The Jos Massacre: When Religion and Politics Blend

By Adeola Aderounmu

ONE of the most disturbing issues in the unification of Nigeria is religion. The North of Nigeria is dominated by Muslims and the south by Christians. But Muslims and Christians spread considerably well across the length and breadth of Nigeria. In my own family for instance we have both Christians and Muslims. My family is well educated and there is no doubts that we know what religion is and how to tolerate one another.

But how does one deal with thugs and illiterates who do not understand the views of other people on religious matters? It is a difficult situation indeed and in Nigeria the politicians over the years have continued to blend politics and religion. For instance, the constitution of Nigeria does not apply in every state in Nigeria. Yet some people are saying that Nigeria is one country. That is far from the truth, the only thing that is keeping Nigeria as one country is the crude oil from the Niger Delta.

In Northern Nigeria, the sharia law has been imposed on the population during the disastrous regime of Obasanjo. So depending on where you are in that geographical entities, different laws apply and your life style can change considerably. The ugly truth though is that the politicians have instituted the law for their own selfish gains.

In Jos-Nigeria, hundreds of people may have lost their lives because of an election that took the dimension of religious inclination. You can imagine that ignorance remains a weapon that has been used to send innocent people to their early graves. The perpetrators of these evil acts will never be found. They will never be brought to book. In Nigeria, this type of killing usually comes with the backings of some wicked politicians. The perpetrators enjoy privileged protection or anonymity and they will be unleashed again to do the same harm in the future. This is why religious riots or political riots associated with religion remains recurring incidents in Nigeria.

One of the reasons why this type of nonsense happens in Nigeria is because the politicians are thieves. Who would fight or kill in the name of service to the people? Politics in Nigeria is a winner takes all game. The winner steals and loots the treasury while the losers lick their wounds. If someone or a politician would pay or go to jail for stealing or for looting, I do not think there will be this mad rush to government houses across Nigeria. It is not an easy thing to serve. You need skills, you need knowledge and you need to be tolerant to a lot of things. You will persevere.

This is not the case in Plateau State where some idiots and fools have been killing other people because of election results. This is in fact not the case anywhere in Nigeria where the reason for politics is to steal and oppress the people.

In 2007, Yar Adua was forcefully imposed on Nigerians in what has been adjudged as the worst election in human history. If the president is occupying a position illegally, what do we expect from the other subordinate positions across the country? If the head is rotten, what part of the body can be whole? Nigerians are shying away from the truth and the consequences and repercussions will continue to be grave.

If the anomaly of April 2007 and the anomalies since 1914 and 1960 are not rectified, Nigeria will not make progress and these types of pockets of violence will continue to make the citizens to live in panic and fear.

More and more Nigerians are sliding below the poverty level while only a privileged few continue to enjoy abundant wealth. Corruption continues to eat deep into the fabrics of governance. The present illegal government continues to shade the likes of Ibori who used the stolen wealth of Delta State to bundle Yar Adua to Aso rock. This type of obvious evil acts will continue to deny this country of progress and the insincere search for prosperity will continue to be abstract-resulting in self-enrichment of the politicians and a few selected people. Nigeria today is definitely not for all Nigerians.


Eye witness account: On BBC Africa

The Anatomy of Corruption

Original title: Nigeria, Surrounded
Author: Sonala Olumhense
Source: Nigeria Village Square Sat 22 Nov 2008.

What would you do to someone you truly hated, if you had the authority to do exactly as you pleased? Caution: murder is excluded as an answer to this question, as “someone” could be more than one person, perhaps whole peoples. I will give my own answer in a few minutes.

Before I do so, I remind you, my dear reader: it is about six years since Nigeria began to “fight” corruption. In a fight, one party usually wins, or to have the stronger hand. In this combat, it is our opponent who seems to be winning, but we have played enough of the right game for the world to mistake the aroma for the food. Some of them are beginning to give us the benefit of the doubt in important reports, but how realistic is that?

A war demands troops and commanders. Equipment and supplies. Strategies and manoeuvres. And then, naturally, we expect to find casualties and prisoners; that is how you win. What you do not expect to find are defectors and fifth columnists.

The first thing one notices in our so-called war is that there are hardly any casualties. One or two unfortunate people are all we can point to after six years in cases that, in the end, may have had little to do with graft and everything to do with politics. That is the tally. The supposedly “injured,” (undergoing trial, awaiting trial) are all over the place living better than the Queen of England, partying harder than Madonna and travelling better than the Sultan of Brunei.

What about the commanders? In random order, as I cast my eyes over the horizon, the army is advised by an ethically-empty and professionally uncaring Attorney-General and Minister for Justice. Increasingly alleged to be involved in all kinds of personal malfeasance and even dismissed by the political salesman Terry Waya as “the greediest man in Abuja,” it took Mr. Michael Aondoakaa only months to build himself a mansion fit for a king. He has converted his office into the best friend of corrupt former governors in trouble abroad.

In the past fortnight, the press has reported the arrest by the State Security Service, of his younger brother, Innocent Aondoakaa. From him, they obtained extensive evidence of several filthy deals bothering on extortion that the AG, in collusion with the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) chairperson, Mrs. Farida Waziri, has been involved with.

In the anti-graft “war,” it is to be expected that Mr. Aondoakaa would work closely with the leaders of the anti-graft agencies. With Mrs. Waziri, who heads the EFCC, the AG seems to be doing well. With controversy swelling over allegedly missing or distorted EFCC files, Mr. Aondoakaa has said nothing. He is galvanized only on the side of an accused governor. Nothing speaks more eloquently about his place in history.

As another “commander” in a critical front in the “war,” I have cited Mrs. Waziri in this column as being tainted. Among others, she has openly, publicly and brazenly flouted the statutory reporting requirements of her agency. There is therefore no official or organized record of what the EFCC is doing.

Unofficially, Mrs. Waziri seems to be a competent swimmer. Her favourite pool to enjoy is the river of corruption and ineptitude that runs from the troubled former governors to her office and on to the Federal Ministry of Justice. Her relationship with the President and the AG makes it most unlikely she was really sent to fight corruption; her sad track record so far makes it most unlikely we will ever celebrate her as a champion graft-fighter.

Another command in the war is the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). The ICPC, which is now headed by a former Supreme Court judge, Mr. Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, stirs once in a while to remind Nigerians it is still alive and maintaining a website. Apparently, that is how they justify their statutory claims. The ICPC, which is actually older than the EFCC, seems to have decided that both corruption and power are to be feared; it is not really going to confront either.

What about the police? While the Nigerian policeman has acquired a bad name over the years for his corruption and brutality, he now has a leader without limits. Inspector-General Mike Okiro is linked with several cases of corruption himself, including private schools and shopping malls in Abuja worth billions of Naira that he could not possibly have paid for from his police salary.

The IG also owns other businesses that conflict and compete with his job. His Bharmoss Ventures, for instance, claims expertise in “construction, real estate acquisition and development as well as engineering.” How does a policeman “sell, improve, manage, develop, exchange, lease, mortgage, enfranchise, dispose of, turn of account, or otherwise deal with, all or any part of the property and rights of the company,” and still protect and serve anyone who is neither selling to, nor buying from him?

Meanwhile, over at the federal legislature, David Mark presides over the Senate. Mr. Mark makes no ethical claims. He is a former minister who is stupendously wealthy, with vast financial tentacles and property that span Africa, Europe and Jersey. It is unknown how he came about any of them, including 6 million British pounds his former wife convinced a court to freeze several years ago.

Mr. Mark’s counterpart at the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, a “new generation” politician who came to prominence only recently as Speaker, is currently embroiled in allegations of sleaze following the purchase by the House of hundreds of cars. In the past month, his image has taken a hammering.

Meanwhile at the top of the judiciary, some Supreme Court justices are reported to have accepted inducements from the tag team of Aondoakaa and EFCC’s Waziri, who have a budget of about $30 million for the purpose, towards purchasing justice that is favorable to President Yar’Adua in the electoral petition before the court.

And up at the presidency itself, Patience Jonathan, the Vice-President’s wife, remains a screaming siren. For two years, nobody has touched her, a woman twice held for money-laundering, once for N104 million, and then for $13 million (US). There is no war against corruption in Nigeria for as long as Mrs. Jonathan is sitting comfortably on her backside shielded by her husband, Yar’Adua, and Aondoakaa.

And then President Yar’Adua, who took office 18 months ago and promised a new day. The trouble, for me, is that I thought the President could tell night from day. He promised the rule of law, but is arresting journalists he said he would sue. He promised Nigeria a better deal but refuses to be honest with them about his health. He says Nigeria will implement the Millennium Declaration Goals but prefers to stay in bed. He speaks of Vision 2020 the same way we count our gold medals before the Olympics.

It seems to take Yar’Adua days to wake up, weeks to realize he has not got out of bed, months to decide to fire his ministers, even more months to actually fire them, and then months to announce a list that is evidently more flawed than what he did one year ago. In a country so far down the drain from its potential, a country needing a dynamic, 24-hour-per-day performance, we are hostages in more ways than one.

So, dear Nigerian, what would you do to someone you truly hated, if you had the authority to do everything? The answer is that, to make him suffer forever, you would leave behind a poison that keeps on poisoning.

Before our eyes, someone who obviously hates Nigerians handpicked Mr. Yar’Adua, knowing his deep limitations of vision, ability, motivation, and even health. It is a stroke of evil genius, the poison that keeps on poisoning.

But understanding this ought to make Nigerians rise in strength, not deflate in agony. We are a nation surrounded, but we must rise—prepared to take our destiny in our own hands—and say the word.

That word is: “Enough!”

Yar Adua’s Clamp Down on Nigerian Bloggers

BY Adeola Aderounmu.

Nigerian bloggers should beware. The latest thing on the agenda of the illegal president in Nigeria is to clamp down on Nigerian Bloggers and make them suffer. It is possible that some will be killed because the Nigerian government does not respect life.

All the bloggers who have been criticizing the government are now more or less on the wanted list of the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS).

These are trying moments for Nigerian bloggers and journalists who are now afraid to say their minds or the truths about an illegal regime and a failed government.

Who could have thought that a fellow like Yar Adua would resolve to this evil path?

He was bundled into our existence by Obasanjo who rather than sink alone decided that all Nigerians must sink with him because of a failed 3rd term agenda.

And in my country, people turned the other side of their faces when you slap them on one side.

Any Nigerian blogger planning to visit Nigeria this christmas should be careful but then you cannot be too careful. The evil people are at the airport, they will pick you up on arrival. Ask Elendu Jonathan!

I heard more people have been picked up. Who knows what Yar Adua and his boys are doing to them. Using pliers to remove their teeth? Wicked souls!

Well, let Yar Adua be told. Nigeria and Nigerians survived Babangida, we survived Obasanjo and we survived Abacha even though many of our fellow Nigerians were killed-for nothing!

Nigeria will be there when Yar Adua is no longer the illegal president.

You can’t kill the truth.

The truth is that Yar Adua was never elected and he is not a legitimate president. No matter how many people he is planning to arrest, the truth is immovable.

And let the attention of the world not be removed from Nigeria even though Congo and Somalia are offering stiff attention. Nigeria is a failed country as much as Somalia that has not been govern since 1991. People must not forget that even though the worst place on earth right now is Somalia, Nigeria offers a mass scale of the dimension of poverty with over 90m people unsure of the next meal.

To add indiscriminate arrest and torture of bloggers to the assembly of problems in Nigeria is unjust and callous. Only a heartless leader will approve of that.

Leave Nigerian bloggers alone. Let us do what we know how to do best-criticize lazy and impotent governments.

Stop arresting us Yar Adua. We are not less Nigerian than you are and we have rights to live and enjoy our freedom. Freedom of speech, of writing and of association. We have the right to pursue happiness and to travel in and out of Nigeria without fear. Stop your mad acts.

I was so furious when a journalist friend started warning me about what to write to him over the internet. What manner of government will create or instil fear in the minds of ordinary people and journalist?

enough is enough…do your work, illegitimate or not and let bloggers live!

Yar Adua………Stop arresting Nigerian Bloggers!