• Killing Biafra

    13/Mar/2016 // 508 Viewers

     

    By Obi Nwakanma 

    I confess: the title of my essay today is not original. It was first penned by the now late Agwu Okpanku, Classicist and journalist trained at Ibadan and Cambridge, in his column, “The Third Eye,” published in the now defunct, Enugu-based newspaper of the 1970s, Renaissance. Agwu Okpanku was a fierce critic of the post war attempts by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria, under the leadership of Yakubu Gowon, to erase all evidence of Biafra from national memory. 

    When Agwu Okpanku wrote “Killing Biafra,” he was simply reminding the triumphalist power of that moment, about the indelicacy as well as the futility, in decreeing oblivion. Biafra was an independent republic. For three years it fought for its sovereignty. 

    It had symbols; it had documents, and it had a material presence which the Federal Military Government’s policy was working rather too hard to erase, in uninformed attempts to force “one Nigeria” down the throat of former Biafrans. 

    So, for instance, the Uli Airport, which could have been preserved for its historical significance and value was bulldozed; the Bight of Biafra suddenly became “Bight of Bonny;” material evidence that had any hint of Biafra were seized and systematically destroyed, or kept sealed – until Babangida established the National War Museum in Umuahia. It would have been tolerable if the former Biafrans felt a welcoming sense of justice and acceptance to “one Nigeria.” 

    But, no. A lingering sense of alienation remains from Nigeria’s mishandling of the policy of the “The Rs” announced at the end of conflicts. In actual fact, at the end of the war in 1970, Sam Ogbemudia as military governor of the Midwest had quickly made contact with the now late T.E.A Salubi and Dr. Nwariaku, one of the great Biafran scientists, and a key figure of the Biafran Research and Production (RAP) department whose innovations in war production gave insight into the capacity of the black mind, and quickly made a case at the Council of States for the Gowon administration to urgently gather these scientists, rehabilitate them, and use RAP as the basis for Nigeria’s industrial revolution. 

    Ogbemudia was strenuously opposed by his colleagues in the council: nothing of such should be done with “the rebels,” he was told. Post war federal policy, not surprisingly, was at odds with reason, and it was soon clear to those who had fought for Biafra that the Federal Military Government’s policy of “reconciliation and rehabilitation” was no more than a hollow pact calculated to disarm the Biafrans. Since 1970, the mindless and tragic exploitation, and the strategic policy of neglect has left areas of the former Eastern region bitter, frustrated, and alienated. 

    The Federal government, using its divisive politics and narrative of sectionality have tried to emphasize regional differences between what it has often falsely described as the “Niger Delta” and the South East. The fact that much of Igbo land falls into what is geographically the Niger Delta has been obscured by the convenient geo-political narrative of difference that has long been promoted by the self-interested powers, who have used the ploy to exploit and contain any upsurge of defiance from the East in the last forty years. 

    But a new generation, many born in the war and after it have seen through it all: how come, many of them now ask, that the areas from which much of Nigeria’s oil wealth was exploited have benefited very little from the exploitation of the resources in their region? The direct benefits of what should have been an oil economy went in the enrichment of people outside the region. Not even many Nigerians have benefited from this product, oil, now in its dying phase as an economic factor. 

    One of the significant aspects of the old East is its contiguity. What happens in any part of the region is quickly telegraphed to the other. Gas flare in Izombe is felt in Port Harcourt. Oil spill in Eleme is quickly felt in Asa and Aba. If an explosion happens in Eket, you will quickly feel its reverberations in Owerrinta, or Ohambele or Bori. It is fifteen minutes from Aba to Ikot-Ekpene on a good road, and to Uyo, less than 45 minutes. 

    Only a bridge separates Itigidi from Afikpo. Asaba and Onitsha are just like St. Louis and East St. Louis, as with the other, linked by the Eads Bridge across the Mississippi, one in Missouri, and the other in Illinois, yet inexorably linked. From Yenegoa, Degema, through Elele to Owerri is as much distance as from Owerri to Enugu, and it is such contiguity that makes the Eastern areas of Nigeria a powerfully attractive economic belt as well as a disaster waiting to happen. The interconnections and linkages is most probably the factor that is driving the new Biafra and the Niger delta movement into a single defiance movement. 

    The growth of this single movement quite frankly poses a security threat to this nation that no president should, or can ignore. It requires a strategic and comprehensive response; that much is true. Whatever response to this movement however must begin from the framework that the new Biafra movement is the result of both political and economic frustration and alienation. It did not begin with this administration, but it is growing exponentially, and is compounded by what seems to be the President’s tunnel vision; his unwillingness to address this question like a statesman not much rather like a belligerent soldier.

    Thus far, the president’s response to the Biafran agitations, which is currently at its peaceful stage, is ego-driven, and frankly immature, and does not lend itself to the kind of thoughtfulness and diplomacy required of a president whose duty above all else is to secure peace by all means necessary in a fragile multi-ethnic nation such as Nigeria, in order to achieve common prosperity. The growing Biafra question is looking most certainly to define the Buhari presidency. The president looks all set to entangle Nigeria in a long and unwinnable conflict that threatens to snowball into another civil war if improperly handled. 

    Last week, the president lost a great opportunity to address it and scale it down. He was confronted with this question in an Al-Jazeera interview, about Biafra and the administration’s authorization of the killing of unarmed Biafrans by soldiers. The president refused to see recorded evidence available to Al-Jazeera of the killing of unarmed, peaceful protesters asking for a “Biafran referendum” in Aba. 

    He snapped at the interviewer who asked if it is not better to meet with them than shoot them. “Why Should I meet them?” the president asked, bristling. This president puts himself in an actionable position in justifying the use of maximum force and the killing of an unarmed civilian population protesting peacefully within their rights. The president’s claim that their agitation for Biafra is intolerable, is itself intolerable under democratic rule. What the president is doing is deliberately pushing a currently unarmed movement towards an inevitable armed conflict, and a widening of the field. The images of the shooting of civilians is a great recruitment tool for the Biafrans, as more and more people once indifferent to it are quietly joining from deep anger at these images. 

    This president, we use this column again to plead with, should not push Nigeria into another civil war, by his actions or inactions, because there is no greater threat to the security of a nation than a deep sense of injustice and alienation felt by a great number of people. President Buhari fought in the last war and must certainly realize that there is no such thing as a “cake-walk” in war. It is important that president Buhari’s advisers tell him that it is still early and possible to contain this Biafran movement peacefully, and prevent its next inevitable phase, the armed phase, which will happen if the young leaders of this movement begin to feel that no one is listening to them; and that they have no other option than to defend themselves militarily against the government’s use of force. We must never arrive at this moment, Mr. President. 

    Therefore, it is important that all parties, from the federal authorities to the new Biafrans, show good faith and meet and listen to each other. President Buhari ought to take the initiative to meet because he is the president – the adult in the room. Otherwise, he might just have a great, complex situation unfolding in startling ways before him. It is not possible to “kill Biafra” with threats. We have said this before. It needs repeating.


    Disclaimer: Views published in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • Nigerian Labour Congress: Possible solutions to fuel subsidy removal, By Usman Mohammed

    13/May/2016 // 482 Viewers

    Usman Mohammed

    It is high time the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) engaged, indulged and cultivated the act of providing a lasting solution to the myriad of problems facing  Nigerian civil servants and the masses instead of sabotaging federal government efforts by going on industrial strike.

    Labour is spoiling for a fight over fuel price increase. Meanwhile, what the Government said was "any entity can now import fuel subject to product quality and standard regulations". 

    Instead of their usual irrational resort to industrial strike, I think Organised Labour should take advantage of this window of opportunity by putting together its resources to join the line of fuel importers so that it can sell its products at a comparatively cheaper price.

    The advantage is that Labour petroleum products will attract more patronage and force other marketers to do likewise. This is not an alien proposal, they are precedents. 

    When the government stopped buying cars for workers Labour took up the challenge by organising co-operative societies that made cars available to workers who are members. 

    In a similar vein, when the government stopped building houses for workers, Labour took up the challenge and started buying acres and hectares of land which they shared with workers through cooperative societies. They even had to make  building materials available to workers through the cooperative society.

    I think it's time Labour Unions, Cooperative Societies, associations, churches and communities took up roles in the global free market for the benefit of its members. 

    There is a paradigm shift in ideologies, principles and how they should be employed in our modern world. The growth of population, innovation in technology and expanding economic space has made it unprofitable to apply the model and formula of the 20th century successfully in this 21st century. 

    The need for this inclusive participation in economic activities by Labour is underscored by the prediction that a time will come when most tools of labour for both government and non-governmental entities will be machines and not man, by then Organised Labour whose only goal is industrial agitation for better wage and living conditions of workers will become irrelevant and otiose.

    Take note that the military is about to key into this new trend of active participation in the free market economy. In Egypt, the army is involved in the commercial construction of roads, bridges and building. It owns the company called "Arab Contractors". 

    The Nigerian Army will soon commence the commercial sale and transportation of petroleum products in its newly constructed mega filling stations in parts of the country. 

    Other than industrial actions and personal welfare, what does the other bodies and Labour Union have to bring to the table of free market economy?

    I, therefore, urge the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to do the needful things now and not sooner or later.

    Usman Mohammed.

    Department of Mass Communication,
    IBB University, Lapai-Niger State.
    +234 70 60815443

     

    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.

     


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  • Edo State 2016: Soft Pitter-Patter As Elections Draw Near

    13/Nov/2015 // 793 Viewers

    The heat is on and soon the people of Edo state will  separate the corn from the chaff  in the forthcoming primary elections. Those that will be withered thence shall remain between the rock and hard place. As usual, tongues will waggle and threats will be made, but the people of Edo state will remain undaunted because it is not unusual. 

    The coming gubernatorial election in the history of Edo state will remain in the annals of history as the pivotal point that changed the course of the state  for good. The hue and cry of the people will enable the state to have a  working government from the start to finish. And not halfway good and halfway bad. 

    The people are aware of the political gimmicks played by some "money bags"  to gain power.  The people are aware of the machinations of some electorates to subvert the mandate of the majority. The people are aware of the sheep in the wolves' clothing who parade themselves in the corridors of power without the sheer interest of the people in their hearts.  In all these, the people are ready to withstand the challenges with the sacred resolve to give their mandate to the right candidate.

    In this, you will all agree with me that Hon. Matthew Iduoriyekemwen stands as a colossus - the man that can meet the aspirations of the Edo people.  He has crossed seven seas and mountains with the old, young, rich and poor.  He has the political mien and organisational sagacity to emancipate Edo state from the shackles of poverty, unemployment and lack. 

    Your 'YES' for Hon. Matthew will bring about positivity, equity, political gains, fairness and desired probity.  Remember " vox populi, vox Dei".  Let us allow the above mantra to be our quick march slogan as we queue behind MAI.

     

    Iredia Osakue is a political analyst and opinion leader based in Turin, Italy.


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  • Is Vladimir Putin Trying to Teach the West a Lesson in Syria?

    13/Oct/2015 // 196 Viewers

    Ivan Krastev

    SOFIA, Bulgaria — Last week, after Russian planes bombed antigovernment forces near the Syrian town of Homs, a senior American official complained to me: “What Russia is doing in Syria is not an effort to fight the Islamic State; it is not old-fashioned realpolitik. It is not even a cynical attempt to make us forget about Ukraine. Putin simply wants to hurt us.”

    This notion of Russia as a “spoiling power” is a popular sentiment today in Washington. But what does this spoiling power actually want? Is Russia in Syria simply for the sport of watching a humiliated President Obama? Is damaging the value of American power the only purpose of Russia’s “spoiling”?

    It’s more accurate to say that the Kremlin is in Syria for pedagogical reasons: It wants to teach Americans a lesson, and a valuable one. It wants to show that America should either be prepared to intervene in any civil war that follows a troubled revolution inspired by its lofty rhetoric, or it should quit goading people to revolt. “Do you realize, what you have done?” was the most memorable line of President Vladimir Putin’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

     http://jobrize.com/index.php?ref=373503

     

    The situation in Syria may have an element of realpolitik to it, but it is also about two worldviews. Indeed, the differences between Mr. Putin and Mr. Obama can be boiled down to opposing theories about the sources of the current global instability. America sees global instability primarily as the result of authoritarians’ desperate attempts to preserve a doomed status quo, while Moscow blames Washington’s obsession with democracy.

    If the Soviets appealed to proletarians of the world to unite, the Kremlin today appeals to governments of the world to unite — all kind of governments. History is indeed “irony on the move.” Russia, the successor of the revolutionary Soviet Union, has given up on the power of the people.

    Most of the popular history books on the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 you can find in Moscow bookstores today tell the story of Lenin and his comrades not as a popular uprising, but as a coup d’état, engineered by — and here you have a choice — the German general staff or British intelligence agents. Any time and any place when people demand power, the situation gets worse. Loyalty and stability are at the center of the Kremlin’s universe, a universe dominated by insecurity and fear of the future.

    And what is on Kremlin’s mind is not Syria, or even Ukraine, but Central Asia, a part of the post-Soviet space in which authoritarian leaders are aging, economies are stagnating, millions of restless young people are unemployed and eager to emigrate, and radical Islam is on the rise. Russia sees itself as the guarantor of stability in the region, but it fears instability coming. Central Asia today reminds the Kremlin of the Middle East a decade ago. Could Syria teach America to watch its words and mind its business when the next crisis comes?

    President Putin wants to teach America a lesson, but he also speaks to a Europe flooded by a million refugees and haunted by the specters of radical Islam and demographic anxiety. Yesterday the European Union hoped to transform its neighbors; today it sees itself as a hostage. Mr. Putin wants to persuade Europe that, as brutal a dictator as Muammar el-Qaddafi of Libya was, he was willing and able to protect the borders of Europe, something the new democracies could not do.

    Is a badly shaken Europe prepared for this message?

    Yes and no. Most European leaders hope for U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria as the only way to end the conflict. They want Moscow on their side. Many blame the hyperactivity of George W. Bush and the inaction of Barack Obama for the turmoil in the Middle East. They hope for the return to the days of Soviet-American détente, when, as the historian Jeremi Suri has written, “Leaders abandoned their hopes for political change in order to smother the challenges they faced at home.”

    That, at least, is “Putin’s hypothesis” — that Europe will accept a more powerful Russia as a guarantor of stability, even at the cost of a European retreat from its values and ambitions.

    But can Mr. Putin deliver? His call for absolute stability is emotionally attractive but impractical. If in the straitjacket of the Cold War it was enough for the Soviet Union and the West to cut a deal for instability to recede, this is no longer the case. The world is no longer defined by East-West dynamics: Social, demographic, cultural and technological changes have made world stability a much more complicated puzzle. We live in the age of disruption.

    And though Russia is right to argue that what we see in Syria today is not a clash between a repressive government and its freedom-loving people, it is also not a clash between legitimate government and a bunch of extremists, as Moscow insists. It is worth remembering that the vast majority of refugees in Europe are running not from the Islamic State, but from the Assad regime, and its hold on power means that they could stay in Europe forever.

    In other words, Mr. Putin’s pedagogy is appealing, but it is not, ultimately, persuasive. It will take more than a change in American policy for people to stop revolting against ugly governments.


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  • Buhari’s wife as a beauty therapist

    14/Apr/2016 // 554 Viewers

                                          Aisha Buhari

     

    As you read this piece, the Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, unveils her new book, “The Essentials of Beauty Therapy: A complete Guide for Beauty Specialists” at an event slated to take place today in Abuja.

    For those that may not know, our President’s wife is a beauty therapist, entrepreneur and skills acquisition consultant. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University. She is also an alumnus of Carlton Institute of London and the Academy Esthetigue Beauty Institute of France – post-graduate diploma in cosmetology and beauty therapy.

    A beauty therapist is someone who is professionally trained and specialises in beauty treatments of both the face and body. As well as making their clients look beautiful, they are also responsible for making them feel good about themselves.


     
    There is a novelty in the fact that the wife of a sitting President is presenting her professional work to the public. There is also an ingredient for cynicism. For the Nigerian lady who intensely wants to push the image of a confident, strong and cerebral citizen, there is cause to celebrate, and to intuitively see Mrs. Buhari as the unspoken poster girl for the new Nigerian woman.

    But for that woman who is so given to laidback affluence enjoyed in a vicarious manner living off of her successful husband, Mrs. Buhari is a wet blanket, who is lucky to have climbed to the highest social ladder and then turns around to sneer at the many women who dream to have a whiff of the privileges the corridors of power could bring.

    To this class, the magic of the First Ladyship is in the miracle-like transformation. To celebrate professional output while at that height is like trying to jinx the gravy train.

    To me, President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife has unwittingly turned a new page in the evolution of the country’s socio-political power equation. From now on, just as Buhari changed the name from “First Lady” to “President’s Wife”, his spouse may have just changed the game – the country’s first woman is first an individual with a life and career, before a power figure. So, Nigerians must expect more than politico-feminine verbosity and contrived visage.

    This will effectively snuff the life from that misnomer called “First Lady’s Pet Project”, with which so much noise was made and no lasting impact felt from the supposed breasts of the nation’s mother.

    We have been bamboozled with all sorts of seeming patriotic projects from the then highly revered Office of the First Lady. Granted, some of the first ladies’ projects added value to many less privileged Nigerians, but weighing these gains against the time and resources splattered on the ventures in no structured manner, they ended up as part of the white elephants and fiscal carcasses that defined the descent of our dear country into an irredeemable rent-seeking Federation.

    I concluded that the first ladies we had could not muster any personal cerebral zeal or mass enthusiasm to sustain their so-called “pet projects” when their husbands left office because the projects never represented their innate passions and capacities as they should. At best, these ephemeral schemes were tinkered together by praise singers, jobbers and hangers-on who see in the First Lady a new pipe to siphon the country’s wealth at no cost and with minimal commitment.

    Mrs Buhari has given that aberration a terminal knock-out.

    At least, we could be comforted by the fact that ours would soon become a nation like the United States, where the wife of the President is viewed against the backdrop of her professional life right before her ascension to the exalted pedestal of the First Family. Her pet project begins when her husband leaves office. At that time, the success of the project clearly shows the world the material with which she is made of.

    Let us look at a couple of these American Presidents’ wives. Before her time as the First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy (wife of John F. Kennedy) was “Inquiring Camera Girl” for the Washington Times-Herald. After her husband’s assassination, she became Editor at Viking Press and Doubleday; she also worked to create the John F. Kennedy Library; and also led a public information campaign to save New York’s Grand Central Station.

    Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson (wife of Lyndon Johnson) was Chairman of the KLBJ radio station before her husband became president. After leaving the White House after their tenure, she authored White House Diary, and founded the National Wildflower Research Centre.

    Elizabeth “Betty” Ford (wife of Gerald Ford) was a dancer in Martha Graham’s concert group, a fashion model and a dance instructor. After leaving the White House, she created the Betty Ford Treatment Centre.

    Nancy Reagan (wife of Ronald Reagan) was a nurse’s aide, a Broadway and film actress, and Marshall Field’s sales clerk. When she left the White House with her former actor husband, she authored the book, My Turn, and founded the Nancy Reagan After School Programme; she also created and funded the Ronald and Nancy Reagan Institution for Research into Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Much had been said, and written, about what would transpire in Nigeria’s First Family considering Buhari’s personal discipline and ascetic lifestyle. Many stretched their imaginations to adumbrate how a cosmopolitan-looking President’s wife could navigate in a perceptively tiny room provided by self-proclaimed system-over haulers.

    In fact, it was based on this universal angst that my interest was piqued when I came across a copy of Mrs. Buhari’s book. Alas, I was thrilled by the little content I could glean! As is required from the nation’s First Lady, she should portray a positive image of the Nigerian woman, and that is what the book did.

    In the book, I discovered that unlike what it seems, a beauty therapist is not the same as a beautician. Actually, a beauty therapist is an environmental worker because beauty therapy is largely eco-related. It is all about hygiene and health management.

    For example, the chapter “Beauty Salon Ecology” discusses the meaning and importance of infection control, as well as the causes of infection and the conditions in which they thrive and spread. The chapter also outlines the methods used to prevent and control the spread of infection.

    The beauty therapist is also a scientist. According to the book, “In order to perform beauty treatments safely and effectively on any part of the body, it is very important for beauty therapists to have a sound understanding of the underlying scientific principles involved. To achieve these, the basic anatomy of the human body and the functions and working of the principal body systems must be learned.”

    I learnt that the beauty therapist utilises environmental resources for health purpose. For instance, hydrotherapy, a time-honoured technique that uses the properties of water such as temperature and pressure to stimulate healing and cleanse toxins, was dissected. A number of therapeutic treatments and approaches draw upon the healing properties of water for pain relief, making use of the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli.

    Mrs Buhari’s book discusses waste disposal, hygiene and sanitation practices, client hygiene, salon hygiene, and personal hygiene, protection against possible risks, immunisation, and good hygiene knowledge.

    At the end, I came out with a solid impression: in a profession populated by mostly women, we fail to get the fundamental principle that a beauty parlour is not about the equipment. It is about knowledge, and how to use it to improve the human environment. What better teacher to cascade these knowledge to Nigerian women than the First Lady herself?

    By Greg Odogwu

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do reflect our editorial policy. DailyGlobeWatch shall, therefore, not be held responsible for any of its contents or any part thereof.


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  • Anti-Media Bill Is Evil, By Edward Ejembi Omaga

    14/Dec/2015 // 362 Viewers

     

    It is no longer news that the 8th Senate has plans to criminalize certain aspects of media practice in Nigeria. These plans have come under heavy criticism from the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Civil Society Organizations and other patriotic Nigerians. The bill entitled “An Act to prohibit frivolous petitions and other matters connected therewith” was purportedly sponsored by Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah who is of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) representing Kebbi South.

     The bill which scaled through second reading on Wednesday, 2nd December, 2015 recommends jail terms ranging from a mandatory Six months up to Two years or fines of between N 200,000 and N 4,000,000 for petitions written or published through “any medium of whatever description” including facebook, twitter, instagram and other similar channels against public or private individuals without a sworn affidavit in a Federal or State High Court.

    We wish to state categorically that the bill is evil as much as it is an attempt to clamp down on journalists, social media petition writers and whistleblowers who might exercise their rights under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) or the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. Our grouse is that while the overwhelming majority of Nigerians are clamouring for credible democracy and happy with the wind of change blowing across the country, certain supposedly honourable men in the Senate like Na’Allah have abandoned their mandate to legislate for the good of the country and wrongly channeled their efforts towards embarking on a futile exercise in the name of gagging the press and limiting their influence in our democracy.

     
    We are of the firm belief that information participation by all and sundry is necessary for effective democracy and the failure of the government of the day to
    provide unhindered access to information can lead to monumental corruption and abuse of rights of citizens. In fact, a denial of freedom to access information in public domain is corruption in itself which we must reject if Nigeria is to move out of its present economic cum political quagmire. We are pleased with the stand taken by President Muhammadu Buhari as expressed on December 7, 2015,  vide Premium Times wherein he reaffirmed the commitment of his administration to the protection of free speech in keeping with democratic tradition. Nigerians must echo that the evil bill should  be immediately scrapped despite claims by the Senate that content of the bill has been misunderstood. Why should the Senate dissipate energy on a worthless bill such as the extant one instead of joining forces with Mr. President to tackle other more disturbing issues of corruption, poverty, unemployment, ethnic agitations and insecurity presently bedeviling us as a country? 

    We assume that the Senate is a democratic body consisting of persons with integrity who have their eyes on quality legislation and good governance. However, in the event that the Senate proves us wrong and eventually passes the bill, our hope will lie in the House of Representatives and President Muhammadu Buhari to respectively deny approval to the bill and stop it from becoming a binding law. In as much as we are not averse to lawful legislation, we are ready to defend the democratic rights of Nigerians with all our might and ensure that the Senate in carrying out their legislative duty must be consistent and operate within the ambit of the Constitution they swore to uphold. 


    No doubt, free speech is central to democratic societies anywhere in the world. Therefore, without free speech elected representatives will not be able to gauge
    public feelings and moods about governance issues. On a final note, we call on Mr. President to refuse assent to any legislation capable of being inconsistent with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We urge other sister Civil Society Organizations to lend their voices to the injustice planned to be meted out on the media by the Senate. We must all shout until the evil anti-media bill is thrown out of the Senate and Senator Na’Allah bends his head in shame for having misused the mandate graciously given to him by the good people of Kebbi South Senatorial District.God bless Nigeria!

     

    EDWARD EJEMBI OMAGA is a Trustee/Legal Adviser of Beyond
    Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative (
    BBLLI) and writes from FCT-Abuja.Email:
    omagaedward@yahoo.comSent

     

    Disclaimer: Views express in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.


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  • State of schools in Benue State

    14/Dec/2015 // 686 Viewers

                               One of the dilapidated public schools in Benue State

     

    There is no doubt that corruption exists in all sectors in Nigeria. The corruption in the educational sector is a frequent occurrence although it varies in sizes and shades from one state to another. As a result of poor leadership and woeful planning, the public schools system has become dysfunctional across Benue state and the sector has become an arena of inefficiency and a cesspool of corruption. For instance, the conditions of public schools in Okpokwu Local Government Area, one of the first local authorities in Benue State and my immediate constituency is quite disheartening and pitiable.

    From Edumoga through Okpoga to Ichama, the condition of these public schools is the same. The schools surroundings have become havens for several species of grasses and wild animals. The buildings have become dilapidated and academic activities are literarily crippled. The less privileged ones, who have no other alternative, usually receive lessons under the trees as there are no chairs or roofs to give them shelter.

    Since the return to democracy in 1999, Okpokwu has been on the good page of political relevance in Benue State having produced a Minister, State Party Chairman of the PDP, Commissioners, Special Advisers and most recently, the exalted position of the Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly. Aside these political gladiators, we are richly blessed with several illustrious sons and daughters who are heads of parastatals and agencies and others who have done well for themselves in their chosen carriers.

     Children attending public primary schools in Benue State were stuck at home for over eight months following a prolonged strike by their teachers for non-payment of their salaries. While we celebrate those who have taken bold steps to establish private schools, our leaders need to be reminded that the public schools in Okpokwu
    and other parts of the state need some enhancements since most of these private schools are out of the reach of the masses. This is just one of the ways our politicians can give back to the grassroots, who elected them and not by the continuous sharing of offering monies, salts, meats and wrappers as it is customary.

    The public schools system is looking for the era of change to spill some benefits on them through the wind of change that is now blowing. If the public school system can be given its deserved attention, by improving their infrastructure, improving the quality of teaching and learning, and improving the lots of teachers, the state of education would improve and the effect of 'change' would reach the grassroots level.

    Teachers occupy a pride of place in the scheme of things and should be given their due respect and entitlements instead of debasing and ridiculing them with insults and subjecting them to unnecessary hardship. Governments should be made to honour their salary obligations to teachers by making their monthly salaries a priority among competing items on the budgets. Our public schools and teachers deserve more from the Benue State government under the present political dispensation.

    Comr. Omaga Elachi Daniel,

    PRO, Benue Elite Development Network.


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  • Why CBN shouldn't give Dangote Forex

    14/Jan/2016 // 596 Viewers

    By Odilim Onwegbara

    Recently, the Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele announced that the apex bank would soon provide Dangote Refinery forex. No other justifications were given than that the CBN would be doing so in order to help fast-track the completion of that refinery. His argument is that the presence of Dangote Refinery when operational should reduce the importation of petroleum products into the country substantially.

    I strongly disagree that Emefiele has to become the one deciding which private company operating in the country should be entitled to forex. By mere fact that Mr Emefiele could be the one singling out which private company that should be entitled to forex, I think that knowingly or unknowingly the governor is stepping out of his monetary policymaking space to now be the one to decide on issues relating to promoting and regulating the activities of domestic and foreign investors.

    This selective policy if carried out would mean that whoever Mr Emefiele likes or has personal relationship with the governor too should be favoured with the country’s forex. In other words, those private business owners who are not Mr Emefiele’s friends shouldn’t expect forex from the CBN, being their punishment. As unbelievable as it would sound, the truth is that this is now kind of impression by the CBN governor has created in the minds, which is: the disbursement of the country’s forex is selectively conducted.

    Another message sent out there by the governor (and also as the immediate past managing director of Zenith Bank) is that those who need forex should either romance with Emefiele's CBN, romance with Zenith Bank, or befriend Mr Jim Ovia, the owner of Zenith Bank. We all know that there is no much difference between Mr Dangote's business interests and Mr Ovia's business interests. It is, therefore, possible that with Dangote getting forex from the CBN governor, doing banking with Ovia, means that most of his imports, including possible forex round-tripping through over-invoicing could take place at Zenith Bank.

    This is because there is no other plausible explanation why such an unelected governor of our apex bank now assumes the very role of the chief executive officer of Nigeria’s economy, a role reserved for the President of the Federal Republic Nigeria.

    Given this precedence, do we have to read the CBN Act of 2007 to the governor? I think one of the realities this throws up is the urgent need for strong executive and legislative oversight of the activities of these so-called technocrats whose personal interest promotion is no longer hidden. One thing is certain, should Emefiele think that he has the power to hand whoever he likes the country’s scarce forex, then, he should be told that this selective action is not only illegal but undoubtedly fraudulent.

    This way, the money goes round the clique, whose exploitation of our economy has no limits; thanks to the fact that their prepaid men and women in charge of our mass media always hide these fraudulent activities being perpetuated by these enemies of Nigeria. Also, thanks to our political and technocratic class who having populated our corridors of power are always determined to push these narrow interests of these barons no matter the high cost to our commonwealth.

    It is this kind of de facto power that now calls for the CBN’s urgent reform, starting with the repealing of so many sections of the CBN Act of 2007, which took away too many economic and political decisions on the country’s lifeblood, money, from the president and unpatriotically handed them to some unelected technocrats simply in the false name of guaranteeing independence to the apex bank.

    That past governments, since Obasanjo never renovated the country’s four refineries, let alone built new refineries shouldn’t be seen as an accident. This was a carefully orchestrated strategy by Obasanjo who was so determined to hand Dangote, his corporate godson, monopolistic control over the country’s petroleum downstream, the same way he successfully handed him cement manufacturing monopoly before leaving office.

    This explains the very midnight auctioning of the country's four refineries to Dangote by Obasanjo's. In other words, few hours to handing over to his successor Yar’Adua, Obasanjo without any form of transparent process, sold the four refineries to Dangote for such a token sum of $720mn. But, without any time wasted, Yar'Adua, in his sincere patriotism, reversed the questionable privatization of the country’s four refineries.

    But with President Yar'Adua’s sudden demise, Dangote reinvigorated his interest in having the refineries back at all costs. With this goal in mind, Mr Dangote this time around needed not have his moles in Jonathan administration. He along with Mr Femi Otedola—another Obasanjo's corporate godson—made sure he fully planted himself inside the Jonathan administration by being a leading member of that government’s so-called economic management team, which, in reality was their carefully constructed project used in controlling all major economic policy decisions of the government. And of course, that was what happened, with Okonjo-Iweala as the finance minister only there promoting Dangote and his group’s interests.

    So, fully in control of the government, Dangote made sure that no stone is left unturned in blocking the turnaround maintenance of the four refineries. Even proposals to build mega refineries and petrochemicals in the country by some foreign investors, particularly Chinese were blocked thanks to Dangote and his men and women being in full control of the country’s corridors of power. Little wonder by late November 2013, the Minister of Petroleum Ms Diezani Madueke, acting as Dangote’s crony, announced that the same four refineries once taken away from Dangote would once again be privatized. This was being proposed after billions of public naira was allegedly spent (since it was truly budgeted) by government in the “turnaround maintenance” of the four refineries.

    But without any waste of time, in my weekly Punch column titled “As the privatization hammer comes on the refineries” dated December 21, 2013, I alerted the unsuspecting Nigerians to watch out that soon Dangote should be handed the same refineries by Jonathan. My article did the wonder. Soon the presidential spokesman, Reuben Abati, came barking, announcing that there was never a time President Jonathan directed Ms Madueke to sell the refineries and that her announcement of the sale of refineries was being done without approval by the president. On the eve of Christmas 2013—exactly December 24, 2013—the alarm I raised unfortunately earned me a phone call threatening my life.

    Having unsuccessfully tried to have the country’s refineries sold to him, Mr Dangote decided to build his own Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical, which was announced to be costing him and some foreign partners about $9 billion. From this partnership we were made to understand that the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical would be ready sometime in 2017. What is surprising now is that the refinery which has so many foreigners partnering with Dangote is now in need of forex.

    The questions this raises are obvious. Why is the same Dangote refinery which has received billions of dollars from foreign partners, now demanding that the CBN provides the refinery forex? Does that mean that the forex brought into the country by his partners are no longer sufficient to complete the building of the refinery? If that is the case, why shouldn’t Dangote reduce his stake in the company so that more foreigners should take more stakes in the company? Or isn’t Dangote better off seeking foreign loans, especially given that export of some of his refinery’s products will earn him enough foreign exchange?

    If Dangote is not comfortable with these suggestions, my advice is let Dangote source his forex needs for his refinery from his cement factories scattered across Africa, after all, the over $1.5 billion spent in building these cement factories came directly from Nigeria. Or is Mr Dangote saying that the money he is now making from these African cement factories is not forex, which he can now invest in his Nigerian refinery?

    What continues to marvel most Nigerians is that all these years, all Mr Dangote has successfully achieved is always taking full advantage of our country’s economy, in most cases using his moles at all levels and all tiers of government. While making all these selfish demands on Nigeria, one wonders where are Dangote’s corporate social responsibilities, a kind of payback or thank you Nigerians. My personal questions to Dangote are: Where is Dangote University, Dangote Hospital or Dangote Scholarship Program in Northern Nigeria? Or hasn't he made enough money in this country to know it is time to give back to his people since charity begins at home?

    Has Dangote ever gone public to show his personal support to our military fighting Boko Haram all these years or to show his sympathy to families of the missing Chibok girls by giving them personal gifts as should be expected of a national and international business tycoon like Dangote? The richest Americans did their best in giving back to America including leaving social landmarks such as some of the world’s best universities like MIT, Stanford, and Rockefeller University; some of America’s hospitals and health centers; some of the world’s best libraries and research laboratories; some of the scholarships that have made rarely gifted children of the poor become America’s best scientists, engineers, politicians, and clergies. In his own case the world’s first ever recognized richest Nigerian, richest African, and richest black man, what is it that Mr Dangote could proudly point his hands that fellow Nigerians, Africans, and black race should proudly recognize him for?

    Rather than thinking how to give back, Mr Dangote is ever more gripped with demanding special forex from government after government in Nigeria.

     

     


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  • BUHARI: The lying overlord

    14/Mar/2016 // 748 Viewers

    By Iyoha John Darlington

    PARIS, MARCH 14, 2016: (DGW) - I have always made plain my aversion to lies and falsehood and I dislike it as it constitutes  a deliberate affront to my intelligence. As I navigate through life and encounter one who lies to me, which I honestly do not anticipate I would be morally bound to lose my bearing thereby making it impossible for me to calculate my true position. This, I dare say,  hurts my soul!

    Buhari's anti-corruption crusade is  equally war against lies in high places from which millions of our hard earned money was allegedly 'siphoned' from the national treasury. If the lies never existed no money would have exited the treasury. In a similar vein, in the run up to the 2015 general elections, one of the reasons  given by  the All Progressives Congress for the ongoing insurgency was  youth unemployment. When people are unemployed they become potentially vulnerable to manipulations and this was exactly what they fell prey to when they were recruited and took up arms against the country in the hope of actualizing a sovereign  Islamic state.
    Lying is tantamount to theft. When you tell me something which I take to be true and, as a result, I invest my time, or my money, or even my care, you have stolen these things from me because you obtained them under false pretence. That was how they shot themselves to power after false promises that they  only possess the magic wand to reconstruct the country - a country that  never stood  in dire need of their services after all!

    APC with Buhari as the flag-bearer, we have it on good authority, promised  a-N5000 monthly state stipend which was a welcome development considering the exchange rate at the time. I, too, in my ignorance applauded the initiative since that would put us on a par with the welfarist scheme here in the Old World where citizens enjoy unemployment benefits and the introduction of that package in my country of nativity would be a right step in the right direction, I opined.

    Buhari, some people have often said, is a man of integrity and transparent honesty which of course is none other than a terminological inexactitude. His party partisans and diehard apologists often deify him as a Homer that never nods. But today he leads a government that shot its way to power by deceit, monstrous and hydra-headed lies; I have never known anyone who wants to be so deceived. For you to have campaigned and promised a monthly stipend to the unemployed to get their support and later reneged on the promise is nothing but a massive fraud!

    The historic merger that gave birth to the ruling All Progressives Congress, I wrote in one of my pieces, was a massive fraud designed to bamboozle Nigerians by self-styled grandees who are bent on personal aggrandizement. The product of that merger is nothing short of a party founded on lies and deception - I had earlier written before now.
    A fraud is a lie where the damage to me is quantifiable in money. Even those lies which the law does not define as fraud tend to fit the same definition: a knowing false utterance which the mark is intended to rely on to its harm. The only differences are of degree, for example, when we cannot assess the loss in money.
    The basic tenet that lying is wrong seems to be universal to all cultures, probably because humans are social animals. To live together in a society we must tell the truth to each other. A society whose members are unable to distinguish truthful messages from deceptive ones would collapse.

    The duo of Buhari and Yemi Osibanjo are  like a flag who we desire  to know what they actually  stand for. They were 'elected' to solve the myriad of  problems plaguing Nigeria, treat Nigerians  asa people rather than chattel, and be responsive to opinions. Their  honesty remains the cornerstone of the structure, but sadly enough we have caught them lying to us at every turn hence   it is impossible to be confident that they are carrying out the mission to genuinely reconstruct and regenerate Nigeria.

    Only today it made news headlines across the world that President Buhari is ''overstating Boko Haram losses'' In this news report by Associated Press(AP) he was chastised by a report in this mainstream western media for misrepresenting facts to the world as they truly are. General David Rodriguez, the Commander of US African Command reportedly told the United States Senate Armed Services Committee in DC that Boko Haram ''does own some significant territory in northern Nigeria'' and this was confirmed by some Nigerian officials in the country's north.

    The question that agitates the mind of this writer is: What is the rationale behind these monstrous lies by a man who presides over the affairs over 170 million people? Buhari, I dare say has lost his credibility to lead for lying to the whole world about the true situation in the embattled region which may have offered to assist Nigeria.

    While many people like his party partisans have resigned to being lied to some  defend the premise that the  lie he often  tells is only  in the interest of Nigeria without taking  cognizance the disastrous consequences it could trigger off in the long run. Paradoxically, liars want the people around them to be truthful so that they do not lose their own way. 

    Buhari did say he did not promise any state stipend to the unemployed  that his campaign coordinators did in the run-up to the 2015 general elections  but a leader who is tasked with acting as a navigator for an entire country must seek to have people around him who will give him rigorously accurate information, so he does not crash the vessel on the rocks.

    Today, I am very sure many will agree with me that he has failed the ''Integrity Test'' by telling  LIES which his apologists will prefer to call  ''white lies''. We see tons of money that had been stashed away in Swiss bank vaults by late General Sanni Abacha  finding its way back to Nigeria but Buhari having served in the iniquitous regime of the late dictator as Petroleum Trust Fund chairman (PTF) did whitewash Abacha and defend him with all the emphasis at his command that he did not steal Nigeria's money but today he has taken delivery of Abacha looted funds from the Swiss government! 

    Into what dangers would a lying leader plunge the country if one may ask? Nigerians live in a country who are all living witnesses to the goings-on. Lying to one and all who as a matter of fact knows the truth shows you as the only one in the system. This drags one's name through the mud hence does it makes a sense for a sitting president   to collaborate with the members of his cabinet and often  lie to the public some of these lies which he exports abroad? Could he be trying to adopt the infamous ethic of the Nixon administration and of many other discredited regimes throughout history? Crisis situations tend to bring out this ethic which has not augured well in the end.
    The problem is that lies  fly in the face of human nature. Just as bodies in motion tend to remain in motion, liars who have succeeded in obtaining something important through a falsehood like the stolen mandate that shot the duo of Buhari and Osibanjo to power should be expected to utter another one when there is something else to obtain. Lies become habitual and the goals may be of decreasing importance.

    Prof Osibanjo Nigeria's vice-President turned traitor  by failing to exhibit true Christian virtues. The belief that lies can be contained within neat temporal, geographical or ethnic lines has been disproved by experience. He lied to a beleaguered nation writhing in the yoke and pains of frustration foisted on it by the of the ruling All Progressives' Congress that the immediate past administration under former President Jonathan did not construct any road in Nigeria whereas a serving  minister  in Buhari's cabinet in the person of  Mr. Babatunde Fashola, heaped an encomium of praise on Buhari's predecessor  as the only one with unbroken record not just in roads' rehabilitation but roads' construction in Nigeria.

    Could this be a white lie?  It is very hard to say what this is. Personally, I feel better saying nothing about  hydra-headed lie than praising it falsely. The duo of Buhari and Osibanjo have only resorted to telling lies to wriggle out of their social contract with the people of Nigeria.  I believe today that an accretion of such lies, however trivial, undermines the trust we feel for another human being in more significant matters.

    It is hard to say that any lie is wholly beneficial or otherwise completely without consequences. Nigerians want to be told the truth at all times so as to avoid  past mistakes which now tell on them helplessly and marvelously. A very common and trivial lie involves deceiving someone about which others possess certain information. The duo of Buhari and Osibanjo the lying taskmasters of the  Abuja regime must be reminded the dangers inherent in spreading downright falsehoods to the world  thereby further  putting the lives of over 170 million Nigerians in jeopardy.


    Iyoha John Darlington, a social activist, scholar, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any piece we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch


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  • I am Prof. Soludo, the new face of the pro-Biafran movement

    14/Mar/2017 // 14171 Viewers

     

    I am Prof. Chukwuma Soludo and I approve this message for every supporter or sympathizer of Biafra (like myself).

    We are all very familiar with the Igbo proverb that a goat that died in a barn was not killed by hunger. This proverb sadly encapsulates the reality facing Ndigbo in Nigeria today. Our barn is full of yams as we can boast of men and women that can deliver good governance. Our challenge (a puzzle) as a people is how to stop the goat from dying in the barn. The good news is that I know how water entered the stalk of the pumping and that is why I have raised my hand as the new face of pro-Biafran movement.

    My mission is simple: transform the rise of nationalism in Igbo states into an economic and political force. It is not the huge size of a man that makes him famous, but what he can do. An objective observer of political developments will agree with me that a complaint-based agenda has never worked anywhere in the world. That’s why I have volunteered myself to market a non-violent alternative to the actualization of a semi-sovereign State of Biafra through economic empowerment.

    But first, Onye Igbo who feels marginalized and all sympathizers of Biafra should see themselves not just as an abstraction, but as ethically engaged subjects. We should realize that without a political strategy, pretenders in our midst will hijack the message of the pro-Biafran Movement. To prevent that, we need to coalesce the different pro-Biafran movements into an organization capable of competing in elections and taking governance responsibilities. That is the first step in transforming revolutionary rhetoric to political pragmatism.

    I had earlier stated in a press conference that the continued detention of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu is unacceptable and an abuse of Mr. Kanu’s right to legitimate agitation. Beyond street protests, this agitation can only be actualized by transforming it into a political force. IPOB, MOSSOB and the rest should all remember that it is not by staring hard that one sees the road. Even Hitler converted a de facto discussion group to an actual political party.

    As I step up my involvement in putting pressure for the release of Nnamdi Kanu, the questions of holistic political strategy are always on my mind. Where are we going as a people and how are we going to get there? We should be smart enough to call into question the strategies so far adopted towards the actualization of sovereignty. Let us all remember that when a tortoise argues and stretches himself, his shell breaks. We should stop breaking our backs on protests alone. We need to change gear.

    We should stop encouraging our children to keep dying without a coordinated political game plan that will aim for political power in the southeast. I want to save the life of my Igbo brothers from the murderous-crude Nigerian security operatives. I am thus challenging the pro-Biafran movement to ask their followers to look at political power through the ballot box. The time to change the tame strategy is now.

    I challenge the pro-Biafran intellectuals to throw their heart and energy into the ring as a true test of our grassroots support. We should rally round a good candidate for the Anambra State governorship in 2017.  I urge every Anambra citizen and all the different pro-Biafran groups to use the enormous goodwill, to mobilize the voting public for such candidate.

    Obviously, it will be difficult to register a political party with Biafran identity. But there are dozens of registered political parties out there that we can use as a platform to actualize “sovereignty” without bloodshed. Winning the Anambra Government House will be a starting tsunami of a non-violent alternative to the actualization of semi-sovereign State of Biafra. After winning Anambra, we will, together, transform the economy of the state before marching to capture the rest of the Southeastern State in subsequent elections.

    To this end, I have started consultations with stakeholders on our best candidate for Anambra 2017. As the New Face of the Pro-Biafran movement, I will formally make the candidate public and the political platform after due consultations.

    As I stated in a press release, Nnamdi Kanu should be urgently released. I am also calling on all pro-Biafran intellectuals, both home and abroad, to suspend all actions and activities that have ended up causing more deaths of our young men. Like grasshoppers, we should stop running into the midst of fowls in order not to end up in the land of the spirits. What we need now is forward thinking ideas that will transform our sentiment to freedom. That freedom starts with economic transformation of southeastern states.

    Ndigbo should assume greater responsibility for our own economic development by setting clear and attainable goals and designing policies and programs to achieve them. Like the Obi of Onitsha Igwe Achebe stated, we (Ndigbo) need good leaders to achieve a development plan. A na ekwu ekwu, a na-eme eme (talk the talk, walk the walk). My solemn pledge is to kick-start the 50-year development plan of the entire southeast region with my state, Anambra.

    Achieving the goal of building the most sustainable economy in the West African region is a possible endeavor for Ndigbo within the present Nigerian system. For that to happen, we have to stop sobbing and start taking meaningful steps towards emancipating ourselves. Let us build a diffuse economy consisting primarily of small businesses and anchored by a strong manufacturing base. All we need is an efficient way for small companies to receive incentives for creating high paying jobs in the entire region.

    Let me end this message by urging my people to stop attempting to lick our elbows. The grasshopper caught by a hornbill is either hard of hearing or too self-absorbed to heed its surroundings. We have been beaten by the rain, but not completely soaked, so, the time to start running is now. Capturing the Anambra State Government house should be the first prize towards emancipation of Ndigbo. Impossible is nothing!

    If a woman is sweet-voiced, her husband does not refuse her food.

    (This is the message Prof. Soludo should be spreading as the New Face of pro-Biafran movement. He has a pleasant voice and I am sure his Biafran-Nigerian brothers will listen to him.)

    *By Churchhill Okonkwo

    You can email Churchill at churchill.okonkwo@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi.


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