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Posts tagged ‘Delta State’

The Unending Military Siege to Delta State By Ogaga Ifowodo.


 

Columnist:

Ogaga Ifowodo

Delta is a densely populated state that also happens to house a vast amount of oil and gas. The Sapele-Warri-Ughelli corridor, extending to Port Harcourt, is the industrial and commercial heartbeat of the state and has a high volume of vehicular traffic. A testimony to the socio-economic importance of this corridor is the never-to-be-completed East-West Road that spans four states: Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom. Yet, it is precisely the short stretch of it between Warri and Ughelli that the Federal Government has managed to make motorable, seven years and N349 billion after, that exhibits the unbearable hardship of military checkpoints (MCPs) through which a permanent siege has been laid to the state. If you have ever travelled on that road at peak hours, or worse, are a frequent commuter between Warri and any of the towns further south—Ughelli, Patani, and all of Isokoland—then a nightmare for you must be a dream of sandbags and oil barrels that create bottlenecks in the middle of your road.

On Saturday, the 15th, I set out from Warri with an older cousin—I call him Brother Reuben—and his wife on a trip to visit my mother in Otor-Owhe, but with stops in Iyede to attend a funeral and Oleh for a wedding.  We crawled through the first MCP at Okuokokor in about twenty minutes, though from the DSC roundabout where the East-West Road begins to the checkpoint is less than half a kilometre.  At about 11:05 AM, our progress was halted with sterner resolve as we fell into one of now-three-and-now-four lanes caused by the MCP just before Beta Glass Company. For forty–three minutes, we stewed in the sun and expressed our frustrations in hisses and impotent rage. As we passed through the checkpoint, we noticed that the sentry hut was empty and the two soldiers in the vicinity were chatting with someone in the nearby petrol station. Thankfully, they had ensured to deploy helmets atop the sandbags to stand in for them! On our return, at 6:20 PM, we saw the gridlock ahead and turned just in time at Delta Power Station into the Otor-Udu Road, an alternative route to our destination in the Udu-Ovwian area of Warri.  We might as well have gnashed our teeth through the Delta Glass MCP for we ran smack into another in Ujevwu! Suffice it to say that a journey of twenty minutes, give or take, from the Delta Glass MCP took a full hour longer. But we were lucky: I heard stories of two to three hours lost to the East-West Road checkpoints.

But why build roads, supposedly for the freer flow of traffic, and then erect obstacles in them to defeat the purpose?  To combat kidnappers, I am told. Very funny! And not only because the soldiers do not check vehicles, do not do any actual policing—are indeed often not to be seen at the checkpoints—but also because I am yet to hear of any kidnapper arrested at a military checkpoint. Despite being hemmed in by MCPs, Kelvin Oniarah, the alleged kidnap kingpin of Kokori was arrested in a hotel in Port Harcourt, while one Enueme Ogaga, his alleged sidekick, was nabbed in Ashaka far from a checkpoint. And outside Delta State, the report “Another kidnap kingpin, 6 robbers nabbed in Rivers” (Vanguard, 20 February 2014) informs us that the said kidnapper “was traced to a . . .  bank . . .  where he went to withdraw [the] ransom” paid for his victim.

Checkpoints are an extreme policing device suitable only for a town under military occupation. They are to be used sparingly and only for a specific and immediate goal, then promptly dismantled. As I ranted against military checkpoints—they are a gratuitous infliction of pain; they hinder movement and economic activity and we mount them with glee only because we are not a productive economy, are not in competition with any other nation (crude oil and gas do not travel on the roads); they show us as a conquered people, a land rendered comatose by military dictatorship and civilian brigandage, etc.—my auditors recounted their experiences. On hearing me swear to write a column about the MCPs, Mr George Okoro, a retired Shell Community Relations Coordinator, said, “Well, you may write all you want but our governments delight in seeing us suffer, that’s all.” The next day, on a visit to Professor G.G.  Darah in his Udu-Warri home, I was still in a huff and so, it turns out, was he about the ubiquity of checkpoints in Delta State. He had once counted, he said, “29 checkpoints between Auchi and Asaba.” Delta State, he declared, “is a war zone. You won’t see checkpoints coming from Abuja, until you leave Auchi.”

Elsewhere, countries that take themselves seriously strain to outdo their nearest competitors in lowering the cost of doing business, partly by shortening the time for travelling between two points. And so China develops its new high-speed trains with France, Japan and Germany as its competitors. We do not have a rail transport system that would pass the laugh test; all we have are inadequate and decrepit roads. And yet we find every reason to bring traffic to a halt on them. Perhaps the powers that be who authorised the permanent military siege to Delta State might care to prove Mr Okoro wrong?

omoliho@gmail.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Nigeria fines Shell N800 billion for Bonga oil spill – Official.


 

oil spill in Bonga

The oil spill in Bonga occurred in December 2011.
The National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA,  has   imposed a $5 billion dollars (about N800 billion) fine on Shell  Petroleum and Development Company, SPDC, for the 2011 Bonga oil spill  incident.
The Director-General, Peter Idabor, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
Mr. Idabor also said that the agency had started studying the Post-Impact Assessment Report on Bonga oil spill.
“Compensation really derives after you have done a post-impact  assessment,” he said. “After you have done evaluation of the place and  mapped out places affected by the spill, then you can now say this
one  take three naira; this one take N100; it is different from fine.”Bonga oil spill2
The official added that “So, just last week, they formally announced  to us that the post-impact assessment report is ready; which we are  studying now.
“The House of Representatives has asked NOSDRA as the lead agency in  oil spill, to contact other stakeholders including the communities, to  see how we can study the report.
“We will then recommend compensation based on the report of the post-impact assessment.’’
He said that NOSDRA faulted SPDC for not providing immediate relief  to the affected communities, whose livelihoods were affected by the  disaster.
The director-general said that the fine would serve as a deterrent to  other firms that would treat activities which deplete the environment  with levity.
“The kind of impunity Shell and its allies have demonstrated so far  in the Niger Delta area in the past should be addressed if the future  and people of Nigeria and the environment are to be protected,” he said.
He said that the oil spill, which occurred in December 2011 and  spread over 100 nautical miles from the ocean, deprived fishermen in the  affected areas of Bayelsa and Delta of their means of livelihood.
“They could not go there to fish; nets that they normally put in  water ways were stained and people lost their means of livelihood.
“Even the fishes themselves, because of the chemical, migrated from the crude oil.
“The overall impact was for that chemical to have entered the  Atlantic Ocean; it must have killed millions of fish and other living  organisms,” he said.
Mr. Idabor said that the spill which did not result from sabotage or vandalism would take a long time to get cleared.
A separate government agency, the Nigerian Maritime Administration  and Safety Agency, NIMASA, had also asked Shell to pay $6.5 billion  (about N1 trillion) as compensation to the victims of the spill.
It is not yet clear if Shell would pay the levies or would challenged the directives in court.
Meanwhile, Barrisua Deezim, an Ogoni in Rivers, has urged NOSDRA to  extend its efforts and to respond to other communities in the Niger  Delta region affected by oil exploration activities.
Mr. Deezim also called on security authorities to intensify efforts to check the activities of illegal refineries in the area.
Oil spill in the Niger Delta region is mostly caused by oil bunkering,’’ he said.
(NAN)
Premium Times

Source: Radio Biafra.

President Jonathan divides Ohanaeze over 2015.


 

President-jonathan-05

The purported 2015 presidential ambition of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has divided the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

Special Adviser to the President on Inter-party Affairs Senator Ben Ndi Obi, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Senator Edwin Onwudiwe said Jonathan had done well and deserved another term.

But Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, Chief Enwo Igariwey, said Igbo had not made any statement on the issue, adding that the body would declare its stand at the appropriate time.

Eleven states formed what they called Oriental Peoples Movement (OPM), founded by Andy Campbell Onyeaqanam.

 

The states are Anambra, Abia, Abuja, Enugu, Ebonyi, Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River and Imo.

At the official launch of the Anambra State chapter yesterday, Onwudiwe, the chairman of the occasion, said the idea was to protect Ndigbo interest.

He said Jonathan should be given opportunity to translate Nigeria, adding that it was too late for Ndigbo to work against the Southsouth presidency. ”We should support Jonathan next year so that Southsouth will support us when our time comes. We will lose it if we create a vacuum now,” Onwudiwe added.

Obi said the President was being unjustly criticised by the opposition, adding that he was focused and determined to develop the country.

Said he: “Jonathan has done well in the last three years. But there are still grounds to be covered. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a huge movement. We are grounded in the ethics of democracy.

“We are waiting for Jonathan, having assured that Nigerians will enjoy more democracy dividends in 2014. Ndigbo were major contributors to his 2011 success story at the polls.

“Ohanaeze met with him last December 9, during which issues concerning Ndigbo were discussed and the people said they were satisfied with his explanations.”

Igariwey said yesterday that individuals were entitled to their opinions, adding that no decision had been made on next year’s presidential election.

Iwuanyanwu, a member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP, said Jonathan’s stay in office was “to allow the labours of our hero’s past not to be in vain”, adding that that was why every ethnic group should support his 2015 project.

He said: “Jonathan represents that unity as preached by our past heroes. The reward for hard work is more work. Therefore, I hail the initiators of this project called, ‘Think presidency, think Jonathan'”.

Source: Radio Biafra.

ASABA :14-yr-old boy plans grandmum’s kidnap, collects N150,000 ransom; Ironically, the abductors also took away the boy.


 

kidnappers-03

ASABA — MEN of the Delta State Police command have arrested a 14-year-old boy for allegedly masterminding the kidnap of his grandmother.

Ironically, the abductors also took away the boy along with the grandmother and another victim in the process of kidnap but dropped off the accused before getting to their hideout.

It was also not the first time the boy had planned the abduction of his grandmother to enable him share from the ransom.

State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Charles Muka gave a vivid account of the incident.

According to him: “This is a case of conspiracy in which a grandson, for the second time, planned his grandmother’s  kidnap.

“On 17th of this month in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area at 6pm, one Hope Evivie, a 62-year-old woman, was kidnapped with the suspect, Julius Evivie, a14-year-old boy and Victory Oghenero, also a four-year-old boy.

“However, the suspect was later dropped off on the road while the victim was taken away with the other four-year-old until January 25 when they were released without ransom.

“Through information, the roles of the suspect was revealed and on interrogation he confessed to receiving N150,000 for the role he played during the earlier kidnap when N4 million ransom was paid.

“The suspect will be charged to  court at the end of investigation. Parents and guardians are advised to limit information about themselves to their children, drivers and domestic servants. This incident has re-affirmed our (police) assertion that all kidnappings have insiders’ roles.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ibori’s Kangaroo Judge Retires-PM News, Nigeria.


 

Marcel Awokulehin
By Akin Kuponiyi

Justice Marcellus Idowu Awokulehin, the judge who gave former Delta State Governor, Onanefe James Ibori clean bill of health in the corruption charges file against him, has  retired. He retired Thursday.

In a well attended valedictory service held in Lagos in his honour by judges, lawyers, past chief judges of the Court Justice, Awokulehin thanked the judges and offered his gratitude to the late Bola Ige who recommended him for the post of a judge.

On 17 December, 2009,  Justice Awokulehin in his ruling quashed all the 170-count criminal charges filed against Ibori by  the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Ibori was however extradited to the United Kingdom where he was convicted and jailed for the same offence Wokulehin set him free in Nigeria.

Justice Awokulehin was born  16 January, 1949,  in Otan Aiyegbaju in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State. He started his early education at Holy Cross Primary School, Lagos from 1955-1960 and St.Mary’s Primary School, Lokoja from 1960-1962. From there he gained admission into St. Thomas’s School Kano from 1962-1964.

He later continued his secondary education at the Hussey College, Warri from 1964-1968.

Awokulehin was admitted into the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos as part time student from 1971-1973 and full time student from1973-1975 .

He later proceeded to the City of London Polytechnic from 1975-1978 for his Modular Law and from 1978-1979 and  obtained his Master’s degree having completed a post graduate course in business law. He was called to the Nigerian  Bar in 1982.

He did his National Youth Service with the Federal Ministry of Justice from 1982-1983. He was later made permanent staff from1985-1987.

Between 1987 and 1993, he was Senior State Counsel, Legal Adviser to the Department of Customs and Excise, Chief Legal Adviser Department of public prosecution, Marina, Lagos from August 1998-March 1999.

Awokulehin was the lead Counsel to the Oputa panel during its sitting in Lagos in 2001

He was appointed as Federal High Court Judge on 7 January, 2004 and served five divisions of the court, namely Asaba, Benin, Lagos, Lafia and Kaduna.

In a well attended valedictory service held in his honour by judges, lawyers, past chief judges of the Court Justice, Awokulehin thanked the judges and offered his gratitude to the late Bola Ige who recommended him for the post of a judge.

Massacre In Ode-Ugborodo Community: The Culpability Of Delta State Government And The Nigerian Navy By Lucky Akaruese.


By Lucky Akaruese

For anyone familiar with the present phase of crises in Ugborodo communities ( riverine communities located at the Escravos estuary of the Atlantic Ocean), one cannot but bewailed, and even amused when watching the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba in the different electronic media (AIT and Channels Television stations) addressing some indigenes of the community in his office in Abuja on Friday 10th January, 2014. From his speech (possibly edited), one can guess with utmost certitude that the Naval boss was addressing representatives of the two warring factions whose irreconcilable differences has dragged the communities constituting Ugborodo into the realm of instability which climaxed into fratricidal massacre  of Sunday, 5th of January, 2014; the very day the Navy moved into the community. It is no longer a secret that the Ugborodo community since 2011 has been enmeshed   in protracted crises over leadership/membership of the Ugborodo Governing Board which is an arm of the registered Ugborodo Trust.

From what one can gather from the speech of Dele Ezeoba, and coupled with the theatrical display of being stoned-face, the whole exercise was nothing short of a showmanship (in military style) put in place to smokescreen the conspiratorial execution of barbarism of extreme, utmost and heartless crudity orchestrated by the institutional duo of the government of Delta State, and the Nigerian Navy. In the speech referred to, Ezeoba blamed members of the two factions laying claim to the leadership of the Governing Board of Ugborodo Trust.  But he never delved into  the inescapable poser on why the said ‘executors’ of the killings had to wait for the very day the Nigerian Navy moved into Ode-Ugborodo community before turning the land into human abattoir, even though the present crises started in 2011.

 

This present crises started in 2011 when two groups emerged to lay claim to the leadership of the Board. The group led by Chief Thomas Ereyitomi (a chief of the Olu of Warri) who had earlier served between 2008-2011 as chairman had his said election/appointment supervised by the Security Adviser to Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, Retired Rear Admiral KpoKpogiri; while the faction led by  Mr David Tonwe ( a former chairman of the Warri South-West Local Government Council Area) was installed by the Ugborodo Council of Elders. It is on record that it was the same Council of Elders that in 2008 installed Chief Ereyitomi Thomas during his first term in office.

For the 2011 struggle for leadership, reports had it that when Chief Ereyitomi’s first term was coming to an end; and having read the unfriendly ‘body language’ of the Council of Elders including a large section of the  Ugborodo community arising from alleged non-performance, profligacy and arrogance; and he (Thomas) does not need a crystal ball to tell him that his team will never be returned for a second term, he turned to Governor Uduaghan  for assistance; who wasted no time to lunch his current meddling mission in the affairs of Ugborodo community without regard for decency, fairness, morality and particularly the need to attract the requisite dignity and respect for his exalted office. For the Council of Elders, and a large section of the Ugborodo community who are largely gerontocratic in worldview, the involvements of the government of Delta State in strictly Ugborodo affairs constitutes heresy which must be resisted. All attempts by the Ugborodo community elders, and other well-meaning individuals to dissuade Governor Uduaghan from companionship/partnership with those they despised for leadership positions; in favour of espousing rectitude were allegedly rebuffed by the governor. This has in some circles been seen as the result of the alleged Delta State government’s much vaunted desire to impose a pliant leadership on the Ugborodo community; a desire that has assumed the status of a state policy of immutable and inviolable characteristics. In the process of executing the meddlesomeness, the government no doubt recruited the services of the Navy formation in the Warri axis.

The endless under funding of the different arms of the Nigerian military (the Navy in this instant case) has created a situation whereby officers and men of the Navy posted to these areas look up to the Delta state government for assistants of different forms. In this process, many of these officers have unwittingly turned themselves into handmaids to government and its officials; who now use them to pursue personal ambitions (irrespective of their ‘sodonomic’) intent. This also includes the settling of personal scores with perceived enemies. The present crises in Ugborodo amply demonstrate this.

In fairness, crises over leadership in the Ugborodo Trust (during periods of election/appointment into positions) are not new. But what is new is the direct involvement of Delta State Government in strictly community affairs to the extent that officials of Delta state government (as already stated) even went to the ridiculous extent of pretending to conduct election into leadership positions in Ugborodo Trust in contradistinction to the tradition, rules and the legal instrument of the community. Added to such aberration, is the endless wilful brutalization of agents of reasoning and decency in the community as exemplified in the Nigerian Navy being used by the government of Delta State to bundle the traditional head of the community Olaja-Orori Dube Omadeli, and three others in leadership cadre from Ode-Ugborodo to Warri; and were left to languish in prison custody for months until two days ago when they were granted bail by a Federal High Court, Warri. To demonstrate the involvement of the government of Delta State in the Ugborodo crisess particularly to be sure that the ‘captured’ leaders of the community will remain in prison custody in-perpetuity, the government of Delta State deployed its Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General, Mr. Charles Ajuyah (SAN) to personal lead the legal team to persuade the court not to grant them bail.  It was a failed mission, even though after much suffering!

Thus, while the Naval boss as shown in the electronic media was warning the two groups over the protracted crises which culminated into the genocidal act, he however failed to explain how the Sunday January 5th massacre could have been executed when the Navy was surely on ground in Ode-Ugborode which was turned into a slaughter community. Could it be that the Naval officers carried out the killings themselves, or turned their eyes away while (possibly) one of the factions executed the heinous act?.  Vice Admiral Ezeoba is morally and officially bound to tell the whole world how such fratricidal crime could be executed in the broad day light, with full compliments of the Navy said to be fully on ground, and even patrolling the waters of the estuary at the material time. It thus behoves the Naval boss to get explanation from his officers on ground especially those stationed in the Chevron and EGTL facilities; and such explanation (assuming Ezeoba will be professional, honest and courageous enough to  demand for such explanations) must be made public. It is an open secret that many of these officers including the police in the Warri axis are alleged to be on the pay rolls of some of these local filthy millionaires; and these top security brass daily provide them (these filthy millionaires) with gun wielding uniformed men to protect them, wives and their children, even though they occupy no-known official positions except being friends of top Delta State government officials.

Even though the struggle for occupying the expected strategic and juicy positions of interfacing with the trans-national companies (on behalf of the Ugborodo communities) that will execute the EPZ project has been endlessly canvassed as the cause of the January 5th killings; a said causal factor which the Naval boss sloganized with iron-clad certitude, a specific and equally fundamental factor of the protracted crises has conspiratorially been underplayed, even by the media.

During the first term of Chief Ereyitomi Thomas’ led Ugborodo Governing Board, (2008-2011), a project tagged New Ugborodo Town came on board, and was being ‘executed’ with the ‘strong’ involvement of the Delta State government. During the present crises for leadership, the David Tonwe led faction claimed to have stumbled into documents indicating that the government of Delta State as at 2011 had committed a whopping sum of over Three billion Naira into the project; when what is on ground cannot in pecuniary computations worth just more than few tens of millions of Naira. Since this issue came to the public domain and precipitating lamentation from the people of Ugborodo, the Delta State government has not made any categorical statement. The government’s choice for mute-indifferent to this weighty allegation of financial criminality has no doubt precipitated series of petitions from the Ugborodo Council of Elders, individuals, including the David Tonwe led-faction of Ugborodo Governing Board. Some of these petitions were directed to the office of the Inspector General of Police, and other persons in Nigeria’s political high places. As usual, the Nigerian police is taking its time to conducted its traditional endless investigations. On the part of the Ugborodo community, the battle cry for justice and unearthing of the truth gain daily crescendo. In their lamentation, they stop at nothing to accuse the Chief Ereyitomi Thomas led Ugborodo Governing Board (2008-2011) of conniving with some officials of Delta State Government to swindle their communities, themselves and future generations. In the reasoning of the Ugborodo Elders Council, the cosy relationship between the Chief Ereyitomi faction and the government of Delta State is born-out of the need for mutual assistance to ensure a cover-up. The reason for the arrest and detention of Olaja-Orori,Dube Omadeli by the Nigerian Navy on the order of the Delta State Government has (rightly or wrongly) been traced to his persistent and ‘vociferous’ calls for the arrest, prosecution and punishment of all those involved in the alleged scam.

Thus, while Ezeoba was hectoring and calling for peace, he should not be unmindful of such subterranean factors that consistently exacerbate the crises. He should appeal to his comrade in arm, the Inspector General of Police to speed up investigation on this matter and others from Ugborodo individuals, Council of Elders and both the Thomas and Tonwe led factions.

While the call for peace by the Chief of Naval Staff is most welcomed, ( even though pretending not to know that his officers and men were around when the killing were taking place), he should know that it is not yet uhuru for Ugborodo and its people as any peace achieve at the expense of justice will amount to ‘pyric peace’.

Democracy Versus Demon-Crazy: Why America And Nigeria Will Always Be Poles Apart By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

I spent much of my free time these days watching news analysis on television by the best in the business around the world. It’s been that way with me for years but more so for close to one month now due to a breaking news first aired on MSNBC by Rachel Maddow whose sexual orientation has been the subject for gossip in my circle of friends but who I so much admire for her guts and brain power. She suggested in her analysis  that the brilliant but abrasive New Jersey Republican Governor may have abused his powers and therefore will have some queries to answer on the rumors that his closest aides taking their cue from their boss or just trying to please him, might have done something unethical with regards to the 4 day hell of a traffic hold up around Fort Lee.

A trusted associate of the 2 term Governor had chosen to close down few of the major lanes to the Washington Bridge to deliberately embarrass a democratic mayor who has refused to  endorse the Governor for his second term bid. Evidently, the Governor was not satisfied with the number of democrats crossing party lines to endorse him because he wanted to send a message to  the Republican party he  should be their nominee for President in 2016 if the don’t want to lose by double digits again to the Democrats who have always been on the right sides of all the issues that are going to determine the outcome of that election.

The rumor started like a storm in a tea cup which was initially dismissed  as mere speculation or a fishing expedition  by some liberal reporters to dig up some dirt on Governor Christie the Republican front runner. The Governor and many people had thought the report would go away or fizzle out in a few days but instead of going away it has been gathering  momentum ever since because Rachel Maddow and much of the news media in America would not let go. That is the nature of American democracy. Unlike its Nigerian counterpart where a candidate can commit political murder or blunder and still go ahead to win a landslide victory  because elections are won or lost in Nigeria before the first vote is cast. It only takes a Houdini like Obasanjo or his political son, Jonathan who feel  the can  brow-beat or intimidate their opponents by  using their power of incumbency. In America such a behavior would have been a knock-out punch for them regardless of who they are.

The Fort Lee scandal has since been elevated from a storm in a tea cup to a tempest and could yet rise to a Tsunami pretty soon from depending on what Governor Christie does or does not do. The report has assumed a new dimension since January 8 because of a new revelation that the Sumo wrestler Governor  could only ignore to his own peril in a vibrant Democracy where  American voters expect anyone who would be President to be totally above board like Caesar’s wife. If you compare the 4 day traffic jam on Route 95 North to what routinely occurs on Ibadan-Lagos Express where the monthly Holy Ghost Night  and religious activities have become a public nuisance and nightmare that can only be tolerated for so long only in a third world country. Not even Saudi Arabia with her feudalistic Sheiks would tolerate such a traffic hold-up in Mecca, their city of faith during their Hajj operations.

Nigerian journalists, legislators and public officials, Ministers, Governors, Senate President and Speaker of the House and Mr President who frequently ply that so-called Express in their bullet-proof cars would not say a word because they are scared to death to say anything that could offend Cardinal Olukoya or Pope Enoch Adeboye and because the Nigerian Democracy is so terribly flawed. Rather than raising the type of alarm being raised in New Jersey today, such an uproar if it ever occurred in Nigeria would have been quickly swept under the carpet in a few days and that would be it. Don’t get me wrong. I love and respect General Overseers Olukoya and Adeboye, but in America their Mega Churches without anyone telling them would have taken the traffic situations on that road into consideration before hoping to get more than several millions of their followers disturbing the peace of other travelers on that Express the way they have always done in the name of God and without have any conscience about it.

In Nigeria, a fiery investigative journalist and whistle blower like Rachel  Maddow would have been quickly silenced or put in jail or intimidated and harrassed by hired assassins paid for by tax payers money. The whole Federal Government led by our clueless President is shaken to its pants by the one man battalion of a young man named Omoyele Sowore from Apoi in the Riverine areas of  Ilaje, Ese Odo in Ondo State. Unflappable and fearless Omoyele like Kenule Tsaro Wiwa or Jasper Adakar Boro before him, has had the courage of his convictions to challenge Mr. President for only paying a lip service to fighting Corruption in Nigeria. He is probably able to successfully do that because he lives in far away New York where his freedom of speech is guaranteed and protected by the Law. I am able to write a lot of what I write today only because I share the same privilege.

President Jonathan’s actions and body language suggest that he has become the real problem and not part of the solution to the Nigerian problem. The President could care less about all the noise the Nigerian Press and Omoyele and his Sahara crew have been making on the Nigerian Aviation Minister who has now dared the President to remove her if he can. The tail is wagging the dog in the Nigerian Democracy. The President is moving forward with his so-called transformation agenda which is a joke given all the scandals his Government is facing right now. In America he would have been impeached and his kins man from Delta who is telling Nigeria that hell would break loose and Nigeria made ungovernable if the ijaw President did not win in 2015, would have been kept under surveillance by Law Enforcement.

The President recently authorized an exchange of prisoners with the UK, one British prisoner for more than 165 Nigerian prisoners in his bid to finally help a PDP chieftain Ibori who can then be granted a state pardon like Alimiyeisegha once he is sent back to Nigeria. He could begin his freedom by being admitted to the Incentive Care Unit of St Nicholas for the remainder of his term in prison while effort is made to arrange a state pardon for him and the highest honor the country could bestow on any of his citizens. The President needed filthy-rich Ibori to bankroll his re-election bid in 2015 in pretty much the same way the terribly corrupt Governor has bankrolled Yar Adua’s election in 2007 with his loot from Delta State. Such a move would  have been seen as a heresy in America.

President Jonathan has again ordered the Nigerian Military to grant a general amnesty to suspected and actual terrorists who have done so much havoc in Nigeria because he now needed to appease voters in those segments of Nigeria including his own backyard in the Niger Delta in preparation for his re-election prospects in 2015 now that his megalomaniac father of the nation and his erstwhile mentor has disowned him. Such a move would never have been tolerated in America without the president paying a high price.

It is now clear that Governor Christie is being cleved by half when he gave the impression he was fully cooperating with the investigation because he had nothing to hide. What the Governor does about the “sub poena” powers of the New Jersey Legislature which is expiring next Tuesday would now have to be the litmus test to determine if the Governor would survive the Tsunami coming after him in the weeks and months ahead as preparations for the primaries gather momentum. If the Governor is dead serious about his promise to let  the chips fall where they may, he would not hesitate  to order the re authorization of the “sub poena” powers which would make it impossible or even illegal for most of the witnesses in the scandal to plead their 5th amendment rights against self incrimination. He would be seen as the “King of Kings” and “the Lion of Judah” if he could do that in America, a country governed by the rule of Law.

The third tier of Government, the Nigerian Legislatures were always more interested in sharing money or getting a Governor or a President to settle them to pass any bill the President or Governor has sponsored. They are ever so ready to sweep any scandal under the carpet if the price right just like the deposed Deji of Akure is today appealing to Governor Mimiko to reinstate him on a quid pro quo basis because he was sure the Akure king makers are ready to forget and forgive his transgressions if he is able  to grease their palms. Selection of the next Deji would probably be the first and the last the Olusoga Administration in the Akure Council of Chiefs would ever make because majority of the Chiefs including Olusoga himself  are in their late 60s and 70s and their chances of surviving the next Deji are very doubtful in a country where the average span of life for men is 46 and 49 for women. I am watching very closely what Sao Adebayo probably one of the appointees of the deposed Deji in the Akure Council of Chiefs is going to do. He would have a whole lot of explaning to do to those of us from Irowo Quarters who have as much stake as he has in that title.

If you factor in the shoddy manner most of the President’s or Governor’s nominees in Nigeria are confirmed or denied confirmation by the Senate in the the Federal and by the Legislature in the 36 states,, you will understand what I am talking about. Many of those nominees like the current Aviation Minister with all the scandals in her past including a certificate forgery was confirmed by a useless Senate which could not scrutinize her credentials and her deposition to be sure nothing they ought to know has fallen thru the cracks. They went ahead to confirm her thus giving her the license to commit murder so to speak. Our clueless President is today rambling and playing Russian Roulette with a Minister who has been irredeemably damaged and should have been let go a long time ago.

The President could not do it because the Minister is the one helping him to raise funds  for his re-election in 2015. Part of whatever money she may have made from the 255 million she paid for 2 bullet-proof cars might have gone to the re-election funds of Mr. President. Such a revelation should have been sufficient ground for impeachment of any American President. The President’s whole world now depends on his holding on to office beyond 2015 or else hell is going to break loose. His first lady would have a heart attack if for any reason her husband’s re-election is derailed. That is precisely why Nigeria is riddled with stench and corruption the end of which nobody can predict as the country is sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion from all we can see.
What Governor Christie and his aides in New Jersey are being vilified and pilloried for right now is a daily occurrence that nobody would have paid any attention to in Nigeria, based on our own variation of Democracy which I define as “Demon-crazy.” While the ideal Democracy in most developed countries preaches social equality and justice, “Demon-crazy” merely pays a lip service to those ideals as mere slogans. What Demon-crazy does is oppress, intimidate and perpetually keep Nigerians in perpetual bondage as our Government is actually run by demons, misfits and the mediocre masquerading as leaders.

As a retired political science major domiciled in the greatest city in the world, my daily routine is predictable. I wake up every morning Monday thru Friday at exactly 6 AM even if I went bed as late as 3 AM. I wake up to watch BBC News from 6  to 6.30 AM to have a glimpse of what has been happening around the world in the previous 24 hours. I then quickly switched over to “Morning Joe” and his amazing panel of pundits and political analysts which frequently includes many of the American news makers of the past and present. I do that from about 6.30 to 7 AM. If I am not going anywhere since I am now retired and have more time to myself, I either go back to sleep till 9AM when I have to  get up to watch the “Daily Rundown” by my favorite White House Correspondent-in-Chief, the one and only Chuck Todd of the United States.

I get all the analysis and information I need to last me till 5 PM to watch MSNBC  Ed Chultz and “Politics Nation” by Al Sharpton, “Hard Ball” by Chris Matthew at 7 PM, Rachel Maddow at 9 PM and Lawrence O’Donnel by 10 PM. I get everything I need to make an informed analysis or take a position on any topic that captures my fancy.

I cannot be happier about my life in America because if I never left home, I could predictably have been dead by now not just because of what I write and how I live my life, but because of other  pressures, frustrations most Nigerians have to endure from their own leaders and Governments in  all nooks and corners of Nigeria from Okrika to Baga on Lake Chad. A scandal like Oduahgate and numerous scandals our embattled President Goodluck and his aides have to routinely  live with, would have run me crazy and totally insane. When I add that the pressures from not  getting my pensions paid on time in Abuja  to my responsibilities as the first born in my family, I feel  forever grateful to America because those are some of the factors that would  have killed me in Nigeria where kidnappers and hired killers are two for a penny. All our docile, incompetent and corrupt President could do about it is take the 5th or send his mouth organs like Edwin Kiagbodo Clark or his hatchet men like Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe to start defending the indefensible as they struggle to explain to the world what the President has been doing a how well he has been performing his duties and meeting his obligations to Nigerians. It was all a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury but signifying nothing, if you ask me.

You will never have a President Jonathan coming out like Governor Christie  did yesterday, taking the bull by the horns, showing contrition, and answering questions for no less than 2 hours in a Press Conference  and leaving no one in any doubt that the man who has had a reputation for throwing punches is finally taking a hit himself, and making the best of it like great Mohammed Ali did when he survived 15 brutal rounds of hell with late Joe Frazier in their epic thriller in Manila or the rumble in the jungle with great George Foreman in Zaire. Governor Christie had to do that to salvage his credibility in American politics.

Everything that was good in American democracy was in display in the awesome exchange the self-opinionated Governor had with the Press and most of the best whistle blowers in America who are ready to jump on him like a junkyard dog. They all look the Governor straight in the face,  telling him  before television cameras not what they think he wanted to hear but what he needed to hear loud and clear as a public figure.. “You stay out of the kitchen if you cannot take the heat.”  Political leaders in America  do not toy with public opinion and dissent the way our leaders do in Nigeria. They instinctively know and understand that the Opposition is the Government-in-waiting and therefore a must in a Democracy. They cannot think of any party holding on to power for 100 years as canvassed by Obasanjo who calls himself a “democrat” and the self-appointed father of the nation.

Can you believe that Governor Christie who is yet to openly declare his intention to run for President in 2016 is being given such an intense scrutiny roughly 3 years to that election. If you compare that scenario with how our own President Goodluck emerge as a running mate to Yar Adua in 2007, you will be amazed. Our own Baba Mero just woke up after being lobbied by our current first lady to please allow her husband to become the running mate to the terminally-sick Yar Adua on the platform of the PDP which already knew it was going to win the election even before the first vote was cast. The same Obasanjo is again arrogating to himself the power to pick the successor to Jonathan in 2015 based on his own calculus and self interest. Obasanjo fully understood that Goodluck Jonathan who was going to be only a heartbeat from the Presidency, could suddenly become President if Yar Adua were to die in office. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Yar Ardua died in office roughly a year or two to the end of his first term. That was how Goodluck became President.

Not once in the Governor Christie Press Conference did I hear the Press call him” Your Excellency”, a title which every Governor and every President in Nigeria love so much that they would have a serious problem if any of their children or family members including their first lady forget to address them as such. Governors and Presidents are not subjected to such indignities in Nigeria because by our calling them “Their Excellencies” every now and them, we are letting it sink into their consciousness that they are superhuman  even though we all know they are not. We do the same to our senators and Assembly men by describing them as honorable even when we know a great many of them were actually rigged into office and they are making more than 100 times the remuneration for their peers and counterparts elsewhere around the world.

Ibori of Delta State was “His Excellency” before he looted his state treasury and before commencing his 13 year jail in London for money laundering. D.S.L Alimiyeisegha was “His Excellency in Bayelsa and the boss of our current President before jumping bail in London, dressed as a woman to escape justice. He returned to Nigeria to be given a state pardon on a platter of gold by his former Deputy who was catapulted to the  President of the country by default. The same Obasanjo is nows engaged in a brawl with the President because he now seriously regretted picking him to begin with and the rest of us are now supposed to roll out the drums and to start cheering the same Obasanjo who has bragged so many times that his PDP was going to rule Nigeria for 100 years because Nigerian voters are dumb and because their rigging formula are going to be perfected by Professor Jega and his boys at I.N.E.C.

Has any of you reading this ever heard of a Democracy where one party is allowed to dominate  a country for 100 years and where the Opposition is never given a chance to have its own day in the sunshine. How do you tell if the Opposition will perform unless you give them a chance to prove their mettle. In the ideal Democracy which has now been embraced in Ghana, Jerry Rawlings to his everlasting credit had allowed the opposition party to taste power and to show that no one political party has a monopoly on wisdom and good government. In the UK and in America, the British or the American voters would never have tolerated a government however good to dominate power for as long as the P.D.P has done in Nigeria. Never. I don’t care what  the P.D.P may be saying about the new A.P.C, it is time for the P.D.P to go. If A.P.C does not keep their promise, ii too should be thrown out in 4 years. That is the way Democracy is supposed to work.

Obasanjo is back again at his game by flying a kite that Governor Lamido would be his handpick for 2015 while Governor Amaechi would be his running mate. Where for God’s sake did Obasanjo learn his punditry to be picking and choosing for Nigeria from one election circle to another. That was the guy who picked Shehu Shagari and his N.P.N over and above Obafemi Awolowo and his U.P.N in 1979. Look at where his judgment has led Nigeria. The man was released from an Abacha dungeon to come lead the PDP. He lost very badly to Chief Oluyemi Falae even in his backyard in Owu. Such a man would not have been allowed to become President in more civilized polity, but the PDP had their own agenda.

They wanted to use Obasanjo but he ended up using them to consolidate his power as President by fooling his Yoruba kith and kin to vote for him to be in a position to assert himself as a PDP nominee. Once he got what he wanted he threw the AD Governors under the bus, got rid of the only A.D leader, Uncle Bola Ige who could have stopped him. The PDP took over the whole of the Southwest until “Ololu” of Lagos, iron man Tinubu assisted by Chief Bisi Akande beat Obasanjo to a retreat taking back the Southwest from the PDP, a feat that only Awolowo could have achieved. They routed Obasanjo at his game and may well repeat the same scenario in 2015 if their new mega  party can prove or demonstrate it is different from  the PDP which has lost all credibility in Nigeria as far as I am concerned.

Demon-crazy is what we practice in Nigeria. It is time for Nigeria to uphold the real tenets of Democracy as practiced in America. If I have to choose between the  American and the Nigerian model, the choice is clear. Need I say more?

I rest my case.

 

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

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