kudos For Buhari’s Two Years In Office”. In the end there will be more “kudos” than “knocks” for the 'wonderful' administration, an idea no force on earth could have stopped in May, 2015. We are indeed in an era of sycophancy that has shaped massive mediocrity everywhere we go in the country.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Biafra At Fifty

By Ray Ekpu
It was on May 30, 1967 that Col. Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the military governor of Eastern Nigeria, declared that region the Republic of Biafra. A few weeks later, Col. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s head of state, declared war on the secessionist territory. The war dragged on for 30 horror-filled months until the Biafrans threw in the towel in January 1970. Gowon announced a three-point programme of Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. A few days ago, Biafra became 50 and was marked with a solemn seminar titled “Memory and Nation-building: Biafra 50 Years After.” It was well attended: Olusegun Obasanjo who commanded troops in that war and later on became head of state and President of Nigeria; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo who was in primary school then but is now the Acting President of Nigeria; Ahmed Joda who was one of Gowon’s super permanent secretaries at the time. He headed the Muhammadu Buhari transition committee in 2015. John Nnia Nwodo, the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo, a former minister of Information and a scion of the famous Nwodo family; Professor Ebere Onwudiwe, a well-known political scientist and public intellectual.

There were several others, most of them young Igbo intellectuals who were probably not born during the war. There was nothing substantial or divergent to be expected from a group like that. It was largely a gathering to do some introspection on the lessons of the war and why Biafra as an idea has not gone away. It was an exercise in admonition and not quite a forum for soul searching. But it was worth it because since the end of the war things have not moved swimmingly either for the Igbos or for Nigeria. There have been renewed agitations for the actualisation of Biafra as a republic. The agitators have been harassed and detained by security agencies but there is no let-up in the agitation.
Today’s Biafra is a lingering echo of the Biafra of 1967 and of the fact that many years down the road many Nigerians feel excluded from Nigeria’s dinner table which means that we have not been able to build an inclusive, consensual union that caters for all interests fairly, equitably, and in a fashion that is not perceived as discriminatory and sectional. When the Federal Government sites amenities and makes appointments in a manner that is nakedly discriminatory then that is the real spelling of exclusionism. Exclusionism is a reflection of bias and lack of trust which leads in turn to reciprocal bias and lack of trust. That is not bridge building, not nation-building.
When Gideon Orkar did his coup some years ago against the Ibrahim Babangida government he said he was carving some states out of Nigeria. Such an attempt at fissure was a product of accumulated frustration with the state of the union. Since then not much has been done by elected politicians at the Centre to give a new and sincere approach to nation-building and inclusiveness as articles of faith.

Friday, May 26, 2017

50 Years After Biafra: Reflections And Hopes

By John Nnia Nwodo
1. I am grateful to Shehu Musa Yar Adua Foundation, Ford Foundation and OSIWA – the co-sponsors of this event for your kind invitation. I commend your foresight in convening this conference, the first major conference discussing Biafra outside of Igboland. Nigeria. In hosting this conference the Yar’Adua Centre, which is best known for promoting national cohesion, honours the legacy of a great patriot: Shehu Musa Yar Adua. He died building bridges of understanding across our nation. I salute his family and associates for sustaining the legacy of Shehu through the works of this Foundation.
*New Biafran Leader, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, taking the oath of  office as the Head of State of the Republic of Biafra (May 1967)
2. It is significant that you have chosen to harvest sober memories of Biafra. By so doing, you help us to wisely situate today’s talks of Biafra in the proper context: namely, as an opportunity for nation building; and not – as an invitation for invectives or recrimination.
3. 50 years ago, Nigeria faced disintegration by the declaration of the Republic of Biafra. Biafra was born out of the political crisis which engulfed Nigeria at that time. The crisis began with the struggle for leadership in the Western Region of Nigeria, the declaration of state of emergency in the West, the coup of January 1966, the counter coup of July 1966, the pogroms, the declaration of Biafra and the commencement of a police action that turned into a three years civil war.
4. I hope that our gathering today may contribute to the body of knowledge or body of lessons from the war. Lest we forget, there is wisdom in the words of George Santayana that: those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. That is why I thank you for the chance for us to collectively remember, reflect, hope and seek ways to build anew.
5.My most heartfelt reflection is that in the Nigeria-Biafra conflict, we can and should acknowledge the sacrifice – in blood, suffering and toil – by millions of citizens on both sides of that divide. They shared a common hope for their sacrifice: namely, that out of that war, we shall build a nation where no man is oppressed. The only difference was that for one side, Nigeria was that nation. For the other it was Biafra.
6. Let us spare a thought for every victim of that conflict and the crises before that: the leaders and the soldiers, ordinary men, women and children. Each one loved life; had hopes and dreamt dreams. They died prematurely and often, painfully.
7. For those of us that survived the war and others who came afterwards, we are both heirs to the sacrifices of fallen brethren. Let us commit ourselves today and always to their hopes for peace and justice. Anytime that we are violent, anytime that we are unjust in the exercise of our public trust, anytime we lower the ideals of this nation, we betray them; and we act as if they died in vain. As we honour their memory, today my worry is not only about the rising feeling of marginalization of Igbos or any other group but that our nation may emerge from this conflict a more united and prosperous country.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Nigeria: How Government Steals From The Poor

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
Thursday, May 18, 2017 started for me in a very special way. First, I got a distress call from a young single mother of three children who ekes out a living by hawking fresh fruits somewhere in Wuse Two, Abuja.
This call came at about 8 am the moment I settled into my office desk to begin the day’s work. The purpose of the call was to report that armed operatives of the Abuja Environmental Authority seized her articles of trade and arrested her late last night. She was forced to cough out five thousand naira before she could be left off the hook, but the men went away with her entire business wares.
This lady, by name Miss Evelyn, has a toddler she still breastfeeds in addition to the other two children who are in public school even as she relies on the petty trading to take care of them the best way she can. She wept uncontrollably and urged that our group should intervene so her wares could be released. But our effort was fruitless.

Emir Sanusi And The Aborted Probe

By Paul Onomuakpokpo 
With the abrupt termination of the probe of Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammad Sanusi 11, we have been denied the opportunity to witness a shamefaced confirmation or a smug rebuttal of the allegation of financial sleaze against him. Is the allegation that he mismanaged N6 billion of his emirate a mere canard peddled to sully his hard-earned reputation? This remains unresolved. It was the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission that first started a probe of Sanusi before the state House of Assembly launched an investigation into the same matter.
*Emir Sanusi

The investigations were provoked by his trenchant criticism of the northern establishment. He drew the ire of his highly conservative leaders when he accused Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari of not only failing to take action to check the outbreak of meningitis but for regarding the affliction as a direct comeuppance for his people’s violation of divine stipulations against fornication and adultery.
It is by no means a surprise that Sanusi has been embroiled in another controversy. For him, controversy is a veritable staple of life. Therefore, if controversy does not come on its own, Sanusi courts it with aplomb. Then the approbation follows. He is seen as one of the enlightened people from the north who could speak truth to power. It was a controversy that he triggered by accusing the Goodluck Jonathan government of corruption that led to his removal as Central Bank governor.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Nigeria: Very Rich, But Very Poorly Managed

 By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
A few years ago, we had a very important and urgent need to be in Kumasi very early the next day. It was already midnight (Nigerian Time, but 11pm in Ghana), and we were still in Accra, surrounded by its brilliant lights and soothing serenity (there was not the faintest hint of any generator sound anywhere), wondering what to do.
Obasanjo and Buhari
But a Ghanaian who was with us did not seem to share our worries. He simply told us to hit the road, that in the next three hours, we should be in Kumasi.
I looked at him with surprise and disbelief. Who was sure nobody had hired him to lure the three of us into a well-laid ambush by violent robbers? When I expressed my concern about armed robbers, his answer was sharp: “There are no armed robbers!”
When later I repeated the concern, he said something he quickly realised he should not have said, but which Nigerians need to continue hearing no matter how painful we find it: “I have told you… no armed robbers! This is not Nige…!” He cut himself short. It suddenly occurred to him that he had gone too far in his bid to emphasize that point.
When I called a Nigerian friend in Ghana and he reassured me that the long journey from Accra to Kumasi was safe, we hit the road. At the one or two places where very friendly policemen stopped us, they merely looked at the vehicle and waved us on with their torches, without the slightest hint that they wanted a bribe.

Saraki, Dogara And Corruption

By Paul Onomuakpokpo
Lest we miss a vital opportunity to reflect on the anti-corruption campaign, we must put the positions of Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara on the inveterate plague in the proper perspective. It serves no good to the anti-corruption campaign and the nation’s development in the long run for their views to be dismissed in a huff simply because of a phalanx of allegations that have portrayed the duo and other members of the National Assembly as not immune from corruption.
*Saraki and Dogara 
Saraki is facing prosecution at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for corruption. The citizens are riled by other senators’ apparent complicity in the alleged sleaze of their leader because they have waited in vain for the lawmakers to evince a sense of moral repulsion against identifying with him whenever he goes to the tribunal or court over his case. Underpinning the outrage is that if they were not as corrupt as their leader why should they even allow him to preside over the affairs of the upper legislative chamber? Why not replace him and avoid him like a plague as long as the trial lasts? Also, Dogara has been accused of budget padding, a brand of corruption that reportedly entails the manipulation of a fiscal plan to the detriment of the wellbeing of the bulk of the citizens. But unlike the case of Saraki, the allegation of corruption against Dogara seems to be escaping from public consciousness.
Dogara and his colleagues have been able to squelch and banish the ex-chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who made the allegation against him into political wilderness where he now flails, flounders and screams, striving to draw the citizens’ attention to the corruption in the lower legislative chamber. But nobody seems to hear him.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Is Nigeria Really Too Weak to Break Up?

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
One common trend which I have noticed in human beings is the inability for people to leave their comfort zones and confront the hard facts of their existence, even when such facts of life are so pressing and yearning for attention. It is like the rodent which was consumed by an inferno when it failed to leave its comfort zone despite being warned earlier by the fleeing lizard. At a point in the history of the Jewish nation, the people abandoned the statutes of their God in pursuit of other gods. Every warning issued by the prophets of old seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
*Dr. Nwankwo 
God in his infinite mercy raised Amos, the shepherd of Tekoa to call the nation of Israel to order and warn them of the divine judgment that must fall upon the nation unless they turn from their evil ways. But even with all the warnings by Amos, the children of Israel refused to leave their comfort zones - they had fallen so deep into apostasy and deluded themselves that all was well. In the 6th Chapter of the Book of Amos, the prophet bemoaned the inability of the Israelites to leave their comfort zones and embrace righteousness, and in a state of exasperation he declared “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came”.
This has been the nature of man since the ages. Even in the family setting, when we are confronted with what I may describe as uncomfortable truths; it is convenient for us to deny it. We derive joy in deluding ourselves and pretending that all is well. We refuse to face the reality because we are afraid that the truth will destroy our comfort zones and deny us the grandeur which falsehood brings. We are always happy to indulge in such denials rather than confronting squarely those problems whose existence we deny. Because of this, we hardly make any move forward. 
If you situate the foregoing to Nigeria, you will begin to appreciate the relevance of this discourse. In Nigeria, we delude ourselves that all is well even when the facts on the ground suggest otherwise. We dismiss all suggestions to restructure the country as the ranting of a misguided few, yet the country draws closer to the precipice daily. We dismiss any alarm of cataclysmic uprising in the country because we are too consumed in enjoying the luxury of our loot; and have perfected the art of using the machinery of the state in pauperizing and oppressing the vast, helpless many. We trust in our wealth and chariots and in the security we have placed around ourselves and our mansions. If this were not so, Sule Lamido, former Governor of Jigawa State would not have had the courage to assert that Nigeria is too weak to break up because according to him “members of the elite are united in preserving their advantages over the masses irrespective of their differences of tribe and religion”. It was for this kind of mindset that Amos declared “Woe to them that are at ease in Zion…” 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Resurgence Of Biafra Agitation And The Indestructibility Of Ndigbo In Nigeria

By Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo
There is no doubt that the Igbo race is the single largest group in Nigeria comparable only to the Nile valley in terms of population density. Yet it is the avowed goal of certain forces in Nigeria especially among the Hausa/Fulani establishment to wipe out the Igbo from the face of the earth. This evil desire did not begin today. It is a command rooted in history and otiose religious injunctions. But as the saying goes: There is no killing the beetle! 
*Dr. Nwankwo
As a group of people, created and ordained by God Almighty, no person or group in Nigeria is capable of wiping out the Igbo. It is not possible. In the legends of Buddhism, the Vajra is the most important ritual implement of Vajrayana Buddhism. In Sanskrit, the word vajra is defined as something hard or mighty, as in a diamond. It symbolizes an impenetrable, immovable and indestructible state of knowledge and enlightenment. Without the Vajra, the strength of the gods of Buddhism will cease to exist. 

This pristine Sanskrit philosophy of the indestructibility of the Vajra was alluded to by Jesus Christ himself when he compared the Hebrew children as the salt of the earth noting that the earth would be worthless without its salt. Just as the vajra is the meat of the gods of Buddhism and the children of light the salt of the earth, so are the Igbos the salt of Nigeria. Without the Igbo, Nigeria will lose its taste and Nigeria will be no more. In all ramifications, this assertion is true. 

In terms of adaptation, J.P Clark had once referred to the Igbo as soldier ants that came relatively late to the Nigerian political scene but as soon as they emerged they seized the floor and dictated the pace of nationalism. Ndigbo are the only group in Nigeria that has the capacity to make a comfortable and productive home anywhere outside their homeland. They are industrious and determined and they do not easily give up. They are very clever and hardworking. When it comes to business, the Igbos have the humility, patience and resilience to nurture a business from nothing to something huge. Ndigbo have paid the greatest price in Nigeria. 

Nnamdi Azikiwe had remarked that it would appear that God had specially created the Igbo people to suffer persecution and be victimized because of their resolute will to live and survive where others had failed. Since suffering appears to be the label of the Igbo race, we have come to the conclusion that we have sacrificed enough for the unity of Nigeria, and resolved that we can no longer bear to be sacrificed further for the ultimate redemption of the Nigerian State. I think it is historically significant to note that throughout the inglorious history of Nigeria, the Igbo have at every turn survived the harsh and evil conspiracies of the Nigerian state to eliminate it. 

If any person goes through the records of Nigerian history that person will not find an occasion when the Igbo have failed to rise from the ashes of brutality to mount on wings like the eagle.

In ancient history, there is no record where another tribe has either marched across Igbo territory or subjected the Igbo nation to a humiliating conquest. Instead, there is record to show that the martial prowess of the Igbo, at all stages of human history, has rivaled them not only to survive persecution, but also to adapt themselves to the role thrust upon them by history, of preserving all that is best and most noble in our culture and tradition. Placed in this high estate, the Igbo cannot shirk from the responsibility conferred on it by its manifest destiny. Having undergone a course of suffering in Nigeria, Ndigbo must, therefore, enter into its heritage by asserting its birthright, by asserting its right to self-determination within the confines of international law without apologies to any person or group. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Buhari’s Health, 2019 And Release Of The Chibok Girls

By Steve Onyeiwu
Last Saturday, Boko Haram unexpectedly released 82 Chibok girls, after a gruesome three years in captivity. Indeed, the entire world seemed to have moved on and forgotten these innocent girls. While the world was outraged by the use of chemical weapons against children in Syria, no one seemed to care about the fate of the Chibok girls. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo even speculated that the girls may never be seen again.

What prompted their sudden and unexpected release? The official spiel is that the girls had been swapped with some Boko Haram prisoners, in a deal brokered by Switzerland and some international NGOs. I believe, however, there are more complex reasons for their sudden release, and that the timing is very intriguing.
First, why would Boko Haram release the girls to an ailing President Muhammadu Buhari, who many believe has been so incapacitated that he could no longer prosecute the war against Boko Haram? Why would Boko Haram now be afraid and willing to negotiate with a Commander-in-Chief who has not met with his frontline officers for a long time? In military parlance, Boko Haram would expect the Nigerian army to be disorganised and in retreat. Boko Haram might, therefore, assume that Nigerian Army Chief-of-Staff, General Buratai’s recent visit to Brazil, instead of focusing on intensifying the onslaught against Boko Haram, reflects the army’s disorganisation and lack of command and control by the Commander-in-Chief.
Could the release of the girls be attributed to the fact that Boko Haram and its sponsors would want Buhari to claim credit for the girls’ release, rather than “President” Yemi Osinbajo? Could it have anything to do with the permutations for 2019? Perhaps to ensure northern unity and stability, Boko Haram and its benefactors may have come to the conclusion that it’s better to release the girls under Buhari than under Osinbajo. Maybe they do not want to see a situation whereby southerners would say: “see, your northern president did not succeed in releasing the Chibok girls as he promised during the 2015 presidential election. Why, then, did you people castigate and voted against former president Jonathan for his failure to secure the release of the girls?”

Buhari, The Opposition And 2019

By Paul Onomuakpokpo  
Beyond the official hectoring about the need for the citizens to be sympathetic towards their sick president, pray for his recovery and not allow themselves to be co-opted on to a malignant campaign of gloating over his predicament is the contempt for the citizens’ expectations of good governance. This disdain is betrayed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s associates’ unvarnished interest in the next election at a time he is hobbled by ill health that has aggravated his inability to effectively deliver his current mandate.
Those who importune the citizens for a pledge of fidelity to this charter of demands do not demonstrate the understanding that they expect of the citizens. Clearly, what they envisage is not the president walking into full recovery, but a single candidacy in 2019 so that they would not lose their privileges of their closeness to power. They talk gleefully about his re-contesting for the presidency in 2019 as though there would not be opposition from any quarter.
Your expectation is misplaced if you think that they would demur at the prospect of their principal losing the election because he has failed to perform in his first term. They do not bother about the ill health of Buhari and the need for him to take good care of his health. Amid this dizzying quest for re-election, we are drawn to the increasing similarity between Buhari’s associates and the wife of Robert Mugabe. Remember, it was Mugabe’s wife who recently declared that the corpse of her 92-year-old husband and president would contest Zimbabwe’s election and win even if he dies before the exercise takes place.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Nigeria Must Decide What They Want From The Igbo

By Azuka Onwuka
Before August 9, 1965, the Singaporeans were seen as an irritation in Malaysia. Then Singapore was one of the 14 states of Malaysia. Singaporeans were viewed as arrogant, stubborn, and domineering. While the United Malays National Organisation wanted affirmative action or “quota system” for the Malays, the People's Action Party of the Singaporeans insisted that the best thing for the country was a merit-based policy on all issues, so as to bring out the best in the nation and create a spirit of excellence.
This constant disagreements and tensions resulted in racial riots. It got to a point, the Malays could take it no more. So on August 9, 1965 they convened the parliament, with no Singaporean parliamentarian present. At that sitting, the legislators voted unanimously (126 - 0) to expel Singapore from Malaysia.
When the Singaporeans heard that they had been expelled from the nation, at first they were devastated. But they took their fate in the hands and started building a new nation. And indeed, by applying merit and the pursuit of excellence, Singaporeans built a country that moved from Third World to First World in record time, overtaking Malaysia in all ramifications.
Interestingly, despite this sad way of parting, Malaysia and Singapore have remained good neighbours. In spite of the success Singapore has recorded, it has not made Malaysia not to record its own success.
There are many similarities between the story of Singapore and Malaysia and Igbo and Nigeria. The Igbo are not happy with the quota system policy used in the admission into federal schools and federal positions. They want competitiveness in every sector, which will lead to the best being selected, for the sake of excellence.
The Igbo are seen as arrogant, noisy, domineering, greedy, over-ambitious, to mention but a few. Many Nigerians see them as irritants. They get killed frequently, especially in the North, at the least misunderstanding. Sometimes the cause of the provocation is someone from Denmark, Cameroon or another part of Nigeria.
There are many Nigerians who will easily tell you: “We will never allow an Igbo person to rule Nigeria.” There are many who believe that the problem of Nigeria is from the Igbo, and that once the Igbo are done away with, Nigeria’s problems will disappear.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Chinua Achebe’s Unrelenting Feminist Critics

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye 
Recently, I was at a forum put together to celebrate the work of Chinua Achebe, Africa’s best known and most widely read author, universally regarded as the father and rallying point of African Literature. As the speeches flowed and the ovations sounded, I could feel the depth of admiration in the various speakers towards Achebe and his work.  The whole thing was moving on well until one lady came up with elaborate praise for Achebe for the significant “improvement” his female characters achieved in Anthills Of the Savannah, unlike what obtained in Things Fall Apart, his first novel, which is globally acknowledged as a classic, and which now exists in more than fifty major languages.
*Chinua Achebe
 Now, I would easily have ignored and quickly forgotten this comment as “one of those things” one was bound to hear in a “mixed crowd” if I had not also heard similar thoughts brazenly expressed by some female scholars whom I thought should be better informed. For instance, I was at a lecture in Port Harcourt some years ago when a female professor of literature announced with the excitement of someone who had just discovered another earth: When Achebe created his earlier female characters, she said,  we complained; then he responded by giving us Clara (in No Longer At Ease) and we still complained; then he gave us Eunice (in A Man Of The People) and we still asked for more; and then he gave us Beatrice (in Anthills Of The Savannah)! Unfortunately, I have encountered thoughts even more pedestrian than this flaunted by several scholars and readers alike.

Honestly, I had thought that this matter had long been resolved and forgotten. It should be clear (and I should think that this has been sufficiently stressed) that whatever perceived differences in the various female characters created by Achebe are a function of the prevailing realities in the different settings and periods that produced them, and Achebe’s ability to record those realties so accurately should not be construed to mean that he also “celebrates” them (as some critics have wrongly imputed) or advocates their sustenance.

In his lecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, specially slated to precede the very memorable Eagle On Iroko Symposium, organized to mark Achebe’s sixtieth birthday in 1990, Prof Dan Izevbaye described Achebe as “history’s eyewitness,” and I easily agree with him.

Today Achebe is being widely hailed for using his first novel, Things Fall Apart, to change the distorted images of Africa celebrated in the heaps of mostly concocted historical and literary accounts about the continent and its people by mostly Western writers. But Achebe did not see any wisdom in countering these distortions with his own distortions. He merely presented reality with both its glowing and unedifying sides with exceptional insight, penetration and grasp of the real picture which the foreigner, whose impressions were mostly coloured by many years of deep-seated prejudices, was incapable of capturing.

It is a credit to Achebe’s mastery of his art that even though his readers might be shocked, for instance, at the bloodcurdling murder of Ikemefuna (which every sane person should find overly revolting), they would still find it nearly impossible to categorize the incident as  one more evidence of savage pleasure of the native in wanton bloodletting. The reader is able to see an Okonkwo with genuine human feelings that are even more appealing than those of the white man who was attempting to “civilize” him, but who would have no qualms wiping out an entire community, as happened in Abame!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Nigeria: President Buhari’s Last Duty

By Paul Onomuakpokpo 
Despite the official veil on the auguries, that the nation is on the cusp of a crisis that threatens its survival owing to the secrecy surrounding the ill health of President Muhammadu Buhari is a troubling fact that is clear to the discerning among us. Of course, we take cognisance of the fact that like a phoenix, the nation has often risen from the ashes of seemingly mortal calamities to grow stronger. From the civil war through the June 12 crisis to egregious cases of corruption, the nation has developed a certain immunity to the perils that would have made it suffer a self-inflicted dissolution. But we have taken this resilience for granted. This is why we are at it again, stretching this resilience by refusing to do what is necessary to preserve the unity of the nation.
We must be alert to the tragic character of the current crisis if we must survive it and learn any lessons from it. It is because of the absence of a correct appreciation of the spectre of tragedy that hangs over the nation that there is official levity as a response to the sickness of the president. Such levity is often expressed in the remonstrance that the president is not as sick as portrayed in the public and the alleged purveyors of the canard of his incapacity to wade through the complexities of governance are threatened with dire consequences.
But it is now difficult to deceive the citizens about the health of the president once again. The citizens once fell for the deception when the president was in London for medical vacation. Then the official obscuration was prevalent – he was not sick; he was only on vacation having worked so hard to solve the nation’s problems. But when Buhari came from London, he himself declared he had never been so sick as he was. Thus the citizens can no longer be deceived by the officials of the Buhari government. It is clear now that Buhari is not well and this is why he has not been attending the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meetings and other public functions. There has not been a clear position from the presidency, thereby leaving room for myriad speculations. Officials are saying that the president is healthy and that he is even fit for the contest for the 2019 election and that he is working from home while most of the citizens are saying that Buhari is medically challenged.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Southern Kaduna Massacres On My Mind

By  Sufuyan Ojeifo
“Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and, therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne
Southern Kaduna is a microcosm of Nigeria.  It is, by any stretch of the imagination, emblematic of our collectivity.  The people, who are marooned in their troublous ancestral Kaduna locale share a common civilization with us who are, somewhat, liberated in the ambiance of the expansive Nigerian-nation. Therefore, the killings of southern Kaduna indigenes by Fulani herdsmen, for whatever reasons, are nothing but fatal assaults on the humanity in all of us. 

The south of Kaduna has, historically, become a minefield of mindless genocide that has left the people immersed in eternal fear.  Scores of indigenes have been killed by installments.  Unfortunately, many more will, painfully, be victims of Fulani herdsmen’s fatal rampages as there are yet no verifiable foolproof measures in place to avert the incessant cold-blooded massacres that have been the tragic narrative of the hapless people.
One is continuously diminished by the killing of a man or woman, youth or child in southern Kaduna, an enclave that is predominantly occupied by Christian population.  “One life taken in cold blood,” according to the late inimitable journalist, Dele Giwa, “is as gruesome as millions lost in a pogrom.” 

Nigeria: Buhari Must Go or Be Impeached

By Toyin Dawodu

Buhari Isn’t Getting Better, But He May Be Getting Worse!   
A recent report in the Nigerian publication, SaharaReporters, revealed that President Buhari is having difficulty eating and drinking but is not being allowed to travel for medical treatment. As at the time of writing this article, the president has not refuted this report.
For more than six months, Buhari’s administration has kept quiet on the president’s deteriorating health. No one has even told the citizens of Nigeria what ails the president. We don’t know if he is capable of discharging his constitutional duties. We don’t know if he has the ability to make sound decisions anymore. We don’t even know if he retains power over his own day to day activities. All we know is something is most certainly wrong.
We have men and women whom we elected to office who have not demanded transparency of Buhari’s administration. The Nigerian people have a right to know if their president is unable to fulfill his duties.
In a statement issued by Chief Bisi Akande, the founding National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Akande called on Nigerians to “pray fervently” for Buhari’s health.
After prayers, then what? Buhari is sick! He cannot perform his duties. If Chief Akande wants to lead any movement for Nigerians, it should involve more than just sending prayers. There must also be progressive action. A movement that truly helps Nigeria would be encouraging Buhari to resign to allow his capable Vice President to lead the nation. Refusing to act is not an option, and failure to do so will result in electoral punishment for APC, come 2019.

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