By Jude Ndukwe
Read Also: The Tyrant In Abuja
By Jude Ndukwe
Prof Charles Chukwuma Soludo, former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and former governorship aspirant in Anambra State, got the nation anxious again when he declared in a no-holds-barred manner that former President Goodluck Jonathan ran the Central Bank of Nigeria in manners akin to that of Uganda’s late dictator, Idi Amin.
Soludo did not fall short of accusing the former president of ordering the CBN to ‘print’ say, N3 trillion under the guise of creating an intervention fund for national stability but which is eventually doled out to prosecute an election campaign or just about anything the president fancies. He further described the CBN as the presidency’s ATM under Jonathan.
Such an unsubstantiated grave allegation coming from a man like Soludo is, indeed, worrisome. That a man of Soludo’s status would condescend so low, throw caution to the wind, jump on the bandwagon, play to the gallery and take advantage of the political situation in Nigeria to make spurious allegations unscrupulously against the former president is a sign of the decline and amnesia which has gripped our political class in the last eight months.
Apart from the fact that such unguarded outburst is false, the timing is instructive.
In the months prior to the appointment of Ministers by President Buhari, Soludo was so desperate to be noticed that he suddenly became vocal in condemning the immediate past administration and accused them of just anything that tickled his fancy all in a bid to get Buhari’s attention. His nearly endless tirade against Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, is legendary. Despite all his efforts, President Buhari overlooked him and settled for someone who by her deportment is timid and easily malleable than a Soludo who is brash, rash, abrasive, confrontational and does ITK (I Too Know).
After having missed that opportunity, and with the growing rumour that the job of the current CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, is hanging in the balance following the shambolic state of our economy and the continued slide in the value of the naira, it is time for Soludo to remind Buhari that he is still jobless and quite available for the CBN top job, and the only way to do this since he does not have direct access to the president is to criticise the past administration for just anything that would make him sound as being in the same boat with the president and his men, and probably be considered for a job in the current administration.
However, a look at Soludo’s leadership of the CBN between May 29, 2004 and May 29, 2009, when he held sway there leaves much to be desired. Many renowned economists, bankers and analysts have described that period as the darkest in the history of our banking sector. It was that type of darkness that is shaded by the deceitful fleeting light from a reflective silver coin dangling under the midday sun – it was nothing but a charade, a facade, to deceive while our commonwealth was blatantly frittered away in a most unconscionable manner by “Cowboy” bank executives right under the watch of the equally exuberant CBN governor, Charles Soludo, under the guise of an ill-intended banking consolidation exercise.
It is no longer a secret that the famous banking consolidation exercise as “arranged” by Soludo was designed to favour a certain big banking executives who were very close to Soludo then. The palpable recklessness of these executives and others were overlooked by Soludo as he allowed them to use depositors’ money to purchase their own shares thereby giving a false impression of the banks’ worth and artificially increased the value of these banks in the capital market. The resultant effect was the death of these banks and the subsequent crash of the capital market leading to millions of Nigerians losing their stocks without warning while thousands others lost their jobs in one fell swoop in the process thereby leaving many families traumatised even up till today.
Sanusi, the governor that succeeded Soludo in office, in a paper titled “The Nigerian Banking Industry: What Went Wrong and the Way Forward”, which he presented at the convocation lecture of the Bayero University, Kano, in 2010 had this to say: “A lot of the capital supposedly raised by these so-called ‘mega banks’ was fake capital financed from depositors’ funds. 30 per cent of the share capital of Intercontinental Bank was purchased with customer deposits. Afribank used depositors’ funds to purchase 80 per cent of its IPO. The CEO of Oceanic Bank controlled over 35 per cent of the bank through SPVs (Special Purpose Vehicles) borrowing customer deposits. The collapse of the capital market wiped out these customer deposits amounting to hundreds of billions of naira.”
Sanusi did not mince words in indicting Soludo in all these scams as he declared that the capital verification process of the CBN targeted at avoiding bubble capital at the beginning of the consolidation exercise was stopped by Soludo for unexplained reasons. He accused Soludo of running the CBN in “laissez-faire” fashion, personally setting up board agendas to reflect only his “priorities”.
Some of the banks then engaged in manipulating their books “by colluding with other banks to artificially enhance financial positions and therefore stock prices, adding that practices such as converting non-performing loans into commercial papers and bank acceptances and setting up off-balance sheet special purpose vehicles to hide losses were prevalent”. Such a monumental fraud!
Soludo should come clean on how much he made from the fraudulent bank executives, some of whom have been convicted by the courts, for deliberately looking the other way while these executives circumvented banking rules with reckless abandon right under Soludo’s watch to the extent that they “lent money to themselves for stock price manipulation and purchase of estates all over the world”. Sanusi, in that paper, also revealed how one bank borrowed money and purchased private jets which were later discovered to be registered in the bank CEO’s son. He also revealed how the management of another bank set up 100 fake companies for the purpose of perpetrating fraud. Soludo gave tacit approval to theses banks’ frauds as perpetrated by the executives while they drained our economy dry because those involved were Soludo’s paddy paddy!
In his article that appeared on Sahara Reporters in March 2010, Comrade Ikenna Osuwa rightly declared that Soludo’s “...exit as CBN helmsman has gathered more opprobrium than the exit of any other public servant in the last ten years”. Apart from the N256.571bn that was said to have been serially borrowed by bank
Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do no reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Chuks Iloegbunam
THE feud between the Igbo and the Yoruba ethnic groups is contrived, just like the feud between the Igbo and the Ikwere. Whenever these feuds take centrestage, the impetus is invariably traceable to the divide-and-rule imperative, which inevitably profits the oligarchy of northern Nigeria. Every other explanation adduced in the explanation of the phenomenon can only be peripheral. It is important to make this point from the outset, before going about the business of explanations – for the benefit of those who may genuinely be ignorant of a crucial factor in the continued inability to resolve some of the more critical of Nigeria’s contradictions.
Femi Aribisala, one of the more perceptive of the motley coterie of columnists currently on the national stage, discussed the origins and manifestations of this feud in an incisive article entitled Time To End the bad blood between the Yorubas and Ndigbo (Vanguard January 12, 2016). “What is the basis of all this hate?” Mr. Aribisala asks.”In the sixties, the Igbo were slaughtered in pogroms in the North. However, the principal exchange of hateful words today is not between Northerners and Easterners, but between Easterners and Westerners. Why are these two ethnic groups so much at loggerheads?”
The straightforward answer is that it serves the interest of the “core” North to keep the South permanently in mutually assured destructive contention on largely immaterial issues. It happened between the Igbo and the old Rivers State in the wake of the Nigerian civil war. It was suddenly and conveniently “discovered” that the Ikwerre were not and had never been Igbo. The people went into a flourish of re-spelling: Umuomasi became Rumuomasi; Umukrushi became Rumukrushi; Umuola became Rumuola; Umueme became Rumueme.In truth, all these represent no more than distinct dialectal spellings of Igbo root names typical to the areas around Port Harcourt. But the re-spelling exercise was used to manufacture an entirely new ethnic group.
The acclaimed writer, Professor (Captain) Elechi Amadi, who led the group that lent intellectual weight to this fad,went further to celebrate in fictional terms the political marriage between Rivers people and Northern Nigeria. Yet, he did not see it fit to change his name to Relechi Ramadi. Of course, the contrived ethnic dissonance achieved its purpose. While the fight raged relentlessly on “Abandoned Properties”, mostly mud houses built in the 1930s and 1940s, the “core” North moved in and harvested the oil rewards. Their members became instant millionaires by being allocated shiploads of crude, which they sold off at the Rotterdam Spot Market. Further, they appropriated 99 percent of the oil blocs. Then they seized Professor Tam David-West, a Rivers man, “tried” him for causing the country “economic adversity” and handed him a tidy prison term. But the picture is becoming clearer. Had the black gold been found in the “core” North, would the Rivers man have been allocated even one percent of the oil blocs?
It was not the Igbo that killed Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro. It was not the Igbo that killed Ken Saro-Wiwa.
It was not the Igbo that banished Delta nights with the interminable flare of gas. It was not the Igbo that ordered the November 20, 1999 expeditionary attack on Odi that left 2500 Ijaw citizens killed and the town reduced to rubble.
The Igbo was accused of desiring nothing but the expropriation of Delta oil and gas. But geophysicssince proved that the entire Igbo country sits on oil, and holds in its bowels the largest concentration of gas on the Africa continent. That is the way everything goes and turns round.
The Delta people, previously cajoled into believing that they had been liberated from Ndigbo, are beginning to know differently. They have discovered their real oppressors. President Jonathan, a Rivers man, was denied a second term in office. His single tenure was covered in a mountain of mendacity by the manipulators of sectional press and political blackmail. The traditional “political allies” of the Southern minorities felt affronted by being asked to vote a second term for one of those they claimed to have “liberated” from Igbo clutches and talons!
It is on the same plane that the feud between Ndigbo and the Yoruba sits today.True, prophets abound who received messages directly from God that President Jonathan would lose his reelection bid. But realpolitik always made it obvious to informed non-prophets that no two of the ethnic tripod of Nigerian politics could bind together without carrying theday of national ballot. That is what the entire feud currently playing out between the Yoruba and the Igbo is about. Suddenly, it was discovered that Ndigbo are in cahoots to adulterate Yoruba culture! Suddenly it was remembered that, during the 1950s, Chief Awolowo had cheated Dr. Azikiwe of the West Regional premiership by playing the ethnic card. In the circumstance, verbal missiles have been hitting antipodal zones with the destructive insistence of heavy artillery concentration.
While this distraction was in ascent, a leeway was created for imbuing the Chosen One with the political sagacity that he so pitifully lacks. While this distraction runs, the entity suffers because a divided South guarantees less than enough mobilization for a national front to push for positive movement and needed reforms. This is where Aribisala’s lament becomes more apposite: “[The Yoruba and the Igbo]prefer a Nigeria that practices fiscal federalism. Both want a country with a weaker centre. Both want a Nigeria that rewards merit, with a state-structure based on resource-control. Both groups want a Nigeria committed to self-determination. These are grounds for cooperation as opposed to discord. If the North is not to continue to take the South for granted, it must not be allowed to continue to operate in the confidence that the East and the West will always be divided.”
That is the problem. The North does not operate in the confidence of eternal East-West dislocations. It surreptitiously incites and nurtures them, remotely controlling surrogates who celebrate sinecures at the expense of self-determination and fiscal independence! That is why, despiteAribisala’srealism, Northern pragmatism will ensure that the contrived Yoruba-Igbo discord does not abate. If anything, it is set to escalate. One only needs to critically examine the true nature of the Government of Change since served Nigerians on a platter of media overkill, to fully understand the state of play. Despotism is staging a comeback, propped up by a – not the – Yoruba media, which objectifies its permutations and predilections through a virulent antipathy for Ndigbo.
This ensures the attenuation of pressure from the Chosen One. There is firmly in place an abundance of menopausal professors of Law rabidly justifying the unfolding, visceral string of disobediences to court injunctions. The allegiance to true fiscal federalism, a central plank of the Yoruba profession of a continued corporate Nigeria, has all but been deliberately diminished. And, generally obfuscating every space for rational thinking and committed leadership, is the conundrum of trial by media. Those who have been setting the national clock back by decades confuse themselves by thinking that they are getting one back on the PDP. That is false. What they are doing is simply intensifying the artificial war between the Igbo and the Yoruba, in order that those born to rule would hold permanent sway. Yet, there is a redeeming feature in this morass of crassness – the very fact that everything goes and turns round.
Mr. Iloegbunam is the author of Ironside, the biography of General Aguiyi-ronsi.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch
By Iyoha John Darlington
Borrowing a hackneyed quotation from the Shakespearean play titled Julius Ceasar and reciting or putting it differently,
'we are no blocks;
we are no stones;
we are not worth than senseless things;
to be consistently taken in by the hard hearts and cruel men of Abuja''
Times, you will agree with me, are bad and hard in Nigeria, this informed our interest and desire to opt for a change, such that that will revitalize the obviously decadent paralysis under the former ruling People's Democratic Party. The leaders that led Nigeria during the sixteen years of PDP 'misrule' ensured that all democratic institutions worked exceedingly well.
The legislative arm made laws for the country, the executive ensured full enforcement of these laws and the judiciary played its constitutional role of interpreting the laws and applying it to individual cases. There was freedom of speech and that right to free speech was further guaranteed, protected and respected. Court orders were obeyed and were not flouted or disregarded under any guise.
Under the former ruling Peoples' Democratic Party, one could criticize without being hunted by the powers-that-be or without running the risk of being liquidated in possible bloody purges by people from the region where comes the man at the helm. This was democracy at work and everyone talked freely, governors transgressed or overstepped the bounds of authority and decency via diatribes on the nation's number one citizen without the devil to pay calling to mind the scathing attacks by the likes of ex-Governor Fashola of Lagos State, Rabiu Kwankwanso of Kano State, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.
Others are Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State, Aregbesola of Osun State and a host of other Arewa Field Marshalls and foot soldiers who left no stone unturned to make sure the former ruling party was sacked from Aso Rock, Nigeria's seat of power. It really did happen and on May 29, 2015, a new government was sworn in thus heralding the dawn of a new era in Nigeria.
A running battle ensued and was also extended to the social media, the situation is better imagined than real. Bloggers' services were retained nation-wide to discredit the former ruling party and as luck would have it many people were hoodwinked by the diabolic whims and caprices of the agents of change who played leading and devastating roles in grinding Nigeria to a halt.
It is seven calendar months today that Buhari assumed the reins of power and we see our fortunes taking a nosedive. All we see and hear every day is the blame game which they are seemingly good at. Blame game, mister, is not what was voted for, we voted for a change that will give us the dividends of democracy, we opted for a change that will transform Nigeria, we desired a change that will secure for us and posterity the blessings of liberty, we called for a change that will reposition Nigeria in the path of economic prosperity and development.
Fortunately or unfortunately, what is on the ground today is high-handedness together with incompetence, repressive rule, selective prosecution, injustice, gradual extinction of the opposition by the instrumentality of federal might and the gradual emergence of a one-party state, flagrant abuse of power and sheer disregard for court orders. This marks a steep descent to none other than tyranny. Are we better off today?
Party affiliations have so blinded many to truly call a spade a spade and on inquiry you are often told Nigeria has been destroyed by the 16 years of PDP prodigal 'misrule', this often makes me laugh preferably in Chinese. Seven calendar months, they say, out a forty-eight-month tenure is extremely infinitesimal to score the performance of this administration and considering the fact Buhari has been operating on an inherited budget prepared by the Jonathan government we decided to keep mum and let us see what the ruling All Progressives' Congress' will be like.
About three days ago I took my time to read the budget speech and to my greatest chagrin I saw us being caught again in the web of a vicious circle. The Information Minister Mr. Lai Mohammed rose to defend the hard times awaiting us in 2016 which he blamed on Jonathan. 2016, the government in Abuja has told us would be tougher than the twilight of 2015 because the first quarter of 2015 was, in all sincerity, comparatively better than the third quarter where a litre of petrol now sells for as much as N180 and the N1:00 which Buhari had promised would be equal in value to $1:00 has risen astronomically to a whopping N280. Chances are that it will still nosedive following deafening pressure from supranational financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to further devalue the naira.
In the area of insecurity, the Federal Government said they are winning the war against the insurgents in the northeastern flank of the country. Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture said they have met the self-imposed December deadline and the insurgents have been dislodged from the embattled region but only yesterday, it made news headlines across the world that Boko Haram militants sitting astride bicycles sacked a whole village, Kimba to be precise in Borno State killing as many fourteen people and torching their homes. Ironically, this is the same week the President said he has 'technically' defeated the jihadists. In what dangers would these heinous lies further lead Nigeria?
Nnamdi Kanu was swooped on four months ago by Buhari's secret agents and handed over to the men of the Department of State Security Services, (DSS). This is a young man who has not committed any violent felony and some erudite judges finding him harmless and guiltless ordered his unconditional release from detention, but the judges have only found themselves speaking to a brick wall a sad reminder of late Idi Amin's reign of terror in Uganda.
In a bizarre turn of events instead of heeding court orders and unconditionally releasing the detained IPOB leader, the Buhari-led Federal Government slammed a fresh six-count charge of treason. Where and when did Nnamdi Kanu commit violent felonies to attract treason charges? You know as well as I know that he did not, here is a man who has only exercised his freedom to free speech.
Could this be a government founded on lies and deception to further annihilate Nigerians? Could this be a government that would be sending us en masse to untimely graves considering the massacre of over 300 defenceless shi'ite Muslims last week by soldiers in Zaria, Kaduna State and buried secretly in mass graves? Could this be a government that is devoid of focus and direction considering a tougher 2016 salvo they just fired when Nigerians are already sapped and pauperized?
Iyoha John Darling, a social activist, scholar, opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect or represent the editorial policy ofDailyGlobeWatch
By Jideofor Adibe
Buhari's recent apology to Nigerians over the illegal sacking of some vice chancellors presents a golden opportunity for another re-invention of the president. It should be recalled that the Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu had in February 2016 announced the sacking of the vice chancellors of 12 Federal Universities established by the Goodluck administration as well as the vice chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria.
The action of the Minister was a clear violation of the Nigerian University Miscellaneous (Amendment) Act 2003 under which the appointment of vice chancellors is regarded as a tenured appointment. Under the Act, if a vice chancellor should be removed from office before the expiration of his/her tenure, it is the Board of the Governing Council of the affected University that is empowered to recommend or effect that removal. Remarkably the Minister of Education also dissolved the Boards of the Governing Council of the affected Universities which has the power to recommend the removal of the Vice Chancellors he sacked. The Minister's appointment of new vice chancellors to replace the ones he sacked also failed to follow due process. Understandably the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other civil society groups condemned the action and threatened further actions if the decision was not rescinded.
Speaking at the NEC meeting of the APC in Abuja on March 24 2016, the President was quoted as saying:
“We gave a blanket order which we had to rescind when we said all boards are suspended or dissolved… We had to go back and lick our vomit in terms of universities councils because we found out that according to their laws, they cannot choose vice chancellors unless the councils sit and interview candidates who want to be VCs.”
The President also admitted that he did not succeed in the elections conducted by INEC in Kogi, Bayelsa and Rivers States which were not only marred by violence but were, as in every election conducted so far by the current INEC, defined by such vocabularies as 're-run' and 'inconclusive'.
Though it was not the first time Buhari would apologize to Nigerians – he did so in December 2015 over the long queues in petrol filling stations while presenting the 2016 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly – it was probably the first time he took the blame for the failure. The routine weeping boy for all the problems his regime has faced has been the Jonathan government or the 'mess left by 16 years of PDP's rule'.
While the President saw his recent apology as amounting to the government returning to its vomit, I see it differently as a huge opportunity to re-invent him again.
Though I have been critical of some of the policies of the President, I have also always reminded his critics that just as it takes a while after a plane has taken off before it can get to a cruising height, so also can it take a new government time to find its rhythm. This means in essence that it is not abnormal for a new government to fumble, grope and gaffe before finding its bearing – provided that such a government is 'teachable' and willing to learn from its mistakes. Buhari's critics have worried on whether he is 'teachable', and also whether he has enough humility in him to reverse course in the face of superior arguments or overwhelming evidence that a chosen path is not working. There have also been concerns on whether he will be able to provide enough political cover to his aides who incur public criticisms in the course of their jobs.
Buhari's latest apology may have unwittingly provided some tentative answers to these concerns. With the apology, he may have signalled a putative new Buhari who may be willing to learn and also sent a signal to some fanatical Buharists who feel a godly obligation not only to defend every action of the president (no matter how unreasonable) but also to rudely insult anyone who begs to differ from the President's choices.
In the same vein, by not publicly chiding Malam Adamu Adamu for that illegal action he may also have provided a tentative answer on whether he will have the courage of Obasanjo in defending his political aides who incur public anger or make mistakes in their jobs. It is instructive that the presidency also came to the defence of Dr Kachukwu Ibe against Bola Tinubu's opportunistic attempt to ingratiate himself to the public using Dr Ibe's rather insensitive remarks over the long queues in petrol stations as the mask. The minister had suggested that he was no magician to fix the problem of long queues in filling stations at a time the citizens expected him to empathize with them over their plight – even if what he said was the truth. While Obasanjo was adept at providing political cover to his aides who took risks or made genuine mistakes in the course of their works both the late Yaradua and Jonathan were notorious for sacrificing such aides. It is important therefore for Buhari's aides to know early in his regime where they stand with him.
Given the increasingly disappearing halo around the president, a re-invented Buhari can use the lowered bar of expectation to 'over achieve'. This was exactly what happened to Professor Attahiru Jega, who after demanding mouth watering sums as a condition for organising free and fair elections in 2011 (a whopping N89.5 billion was voted for the cleaning up of the voters' register alone) faltered and failed in his first test on April 2 2011. After cancelling the parliamentary elections mid way through the exercise, the bar of public expectations became so much lowered that by simply exceeding the ground bar set by Professor Maurice Iwu's INEC, his conduct of the 2011 elections was suddenly hailed as the 'freest and fairest' in our political history.
I will recommend the following to aid a second re-invention of the President:
One, Buhari's re-invention during the 2015 election did magic among the several sceptics in the southern part of the country. Suddenly a man, who was successfully labelled (rightly or wrongly) as 'provincial' and a 'religious bigot', became comfortable wearing attires from different cultural, ethnic and regional areas and was warmly welcomed by various ethnic and regional leaders – as one of them. That singular re-invention helped to soften his negative perceptions and helped him electorally especially in the south-west. Unfortunately since coming to power, the President has abandoned those symbolic gestures that widened his appeal beyond the north. He needs to rediscover and expand on those gestures.
Two, the President's decision to exclude people from the south-east from his choice of personal political aides was bad politics. True, the President is constitutionally at liberty to choose his personal aides from wherever he wants. But in politics what is expedient may not necessarily be right. In our current era of social media triumphalism, virtually every segment of this country has a nuisance value (a former monopoly of the 'Lagos press') which can be extremely discomforting if not well managed. Groups like Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) have gladly tapped into the signal resulting from that early exclusion.
Three, related to the above is that it is important not to make the mistake that former President Jonathan made in regarding criticisms of his government from sections of the country as merely attempts to bring down his government. I have in several writings explained Boko Haram as symptomatic of alienated groups delinking from the Nigerian state and regarding the state as an enemy. In this sense, there is need for more creative means of engaging alienated groups like IPOB and Niger Delta militants. There is no point defeating Boko Haram in the North-east only to confront other Boko Harams across the country.
Four, the President needs to understand that many members of his cabinet are regarded as lacklustre – compared to what the country was used to under both Obasanjo and Jonathan. With the exception of a few ministers and aides, not many people are convinced that the President has put square pegs in square holes in his choice of ministers and other aides.
Every crisis, they say, embodies some opportunities. I can see in Buhari's recent apology an opportunity for another beginning for the President.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore, not be held responsible for any of the contents or any part thereof.
By Aliyu Suleman Jatau
That Nigeria has found itself beset with a myriad of domestic issues is not news, what is newsworthy is the recent policy statement on “Talk to AlJazeera”by our President.
Quoted on local sources, the President gave reasons for Nigeria’s intended participation in the Saudi Arabia led Coalition against ISIS in Syria.
Internationally, the Alliance itself has divided opinions, with astute political observers warning of a greater setback in the domestic front, such Foreign Policy statement throws skepticism at the President’s grasps on International Politics, vis a vis its effects, repercussions and interrelatedness to our domestic affairs and national security.
The antecedence of the Gulf States forming the Alliance leaves a sour taste; For one, Saudi Arabia is a routine human rights abuser and a state sponsor of terror, with an ongoing indiscriminate bombing campaign against the independent State of Yemen, where Orphanages, Schools and Hospital are bombarded without regard to their consequence.
Outside the Gulf, coalition members have been finding it increasingly difficult to garner public support for the war, making the deployment of coordinated and organised troops particularly challenging.
Foreign policy formulation is not the exclusive preserve of the President, treaties and international agreements must have the backing of the National Assembly to have a legal base as stipulated by S. 12  of the Constitution 1999 as amended.
S. 19 of the Constitution Federal Republic of Nigeria, also highlights our Foreign Policy objectives by stipulating a Non Aligned posture in the promotion and protection of the nation’s interests and these do not cover isolated alliance of a religiously inclined nature.
Our President’s Official statements and policy intentions should and must not be off the cuff statements made without introspection to its overall impact.
Also debatable for instance is the question whether the President can single handedly join this exclusive Muslim club, indeed the act of dragging this Country by the scruff of the neck to an unholy Monarchial Alliance of Human Rights abusers, is unconstitutional without ratification by the National Assembly; an Alliance where the International Community is almost unanimous that the principal participants themselves are the sponsors of global terrorism and expositors of the gruesome Ideologies which is the root cause of such terror.
Nigeria is a Secular and Non Religious State and must be left alone as that, likewise are its Institutions, the Nigerian Army is a collective of Christians, Animists and Muslims, the President would do a disservice succumbing to pressure of joining an Alliance solely to please certain interests, which in the long run may counter any gains which the fight against ISIS may like produce.
The President has taken an Oath
Indonesia, Pakistan and similar nations have wittingly discovered the necessity of abstaining from this burdensome axis to fight terror, the President needs look the Saudi Coalition boldly in the eye and tell its leaders to stop funding the ideology of terror, at the same time, to discontinue its support which serves as a fountainhead.
Nigerians must collectively recognize the danger of this Alliance and must come forth to assist the President in setting a path to a mutually exclusive Foreign Policy of Non Alignment which has for long remained the bedrock of our Constitution.
The task of forming a vibrant alternative platform is very important, a viable platform to critique policies of the government and provide equilibrium to the “Governing Party”.
At a period when even the United States of America is seeking to realign its strategic interests and partnership with these regressive regimes that do not support Human Rights and Democratic values
Undoubtedly, this would only shatter the safe haven of neutrality of Non Alignment long enjoyed, and is most likely to widen the gulf of distrust between religious and ethnic nationalities, with critics of the President ultimately finding justification over the perceived Islamization of the nation.
The opening of our nation to foreign influence is already ongoing with the Wahhabi –Saudi Arabia led Confab in the Federal Capital,which all comes at the footfall of the massacre of almost a thousand shia muslims of the minority sect, credence is now given that the onslaught itself was nurtured and motivated through Saudi Arabia’s instigation, as an unfolding phase of the Iran-Saudi Arabia proxy wars.
Nigeria surely don’t deserve a sectarian strife, therefore, the National Assembly as a top priority should neuter the President’s proclivities of aligning with rogue States by denouncing it outright.
The negative consequence of our Military alliance to the Gulf Arab States or Saudi Arabia includes: promoting domestic instability, loss of Nigerian lives and these greatly outweigh any advantages the government may foresee.
After all the objective of the coalition is not to assist our gallant soldiers in their domestic fight to halt Boko Haram on its tracks, but to send them overseas, thereby dissipating precious reserve of energy in our own peculiar struggle with this dreadful ideology.
Yes, it is true as PMB said in the interview that Nigeria is affected by terrorism, but so also are countries like Kenya, Belgium, Canada, Britain, and France, but we don’t see them belonging to this sort of Alliance.
It is sheer coincidence that Paris was struck by terrorists on the eve of a key climate conference known as COP 21. To some, the attacks may appear like an unfortunate distraction in the face of efforts to meet a civilizational challenge like no other. Yet there are important cross-connections between security and climate concerns.
Runaway climate change will impose growing stress on natural systems and human societies, and it could well usher in a whole new age of conflict. We live, after all, in a world marked by profound disparities in wealth, social and demographic pressures, unresolved grievances, and a seemingly endless supply of arms of all calibers. Far from being a separate concern, climate change is certain to intensify many existing challenges. More frequent and intense droughts, floods, and storms will likely play havoc with harvests and compromise food security. Extreme weather events, sea-level rise, and spreading disease vectors could undermine the economic viability and long-term habitability of some areas. The result could be escalating social discontent, mass displacement, and worse.
In fact, such scenarios are no longer mere conjecture. Consider Syria. Several consecutive years of severe drought in the country’s agricultural heartland had fateful consequences as underground water sources ran dry, livestock herds died, and farmland turned to desert. Close to three-quarters of farming households in Syria’s northeast experienced total crop failure. Some 2-3 million people fell into extreme poverty. A number of factors are behind this calamity, including climate change, overexploitation of groundwater due to subsidies for water-thirsty crops like cotton and wheat, inefficient irrigation systems and overgrazing.
The drought led to an exodus of perhaps as many as 1.5 million people from rural to urban areas. But Syria’s cities were already under economic stress, in part because of the influx of refugees from neighboring Iraq following the U.S. invasion of 2003. Growing numbers of destitute people found themselves in intense competition for scarce jobs and social services. Francesco Femia and Caitlin Werrell of the Center for Climate and Security point out that “the role of disaffected rural communities in the Syrian opposition movement has been prominent compared to their equivalents in other ‘Arab Spring’ countries.”
Of course, Syria’s civil war is the product of several factors. Deep-seated popular discontent over decades of repressive rule, heightened by Assad’s violent reaction to peaceful demonstrations, surely was a major driver. The rise of extremist groups financed and armed by the Gulf States was another. But this is the important point: the repercussions from environmental degradation do not occur in a void; they interact with a cauldron of societal pressures and unresolved political problems.
Though the precise circumstances and dynamics will vary from place to place, Syria’s experience illustrates the danger of major upheavals if environmental and resource pressures go unresolved. A recent scientific paper warns that due to climate change, some population centers in the Middle East “are likely to experience temperature levels that are intolerable to humans” by the end of this century. Elsewhere, melting glaciers, sea-level rise, highly variable rainfall, and parched farmland could have potentially dire consequences.
Violence captures the headlines, but there are other worrisome impacts, too; population displacements, for example. In 2008-2014, floods, storms, and extreme temperatures displaced a cumulative 158 million people globally — though the annual figures have fluctuated from a low of 13.9 million to a high of 38.3 million. No comparable data exist for slow-onset disasters such as drought.
The number of people displaced due to climate impacts is expected to rise as extreme weather events become more frequent and intense, and as droughts, desertification, sea-level rise, and glacial melt become more prominent. Yet it seems impossible to make any reliable projections. Outcomes will depend on the time, location, intensity, and frequency of disasters; but also on the level of preparedness and resilience of affected communities.
When people are forced to abandon their homes, it is a terrifying situation in its own right, even in the absence of violence. But all too often, what happens when refugees and migrants arrive in host societies adds another layer of concern. The mixed welcome that Syrian refugees have received in Europe and the United States in recent months shows how easily right-wing populists are able to stoke a host of false fears and resentments in some cases, creating an atmosphere of rising mistrust and potential conflict.
Recent events thus demonstrate how climate change, war, and refugee movements can become interlinked in fateful ways. What follows is that a successful climate policy is critical not only for stabilizing the planet’s climate system, but also for dialing down some of these other pressures.
Without question, the Paris climate conference needs to break with the calamitous pattern of past meetings, where government negotiators have watered down proposals, moved from binding to voluntary action, and generally kept postponing difficult decisions. If it manages to do so, then Paris could also—as Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College, has argued—become “the most significant peace convocation in history.”
Given the linkages between climate and conflict, however, more is required. The world is ill equipped to address the disparities and grievances that will mushroom in a warming world and drive future conflict. Enormous military expenditures, weapons exports, and armed interventions inflame rather than stabilize regions of the world that are being torn asunder by environmental degradation and economic misery. Governments spend huge amounts of money on the war system year after year—some $1.8 trillion in 2014 alone. By contrast, according to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, there is still “no credible road map to the $100 billion” per year sum promised by wealthy governments in 2009 to assist climate adaptation in vulnerable developing countries.
Following the Paris terrorist attacks, the French police decided to ban planned protest marches at the climate conference, for security reasons. Thus, it will be a struggle for civil society to be heard. But different perspectives are urgently needed. Without them, COP21 may well turn out to be yet another missed opportunity. And how many more opportunities will we have after Paris?
IN the eight years of Obasanjo’s presidency, there was no headline-grabbing demand for Biafra. Ditto for the eight years of the Yar’Adua/Jonathan presidency. However, within months of Buhari’s presidency, the Igbo demand for Biafra has become deafening.
Without a doubt, the blame for this new impetus must be laid firmly at the doorstep of President Buhari. Moreover, rather than attenuate it, the president and the APC have exacerbated separatist tendencies in the country.
This was part of the reason why people like me did not support Buhari’s election as president of Nigeria. I have written severally in Vanguard that Nigeria must remain a united nation. In my column of 4th March, 2014 entitled: “Re-inventing Igbo Politics in Nigeria,” I maintained that: “Nigeria cannot survive without the Igbo.” The following week on 11th March 2014, I wrote another article entitled: “Nigeria Cannot Do without the North.”
I remain persuaded by both positions. But if Nigeria is indeed to remain united, there are certain things that must be said and done. The problem with the Buhari administration is that it seems totally impervious to these imperatives.
There is no question that, as one of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria, the Igbo have been hard done by. Since the civil war 45 years ago, they have been treated as if they were a minority ethnic group in Nigeria when in fact they are one of the majorities. No Igbo has been considered worthy of being head-of-state. The South East of Ndigbo is the only one of the six geopolitical zones of the country with five states. All other zones have six or more. Indeed, the number of local governments in the North-East is virtually double that of the South-East. As a result, the Ndigbo receive the smallest amount of revenue allocation among all the zones, in spite of the fact that some of the South-eastern states are among the oil-producing states.
The roads in the South-east are notoriously bad. Government after government have simply ignored them. Inconsequential ministerial positions are usually zoned to Ndigbo. Time was when it seemed the lackluster Ministry of Information was their menial preserve. It is also a known fact that every so often the Igbo are slaughtered in the North under one guise or the other. Many are forced to abandon their homes and businesses and run for dear life. The people who perpetrate these acts never seem to be arrested or prosecuted.
When a major tribe is treated procedurally as second-class in their own country, there will be a demand for self-determination sooner rather than later. When a group of people feel unsafe in their own country, they cannot but be expected to decide to opt out. It is not the responsibility of the government to imprison the Igbo in Nigeria. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure and guarantee that they feel safe and are treated with respect.
Discrimination against the South: While these issues have been brewing under the surface for some time, the lop-sided tendencies of President Buhari have brought them all out to boiling-point. In his first-coming as head-of-state in 1984, Buhari antagonised Ndigbo by locking up Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo man, in jail in Kirikiri; while President Shehu Shagari, a Fulani man was only placed under house arrest. In addition, Buhari arrested and jailed Ojukwu, another Igbo icon for no just cause.
As Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, Buhari discriminated blatantly against the South and especially the South-east. For example, his PTF built only 4,440 kilometres of roads in Southern Nigeria representing a paltry 24%; while 13,870 kilometres were built in the North representing 76%. Of these figures, the Southeast and South-south combined only received 13.5%.
Under the PTF’s National Health and Rehabilitation Programme, NHERP, the entire South got 0% allocation, while the North got 100% in the tertiary programme. In the vocational programme, the entire South had only 3% while the North had 97%. The same was for the primary side where the South had only 12% but the North was allocated 88%. The secondary area was no different. While the North had 86% percent, the South had just 14%.
Disenfranchisement of Ndigbo
These anomalies have been duplicated to date in the seven months of Buhari’s presidency. In the first place, Buhari won virtually without Igbo votes. In order to diminish Jonathan’s votes, a major assault was made against them; recognising that they are some of the staunchest Jonathan supporters. INEC ensured that, far more disproportionately relative to other geopolitical zones, millions of South-East voters disappeared between 2011 and 2015.
Only 7.6 million voters were registered for the 2015 election in the South-east, and only 5.6 million PVCs collected. Compare this with Buhari’s North-west, there were 17.6 million registrations and 15.1 million collections. While in the South-west, there were 4.2 million votes in 2015, relative to 4.6 million in 2011: in the South-east, there were only 2.6 million votes in 2015, relative to 5 million in 2011; a drastic drop of 2.4 million.
While Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Jigawa and Bauchi posted their traditional humongous figures; Imo, Anambra and Abia posted relatively disappointing figures. While the internally displaced Northerners in the North-East could vote; internally displaced Igbos from the North could not. While the card-readers failed in many parts of the South-east, suggestive they were programmed to fail; they worked in most parts of the North. In places like Lagos and Kano, many non-indigenes, including the Igbo, were not even given their PVCs.
Making of a hero: President Buhari then added insult to injury by stating on his visit to the United States that he could not be expected to treat those who voted for him in the same way as those who did not.
He said: “(Going by election results), constituencies that gave me 97% cannot in all honesty be treated, on some issues, with constituencies that gave me 5%. I think these are political realities. While, certainly there will be justice for everybody but the people who voted, and made their votes count, they must feel the government has appreciated the effort they put in putting the government in place.”
While his media assistants later tried to water down this disturbing statement, the reality was that, apart from the constitutionally-stipulated requirement that every state must be represented in the presidential Cabinet, Buhari has virtually ignored the Igbo in his appointments.
Two moves showed the level of insensitivity of the Buhari administration to these anomalies. The first was the decision to move Boko Haram prisoners down from the North to the South-east; a move firmly resisted by the Igbo as it would have made them a target of suicide-bombers. The other was the blunder of placing Nnamdi Kanu, the director of Radio Biafra, under arrest; charging him with treason and terrorism.
All the government has achieved by this is inflame passions in the South-east. It has also made a hero out of Kanu. Those who did not know about Kanu before now know him. Those who were not disposed to Biafra before are now shouting Biafra. For weeks on end, Biafra has become the biggest news item nationwide, with agitations, demonstrations, threats and arrests.
Agenda for action: The government needs to apply more wisdom here. At the moment, it has become the biggest promoter of Biafra by the way it has gone about things. The idea of Biafra cannot be killed with a sledge hammer, if at all. What is required is to address the root causes that impelled Biafra. Unfortunately, it would appear the Buhari administration is unwilling to do this.
As a matter of urgency, Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally. If the government persists in labeling him a terrorist, his supporters might decide to become terrorists. Nigeria already has enough problem of Boko Haram conflagration in the North-east. We cannot afford to light another fire in the South-east.
Kanu was living in England. If he were a terrorist, he would have been arrested there. The fact that he lived there without constraints or restraints shows he was not considered a threat, either to Britain or to Nigeria.
It is not a crime to fight for self-determination; it is a right. The government must not give the impression that Nigeria is a prison where we must all live, irrespective of the living conditions. The government needs to address the grievances of the Igbo. Their roads and bridges must be built. Their waterways must be opened up to the Atlantic Ocean.
Eastern sea-ports must be developed. Railways must link their mercantile cities to the North. Their coal resources must be profitably exploited for the benefit of their unemployed youth and citizenry. An additional state must be created in the South-east to bring it up to par with other geopolitical zones.
Moreover, we need to revisit again a critical issue addressed during the truncated National Conference: the issue of resource allocation. This is a major gripe of the Igbo and it is a legitimate gripe. It is not in the interest of Nigeria to continue in this age-old practice where all the states gather every month in Abuja for handouts, whether they are productive or not. This gives the wrong impression that some states are insisting on being piggy-backed by others. We need to develop a system that rewards and encourages productivity.
Those who produce should be allowed to keep disproportionately what they produce, instead of the current situation where they are required to share it disproportionately with those relatively less productive. The truth of the matter is that every part of Nigeria is resource rich. Every part of Nigeria has the requisite manpower. Unfortunately, our current over-concentration on oil militates against the development of other indigenous resources.
A situation where national resources are distributed according to the number of local government councils, and where there is now supposedly only 96 local government councils in the South-East, relative to 186 in the North-west does not suggest equity and justice.
The disgruntlement in the South-east about the Nigeria project will not disappear by ignoring it. It will not disappear by arresting Kanu. It will not disappear by issuing threats. Neither will it disappear by denying the youth of the South-east their freedom of speech and assembly.
Today, the demand for Biafra remains the demand of a minority of the Igbo. If the root causes of their anger are not addressed, the minority will soon become the majority. If that happens, Nigeria might unravel. I repeat what I have stated before: the Nigeria of our manifest destiny cannot be realised without the Igbo.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not in any way reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.
By Festus Ogun
The Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, has being one of Nigeria security challenges. Thousands of lives have being lost to various attacks by these dreadful terrorists. It started operation and became in 2009 and it is still in town up till date. The erstwhile administration has tried all its best in combating them to soil level but all ‘efforts’ was in futility.
Though, there were series of steps taken by Jonathan’s administration to fight Boko-Haram, what the news is unveiling of our political masquerade’s face has made us understand that the Jonathan’s ‘war against Boko-Haram’ is a fraud. The money meant for procuring arms for fighting Boko-Haram have being diverted and shared among some unscrupulous ones. With these and many more reasons, the government has failed to put an end to this pressing issue.
With the advent of Buhari, the people expected a huge ‘change’ from, among others, Boko-Haram trouble to a peaceful and enabling government and environment. It should be noted, before going further, that the terrorist group carry out their operations mostly in the northern part of the country (northeast, precisely) and neighboring countries. With the ‘Change’ mantra, it is believed that the terrorist group will cease from existing in our society.
Apart from this believe, it is one of Buhari’s campaign promise to wage serious war against the sect once he’s elected. Who knows maybe that was why the citizens of the country voted out Jonathan, and voted for Buhari in order to deliver them from the present sorrow.
Buhari’s election promise was to metamorphose Boko-Haram to a thing of history within few months of emerging as the president. That’s known to all and sundry. Now that he is in power, why do these dreadful monsters still celebrate Xmas with us? That’s the question asked several times by average Nigerians. If one have voted Buhari because of his promise to erase Boko-Haram out of the country’s drawing book within few weeks, then, the person have failed to think deeply on what it takes to fight terrorism. To be frank, it is practically impossible to fight Boko-Haram within few months of his gaining the control of government.
For the purpose of this piece, let me say that since the government of Buhari have been so busy with, among others, constituting his government throughout last year, let me give him that as an excuse for not successfully destroying Boko-Haram. But, the point is that, since 2016 is a new year, the target of Buhari on the Boko-Haram must be a serious one which is going to facilitate the grinding of the sect to halt.
To be sincere, some steps President Buhari took towards combating Boko-Haram last year are so lame that it failed to produce the desired result. There were some err in some decisions which are not supposed to be taken by the president. Anyway, the purpose of this piece is not to criticize any government but to suggest some possible solutions and warn the government not to commit such errors in the future – especially this year, 2016.
One, for president Buhari to successfully fight the Boko-Haram sect, he shouldn’t make any provision for negotiation. Though, he had said it at thousands occasions that his government will negotiate with the leaders of the daylight terrorist group, he should not negotiate with them. It won’t work out successfully. These people are criminals. The ways in which they think clearly differ from ours. To us, we think killing our fellow men is not just humane, but to them, they see it as a necessity, for them to get to heaven and drill as many feminine holes as possible on the last day. That is their religious belief.
Though, I question if that is what the Holy Quran teaches, but the question is: how do we negotiate with this set of people? Those that have lost common sense to their religion? How? Criminals are not negotiated with, criminal are destroyed totally. Where in the world has ‘Negotiating with terrorists’ worked? What if the negotiators are even bombed in the process of negotiating? I even trust the suicide bombers for something- they will never negotiate with the government. They may or will think the negotiation is a means by which the government will use in arresting and prosecuting them. Yes! Those who have lost and are involved in the ultimate search for their common sense will think that way. So, to put an end to this terrorist group, they mustn’t be negotiated with. In the words of George Bush, “No nation can negotiate with terrorists. For there is no way to make peace with those whose only goal is death”
Giving deadlines is another issue to be taken very serious. The Buhari government has promised to crush totally the subject matter for at least two occasions. And the witty aspect of the drama is that the more the date set by the government to defeat the ‘afemishofo’ people gets near, the more the rate at which bombing news increased. Bombing has almost become normal news in Nigeria. We see it as normal since it is something happening virtually everyday. Everyone is just confused about what to do. A total sorry case. But, it is worthy of noting that towards the end of last year, the rate of bombing reduced. But, when our government, Lai Mohammed to be precise, boasted that the sect have been ‘technically’ defeated, they(Boko-Haram)quickly ‘rejoindered’ that they are still active and alive on the land of the living. This rejoinder wasn’t a written one but a reply given by several suicide bombings. The Boko-Haram quickly inform the public about the fact that the statement made by the Information minister was guilty of fallacy. With their bombing, common sense tells us that the group hasn’t been defeated.
Why should we even be told about the defeat? To fool us? To make us happy? To make us trust the government? To make us believe in the words and manifestoes of the government? Is the information even for the interest of the people or government? Wait a little, what is technical about defeating Boko-Haram? Is either you are still on the process of defeating, you have defeated or you haven’t defeat. It is either of them. Not technically defeating the sect.
Let me draw the attention of this reader to the fact that the government promised to defeat Boko-Haram and not to ‘technically’ defeat them. That’s not even the point. The main issue is that, revealing to the public the time to defeat Boko-haram is not solving the problem but adding insult to the already sustained injury. It is rather adding fire to the flame in the sect. Even if the group have decided to put an end to their deadly activities, on hearing that they have been defeated will spring up the evil absorber in them. It is natural, nobody wants to hear of his/her defeat, even if they have been defeated, they will try all means to prove the said defeaters wrong. In this case, they’ve not even been defeated, so, it is very easy for them to disclaim the fallacious information. Since informing the public about the deadline will bring about several additional attacks, it should be discouraged. I keep thinking of this: what benefit has it to the people of Nigeria when we are informed about the defeat? No benefit. Or is it that they want us to be happy even when we are still living in a sad society? To the best of my understanding, I think, the government need not inform us about the defeat, once the sect are defeated, it will be known by all – home and abroad. No need to tell us, when we hear no news of Boko-Haram bombing, it will be visible to the blind and audible to the deaf that they have been defeated. As simple as ABC.
To fight the Islamic religious sect, the armed forces should be well equipped. Since the money meant for procuring arms have been dasukigated by the past administration, it is the duty of the present administration to get more arms for our men. The Bokos can’t be defeated if the soldiers are not well equipped. How do you expect a soldier with ‘shakabula’ to fight a Boko-Haram member with Ak-47? It is impossible. So, the army need enough weapons to fight the terrorists.
These soldiers shouldn’t be procured arms alone; they should also undergo special military training. These Boko-Haram sect are undoubtedly those with technical military training. So, to make sure these monsters are vanished from our midst, our men should be given special training, from time to time, so as for them to be victorious in the war. The training the writer is talking of is that which is much more tactful than that of the terrorists. None specially trained soldiers will not get to the promise land of defeating specially trained terrorists. Take it or leave it.
Additionally, the soldiers should be adequately remunerated. These men should be encouraged by giving them incentives. Let the family of the departed ones be compensated. These and many more will encourage the soldiers to be bold and carry out their job without fear or favor. The fact is that if these people are not encouraged by the government, the government also will not get the desired result. Hence, they should be catered for.
The issue of recruitment is also to be taken into consideration. There should be no corruption in the recruiting process. This may sounds funny to many. This is because, it is our believe that everything in Nigeria is ‘runz’. See, the issue of ‘runz’ is a leading cause of all the mess we find ourselves today. When an ‘ajebutter’ is recruited as an army through ‘runz’ and leaving behind competent and qualified able bodied men, how do we expect such ‘ajebutter’ to deliver the expected goods? It is, today, one of the problems of Nigerian army. Where some soldiers are incompetent, how do we expect them to defeat the competent terrorists? This issue should be properly addressed by the recruiting department of the army if Boko-Haram is to be defeated.
In conclusion, I will urge the Buhari led government, as a matter of urgency, to look into these issues before the sect takes over the whole country. All the loop holes identifies above should be properly filled and blocked for we to have a Boko-Haram free Nigeria. Lest I forget, the government should also try her best in identifying and prosecuting the sponsors of the sect, if victory is to be ascertained.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch