By Iredia Osakue
By Iredia Osakue
By Dr Perry Brimah
As Nigeria's President drags an unwilling Nigeria into a global conspiracy web with potential financiers of terror organisations under the auspices of the Saudi coalition , Nigeria must urgently demand for the immediate arrest and repatriation of Boko Haram sponsors based in the Saudi oil Kingdom. (See: CNN, December 2015: Angela Merkel's deputy accuses Saudi Arabia of sponsoring extremism. )
It is well known that Boko Haram always stages its top level negotiations with Nigeria, comfortably from Saudi Arabia.
The latest ceasefire negotiations between the former Goodluck Jonathan administration's presidential aide, Hassan Tukur and Boko Haram, like most prior negotiations took place with the Secretary general of Boko Haram, a certain Danladi Ahmadu based in Saudi Arabia.
Quoting AP in HuffingtonPost 's October 2014 publication, "Nigeria And Boko Haram Reportedly Reach Cease-Fire":
"Omeri confirmed there had been direct negotiations this week about the release of the abducted girls. Another official said the talks took place in Chad with Danladi Ahmadu, who was identified as the Saudi Arabia-based secretary general of Boko Haram. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to reporters."
Read another brazen Press release by Saudi-based Boko Haram Secretary general Danladi Ahmadu: " What We Want"-Boko Haram's ‘Representative’, Danladi Ahmadu ."
While calling on Nigeria's leadership to as a matter of national and West African security, withdraw itself form the Saudi Arabia-led coalition which is yet to delineate itself as veritably anti-terror and not pro Gulf-state politico-sectarian interests and fanatical agenda, Buhari is urged to press the Saudi regime to produce all Boko Haram leaders residing in the Kingdom including Mr. Danladi Ahmadu.
We repeat that Boko Haram cannot be defeated unless its sponsors are arrested and prosecuted and foreign links are brought to international justice. Terror will resurge and bombings will continue unless the head of the monster is identified and severed.
Without justice, there can be no peace. Nigeria must stop preserving, tolerating and dining with the devil. At least 50,000 lives have been lost in the terror according to Council on Foreign Relations' Terror tracker data, and over 100,000 by local estimates including unreported deaths with mass burials, the heads protected by Borno Governor Kashim Shettima must roll for Nigeria to be delivered from God's Wrath and know peace.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah @EveryNigerian
By Nnena Edmund
The sweetness of the free oil money and the reckless and irresponsible management of the nation’s economy devoid of any iota of frugality and prudence and genuine accountability were all part of what has brought about the current foreign exchange regime woes, our naira’s free fall against the dollar and the scarcity of the dollar. For how could it not happen. That it didn’t happen in the previous years was not true. It was happening in a minimalistic way indirectly and now directly. Our foreign reserves were depleting gradually until it reached a crescendo with the fall of oil price globally leaving oil producing countries of which Nigeria is among in the limbo.
Accountants and economists have taught us that money saved is money earned and that we should all save for the rainy day whether as human beings or organizations or communities that earn and deal with money. This age long financial principle has not been applied by successive governments in Nigeria.
Our foreign reserve got pilfered by many military regimes as well as civilian regimes thus making corruption the ethos of the country. I am not here to trounce the past military regimes but they set the ball rolling in this regard for a very long time.
When President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reigns of office, because of his reputation locally and internationally as one of Africa’s and Nigeria’s non corrupt leaders, he began to receive the support of the global community which had thereto assumed the stance of sidon dey look on Nigeria.
His trips to neighbouring countries in sub-Saharan Africa—Niger, Chad, Benin Republic were not only necessary but also obligatory in the best interest of Nigerians who have been terrorised profusely by the Boko Haram insurgents.
Our country is bounded on the North, South and East by these countries. It is also a common knowledge that the Boko Haram insurgents have found a fertile ground around our borders with our neighboring countries and have recruited some of their citizens as suicide bombers and to propagate the fundamentalists agenda in their own home countries. The president’s visits to these counties were simply to garner support from his counterparts and to seek their cooperation in combating and overcoming a common enemy Boko Haram as what affects one country will spill over to the other.
On the invitation of the U.S president to the White House, President Buhari visited the United States of America in July 2015. The United States of America has long been a very good and dependable friend of Nigeria and Nigeria has also been an ally of America.
President Buhari’s invitation to the white House and his subsequent visit etched our country in brighter colours, all due to the reputation of the man who is the President, a man who is acknowledged at home and abroad as an anti-corruption protagonist. World leaders have now started taking Nigeria’s administration seriously because of the moves of the president and his integrity.
Our strategic importance in Africa as the giant of Africa, thanks to our oil wealth and population, coupled with the reputation of President Buhari internationally earned us the invitation to the G-7 meeting in Germany by the German chancellor Angela Merkel. Nigeria, though not a member of the G-7, our president was able to discuss terrorism issues, bilateral talks et al and meet with powerful world leaders of the countries that make up the G-7. We once again took a centre stage in the world and got the support of the G-7 members in the war against Boko Haram. It must be acknowledged that few world leaders have been invited to attend the G-7 meeting and it is a Kudos that our president was invited to attend.
Of course President Buhari attended the U.S Nuclear Security meeting hosted by President Barack Obama where he took the stage among other world leaders to discuss issues concerning the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists like ISIL, AL-Queda, AQAP, Boko Haram, Alshabab etc. Why will the president accompanied by his foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama not attend this meeting? Is Nigeria immuned from the global scourge brought about by Islamic fundamentalists? Pray was the attendance of this meeting by the president frivolous, time wasting and a waste of the nation’s resources? Should he not be acclaimed for this attendance? The president needed accolades for this trip. Are we all not witnessess to the marvelous performance of the foreign Affairs minister Geoffrey Onyeama where he stood shoulder to shoulder with his counterparts and also John Kerry the foreign minister of America? We couldn’t be more proud of our president and his foreign affairs minister.
What of the president’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly meeting in September where world leaders attended. Pray, was it the foreign minister that was to sit there in place of the president? Of course not. This trip of the president was not only mandatory but equally cogent and of great importance.
The president’s visit to China on the invitation of the Chinese government was very advantageous to our country on all fronts.
Accompanying the president was his powerful team comprising of course Nigeria’s foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, the minister of Power and Works Babatunde Raji fashola, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Nigeria’s foremost business man and employer of labour, the Discos, some manufactures and others in the business community. The visit to China was very crucial and extremely beneficial to Nigeria. Apart from securing credit facility at a very low interest rate by our government, the Dangote Group we reliably learnt also benefitted as a result of the credit facility it obtained. This will aid the expansion of the projects embarked on by the group and boost employment of labour at home. There were bilateral talks on power, solar energy, agriculture etc.
It is therefore disheartening and surreal for pundits to disparage the currency deal achieved that will be very beneficial to Nigerians who constitute over 80% of China’s business partners in Africa. Talk of the unimaginable number of Nigerians who trade with the Chinese, importing everything from biscuits, hair extensions, motor spare parts, electronics, fabrics of all sorts including jeans (96% of the jeans trousers imported into Nigeria are from China), equally hand bags and other items of clothing.
While pundits were quick to infer that the currency deal was a currency swap, I beg to differ. The able foreign minister of Nigeria Onyeama who is probably the 3rd highest ranking official in government has also made profuse explanations on the currency deal assuring Nigerians that it was not a currency swap. We therefore must trust our foreign minister Jeffrey Onyeama.
What is currency swap after all and how does it differ from the currency deal we had with the Chinese which should have been receiving more accolades than vituperations.
Investor Words (Biggest, Best Investing glossary) describes currency swap as an “arrangement in which two parties exchange specific amounts of different currencies initially, and a series of interest payments on the initial cash flows are exchanged. Often, one party will pay a fixed interest rate, while another will pay a floating exchange rate (though there may also be fixed-fixed and floating-floating arrangements). At the maturity of the swap, the principal amount are exchanged back.”
One will see that the currency arrangement between Nigeria and China during the president’s visit was not a currency swap. I will agree that it is a currency acceptance by both countries where Nigeria’s businessmen and companies (and they are many) should be able to pay for the goods and services obtained from China in YEN. This is aimed at relieving the pressure brought on the business community doing business in Nigeria. This arose from the fall in the prices of crude oil globally and the dollar glut that has hit the Central Bank as a result and the ripple effect it has had on Nigerians doing business with China. It will also ease the pressure on the demand for the dollar which is not even enough for those seeking it.
In conclusion I will applaud President Muhammadu Buhari and shower accolades on him over the foreign trips he has made that Nigerians if we are honest are already seeing the effects of such trips.
Equally bravos to the foreign minister Geoffrey Onyeama for the good job he is doing at this time when our economy needs to be boosted and steered away from dependence on oil.
The foreign minister has been an international civil servant with the United Nations where he rose to a position equivalent to the Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations. His records are impressive.
Sources at the foreign Affairs ministry who want to be treated with anonymity did express to me that they have never had a better foreign affairs minister than Onyeama. I will urge skeptics and pundits and mischief makers to hold their breath and rather watch and see.
As our economy is going through difficult times due to the fall in oil prices globally, an empty sovereign trust fund in our treasury, an empty treasury that has had a long history of depletion, will one now say quite honestly that the president’s shuttles overseas for bilateral trade talks are not good.
Will these moves not cushion our economy and bring fireworks.
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 its contents or any part thereof.
Since the army swooped on the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, popularly called shittes, in what the media and the political establishment including the army authorities mis-represently referred to as “clash” last December, there has been no let up in the smear campaign to tarnish these simple and ordinary Nigerian Muslims. Apart from the fatal blow to this group by the massacre of its members, including women and children, a development which has now been admitted by the Kaduna state government. As if the attack of the Islamic Movement was premeditated, a daily barrage of smear campaign has been mounted against the group. One is amazed at how the teachings of these simple ordinary Muslims strikes fear and paranoid among the northern political and religious establishment.
Shia Islam is a strand of the Muslim community that venerates the Muslim caliph, after the death of prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Ali who took the title of imam, which simply means leader, a departure from his three predecessors, caliph Abubakar, Omar and Othman.
A close companion of the prophet and reputed as the first convert to Islam, Ali was both pious and deeply imbued with justice. A cousin of the prophet, he married the prophet’s daughter Fatimah and bore his two grandsons, Hassan and Hussein. Hussein is a reverend and adored figure in Shia Islam and his courageous resistance to his overwhelmingly militarily superior adversary at the battle of karbala was the origin of Shia revered Ashoura, in commemoration of the brutal annihilation of his forces at karbala by the ever ruthless governor of Sham, now Syria, Yazid. Ashoura procession is outstanding in solemnity in Shia Islam as the Christian Sunday procession of Christ triumphant entry to Jerusalem after his resurrection.
Inspite of the varying traditions from the early and key historical figures in Islam, the divergence is over-shadowed by the core consensus in the divinity of the Quran and the Prophet’s elaboration in the hadith.
The schisms in Islam as in other established religions flow essentially from political contestations that seek to appropriate the profound influence of religion to gain ideological hegemony and material bounties. In the Middle East, cradle of the both the two established religions, geo-political contest has accentuated the schisms in Islam, widening the rift within the Muslim community beyond the region.
The current persecution of the members of the Islamic movement in Nigeria, most vividly exemplifies the struggle for ideological hegemony. Historically, the tradition of shiism exemplified by the peaceful, and compromise gesture of Imam Hassan in the battle with the Syrian cunning governor, Muayiwa, firmly established Shiism as tolerant, accommodating and inclusive.
From the Commission of inquiry set up by the Kaduna state government on the December Army attack of the members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, some chilling facts have been unearthed. The Kaduna state government through its key officials has admitted 347 bodies including women and children were murdered and buried in a mass grave. The leader of the Islamic Movement, Mr. El-Zakzaky and is wife for the trauma of the cold – blooded murder of his children and his colleagues are held incommunicado and in unknown place.
Since the December Mayhem, when the Islamic Movement in Nigeria was nearly physically decimated, so much propaganda stuff has spewed out, to ostensibly bring them to public odium. The most serious of the charge against the group even, if it is the most ridiculous, is that the group is a State within State, with all paraphernalia of a government. And the evidence, according to this charge is that the group does not recognize government and have their own organizational apparatus.
However even social clubs, political parties have internal organizations, with some designating their top leadership position as president. Every Sunday in many churches, it is not the police or army that provides orderly traffic within and around the domain of the churches. It is young men and boys decked in paramilitary uniforms that provide the function. On Fridays, in many mosques, it is also the young men that ensure orderliness during the prayer period. If it is these young volunteers that make the IMN a State within State, it beats our common sense to imagine how many States there are within the Nigerian State.
Even as web of lies are been woven around the shittes to justify the heavy-handedness of army clamp down on them, the most spurious ones includes that the group is another Boko Haram in the making, waiting to unleash mayhem if their activities were not preemptively curbed. But even a casual observer knows that the extremist and intolerant Boko Haram shares absolutely nothing in common with the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. The movement has even come under attack by the Boko Haram extremists.
It appears that the paranoid about the shittes is more likely from their famed discipline, organizational dexterity, and egalitarian virtues of self improvement. The republican slant of their Islamic activism appears to sit uneasily with the northern traditional and political establishment. It offends common sense that a group that has existed for nearly four decades without any record of public nuisance or disturbance is now dressed in the cloak of public enemy number one.
As if smear campaign linking the shiittes with treason is not enough, efforts are been orchestrated to link their alleged treasonable acts to a foreign power.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, that happens to share values of faith with Islamic Movement in Nigeria is being bandied as the instigator of the alleged malfeasance of the shitte group. But the same Iran took a global centre stage as she successfully concluded key nuclear deal with key world powers. As a result, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the cynosure of attention as Tehran is turned into the hub of global diplomacy. The French has officially visited. The Chinese leader, Xi Jinping also paid a state visit and just recently, the South Korean leader, Mrs Park called. In the parliamentary election held just recently, a record number of women made it to the national debating chamber.
Iran is long past the meddling and revolution-exporting entity that she is been unduly associated in some quarters here.
Onunaiju is a journalist based in Abuja
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore , nor be held responsible for any of its contents or any part thereof.
The appointment of ministers with portfolios has formally heralded the much-awaited kick-off of the Buhari administration, a regime driven by the change slogan. It is making news headlines around the world that after six calendar months of inactivity, inaction and painstaking scrutiny, the first of its kind the dawn of a new era has begun in Africa's most populous country and largest economy.
While applauding the President's resolve to introduce changes and far-reaching reforms let it be such that will regenerate, revitalize and reunite the country, especially under a beleaguered government in Abuja that is fighting conflicts on all fronts calling to mind the ongoing jihadist insurgency and separatist feelings and agitations that hang over the country.
Ministers have been appointed and given portfolios which means work has in earnest begun. The government in Abuja has no earthly reason to fail Nigerians who fought doggedly to dethrone 16 years of PDP 'prodigal misrule'. Buhari was never a part of the PDP dynasty since 1999 which probably attracted sympathy to him when he again decided to vie for the nation's highest office. Now the die is cast and he has ascended the throne and ministers have been appointed by him, in the long run, to help him in the day-to-day running of his government.
The truth - incontrovertible and undeniable - is that President Buhari knows the calibre of men he has appointed to be crew members while steering the Nigerian ship of state and, therefore, can never extricate himself from any culpable action of any of his men which, of course, we honestly do not anticipate.
What has been shrouded in secrecy has ultimately been revealed and Nigerians know now who their stewards are. Some are of doubtful or questionable character while some are of impeccable manners and this has attracted mixed feelings. Some of the ministers are accepted by all and welcomed with open hands while the appointment of some sounds ear-biting and are objected to.
Be that as it may, their appointment has been ratified by the upper legislative chamber; expressing disgust in the nick of time and crying in sheer disapproval like the Biblical weeping Jeremiah will not change the course of events. In fact, the Rubicon is crossed!
While Nigerians wait patiently and anxiously to start feeling the impact of these change and sweeping reforms, we must remind the ministers that there will not be any reason or excuse for failure because our resources if properly harnessed can put us on a par with other high-income economies around the world.
This calls to mind the position of the youth in Nigeria. It is sad, very sad, sad indeed, so sad that the youth have been relegated to the background. None of the ministers that is appointed is below 40 years. Another fault spotted by this writer is the recycling of the same brigade - like a performance that is re-enacted in one continuous movement and this has caused so much disappointment and pain. Evidence abound that some of these men have stolen from the public till with bags and tons of money tucked away in overseas bank accounts. Ah.. this is very disheartening!
Today right there in the National Assembly the writer has it on good authority that there are some lawmakers who like thoughtless morons do not know their left from their right and have in fact never raised any motion nor sponsored any bill on the floor of the House. This, however, is not in dispute thereby making the House sometimes an extension of their bedrooms. No sooner has the day's business begun on the floor than some fall asleep with nothing to contribute - a major reason for which they were elected by the constituency they represent while some of Nigeria's best brains whose contributions would have uplifted the standard of living of the people especially the youth are clean forgotten by a criminal dynasty who has decided to hold on to political power ad infinitum.
We see these lame ducks here and there both in the immediate past government under the former ruling party, Buhari's cabinet, and in the legislative chambers. Wait a minute! The question that agitates the writer is:
Doesn't Nigeria stand to lose so much by the ongoing and increasing neglect of her youth? Many of us have been driven out of our homeland in search of the proverbial greener pastures overseas while some of us who circumstances have compelled to remain at home have no option but to thrive in dirt and dirty surroundings under the whims and caprices of a beleaguered government.
We do hope what we have on the ground today is not a government that is made up of political eunuchs and a cast of neophyte actors. I am not a prophet of doom, but the question that agitates me is: How far can these crop of men carry us along when their previous tenure brought us nothing but sorrow and blood? Buhari, it is on the lips of both the young and old, is a man of integrity who would have recruited a platoon of revolutionaries to regenerate Nigeria.
All in all, if what they say about him is anything to go by - though I have my reservations - as Nigeria's number one ethics policeman he must have his men under strict surveillance to enable him deliver on his campaign promises. He can not afford to fail us yet again, by no stretch of the imagination.
Iyoha John Darlington, an opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
The death of DSP Alamieyesiegha has certainly stunned Nigerians. I have been reflecting on the broad implications of the life and death of Alams, as he was popularly known. The transience and futility of life stare everyone in the face at moments like this. Nonetheless, there are other salient issues that Alams’ death throws up beyond metaphysical concerns.
Alamieyesiegha was a beloved political leader among the Izons despite all the corruption allegations — proven and unproven — against him. I interviewed a peace activist in the Niger Delta during my research exercise in 2009. The comment by the activist who was working to prevent kidnapping reflected a widespread opinion about Alams in the Delta region: “Alams was tricked into this so called arresting (sic) because he was a threat for them in the election that was to return Obasanjo for the third term or to make the plan for them to remain in power for ever. They felt Alam’s freedom as an Ijaw man who governs his people well will be a threat if they’re thinking about who comes to the presidency or VP position. Alams was set up just to make sure people like him will not have a voice in making decisions for this country ….They decided to silence him. So, he was set up. They designed a woman, put his face there and said he escaped as a woman. It was a computer job… The government purposely rubbished him. He wanted transparency and good governance and he was elected by the people. They said this is dangerous, this is the people’s choice and we must deal with him.”
People’s perception is their reality. Of course, Bayelsans were not oblivious of Alams’ corruption. Many would rather have “a son of the soil” embezzle their money rather than an “outsider”. Alams represented access to state resources for a highly marginalized region. Alams served as first civilian governor of Bayelsa state and established the Niger Delta University among other landmarks. He was widely believed to have done more with oil revenue than his successors although contracts were notoriously over-inflated during his tenure. Alameiyesiegha also helped to directly or indirectly mentor the likes of President Goodluck Jonathan and several political leaders of the latter’s generation. Alams enjoyed a level of popularity unmatched by President Jonathan or any other Ijaw leader in recent memory. Therefore, he returned to a hero’s welcome after his escape from England in 2005. Oronto Douglas, then commissioner for Information and Strategy reportedly declared that Alams’ escape from the English criminal justice system was “a triumph for the people of Bayelsa”. Oronto would go on to literally become the brain behind the Jonathan presidency as Special Adviser on Research, Documentation and Strategy. Oronto died on 9th April 2015.
It is fitting that Alams was at home — in his beloved Amassoma — when death came knocking. I have had the opportunity to visit Amassoma in the course of several years of research in the Niger Delta. Anyone who has been to Amassoma will definitely feel concerned that anyone, rich or poor, had to be transported from Amassoma to Port Harcourt for medical treatment. It is an unfitting tribute that there was no hospital with capacity to treat Alams in Amassoma. I wonder if Alams was driven through the East-West road, one of the longest and most expensive never-ending construction sites in Nigeria. Several parts of the East West road are borderline impassable. The arduous journey would have wasted invaluable time as Alams presumably clung to life. Was there no hospital with capacity to treat Alams in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state? It is an unpleasant insignia of oil inebriation and concomitant waste that the first executive governor of Bayelsa and others after him never utilized oil proceeds for purposes of world-class health infrastructure. Therefore, Alams had to be transported to Port Harcourt, where interestingly the people are daily embarrassed by the inability of the government to master the science of garbage collection.
Alams’ death reminds us of our lack of genuine heroes. Houses in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state, were never numbered during Alams’ tenure and up to this moment. Governors such as his former deputy and former president, Goodluck Jonathan, Timipre Silva and Seriake Dickson never addressed this basic issue and miscellaneous developmental concerns of a young oil-rich federating unit. Alams’ death should therefore spur more concerted civil society action in the Niger Delta to demand more from not just the federal government but also political leaders in the region.
Alams’ exit from the theatre of life demonstrates that everyone ends up paying a price for bad governance. The poor pay a huge cost vis-à-vis absent social services, death traps masquerading as roads, poor facilities at schools, destruction of our value system (aka Buruji Kashamu’s award from the once reputable NANS), etc. The rich also feel the pangs of insecurity and are let down at critical moments such as Alams’.
Alams’ death is a sad commentary on our national life and how low our country has sunk. Alamieyesiegha embodies the contradiction and conundrum of what passes as leadership in Nigeria: An extremely popular and yet patently corrupt politician. No one should gloat over anybody’s death. This is a tragedy in many ways. Alams’ family has lost its bread winner; the Ijaws have lost a controversial yet beloved son and the legal system has lost a person whose tendrils might have led to recovery of a lot of money.
It is worthy of note that as unfortunate as the death of Alameiyeseigha must feel at a humane level, Alams did not die young by Nigerian standards. Life expectancy to which government at all levels — past and present — contribute through an intricate web of interconnected socio-political, cultural and economic factors stood at 53.02 years for the general population and 52 years for males the day Alams died. Therefore, it is pathetic that an individual who died at a mere 62 years actually lived roughly a decade longer than the average Nigerian. What is the hope of the common woman or man under such circumstances?
Dr. Onyekakeyah’s script titled “Those marginalizing the South-East dated 22nd November, 2016 adverted my mind to the army slogan used by the Nigeria Army during the war against Biafra. The refrain of the slogan is “muje, muje! mukwashe kayansu, kayan kito”. This singsong translates to “let’s go! let’s go! let’s go and plunder the land and property that belongs to nobody”. This attitude of the military has remained the bureaucratic attitude of Nigeria’s military leaders to the South-East. The military leaders that fought Biafra are as visible today as they were during the war in the Council of States. This attitude of the mind that sees the South-East as a plunder land has persisted in both military and civil rule. If Nigeria is still disunited and unstable it is because of this negative disposition of the dominant members of the council of states against Ndigbo.
So it is curious that my good friend unwittingly roped the very victims of domination, discrimination and marginalization in his blame game. Is it the responsibility of ordinary citizens of the South-East to construct and maintain federal and state roads traversing their homelands? Where do ordinary Ibo, Ibibio Efik, Ijaw, Ogoni, Kalabari, Abriba and Okrika men come in under urban planning and development?
Under dual federalism issues verging on urban planning and development are in the domain of federal and state governments. These levels of government are the ones that plan and lay down the network of roads, urban and industrial infrastructure. So the indigenous people of the South-East cannot be blamed when these levels of government fail to develop their homelands.
A former British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli once remarked that men are governed with words. But the diplomacy of reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation General Yakubu Gowon flaunted before Nigerians after the war was to hoodwink the world. No reconciliation, reconstruction and rehabilitation took place. Not even abandoned properties were returned to their owners. No compensation was paid to those who lost lives and property in the North during the pogrom against the indigenes of the South-East. The Aburi accord was observed in the breached.
The military government of General Gowon did not for once intend to implement his much vaunted Marshall plan to re-integrate the South-East 46 years after the Nigeria–Biafra civil war. The South-East is only haphazardly and half-heartedly reconciled, reconstructed and rehabilitated (3rs) by the indigenous people of the South-East themselves. General Gowon could not reconstruct, rehabilitate and reconcile the South-East with the rest of Nigeria before he was ousted and sidelined in a military coup when he gaffed that the hitherto promised 1976 handover date was no longer realistic.
It took almost 23 years (1976-1999) before General Olusegun Obasanjo came up with another political legerdemain called Oputu panel of inquiry. The aim of the enquiry, as it later became clear, was merely to provide a talking cure. In this public enquiry, people were allowed to ventilate their worries, fears, feelings of insecurity, deprivation, persecution and injustices meted out to them. At the end of the enquiry, the polity was overheated nerves were not soothed. Like General Gowon’s noble chicanery, General Olusegun Obasanjo’s variant was full of overpromises and under delivery.
It does appear that the then supreme military council had a tacit agreement among their members to fleece the South-East using the harvest strategy. It was under this harvest strategy General Yakubu Gowon sold off the oil rich territory of the South-East called Bakassi to Cameroun without the consent of the indigenous people of Biafra.
Another war strategy Gowon found potent and efficacious was to divide and sell (balkanization). He also used the strategy of divide and rule (state creation for differentiation and disaffection).
In order to divide and disunite the South-East and thus make it easier to subject the composite tribal nationalities to a set of dominance rules, the South-East was partitioned. These were the machinations and mechanisms used to marginalize the South-East. Those marginalizing the South-East used mixed strategies to fleece the South-East before letting it go if need be, as Prof. Ango Abdullahi seems to be suggesting when he said “the north is ready for Nigeria’s break up!!”
Those marginalizing the South-East have decided to give the South-East as little as possible. Budgets for the South-East are hardly implemented and nobody cares. But they are to take as much as possible (harvest) from the South-East in terms of economic resources. Nigeria lives like a jigger in the toe of the South-East drilling its oil wells and using the royalties of the South-East and South-South to develop the South-West North-West and North central as favoured states.
Funds earmarked through the budget for developing and building roads bridges, railways, or airports in the South-East are hardly applied to the purpose before the funds are transferred by virement to areas of more pressing needs. Both Raji Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi have not started talking about the South-East. It is like a law, that budget implementation must begin from the South-West, North-West, North-Central Axis. The North-East, South-East, South-South axis must come later, and must go for the crumbs if something is left to pursue the development plans and programs of the axis.
The unwritten policy of maximum exploitation and minimum or marginal development of the South-East/South-South axis has continued to be in vogue 46 years after the war. The leopard has refused to change its skin. Even the government of President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to be different. But the Massob, the IPOB, and Niger Delta militants cannot passively watch the federal government use the harvest strategy to loot and suck the lifeblood out of its veins, muscles and sinews. The oil harvest is not even used to develop the South-South, South-East and Niger Delta area (Biafra territory).
Shortly after the inauguration of General Muhammadu Buhari as the executive president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, this policy analyst counseled his government to forthwith embark on mega-industrial city development to be located at the saddle point between Rivers or Bayelsa Imo, Anambra and Delta States. In that write-up, it was observed that the Federal Government planned and developed Lagos as a large metropolitan city and industrial conurbation.
During the Obasanjo-Abacha and Ibrahim Babangida interregnum, the federal government built a new seat of goverment in Abuja. It was planned and developed with all the trappings of a cosmopolitan city.
Thus, there is a city in the South-West where all Nigerians live together and interact with one another. In the North Central, there is the Abuja metropolis where all Nigerians live and interact with one another. But there is no such place in the South-East, South-South axis.
The federal government has refused to build the third (Nigeria stands on 3 legs) metropolitan city where all Nigerians will live together. The cities in Abuja and Lagos were built from oil royalties expropriated from the South-East South-South. Why should people of the South-East/South-South travel and sojourn in other lands to enjoy what comes from their places?
*Uwalaka is a former special assistant and policy analyst
*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 its contents or any part thereof.
Nnamdi Kanu, illegally detained IPOB leader
I have been patiently and anxiously watching the Igbos, one of the ethnic nationalities that make up the federation of Nigeria, their agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra and of course Nnamdi Kanu, the illegally detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra , a young man doubtless imbued with a fighting spirit which is rare in other Igbos save the late Biafran warlord Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Kanu has been detained for quite sometime now for no just cause if you ask me. The young man was swooped on by Nigeria's secret police in metropolitan Lagos Nigeria and has been illegally detained ever since after a series of court injunctions that the young man be released unconditionally. These court orders have fortunately fallen on deaf ears.
Kanu is being detained by the Nigerian government for operating a pirate radio station. He is , in fact , not the only Nigerian that has committed that ''offence''. About two days ago President Muhammadu Buhari played host to Prof. Wole Soyinka, the man who also operated a pirate radio station in Nigeria - Radio Kudirat - and has not been arrested and duly charged ever since. The Nobel Laureate operated the said radio to free Nigeria and Nigerians who were caught in the agonizing web military jackboot under late Sani Abacha.
In a similar vein, Nnamdi Kanu, having seen the servitude his people have been subjected to via marginalization in the contraption called Nigeria rose to free his people. We have had many 'KANUs' in history and even in pre-independence Nigeria calling to mind the late Chief Anthony Enahoro who moved the historic motion for Nigeria's independence in 1957.
Kanu far from being an egocentric loner is a man who wants to see the freedom of an oppressed people whose rights have been taken away by a tribe of hemogenic overlords who have resolved to annihilate a region and a people over an age-long feud that triggered off the historic Nigerian-Biafra revolution in the Gowonist days. The peace supposedly brokered at Aburi in faraway Ghana has not succeeded in resolving anything as deadly grudges and hate persist and this has often found physical expression in wanton killings of the Igbos in the north and by extension via marginalization which is evident in the region. There is no denying the fact that there is a dearth of infrastructures throughout the southeast that leaves the region in a very sorry and pitiable state.
These and other reasons informed the young man's interest and desire to sensitize his people via the pirate radio for self-determination. He has not committed a crime after all if we all need reminding.
Kanu has not been found plotting to violently overthrow the government or anything near it. He has not been caught or implicated in any arms deal. Hence why have the Igbos decided to stay aloof? Some have been shamelessly seen at different points in time speaking against his avowed desire to free his people from the ongoing bondage superimposed on them by the hegemonic northern overlords.
Money may have doubtless changed hands over KANU, a ploy that has been employed by the regime in Abuja to frustrate the Biafran struggle. Sometimes, I sit hand on chin, mouth agape with incredulity over remarks and utterances emanating from self-styled Igbo leaders particularly the Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, 'Oba' Joe Igbokwe and others. Rochas was once quoted to have said that a million Kanu is no match to him. This, of course, is not true!
The governor with an overestimated sense of self-worth would be disillusioned the day their popularity is tested at the polls. Conversely, I make bold to say here he is no match to Nnamdi Kanu all things considered and that makes Kanu the current undisputed leader of the Igbos.
One incontrovertible fact the Igbos both at home and in the diaspora ought to know is that Kanu has actually not committed any crime worthy of a custodial sentence. His continued detention is none other than one of the covert plans to annihilate the Igbos with the collaboration of certain Judas in the region who have been blindfolded by the love for money.
If you genuinely have Igbo blood running in your veins, you would be better advised to relay this message to your friends and relatives until a potent force is mobilized against the oppression, marginalization and planned annihilation of the Igbos in the contraption called Nigeria. Not until the Igbos rise to speak with one voice and identify their common enemy they will ever remain traditional enemies of their tribe.
*Iyoha John Darlington, a social critic, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues.
Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the authors' and do not reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall therefore not be held responsible for its contents or any part thereof.
In a recent interview he granted Channels Television, Prof Wole Soyinka’s attempt at assessing the last general elections and the outcomes, where he praised the Buhari administration to high heavens and concluded dogmatically that Nigeria would have collapsed if former President Goodluck Jonathan had won the 2015 polls, muddled up his own public record and left our own W.S. punching below his weight.
It simply showed that every star has its skyline, every sprinter has his track and every sage, his sphere. And for an intellectual, it becomes even more lethal, to venture into an unknown turf without the benefit of rigor and diligent research. If that happens, any attempt to dominate spaces clearly outside one’s scope, easily betrays the true motive of the intrusion. He will either be struggling to maintain his standing on a strange ground or be fighting piteously to cover up his predisposition.
Granted that the interviewer overreached himself by taking Soyinka out of the familiar terrain of literature and art to demand of him, on the spot analysis of politics. Even then the Nobel Laureate couldn’t have offended any soul if he had limited himself to the exercise his God-given freedom of judgement where he had quickly expressed his fondness for President Muhammadu Buhari, over Jonathan.
But it then became an act of hubris when Soyinka, apparently blinded by the bravura of his conviction, failed to rise to the occasion to dispassionately volunteer his views when challenged to assess the seven months of the Buhari administration, even after he had glibly put a nail on the possibility of Jonathan continuing in office, without giving credible reasons for his strange conclusions.
While comparing the two presidential candidates for the 2015 elections, Soyinka had said: “I became convinced that if this country underwent four more years under President Jonathan, the country would run aground completely.” Haba Professor! Where is the empirical evidence that supports such indiscreet generalization?
Prodded on to justify his choice, amidst the worsening misery of the last six months and the dismal growth prognosis stemming from the new administration’s obvious lack of vision and economic direction, Soyinka simply affirmed that Buhari’s performance in office so far” has proven that there is such a thing as a born-again democrat.”
And to think that this defence is coming not long after Soyinka described Buhari as a “devil for whom in my calculation, no spoon existed long enough to justify the risk even of an impromptu snack.”
A friend who was reviewing this interview with me did not waste time in agreeing that Soyinka’s position didn’t add up and insisted that, for once, Soyinka has allowed his prejudice to colour his intervention on a burning national issue. He drew my attention to the fact that the Nobel laureate who placed a blanket condemnation on the last administration had on the same breath praised the outcome of Jonathan’s National Conference as the best so far in the country’s history, and had even gone ahead to urge Buhari to implement its recommendations.
If it was convenient for Soyinka to isolate the National Conference as a plus, why did he withhold from telling the nation that the few measures being implemented by this government are policies of the past administration? Beyond the on-going arrests of corrupt politicians, the only far-reaching, sustainable anti-corruption measures so far adopted are the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and the Intergrated Personnel & Payroll Information System (IPPIS)which tracks ghost workers and checks other leakages in public services. Incidentally these were programmes introduced by those Jonathan put in-charge at the finance ministry.
Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, Agriculture Minister Chief Audu Ogbe and Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, who are the only ministers in the new cabinet to have taken the lead in speaking about their programmes, have all indicated that they would go on with the Jonathan policies. While Amaechi had vowed to continue with the rail projects in continuation of Jonathan’s rail restoration programme, Ogbe did not pretend that this government has an alternative to the globally acclaimed Agriculture Transformation Agenda, which brought this country close to self-sufficiency in food production. On his part Fashola, a very practical and goal-oriented man in the corridors of power, who unfolded his plan only last week, had praises for Jonathan’s reforms in the power, and transport sectors. He even went ahead to boldly proclaim, against the run of public opinion, that Jonathan constructed more roads than any other administration.
Soyinka will soon discover that he would be standing alone in praising the Buhari government, especially as he deliberately failed to raise the red flag on obvious and avoidable sloppiness on the side of the new government. Is Soyinka happy with the excruciating but unending fuel situation, spiraling decline in naira value, prevarication and tardiness on the issue of subsidy, embarrassing lack of economic blueprint, constant demonisation and criminalisation of Nigeria and Nigerians at international fora, as well as Buhari’s abhorrent disdain for those he governs, who only get to hear about his plans and decisions from those he addresses while abroad? Juxtapose those with the method of the Jonathan era and please help spot the difference.
It is within the boundaries of Soyinka’s rights to brand anybody a born-again democrat. But any fair assessment should have admitted that this toga first belonged to Jonathan who organized world acclaimed free and fair general elections in both 2011 and 2015 and the isolated state government elections. I believe that Soyinka would have seen that Buhari’s INEC has failed in organising credible elections in just two states-tiny Bayelsa and Kogi- the results of which have remained inconclusive. It is a defect that even Buhari himself has admitted, supporting the position of local and international observers that the elections were flawed.
Soyinka is so precious to us that we wouldn’t want him to be stained by the murky waters of politics. Next time he wants to run commentary on our leaders, he should be honest enough to state facts as they are, without allowing his preferences to alter his wisdom. Less he would be running the risk of reducing himself to the status of a lawyer, who otherwise would have been celebrated for his brilliance, but who is now only perceived from the prism of the client that hired him.
Ignatius is a commentator on current affairs
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By Remi Oyeyemi