War On Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation (Part 1 of 3)

For historically conscious Nigerians, Biafra connotes war, mass starvation and death. However, many Nigerians are afflicted with Alzheimer, a disease that robs its victims of their memories to learn from the past and present

War On Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation

By Salimonu Kadiri (Guest Writer on Thy Glory O’ Nigeria and The Nigeria Village Square)

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

For Nigerians, every day is first of April in which they are either fooling someone or someone is fooling them. For Nigerians, December is a month of hypocrites and as usual Nigerians join the rest of the world in wishing one another happy Christmas and prosperous New Year even when in reality every celebrated Christmas and New Year is less happy and less prosperous in ascending order.

Nigerian hypocrites carry their religions on foreheads but their behaviours are inversely proportional to Godliness. They shout the name of God every now and then but act satanically.

In Nigeria, roads are simply non-existing, hospitals have become morgues, schools have crumbled, electricity is epileptic, pipe borne water is away on permanent leave, the streets are filled with filth, dead animals and sometimes human corpses because politicians and civil servants, apart from collecting their salaries and fringe benefits, have stolen monies appropriated for providing essential commodities for Nigerians.

The sixteen years rule of PDP led to so much head ache for Nigerians that they decided to take APC as a remedy at the March 28, 2015, Federal elections in Nigeria. That was the first time a government was voted out of power in Nigeria and the world exclaimed in surprise.

The All Progressive Congress (APC) and its Presidential candidate, ex-General Muhammadu Buhari, had gone into the elections with the campaign to deal with kleptomania which is on the verge to suffocate Nigeria.

As it turned out, the Presidential election was not only won by the APC, but they had majority in the National Assembly encompassing the Senate and the House of Representatives. This implies that majority of Nigerian electorates have empowered the Executive and the legislators to expunge kleptomaniacs from Nigeria.

After election victory the APC decided that the speaker of the House of Reps and his deputy should be Femi Gbajabiamila and Mohammed Monguno respectively while the President of the Senate and his Deputy should be Ahmed Lawan and George Akume respectively.

The Senate contains 109 members but it was reduced to 108 before June 9, 2015, when the 8th Assembly was to be inaugurated as a result of the death of one APC Senator after the election. Thus, APC have 59 members while PDP and allies have 49 members. Democratically and politically, the APC party had decided who among its elected Senators would be the President and Deputy President of the Senate respectively.

The decision of APC did not please Senator Bukola Saraki, therefore he openly connived with PDP, the political antagonist of APC, to become the Senate President against the wish of his party. On June 9, 2015, a compromised Clerk of the Assembly arranged the election of Senate President in the presence of 57 out of 108 Senators.

The 57 Senators consisted of 49 PDP and 8 APC. By the time the Deputy Senate President was about to be elected, the number of APC present had increased to 25, and the PDP Senator, Ike Ekweremandu, was elected with 54 votes against Ali Ndume, APC, who scored 20 votes.

Thus, a Senate President and his Deputy were elected through a process similar to those described under Article 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code – Obtainment by false pretence! In democracy and party politics, it is an abomination. In explaining their behaviours, Senator Bukola Saraki and his ilk have said that after elections the legislators are free to conduct the affairs of the National Assembly without the interferance of the political parties on whose platform they contested elections and won.

Yet, and in accordance with the constitution, no one can contest election in Nigeria without belonging to and sponsored by a political party. By taking some members of the APC, to which he belongs, and merging them with PDP to form a new majority in the Senate, Saraki subverted the will of the electorates that voted PDP out of power and he has created a real impediment against change and war on kleptomania, the campaign slogan on which the APC went into election. Outwardly Bukola Saraki is an APC but internally he is a PDP.

On September 11, 2015, the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) filed a 13 count charge of financial crime, money laundering, false declaration of assets, owning and operating foreign bank accounts while being a public officer, against Senator Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Abuja. Saraki was to be arraigned before Justice Danladi Umar of CCT Abuja on Friday, 18 September 2015.

Instead of defending himself at the CCT Senator Saraki hired dozens of advocates to file ex-parte motion at an Abuja High Court, presided over by Justice Ahmed Mohammed, on Thursday, 17 September 2015 seeking injunctions to prevent the CCT from trying him.

Justice Mohammed then summoned the Ministry of Justice to appear before him on Monday, 21 September to show cause why the trial should be allowed to proceed. The judge also summoned the Chairman of the tribunal, Justice Danladi Umar and that of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba as well as Mr Hassan who signed the charge against Saraki to appear before him on 21 September 2015 to show cause why Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki should be prosecuted.

However, the CCT commenced the trial of Saraki on the 18th of September 2015 and his lawyer asked the Tribunal for a stay of proceeding on the ground of Justice Mohammed’s summon. Justice Umar replied that the High Court had parallel juridiction with the Tribunal and as such, had no powers to halt a trial in the Tribunal.

Therefore, he issued order of warrant of arrest by the police against Saraki, so that he could be present at the next hearing to take a plea of guilty or not guilty in the court. Although Saraki had pleaded not guilty to the charges he has gone to the Supreme Court to challenge the jurisdiction of the CCT to try him and pending the decision of the Supreme Court, the CCT has laid the case to rest.

Bukola Saraki’s attempt to seek judicial embargo against the investigating authority is rather a norm than exception in Nigeria. The former Governor of Rivers State, Peter Odili, was the first to obtain a perpetual injunction against investigation, interrogation and prosecution over treasury looting of the State he governed from 1999 to 2007.

Others who were sluggish in obtaining perpetual injunction got their cases put into permanent coma by the trial judges. In recent time, Stella Adaeze Oduah, on August 26, 2015, obtained an interim injunction, from Justice Mohammed Yunusa presiding over a Federal High Court in Lagos, barring the EFCC and its agents from inviting or arresting her for questioning over the purchase of $1.6 million armoured cars when she was Minister of Aviation under Jonathan.

In the same spirit, on Thursday, 17 September 2015, an Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Valentine Ashi, in a ruling barred the EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Department of State Security Services (DSS), the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and National Security Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), from arresting, detaining and investigating Mr. Kingsley Kuku over his activities as former Coordinator of Presidential Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta under President Goodluck Jonathan. Billions of naira were said to have disappeared over Niger Deltan ghost students purported to have been on scholarships under amnesty programme.

In the 16 years of PDP governing Nigeria (May 29, 1999 to 29 May 2015), the three arms of government – the Executive (Presidency), the Legistilative (National Assembly) and the Adjudicative (Judiciary) – were deeply corrupt. Chinua Achebe once said that Nigeria is not a country but he would have been stating the truth if he had said that Nigerians are not human beings because if one-hundredth of government’s kleptomania in Nigeria were to occur in any country of the world there would be public uproar and outrage.

Since Nigerians have been narcotized with fake religion and false ethnic love, national rogues always attribute their rogueries to the will (blessing) of God and whenever their stealings were exposed they claim that their ethnic group were under attack.

As obnoxious and odious leaders cut across all ethnic groups, the APC government under President Mohammed Buhari has decided to kill corruption before it kills Nigeria. The PDP has accused the APC regime of witch-hunting members and supporters of the immediate past government adding that any true war against corruption should start from 1985.

In a storm where multiple of trees fall on one another would it not be wise to start clearing log of woods from the top? If Jonathan’s PDP regime is at the top of the heap of accumulated corruption in Nigeria, common sense demands that enquiries should start on his regime.

Just as the debate on what happened to the wealth of Nigeria entrusted in the care of Jonathan in the past five years was on-going, a diversionary agitation for the secession of Biafra beclouded the political terrain of Nigeria.

For historically conscious Nigerians, Biafra connotes war, mass starvation and death. However, many Nigerians are afflicted with Alzheimer, a disease that robs its victims of their memories to learn from the past and present. Moreover those who are 45 years of age now may not have heard the true history of the civil war that ended on 15th January 1970.

 

Ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com

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Dark November Blues

The story of Nigeria is a sad story of cyclic idiocy.

Dark November Blues

By Adeola Aderounmu

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This weekend l looked at the headlines as l have always done. In fact l usually look at the headlines during the week as well. This way l am in touch with happenings and events not only in Nigeria but also around the world.

If you are a columnist or a blogger there is never a deficiency in what can trigger your opinion for your weekly essay or regular write-ups.

For sometime now l have also been thinking about the possibility of travelling to Nigeria for the first time since 2010. This has affected my mood, my disposition and my thoughts in no small way.

When l’d travel to Nigeria as l have done from time to time since 2002 when l first left Nigeria straight to Sweden, it had always been with mixed feelings. Partly, l am happy to see my families and friends again. On the other hand l am sad because l am reminded of the life of poverty that l always return to.

As far as Nigeria is concern, l am still a man living in poverty. I have written many times that becoming a member of the Nigerian family in diapora is not an escape from the poverty that stare at you in the face in Nigeria.

If one lives well abroad or even in Nigeria and pretends to be immune to the intensity and spread of social, infrastructure and material poverty in Nigeria, then one is heartless.

Personally I have never seen living in Sweden as an escape from the life of poverty that l know in Nigeria. It will not matter how long l live in Sweden. l have come to realise that l cannot dissociate myself easily from the several millions of Nigerians still struggling to live on less than 25 dollars a month or nothing at all.

Today l just need to purge my random thoughts, my november blues out of my mind. That way, l become free and my soul is set free.

This happens because there are so many things running through my mind at the same time to the extent that l doubt if l could say l slept well this outgoing week.

When l’d thought about my future trip to Nigeria l am so sad that the people that l know have become fewer in number. One of the laws of nature catches up with us as we grow older-the old and sick dying and newborns emerging.

My mother will not be there amongst those who l want to fondly remember. There are so many others that will be missing and l will not indulge myself in writing about those who went too soon. In almost all the situations where death has cheated me, l realized that the causes are either related to poverty or direct failure of governance.

But l refuse to elaborate further on those who have been taken away from me because of the rat race existence in Nigeria. I will let the tears l’ve shed wash my sorrows away.

There are so many reasons l write regularly, mostly about Nigeria.

One day someone who had been close to me during my adolescence commented on one of my essays: Adeola may you live to see the Nigeria of your dreams.

I think she aptly captured the essence of my essays. She is probably one of those who realised that l could have gone on to live a quiet life like millions of Nigeria living abroad. Those who write genuinely about the socio-political problems in Nigeria have no obligations to do so. It must be the love in their hearts.

My friend’s comment meant that she has been reading a substantial part of my essays where l refused to give up on living a good life in Nigeria. True, that Nigeria where things are normal and work as they should remains in my dreams.

To some people writing about Nigeria and your frustrations about the criminals ruling Nigeria means that you have an agenda, most likely that you have a political ambition that will make you become one of the criminals in government.

Must everyone steal/loot in government? Most people answered: YES.

That aspect saddens me.

In any case, for a country with more than 150 m people having unlimited natural resources and extreme diversity of languages, culture and heritage, there is a need for more voices and opinions from reasonable and selfless people.

This is urgent because a critical analysis of the Nigerian mindset based on the evolution of the social media and in fact conversations with ordinary people one meets leave a lot to be desired. Usually l am easily devastated by the urge of many more Nigerians to participate in politics because they want to become criminals like their fathers, mothers, uncles, friends and neighbours.

Who is going to bring about the Nigeria of my dreams?

Who is happy that several millions of Nigerians remain in absolute poverty living from hand to mouth? Who is happy that their brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers are placed on minimum poverty wage of N18k per month? Who is happy that unemployed people may receive N5k per month as poverty unemployment allowance?

Is it not in the same country where some people stole several billions of dollars and remain free men and women? Is it not in the same country where a few men and women called politicians and their counterparts in the military have access to unlimited funds that they can loot, steal and divert for personal uses?

What is security vote? Nobody is even looking at that anymore. I heard it is several billions of naira given to a governor to provide security for the state he/she governs. I heard the governor does not have to give an account of the state’s security votes. Really?

So a governor can divert security vote to his personal account  for 8 years and get away with it just like that. Is this why insecurity is one of the biggest problems in Nigeria?

This country Nigeria is a country built on destructive tendencies in all ramifications!

So the story of a failed country goes on.

The senators are still earning as much as possible doing almost nothing. Sometimes they shout YA or NAY and millions of naira get wired to their accounts. Just like that! Then, they will decide one day to give 5 thousand naira to unemployed graduates. What a fantastic mess? Absolute rubbish and senselessness!

Ministers will finally emerge in the mid-November blues and they are mainly the same old suspects of corruption from the APC or the old PDP converts.

Then the judiciary and the presidency will play the probe game back and forth. They will decide who can be probed or not. Listen! Probe Jonathan! We can’t probe Obasanjo..! We can’t probe Babangida..! Abacha was not corrupt..!

Each government continues to blame the previous administration instead of hitting the ground appropriately to work. The story of Nigeria is a sad story of cyclic idiocy.

I am just wondering.

What can be the worst outcome if Nigerians storm the streets across the country and ask for the sack of all the federal and state senators and legislators and then place them on N5 000 a month until they find new jobs?

On the proposed N5k for unemployed people, my take is that rather embarking on such a disgraceful and dehumaninzing gesture, the government of Nigeria (at all levels) should double their efforts and committments to alleviating the suffering in the land.

There are what we call short-term plans and long-term plans.

Some short-term plans are achievable within 12 calender months when sense is applied. But when you spent more than 6 months to form a common cabinet or executive at state and federal levels, then it doesn’t make sense anymore. It means you are happy with your election or emergence and the people can go to hell!

I think 100% of the unemployed people will be happy to donate their proposed poverty stipends of N5 000 to the motherless babies home if for example electricity is constant in Nigeria say from January 2016 and for ever more.

With a common infrastrucure as electricity many of the unemployed people will become gainfully employed by either engaging in private businesses or becoming  absorbed by organisations and enterprises whose monthy profits are mainly used to provide power and other avoidable costs of running businesses.

Even the olden days agricultural development and settlement schemes of western Nigeria availed much. The blueprints must still be somewhere!

There are endless suggestions on either side of the take.

Long-term plan means tacking the fundamental issues that not only affect the political instability in Nigeria but also addressing the economic and development implications at the same time.

The Boko Haram war, the new face of Biafran uprising and the endless agitations in the South-West and in the Niger-Delta will not go away simply because President Buhari has a military background. You can’t purge away these uprisings and wars by a wave of the hand. Agidi o ran!

Boko Haram was underestimated, see where it is heading. Now people are wishing Biafra a sudden death..! what a pity!

That is why referendum exists.

Nigeria needs one now before the country explodes fully.

At this moment, the most reasonable way will be for Nigerian politicians to eschew their selfishness and adopt regional government as quickly as possible. It will not solve all the problems but it will a bold step in the right direction.

aderounmu@gmail.com

Nigeria’s Independence, The Military Coups And the Origin of Corruption Nigeria

Since becoming millionaires in Nigeria do not correlate to owning factories but nearness to the centre of federal, state or local government where national patrimonies are looted, it means that Nigerian millionaires are manufacturers of massive poverty and miseries for Nigerians.

Nigeria’s Independence, The Civil War And The Origin Of Corruption In Nigeria

By Salimonu Kadiri (Guest Writer On Thy Glory O’ Nigeria..!)

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Fifty-five years ago, Nigeria obtained sovereignty from Britain. Consequently, Chinua Achebe recorded thus, literally all government ministries, public and privately held firms, corporations, organizations, and schools saw the majority of their expatriate staff (mostly British) leave.

While this quiet transition was happening a number of internal jobs, especially the senior management positions, began to open up for Nigerians, particularly for those with a university education.

It was into these positions vacated by the British that a number of people like myself were placed …. This ‘bequest’ was much greater than just stepping into jobs left behind by the British. Members of my generation also moved into homes in the former British quarters previously occupied by members of the European senior civil service.

These homes often came with servants – chauffeurs, maids, cooks, gardeners, stewards – whom the British had organized meticulously to ‘ease their colonial sojourn.’

Now following the departure of the Europeans, many domestic staff (Nigerians or black Africans) stayed in the same positions and were only too grateful to continue their designated salaried roles in post-independence Nigeria. Their masters were no longer Europeans but their own brothers and sisters.

This bequest continued in the form of new club memberships and access to previously all-white areas of town, restaurants, and theatres (see p. 48 – 49, There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe).”

It is very important to note that Nigerians who stepped in to fill the jobs left by Europeans and inherited their rates of pay and privileges also played the role of the colonialists. The offices occupied by Nigerians after Independence were designed and meant to serve the interest of Great Britain and they remain so till date.

However, within six years of independence Chinua Achebe asserted that, Nigeria was a cesspool of corruption and misrule” where public servants helped themselves freely to the nation’s wealth (p.51, There Was a Country).”

As Nigerian public servants and politicians preened themselves in the perfection of the white man’s life, they became extravagant and flamboyant while being conspicuous and spectacular in consumption of imported materials. At that stage, the inherited rates of pay and privileges were no longer enough for Nigerian public servants, employed or politically appointed. That was the origin of corruption in Nigeria.

Exactly five years, three months and fourteen days after Nigeria had obtained sovereignty from Britain and at 12:30 P.M., on January 15, 1966, Major Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu, announced in a broadcast from Radio Kaduna that the Supreme Council of the Revolution of the Nigerian Armed Forces had taken over power in the North.

Our enemies, Nzeogwu said, are the political profiteers, the swindlers, men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent. Declaring a martial law, he listed embezzlement, bribery and corruption among offences that carried death sentences.

Unfortunately for Nigeria and Major Nzeogwu, his comrades in the South had been infiltrated by tribal chauvinists. One of the coup plotters explained that Major Don Okafor and Captain Ogbo Oji had taken a stand against any step that might embody the killing of Ironsi.

Therefore, while the would-be assassins were pointedly making for his (Ironsi) residence he was at the same time heading towards Ikeja (2nd Infantry Battalion) to enlist support to quell the rebellion of the Majors. Major John Obienu who was to come to Lagos from Abeokuta with armoured cars in support of the Majors’ rebellion renegged and linked up instead with Major General Ironsi at Ikeja (see p. 125 – 126, NIGERIA’S FIVE MAJORS; COUP D’ÉTAT OF 15TH JANUARY 1966, FIRST INSIDE ACCOUNT BY BEN GBULIE).

It is noteworthy that Captain Ben Gbulie fought on the side of Biafra during the Civil War. In Enugu Major Chude Sokei and Lieutenant Jerome Oguchi of the 1st Infantry Battallion were assigned the role of killing the Premier of the Eastern and Mid-western Regions, Dr. Michael Ihenokura Okpara and Denis Osadebey respectively, but the would-be assassins had turned pacificists that did not like to see bloodshed (see p.136 of Gbulie’s book).

Two hours after Nzeogwu broadcast in Kaduna, Major General Johnson Thompson Umunakwe Aguiyi Ironsi caused Radio Lagos to broadcast at 14:30 P.M., that in the early hours of this morning, 15th January 1966, a dissident section of the Nigerian Army kidnapped the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance and took them to an unknown destination.

The General Officer Commanding (Ironsi) and the vast majority of the army remained loyal to the Federal Government and are already taking appropriate measures to bring the ill-advised mutiny to an end. On Sunday, 16th January 1966, when General Ironsi announced his taking over of power in Nigeria at 23:50 P.M., fifteen casualities of the Majors’ coup included the Prime Minister of the Federation, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Finance Minister, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh; the Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello; the Premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola; Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari; Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun; Colonel Kuru Mohammed; Colonel R. A. Shodeinde; Lieutenant Colonel Abogo Largema; Lietenant-Colonel Yakubu Pam and Lietenant-Colonel Arthur Chinyelu Unegbe. Just as Ironsi did not take over power to fight corruption in Nigeria, so were those who overthrew him towards the end of July 1966.

Since 1985, and especially in the last 16 years, corruption as observed by Major Nzeogwu in January 1966 had grown from 10% to 200%. Political elites in government and civil servants, including the judiciary are accustomed to using their offices to share power and the resources of Nigeria among themselves.

Money budgeted for road constructions, hospitals, education, power supply, potable water, housing, turn around maintenance of oil refineries and even pensions have been looted by political elites, civil servants in the ministries, departments, parastatals and judiciary.

The main core of the Nigerian economy, oil which in the constitution of Nigeria is the property of all Nigerians have been appropriated by the elites to themselves through the issuance of oil blocks to one another.

Since becoming millionaires in Nigeria do not correlate to owning factories but nearness to the centre of federal, state or local government where national patrimonies are looted, it means that Nigerian millionaires are manufacturers of massive poverty and miseries for Nigerians.

The treasury looters in Nigeria give birth to unemployment, armed robbers, kidnappers, drug traffickers (even to countries where the penalty is death sentence), ethnic insurgents and Boko Haram while they force others to look for means of livelihood in exile.

(to be continued)

Free the Biafran Soldiers

Adeola Aderounmu

Mr. Ben Onwuka, the leader of the Biafra Zionist Movement along with hundreds of his supporters have been arrested today after declaring the republic of Biafra in Enugu.

Details of the entire scenario and the riots/demonstrations are still sketchy.

My views about Biafra are clear. The people of Eastern Nigeria have the right to leave Nigeria but the approach and manner must be modern and acceptable. They could ask for a referendum through their representatives at the local, state and federal levels and seek a way forward.

The people of Eastern Nigeria can go a step further to make representations at the United Nations and push for global diplomatic supports.

One missing link in the new struggle for the actualization of Biafra is the absence of the voice of reasons. Do the Igbo leaders or rulers support the new aspirations? What is the position of the leadership or rulership of the Igbos?

These rulers or leaders cannot be hiding or creating incitements without a proper public declaration for the support of the aspirations of the people.

At the burial of late Ojukwu, sentiments were high and the Biafran flags were flying high. Just recently Achebe published his memoirs about the war. Some Igbos read the book and advised even on facebook that it was time to return to “their tents”.

Yes, in due time everybody will return to their tents. It will not matter how long it takes. Even these feeble generations of Nigerians don’t do the right thing, their children or grandchildren will do it-that is break up the fake marriage of completely different bed mates.

One day the different nations trapped within Nigeria will break apart and these break-ups will lead the biggest proliferation of nations ever seen in the history of man. It will happen even if this generation, like the previous generations continues to deny the knowledge of the truth of where the fake country is heading.

The greatest oppositions to the break-up as history and the present have revealed are those who are benefitting from the plundering of Nigeria.

They can live out their lives with these lies. Life afterall is transient. But truth is constant and one day those who cannot stand these mad acts with allow the disintegration of the British makeover.

There is no sense arresting the pro-Biafran activists. They came out in the open to state their wish even if their leaders are too selfish to stand behind them.

The annoying Nigerian government should instead turn and keep its radal on the Arewa Militants otherwise known as Boko Haram. These terrorists are hiding and they continue to kill, maim, destroy and plunder Northern Nigeria.

The Nigerian government should show some respect to those who wanted something and spoke their mind-even went a step further to show their intentions. What is the intention of Boko Haram, the militants arm or Arewa North?

For now, the Igbos should put their acts together and find a way to achieve their Biafra. If that is what they want, everybody must support it or they get it from a referendum. What Ben Onwuka is doing is beyond him. He and his BZM should make their case through the proper channel and involve the rulers of their regions. If their local rulers and politicians in the federal constitutions do not support Biafra, they may achieve it through a new war. They may also fail in the new bid. Millions of Nigerians in eastern and western are trying to avoid another war based on the experiences of the previous one. The bitterness even lingers. Ask Achebe!