Legacy Jonathan: A Litany Of Deceit, Blood Letting And Destruction By Ayobami Oyalowo

My dear friends on Facebook,

I have said it before and I will continue to say and live by the fact that my ambition, and indeed the ambition of anybody, is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. Therefore, I urge all Nigerians to look forward in hope as we fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers to ‘build a nation where peace and Justice reign’.

President Goodluck Jonathan on his Facebook page, 8th January, 2015.

President Goodluck Jonathan has never failed to tell Nigerians and anyone who cares to listen that he is a man of peace whose political ambition isn’t worth the blood of any Nigerian. The quote above was taken from his Facebook page as he began his latest campaign to get a second term in office. He has been at pains to restate his commitment to peace and a peaceful electioneering campaign.

Hear him:

“In my political life, I have never been driven by the love of power. Rather, I have gotten to where I am today by the power of love which is the power that fueled (sic) the unity that saw Nigeria become the largest economy in Africa and defeat the Ebola Virus Disease.”

Reading president Jonathan from the above quotes, one could almost paint a picture of a saintly man, devoid of any evil machinations and plans to exterminate his political opponents.

But are these assertions of Mr. President true?

On 6th of January, 2015 in Port Harcourt, one person was allegedly killed while many were seriously injured when two groups of armed youths shot at vehicles conveying supporters of the All Progressives Congress from Asari-Toru and Khana Local Government Areas to the inaugural presidential campaign of the APC candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), the main opponent of President Jonathan in the upcoming presidential election. But as we publish this the President of Nigeria and the PDP presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, is yet to comment on the violence nor commiserate with the dead and injured.

Further violence was unleashed on the opposition on Sunday January 11, with an explosion rocking the All Progressives Congress secretariat in Abam Ama, Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State. Just as the news of the explosion hit Port Harcourt, another round of violence was recorded in Rumueme, Obio/Akpor LGA where four APC members were machetted by persons believed to be PDP political thugs.

The All Progressives Congress secretariat in Ngor communi­ty, in Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, was on 16th of January, bombed by some unknown persons suspected To be PDP political thugs. According to sources and eyewitnesses, the building, which was serving as APC sec­retariat went up in flames, af­ter it was attacked with dyna­mites. The attack was said to have created a lot of panic in the area, as resi­dents were seen fleeing the community.

The attack was said to be sim­ilar to the one carried out on APC secretariat at Aba-Ama in Okrika Local Government Area of the state at about 3.14am, on January 11 of 2015.

Despite the sickening and fearsome level of political violence being unleashed against the opposition, President Jonathan, in his usual manner, has maintained a deafening silence, pretending to be oblivious of the carnage that are being orchestrated by people suspected to be members of his political party. But he was quick to condemn the opposition when his convoy was pelted with stones by street urchins in some northern states.  It must have been embarrassing for him when a governor within his own party, the PDP, informed the world that the urchins were sent by another faction of the same PDP.

With this clarifications, president Jonathan position and condemnation of the opposition became untenable, but as usual, he kept mute.

His quiet acceptance and acquiesces to the attack being unleashed on the opposition, most especially in Rivers State by members of his party as led by Mr. Nyesom Wike, a political godson of the First Lady, led to the carnage that sent shock-waves to all in Okrika, the hometown of the wife of the President on Tuesday, 17th of February 2015.

As the APC were peacefully conducting their gubernatorial rally, five bombs went off, creating pandemonium. As people were fleeing from the rally ground, gunmen began shooting sporadically into the crowd, killing one policeman and injuring fifty others including journalists, APC  supporters and their members.

It is not a secret that Nyesom Wike, in collaboration with Mrs. Jonathan has been making concerted efforts to frustrate the opposition party, the APC in Rivers state. He has publicly claimed the APC would not be allowed to campaign in Okrika and the events of Tuesday 17th of February should not be taken in isolation.

The president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has continually pretend to be oblivious to what has been happening in Rivers State ever since, therefore it has been the practice for Nyesom Wike to create pandemonium in order to make Rivers State ungovernable for the opposition APC. He has sponsored several thuggish actions which the police has condoned and even supported openly especially during the tenure of former police commissioner Mr. Joseph Mbu.

Wike has now taken his bloodlust, thuggery and violence against the opposition to an unprecedented and dangerous level. The actions of the PDP thugs against the APC on 17 February, 2015 was captured on live television and beamed all over the world.

President Jonathan cannot continue to pretend to be a man of peace while looking the other way when his men go on a killing spree against the opposition especially within his own constituency, the South South.

Political violence in any way is an aberration and should not just be condemned but should be punished with all severity. One only hopes that the Nigerian Police will wake up and be alive to its constitutional responsibility of impartially maintaining law and order a cross the country.

What happened in Rivers State must not be swept under the carpet, there must be deterrents without which we can expect more unnecessary violence since some people can act with impunity and above the law. Remember there was a peace pact signed by all political parties and it would be foolhardy to imagine such pacts remain binding when one party can act with impunity and gets away with it.

President Jonathan should start acting as a president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not a President of the PDP or a particular ethnic group. Enough with his clannish disposition!

Mr. Jonathan cannot keep waxing lyrical about how his political ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerians while watching innocent Nigerians bombed to death under his watch by irresponsible political thugs hiding under the banner of political godfatherism.

Enough with these litany of deceits, which has been an encouragement to unnecessary blood letting of innocent Nigerians and wanton destruction of properties.

For once, we call on Mr. President to act like the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the titular head of a banana republic.

 

You may follow the writer on twitter @Ayourb

 

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The Power Of Change By Ibrahym Mojeed-Sanni

The wind of the revolutionary change from the turpitude of administrative ineptitude and rudderless leadership as exemplified by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria makes common sense revolution of changing from the old ways of ‘doing it’ without any meaningful result to a progressive approach, which the All Progressives Congress (APC) with its change slogan provides, as the catalyst for a new Nigeria. Though tough, daunting, tortuous and requires a whole lot of sacrifice, the proponents of a wholesome change in the custodianship of our common patrimony take solace in seeing light at the end of the tunnel giving the enormity of the human and natural resources the nation is endowed with. Nigeria is too rich a nation to be poor and too blessed to lack! The most constant phenomenon is change. Change from the negative to the positive. Even positive state of affairs must be cosseted of complacency and developed to higher pedestal. That is the elasticity of change. Irrespective of economic strata, gender or demography, change is desirable. Nations with visionary leaders don’t relish stagnancy. Change can come in many forms in our lives. It might come forcefully like a tidal wave, or creep along incrementally like a glacier. It might come in the form of devastating tragedy, difficult choices, broken relationships, or even new opportunities. Even though change is often difficult, many times it is also for the best.

It is not surprising that, having seen the embrace and enthusiasm shown to the change exponents, based on clear direction and purposeful leadership, the ruling PDP is surreptitiously abandoning its campaign slogan of ‘Power To The People’, for change! The power to the people mantra was misconstrued by the PDP hierarchy to mean having power for the fun of it and as a means of enriching political acolytes and business cohorts. In retrospect, PDP leaders would have come to the reality that power is not everything. Power is nothing if the people you superintend over cannot have access to dividends of democracy. Power is nothing when poverty pervades the country. Power is nothing when new and old university graduates continue to roam the streets jobless. Power is nothing when the populace cannot access qualitative education. Power is nothing when the people cannot have access to potable water. Power is nothing when ancient locomotives are being glamorized as transformation of the transport sector. Power is nothing when corruption and impunity reigns in the polity. Power is nothing when the whole country is unsecured and people live in fear and trepidation. Power is nothing when our once revered army is rattled by some rag-tag insurgents. Power is nothing when our image in the comity of nations continues to nose-dive. Power is nothing when the nation’s currency continues to lose value.

In a veiled attempt at not being seen as engaging in anti-party activities or using the slogan of the opposition, PDP campaigners are shamelessly cloning the change slogan of APC with defeatist coinage like: ‘Change The Changer’, ‘True Change’, ‘Real Change’, ‘Change For All’,‘Positive Change’ and the more recent campaign of President Goodluck Jonathan in the social media ‘Forward We Go, Let Them Not Short CHANGE Us.’ As the yorubas will say, Ise lo n’je tani mo e ri, owo lo n’je mo ba e tan( Success has many families while failure is an orphan). It is soothing and gratifying to see the PDP identifying with change, as projected by APC, just as it will not be too late for many of the PDP profiteers to attune themselves with reality and embrace the needed change our dear nation crave for at this moment. On November 25, 2014, former PDP members like Governors Rotimi Amaechi, Rabiu Kwankaso, Aliyu Wamakko, Murtala Nyako and Abdulfatah Ahmed of Rivers, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa and Kwara states respectively, were smart enough to see that the rudderless PDP ship was heading towards wreckage and quickly embraced the progressive train. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a founding father of the PDP and former Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustee on Monday, February 16, 2015 openly shred into tatters his membership card of the ‘biggest party in Africa’! That move, signals the imminent demise of PDP in Nigeria. With former President Olusegun Obasanjo out of PDP, who then are the leaders left in the party? Tony Anenih, Ahmadu Alli, Edwin Clark, Bode George and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha! For obvious reason, the PDP needs to reexamine itself if these names are the best it can offer as the leaders of the party.

As we earnestly countdown to the change of baton and direction of governance in Nigeria, kudos must be given to the political egg-heads and strategist that formulated, signed and sealed change, as the catch phrase of the most vibrant and indissoluble opposition party Nigeria has ever produced. From February 2013, when the party was formed, the change slogan has reverberated across the length and breadth of the country, cutting across all the geo-political zones. From the South-West to the South-East, South-East to the South-South, South-South to the North-Central, North-Central to the North-West and North-West to the North-East, people have imbibed the change mantra with the broom symbol. The change message is further given pragmatic meaning with impressive antecedents and integrity of the Presidential candidate of APC, General Muhammadu Buhari, whose cult-like followership, frugal disposition and incorruptible records of public service have helped in driving-home the much desired change Nigeria deserves at this crucial juncture in our evolution and developmental trajectory. In the words of the immortal preeminent leader of Indian independence movement, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, more commonly known as ‘Mahatma’ (Great Soul): “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”The time is now, for us to put our thumbs were our minds are, by marching our words with action on March 28, 2015. Let’s brake away from indecisive, faltering, lame-duck and bulk-passing governance and say Goodluck to Buhari with our votes.

This is Nigeria’s turning point; the point where we must collectively carry the cross of nationhood and banish redundancy, incompetency and mediocrity once and forever. Change is here.

Ibrahym Mojeed-Sanni wrote from Agboyi-Ketu, Lagos. Twitter handle @conne_lagos

 

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Let’s Avoid the June 12 Road, By Olusegun Adeniyi

There is a joke I shared several years ago on this page of a lavish society wedding after which the couple retired home to commence their honeymoon. At bed time, as the man joined his wife and attempted to consummate the relationship, she withdrew from under the pillow a court injunction perpetually restraining the husband from claiming “all his entitlements”. What made the “report” believable, as I said at the time, was that the said injunction was obtained from a court in Abuja, a city notorious for breeding judges for whom “justice” is a commodity that can be traded even on the Stock Exchange.

The point here is that the judiciary is becoming a source of concern, especially in this election season, and there are undercurrents to suggest that some judges in Abuja are being primed to game the process. It is perhaps for that reason that the recent admonition by the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, is instructive. He said: “Let me use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to all judicial officers. Do not allow any political party or politician to compromise your integrity or your future. We must never again be used as tools to truncate our nation’s democracy.”

Certain things going on within the polity today remind us all of the orchestrated June 12, 1993 presidential election fiasco. One, there is a growing perception, as it was in the past, that the only way to get an incumbent out of power in Nigeria is through some form of negotiated exit, however unpopular such a leader may be. Two, there is currently a widespread but dangerous narrative that the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan can only win the rescheduled election by rigging. So even if he secures more votes than his main opponent, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), in a credible process, the result would be disputed by those who have made up their minds that “Buhari has already won.”

Three, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged that the president is determined to win the election by “hook or crook” or in the alternative, “go for broke” by scuttling the entire democratic process. Four, by counter-alleging that“Obasanjo’s plot with others inside and outside the country to thwart the general elections and foist an unconstitutional Interim National Government, which he hopes to head on the nation is well known to us”, the presidency has confirmed that rumours about ING are not totally unfounded. Five, a staff of a senior presidency official recently posted on a social media platform that if defeated, President Jonathan would rather hand over to the military than allow Buhari to take over power.  Six, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has publicly stated that if it is “rigged out”, meaning if it loses the presidential election, the party would form a “parallel government”, an open invitation to anarchy.

Seven, and this is the critical point here, there are reports that some politicians and their agents are working the courts in Abuja to ensure either that the elections do not hold as rescheduled or that the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and Card Readers are not used, knowing that without them, it would be a matter of simply writing results with all the attendant consequences for the peace of Nigeria.

The sum total of the foregoing is that there are increasing signs that if care is not taken, our nation could be plunged into a serious crisis. That then explains why the next five weeks and two days (to the presidential election) have become crucial. The good bit though is that whatever anybody may say, this election is not being fought along, and would not be lost and won on the basis of, Nigeria’s traditional fault-lines. Indeed, what I find particularly interesting is that most of the people leading the political assault for the president are Northerners (and they are predominantly Muslims) while the political strategists around Buhari are from the South (and they are mostly Christians). The lesson here is simple: For the average Nigerian politician, whether from the North or from the South and regardless of the religion he/she professes, politics is more often about the pursuit of personal interests.

 

Now that a significant number of Nigerian prospective voters have been availed the opportunity to collect their PVCs, it is important for both the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition APC to support the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the bid to conduct credible elections. And that will not happen by clamouring to have INEC jettison the idea of using the PVCs and Card Readers or by embarking on a needless propaganda against the authorities, including President Jonathan. Neither is it in the interest of our country if those who once gleefully told Nigerians that the acronym for the name JEGA means Jonathan Ebele Goodluck Azikiwe continue to blackmail the INEC chairman with unfounded allegations.

While June 12 may mean different things to different people, what is not in doubt is that Nigerians paid an enormous price for the contrived and prolonged crisis that held back our country from peace and progress and for a long period divided our people. Therefore, for us to avoid going back down that unfortunate road, critical stakeholders must pay attention to Abuja courts. A word, as they say, is enough for the wise!

Message from Bush (Jnr)

Immediate past United States President, Mr. George Bush, who is currently promoting his new book, “41: A Portrait of My Father” (on his dad and former President George H.W. Bush), said last weekend: “I don’t think it’s good for the country to have a former president undermine a current president; I think it’s bad for the presidency for that matter.”

Bush said he has no interest in generating headlines for himself by bashing his successor. “Secondly, I really have had all the fame I want,” he continued. “And the truth of the matter is (that) in order for me to generate publicity I’d have to either attack the Republican Party, which I don’t want to do, or attack the president, which I don’t want to do. And so I’m perfectly content to be out of the limelight.”

I wish someone in our country would take that message.

 

A Question to Ponder

A few days ago, I was going through the files on my computer when I saw one titled “The happiest day of my life”. It was a school essay written by my second daughter. Out of curiosity, I decided to read the story which was about a family holiday, the only one we ever took together in the summer of 2013 to the Island of Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous territory in Tanzania. What made the trip so memorable for my daughter, according to what she wrote, was: “My dad travelled with us on holiday for the first time”.

Embedded in my daughter’s story is a subtle rebuke, perhaps even an indictment. I know they (and of course someone else!) have always canvassed that I should travel with them on holidays but then I have work to do, don’t I? After all, I make the money for them to enjoy such luxury that I never did as the son of a village carpenter. But I have also had to reflect on parenting in the age that we are in and after reading the internet story below which was recently posted on a listserv, I find the message so instructive that I reproduce it for readers. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me:

In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago’s Edge Water Beach Hotel. Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth. Attending the meeting were the following men: 1. The president of the largest steel company; 2. The president of the largest utility company; 3. The president of the largest gas company; 4. The president of the New York Stock Exchange; 5. The president of the Bank of International Settlements; 6. The greatest Wheat Speculator; 7. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street; 8. The head of the World’s greatest monopoly and 9. A member of President Harding’s cabinet. That’s a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone’s yardstick. Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants?

Let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later: 1. The president of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt; 2. The president of the then largest gas company, Howard Hubson, went insane; 3. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator), Arthur Cutten, died insolvent; 4. Then president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was sent to jail; 5. The member of US President Harding’s cabinet, Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace; 6. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, Jesse Livermore committed suicide; 7. The president of the then world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Krueger, also killed himself; 8. The president of the Bank of International Settlement, Leon Fraser, equally took his own life; 9. The president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless.

What those people forgot was how to “make life” while they got busy making money! Money in itself is not evil; it provides food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy. However, money is only a medium of exchange. We need two kinds of education: One that teaches us how to make a living and another that teaches us how to live. There are many of us who are so engrossed in our professional life that we neglect our family, health and social responsibilities. If asked why we do this, we would reply that “we are doing it for our family”. Yet, our kids are sleeping when we leave home. And they are sleeping when we come back home! Twenty years later, we’ll turn back, and they’ll all be gone, to pursue their own dreams and their own lives.

Without water, a ship cannot move. But if the water gets into the ship, the ship will face disaster. What was once productive for the ship now becomes destructive. Similarly, we live in a time where earning is a necessity but let it not enter our hearts, so that what was once a means of living may not become a means of destruction for us as well.

So take a moment and ask yourself: “Has the water entered my ship?”

 

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The Bungled Hatchet Job of Adam Kredo By Nasiru Suwaid

One of the unique characteristic of international espionage, state intelligence services and spying networks is to never leave a trail, which could link one happening to the other occurrences, at least not in a way every average Joe, could discern the intent, purpose and reality of events to achieve a predetermined end. Unfortunately for the Nigerian security apparatchik, the story of last week, ‘floated’ by The Washington Free Beacon, a ‘conservative’ ideologically driven website based in the United States of America capital, with a title caption: David Axelrod’s Political Consulting Firm Far More Involved in Nigeria Election than Previously Disclosed by Adam Kredo. Simply put, it did not attain this ‘excellence’ in classical subterfuge, glaringly because it was not well executed or rather, the actor and acting did not fit the role.

The serial chain of events started with the ‘announcement’ of the shifting of February 14th Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, which occurred on the 7th of February, 2015. By Sunday the 8th of February, the United States Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, had literally condemned the actions of the Nigerian government, as unwarranted ‘interference’ of the military, in purely democratic activity of electoral management and supervision. By Monday the 9th of February, around mid afternoon precisely, came the implanted title piece by Adam Kredo, whose contents is basically an exposé, alleging a ‘collusion’ between President Obama Administration and the Nigerian opposition party, the All People’s Congress, a kind of guilt by association, because, the latter is employing the former’s publicist consulting firm, to achieve the kind of victory, which made Barack Obama to become the first black president in the history of America.

Now, to understand the plot of the story much clearly, one has to enter the realm of history or to be most specific, the journey of the ascension of Barack Obama to the zenith of the height of American politics, which was around the year 2007, when a young, fresh and spellbinding lawyer and social worker took the United States of America by storm. Although many had singularly conferred the credit of such success to the individual, yet, to the few discerning observers, the price for the creation of such a unique personality, which was able to sweep off America of its feet, should be shared with the firm of an exceptional confidante, a certain David Axelrod. It was his firm, the AKPD Message and Media, which piloted and choreographed the ‘audacity of hope’ movement, that made America to believe a new country is being born, where ‘anyone’ could rise to any position and can only be judged by the content of their character and the depth of their knowledge.

Generally, the content of the highly controversial report, sought to paint a picture of ‘criminal conspiracy’, about a series of email correspondences, between the Nigerian opposition party, the All People’s Congress and the AKPD Consulting. Clearly, the article conveyed the image of a highly secretive relationship, where many emails were surreptitiously exchanged, on the progress made to sell the opposition party and how the American media firm, was very uncomfortable and in fact, deceptively tried to hide the working relationship between the two organizations. Of course, no subterfuge of this format would end, without the mention of Boko Haram and how the AKPD is ‘consorting’ with an opposition, which might be linked with the devilish terrorist group, that is being aided to get into power by a highly ‘complicit’ Obama administration.

The problem with this faltered roping plan though, is that it is neither illegal nor secretive or even morally wrong to work with an image consultants, at least, it is not against Nigerian laws, as if it were so, the People’s Democratic Party and the President Goodluck Jonathan government, would not have employed Levick Public Relations Firm, a fellow Washington based organization also, to manage the image of the administration. Also, no credible newspaper worth its name, would in a form of ‘gleeful evisceration’, announce personal email correspondences of an opposition political party, without raising the specter of how the Fundamental Human Right to Privacy, an enshrined constitutional provision was breached, without mentioning a verified court warrant, authorizing such abridgement, besides, who can confidently tap into private emails, except high state security officials.

The very sad aspect about the report is not only that it is false or that it was done to illegally undermine an opposition party but that is not even the bother, rather, what is the source of worry to many a concerned Nigerian is that it does not portray our intelligence services well. Because, Adam Kredo is an individual, whose writings résumé had associated with mainly Jewish newspapers, such as the Washington Jewish Week, the Jerusalem Post and the Jewish Telegraph, thus a ‘known’ collaborator with the Israeli Intelligence Service and a loyal supporter of a very rambunctious Benjamin’ Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister.

As such, he has little credibility, if any, a ‘reputation’ he shares with The Washington Free Beacon, which was once described as “decadent and (with) unethical practices”, by the much regarded and respected National Press Club, Washington D.C. Surely, an online newspaper with such a rabid passion for hatred towards the Obama administration, should not be armed with damaging and undermining allegations, by any government needing both military and diplomatic support to fight a debilitating insurgency, ever wonder why the Nigerian government is having problems with one its best allies today.

And this two other things:

DOES PRESIDENT JONATHAN ACTUALLY HAVE LEGAL ADVISERS?

Last week, I was most fascinated by the many interviews, granted by President Goodluck Jonathan, but most interestingly, it was the one he gave to the Nigerian Television Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and the Voice of Nigeria, which stood out, not in the fact that it was the most probing of the lot or rather, it elicited much revelation, which the other interviews did not achieve. The reason why the one hosted by state owned broadcasters interested me most, was because the president used the opportunity to clarify a controversial statement, once attributed to him, when he was quoted as saying; ‘stealing is not corruption’, widely interpreted to mean, rightly or wrongly, as the Nigerian leader’s infamous reputation for tolerance towards graft.

Fortunately for him, that occasion for a media interaction, afforded him the opportunity to clearly state what he meant, which he promptly took to explain that in actual fact, he never condoned corruption, as the import of the misunderstood statement conveyed. Unfortunately for the Nigerian viewers and listeners, his explanation on the circumstantial context in which he spoke, befuddled and bewildered everyone, when he said that for a ‘crime’ to incur the disapproval as well as the wrath of the society, thus recognized under the law, because it is ‘seen’ as a criminal wrong. It must have been established, as part of the linguistic structure of the language syntax of an ethnic group. Literally, what it infers, as an example, minorities tribes living in the villages of the country, do not ‘know’ corruption is a crime. But even for majority ethnic groups, he was quick to give the example of the Yoruba, where he stated that whenever ‘Ole’ is shouted, which means thief, a lynch mob usually gathers, but calling someone corrupt, does not elicit similar reaction, or indeed equal revulsion.

The error in the ’philosophical’ explanation is that, even in the Yorubaland or indeed any social community living in Nigeria, laws and its application are not within the jurisdictional purview of the mobs to implement or rather, mob justice is not an example to extol, rather, it is a sign of emerging dysfunction of an evolving failed state. Besides, both the two wrongs of theft and corruption are codified state offences, punishable as a crime, also, one of the fundamental characteristics of the Nigerian jurisprudence is the legal dictum: ‘ignorance of the law is not a defence’. Thus, when an ‘occupant’ to the Office of the Nigerian President, having the constitutional function of ‘executing’ the laws of the nation, openly proclaim that some criminal ‘words’ are unknown to certain ethnic groups, what stops an Ijaw man, from a minority dialect, from being corrupt and saying such a word does not exist in Izon lexis and structure.

WHAT IS OBASANJO’S GREATEST FEAR?

It was on Monday, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo caused a storm that is akin to a political earthquake, when he not only left the ruling People’s Democratic Party, an organization that had rehabilitated him, returned him into power and enabled him to occupy the highest office in the land. And, what mystified many, including his working colleagues in the top hierarchy of the party, was how he left, not silently but shouting and tearing to pieces, his party’s membership card. Many had openly wondered and pondered, as to what is Obasanjo’s greatest fear with Goodluck Jonathan, because, clearly, he has a significant portion of the blame, in what Nigeria has became with the Jonathan administration, as it was him who brought him into power, also, the corruption issues associated with the ‘transformation’ regime, did not start with the ascension of Goodluck into power, so also is the equally repulsive official highhandedness.

To understand from where Obasanjo’s greatest fear emanates, a little anecdote suffices here; the time was June 8th 1998, the place is the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, at the presidential lounge was General Ibrahim Babangida, looking pensive and moody, waiting for the arrival of the remains of Late General Sani Abacha. When the time for eulogy came, he glowingly extolled the virtue of Abacha, meanwhile, what he did not know, was that an earlier interview he gave in the day to the British newspaper, the Financial Times of London, where he called his dead friend and colleague a tyrannical dictator, had reached the press in Kano. Thus, while he was speaking, many a journalist looked at him sheepishly, with a bewildered expression and a sense missed opportunity to tempt fate.

But, what has this story go to do with Obasanjo’s greatest fear, unfortunately a lot, because, just as it is Babangida who aided Abacha into power, Olusegun Obasanjo did the same for Goodluck Jonathan or at least, that is the general impression of Nigerians. Which infers, that just as Babangida and Obasanjo are human beings, thus bound to make mistakes, on the ‘choices’ they made and will make in the future, what atones such mistakes is the courage to correct them, before fate takes care of it, as in the case of Abacha, an eventual death, while in the case of Jonathan, a fated destiny of an election loss, which happens with the verdict of 2015 presidential elections. Thus, anytime anyone asks you, what is Obasanjo’s greatest fear? Just look at him straight in the face and say; ‘the fear of inadequacy, to recognize wrong decisions made and being scared of leading to correct it.’

Follow me on twitter: @neeswaid

 

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The Politics Of Bigotry By Atoyebi Deji

“Every man was born a human being with nothing artificial attached to him, but the qualities which make him a man. All other things like religion and language are acquired through interaction and so are out rightly not natural” – Deji Atoyebi

Traced down to its cradle, Nigeria has always being a political entity inhabited by people with deferring religious inclinations and ethnic grouping. Prior to colonization, the various entities which make up what is now Nigeria were organized in separate groups due to ethnicity and a feeling of national integration. Various empires were in existence, some of which include – the Kanem Bornu Empire, the Sokoto Emirate, the Oyo Empire and the cephalous, decentralized Igbo community. These were just a few of the dominant empires at that time but they take centre stage in this discourse simply because they represent what later metamorphosed into the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria – the Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba. However, it should be noted that, even before the invasion of the Europeans in the socio-political life of these people, there was evidence of strained relationship among them. The incidence of this paper is to vividly examine how the strong feeling of diversity and existence of pluralism have led to short-sightedness and retarded progress traced from the frail lines of the period of decolonization to the present day.

 

The gain of independence on October 1, 1960 was joyfully regarded as the landmark for the ushering in of great things in the political life of the country. Ecstasy rented the air as decolonization seemed to be the soothing relief for aggrieved minds and the hush for crying lips. The tyranny and heavy-handed rule of the British was nipped in the bud and the assuring light of republicanism shone brightly. No one could foresee the future but optimism was the anthem sung sonorously. The major parties during this period included- The Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the Action Group (AG), National Council of the Nigerians and Cameroons (NCNC) and the Northern Elements Progressive Union. The game of bigotry kicked-off at this stage because instead of these parties to adopt a national outlook, they were identified with ethnic affiliations. The premise of ethnic affiliations of all the parties can be given credence with the following pieces of evidence.

 

First, two of the major parties, the NPC and NEPU had the word “Northern” in their title. Hence, there was no doubt these parties did not have the view of representing national interests but those of sectionalized; ones. Besides, the Northern part of Nigeria was the stronghold of the two parties. Also, it would be an unforgivable mistake to lay claims to the fact that the NCNC was of a national outlook due to the full meaning of its name. This party totally streamlined its activities to the eastern part of Nigeria. The same game play was adopted by the Action Group team which had its stronghold in the west and identified itself with majority being the Yoruba people.

 

Second, to further crystallize the inherent tripartite cleavage, the leadership of the major parties followed suit by adopting leaders belonging to the main ethnic group which their parties represented. The A.G was led by Obafemi Awolowo, the NPC by Ahmadu Bello, the NCNC by Nnamdi Azikiwe and NEPU by Aminu Kano. Lastly, the NPC won in mainly the Northern states, the AG had its seats in the Western states and the NCNC in the Eastern ones.

 

All of these began what has led to division based on the lines of ethnicity. There was no much care for the government at the centre as efforts were geared to only develop sections by the above stated parties. There were cases of disputes based on ideological differences, but it should be noted that these differences would not have been as profound as it were only if there was somewhat a feeling of brotherhood. however, the uneasy cordial relationship among the various groups was marred by the first coup which took place on the 15 of January 1966. Major-General Aguiyi Ironsi mounted the seat of power through the coup staged by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, both of whom were Ibo men. It was predicted that the Ibo’s wanted to arrogate power to themselves but bad blood was triggered when it was discovered that the northerners were the major casualties in this ‘Ibo-led’ coup. There was uneasiness between the two ethnic groups. Another coup was staged which saw the rising to power of General Yakubu Gowon, an Hausa strong man. His regime left an indelible mark in the history of Nigeria as it saw the beginning of the civil war. The civil war ended with no victor nor vanquished but it created feelings of hatred among the various ethnic groups

 

The second republic followed the footsteps of the first. It was obvious that Nigerians had not learnt their lessons. The major parties were created in the guise of being national ones but in the real sense, they were all sectionalized ones who had leaders drawn from a particular ethnic group and dominated the regions which they represented. The abortive third republic seemed to be the beginning of a new pattern of play in the game of politics. It saw the watering down of ethnic divisions. The two major parties were the SDP and NRC, both of which to some extent, had no attachment to any of the three ethnic groups. The most shocking thing happened when SDP’s presidential candidate, Chief M.K.O Abiola massively won the NRC’s presidential candidate- Bashir Tofa in the latter’s home. Religious tension was not in any way visible. In fact, both Chief Abiola and his running mate – Baba Gana Kingibe were both Muslims but still, they were open-handedly embraced my majority of citizens.

 

The emergence of the fourth republic seemed to be the beginning of a political epoch devoid of ethnic and religious sentiments but ironically, so far, it has been the most plagued of all. The major parties that contested in the 1999 elections all had branches in the nook and crannies of Nigeria. They were not sectionalized. However, the most sardonic of the characteristic features of the fourth republic is the deteriorating level of coherent reasoning on the part of the citizens. People no longer vote for someone because of his/her qualities, but the zone he or she comes from or the religion which he belongs to. Zoning has become a necessity due to the premise of giving each geo-political zone a level playing ground in the political pitch. People have allowed ethno-religious wax to completely becloud their vision. We hear things like,”he is our son, he can do it” even if this so called “son” has not done anything to make them better-off

 

With the postponed 2015 elections in sight, I have been totally bewildered by the way some party members and prominent political officials have being found engaging in the game of mudslinging and political bigotry. Unfortunately, none of the two major parties – PDP and APC, has been able to bring to the table nice and presentable ideologies with which they intend to sell out themselves to the public. In fact, the incumbent vice president, Namadi Sambo was found in PDP’s presidential campaign in Niger State saying General Buhari should not be voted for because he is surrounded by Christians and his main aim is to ‘Christianize’ Nigeria. In some other quarters, the belief pervading the air is that General Buhari would Islamize Nigeria if elected. This is how bad religion has come to mar the thinking of Nigerians. Also, in the north, most people would not likely vote for Goodluck Jonathan not because of the fact that they believe he has not performed well enough, but because he is a Christian and not a northerner. That is how bad it gets.

 

As a student of political science, I am overly interested in the science of psychology. I have been changed to interview people on whom their preferred choice is and why they would vote for him. I met a man (whose name I will not like to mention) who said he would vote for Jonathan because he believes he is more vibrant and probably active enough to confront the problems of Nigeria. How true his assertion is however, should not be a topic for debate. I deeply respected the man’s opinion simply because it was devoid of ethno-religious sentiments. I also interviewed a woman who said she would vote for Jonathan because he is a product of “God’s will” and he is most importantly a Christian. I shook my head in pity. No doubt, the woman has a right to air her views, but I saw her opinion as shallow and flimsy. More often than not, people of her type are the ones pushing Nigeria hands-free into the abyss. This is the situation we have found ourselves in. A situation whereby the Christians try to be more Christian than Christ himself and Muslims try to be me more Muslim than Prophet Muhammed.

 

The prospect of a Nigeria encrusted in ethno-religious borders is such a gloomy one. One which would sink deep into the ocean of modern warfare and crisis. A state where imbroglio would have a secure place, where being sanity would be sane, corruption legalized and religion itself, bastardized. Religion would become a tool of destruction rather than a bond for integration. In the view of Remi Anifowose, Nigeria cannot be called a nation-state simply because there is no form of national feeling in the minds of the people. I am not being a prophet of doom, in fact, I do not need to be a soothsayer to be able to see that if the current status quo is maintained, we would be throwing caution to the wind by destroying our lives ourselves. Nigeria would be a battleground rather than machinery that transcends enmity and differences.

 

After stating the possible prospects of Nigeria under ethno-religious underpinnings, a careful and patriotic person would ask if there is a possible solution. The answer is yes! There are probable solutions even though they might be hard to attain. First, Nigerians should adopt a new mindset. Only if they could see that they are voting for a political leader who would sooth their interests as citizens in a state rather than a religious or ethnic leader who would provide their spiritual or communal needs then, there would be the long-sought change. Who cares whether Mr. X is a God fearing man? As long as he is not able to meet up to expectations which are political and not religious in nature, he should be hastily disposed off. Also, if only Nigerians could see themselves as human beings created by one God with the same identity, perhaps things would not go rotten. This feeling should not only be adopted by Nigerians but the whole world. If there is a sense of brotherhood, there would be establishment of the values of pragmatism, co-operation and respect for pluralism.

 

Let me end this discourse by positing this fiction. “Ahmed cannot tolerate John simply because he is a Christian. Meanwhile, Ahmed has never placed himself in John’s shoes to be able to discern that if he was also born into John’s family, he would have been a Christian and if vice versa, John would have been a Muslim”. We should know that man is a prisoner of his cultural environment. Hence, why hate a man for something he did not impose on himself and which he finds hard to break its shackles due to environmental indoctrination? The ball is in our court. It should be meandered well to achieve sought goals.

Deji Atoyebi is a student of the University of Ilorin. He contributes at the Theatre of Perspectives.

 

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President Jonathan and PDP Are Scared of INEC’s Card Reader – Lauretta Onochie

The hawks are beginning to gather again. A few weeks ago, not a few people raised an eyebrow when the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, throttled off to Chatham House in far away England to advise the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, to postpone the general elections, barely three weeks to the commencement of the elections. Despite repeated assurances from INEC that they were ready to give Nigerians free and fair elections, those around the PDP and Pres. Jonathan, particularly the high rank of the Nigerian army, took it upon themselves to put measures in place that would undermine the conduct of the February 2015 election.

The election was postponed on the grounds that the Nigerian security outfit would be unable to provide security for INEC and Nigerians during the elections. The Nigerian Army chose the day of the postponed election, 14th February, to begin an onslaught on the Boko Haram insurgency that has been a source of embarrassment, under the current presidency.

Nigerians are aware that it is not the role of the Nigerian Army to conduct nor supervise elections. Nigerians are also aware that elections have been held successfully without major incidences in Anambra, Kano, Ekiti, Osun states and local government elections in Gombe state were safely conducted.

INEC was hounded by the high military command as well as the men around the President. Chief E.K. Clark called for his arrest. Sources alleged that while Regina Omo Agege and Mike Igini (INEC REC) regularly up-date Chief E.K Clark about the workings of INEC and Jega, Dotun Sowemimo and Kayode Ajulo, (Labour Party Secretary and Solicitor to Chief Clark) play the same role in Civil societies organisations.

President Jonathan claimed the security Chiefs did not consult him before they wrote INEC to postpone the elections, giving credence to the widely held suspicion that President Jonathan is not in charge of our nation. It therefore, seems logical why the military high command is bent on keeping President Jonathan, a soft touch they have been able to subdue and conquer, for the purpose of continuing the looting spree that has put the lives of our junior officers at the mercy of the better equipped Boko Haram insurgents.

But the vultures have not yet finished with their sinister plans to thwart the constitutional rights of Nigerians to choose their leaders. The print and the broadcast media are under occupation by those eager to allegedly earn a living by discrediting INEC. They do this by placing the blame for the postponement on the alleged and unfounded plan by INEC to disenfranchise many Nigerians. INEC is adamant all the cards are ready for collection. There is nowhere in the world and certainly not in Nigeria, where such exercise as collection of cards  would yield a 100% success. The reality is that those who have died since 2011, those who are in hospitals or sick at home, some of those who have lost faith in Nigerian politicians and have become apathetic as well as the fake names used to dubiously populate the voters register, will never collect their cards. The role of INEC is to make the cards available for collection, not to enforce its collection.

Now, another Retired military officer, Ahmadu Ali of the PDP, has flagged off a massive media coordinated attack on INEC’s state of preparedness with a view to exonerating the Nigerian security forces of all blames regarding the postponement of the election and sell a devious discrediting of the Card Reader. It is therefore, not hard to see the desperation of certain interest groups around President Jonathan and the President himself, as they fight hard to ensure that the Card reader is not utilised for this particular election. The easiest way to achieve this is to get rid of the chairman of INEC. We are still not convinced that there are no plans to either sack Prof. Jega or force him to resign, an action that is capable of throwing the electoral commission into chaos, so close to the election.

But the main issue for those plotting to truncate this democratic process is the new CARD READER. Having tried to find a way around the Card reader, PDP now wants to take us backwards by recommending the use of the Temporary Voters Cards side by side the PVCs, which has in-built mechanisms to minimise the incidence of rigging thereby, conferring on the election, fairness and credibility. The perceived determination of INEC to proceed with the use of the PVC and its reader is at variance with the desires of those who seek to perpetuate their hold on power over the Nigerian people.

They are also now claiming they had never seen the Card Reader. But the truth remains that INEC had demonstrated how the equipment works, in one of its monthly meetings where all the registered political parties had representatives in attendance. They alleged that INEC claimed that the Card Readers cannot fail. On the contrary, the Commission has since discussed and agreed remedial measures in the event of machine failure with ALL registered political parties. INEC has also discussed and agreed on fallback plans at a meeting with ALL registered political parties, should the card reader fail. INEC has trained enough people on the use of the card reader and assured political parties of extra card readers within each Ward.

It’s instructive to note that in recent times, the Card reader was instrumental to the free, fair and credible elections held in Ghana, Kenya and Sierra Leone and that INEC offered supervisory and technical support on the use of the card reader in Sierra Leone.

On Tuesday, 11th of February, 2015, the Representatives of the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU), in a meeting with General Buhari, asked the stakeholders in the Nigerian electoral process to ensure compliance to constitutional provisions for conduct of  the general elections. In General Buhari’s response he stated that our expectations are very clear as INEC has played its last card and that is the limit. He added that on the 28 of March, there must be election and it is up to the government to ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.” We stand by this statement by General Buhari as we can see a collaboration between the high military command and the Pres. Jonathan led PDP government.

Consequently, we will no longer tolerate any further tinkering of the electoral processes, including the alleged planned removal of Prof. Jega. On the Card Reader we Stand.

 

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President Jonathan Instigated the Violence And Death At The APC Rally [Plus Video]

By Peregrino Brimah

Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan while campaigning in the Niger Delta on the 6th of February this year made some disturbing remarks that have now directly led to the death and injuries of dozens at the opposition APC political rally held in Okrika, Rivers state this Tuesday.

While talking to a crowd in his home state of Bayelsa, a frustrated president who was angry at being booed by youth of his state surprisingly said, “don’t allow anybody to visit you.” The president repeated this directive and prescription of violence more than once to the displeased crowd; emphasizing that he should be listened to as their “father, brother and uncle.”

The statements as we, ENDS in our earlier release, quickly condemned and alerted, were a direct recommendation for violence at opposition political campaigns.

On Tuesday the 17th, the first results of Goodluck Jonathan’s instigation were reaped: at least one police officer was killed along with dozens of civilians and other officers who sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Importantly, several known terrorists and social misfits associated with the President; who have made categorical statements promising violence to disallow opposition campaigns and any ruling party unfavorable democratic results, have been openly tolerated and encouraged by the Jonathan government. This being further impetus and executive promotion of the violent deaths Nigeria now witnesses.

The careless and deadly instigation and actions of Nigeria’s president cannot be glossed over. Our civilians should not be struggling for their lives today and our valiant police officer’s family should never have needed to mourn at this hour.

jonathan bayelsa angry2Nigeria’s president by uttering such dangerous, provocative statements, most especially from his position of authority, is indicted in the violence that followed and the injuries and sad death that the nation witnessed.

The President needs to be called to immediately retract and unambiguously disavow his asinine pronouncements and abdicate his office for instigating violence and murder and failing to uphold the constitution as obligated by his oath.

This video captures the government’s role in the violence and deaths at the APC rally: http://youtu.be/a36lca150Zo

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Obasanjo: His Architectural Design and Failed Pocketing Of a Nation By Fodio Ahmed (Mai Gemu)

I will try and keep it together, above all simple. Baba, I am not here to mount gramma or analyze your dramatic attitudes,  but certainly as a former president who served both in the Military and Civilian eras, you need no introduction. Baba, you became a military president after the successful assassination of General Murtala Muhammed, I also do not have that unpleasant time to tell you, when was that. You tried to assassinate Late General Sani Abacha but you ran out of luck, the reason you where sentenced to life in prison.

Baba Iyabo, your release after the death of Abacha and the eventual search for greener pasture in politics began that same period, but of cause, it was clear how you made it out of prison. The discovery of your god in prison and seeing 1999 before 1999 was seen clearly by yourself, as being on a mission to restore Nigeria and her ribbons of troubles, starting with the defeat of separatism. Exactly, the vision you saw Baba came to stay, when you became the pioneer People’s Democratic Party’s presidential flag bearer and eventually the winner, I seriously do not want to discuss how you won that election, but then on 27th of May, 1999, you where sworn-in as a president elect of federal republic of Nigeria.

Baba, 4 years later from 1999, you needed an intact return in 2003, but your then Vice President was already seeing his transition glory from number 2 to 1. Atiku’s quest for transition secured an agreement, a gentlemen agreement with you, to be supported in 2007. Baba Kai!!!!!!! You are not a gentleman at all and I doubt, if you will see the glory of almighty, because you refused to respect that gentlemen agreement, rather you came up with the worst leadership desire called the 3rd term Agenda, that naked desire was the foundation of the architectural design of Nigeria’s present day misery.

Baba, can God Almighty forgive you ? He would, if Nigerians forgive you, so instead of all this stunts, it is better you seek for forgiveness from us. Baba, I seriously do not have that strength to outline your sins, against us, but aside your failed attempt to bury Nigerian constitution with whole lots of facial make up to suit your 3rd term agenda, to your many attempts to completely hijack the control of the party, or to the series of dislodgment plot within the party, which today is the reason all incumbents want be in charge of their party. Baba you successfully manipulated the PDP’s constitution which saw you becoming the Chairman Board of Trustees after dislodging Chief Tony Aneni. That post is the most powerful organ of the party.

Baba, you ko !!!! You even have the gods to accuse President  Goodluck Jonathan of squandering Nigeria’s oil money, who was your Petroleum Minister during your 8 years serving as a President ? Nobody, you were the sole administrator of that Ministry, give us a detail report of the financial happenings then.

Baba, from what it is today, even the emergence of Goodluck was as your result of greedy political permutations beyond 2007, you knew the health condition of Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, I am sure. His elder brother was once your Chief of Staff but you against all odds hand picked and did the peering, that peering now is where we are today. That peering is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who took over after the death of Yar’adua. Baba then believed his plans had fallen into place, like since he didn’t secure a 3rd term bid, his puppet is there. Can we now see, where the politics of ‘hand picking a successor’ got its revelation ?. In fact, even the 2007 election that brought Baba’s peering was described as the most fraudulent election ever, well maybe the 2015 might take over that record, since it is believed that students learn better than their teachers.

Follow countrymen, all sins that Baba is pin pointing in this administration, got its root from Baba as a result of his failure to to secure a 3rd term agenda. Even the fuel subsidy crisis was exactly an opposite of the notorious “Ali Must Go” crisis. Baba didn’t use the military to intimidate but he also resigned lots of not loyal uniform men, his tool then was Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC, a cosmetic anti corruption agency used for bringing sanity unto those who have gone against the political morality of Baba Iyabo. The same thing Jonathan does with our security agencies, but Baba played a matured one though. Baba, you brought Goodluck to become your errand president while from Otta farm, you wanted to control the Nation’s treasury and pocket Goodluck’s administration, but sorry you had the devil’s luck, coupled with the fact that what you did in PDP has started witch hunting you, physically and spiritually. It got to the peak, that was why you publicly tore your membership card.

Dear Baba Iyabo, we know you are just displaying your illusive patriotism and fraudulent heroic gestures because what Nigeria is suffering today is the manifestation of your sperm from the womb of her political system and let almighty GOD reward your accordingly. Amen. You have totally failed.

Now, to APC who are busy celebrating Baba’s fraudulent heroic act, to the extent of saying he is emancipating, we the people from the shackles of PDP, I now wonder, if the CHANGE that we the masses crave for, is exactly the CHANGE as seen in the opposition because it’s obvious that the APC are just after unseating then crushing the PDP, I mean revenge time. Who knows, but this is my prayer, Dear Lord, General Buhari no doubt is a man of integrity but not perfect as coined by mischievous political supporters and it is your will that he is so loved by the masses, but seems lots of wolfs are wearing the Buhari’s face and exploiting his integrity. I pray that God exposes them before they win elections and disgrace the general who clearly is on a rescue mission. Amen.

 

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The Changing Face of Politics in Abia State–By Ifeanyi Amanze

Time there was when all you needed to do to win an election in Abia State was to be colorless, a stooge and a card carrying member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Time there was when all you needed to do to win an election in Abia State was to be in the good books of the Orjis–from Orji Uzor Kalu to Theodore Orji.

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Why Nigeria May Have its First Elected Female Governor By Abdulrahman Usman Leme

As Nigerians wait to go to the polls for the 2015 elections across the country, which was earlier scheduled to hold on the 14th and 28th of February 2015, now re-scheduled to hold on the 28th of March and 11th of April 2015 respectively; political analysts, journalists, international communities and many Nigerians have continued to air their views on the dramas and the likely events that may unfold in the coming weeks. There is no doubt that after the presidential election, the gubernatorial election is the second biggest election in Nigeria. Governors are seen to be very powerful, second only to the President of the country. Despite the fact that in the recent years women have participated actively in our political processes and have held several political and public offices, there hasn’t been a female governor, vice president or president in Nigeria.

After the political parties conducted their primaries, there were a lot of surprises as expected; one of such was the emergence of Senator Aisha Jummai Alhassan as the only female Gubernatorial candidate on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and subsequently in Nigeria – she will be contesting in Taraba State. Two things are significant here if she eventually wins, she will be the first female elected as governor in Nigeria, and secondly, Taraba being a North-Eastern state – a region where Boko haram insurgents are currently waging a supposed ‘holy war’, a democratically elected female Governor from that region will no doubt send a clear message of defiance to the insurgents that Nigerians, particularly in the north are not giving up on the democratic system and will not submit to their demands.

Who is Senator Aisha?

It will interest you to know that Senator Aisha is known to be a record breaker; She was the first female Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of Taraba State. She was later appointed as Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in December 2003. She retired from Civil Service and went into business before she later joined politics. She contested and won the PDP primaries against all odds in 2011 defeating the then incumbent Senator, Anthony Manzo and finally defeated the former Governor Jolly Nyame of the then ACN in the general elections.

This is a brief highlight of Senator Aisha’s public and political life.

Who does the odds favour?

Anybody who follows Taraba politics knows that PDP has always been the party to beat in Taraba but recent events have significantly change that narrative, especially with the crisis rocking the PDP, this has presented a rare opportunity to opposition parties in the state to try and snatch power from the ruling party in the state. So far, there are three major candidates running for the seat Darius Ishaku (PDP), Aisha Jummai Alhassann (APC), and David Sabo Kente (SDP). Many analysts believe unlike in other states where the battle is between the PDP and the APC, in Taraba, the SDP also stand a chance and Senator Aisha is believed to be the dark horse in the race. The SDP candidate is more popular than the PDP candidate – the Southern Taraba People Congress initially endorsed him before T. Y. Danjuma reportedly influenced the choice of Darius in Abuja and ended up putting the party in an unresolved crisis till date. It is on the back drop of this avoidable crisis in PDP that the former acting governor of the State, Garba Umar, who was favoured to win the primaries if conducted left the party alongside many key members of the party including SDP’s candidate David Sabo Kente. Both men left the party after disagreeing with the way Darius was selected in Wadata plaza Abuja as the party’s candidate after failing to conduct the primaries in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital as scheduled by the party.

 

Aisha’s chances?

As I earlier mentioned the crisis rocking the PDP is a huge boost for the opposition especially, the APC in their bid to wrestle power from the ruling party to capitalised on it and mobilised support from all angle for Aisha, especially the aggrieved PDP members who are believed to be working for the APC already to ensure that Aisha emerges victorious. One of the major thing that is working against the former minister of state for Niger Delta, who is the PDP candidate is the fact that he is seen as a political novice who is there to serve the interest of the cabal that held Suntai captive for more than two years and denied the former acting governor his mandate of becoming the substantive Governor until he was sacked by the Supreme Court. In fact, many analysts believed that the SDP candidate stands a better chance than the PDP candidate, because he has been in the race a long time and has established some structures on ground. However, both the PDP and SDP candidates are seen as people who are pushing for a Southern Taraba agenda as against the interest of the state as a whole. Their choice of deputies was also criticised by many commentators who believed that they shouldn’t have ignored the northern zone which has the highest number of voters and has been the major decider of whoever becomes Governor of the state or not. Coming from Southern Taraba, a zone with the least number of voters, both candidates picked their deputies from the Central Zone. These miscalculations by the two Southern Taraba candidates will give Aisha an edge over them. Again it is important to note that as serving Senator, she performed well in her constituency (Taraba North) in the last three years.

Religion as a factor?

As much as one may want to ignore the use of religion in the so called Nigeria’s secular state, it has been used to either to marginalise some quarters or as a tool to actualise the interest of an individual or group at the expense of the overall interest of the people at various levels. In Taraba state the issue of politics and religion cannot be ignored so the question here is, Does Senator Aisha stand a chance of becoming not just the first female Governor in Nigeria but the first of her faith to lead the state? The answer to this question in my opinion is a yes, why because if the 2015 elections do take place as scheduled Tarabians and of course Nigerians at large are beginning to see beyond politicians religious and ethnic identities in electing their leaders.

In my opinion the people of Taraba state are not afraid of a Muslim Governor if they can elect two out three of their senators and four out six of their members of the House of Representatives from the same religion.

How Taraba Governors emerged in the past?

Since 1999 none of the winners of the PDP primaries became the governor of the state. In 1999 Jolly Nyame replaced the winner of the PDP primaries, Usman Bibinu who died in a car crash few days to election. Nyame was in the defunct All Peoples Party (APP) then and was brought in by Atiku Abubakar to pick the PDP ticket and he eventually won – he returned again in 2003 for a second term. After serving his second term, Nyame attempted to imposed his crony, a secondary school dropout, Danladi Baido. Danladi had several corruption cases against him with Ribadu’s EFCC then, even though he won the PDP primaries, he was later disqualified and Nyame hand-picked his then SSG, the now incapacitated Governor of Taraba State, Dan Baba Dan Fulani Suntai. Nyame was accused of introducing religion in Taraba politics by ignoring the runners up of the PDP primaries three of them who happened to be Muslims by bringing Suntai (a Christian) who never showed any interest of vying for the seat. Suntai served his first term and returned in 2011 before becoming incapacitated due to a plane crash he was involved in. Since then, Taraba State has been without a substantive Governor, leaving the state in the hands of two Acting Governors for over 27 months now. This is a brief highlight of how Taraba politics have been played in the last 16 years. And this tells us that although Aisha stands a chance of beating her opponents in a free and fair election, it is not going to be an easy ride. Her biggest challenge is fighting the cabal who fought the former Acting Governor to a stand still with the backing of the presidency and T. Y. Danjuma ,who is willing to give whatever it takes financially to ensure his unpopular political god-son of the PDP emerges as the winner. Another challenge for Aisha is her gender, many people are still not comfortable with the idea of having a female Governor in the state. Nonetheless, with the crisis rocking the PDP and the Buhari momentum sweeping across the North, and with support of some powerful individuals like Atiku abubakar who has strong political base in the state, a victory for Senator Jummai Alhassan is not far-fetched and may be, just may be, Nigeria may have its first female Governor

 

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Nwaoboshi Inordinate Senatorial Ambition And The Effect On Senator Ifeanyi Okowa Guber Victory

Fejiro Oliver

“Politicians were mostly people who’d had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.”
George R.R. Martin,

As I listened to the political debate and working out the calculation on who will emerge as the eventual winner of the Delta North Senatorial aspirant between the two main contenders, Rt. Hon. Victor Onyekachi Ochei and Mr Peter Nwaoboshi, the lawyer who could not make it and became a politician; it became as clear as water that the election is between Ochie and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), not their candidate Nwaoboshi, one of the worst product to ever market in political history.

Oracle as Nwaoboshi is widely called pass across as one man who has seen it all in politics, but for fear of the unknown, just like Tony Anenih has refused to contest for any electoral positions. Such men know themselves that they are only good to be appointees and not elected officers. Such men know too well that they are greedy, selfish and arrogant and therefore do not deserve the peoples vote, hence they can commit all the evils of politics. Sadly enough, the only constant thing is change which has caught up with the oracle himself, who rather than stay comfortable with being an appointed government official decided to throw his gloves into the boxing ring.

In his own words, 2015 makes it thirty five inglorious years of being a politician, with nothing concrete to show to his people. He is hated by over 90% of Anioma who will rather have him beheaded by the ISIS than have him near any elective positions where he will decide their fate. He is so greedy that all that matters to him is his own relevance and what benefits his pocket. His inordinate quest for wealth stands taller that the Mount Everest, which is threatening to consume him as the Wild West wind. How he made his money which has been used mainly for his family and not the people he stole from remains a discourse for another day.

As the State PDP Chairman, his people have placed a silent curse on him for convincing many Anioma indigenes into picking Chairmanship and Councillorship forms during the last Local Government elections, with promise to deliver them, but like the evil Maradonna he is, he dribbled them, pocketed their money and finally installed his preferred stooges into such various positions. In Oshimili North where he hails from, he is the lord of the manor and king of the boys, deciding who gets what, but not without stringent conditions. His current stooge, Louis Ndukwe who is the Council Chairman is already weeping secretly on what has befallen him, since he was installed by Oracle. Out of the N67 million Federal allocations for November 2014, a whooping sum of N10 million was paid to Nwaoboshi, in an undisclosed agreement, revealed a source. And this amount is paid EVERY time allocation comes to the treasury.

The argument that the loss of Nwaoboshi as it’s becoming glaring will have a negative effect on Senator Ifeanyi Okowa’s victory is a tale best told to children under the moonlight in the village, and certainly not intelligent kids who knows that Okowa’s victory transcends earthly conquest but divine, but told to dull brains who can believe anything. Nwaoboshi as its certain is currently grappling to win even the support of his family members, who are convinced that he is not the best material to send to the Red Chambers. A vote for him is a vote for greed; a vote for him is a vote for legislative incompetence; a vote for him is a vote to continue the illegal looting which has been done over the years, and certainly, Delta North who have already experience tremendous development with laudable bills in just four years of Okowa becoming a Senator cannot afford to go back to her inglorious days.

The argument that it will be shameful for Okowa to lose his Senatorial District is another lie conjured by the few followers of Nwaoboshi who already sees their master losing and has to coin up psychological analysis to persuade die hard supporters of Okowa into supporting them. As an unbiased Journalist, I remain unapologetically a PERSONALITY supporter and not a PARTY supporter. Okowa has gone beyond the realms of the natural to supernatural that a loss of Nwaoboshi will not remove a SINGLE vote from the over 80 percent votes already garnered by the political maestro.

In case they wish to be reminded of history, the current Senators representing Imo and Nasarawa State governors’ Senatorial districts are opposition members, despite the popularity of the duo. No one can be more arguably popular than Rochas Okorocha in this political dispensation, yet his people voted against his choice of a Senator, nor can anyone love Buhari more, yet they voted for Al Makura as a governor, but rejected their Senator, even losing in their own Local Government. A replica of this happening in Delta North, where Okowa will win flawlessly and Nwaoboshi losing shamefully should therefore not come as a surprise. He who laid his bed well sleeps comfortably, and while Okowa has prepared his for this moment, the latter has laced his with nails and should lie on it that way.

Delta North cannot be coerced into the lazy men argument of PDP all the way and therefore allow a man like Nwaoboshi who has impoverished his people to enjoy such benefits. I do not want to remind him of his infamous role played during the rave making Sir Tony Obuh political storm, where he almost scuttled the very ambition of the humble man, whose back he is riding on today to fame. His daily boast that he will win convincible because Okowa cannot afford to lose his Senatorial district should be told to area boys under the bridge in Oshodi, as this election is every man to your own tent oh Israel.

The underground mansion he is alleged to be building must not be completed with the constituency allowance meant for the people, neither should he be allowed the privilege of using his newly established cable company into being a conduit pipe of getting inflated contracts from the Senate.

PDP may be the leading party in Delta State, but opposition parties like Accord and the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) have won elections in Delta North, just as Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) have also mesmerized the landscape. The signal from the field is clear that he cannot win the election without the effect of Okowa who remains the only reason his name is still being heard today in some quarters. Remove the Okowa factor and we have a man whose political breath is gone. Ochei may not be the best bet now, but out of the two devils, Ochei remains the Angelic devil.

Fejiro Oliver, Editorial Board Chairman of Secrets Reporters, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist is also the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD) and can be reached on +2348022050733, +2348160067613 (SMS ONLY) or secretsreporters@gmail.com. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86

 

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Gov. Yero and the Burden of Goodluck By; Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir

Pre 2011 general elections in Kaduna State, late Sir Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, the then Executive Governor was in Ikara town for Campaign rally. His motorcade had a tough time accessing the town. The vehicles at the rear of the motorcade were not only stoned, some had their glasses smashed; some of us escaped injuries by whiskers.

During the campaign rally, having met with stakeholders in the council chamber, standing on the podium, Yakowa shouted ‘Kaduna State’ and the crowd answered ‘sai Yakowa Nakowa’. Then the bottom gave way; Yakowa shouted ‘Nijeria fa’ and we were awaken to the thunderous answer of ‘sai Buhari’.

The crowd became ecstatic and it took the experience and maturity of Yakowa to calm nerves and win the people’s sentiment to his side. This he did by enumerating the problems of the people; from roads, which he named one after the other, from one settlement to another, schools, water supply, schools, hospitals among others. The people were wowed with the man’s knowledge of their environment.

The same scenerio repeated itself in Birnin Gwari though without stoning. Same in Rigasa, Hayin Dan Mani among several others.

In Zaria, Yakowa met with some Muslim clerics. They mince no words in telling him that if he would remain the old Yakowa they knew, they would give him all the necessary support to ensure his victory at the polls. But they categorically told him they were not in support of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Interestingly, despite the threat of violence in some areas, Yakowa instructed the security agents never to discharge even a bullet. According him, we would rather leave a campaign rally all bloodied and alive but no one live should be lost from any side.

Then, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero was the Deputy Governor. Incidentally, the elections came and Yakowa won the gubernatorial while President Jonathan lost Kaduna State to General Buhari. But not without Yakowa suffering that burden of Jonathan in some places.

It is 2015 and the same scenerio is fast playing itself out again. Governor Yero is being forced to bear the burden of Goodluck and this is a burdensome bag and baggages that he can ill afford to bear.

From Birnin Gwari to Saminaka, from Yakawada to Sanga, from Rigasa to Malali, Yero would have received better reception and acceptance if he would do away with joining his campaign with that of Goodluck. There are many who would ordinary make Yero a choice but would not want to have anything to do with Goodluck.

Typical is some religious clerics who before now would say to the congregation; ‘in Kaduna vote a candidate of your choice, vote for the one would ensure our hard earn security, peace and unity is sustained. But at the top, it is the peoples’ General’.

But that narration is fast changing. A very fierce cleric was so disappointed by his alleged stand of Yero to “do PDP sak” that he now says they too will “do APC sak”. According to him, they have tried to distance themselves from the Goodluck team while subliminally supporting Yero. But the Governor’s insistence on “doing PPD sak” at all level has made them changed their minds.

It would be recalled that in 2011, Engineer Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso saw this hand writing on the wall in Kano and decided to flow with the tide. Kwankwaso it was who during campaign rallies openly tell the people “sama alkalemi, Kasa Lema”, meaning the pen above an the umbrella below. Signifying that the people should vote the CPC at the presidential level and PDP at the gubernatorial level.

That tactics did more than work for Kwankwaso which then set him on collision course with the PDP at the national level. The fault line created by that tactics between the man and the PDP from then on got wider and wider, and the rest, as they say is now history.

One would have expected Yero to have adopted similar tactics or at most keep mum on Goodluck wherever he goes for campaign. But Yero is in a dilemma. His loyalty to the Vice President; Architect Muhammed Namadi Sambo would not allow him to do such. But the question on many lips is ‘is Namadi worthy of this sacrifice?’

Many are quick to point out that Namadi was Governor for 3 years and now Vice President for 6years. Making it a total of 9 years in the political scene. This is about the longest serving elected executive position held by any man in Nigeria’s political history. Why would Yero sacrifice himself for such a man who has eaten his cake and still wants to have it back.

Of cause, Yero also have burdens. Many expected him to have hit the ground running after assuming the governorship of the state by picking up where late Yakowa stopped. I remember telling an aide of his a month after becoming Governor to “tell Oga” to move to the field, inspect all awarded and on-going projects in the state. Keep the contractors on their toes and anyone who did not measure upto expectation, revoke the contract and re-award it. But the aide casually told me to “allow Oga settle down”.

This is coupled with aides who were out for self serving and not committed to the administration’s success then. Most of the Commissioners were busy scheming for an easy and soft landing, after office life that state affairs took the passenger’s seat. Again, Yero tarried too long with same clumsy cabinet members that the damage inflicted was too deep. Yero remains, in Nigeria’s political history, the only Governor to have retained inherited Commissioners and other aides for that long.

Again, the early weaning of some aides seen to be too close and loyal to late Yakowa today still have certain effects on the administration. But even if that was not a tactical move, some appointees of the governor are not helping the issue. Most are more concern about accumulation of wealth than state affairs and success of the governor. Today, there are less than half a dozen out of the more than two dozen of Yero’s Commissioners who can actually sincerely mobilise their constituents without spending a dime. Ahmed Shehu Giant stands out here due to his touch with the grass root.

Here some blame it on what they called “imposition of the aides” on Yero by his friends, political in-debtors and other stake holders in the state. Because Yero doesn’t want to hurt these people, he is barely tolerating them; but greatly hurting his political stocks.

But that is also history repeating itself. Pre-2011, Yakowa suffered the same fate with even some of his Commissioners supporting the opposition guber candidate financially. Some contractors even absconded from construction sites fearing that Yakowa would lose at the polls. The case of the 2011 fertilizer contractors is pertinent here. Among the contractors were prominent sons of the state.

Yero is at a cross road and one would think that the polls postponement would have bolstered his aides to showcase some of his salient achievements. But mum is the word like a pebble thrown into a sea. They are leaving the man to his fate and Yero’s insistence to bear Goodluck’s burden during campaign rallies is not helping the issue.

But like 2011, the 2015 polls may turn out same. Incidentally, the presidential and gubernatorial elections are not the same day. So the Buhari/APC whirlwind that some are riding to deride Yero just like the burden of Goodluck/PDP that Yero is shouldering now may whither. Or their sharp and piercing edges may be blunted within the days between the presidential polls and the gubernatorial polls. And it may be the deciding factor for who will eventually chest the belt.

This is coupled with the fact that some electorates are already saying after the presidential election, they would rest their PVCs at home and watch from the sidelines. So, voter apathy is going to be a serious factor.

24 hours is a long time in politics just as an electorate can change his/her mind between the house and the polling boot. But for now, Yero bears the Goodluck burden and it is too hefty a political burden.

azeeznews@yahoo.com
@azeeznews

 

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