• The Biafran monologues, By Emeka Odikpo

    16/Nov/2015 // 256 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 // 2582 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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  • Buhari @73; constructing a progressive Nigeria

    17/Dec/2015 // 483 Viewers

                                                   Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria

     

    IT was Rt. Hon. Chuba Wilberforce Okadigbo of blessed memory who sometime in 2002 postulated or rather predicted President Muhammadu Buhari’s emergence as president and his arduous task of constructing progressive Nigeria.

    After his impeachment as Senate President, Okadigbo asserted that a great political event had happened. With eyes popped out we listened to his lecture type of sermon. He first asked us, did any of you read today’s newspapers? Yes was the chorus, for most of the time we acted like students in a classroom to the great Okadigbo. We failed the question of pointing out the exact major news item of the day he was referring to. Okadigbo in his usual candour, graciously cleared his throat and started with his routine old thesis that the then President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, his Achilles heel, was constructing a one party state, which he intoned was very dangerous, unconstitutional and might breed dictatorship. He said, ‘left for the Obasanjo he would want to amend the Constitution and extend his rule.’ This was before the third term imbroglio. ‘I am surprised that none of you took note of General Muhammadu Buhari’s entry into the murky waters of Nigerian politics,’ he said. We claimed we read it, but why is his entry a major news, in the musical chair of our brand of politics?

    Okadigbo’s answer was very emphatic, ‘Buhari will define politics in the years ahead. Nigeria is lucky to have him, quote me. We are lucky he didn’t join the PDP. The battle line is drawn. It’s going to be a marathon race,’ he quipped. Buhari had joined the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) when Okadigbo stated what appeared to be prophetic. He went to celebrate that the stage was set for deconstructing the one party state being weaved by Obasanjo. Some of us who have elementary knowledge of Buhari’s financial war-chest challenged Okadigbo ‘s postulation, pointing out to him that Buhari was handicapped greatly in a scenario of money politics.

    Okadigbo rather said we are going to join Buhari in the ANPP. That the man is going to construct a progressive Nigeria and that Okadigbo’s intellectual acumen is highly needed in this direction. ‘He has the capacity, the discipline and courage to change the old order,’ Okadigbo maintained.

    We taunted him, saying that his postulation was a figment of sour grape. That he was castigating Obasanjo because he was his traducer, having masterminded his impeachment. Far from it, he said: ‘I am just a patriot, pointing the way forward for our dear country. Buhari is incorrigible and Spartan, he has the capacity to battle an imperial dictator that Obasanjo is. It is not sour grape or retribution.’

    Okadigbo went down memory lane and narrated how as political adviser to Shehu Shagari he was mandated with few others to covertly probe the so-called missing N2.8 billion alleged to have been flown out of Nigeria from oil revenue, when Buhari was Minister of Petroleum. ‘It turned out to be hoax. Shagari was wise to admonish us to make the investigation secret.’

    He was later nominated the vice presidential candidate in what became the Buhari/Okadigbo ticket. The outcome of the election is public knowledge and that President Buhari and Okadigbo filed petition at the election tribunal is also public where the majority judgment delivered by Honourable Justices of the Appeal Court – Umaru Abdullahi, Mahmud Mohammed and Francis Tabai ruled in favour of the election. While the minority’s judgment was delivered by Honourable Justice Slyvanus Nsofor: “My conclusion logically and naturally would be that there was a purported election on 19/04/2003. That was not what Nigerians want or deserve to have. No. All I am striving to say, perhaps imperfectly is that the non-compliance with Section 67(3) of the Electoral Act, 2002 rendered the presidential election on the 19/04/2003 a farce. Pure and simple! So, ‘Cadit queastio.’ It was a non-election.”

    It can be said that for President Buhari, it was rough route to victory as 2007, and 2011 presidential elections ended in controversy. To the extent that the Justices of the Supreme Court were stretched to their limit ending with a 4-3 split votes in 2011 presidential election judgment.
    In the 2015 presidential election, President Buhari won and the former president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan graciously conceded defeat and congratulated the winner, which Mr. President during the inaugural appreciated.

    Since assumption of office on May 29, President Buhari has, in measured steps, begun the construction of a progressive and prosperous Nigeria. In this exercise some are skeptical for his pace for them is too slow. For this the President has said, slow and steady win the race. It is not peculiar to Nigerians, a lot of people assume that democracy must deliver quick results especially in political systems like ours where the people’s hope was dashed and the state atrophied.

    Incidentally, the President has passed this through the trajectory of fierce battle between the neo-liberals and statist economic schools. Before his overthrow as military Head of State in 1985, he rebuffed the entreaties of the neo-liberals, hence he rejected the adoption of the World/IMF conditionalities. Among the components of the conditionalities were the removal of subsidy in fuel and fertilizer, devaluation of the Naira, privatization of state owned enterprises, et al.

    Many pundits have pondered how he navigates this threshold and remain untainted and deliver the goodies he pledged to the citizenry. The fillers coming out of the 2016 Budget and the Medium Term profile submitted to the National Assembly, clearly gazettes the midwife at work to blend the good sides of both the neo-liberals and the statist. This is the foundation for constructing a progressive and prosperous Nigeria, which Dr. Chuba Okadigbo of blessed memory predicted over a decade; a transparent foundation, devoid of corruption and greed.

    Okechukwu is the Spokesperson and chieftain of Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP)

     

    Disclaimer: Views expressed in any article we publish remain entirely the authors and do not reflect the editorial policy of DailyGlobeWatch.


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  • Dearth of Water Supply infrastructure in Edo State

    17/Feb/2016 // 2585 Viewers

    By Ogbeide Ifaluyi-Isibor

    The unavailability of Portable water for Nigerians in Rural and Urban areas has got

    more catastrophic consequences than the insurgency that has ravaged Nigeria today..
    While the Bokoharam related activities claimed more than 8,000 lives, the shortage
    of potable water and poor sanitation has led to about 73,000 deaths in Nigeria

    according to WaterAid, a London-based nonprofit organization..
    Since independence till the early 90s Nigerians who resided in the major cities,
    towns and even some local communities, enjoyed regular supply of clean and portable
    water. The water taps flowed almost ceaselessly and residents had enough water from
    the public water supply to meet their basic home
    Today,Using Edo State as a case study, the water taps,have become non existent for

    obvious cases of Corruption, mismanagement of states resources and public facilities
    like those of the Edo State Urban Water Board.
    The Water Board complex along Sapele road in Benin City has been converted to a

    different office for a different purpose,All her branches across the state have
    become moribund ,the Ogba water works has long stopped functioning.

    This development has consequently necessitated the lack of supply of portable water

    to members of the public who are tax payers, forcing them to rely more on

    privately-dug bore hole water.
    This has however taken a Catastrophic dimension as an estimated 1.5 million Edo
    people have no access to portable drinking water majorly in Rural areas just as alot
    of urban dwellers can not afford to travel long distances and pay for Water from
    water vendors as Dams meant to serve the metropolis, with booster stations in
    Okhoro, Iyaro, Aduwawa, Esigie, Ugbowo and other areas are presently in a pathetic
    state.
    Lack of Funding and abysmal disregard for the needs of the people has fuelled this
    anomaly as over 70% of Edo people who can't sink boreholes have no choice but to
    depend on water from water bodies around the state which are largely unhygienic and
    have resulted in Several deaths as a result of Diarrhoea which is the Second highest
    killer of Children below 5years.
     
    The Edo State Urban Water Board whose responsibility of providing potable water to
    the Urban and Semi-Urban areas of the State, is however hampered by lack of adequate
    manpower, ageing equipment and poor maintenance. The Board has about sixty-three
    (63) pumping stations (including dams) spread across the State and the functionality
    of 63 stations is better assumed..
    The required amount of water needed for the about 3.5 millions Edo citizens today

    hovers between 80-90 million gallons per day but sadly,the Edo State urban water
    board produces less than 10% of that daily requirement.
    Going forward,the state Government must begin to fund the Edo State Urban water

    board so as to be able to provide the needed infrastructure to resuscitate the Dams
    and Pumping stations across the state to enable taxpayers benefit from purposeful
    Government which would help in the reduction of deaths among children and women due
    to the unavailability of Portable water and proper Sanitation......From Ogbeide
    Ifaluyi-Isibor


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  • Niger Delta Restiveness: Do we blame Buhari?

    17/Jan/2016 // 392 Viewers

     

    By Emmanuel Onwubiko

    The story coming out of the crude oil rich Niger Delta region isn’t good and the timing is troubling.

    Suspected armed militants reportedly bombed a strategic crude oil facility in Delta State which is the corner stone of electricity power supply to Lagos and much of South West of Nigeria.

    Since President Muhammadu Buhari came on board the international asking price of crude oil has consistently plummeted and only few hours back it was reported to be hovering between 30 USD per barrel or lower. Exchange rate of Naira to USD has become all time high and the value of Naira has virtually collapsed.

    As one of the nations relying so much on the mono export of crude oil for externally generated and indeed much desired revenues, there’s no gainsaying that the downward trends in international asking price of crude oil and the resurgence of bombing campaigns by armed Niger Delta militants are twin evils that would further drive the economy to an unfathomable fate and may threaten the economic stability of Nigeria.

    Has this House fallen? Better still, is Nigeria then about to collapse or to whom do we blame for these serial misfortunes that creeped in on the national stage since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office?

    From an objective standpoint I think President Muhammadu Buhari's policies that significantly presents him as working actively to promote or grow exclusively the regional economy of the North have led to the escalation of mutual suspicions amongst people of the North and Southern Nigeria.

    Apart from picking virtually his entire inner cabinet members from the North with North East dominating, the current President has inaugurated two gigantic projects that are favourable exclusively to Northern Nigeria. This one sidedness is absolutely illegal because the South East of Nigeria suffered 30 Months of military bombardments from the Federal forces but till date there hasn’t been any Marshall plan or any deliberate governmental intervention to reconstruct the devastated infrastructures of the South East of Nigeria by all the numerous federal administrations that we have had in nearly half a century. If Buhari will rebuild the North East what is wrong if his government also introduces a reconstruction agenda for the old South East which also includes Akwa Ibom, Delta, Cross Rivers and Bayelsa states which were theatres of war during the last civil war which raged for 30 months?

    It would be recalled that earliest job Buhari's administration did was that he travelled to meet US President Barack Obama and officials of international funding agencies such as World Bank and International Monetary Fund but basically only the North East gained by way of receiving a Billion Dollar soft credit facility for the infrastructural development of the North East devastated by the dare devilry of the Borno State originated Boko Haram terrorists.

    Then in what is generally believed to be a possible wasted adventure the President has voted over N40 billion to be used to search for crude oil deposits in the Chad basin area of Borno State which does not carry any significant prospects of any successful discovery. For two decades all effort made to discover crude oil around the Chad Basin has proven futile.

    Then the Niger Delta amnesty programme started by the late Alhaji Umar Musa -led Federal Government which was sustained by the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan -led administration but this current government has no clue as to how best to continue to implement these range of professional skills training ventures for the disadvantaged youth of the oil rich but heavily neglected Niger Delta region.

    The new Special Adviser on Niger Delta Amnesty Programme who reportedly is a retired Army General was published picked from his Kaduna retirement home and anointed has practically no experience on how best to implement this programme and the result is the several miscalculations and misfortunes that have befallen both the programme and the enrolled beneficiaries.

    Some of the beneficiaries of the now mismanaged Niger Delta Amnesty Programme who were sent to the UK on scholarship were recently repatriated because the agency couldn’t meet up with the financial obligations. In the South East which is also crude oil rich the current government failed to pick any citizen of South East of Nigeria into any strategic military or civilian office thus shutting the Igbo out of this government and importantly out of the constitutionally created National Defence Council meaning that over 50 million Nigerians of Igbo origin are denied their constitutional rights by this government. The groups that have so far sprang up to speak for the South East have had rough time even peacefully expressing their opinions even as armed military and police operatives are unleashed on them with bloody consequences. Fake Religious prophets who parade around the corridors of power have been recruited to see visions and to blame critics for the imaginary plots on the life of the President. Such is how badly freedom of speech has suffered.

    Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of Biafra (MASSOB) have suffered bloody victimisation from the Nigerian State under President Muhammadu Buhari and the Leader of the group Mr Nnamdi Kanu has spent 100 days in underground cells of the Department of State Service under the direction of President Muhammadu Buhari who has publicly professed his desire to keep him as long as possible even against three binding bail orders granted Mr Nnamdi Kanu by different Courts of competent jurisdiction ranging from Magistrate to the Federal High Court.

    By and large it can safely be said that the current government has stifled the atmosphere of freedomof speech thereby compelling radical elements to go under and start these unfortunate bombing campaigns. Before proffering panacea to this emerging dangerous scenarios of resurgence of the Niger Delta youth restiveness, let us vividly narrate what really happened which as reported may affect power supply across much of Nigeria.

    Unknown gunmen in the early hours of Friday, blew up the all important Nigerian NATIONAL PETROLEUM CORPORATION ( NNPC) crude and gas pipeline in the Niger Delta. Predictably journalists have interpreted this to signal a possible resumption of hostilities in the relatively peaceful region.

    The facility which is the major supplier of gas and crude to Warri and Lagos is located in the Gbaramatu area of Warri South West Local Government area of Delta state. Ironically, that’s the homeland of one of Nigeria’s most highly rated former militant leader Mr Government Ekpumopolo also known as Tompolo. He has come under the searchlight of the Adamawa dominated EFCC over some contracts he won during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan which generously rewarded him for his impressive contribution towards ending the then armed restiveness in the Niger Delta during the regime of the late Umaru Musa Yaradua under which the man who would later emerge as President Dr Goodluck Jonathan was the Vice President.

    It could not be confirmed if the act was carried out by vandals or it was a reaction to the warrant issued by a Federal High Court in Lagos for the arrest of former leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, so says news reporters.

    But Tompolo himself has cried out, saying his detractors were out to capitalise on his running battle with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) to commit the act and blame it on him. Tompolo may be right because members of IPOB and MASSOB faced similar “government arranged” subterranean plots when after nearly three weeks of successful street’s protests, some paid hoodlums infiltrated the peaceful marches by IPOB and MASSOB and caused violence including an unsuccessful attempt to set alight the central mosque in Onitsha Anambra State.

    Although the NNPC has claimed ignorance of the development, a source in the industry confirmed that the pipeline was attacked in what looked like coordinated act.

    “From all indications, the attack was a coordinated one because the facility was blown in three major points and this has made it difficult for immediate remedial measures”,he said.

    But Group General Manager (Public Affairs) of the NNPC, Mr Ohi Alegbe said the corporation was unaware of the attack. “The NNPC is not aware of this at all,” he said.

    But the denial by NNPC’s spokesman totally amounts to being economical with the truth because we don’t require Rocket Science to confirm if any attack was launched on our oil facilities or not because satellite images are available I’m sure to tell exactly what happened.

    Nigeria has blown away billions of dollars to launch the so called satellite in the orbits. So how come that officials of NNPC now feign ignorance of the widely reported bombing of the crude oil facility in the Niger Delta? Meanwhile there are fears that the decision of Buhari to unleash the northern dominated Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to go after some major leaders of the ex militants of the Niger Delta such as Tompolo may draw out sympathisers to carry out such attacks whether with his blessing or not. That is assuming it can be ruled out that the Federal Government did not sponsor fifth columnists to stage manage the attacks.

    Tompolo however had prior to this reported bombing alleged a plot to bomb crude oil facilities by some faceless fifth columnists sponsored by government just to rope him into a treasonable felony case since this government has reinvented this draconian and military type decree to haunt perceived opponents.

    Aware of the notoriety of supporters of the current Federal Government and it’s one sided anti graft crusade and the length they can go to try to rope in perceived enemies of their political master, Mr Government Ekpumopolo (Tompolo) who spoke though his media aide, Paul Bebenimibo, has condemned the act, saying the coincidence of the 'dastardly act' with his ordeal in the hands of the EFCC was ominous.

    Hear him: “This is a condemnable act and all peace lovers of the country must stand up against this despicable act that is meant to frame me up in the face of the running battle that is currently ongoing between me and the EFCC. “I know as a matter of fact that since I accepted to embrace peace and pursue same after the amnesty offer, there have been several attempts at staging me back to the creeks under flimsy, sometimes personal excuses. “In this case for instance, my belief in the rule of law and due process had compelled me to drag the EFCC to court even before the purported warrant. We are in court and the court shall decide the case at the appropriate time. “I, therefore, call on the federal government to undertake a thorough investigation into this ignoble act.

    With Tompolo ruling himself out of any plot to stage a return to bombing campaigns, the most pragmatic solution to this atmosphere of deep mutual suspicions amongst people of the South and North is for the current President to be a national and stop being a Northern regional leader and give every region her due and rights under the law. Let Mr President not create the impression that he is above the law because the moment people sense that the President who swore an oath to respect the sanctity of the constitution is going against this sacred oath by the persistent disrespect to lawful court orders then anarchists will begin to have a field day.

     

    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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  • Buhari And NNPC: Did the minister say it's cheaper to import petrol than refine locally?

    17/Mar/2016 // 237 Viewers

     

    By Ifeanyi Izeze


    Certainly, it is now very clear that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, is completely oblivious of the rules of the new arena he has come to play. His demeanour since he came onboard indicates that he was not properly tutored that the rules of the game in Mobil where he came from are completely different from what obtains in the political arena where he now plays. Somebody should him and fast too that there is a huge difference between functioning in the political/government space and sitting down in an office to do the legal side of upstream oil business.

    Does this minister actually think of the serious political consequences of most of the things he says on the government he is serving? Haba! This was the same man who told us last September that any refinery that does not work full-stream (100 percent installed capacity) would be scrapped by December (2015). Today how many of our three refineries are operating even at 50 percent installed capacity? Early in the year he told us the Kaduna Plant is running at 60 percent installed capacity.

    Meanwhile, he forgot that his same NNPC told us that after the Turn Around Maintenance of the Kaduna plant, on the point of streaming the plant, it was discovered that the crude oil feedstock supply trunkline from the Escravos had 78 breaches between Warri and Lokoja. The question is: if Kaduna had operated at 60 percent as the Minister said, where did it get the crude oil it was refining because we were not told the breaches have been fixed? How long can we continue like this as a nation.

    How do you reconcile that the Minister of State for Petroleum whose government has been celebrating the stoppage of subsidizing importation of fuels could few day later be saying “at the moment, importing Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, also known as petrol, is cheaper than producing the product in the country's refineries?” could it be he was he speaking the mind of the substantive Minister of Petroleum, his boss? Time will tell!

    It was in Abuja while addressing newsmen that Kachikwu stated that until the upgrade and total refurbishment of the refineries are concluded, as well as ensuring that the pipelines are fixed, it would be uneconomic and very expensive to produce petrol locally.

    According to him, local refining of petrol would make much more economic sense if all the refineries undergo full set of repairs and Turn-Around Maintenance (TAM), and when new refineries are set up in the country through co-locative initiative.

    His words: “Most modern refineries are configured in such a way that your stock of PMS outage is a lot higher, 70 to 80 per cent. So when we do import the product, we actually save money; we get it less expensive than when we do it here.

    “But having said that, the reality is that until we have alternatives in terms of co-locative refineries which we are looking at; until we finish the total refurbishment to improve and upgrade the refineries, it does not make sense to use it with some of the deficiencies.

    “This is because distribution is key. If you have product in Kaduna for example, pumping into the north becomes easy as opposed to moving, as we do whenever we have a crisis – trucks all the way from Lagos and Oghara, out to the north.”

    Kachikwu further said “even if the current set of refineries were working on a 100 per cent basis, they would only be able to account for 20 million litres of PMS per day, about 50 per cent of the country's total consumption. This means that the country would still resort to importation to meet up with the shortfall.” So is this a new discovery or the lies can no longer cover the truth?

    According to the minister, “The way the refineries are configured right now, and until a full set of repairs and TAM are done, they are configured on the basis of 50 per cent of PMS and 50 per cent other products. So even if they were producing on a 100 per cent basis, which they are nowhere near producing right now, PMS output would be less than 20 million litres. Our consumption is closer to 40 million. So we will still have, literarily, 50 per cent gap.”

    How can government be telling us is cheaper to import petroleum products? That is apparently giving us no hope. So the minister is telling us that other countries will buy crude oil from Nigeria, transport it to their place, refine it, transport it back to Nigeria and sell it to us at a cost that will be cheaper than when we refine it here? What magic are those countries using and why can’t Nigeria employ such magic? More so, this is coming after the NNPC told us few days ago that our Refineries made profit of over 5 billion naira in the month of January 2016. How do you reconcile this?

    If the minister doesn't, let him know now that Nigerians don't expect our present government and set of leaders to be saying this to us now. These were the same excuses the past leaders kept giving. Even if the refineries are not working in full capacity as at present, is there even a long term plan to fix and/or upgrade all of them to get optimal yield?  Do we have a sincere long term plan of building new ones whether turnkey or modular?

    So, if those who built the refineries in their own generation configured it 50-50 PMS and other products, good and fine, they have done their part and gone. Now is it not the duty or rather turn of those who are there now to do something about the design defect (if it is true) by upgrading the Plants and/or seriously setting out to build better ones that will be better configured as obtained in modern times?

    Whether what Kachikwu said had some truths or not is immaterial in the context of his statement. We know that right now our refineries are not functioning anywhere near sustainable or rather impressive capacity utilisation. Then couple with paucity of funds to do any meaningful mega turn around or upgrade amongst other setbacks, it will cost a hell load of resources and time fixing the problems in the refining subsector.

    But, is he aware that the party he is serving in its government dragged Jonathan in the mud because his government could not refine our crude oil locally and relied almost 90 percent on offshore bridging through all sorts of opaque transactions that came to be known as crude-for-product-swap fraud? If you blamed the previous government for that failure and now you are advocating for the same arrangement, is the present government going to apologise to the previous one and to all Nigerians that they were quick to blame their predecessor? You see?

    How can Kachukwu now convince us that he has not joined the cabals working against our national interests in the oil sector? Those that rule Nigeria including Buhari and his team are different from those that run the country and dare not toil with them or they run down your government. It happened under Jonathan and we are beginning to see it happen under the present Buahri-led government whether anybody wants to believe this or not.

    My pastor used to say that “excuses always diminish a man but in this case- diminish a government.” God bless Nigeria!

    Ifeanyi Izele lives in Abuja, 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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  • Armed nomads menace and Buhari's destructive silence by Chima Chukwuma

    17/May/2016 // 317 Viewers

    By Chima Chukwuma

    With patience, I've been waiting to see President Buhari's plan and action to combat the ongoing menace and terrorism from these Fulani Cattle marauding terrorists, but unfortunately, as always, Buhari has demonstrated his incompetency to lead a diverse country as Nigeria. 

    Far from his fiery response against freedom activists in form of IPOB and Niger-Delta Avengers, Buhari have demonstrated embarrassing lukewarm approach to stop the soiling of innocent blood by Fulani terrorists. 

    If I may ask, how many cows do these terrorists own, that make them to believe that the whole of Nigeria's landmass is their grazing ground? In terms of world's beef producers, Nigeria is insignificant. 

    Several countries produce hundreds-times more beef than Nigeria, but their citizens are living in peace, without any menace and terrorism from the cow owners. The United States is the largest producer of beef in the world followed by Brazil & the European Union.

    The United States, Brazil and the European Union produce 48% of the world's beef. This is the list of world's highest beef producers:

    Rank Country 2015 % Of World
    1 United States 10,861,000 18.58%
    2 Brazil 9,425,000 16.13%
    3 European Union 7,540,000 12.90%
    4 China 6,750,000 11.55%
    5 India 4,200,000 7.19%
    6 Argentina 2,740,000 4.69%
    7 Australia 2,550,000 4.36%
    8 Mexico 1,845,000 3.16%
    9 Pakistan 1,725,000 2.95%
    10 Russia 1,355,000 2.32%
    11 Canada 1,025,000 1.75%
    12 Colombia 895,000 1.53%
    13 South Africa 875,000 1.50%
    14 New Zealand 667,000 1.14%
    15 Paraguay 590,000 1.01%
    16 Uruguay 565,000 0.97%
    17 Japan 490,000 0.84%
    18 Kazakhstan 415,000 0.71%
    19 Philippines 410,000 0.70%
    20 Ukraine 380,000 0.65%
    21 Egypt 320,000 0.55%
    22 Korea, South 317,000 0.54%
    23 Belarus 270,000 0.46%
    24 Iran 249,000 0.43%
    25 Chile 228,000 0.39%
    26 Peru 205,000 0.35%
    27 Vietnam 205,000 0.35%
    28 Venezuela 165,000 0.28%
    29 Switzerland 143,000 0.24%
    30 Algeria 140,000 0.24%
    31 Nicaragua 140,000 0.24%
    32 Angola 105,000 0.18%
    33 Costa Rica 90,000 0.15%
    34 Guatemala 86,000 0.15%
    35 Dominican Republic 70,000 0.12%
    36 Israel 70,000 0.12%
    37 Honduras 65,000 0.11%
    38 Saudi Arabia 56,000 0.10%
    39 Lebanon 48,000 0.08%
    40 Malaysia 28,000 0.05%
    41 Oman 23,000 0.04%
    42 Bosnia 20,000 0.03%
    43 El Salvador 20,000 0.03%
    44 Jordan 20,000 0.03%
    45 UAE 16,000 0.03%
    46 Libya 9,000 0.02%
    47 Hong Kong 8,000 0.01%
    48 Congo 7,000 0.01%
    49 Taiwan 7,000 0.01%
    50 Macedonia 6,000 0.01%
    51 Kuwait 3,000 0.01%
    52 Gabon 1,000 0.00%
    FAS/USDA (Metric Tons). 

    Where is Nigeria in the above list? Still, these Fulani terrorists masquerade under cow and under official protection from Federal Government and dubious security agents to massacre peace-loving Nigerians. 

    Weeks ago, it is on news that one stupid ''Grazing Bill'' is being considered by the National Assembly. Does it mean that members of our National Assembly have nothing important to do? Cow business is personal business! 

    Owners should buy land and construct ranches and grazing fields for their cows. This is not Nigeria's national issue. Can you imagine Igbos, known for trade and commerce, coming out to demand that Federal Government must construct markets in all cities, Local Govts and States of the Federation, where Igbos can have shops FREE and do their business? 

    Igbos use their hard-earned money to buy lands across Nigeria, construct shops and pay taxes. Those that cant afford to buy, rent. Fulanis must fund the construction of ranch and grazing fields! 

    If they see open field, and if owners agree to sale, good, and if owners refuse, they should look elsewhere. NOBODY SHOULD BE FORCED TO RELINQUISH HIS/HER LAND TO THESE TERRORISTS FREE!! 

    So, it is time to stop this madness from these Fulani terrorists, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!! Soon, Nigerians will have no option than arming themselves, to defend their lives, their family and their lands.

     

    *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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  • Those accusing me are looking for pipeline surveillance contracts - Tompolo speaks again

    17/May/2016 // 679 Viewers

     

    PARIS, MAY 17, 2016: (DGW) - Ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo alias Tompolo  has told President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw troops from Gbamaturu Kingdom adding that hunting for him by laying a siege to the once peaceful kingdom under the guise of hunting for Niger Delta Avengers is most unfortunate.

    Tompolo said troops presence in the kingdom, he knows, as well as everyone know are because of him but faulted that move seeing that he has nothing to do with the destructive activities of the new militants.

    The embattled Gbamaturu High Chief said that he is surprised that after a series of press statements from him that he has no links with Niger Delta Avengers the place is still  being laid a siege to by Nigerian troops.

    He once again insisted with every emphasis at his command that he has nothing whatsoever ever to do with the militants and urged the President Buhari to withdraw armed soldiers from the embattled region.

    Troops' presence, he said , is an affront to the economic lives of the residents adding that the manhunt for him by non-stop siege to the Kingdom under the guise of looking for the militants baffles him immeasurably.

    Said the fleeing ex-militant leader in a press statement sent to our Paris newsroom: ''It baffles me that the Nigerian military has refused to believe me that I am not part of the group and its activities as contained in several media statements.

    “I am obviously a victim of circumstances in this matter because of my case with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. How can I resort to destruction of oil facilities because of those trumped-up charges against me by EFCC, when my lawyers are already challenging the faulty process of legal service on me?

    “If not for the common insinuation that the Nigerian judiciary is on trial, why would my case with the EFCC become the greatest issue in Nigeria today when there are so many important things to talk about?

    “I am greatly touched and disappointed with the manner the Nigerian government and the military are being arm-twisted by the unfounded claims of Ayiri Emami and others that I am behind the Niger Delta Avengers group when there is no single proof to back the claim.

    “May I once again point out that Ayiri Emami and others accusing me of the destruction of oil facilities in parts of the Delta State are simply looking for relevance, recognition and pipeline surveillance contracts. If anyone doubts what I am saying, they should find out from the GMD and Minister for State for Petroleum because Ayiri and his likes have been troubling the Minister for pipeline surveillance contracts for some time now.”

    Reacting, Chief Emami said: “If I am lying, why did Delta State Government set up an Advocacy Committee to stop pipeline vandalism in the creeks of the state? Who is the committee, headed by the deputy governor, going to meet in the creeks? Is it Itsekiri militants or Ijaw militants?”   


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  • The Revelations of the Damned, By Akintokunbo A Adejumo

    18/Dec/2015 // 392 Viewers

     

    "Unemployment, underdevelopment and poverty everywhere in the land. Our people are living like animals; we cannot even rear our children” – Source Unknown.
    “Quite frankly, the war against Corruption is not strictly about me; it is about building a country for our children and forthcoming generations can live in peace and prosperity. All around the country, you see dilapidated infrastructure, poor healthcare, collapsed education, lack of public utilities, decayed social services, etc. These are all products of corruption because those entrusted to deliver these to the people have pocketed the money". – President Muhammadu Buhari, 11.12.2015
    I am a very simple writer; I write from the mind, untrained, unfettered, not under obligation to or paid by anybody or newspaper, and thereby free of baggage and garbage.
    It is indeed very difficult (or how else can we say it?), to sympathise with former President Goodluck Jonathan, trying to absolve him of any complicity in the alleged (yes, alleged for now) unbelievable, mind-boggling, brazen, raping and looting of the country's treasury that they said went unchecked during his six year tenure; insisting that because he relinquished power without a fuss when he lost the last Elections, then he's an uncommon Hero; that he was a good and decent man, but all admitted that he was not good leader and President. 
    All these displays of sympathy are intended to appeal and convince us that Mr Jonathan should be absolved of any crime perpetrated under his now almost discredited government of mediocrity, nepotism, religious and tribal bigotry, deceit, deception and undisguised hypocrisy and deliberately hoodwinking of the Nigerian people.
    How the people who allegedly participated and benefitted illegally under this ignoble regime could think they could continue to rape the country, yet conceal their crime for so long and further continuously consolidate these frauds without detection at some point in time is beyond the imagination. The crime and corruption are so massive, unfettered and unmanageable (even as a criminal concern) that there was no possible way the "shit will not hit the fan" sooner rather than later. 
    But due to their singular mediocre minds, suffused with greed, selfishness and idiocy, these alleged looters never ever gave a thought that their deeds will ever be revealed. This proved to me that the PDP never expected Jonathan to lose the election in March 2015. They were so confident they will still be in power, and thereby able to conceal and continue the massive looting of the country’s treasury, resources and assets.  Some, however foresaw the days of Revelation, and thought that by jumping ship - from PDP to APC - they will be able to enjoy some form of immunity, or at least, protection from the revelations that will eventually burst out. Some saw the handwriting on the wall, but still decided to ignore the signs.
    Even now, the person that should engage our sympathy is President Buhari. He is in deep trouble, if he does not know it. If all these revelations are true, then PMB's government has a real problem on its hands. He has to see all these through to their logical conclusions – no sacred cows or untouchables because of political, religious and regional affiliations or loyalty. He must ensure fast, free and fair prosecutions, and if and when convicted, long jail terms for the perpetrators of such huge scams and frauds on Nigerians, depriving us of so many things, causing thousands, if not millions of unnecessary deaths directly and indirectly. It is getting more open and messier by the day, even more than the Halliburton Scandal and Independent Power Project scam of the Obasanjo days, probably because then, it was a PDP government doing themselves in. (They did not know it then, but they were setting themselves up for implosion and disgrace)
    But as it is, if all these revelations prove to be true, then our main concern should be our compromised, irresponsible and very corrupt judiciary; our greedy, morally bankrupt and ignoble attorneys and our stupid democracy that favour powerful corrupt politicians and bastardise the Rule of Law, as well as the parochial and misguided partisan Nigerians that are holding hypocritical and sycophantic briefs  for these corrupt, shameless, remorseless and nonchalant politicians’ misdemeanour and delinquency. 
    However, the problem is still very much caused by us, Nigerians. The outrage against Jonathan, Dasuki and the rest of these “exclusive sharers of our commonwealth” is our collective responsibility. Nigerians should be marching towards Aso Rock to demand full accountability and justice, and if Buhari fails to act on our demands, he should be pushed out of the way. Unfortunately, folks see it through the prism of party politics, but it's bigger than that. Before writing this piece, I have already been accused of basing my statements on speculations thus making everything baseless. For how long shall we continue to shy away from the revelations and continue to call them speculations? Even if the level of crime is not as massive as is being revealed isn't the fact that such crimes are committed by so few a people heinous enough to be looked at dispassionately and condemned roundly by all?
    Now, it is important to delineate revelations and speculations. Over the past few weeks, it has become the norm of some sections of the society to denounce these revelations as mere unproven speculations; but I am not surprised at such incoherent pronouncement from my people; I have always said we are our own problems. Even if the scale of the revelations are not as massive as we are reading and come with touches of hyperbolic sensationalism, the fact remains that massive amount of the country’s money was distributed illegally, with impunity, total disregard for the rules of governance and with utter unaccountability amongst some chosen elite in both government, the PDP party, the media and business communities, including some who are now even in the ruling party, the President’s party, APC.
    Nevertheless, as I wrote in two previous articles, "A People Beyond Redemption" and "A Peoples’ Aversion to the Truth is their Undoing", the African mind is so politically primordial that it always blind people from fairness and truth. And this has summed up the kind of mixed horde we have in Nigeria. For a person, schooled and educated to a degree level, to call the unfolding revelation, confession, and admission by the looters themselves to be “speculations” just confirms my suspicions about our people’s attitude to corruption, and understanding of it from a moral viewpoint. But then, didn’t our former President himself say stealing of public funds is not corruption?  Does it mean if a person is from my clan, or he is of the same faith with me, or we belong to the same political party, as far as these sets of people are concerned, that person can never do wrong? The pitiable thing is that majority of these unsolicited "pocket lawyers" and devil's advocates suffered greatly as a result of action and inaction of the same person they are defending.
    Unfortunately some (and again, repetitively, these are the educated and supposedly enlightened and sophisticated members of the society) of us are blind, guided by political, tribal, self-seeking and religious nonsense, who enthusiastically allow themselves to be used as injudicious missiles. One would think that every sane and sensible Nigerian will fall behind the present government in its anti-corruption campaign. But you just check out social media and the number of Nigerians carrying brief for the thieves and criminals being prosecuted is just unreal. What one cannot understand is the glee with which these set of Nigerians embrace every setback or hindrance that comes the way of the current regime in cleansing the corrupt system. That to me is unpardonable and is the sign of sick minds. Can you imagine a man jumping for joy and clapping enthusiastically every time that fireman trying to put out his burning house, with his family trapped inside, and are struggling to control the flame?
    Well that is exactly the behaviour of those Nigerians that do not wish the current government well in its bid to stem the rot of the past years".
    What is even more shocking and disturbing should be the revelation that national budget is being shared like groundnuts in the market under the guise of funding to disengage insurgency and terrorism and the head of the same government claimed ignorance of approving the release of the funds. All the beneficiaries of the bonanza of doling out the funds were ex-President Jonathan's allies; and one would like to know how that was accounted for in the nation's books, or maybe we do not have books anymore? Where are the checks and balances put in place by the Constitution, the statutes books, legislations, rules and regulations, etc.? Where are the Auditor and Accountant Generals?  Yet, these individuals, educated, widely-travelled and men/women of the world are worshipped as heroes nationally by Nigerians.
    What kind of criminal racket are we operating here in this country, Nigeria, that we call government? 
    The political class in Nigeria has sought office not because of the desire to change the economic situation through dedicated, sincere and committed service but it has been mainly for their personal development. Their primary path to financial success has been through primitive and rapacious accumulation of wealth through stealing of public funds. It is so deep that the fight over fiscal federalism is nothing but for personal aggrandisement. Yet the fight is so strong and intensive one that we may think that is for the good of the commonwealth. No, it is not, as we ae all seeing and experiencing in our daily lives as the unfortunate victims of these criminals, or as the late great Fela Anikulapo-Kuti dubbed them several decades ago, Vagabonds in Power (VIP).
    The scale of this primitive acquisition of wealth can only be comprehended from the littering of the national landscape with failed projects, moribund development, a collapsed and prostrate economy as evidenced in dilapidated and decayed infrastructure, poor healthcare, collapsed education, lack of public utilities, decayed social services, chaotic way of life, insecurity of lives and properties, uncertainly of daily bread, etc. These are all products of the prevalent and virulent corruption that has enveloped and strangled the country and its people because those entrusted to deliver these to the people have betrayed our trust and have pocketed the money.
    Of more concern should be the human effects - poverty, distress, hopelessness, sufferings, diseases, hunger and deaths that we see and experience every day; yet some people still hang on to the belief that the current government is lying about the looting of this country over the past sisteen, and even more, years; or that the exercise to flush out looters is based on vindictiveness and witch-hunting and slanted towards members of the last government and party.
    Well.............................? Do they care? Until several lots of them are handed long jail sentences (or maybe even executed) this spectacle will continue. The hydra-headed corruption is not a beast to be tackled with soft gloves; let some high profile corrupt politicians, ex-governors, legislators, and their parasitic sycophantic rich tag-along businessmen (AGIP) who derive their wealth by preying on government contracts and largess to flaunt their ill-gotten gains in the face of their fellowmen and fellow women go to thirty years at Agodi or Kuje prisons, with the hardest of labour, and observe the effect and change on Nigerians.
    So, dear compatriots, please look around you and perceive the chaos, the despondency, the desperation, the poverty and hopelessness on the faces of our people and tell the man in Aba, Maiduguri, Asaba, Ugep, Ado-Ekiti, Ilorin, Makurdi, Owerri, Ede, etc. that NOBODY is responsible, nobody can be held  culpable for their unfortunate plight in a rich country like ours; that the people, rulers that forced or rig their way into power, are elected, selected, appointed and entrusted with managing their wealth and welfare for the past sixteen, thirty or fifty years cannot or should not be probed and jailed for their roles in the looting and raping of their country.
    A word of caution to the current administration: Buhari must not be distracted from his anti-corruption stance and bout, however he must also not allow himself and his government to be swamped and grounded in the mire of the corruption fight. Corruption will always fight back a hundred times more viciously than the ones after it, and will do everything to stay ahead of the game. He should concentrate of governance and put reliable, sincere, seasoned and equally vicious anti-corruption people in place to engage in this fight for him and Nigeria.
    It is indeed the Season of Revelation of the Damned!

    Akintokunbo A. Adejumo writes from London, United Kingdom

     

    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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  • Why History should be taught, By Dr Reuben Abati

    18/Dec/2015 // 255 Viewers

     

     

    There is never a scarcity of shocking events, revelations, encounters and experiences in the course of the interesting times we seem destined to live in. But nothing can perhaps be more shocking than a recent encounter I had with a young man. He had remarked quite innocently to my hearing that he wondered what the noise was all about over the late Chief Moshood Abiola. “Who is he?” he asked. I almost passed out.

    “Who is Chief M.K.O. Abiola? How old are you? When were you born?” I retorted, trying to figure out whether it is indeed possible for anyone in this country not to know who MKO Abiola was. I followed up with another question.
    “You mean you don’t know who MKO is?”

    “Why should I know him? Does he know me?”

    By now, I was sweating. It turned out that the young man was born in 1995, two years after the 1993 Presidential election, and he was still a toddler by the time of the return to civilian rule in 1999. Now 20 years old, and a university graduate, he has grown up inside Nigeria, never knowing the late MKO Abiola, the martyr of the struggle for democracy: the main man whose sacrifice and heroism resulted in a long, civil society protest against military rule. Abiola was in addition, a major African philanthropist, a promoter of sports and one of the most remarkable figures in Nigerian history in the latter part of the 20th Century. I tried to explain Abiola’s significance to the young man.
    “Good for him”, was his response. I could sense that he wasn’t excited.

    I had to take on the additional task of further urging him to check out the name on Google: the knowledge made-easy platform on which the young ones rely for quick information. I dare not ask him to read some books about that period in Nigerian history, knowing what new technology has done to many of our youth, who find it difficult to read anything that is more than a few easy paragraphs. My encounter with this particular young Nigerian ended with the sad feeling that there are many like him out there, already out of university and busy thinking of next steps in their lives but who know next to nothing about the history of their country.

    I have had similar encounters in more recent times: young Nigerians who do not know the author of Things Fall Apart, and who have never heard of Lord Lugard, Ahmadu Bello, Bola Ige or Kaduna Nzeogwu. The other day, I stumbled on an exercise on social media in which someone posted the picture of Samuel Ladoke Akintola, and asked that he should be identified. This generated some confusion as some referred to him as Adegoke Adelabu, and some of those who could identify him said Akintola was the one that uttered the famous phrase: “peculiar mess”, which got translated by his Yoruba listeners to “penkelemesi”. The only relief I took away was that nobody said the picture was that of Aminu Kano or Sa’ad Zungur. I imagine, at this rate, that a day may well come in the future when some young Nigerians may never have heard of Murtala Mohammed, or any of the present-day historical figures.

    This is one of those self-inflicted omissions in our development process. Close to two decades ago, history was removed from the primary and secondary school curricula as a core subject. The teaching of history also became threatened at the tertiary level, as it got labeled as one of those disciplines that cannot get anyone a job in the oil and gas sector or the banks. In an attempt to remain relevant and avoid being shut down by the National Universities Commission, History Departments became creative by changing their content and nomenclature to History and Diplomatic Studies, or History and International Relations.

    A succeeding generation of History graduates never failed to emphasize the suffixes. At the primary and secondary levels, history was replaced with social studies (which is at best a study of civics), or made optional, until it was even completely removed from the syllabus. Years of lamentation by history teachers has not made any difference, but the point needs to be made ad nauseam, that the school curriculum must be reviewed to place a better emphasis on the learning and teaching of history. It is in fact quite ironic that Religious Studies occupies a more privileged place in the Nigerian school curriculum: we are busy teaching our students and the future generation, the two major religions, and many of them grow up force-fed with only that kind of history that the religious books teach, along with the dogma. Today, we are harvesting the dangers.

    History is the connecting link between the past, the present and the future. Serious nations take time out to teach students and the general populace the history of the people and their country, for it is only when a people know where they have been, where they are, and where they are going that they can better prepare themselves for challenges. The history of mankind is repetitive, another way of saying there is nothing new under the sun, by learning from other ages, we build the confidence to forge ahead.

    Every country that cherishes memory and the art and culture of remembrance of all things past and present strengthens nationalism, a sense of citizenship and the current of knowledge in the public space. History is a truckload of mistakes made, from which we can draw lessons and accomplishments from which we can draw inspiration. It is also an instrument of power: colonialists in Africa did not teach the history of the colonized, they taught their own history, and insisted that Africans had no history, and no culture. It took a whole generation of African historians to insist on the existence and the authenticity of African history, and to tell our story to the world as a means of affirming identity, cultural heritage and independence. And yet today, this aspect of the struggle against mental slavery and domination has been abandoned.

    The teaching of history needs not be formal: indeed in developed countries, more history is taught informally, bits of history are inserted into the landscape of social being in various forms. These include different types of museums: natural history, art, aviation, technology, war. Monuments are erected at chosen locations to remind the people of the past. Homes and birthplaces of famous achievers, including writers, statesmen and war heroes are marked and described. Public buildings welcome visitors with history. Cultural products, including movies, are also used to promote national history and energize the populace. By the time a child grows up in the midst of all this, he develops a sense of awareness that guides his relationship with his country. It is also for the same reason that professions, including the military, teach their own history, to project tradition and achievement.

    The historical narrative, thus represented in many shapes, has defined many societies. We visit such societies, enjoy their spectacles, absorb their narratives, and even buy their mementoes, but here back home, we have no museums, telling any significant story. We have no public places preserving the memories of our heroes past. Every child in Ghana knows who Kwame Nkrumah is, because his legacy is well-preserved in the public space. Where are the Nigerian equivalents? We don’t even keep official records anymore. Where is Nigeria’s National Presidential library? A nation without a conscious promotion of its history, culture, landmarks, icons, symbols, monuments, and heroes is a society deserving of extinction.

    In the absence of a deliberate and structured effort to see history as a tool for national development, we have over the years left the telling of our story to revisionists playing games with national unity and promoting the enemies of amalgamation. Revisionists are propagandists, masters of dogma, and promoters of falsehood and lies. They deliver their narratives in convenient short-hand formats and through rumours. Many of the young men today who are clamouring for secession have never read the history of the civil war; they are victims of a false single story, which says other Nigerians do not like Igbos. The Yoruba landlord who does not want an Igbo tenant may not have heard that Igbos once represented Yorubas in parliament, or that Igbos have always been strong stakeholders in Lagos politics – all he knows is that silly story that Igbo tenants take their landlords to court, as if Yoruba tenants don’t do the same.

    Those young men and women who allow themselves to be turned into foot-soldiers by Pastors and Imams, and who turn religion into a vehicle of violence have never been taught that those who did the same in the past in this same country got gunned down. Those religious groups who take over the highways and our streets, claiming they are holding a special revival or a procession, and who do not care about the rights of other road users and citizens have probably never read stories about the tension generated by such encounters between the state and religion. They all do not know that turning religion and ethnicity into enemies of the Nigerian state will ordinarily attract dire consequences because the state has a responsibility to allow freedom of expression but also an equal responsibility to prevent any form of abuse. By the same token, those trigger-happy security men who indulge in extra-judicial murder, have never read how such conduct indeed violates the dignity of the state, and sets a condition for the failure of government and state.

    The historical sociology of the Nigerian condition points to much repetitiveness of social and political conduct with very little change in capacity to manage same, from the colonial period to the present. Those who ignore history and fail to learn from it are bound to repeat it. And so, we keep repeating the same errors because we forget too easily. The process of national re-orientation must include a promotion of our history for national development purposes. It is not enough to admit that some of the worst fanatics using religion and ethnicity to threaten national integration are university graduates: this indicates a great omission in the curriculum; in form of the failure to use the education system to produce Nigerians who are first and foremost citizens with loyalty to the country.

     

    Dr. Reuben Abati was the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Jonathan.

     

    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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