• Russia's air war in Syria a game-changer for US: experts

    15/Oct/2015 // 748 Viewers

     AFP/File / by Thomas Watkins | A rebel fighter stands in a building overlooking the damage from fighting in the city of Aleppo on December 16, 2013



    Two weeks into Russia's air war in Syria, some observers say the narrow scope of the US-led mission in Syria -- to conduct drone and plane strikes against Islamic State jihadists -- needs an urgent rethink.

    The Pentagon insists Moscow's bombing campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad will not alter the US-coalition's own military mission in the devastated nation.

    But the stubborn fact remains: Russia's presence has forced the US military to adapt to a suddenly much more complex battle space.

    Patrick Skinner, director of special projects for The Soufan Group intelligence consultancy, said it is a game-changer.

    "Things are coming into focus and people are choosing sides in a way that they haven't had to before," he said.

    President Barack Obama has until now adopted a cautious line on Syria, bombing IS jihadists and calling for Assad's departure but taking no official part in the country's four-and-a-half-year civil war.

    "We've been in a 'doing-just-enough-not-to-lose' effort," said Skinner. "(Russia) is going to snap us out of that yearlong slumber where we thought the biggest issue in Syria was ISIS, where no one else thinks that."

    While Moscow says its campaign targets IS, Washington and its allies accuse it of targeting moderate Western-backed rebels with the aim of propping up Assad, a longtime Russian ally.

    "This is a civil war -- pro-Assad or anti-Assad; there's not much room for an anti-ISIS focus," Skinner added, using an alternate acronym for IS.

    Obama is deeply wary of being drawn into another Middle Eastern quagmire after Iraq, where a US-led coalition toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003 only to see the country explode in sectarian violence.

    But now calls are mounting at home for Washington to get its hands dirty, as the death toll from the Syrian war reaches 250,000 and millions of refugees flood onto the roads.

    - CIA-backed rebels -

    Republican Senator John McCain, a longtime critic of Obama's handling of Syria, called this week for America to scale up its involvement, establishing safe zones for Syrians and moderate Assad opponents -- and even envisaged sending in troops.

    "These enclaves must be protected with greater American and coalition air power and likely foreign troops on the ground," McCain wrote in an opinion piece this week. "We should not rule out that US forces could play a limited role in this ground contingent."

    White House hopeful Hillary Clinton echoed his call for a no-fly zone during the first Democratic presidential debate this week.

    Part of the reason for Washington's reluctance in Syria, argues Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is that it has no credible alternative to Assad -- or IS -- to champion.

    "The trouble is that America doesn't have a partner," he said.

    So far the Obama administration has shown no sign of an official change in policy, with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter reiterating his stay-the-course approach on Wednesday.

    "We will continue to prosecute the counter-ISIL campaign with the same determination and in the same battle space as we have since it started in Syria," he said.

    But on the ground, the operational situation is looking ever more challenging.

    Obama has insisted he would not let Syria become a "proxy war" with Russia, but some observers suggest it may already be too late.

    That is because of the second -- unofficial -- arm in Obama's Syria strategy: the training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels to fight regime forces.

    In what Skinner described as America's "most well-known covert action program," the Central Intelligence Agency has been arming and training thousands of anti-Assad fighters.

    The rebels have used TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) missiles, first produced by the United States in the 1970s, to great effect against Assad's Russian-made tanks.

    Provided by the CIA and Saudi Arabia, rebels have been hailing the missiles as a game-changer akin to the anti-aircraft Stinger missiles used by the mujaheddin against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    - 'Proxy war' -

    The United States has not officially acknowledged helping these rebels, and it is unclear what -- if any -- military support it will provide now Russia is involved.

    But the notion of US-built rockets destroying Russian-built tanks prompted observers to suggest America may have sleepwalked into a proxy war with Russia.

    "It's a proxy war by happenstance," Jeff White of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy told the Washington Post.

    "The rebels happen to have a lot of TOWs in their inventory. The regime happened to attack them with Russian support."

    In addition to covert ops, the Pentagon is openly equipping anti-IS Syrian rebels near Raqqa -- creating some risk of Russian bombers killing US-backed rebels, although officials say the area has seen scant attention from Moscow.

    Most critically, though, coalition and Russian pilots are now operating in the same space -- and not necessarily with the same objectives.

    At least once, coalition pilots scrapped a bombing run because of Russian air activity. And last week, Moscow fired cruise missiles into Syria from the Caspian Sea.

    Russia and the United States said Wednesday that they were close to agreeing a deal to avoid clashes between their warplanes over Syria.

    "It didn't make us excited they were firing cruise missiles in air space we were operating in," said one defense official, on condition of anonymity.

    by Thomas Watkins

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  • Buhari's Promise: Are Nigeria's Army Chiefs Not Meant To Be In Maiduguri?

    16/Feb/2016 // 234 Viewers


    Correct me if I misunderstood, President Muhammadu Buhari clearly and categorically promised us that he was moving the Army central command to the northeast as the necessary action and impetus to quickly and reliably bring the Boko Haram menace to an end..
    On best advice and after wise counsel, Muhammadu Buhari realized as indicated by his promise and the touting of it during his independence speech and later on across the world, that having the heads of service resident in Maiduguri and Adamawa was strategically and technically invaluable in restoring safety and security, the constitutional rights of the citizens.
    However since making that promise, apart from routine photo-ops doing push-ups with the troops and breaking bread every now and then, Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has been anywhere but relocated-to-Maiduguri.
    To make matters worse, it was now, for the first time in years that Maiduguri was attacked successfully, twice by Boko Haram. Once at Christmas last year and the recent Dalori massacre of as many as 300 innocent men, women and children. After the December Boko haram deadly attack on Maiduguri, the people protested that the city still remained vulnerable to attacks.
    After the Dalori attack, when Nigerians showed their frustration at the government's appearing insensitivity and indifference towards the victims of the rampaged town, a government delegation went to visit and Secretary of the Government, David Babachir accused the people of "lack of vigilance," being responsible for their tragedy.
    However, is the protracted success of Boko Haram against Borno and Maiduguri not because Buhari broke his promise of stationing Buratai and co there to put a final lid on the menace? We the people recognized the military wisdom in stationing the chiefs there. While they refuse to stay there, we have rather noticed them getting involved in a lot of politics, local and international sectarian and other controversies, including massively deadly actions and events currently under global investigation, in the stead of the police.
    The Kaduna massacre which 'coincidentally' happened to take place just two weeks after Boko Haram attempted to disband the processions of the same group in Kaduna, with a deadly bombing of the same victims, on procession in the same Kaduna , has put the army chief without doubt in a mangled web of controversy and global sectarian hooey. The national natural consequences of breaking promises cannot be better elucidated.
    Can President Buhari please tell Buratai to go to Maiduguri and end the insurgency?
    Dr. Peregrino Brimah
    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the author's and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch

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  • Aishat’s friend rejects Buhari’s appointment

    16/Feb/2016 // 135 Viewers


    An activist and politician, Najatu Muhammad, has rejected her appointment as the chairperson of the Governing Council of the Federal University, Dutse.
    Muhammad, who is also a friend of President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aishat, announced her rejection through a quarter page advert published in one of the national dailies on Monday.
    She said her decision to make the rejection public was because she was not consulted and got to know about the appointment through a newspaper publication.
    She said, “I, Najatu Muhammad, wish to thank you so much for considering me worthy of being appointed the chairperson of Dutse Federal University. It’s however unfortunate that I was not consulted before the announcement in the media. I also regret that I have to use the same medium to announce that I can’t accept the appointment for some personal reasons.
    “I will, however, remain an ardent supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari in his effort in charting a new course for this country. A course that we pray will put this country back on the path of progress. I will also continue to support the President’s fight against corruption and other ills in this country, my unflinching support for the President remains for Allah’s sake and the country.”
    Muhammad is the first person to reject an appointment in the current administration. - PUNCH

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  • Regenerating Edo State Under Earl Osaro Onaiwu

    16/Feb/2016 // 1020 Viewers

    By Iyoha John Darlington
    PARIS, FEBRUARY 16, 2016: (DGW) - Extensive research, analysis and an in-depth study of Greco-Roman history have shown that civilizations could die without maintenance and be consigned to the dustbin of history. Wars, diseases and flagrant abuse of political power have in no uncertain terms exterminated great civilizations and empires particularly, in the Mediterranean region. On what do we further blame these destructions? It is none other than lack of foresight, solecism, and abuse of political power.

    We have had exciting archeological discoveries extracted from civilizations that have died. The Great Benin Kingdom is one great civilization that came to prominence in the 13th and 15th centuries hitherto ruled over by semi-mythical kings, the Ogisos. This also was one great kingdom in the tide of times that metamorphosed into an empire via conquest and expansion and over time became one of the most developed city-sates in the coastal hinterlands of West Africa. This conquest and expansion extended to the Niger Delta in the east and Eko (War Camp) in the west, the present day Lagos.

    A first time visitor to Benin often sees and stands in awe of the great historical monuments and relics lining the centuries-old streets. Had these architectural gems, for instance, like the aqueducts and cobblestone roads of the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian civilizations, not been kept, maintained and sustained by our successive monarchs, they would have in fact long sunk or faded into oblivion like edifices of archeological memory.

    There also existed outposts of the Benin Kingdom covering the vast Esan plateau administered by Dukes, (Enogies) in the north central parts of what is today known as Esan land and farther north peopled by subjects under the Oba. In its capacity as the administrative headquarters of Nigeria's oldest state, we boasted of good service infrastructures ranging from good roads, water supply, hospitals, schools and colleges which made our state the most educationally advantaged state in the federation of Nigeria. 

    These were indeed interesting times under the leaderships of Dr. Osaigbobvo Ogbemudia as a military governor and Prof. Ambrose Alli as the first executive governor that ruled the state under the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria. The service infrastructures put in place by these rare gems served the people and enhanced our living conditions in no small measure at the period under review.

    Today our living conditions is better imagined than real as we have in fact become poorer thus forcing our children to drop out of schools and head for the unknown. A good number of them have died while crossing the fiery Sahara desert to the coast of north Africa from where they embark on dangerous sea journeys on rickety boats to Europe. Many have died in this adventure resulting from the inability of these substandard boats to withstand the strong ocean currents. We had thought the advent of Governor Oshomhole as a former labour union activist would turn the state's fortunes around, stop this ignoble trend and reposition our state in the path of socio-political development and economic prosperity having fought and stood toe-to-toe with successive Nigerian governments to promote workers' welfare. This was what gave him our votes and key to the Government House on Denis Osadebey Avenue in Benin City.

    One of the most important functions of a state is to ensure the development and maintenance of a modern, efficient infrastructural base which ex-governors Ogbemudia and Alli did. These facilitated trade and movement. We enjoyed these social amenities at no cost, water flowed from our taps, health-care delivery was superb, education was made available and affordable to one and all. With the exit of these iconic figures in Nigerian letters from power, our service infrastructures began to suffer a steady decay to this day.

    However, it must be borne in mind that if Edo State is to bounce back serious planning and implementation have to be done in all enabling sectors such as education, energy, transport to mention but a few with comprehensive hard surface and gravel road network linking all civil divisions in the state.
    Governors Ogbemudia and Alli successors inherited some of the best infrastructures in Nigeria but Governor Oshomhole has spent eight years supporting and maintaining institutions and structures of repression in Abuja and as well as funding political vengeance, electoral fraud, corruption, meaningless and merry go round trips with the Daura-born overlord while Edo State service infrastructures undergo incremental depreciation and decline of Greco-Roman proportions.

    What we urgently stand in need of at this juncture is a lasting solution to these myriads of problems to regenerate our great state. We need a capable hand to pilot the affairs of our great state, a man who is capable of combing organizational sagacity with realism, a man with impressive pedigrees who could never be swayed by normative ethnic maneuvers.

    As you read this piece, there is most probably no running water in your taps or for the past 5 hours you have experienced power outages. If you are a motorist or a commuter who takes a ride on a public bus to work you may have probably been caught in an agonizing gridlock today resulting from washouts, potholes that could force an expectant mother into involuntary abortion. This is very disheartening if you ask me!


                                                             Earl Osaro Onaiwu

    We have spent too much time brooding over the mistakes of the past while we make no time to correct these mistakes and secure tomorrow for ourselves and posterity, this means bracing ourselves for even darker times ahead. It is mind-boggling how the APC-led state government has failed to make any meaningful inroads into the provision of service infrastructures to regenerate Edo State. Eight calendar years have come and gone by; this is a whole lot of time if you need reminding!

    The crisis we face today in our state is none other than a culmination of decades of poor planning, mismanagement and insufficient investment in capital projects or infrastructures by a government in the past eight years which prioritises the enrichment of apologists and sycophants to the detriment of our well-being and instead bankrolls its Abuja masters' meaningless jamborees around the globe. 

    Ay, we need a solution doubtless but under an APC-led government this solution which is much sought after is an elusive dream, I wish you could cast sentiments and party affiliations aside and come to terms with realities. Edo State economy is stagnant and has consequently gone to comatose. We lack capital projects that will attract investors to the state.

    We are in a federation and Edo State under a competent leader can grow at its own pace by supplementing federal allocation to the state with internally generated revenue to provide service infrastructure for its people. Edo State has the potentials to lead Nigeria with a visionary leader at Denis Osadebey Avenue. Russia today is critical to Europe's development for its functional six thousand kilometer gas pipelines that deliver energy to homes in Rome and Paris. There is no restating the obvious that our state is in dire need of infrastructural renewal.

    Some communities today in Edo State are not accessible by car and the rural dwellers have to navigate some very long distances on foot. What has this government done in its eight years to open up its remotest outposts? Edo State debt profile mounts marvelously with every passing day, where have all the federal subventions and allocations been spent which would have been utilized for the provision of infrastructure statewide for sustainable development?

    It is important to note here that the first four years of Oshomhole's rule were wasted on Maoist one-party ideology that focuses on power retention which he achieved in 2012 by the instrumentality of incumbency rather than democratic participatory power geared towards dedicated service to the people. Edo State under Oshomhole has as a matter of fact never made adequate provisions for infrastructure development. Far from doing this, it concentrated on maintaining expensive bureaucracy, reckless expenditure and political patronage.

    There is no denying the fact that agricultural infrastructure is critical to our economic development and a clue to the unemployment problem in the state but the lack of agricultural finance has contributed to the decimation of agro-based infrastructure. 

    Edo State needs a vibrant saving culture, intelligent public revenue collection, retention and international finance partnership but our state is saddled with massive state debt burden with nothing on the ground to show for it. This state debt overhang has marvelously become an albatross on our state's development trajectory seeing that we owe too much to be able to re-ignite our service infrastructures destroyed by greed and prodigal years of APC misrule.

    Click on this link to listen to the press interview with IYOHA JOHN DARLINGTON talking about OSARO ONAIWU on Radio France in Paris.

    I will sum up here by saying Edo State development goal has been a victim of inferior infrastructure. A PDP-controlled Edo State government under Osaro Onaiwu will prioritize restoring, revitalizing, developing and modernizing of the state's infrastructure base as one of the most urgent tasks of reconstruction.

    In each infrastructural subsector, Osaro Onaiwu-led Edo State government I say yet again will seek to attract investments and also put state resources so as to have a modern infrastructure base, adequately maintained and efficiently run to meet our various needs.

    Iyoha John Darlington, a 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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  • Edo State: Shocking and verifiable facts

    16/Feb/2016 // 187 Viewers

    By Ogbeide Ifaluyi-Isibor

    Edo states currently has over N250 billion in Local debt and $168million in Foreign
    debt (Source; Debt Management Office) with
    1)No Functional Hospital built in 8 years and existing hospitals weren't upgraded.
    2) No Functional Tertiary institution built in 8 years and existing ones not improved.
    3) No state owned industry built in 8 years.He claimed he didn't promise to build any.
    4) No Teacher employed in 8years.Those employed in 2012 were sacked a week after.
    5)Pensioners being owed for up to 9 months.
    6)No Market built.
    7) 85% Youth Unemployment.Highest in Southern Nigeria.
    8) 0% investment in Sports.
    9) No Loans or Grants Given to Farmers.
    10) No Bursary for Students in Tertiary institutions.
    11) No Mass Housing Project.
    12) No bridges built.
    13)80% of Schools without furniture.
    Internally Generated Revenues and Monthly Allocation from the FG amounts to
    N1.3trillion for the past 8 years.
    What has Oshiomhole done with N1.5 trillion total so far received on behalf of the
    Edo people?


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

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  • Is Anenih paying the price for loyalty?

    16/Jan/2016 // 358 Viewers


    By Kayode Ojo

    Presidents, the world over, are known to rely on the services and friendship of dependable allies, party members and even family members outside the defined and regular cabinet appointees throughout their tenure.   It does not matter whether that president is Barrack Obama or Vladimir Putin, or even any of the African presidents.   As a matter of fact, it was reported most recently in the media that an inner ring of President Muhammadu Buhari’s circle of friends has started digging in and influencing all the appointments made so far by him. Like it or not, that is how the presidency works, especially in a democracy. And that was how the presidency of Goodluck Jonathan operated until he was voted out of power in 2015.

    And discussing the Jonathan Presidency, one of the few people who stuck close to him come rain and shine was Chief Tony Anenih. Of course, it is trite to say that Anenih’s name is one that rings bell in Nigerian politics. As a former minister of works in the Obasanjo presidency and, later, Chairman of Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Anenih had come to symbolise the tenacity of the PDP and its unequal ability to rejig and bounce back from one crisis after another to a stronger party until its final defeat last year.

    It is all too clear for any casual observer to see that the defeat of Jonathan could have come much earlier than the 2015 general elections but for people like Anenih.   The succession politics from the late President Umaru Yar’ Adua to Jonathan, more than anything, defined the character of the Jonathan presidency and later its defeat in 2015 and this would be in spite of rather than because of people like Anenih. Make no mistakes about it, Anenih was perhaps the most loyal and dependable ally of former President Jonathan.

    This was probably why he was entrusted with assignments that involved fund disbursements to political allies.   Besides, he never ceased to put his national political network and reputation to stabilise the Jonathan presidency by winning more friends, supporters and loyalists to Jonathan. Not only did he commit his time, he spent his own money to carry out assignments for the President even when those have been rightly mobilised for the action simply pocketed the money.

    It is perhaps too easy to assume that Anenih was ferociously supporting Jonathan for his own selfish, political and any other pecuniary interests. Yet the truth remains that Anenih felt a moral burden to help the president succeed. First, as a statesman and party leader, it behoved Anenih to help steady the hands of Jonathan with the right advice in the interest of the Nigerian nation. Second as the politician with perhaps the highest profile from the South-south region, and with a President from the same region for the first time in the country’s history, Anenih could not have done other than provide the strongest support for Jonathan. Even when Jonathan lost the 2015 presidential election, Anenih volunteered to resign from his BoT position to allow the former president to assume it and find a strong platform to engage in national politics.

    Although it is easier for the Nigerian politician lacking in principles to always run to where it is cooking as many PDP leaders of yesterday are doing now by defecting to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Anenih can look back with satisfaction and dignity at his contributions, loyalty, support and service to the Nigerian state through the Jonathan Presidency. As an elder statesman, he has nothing to be ashamed of because there is no record that he abused his rare privilege as a confidant and ally of the former president.

    When Jonathan needed fearless Nigerians to speak the truth to his party members in 2010 that the zoning principle in the PDP could not override the Constitution of the country, Anenih found his voice and used his experience and vast political network to pass that message. And when it became clear that the president was wrongly handling the issue of the break-away “New –PDP” group, Anenih did not mince words in telling Jonathan the truth that he needed to listen to the aggrieved group and mend fences with them.   Of course,

    this drew the anger of the many sycophantic and tragic “advisers” making their living by singing to the ears of the former president, the lyrics he wanted to hear.   They did not wait to pour out all manner of invectives on their party’s BoT chairman. Strangely, many of those who goaded Jonathan on to the wrong path then have now jumped out of the apparently “sinking” PDP ship into the now “thriving” APC fold.   More will still jump out.

    In a country where the president is so powerful to make and unmake, whether in terms of power politics, business and policies, anyone who has the ears of the president easily lends himself/herself to both creeping and outright envy. If Anenih thought that everybody was cool with his chummy relationship with the former president, then the events of the past few days must have cleared any doubt in his mind.   His name has been circulating in the media as one of the recipients of the alleged Dasuki $2.1 billion arms budget scam.

    In fact, the EFCC said it confirmed payment of N260 million from the Office of the former National Security Adviser into his account.   In spite of the fact that Anenih quickly wrote to the EFCC clarifying how he was merely running errands for the former president, he is being wrongfully clobbered daily in the media as part of the people who stole from the Federal Government. In Anenih’s letter to the EFCC, he detailed how the former president instructed him on trust to deliver specified amount of money to some known politicians,

    including Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Chief Olu Falae and Senator Rashidi Ladoja- for some political ends.   And it is on record that none of the people Anenih mentioned refuted his story.   Indeed they have all acknowledged that they received the said money from Anenih.   Now the question is, if the NSA was directed by President Jonathan to pay some money to Anenih for specified presidential assignments that he had carried out, how on earth was Anenih to know if the money was drawn from the arms budget meant for fighting Boko Haram or from any other source for that matter?

    The fact that Anenih willingly furnished the EFCC, upon its request, with the truth clearly shows his honest intentions. I do not know anybody, including those now trying Anenih in the media and attempting to drag his name and reputation to the mud, who will be summoned by President Buhari and given a sensitive assignment on trust, who will turn the President down or ask the president how he would fund it or where the money to fund the assignment would come from.

    Perhaps Tony Anenih has overstayed in Nigerian politics and some agents have taken it upon themselves to retire him willy-nilly. Maybe some people in his home-state are getting apprehensive of his never-waning influence in Edo politics, especially as a governorship election nears and are willing to throw everything to discredit him. Maybe Anenih is simply paying the price of being too loyal to a president who was too weak as to be defeated by small decisions of governance he could not take!

    Kayode Ojo writes from Lagos, Nigeria


    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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  • President Buhari and Education

    16/Mar/2016 // 231 Viewers

     By Akingbade Daniel Oludehinwa

    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" -Mandela.
    If this words by Mandela are right and correct, then Nigerian were wrong to unanimously voted in ''Change'' without ''Education''. 
    Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo state said in one of his interactive programs last year 2016, he said, "If you vote or support Buhari as President you are a disgrace to your family, a man that can't not produce his WAEC result, and you are a Degree Student".

    Although we believed he was talking from his emotional hatred for PMB and APC, and on the contrary, GEJ and PDP are well educated "Ph.D" and the country was under tension, but the economic was still moving  well, so let try the one education.
    GEJ and PDP promised us "Transformation", PMB and APC promised us "Change". We voted for change because we perceived and wanted Change. Indeed, we are having the change now, corruption reducing, looted funds coming back, experienced personality in his cabinet, insecurity tension reduced, but currently bad economy.
    What should we say is going wrong with President M. Buhari? Lack of education but now he is now a Ph D  (which  Nigerians say is Illegal "ILLEGAL DEGREE" on the basis that a State University honoured him with it) or lack of proper planning (He has been contesting for years, so he should have a clear vision and mission)? Or we should give him time because he is just some months in office? But he promised as if he will solve our problems within 50 days when he emerged

    -Oludehinwa Daniel Akingbade (DAKIZ)
    Writes from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko.

    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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  • Umar, Agwaza and CCT

    16/May/2016 // 319 Viewers

    By Olu Onemola

    On the 24th of June 2011, when erstwhile President, Goodluck Jonathan, appointed Barrister Atedze Agwaza to serve as a member of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) - Nigeria’s pioneer anti-corruption tribunal - there was applause in many quarters, as Barrister Agwaza, in his previous engagements as a solicitor, had distinguished himself as a man of integrity.

    This is why it came as no surprise to many, when in 2014, following allegations of a N10 million bribery scandal against the Chairman of the CCT, Dan Ladi Umar, Agwaza, and his other counterpart on the tribunal at the time, retired Justice Robert Odu, wrote a strongly-worded memo to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF), stating that the reputation of the tribunal was being called into question by Umar’s alleged unscrupulous dealings.

    Agwaza and Odu, in their joint letter, mentioned that the allegation of Dan Ladi Umar receiving N10 million to quash the case against a defendant, had been widely reported in the media, and embarrassing comments from legal practitioners over the shocking development, was tainting both their (Agwaza’s and Odu’s) reputations - as they had been adjudged guilty by affiliation by the court of public opinion.
    In 2015, following what has been described in many quarters as “politically-motivated inaction” by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the case involving Dan Ladi Umar, the CCT under Umar indicted the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on charges relating to his assets declaration forms from 2003. When the case commenced, Agwaza and Umar were the only two people left on the tribunal, however, for much of the beginning of the case, observers noticed that it was Dan Ladi Umar who was running the show - without consulting Agwaza on any of the rulings.

    However, as the case began to take illogical turns by setting precedents that made legal observers like Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) and Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) to call to question the motivations behind the case, Agwaza began to speak more frequently during the tribunal hearings.

    Be that as it may, although the relationship between Dan Ladi Umar, the EFCC and Saraki have been well-documented in the media in recent times, with analysts highlighting the fact that the EFCC forced Umar to institute the case against the Senate President, after the Senate began to investigate the EFCC for diverting recovered funds, it has become time to ask ourselves what the motivating force behind Agwaza is - as he has not only been a party to the legal inconsistencies that have been set in the case, as a member of the tribunal, as his joint-letter in 2011 implied, he too is also guilty by affiliation.

    For example, in 2007, the CCT dismissed charges against the former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, stating the non-adherence to Section 3, paragraph D of its establishing act, that states that all individuals must be first given an opportunity to either confirm or deny allegations bordering on their assets declaration by the Code of Conduct Bureau, before any trial could be instituted by the CCT. In 2011, this same legal precedent set the grounds for the dismissal of the case against former governor of Lagos State, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

    Nevertheless, in a clear-cut case of self-indictment, the CCT overturned its own legal precedents by stating that the precedent clause that was used to let Atiku and Tinubu off the hook were simply made in error. Agwaza, sat on the bench on the day that Dan Ladi Umar read out that ruling. Although, some say he looked visibly displeased at the verdict, by remaining silent, he too is equally culpable in the conspiracies that have played out thus far.

    At this point, it is important that Nigerians who wish to see that justice is served in the case involving the Senate President, do not only focus on Dan Ladi Umar as the instigator and initiator of all the legal discrepancies that have been exhibited. We must also turn to Agwaza, who earlier in his tenure, seemed to care about the reputation of the CCT, but has remained silent in recent times as the law has been turned upside down in the case involving the Senate President.

    As the case continues, it is important that Agwaza is reminded that by virtue of his seat on the tribunal, association is perception, and perception is ultimately reality. In this regard, the reality is that he is equally as compromised as Dan Ladi Umar. Hence, it is safe to say that the CCT, has finally and completely lost its way.

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  • The Biafran monologues, By Emeka Odikpo

    16/Nov/2015 // 219 Viewers

    THE emergence of a new media without rules and boundaries is now an intrinsic part of this decade. Old media practitioners that failed to get tech savvy and adjust to existing realities are getting swept from the new marketplace of ideas. Whilst bloggers, whose only claim to journalism fame is their knowledge of “cut and paste” are emerging as billionaires, on the other hand, print houses are closing down in droves. Practically all our previously buoyant weekly news magazines are down and out.

    The new kids on the block are the solo twitter and facebook warriors. Their weapons are usually a hardnosed ability to engage in repetitive monologue, coupled with all out trolling against their perceived adversaries.

    The last elections announced the arrival of the social media as the political propaganda weapon of choice. All manner of messages was thrown at the opposing party and well a whole lot of times tribe. All types of crude languages were deployed against every notable tribe in Nigeria. The hate warriors, who ordinarily would have been censored by the traditional media made huge and noisy intrusion into National Discourse. In the process, strange alliances were formed across the social media platforms. The moderates allowed the fanatics to hijack their moderate views and amplify it out of all context, after all it all served to justify the correctness of their political beliefs.

    The recent upsurge in Pro-Biafran protests is partly derived from the deluge of political and hate messages that seized Nigeria for almost a year. The fanatics continued with their hate campaign long after the election has been won and lost. The moderates retreated back to their day jobs and left the supposed loonies to continue with a battle that has been won and lost, at least until the next general elections arrives. Now all of a sudden, these fanatics appear to have seized the marketplace of ideas. They repeat their worn messages in various shapes and shades ad infinitum. To make matters worse, they still believe that the moderates are still on the same page with them on their new wars. Their old adversaries, who are also the extremists on the other side of the political divide continue to engage them in internet curse fest. The end result is a hardening of positions amongst these young and feisty characters.

    Biafra as a country was never meant to be romanticised. It was a historical and highly unfortunate necessity that arose directly from a split in the Nigerian Army. Once the army turned their guns on their own men and started killing themselves and innocent Nigerians based only on tribe, the very fabric, of the union was lost. The coercive element of the State cannot be a weapon for genocide and the tribe receiving the cleansing expected not to fight back. The horrible split of the army in 1966 is something that all right-thinking men must pray never repeats itself in Nigeria.

    The present day IPOB and MASSOB members are mostly young men in their twenties who fantasise about an idyllic country. Their position is premised on a fantasy that once their dream country is delivered, all their economic problems will immediately disappear and the land of milk and honey will be achieved. This has nothing to do with hard-nosed economic theories. The fact is that the Igbos are an enterprising and business savvy people.  We are a people that actually need an Africa without all the artificial boundaries cruelly erected by the Europeans. The self-same Europeans have since ensured that they have a Europe with little or no borders. Whilst you will have difficulty transporting a carton of goods across Seme Border, you can virtually engage in any trade, or practice any profession across the entire European Union. What we actually need in Africa is not further balkanization of existing countries, but a serious-minded implementation of Pan-African economic policies. That slant of policy will give all of us a much bigger market to operate freely within. That is the type of market the Igbo man needs and not this tunnel vision being propagated by our new found facebook warriors in their Biafran monologues.

    As a people, we do tend to exaggerate the effect of government in our lives. Yes, the Government can construct roads and create a better enabling environment for private enterprise, but the human spirit still outweighs governmental impact in the development of communities. That is why some towns in the South East have multi-millionaires in every kindred because the people have the knowhow and the unrelenting positive attitude that pertains to economic enterprise. These big investors and even the smaller investors are wheels through which most of our people realise their economic potentials and earn valuable income to better their lives. Our focus must be on how to create a better and larger environment for these investors and consequently the larger society to thrive and definitely not on how to shut them down in a tiny country.

    As the Biafran Monologues on the social media continues, our new government will do well to unconditionally release Daniel Kanu, whose detention has proved to be ill-advised. His so-called Radio Biafra is totally inconsequential in the marketplace of ideas, he only used it as an example of his defiance. If the government had ignored it and him long enough, romanticists would have moved on to other issues. Also, moderate Igbo intelligentsia must step into this marketplace of ideas and proffer their own side of the argument on why we need a larger country. If those of us who are Igbos and genuinely believe that our people don’t need a tiny country that restricts our abilities elect to keep our brains and mouth shut, whilst the aggressive anarchists continue to have a field day on the social media, we might as well be on the road to Boko Haram. This was exactly how the Northern elite kept mute and dissembled whilst the Boko Haram ideology festered.


    Emeka Odikpo is a Lagos-based legal practitioner.



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  • Edo State: In Quest Of A Free & Fair Party Gubernatorial Primaries, By Iyoha John Darlington

    16/Oct/2015 // 2499 Viewers

    Over half of Nigeria's qualified voters, you will agree with me, are disenfranchised and  live under autocratic or partly free governments and  in consequence of this are denied full liberties and subsequently unable to participate in Nigeria's political life. Nigeria can not be said to be truly democratic until its citizenry are given the opportunity to freely choose their representatives through party  primaries and  elections that are free and fair.

    Often times the sovereign wishes of Nigerians have  either been hijacked, annulled or ultimately bastardized by moneybags, grandees calling to mind the gross irregularities that took place in the run-up to the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
    Critical development efforts cannot succeed without a legitimate and democratically elected government that is responsive and accountable to its citizens. Elections provide an important opportunity to advance democratization and encourage political liberalization.
                                                                      2015 Campaign funds: Dire need to revisist source of Buhari's campaign fund
                                                                 Iyoha John Darlington
    As Edo State warms up for its gubernatorial primaries, this writer calls for none other than a free, fair level playing ground to foster political openings that would expand and enhance political participation. There is no denying the fact that our great state is in dire need of regeneration to reposition it in the path of development and economic prosperity. The three major political parties namely the All Progressives Congress (APC), Labour Party (LP)  and the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) under whose platforms aspirants would be  vying for Edo State's plum job must take the following factors into active consideration if they are to be taken seriously and given the mandate  to lead our great state in the coming years.
    A  platform that supports political competition, consensus building efforts and provide effective, cohesive and dynamic leadership is deemed absolutely necessary that will put  into effective use certain key elements that are essential to fair elections and political processes. It must be borne in mind however that free and fair primaries play a critical role in political transitions by advancing democratization and encouraging political liberalization. This doubtless helps to promote peaceful,  democratic political transformation that leads to increased stability and prosperity.
    Ahead of the forthcoming primaries let us take a cursory glance at the structures on the ground:
     For starters, are there informed and active aspirants; are there impartial electoral frameworks; is there an effective oversight of electoral process; would there be an effective transfer of political power in the event of a defeat of the ruling party in the state; would the power of incumbency be retained to scuttle a hitch-free transition? These and many others, I dare say, agitate this writer if we need reminding.
    We have gone past the era of deceit where our common patrimony again be plundered, hijacked by a tribe of hydra-headed dragons, the Unicorn, the Yeti, political eunuchs  and a host of other mythical monsters that would parade themselves as the Messiah of which the oldest state in the federation of Nigeria urgently stand in need.
    The journey to reposition our great state has again begun and it is not in dispute that our state is bereft of service infrastructures which speak volumes for the widespread poverty in the land. Posterity will never forgive us if we again cast caution to the winds by allowing egocentric loners to mount the saddle of power and leave nothing for us in the long run. If I may borrow a line from Chinua Achebe literary works - Things Fall Apart - '  ''A chick that will grow  into a cock can be spotted the very day it hatches''.  During the party primaries aspirants within the party should be invited to a political debate to enable the electorates know  how active and informed the aspirants are. Party loyalty and affiliation should be jettisoned to the dustbin of history being an ill-wind that will blow no one any  good in the end.   It is on this score this writer calls for  primaries that will be  transparent, free and fair and perfectly in order to be accepted by the people.
    If we again err by reverting to the notorious tradition of adopting a consensus candidate as being rumoured or speculated in some quarters things would doubtless go wrong and have us returned to the proverbial vicious circle. This, I dare say, remains the focus of my humble analysis.
    Iyoha John Darlington, a political analyst, opinion leader and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.
    Email: jamestmichael2003@yahoo.com

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