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Posts tagged ‘Nigerian’

Nigeria’s Problems Rooted In Ethno-Religious Intolerance -Fashola.


Ayo Balogun, Lagos

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State says the main problems confronting the Nigeria nation are rooted in ethno-religious intolerance and advocated unity of purpose among the citizens as a means to solve the nation’s problems.

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola

In his New Year message to Lagosians, Fashola said the problems currently bedeviling the country were mainly man-made and that such would only take an agreement among the people to resolve to remove the things they find unacceptable in the society.

According to him, the nation’s problems, whether economic, social or political, were rooted in ethnic and religious intolerance, saying that the panacea lay in the belief by citizens in the Nigerian Project and the resolution to determine the kind of country of our collective dreams.

“Looking back at all that we went through in the past year, perhaps, the time has come for us all to take an introspective look at ourselves in an attempt to get to the root of our problems and challenges. The truth of the matter is that, whether it is the downturn in the economy or our worsening security situation, the challenges are traceable to ourselves”, the governor said.

Fashola recalled, with nostalgia, the situation in the country in the early sixties when the citizens saw themselves as just Nigerians irrespective of tribe, tongue or religion, and declared, “We have, as a result of myopic self and group interests, created an octopus that is threatening to devour our collective heritage. That Octopus is embedded in the twin evils of ethnic and religious intolerance.”

“Recently, I had the privilege of attending the Command Performance of “Kakadu, the Musical”, and it reminded me of the Nigeria of the early post-Independence era when it did not matter where you came from. It is a story that we all must imbibe in order to recreate that glorious era when we were all Nigerians, though tribe and tongue and religion may differ. It is set against the background of a newly Independent Nigeria brimming with hope, dreams and expectations. So we have a reference base,” he said.

He pleaded “that hope, dreams and expectations must not be lost, we must resolve this New Year to return to ourselves and give impetus to them. To do this successfully, we must begin to believe in Nigeria and the Nigerian Project once more. We must start by defining for ourselves the kind of future that we want. It is only when we agree on this that we can unite our efforts towards recreating the Nigeria of our collective dreams and make it come true.”

The governor expressed his delight that the situation in Lagos had been that of religious harmony even in the midst of the challenges and difficulties that had bedeviled the country in recent times, adding that almost every family in Lagos has members of different Faith living together in harmony.

“In spite of the growing population of Nigerians of all Faith and ethnicity in this city, Lagosians have been able to define themselves and each other not by how they worship but who they are, how godly they are, how humane they are, how warm and friendly they are. It is a harmony that we do not intend to keep to ourselves alone but to share the essence with other states,” he stated.

He thanked all Lagosians “for achieving this feat even in the midst of manifest intolerance and sometimes provocation”, urging them, however, not to rest on their oars. “We must work very hard not only to keep it that way but to improve on it continually. Our modest success in the past years in transforming our dear State into a model mega-city in Africa has had its foundation on this peaceful and harmonious co-existence.”

He promised that his administration would continue to make the people its focus by putting in place policies from which enormous advantages could be drawn for the people’s benefit adding, “The policies and programmes such as the massive infrastructural renewal, Greening and Beautification as well as our investment in security and street lighting which we embarked on in the last six years have created thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly, for our people.

“From these people-oriented programmes and many others, we have created new economies which were hardly there at the beginning. Night life and night economy, which had hitherto disappeared from our lives have been brought back”, the Governor said pledging that the administration would continue on this trend till the end of its lifespan.”

Wishing all Lagosians a prosperous New Year 2014, Fashola, however, advised, “I will only enjoin you to continue to play your parts as good and law- abiding citizens. Be vigilant and resist all attempts by detractors to distract us from our set goals. Our development plan encompasses the whole State and we will reach all parts    with the quality service which we believe that you deserve.

“In this brand New Year 2014, therefore, please let us continue to work together and pray for both our country and our dear State for peace, stability and let us continue to lead from the front in all that is right and worthy in this country and Continent.”

Source: African Examiner.

Zoological republic of Nigeria at 100, Break-up won’t guarantee freedom –Atiku.


Atiku02

Former vice- president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has admonished Nigerians to guard the unity of the amalgam,

jealously. In his message on the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Protectorates which formed Nigeria, the former vice-president cautioned that agitation for balkanisation of a united federation would not automatically transform to freedom and economic prosperity, citing the experience of Southern Sudan.
“My message to fellow countrymen and women as we mark this landmark occasion is that we should not take our unity for granted or push our luck too far. We should learn from the recent experiences of other African countries. The current situation in South Sudan is a reminder to all African champions of division and pursuit of ethnic superiority that the secession of a group of people from a nation based on ethnic, racial or religious identities does not guarantee freedom from the struggle for life and only deepens the trivial divides which distract us from our common humanity. The gains of independence in South Sudan are now going up in smoke because of inter-ethnic rivalries and hostilities at the expense of unity. Nigeria and its people can no longer afford to weave a tangled web of fractious identities wrongfully defined by their opposition to one another.
Atiku further noted that Nigeria’s diversity was her strength and urged Nigerians to guard it jealously.
” As we mark the centenary celebration of the amalgamation of the Lagos colony with the Northern and Southern Protectorates by the British Colonial occupier forming one country, Nigerians need to pat each other on the back for we have truly come a long way. However, we must redouble our efforts towards building a stronger and more united Nigeria rather than concentrating energies on division or breakup.
The recent clamour by some of Nigeria’s leaders for a renegotiation of the continued being of Nigeria are dishonest and an unnecessary distraction from the future that we can build. Such leaders need to be concentrating their efforts on tackling the challenges ranging from lack of security to addressing poverty and unemployment through infrastructural investments. The victims of structural ineptitude are not distinguished on the basis of their ethnicity, tribe, religion or region. It is also a truism that both the perpetrators and their victims are Nigerians and secession will not fix these woes. Rather, if our leaders devoted more energy on dealing with these basic challenges facing ordinary Nigerians, ethnic and religious differences would have sunk to the background as people will be able to focus on the economic and social opportunities available to them. Once the citizens are contented through the availability of opportunities granted by good governance, these dividing lines will gradually become symbols of Nigeria’s unique composition, driving progress through a collaboration of perspectives and ideas.To me, it is regretful that more than 40 years after the unfortunate and devastating civil war the country went through, leaders could still be busy playing the ethnic and religious cards to gain power while poverty, unemployment, hunger and disease continue to ravage our people, leading many to venture into illicit and sometimes violent activities in order to provide for their families. True leaders must at all times shun the temptation of taking Nigerian’s perceived resilience for granted. Rather than being a source of weakness, diversity remains a major challenge to which all Nigerians must be sincerely committed.”

FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA

Source: Radio Biafra.

Minister for Defence, Mr Maku, said the military would wipe out the Boko Haram terrorists in 30 minutes, if the terrorists would agree to line up in an area to face the troops.


labaran maku

SUPERVISING Minister for Defence, Mr Labaran Maku, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said the military would wipe out the insurgents perpetrating acts of terror in the country in 30 minutes, if the terrorists would agree to line up in an area to face the troops.
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He said what made the battle against terrorism in the country a bit complex was the fact that the insurgents hid among the citizens to strike and had refused to be identified.

Maku, who doubles as Minister of Information, spoke in Abuja, while presenting the scorecard for 2013, adding that the violence in the North East was as a result of violent politics allegedly played by certain unnamed politicians.

He maintained that politicians stopped the Federal Government from deploying troops to the troubled region for years, noting that even when the

troops were eventually deployed, critics pushed for them to be withdrawn.

Insisting that all insecurity in the country was created out of local politics, Maku commended the military for pushing the insurgents close to the borders, noting that much success would have been recorded if the military were fighting external army.

He noted that insurgencies in the North east were currently localised, adding that “they can still occur anywhere, because this is terrorism.”

Speaking on corruption, Maku noted that a lot of allegations bordering on corruption were mere political talk and way of getting newspaper headlines by politicians.

He, however, said rate of corruption was high in the country because the economy revolved round the government, adding that government-induced economy would always induce corruption, a reason “we must hand over some things to private sector.”

According to him, “about N13 billion worth of counterfeited financial instruments were intercepted by NIPOST, as against N9.27 billion in previous years, while about N1.5 billion has been released by the Federal Government for the payment of pension arrears to 5,206 NIPOST retirees.

“Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the fastest growing in the world. GDP growth rate in 2013 was put at 7.2 per cent by International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The Federal Government maintained stable exchange rate. The dollar exchange has remained stable in the last two years, between N155 and N160.

“Inflation rate is declining and has been in single digits all year. Current inflation rate is eight per cent in September, down from nine per cent recorded in January 2013.

“As per rising external reserves, as of May 2013, Nigeria’s foreign reserve was $48.4 billion, up from $32.08 billion in May 2011.

“Excess Crude Account (ECA) rose from $4 billion in 2011 to $9 billion at the end of 2012. The ECA is now helping the country to cushion the effects of current low earnings from oil.

“National debt burden is low. Nigeria’s debt to GDP is 21 per cent, compared to South Africa, 42.7 per cent; United States, 106 per cent; United Kingdom, 90 per cent and Japan, 225 per cent.”

He said the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration had put in place financial management systems to check leakages, improve efficiency and check corruption.

Battle far from over –NLC
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), in its New Year message released on Tuesday, said the recent successful attacks on military posts and installations by Boko Haram insurgents showed that the battle was far from over.

The congress called on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, to rally behind the government and the security forces in the fight to restore security to our country.

In a statement entitled: “New Year Message To Nigerian Workers,” signed by its president, Comrade Abdulwaheed Omar and the acting general secretary, Chris Uyot, the congress said insecurity remained a major national challenge during the year 2013.

“The Boko Haram insurgency continues to pose serious threat. The declaration of state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states yielded initial successes and ushered in relative calm in the polity for which government received commendation from the citizenry.

“The same cannot be said of the situation at the moment, as the Boko Haram insurgents seem to have regrouped, slipped behind military and security forces to unleash mayhem on civilian populations, especially students who have been mass-murdered in hundreds.

“Recent successful attacks on military posts and installations show that the battle is far from over. We call on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliation, to rally behind the government and the security forces in the fight to restore security to our country,” the statement read.

The congress said the ongoing constitutional review by the National Assembly, with an attempt by the Senate to distort the National Minimum Wage Act against workers’ interest, was another sour note in labour relations in 2013.

On recurrent strikes, the NLC said “there were several strikes and work stoppages during the year, particularly in the public sector… While we are glad to be associated with the process which led to the final resolution of the strike, we believe that a more proactive disposition of government to industrial disputes is needed, to ensure that the nation is not subjected to such lengthy strikes.”

Canada designates Boko Haram, Caucasus Emirate terror organisations
Canada has formally designated Boko Haram and the Caucasus Emirate as terrorist organisations, under the country’s Criminal Code.

Its Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Steven Blaney, made the announcement in a statement dated December 30 in Ottawa and posted on the ministry’s website.

“Boko Haram is an organisation that is responsible for over 300 attacks in northern Nigeria, which have resulted in the death of over 1,000 people.

“The Caucasus Emirate has carried out terrorist activities in Russia, resulting in the death and injury of many Russian civilians and security personnel,” the statement said.

It quoted Blaney as saying that listing these organisations as terrorist entities sent a strong message that such actions would not be tolerated.

The statement added that listing terrorist entities would facilitate the prosecution of perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, as well as countering terrorist financing.

According to the statement, under Canada’s criminal code, any person or group listed may have their assets seized and forfeited.

Source: Radio Biafra.

We all have heard of ‘THE END’, This is it, unless… B’Haram to Biafrans/Christians : NIGERIA AMALGAMATION EXPIRES DECEMBER 31.


killed by bh
BH

As the amalgamation of Southern and Northern protectorate by the British will be put to an end this year on December 31, groups, regions and individuals have called for a new negotiation to decide whether the country should divide or not.
Certain documents signed into law at the amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 indicate that the country was created as an experiment meant to last for 100 years, and break up if the peoples are not compatible.
The documents, known as ’Tinubu Square Edict’ or Accord of 1914 was said to be similar to the British/China accord of Hong Kong to be enforced for a centennial reign. Although the document is kept secret, this fact is generally known to the ruling class, most dons of political science and law as well as the government of UK. However, there has been a consistent effort by Nigerian government to keep this knowledge out of public as it may lead to agitation for breaking the country into two; pre-1914 status especially by those in the south.
But following the frequent agitation by those in South for balkanization indicates that the secret has been known to them. There are strong indications that the United States of America, USA, may be gearing up for a possible balkanisation of the country following developments in the last few years.
This indication is contained in a publication credited to NEWSRESCUE in America, where accounts of an article written by Director of the African Security Research Project in Washington, DC and Guest Columnist of AllAfrica Global Media, Mr. Daniel Volman and speakers in an AFRICOM conference held at Fort McNair were given. So let everybody be watchful and Muslims be aware of any possible scenario that may hinder our Deen. May Allah protects all Muslims and save the Nation.
Ta’awun Public Relations

Source: Radio Biafra.

Our President Took All The Christmas Toys And Left Us None.


By Dr. Peregrino Brimah

This September it was announced that the Malawi government was selling their presidential jet to use the proceeds, $15 million to feed the poor. The proceeds will be used to purchase maize locally and some for legume production. President, Mrs. Joyce Banda, said the cost of running the jet was too much and as such she was selling it to help feed the 10% suffering from food shortage in the African nation.

President Banda also cut her salary by 30 percent and pledged to sell off 35 Mercedes Benz cars used by her cabinet.

Nigeria according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has 112 million poor with 100 million ‘destitute,’ living under a dollar a day. The number of poor has doubled since 2004, midway into the predecessor Obasanjo’s government, when the number stood at 54 million, to the present 112 million in 2013.

Despite Nigeria recording impressive economic growth, the wealth is simply not reaching the poor who are getting poorer and more desperate while the government and business friends of the government are getting stupendously rich, cutting up chunks of the nation’s resource and sharing its assets among themselves.

As the year 2013 draws to a close, Nigeria is promised more of the same. The government, unlike that of Malawi has budgeted to purchase another presidential jet to add to 10 jets already in the presidential fleet.

According to a recent report, the proposal for the new aircraft has already been included in the 2014 Appropriation Bill submitted to the National Assembly. This latest toy to be added to the presidential fleet will cost 1.5 billion naira.

It is no secret that most of these presidential jets are used for personal business including the ferrying of the president’s political campaigners and even for transporting questionable cabal, investigated for national fraud. In November 2012, Jide Omokore, a front-man of the Nigerian president and minister of petroleum was flying from Monaco to Paris when the presidential jet was detained for two days by the French authorities, as reported here.

As Nigeria’s military does a great job checking the atrocities of Boko Haram in the north east, several sources in the military have complained that they lack proper equipment. This has led to vulnerability to attack with the superiorly equipped Boko Haram being able to ambush and destroy military barracks’.

In the recent attack of a barrack in Bama in which several soldiers were killed and their family members burned alive, raped and also killed, it was reported that the base had only one armored personnel carrier (APC). Most of the equipment used by the Nigerian army was purchased since the Shagari regime.

The battle against terror can never be won by military force alone, however it is almost unheard of for rebel forces to sack military barracks. Even if the army falls short in protecting civilian villages, it is expected that they are armed and equipped enough to protect themselves. However Nigeria’s government satisfies itself, getting all the toys, in private jets for politics and business and bullet proof cars, while the army is left exposed and civilians suffer living under a dollar a day without things as simple as drinking water.

It is true that the raping of Nigeria did not start with this or the immediate previous governments during this 6th republic; however Nigerians are tired of being raped. It is no excuse that because others from other ethnic groups have forcefully seized power via coups and raped the country, that the people must open up to all 500 ethnic groups to rape the nation’s people, civilian and military in succession.

While many in urban areas and the totally abandoned villages will be going to bed with empty stomachs, lit kerosene lamps and no hope of employment and restitution, those in the corridors of power sleep once again with all the latest toys.

While the army at war stays up at night afraid that Boko Haram terrorists will sweep their camps, lacking in craft, APC’s, drones and modern technology to keep them ahead in the war, Nigeria’s leaders will fly high-speed and happy in latest jets and drive safe in their bullet proof jeeps.

We pray for a miracle in 2014. We pray the Lord will give us leaders who will not free convicted murderers, but will help us arrest and lock up all the government thieves of the past… lockup the cabal thieves as the poor thieves are locked up today, for what is mete for the poor is likewise mete for the rich.

We pray the Lord replaces this crop with leaders who will start the process of cleaning up the oil polluted swamps of the Niger Delta. Who will protect the gold mining poisoned children of Zamfara. Who will repair government assets and not sell them to their friends to extort us in unregulated monopolies. Who will create a path to create jobs for our 50% unemployed Youth. Who will resurrect our police force, equipping them with the toys and decent wages they need to work proud and effectively in curbing crime. Who will build roads without taxing us and even build subway systems. Who will encourage the setting up of automobile industries in pure competitive fashion, without first punishing us by banning us from importing cars we manage; while they hand themselves unlimited waivers.

We pray the Good Lord will abruptly seize power from the wicked and give it to people with kind hearts, selfless nature and astute judgment, people like Malawi’s President, Joyce Banda, for we cannot last like this much longer.

And we pray the Good Lord strengthen each and every one of us to stand up and say NO! And demand our rightful toys. To resist temptations of xenophobic stupidity which make us complacent to corruption and rape when it is ‘one of ours.’  We pray for progress.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah
http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something]
Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Former FCT Minister, .nAbba-Gana proposes how to move Nigeria forward exactly 5 days to the expiration of the Zoo.


 

MUHAMMED ABBA-GANA

All over the world countries make constitutions, rules, regulations and social and economic policies which reflect and accommodate their history, well known peculiarities and social, economic, religious and ethnic diversities. That is how the much desired unity in diversity can be achieved or realized – by having sensible rules and realistic fundamental laws for our meaningful existence on our God given, full of resources territory called or named Nigeria.
There is the saying that nothing human is so good that it cannot be improved upon. Therefore, there is always room for some improvement in any human affair. The fact previous efforts at National Constitutional Conferences and Political Reforms have not met our great expectations does not mean that we cannot make Nigeria to work much better for the greater good of all Nigerians.  Definitely, and God willing, we can make our country better and greater.  It is possible.
Now, President Goodluck Jonathan has given all Nigerians another golden opportunity to make Nigeria much better and more efficient by setting up the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Dialogue/Conference. I believe Borno people, like majority of other Nigerians welcome this action of Mr. President.
This can be the roadmap to the realization or achievement of all our lofty and highly desirable National Objectives.
As the inspiring example of President Abraham Lincoln of USA, shows, failures in the past cannot prevent success in the future.  It was said that Abraham Lincoln failed in 31 endeavours, in business, politics and marriage, but finally won election to become one of the best and greatest American Presidents.  He abolished slavery, fought and defeated the Southern States over their slavery policy and prevented them from leaving the union and laid the foundation of the United States of America, which has now become the most powerful and prosperous country in the world.  So, current political leaders of Nigeria should do to Nigeria what Abraham Lincoln did to the United States of America. It is a matter of choice and political will.
In the circumstances we have now found ourselves, it is necessary for the President to avoid all legal obstacles. As a result he has to prepare in good time and send a Bill to the National Assembly to give legal backing to the proposed National Dialogue/Conference and how and which agency should implement the outcome of the Dialogue/Conference should be contained in the Bill.  It may even be necessary to amend certain sections of the current constitution, before the take off the dialogue slated to begin in February, 2014.
It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that with Executives and Legislatures functioning properly and constitutionally at both the Federal and States levels, any call or wish for Sovereign National Conference is a deliberate call for chaos and may be a clever way to disarm an dis-possess the ruling party. On the structure of the conference, it is a matter of common sense that National dialogue/Conference of this nature is better managed, guided and supervised by seasoned administrators of justice.  Therefore I would like to recommend the 1994/1995 Constitutional Conference model to this Advisory Committee.
For the 1994/1995 Conference we had distinguished Justice Karibe Whyte, as the Chairman while Justice Mamman Nasir was the Vice Chairman.  They were highly knowledgeable so all the delegates to the National Conference respected them and the conference achieved its objectives.  There are many highly respected retired judges.  The Chairman can come from the North or South.  The Vice Chairman can come from the South or North.  But their personalities should blend well and they must be team players.
It is necessary that some delegates be elected and some nominated.  There are many distinguished and knowledgeable Nigerians whose ideas and experience can benefit the country but will not or may not like to subject themselves to any electoral process. Therefore, I recommend to the committee that let the conference/dialogue consists of 75% elected delegates and 25% nominated delegates.
To save time, the committee should consider using the existing Federal Constituency where each of the 360 House of Representative members is elected.  So if every Federal Constituency elects one delegate we have 360 elected delegates.  The election can be done through Electoral College arrangement.  For the nominated delegates, 3 or 4 delegates from every state and one for the F.C.T is good enough.  If 3 delegates are nominated from each of the 36 states and one for the F.C.T. The total number of delegates for the conference is 469.  If 4 delegates per state are nominated and one from F.C.T, the total number becomes 505. The nominated delegates should come from various professional, institutions, civil society, religious groups and ethnic groups.
It is suggested that, the nominated delegates, some can be nominated by their states while the Federal Government also nominates some.  The National Council of State may peruse the list of nominated delegates to ascertain their integrity.
A country of Nigeria’s size, population and diversity is a natural federation.  So the present structure of Federal, 36 states and the F.C.T plus 774 LGAs be retained and consolidated.  If Nigerians can change their attitude toward politics, government, religion and business, we can make success of both the presidential and parliamentary Systems.
Any honest researcher of our present political system and its dynamics can discover that only three of the six Geo-political zones – south East, South West and North West (minus Southern Kaduna) can be converted into happy and comfortable regions.  The rest, North East, North Central and South-South Geo-political zones are so diverse that their peoples cannot willingly sacrifice the self-government and independence their peoples now enjoy in their respective states

.nAbba-Gana is former FCT Minister.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Emperor Jonathan: My Person Of The Year By Bayo Oluwasanmi.


By Bayo Oluwasanmi

Yoruba proverb says “Oruko nroni,” which literally means your life is shaped by your name. As President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan name suggests, he has a habit of being in the right place at the right time. Apart from his first name which means good fortune, the middle name Ebele is equally propitious. Ebele means God’s wish.

Born in 1957 in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, Mr. Jonathan is a Christian from Ijaw ethnic group. He came from a family whose trade was canoe-making. He studied zoology at the University of Port Harcourt. He worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental protection officer before going into politics in 1998.

Just as his rapid rise to power in the federal government owed a lot to luck, so too did his promotion to a state governor. He was elected as deputy on the ticket of Governor Dipreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa in 1999. While serving his term though without distinction as deputy governor, in what would be a providential turn; Alamieyeseigha was impeached on corruption charges. Mr. Jonathan took over as governor and two years later he was handpicked by President Obasanjo to run on the PDP ticket with Yar’Adua. The demise of Yar’Adua turbocharged his ascent to the presidency. Mr. Jonathan assumed the presidency May 6, 2010.

In choosing Mr. Jonathan as my Person of the Year, I rely on Time Magazine’s definition of the Person of the Year. Time defines its Person of the Year “as the individual who, for better or worse, had the greatest impact on the news and our lives this year.”

Mr. Jonathan has re-written our political history. He’s the first minority to be elected President of Nigeria. He’s the first PH.D to hold the office. He’s the first president associated with Fedora Hat. More than all these, he’s the president Nigerians hoped would at least begin the reconstruction of Nigeria in some areas in the real sense of the world. Charles de Gaulle once said: “History does not teach fatalism … People get the history they deserve.” And Mr. Jonathan would get the history he deserves.

There are so many runners-up in Nigeria for my Person of the Year, I believe no one person or event appropriately fits the definition more than Mr. Jonathan. For good five months, ASUU dominated the news for the shutdown of the country’s entire university system. The 160 million dumb Nigerians remain subservient, intimidated, and immobilized in the face of tyranny.

The inmates of the National Asylum a.k.a. Senators and Reps of the National Assembly sponsored many earthquake shaking bills that confirmed their dumbness and numbness of the reality of the Nigerian situation. The Gospel Comedians are on top of their games. The EFCC still finds it impossible to at least bark to scare away thieves. The economy is stuttering along the obituary column of economies of failed states of Third World nations. We’re still in perpetual darkness. The taps still run dry – as ever. The roads are forgotten priority. The hospitals have finally assumed the status of hospices. The lives of Nigerians now worth only two sparrows. The times in our nation’s history couldn’t be worse.

When he assumed office, Mr. Jonathan cited anti-corruption, power, and electoral reforms as priorities of his administration. He stated that he came to office under a “very sad and unusual circumstances.” However, since he moved to Aso Rock, Mr. Jonathan has put in place policies and programs for re-engineering corruption and for re-inventing the structural causes of poverty. As a dapper and contended member of the corrupt ruling class, he has transposed his support, approval, and more importantly his active involvement in corruption into comedy of all times.

Mr. Jonathan is well known for his profligacy and he serves as a shining light for his cabinet and others to imitate. Corruption is Nigeria’s existential problem and threat to our corporate entity. Mr. Jonathan’s contrary assertion on the extent of corruption has never been confirmed by the facts. The biting paradox of his corruption infested administration is fueled in part by his lack of vigilance, for being absentminded, for forgetfulness, and for recognized incompetence.

He lacks a talent for empathy and for engaging people in intelligent conversation. He remains a divisive figure for his party and for the nation. He’s widely regarded as a politician without a political base and more of a follower than a leader.

Mr. Jonathan’s three-year presidency is everything that is most disappointing. Nigeria is identified with him all that is wretched and dispiriting – brutally unequal, violent, and corrupt –  landmarks of his tenure. The Jonathan administration is an intentionally overripe comedy about corruption, duplicity, lawlessness, incompetence, and series of unbelievable astonishments.

His administration has been mangled and bungled by chains of overt lapses and covert lopsidedness. Lately, he’s been weakened by oil disputes, OBJ’s attack, civil war within the PDP  and CBN’s question of lack of accounting for $50 billion in oil revenue.

Not only does Mr. Jonathan lacks the elementary knowledge and workings of democracy, he also displays absolute arrogance. He thought himself as a god and demands that Nigerians see him the same way. As president, he wields great power but little character or wisdom.

How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. Crisis doesn’t’ necessarily make character, but it certainly does reveal it. Adversity is a crossroads that makes a person choose one of two paths: character or compromise. Any time a leader chooses character, he becomes stronger even if that choice brings negative consequences.  Remember how he responds to some of the challenges he faced: the Boko Haram terrorists, the petroleum subsidy saga, the Governor’s Forum crisis, the ASUU debacle, the Oduah gate, Governor Amaechi and River State affair, the rebel PDP governors, his “I don’t give a damn” answer when asked to declare his assets, etc.

Mr. Jonathan’s administration is laced with series of cruelty. All one needs to verify the truth is take a trip across the country. The federal presence – might, money, and responsibilities are not felt. With violence, crime, and poverty impacting so many of our young people across the nation like never before, Mr. Jonathan has turned blind eyes and  deaf ears to the problems he was elected to solve.

One of his greatest failure is making use of old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. Only a madman would keep trying the same old failed formula. Political leadership isn’t all that complex, it simply requires a willingness to take responsibility.

Nigerians are living in tough times. And everybody you meet is fighting a battle and Mr. Jonathan is searching for a bandage. Born into poor family “without shoes,” he’s a member of a rejected minority ethnic group. Grew up in obscurity in a little town that was mentioned only in scorn, Mr. Jonathan failed to learn more from his defeats than from his victories.

Emperor Jonathan won the award for my Person of the Year based on being a witness against himself: for aiding and abetting corruption, for being a spendthrift manager of our resources, for his arrogance of “I don’t give a damn” attitude to the cries of the suffering poor, for creating a whole new mess and mockery of a democratic system due to his spineless refusal to lead, for his confused priorities, for his impure motives, and for his damaging leadership that has lost him the trust of many common Nigerians.

I have been a reader of biographies for many years, and I have yet to find a successful president whose administration is free from problems and difficulties. Here were people who did not complain or threatened to sue the media. They accepted the difficulties of their office and used them as stepping-stones to leave behind a rich and poignant legacy which we still romanticize and fantasize today.

In the remaining term of his administration, Mr. Jonathan should represent a strong leader willing to accept the consequences of his choices and learn from his mistakes. He must show remarkable wisdom and insight as well as a heart receptive to truth. Sheer use of force, intimidation, harassment, and manipulation would rather sink than save his presidency.

byolu@aol.com

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

Iyabo Obasanjo’s Mirror By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

Trust some Nigerians to misapprehend the clearest of messages.

Last week, the (Nigerian) Vanguard newspaper published the text of an open letter that Iyabo Obasanjo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first daughter, had written to her father. It is a blistering, unsparing letter, in many ways heartrending and heartbreaking. I predict that future scholars who come to consider the Obasanjo Phenomenon, especially his Presidency, will find the letter a treasure trove for annotations and insights. In fact, the letter is compelling on a number of levels, full of details and anecdotes that provide perhaps the richest intimate details into the psyche of the former president.

The Obasanjo who emerges in his daughter’s letter struck me as an altogether familiar figure. There are, for me, few surprises, save for the daughter’s unflinching marshaling of evidence unknown to most Nigerians in order to sustain her intrepid assessment of her father. She characterizes Mr. Obasanjo as a liar, egoistic, megalomaniacal, duplicitous, heartless, hypocritical, a man driven by envy (of talented and successful people) and mischief, cruel (most of all to members of his immediate family), corrupt, self-absorbed, and opportunistic.

Let’s be sure: there’s no epithet in Ms. Obasanjo’s letter that many Nigerians had not used before now. Many critics as well as erstwhile associates of the former president have described him in exactly those terms, sometimes even in harsher language. The difference, this time, lies in the filial relationship between the accuser and the accused.

It is never a pretty sight when a furious daughter descends on her aged father, in her hands a rap sheet of indictments. It may strike onlookers as mere theater, but something far more profound is usually at play. Those of us who have nothing but the deepest reverence for our parents are bound to find the whole idea and scenario unimaginable, a drama of the most extreme absurdity.

It is a rarity indeed, the kind of public flogging that Ms. Obasanjo inflicted on her father’s naked torso. Enrapt as the public was, a part of us always recoiled in horror and shock.

Yet, I think those who began to berate the daughter, to lecture her on etiquette and propriety, missed the point. I suspect that Iyabo Obasanjo is the first person that would have most wanted NOT to write that letter. Any careful attention to the tone of the first paragraph would establish that here was a reluctant scribe, but one who, ultimately, concluded that she had little or no choice. Ms. Obasanjo’s letter amounted, in three senses at least, to a tremendous labor of love.

First, she wrote, I suggest, with an eye to history, moved by a desire to help unmask a sordid man, a veritable master of the art of self-inflation and self-misrepresentation. Second, she wrote in order to offer Nigerians a much-needed cautionary intervention, to alert us to the toxicity of a moral, social and political climate that has been created and sustained by her father and his ilk. I have often stipulated that, until Nigerians realize how thoroughly messed up and twisted their going culture has become, they can go nowhere but deeper into perdition. In a third (and perhaps most significant) sense, Ms. Iyabo Obasanjo’s letter translates as a cry from the deepest, most affectionate region of a daughter’s heart. It is a daughter’s desperate, last-ditch effort to jar a complacent, depraved father into realizing how puny he’s rendered himself, how starkly naked he is even as he deludes himself that he’s adorned in regal attire.

Ms. Obasanjo began her letter, in a wholly convincing accent, by stating, “It brings me no joy to have to write this…” Then she added: “The only way to reach you may be to make the public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight.”

She then proceeds, with painstaking rigor, to outline the villainy, mediocrity and bad faith of a man some Nigerians persist—against all logic—to credit with exemplary leadership. As much as she indicts her father, Ms. Iyabo’s more cutting and powerful comments are those directed at Nigerians. She not only painted her father in all his manifest moral ugliness, she also held up a mirror to the rest of us, inviting us to ponder our own self-destructive ethos.

“I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with,” she writes, and then adds: “Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them.” Toward the end of her letter, she states: “You are the prototypical ‘Mr. Know it all’.  You’ve never said, ‘I don’t know’ on any topic, ever.  Of course this means you surround yourself with idiots who will agree with you on anything and need you for financial gain and you need them for your insatiable ego. This your attitude is a reflection of the country. It is not certain which came first, your attitude seeping into the country’s psyche or the country accepting your irresponsible behavior for so long.”

And then this, what I consider Iyabo’s most devastating blow, on Mr. Obasanjo as well as the rest of us: “Nigeria has descended into a hellish reality where smart, capable people, to ‘survive’ and have their daily bread, prostrate to imbeciles.”

For my money, this is one of the most penetrating and succinct diagnoses both of Mr. Obasanjo’s brand of “leadership” as well as Nigeria’s broader malaise. It is a sobering account, written in an infuriated daughter’s sharp and direct language. Nigerians would be well served to read the letter with the right attitude. The letter ought not to be seen as fodder for titillation, as a peep into a prominent family’s dysfunction. It is no occasion for entertainment. Nor should it be read as yet another example of the weakening, even abandonment, of our traditional mores.  Something far more profound, and chastening, is at stake here.

It’s a pity that some commentators seized on the letter to propound on perceived lapses in Ms. Obasanjo’s cultural formation. Some abominated the whole idea of writing such a biting letter to her father. These critics were content to fix on the woman’s tone, not the substance of her letter. A common refrain: It’s unYoruba or unAfrican for a child to speak in such impertinent language to a parent.

 

Such reactions point to a frozen conception of culture as well as a cultural attitude that blames the true victim, the weaker party, whilst sparing the villain, the hubristic and powerful. I have written often about this phenomenon. Many Nigerians would insist that you don’t call a governor or president a thief, even when he’s demonstrably one. To call a thieving president or governor by the (proper) name of thief, in the illogical thinking of these Nigerians, is to display unacceptable disrespect for their exalted office. Yet, it hardly ever occurs to these enforcers that respect is earned, nor do they insist that stealing is incompatible with the high, extremely well remunerated office of governor or president. Let them steal all they want, we must address them as “Your Excellency So-and-So” or “Honorable This-and-That.”

In like spirit, those who scold Iyabo Obasanjo for describing the many ways in which her father is deplorable have not taken time to rebuke the former president for failing to treat his family with the love and affection they deserve. No, the daughter must repress her painful memories of a callous, uncaring father. She must neither say nor do anything to impede her deeply flawed father’s messianic delusions.

Odds are that Iyabo Obasanjo is at peace with herself, after pouring out her soul. No question, she must have her faults, perhaps even grievous ones, but her letter was an act of courage. And when historians reckon up Obasanjo the man and public figure, they will be grateful for this daughter’s illumining, powerful and telling memory capsule.

 

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Jonathan’s official reply to Obasanjo’s 18-paged letter.


obasanjo-and-jonathan

December 20th 2013
His Excellency,Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFRAgbe L’Oba House, Quarry Road,Ibara, Abeokuta.RE: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE
I wish to formally acknowledge your letter dated December 2, 2013 and other previous correspondence similar to it.You will recall that all the letters were brought to me by hand. Although both of us discussed some of the issues in those letters, I had not, before now, seen the need for any formal reply since, to me, they contained advice from a former President to a serving President. Obviously, you felt differently because in your last letter, you complained about my not acknowledging or replying your previous letters.It is with the greatest possible reluctance that I now write this reply. I am most uneasy about embarking on this unprecedented and unconventional form of open communication between me and a former leader of our country because I know that there are more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.But I feel obliged to reply your letter for a number of reasons: one, you formally requested for a reply and not sending you one will be interpreted as ignoring a former President.Secondly, Nigerians know the role you have played in my political life and given the unfortunate tone of your letter, clearly, the grapes have gone sour. Therefore, my side of the story also needs to be told.The third reason why I must reply you in writing is that your letter is clearly a threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.The fourth reason for this reply is that you raised very weighty issues, and since the letter has been made public, Nigerians are expressing legitimate concerns. A response from me therefore, becomes very necessary.The fifth reason is that this letter may appear in biographies and other books which political commentators on Nigeria’s contemporary politics may write. It is only proper for such publications to include my comments on the issues raised in your letter.Sixthly, you are very unique in terms of the governance of this country. You were a military Head of State for three years and eight months, and an elected President for eight years. That means you have been the Head of Government of Nigeria for about twelve years. This must have, presumably, exposed you to a lot of information. Thus when you make a statement, there is the tendency for people to take it seriously.The seventh reason is that the timing of your letter coincided with other vicious releases. The Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke of my “body language” encouraging corruption. A letter written to me by the CBN Governor alleging that NNPC, within a period of 19 months did not remit the sum of USD49.8 billion to the federation account, was also deliberately leaked to the public.The eighth reason is that it appears that your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony. Worse still, your letter was designed to instigate members of our Party, the PDP, against me.The ninth reason is that your letter conveys to me the feeling that landmines have been laid for me. Therefore, Nigerians need to have my response to the issues raised before the mines explode

.The tenth and final reason why my reply is inevitable is that you have written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all former Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji Shehu Shagari and these have instigated different actions and reactions. The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be placed on record.Let me now comment on the issues you raised. In commenting I wish to crave your indulgence to compare what is happening now to what took place before. This, I believe, will enable Nigerians see things in better perspective because we must know where we are coming from so as to appreciate where we now are, and to allow us clearly map out where we are going.You raised concerns about the security situation in the country. I assure you that I am fully aware of the responsibility of government for ensuring the security of the lives and property of citizens. My Administration is working assiduously to overcome current national security challenges, the seeds of which were sown under previous administrations. There have been some setbacks; but certainly there have also been great successes in our efforts to overcome terrorism and insurgency.Those who continue to down-play our successes in this regard, amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before now.At a stage, almost the entire North-East of Nigeria was under siege by insurgents. Bombings of churches and public buildings in the North and the federal capital became an almost weekly occurrence. Our entire national security apparatus seemed nonplussed and unable to come to grips with the new threat posed by the berthing of terrorism on our shores.But my administration has since brought that very unacceptable situation under significant control. We have overhauled our entire national security architecture, improved intelligence gathering, training, funding, logistical support to our armed forces and security agencies, and security collaboration with friendly countries with very visible and positive results.The scope and impact of terrorist operations have been significantly reduced and efforts are underway to restore full normalcy to the most affected North Eastern region and initiate a post-crisis development agenda, including a special intervention programme to boost the region’s socio-economic progress.In doing all this, we have kept our doors open for dialogue with the insurgents and their supporters through efforts such as the work of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and the Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North-East. You also know that the Governor of Borno State provided the items you mentioned to me as carrots. Having done all this and more, it is interesting that you still accuse me of not acting on your hardly original recommendation that the carrot and stick option be deployed to solve the Boko Haram problem.Your suggestion that we are pursuing a “war against violence without understanding the root causes of the violence and applying solutions to deal with all the underlying factors” is definitely misplaced because from the onset of this administration, we have been implementing a multifaceted strategy against militancy, insurgency and terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic development, education and social reforms.Even though basic education is the constitutional responsibility of States, my administration has, as part of its efforts to address ignorance and poor education which have been identified as two of the factors responsible for making some of our youth easily available for use as cannon fodder by insurgents and terrorists, committed huge funds to the provision of modern basic education schools for the Almajiri in several Northern States. The Federal Government under my leadership has also set up nine additional universities in the Northern States and three in the Southern States in keeping with my belief that proper education is the surest way of emancipating and empowering our people.More uncharitable persons may even see a touch of sanctimoniousness in your new belief in the carrot and stick approach to overcoming militancy and insurgency. You have always referred to how you hit Odi in Bayelsa State to curb militancy in the Niger Delta. If the invasion of Odi by the Army was the stick, I did not see the corresponding carrot. I was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State then, and as I have always told you, the invasion of Odi did not solve any militancy problem but, to some extent, escalated it. If it had solved it, late President Yar’Adua would not have had to come up with the amnesty program. And while some elements of the problem may still be there, in general, the situation is reasonably better.In terms of general insecurity in the country and particularly the crisis in the Niger Delta, 2007 was one of the worst periods in our history. You will recall three incidents that happened in 2007 which seemed to have been orchestrated to achieve sinister objectives. Here in Abuja, a petrol tanker loaded with explosives was to be rammed into the INEC building. But luckily for the country, an electric pole stopped the tanker from hitting the INEC building. It is clear that this incident was meant to exploit the general sense of insecurity in the nation at the time to achieve the aim of stopping the 2007 elections. It is instructive that you, on a number of occasions, alluded to this fact.When that incident failed, an armed group invaded Yenagoa one evening with the intent to assassinate me. Luckily for me, they could not. They again attacked and bombed my country home on a night when I was expected in the village. Fortunately, as God would have it, I did not make the trip.I recall that immediately after both incidents, I got calls expressing the concern of Abuja. But Baba, you know that despite the apparent concern of Abuja, no single arrest was ever made. I was then the Governor of Bayelsa State and the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate. The security people ordinarily should have unraveled the assassination attempt on me.You also raised the issues of kidnapping, piracy and armed robbery. These are issues all Nigerians, including me are very concerned about. While we will continue to do our utmost best to reduce all forms of criminality to the barest minimum in our country, it is just as well to remind you that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President of the country then. Also, armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been a problem to all succeeding governments. For a former Head of Government, who should know better, to present these problems as if they were creations of the Jonathan Administration is most uncharitable.Having said that, let me remind you of some of the things we have done to curb violent crime in the country. We have reorganized the Nigerian Police Force and appointed a more dynamic leadership to oversee its affairs. We have also improved its manpower levels as well as funding, training and logistical support.We have also increased the surveillance capabilities of the Police and provided its air-wing with thrice the number of helicopters it had before the inception of the present administration. The National Civil Defence and Security Corps has been armed to make it a much more effective ally of the police and other security agencies in the war against violent crime. At both domestic and international levels, we are doing everything possible to curb the proliferation of the small arms and light weapons with which armed robberies, kidnappings and piracy are perpetrated. We have also enhanced security at our borders to curb cross-border crimes.We are aggressively addressing the challenge of crude oil theft in collaboration with the state Governors. In addition, the Federal Government has engaged the British and US governments for their support in the tracking of the proceeds from the purchase of stolen crude. Similarly, a regional Gulf of Guinea security strategy has been initiated to curb crude oil theft and piracy.Perhaps the most invidious accusation in your letter is the allegation that I have placed over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list, and that I am training snipers and other militia to assassinate people. Baba, I don’t know where you got that from but you do me grave injustice in not only lending credence to such baseless rumours, but also publicizing it. You mentioned God seventeen times in your letter. Can you as a Christian hold the Bible and say that you truly believe this allegation?The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence. I have been a President for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty. There have certainly been cases of political assassination since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of them occurred under my leadership.Regarding the over one thousand people you say are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are “watching” them. Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.I also find it difficult to believe that you will accuse me of assisting murderers, or assigning a presidential delegation to welcome a murderer. This is a most unconscionable and untrue allegation. It is incumbent on me to remind you that I am fully conscious of the dictates of my responsibilities to God and our dear nation. It is my hope that devious elements will not take advantage of your baseless allegation to engage in brazen and wanton assassination of high profile politicians as before, hiding under the alibi your “open letter” has provided for them.Nevertheless, I have directed the security agencies and requested the National Human Rights Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of these criminal allegations and make their findings public.That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup. Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known.The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress. I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption. I will not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption, but I must follow due process in all that I do. And whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping with the dictates of extant laws and procedures. You cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that several highly placed persons in our country, including sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country, but we are doing our best to support and encourage the judiciary to quicken the pace of adjudication in cases of corruption.Baba, I am amazed that with all the knowledge garnered from your many years at the highest level of governance in our country, you could still believe the spurious allegation contained in a letter written to me by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and surreptitiously obtained by you, alleging that USD49.8 billion, a sum equal to our entire national budget for two years, is “unaccounted for” by the NNPC. Since, as President, you also served for many years as Minister of Petroleum Resources, you very well know the workings of the corporation. It is therefore intriguing that you have made such an assertion. You made a lot of insinuations about oil theft, shady dealings at the NNPC and the NNPC not remitting the full proceeds of oil sales to the of CBN. Now that the main source of the allegations which you rehashed has publicly stated that he was “misconstrued”, perhaps you will find it in your heart to apologize for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score.Your claim of “Atlantic Oil loading about 130, 000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into the NPDC account” is also disjointed and baseless because no such arrangement as you described exists between Atlantic Oil and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company. NPDC currently produces about 138, 000 barrels of oil per day from over 7 producing assets. The Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the NNPC markets all of this production on behalf of NPDC with proceeds paid into NPDC account.I am really shocked that with all avenues open to you as a former Head of State for the verification of any information you have received about state affairs, you chose to go public with allegations of “high corruption” without offering a shred of supporting evidence. One of your political “sons” similarly alleged recently that he told me of a minister who received a bribe of $250 Million from an oil company and I did nothing about it. He may have been playing from a shared script, but we have not heard from him again since he was challenged to name the minister involved and provide the evidence to back his claim. I urge you, in the same vein, to furnish me with the names, facts and figures of a single verifiable case of the “high corruption” which you say stinks all around my administration and see whether the corrective action you advocate does not follow promptly. And while you are at it, you may also wish to tell Nigerians the true story of questionable waivers of signature bonuses between 2000 and 2007.While, by the Grace of God Almighty, I am the first President from a minority group, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria and I have always acted in the best interest of all Nigerians. You referred to the divisive actions and inflammatory utterances of some individuals from the South-South and asserted that I have done nothing to call them to order or distance myself from their ethnic chauvinism. Again that is very untrue. I am as committed to the unity of this country as any patriot can be and I have publicly declared on many occasions that no person who threatens other Nigerians or parts of the country is acting on my behalf.It is very regrettable that in your letter, you seem to place sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP at my doorstep, and going on from that position, you direct all your appeals for a resolution at me. Baba, let us all be truthful to ourselves, God and posterity. At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or group advantage ahead of the 2015 general elections. The “bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion” you wrote about all flow from this singular factor.It is indeed very unfortunate that the seeming crisis in the party was instigated by a few senior members of the party, including you. But, as leader of the party, I will continue to do my best to unite it so that we can move forward with strength and unity of purpose. The PDP has always recovered from previous crises with renewed vigour and vitality. I am very optimistic that that will be the case again this time. The PDP will overcome any temporary setback, remain a strong party and even grow stronger.Instigating people to cause problems and disaffection within the party is something that you are certainly familiar with. You will recall that founding fathers of the Party were frustrated out of the Party at a time. Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi was pushed out, Late Chief Solomon Lar left and later came back, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi also left. Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo left and later came back. In 2005/2006, link-men were sent to take over party structures from PDP Governors in an unveiled attempt to undermine the state governors. In spite of that, the Governors did not leave the Party because nobody instigated and encouraged them to do so.The charge that I was involved in anti-party activities in governorship elections in Edo, Ondo, Lagos, and Anambra States is also very unfortunate. I relate with all Governors irrespective of political party affiliation but I have not worked against the interest of the PDP. What I have not done is to influence the electoral process to favour our Party. You were definitely never so inclined, since you openly boasted in your letter of how you supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and others in the 1979 presidential elections while serving as a military Head of State. You and I clearly differ in this regard, because as the President of Nigeria, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to create a level playing field for all parties and all candidates.Recalling how the PDP lost in states where we were very strong in 2003 and 2007 such as Edo, Ondo, Imo, Bauchi, Anambra, and Borno, longstanding members of our great party with good memory will also consider the charge of anti-party activities you made against me as misdirected and hugely hypocritical. It certainly was not Goodluck Jonathan’s “personal ambition or selfish interest” that caused the PDP to lose the governorship of Ogun State and all its senatorial seats in the last general elections.You quoted me as saying that I have not told anybody that I will seek another term in office in 2015. You and your ambitious acolytes within the party have clearly decided to act on your conclusion that “only a fool will believe that statement” and embark on a virulent campaign to harass me out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential elections so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by you.You will recall that you serially advised me that we should refrain from discussing the 2015 general elections for now so as not to distract elected public officials from urgent task of governance. While you have apparently moved away from that position, I am still of the considered opinion that it would have been best for us to do all that is necessary to refrain from heating up the polity at this time. Accordingly, I have already informed Nigerians that I will only speak on whether or not I will seek a second term when it is time for such declarations. Your claims about discussions I had with you, Governor Gabriel Suswam and others are wrong, but in keeping with my declared stance, I will reserve further comments until the appropriate time.Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African Presidents to speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015, is also untrue. I have never requested any African President to discuss with you on my behalf. In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four Presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it. So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny it?The issue of Buruji Kashamu is one of those lies that should not be associated with a former President. The allegation that I am imposing Kashamu on the South-West is most unfortunate and regrettable. I do not even impose Party officials in my home state of Bayelsa and there is no zone in this country where I have imposed officials. So why would I do so in the South West? Baba, in the light of Buruji’s detailed public response to your “open letter”, it will be charitable for you to render an apology to Nigerians and I.On the issue of investors being scared to come to Nigeria, economic dormancy, and stagnation, I will just refer you to FDI statistics from 2000 to 2013. Within the last three years, Nigeria has emerged as the preferred destination for investments in Africa, driven by successful government policies to attract foreign investors. For the second year running, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments (UNCTAD) has ranked Nigeria as the number one destination for investments in Africa, and as having the fourth highest returns in the world.Today, Nigeria is holding 18 percent of all foreign investments in Africa and 60 percent of all foreign investments in the ECOWAS Sub-Region. Kindly note also that in the seven years between 2000 and 2007 when you were President, Nigeria attracted a total of $24.9 Billion in FDI. As a result of our efforts which you disparage, the country has seen an FDI inflow of $25.7 Billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination. We have also maintained an annual national economic growth rate of close to seven per cent since the inception of this administration. What then, is the justification for your allegation of scared investors and economic dormancy?Although it was not emphasized in your letter of December 2, 2013, you also conveyed, in previous correspondence, the impression that you were ignorant of the very notable achievements of my administration in the area of foreign relations. It is on record that under my leadership, Nigeria has played a key role in resolving the conflicts in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Bissau and others.The unproductive rivalry that existed between Nigeria and some ECOWAS countries has also been ended under my watch and Nigeria now has better relations with all the ECOWAS countries. At the African Union, we now have a Commissioner at the AU Commission after being without one for so long. We were in the United Nations Security Council for the 2010/2011 Session and we have been voted in again for the 2014/2015 Session. From independence to 2010, we were in the U.N. Security Council only three times but from 2010 to 2015, we will be there two times.This did not happen by chance. My Administration worked hard for it and we continue to maintain the best possible relations with all centres of global political and economic power. I find it hard therefore, to believe your assertions of untoward concern in the international community over the state of governance in NigeriaWith respect to the Brass and Olokola LNG projects, you may have forgotten that though you started these projects, Final Investment Decisions were never reached. For your information, NNPC has not withdrawn from either the Olokola or the Brass LNG projects.On the Rivers State Water Project, you were misled by your informant. The Federal Government under my watch has never directed or instructed the Africa Development Bank to put on hold any project to be executed in Rivers state or any other State within the Federation. The Rivers Water Project was not originally in the borrowing plan but it was included in April 2013 and appraised in May. Negotiations are ongoing with the AfDB. I have no doubt that you are familiar with the entire process that prefaces the signing of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement as in this instance.Let me assure you and all Nigerians that I do not engage in negative political actions and will never, as President, oppress the people of a State or deprive them of much needed public services as a result of political disagreementI have noted your comments on the proposed National Conference. Contrary to the insinuation in your letter, the proposed conference is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to resolve contentious national issues in a formal setting. This is a sure way of promoting greater national consensus and unity, and not a recipe for “disunity, confusion and chaos” as you alleged in your letter.Having twice held the high office of President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I trust that you will understand that I cannot possibly find the time to offer a line-by-line response to all the accusations and allegations made in your letter while dealing with other pressing demands of office and more urgent affairs of state.I have tried, however, to respond to only the most serious of the charges which question my sincerity, personal honour, and commitment to the oath which I have sworn, to always uphold and protect the interests of all Nigerians, and promote their well-being.In closing, let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills.I have not, myself, ever claimed to be all-knowing or infallible, but I have never taken Nigeria or Nigerians for granted as you implied, and I will continue to do my utmost to steer our ship of state towards the brighter future to which we all aspire.Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and warm regards.GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN

Source: Radio Biafra.

Open Letter To Ordinary Nigerians By Abdullahi Yunusa.


By Abdullahi Yunusa

Fellow countrymen and women, I choose to wrap up my literary expedition for the year 2013 with this letter to ordinary Nigerians of different classes, status, backgrounds, creeds, tongues and ideological leanings; especially to those commonly called ‘Ordinary Nigerians’. Dearly beloved, this is my own humble gift to humanity, ordinary Nigerians in particular, as we bid farewell to 2013. While we are already basking in the euphoria of the yuletide, I charge us to take out time and reflect deeply on issues raised here. We are not new to writing letters in this part of the world. Even though technological advancement is fast displacing conventional letter writing with more easy and instant communication methods, some of us cannot just detach ourselves from writing letters.

Without doubts, several letters have already been written and addressed to those at the corridors of power, their cronies and establishments. I have lost count of the number of well-written, thought-provoking and soul-piercing articles I personally authored and addressed to those in power, high-profile personalities and government establishments. As usual, such articles were basically targeted at ensuring that our leaders don’t veer off the lane of commonsense, resist the temptation to promote personal interests and constantly remind them of the sacredness of the tasks in their hands. A number of such articles have appeared in both the conventional newsprints as well as reputable online news sites. Whether such letters have produced desired outcomes is a different thing altogether. Even though issues raised in such letters are still left unsolved or have assumed alarming dimensions, I personally find soothing consolation in the fact the letters truly got to their destinations. I’m sure their Press Secretaries or Media Aides must have reviewed and analyzed the content of such letters for them to read. It was former President Olusegun Obasanjo who once said that he has no business flipping through pages of local newspapers, according to him, “they don’t report facts and are always sensational”. An average Nigerian Big Man or Politician only applauds the media whenever they portray them in good light or publish materials that seek to promote his interests.

Several letters, laced with indisputable facts, unambiguous content and written in easy-to-read manners have been left to gather dusts on the shelves in most government offices. So, sending them more letters, without corresponding action, is tantamount to attempting to fetch water in a basket! I rather choose to speak directly to those I can see, relate with and possibly, influence their behavioural make-up. Those in power call those on the order side, ordinary Nigerians! They label them ordinary Nigerians not because they can’t afford three square meals, pay their bills or clothe themselves, but simply because they are not holding political positions. Or simply put, because they don’t belong to the class of the thieving elite.

Fellow countrymen and women, I m very sad and worried. I’m alarmed by the way we allow our appointed or elected representatives to choke us with practices considered very harmful and detrimental to our lives and that of our dear nation. No nation grows in an environment where laws are breached with impunity. No nation attains greatness in an environment where a negligible percentage of its population bury themselves in affluence, while a large chunk of its population still live from hand to mouth. This is a country where social and economic rights of its citizens are serially abused by those in authority. We, the citizenry allow so many ills to go unchecked. Through our unified silence, we have indirectly endorsed some ill practices. In extreme cases, we even offer support to these leaders to further impoverish, insult and shortchange us with impunity. Like sheep without shepherds, our leaders have led us astray into dangerous lands. We have groped in the dark for too long. Our leaders have since realized that we are too fearful, too naïve and not daring enough to question their profligate disposition, ostentatious lifestyles, greed, avarice and primitive accumulation of our commonwealth.

Undeniably, most Nigerians are nowhere close to what could be termed comfortable living. Even though Nigeria has what it takes for its people to live like kings and queens, our leaders pray fervently for it not to happen. They don’t want those on the lower rung of life’s ladder to overcome their challenges and live comfortably like them. They dread seeing the less privileged rise above their limitations. With the abundant human and natural resources God has blessed us with, we have no reason to lack the basics of life. Water, shelter, clothing, education, food and amenities like road, hospitals, electricity and schools should no longer be seen as luxuries, but what should be in place. This is where I tend to disagree with those who often thunder that we should pray for our leaders instead of throwing stones at them. God is more than fair to us. What is it that He hasn’t blessed Nigeria with? Arable land, clement weather, productive human population, mineral resources etc are some of God’s priceless gifts to Nigeria. Regrettably, instead of harnessing the aforementioned gifts to better the lots of all Nigerians, we are rather agonising and languishing in search of hope and direction.

It appears we have become so used to the mess that our country has become. Nothing seems to bother us anymore. Many have lost interest in the project called Nigeria. This is very sad. Ideally, as citizens, we should all be benefiting from the nation’s wealth. As citizens, irrespective of tribe, creed and political persuasion, we have equal stake in the sharing and allocation of Nigeria’s vast resources. Unfortunately, the sad reality is that our leaders have cornered the resources to serve their interests and those of their cronies. This gross injustice is so obvious to be left unchallenged. Challenging them doesn’t imply taking up arms or inciting others to attack our leaders. It’s about reminding them of the need to redistribute the resources among Nigerians. It is about telling them of the consequences of their actions. A hungry man is an angry individual. A victim of injustice is a potential time-bomb. If nothing urgent is done to address societal injustices, then we are giving room for violence and other crimes. If the country appears handicapped or not interested in addressing certain injustices meted to its citizens, such citizens would seek for ways of avenging the injustice done to them. This is why serious governments across the world ensure that rights of their citizens are not violated for whatever reasons. In cases where such rights are denied, such governments quickly work out modalities on prompt compensation.

The word legacy doesn’t exist in the dictionary of our leaders. All they know and do is to amass wealth, loot the treasury and gather enough wealth to cater for their families. To them, public office is an avenue to enrich themselves and not to offer service. This is chiefly responsible for why they engage in unimaginable things just in their quest for power. The only time they pretend to care for you and I is before and during elections. As usual, when elections are over, their doors are shut against those they claim to be representing. It is high time we realized that our leaders careless about us. We must all rise and take our destinies into our own hands.

Strangely, we, those often called ordinary Nigerians tend to defend and hold brief for leaders accused of graft. Instead of naming and shaming those cornering our collective patrimony through contract splitting, kickbacks, contract inflation, misappropriation, we often rise to defend their action for very stupid reasons. It is sickening to see ordinary Nigerians rise in defense of leaders found to have abused public office simply because such a leader shares blood or certain affinities with them. I recall with pain how some young men in Imo state took to the street to defend Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Oduah who was alleged to have directed heads of parastatals under her supervision to get her two bullet-proof cars with funds not captured in the budget. In all, the entire saga was reduced to an ethnic issue, with a few Igbo brazenly defending their ‘own’.

This is not how to build a country. We have stayed too long on the wrong path. No matter how far we have gone on the wrong lane, we can still retrace our steps back to the drawing board to start again. Let us begin the year 2014 on a promising note. It is no longer going to be business as usual. Fellow ordinary Nigerians, I wish that we could all take our pride of place in how this nation is governed. We were once blind, but we can now see. Do have a hitch-free festive season and a prosperous new year in advance.

Abdullahi Yunusa wrote in from Imane, Kogi state.
meetprofwills@yahoo.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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