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Posts tagged ‘Evans Bipi’

Amaechi, New Rivers CP Ogunsakin Say No To Partisanship.


 

CP Ogunsakin
By SaharaReporters, New York

Newly appointed Rivers State Commissioner, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin has promised to prosecute the state’s security affairs without bias to either the All Progressives Congress (APC), which Governor Rotimi Amaechi is a member of, or the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of President Goodluck Jonathan.

Speaking in Port Harcourt during an official visit to the governor, Ogunsakin assured that he would police the state without bias, as both the president and the governor have their respective roles in ridding the state of crimes.

“The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces is the Chief Security Officer of the Federation while the Inspector General of Police is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the Federation”, he said.

“Also, in a state, the Executive Governor is the Chief Security Officer and the Commissioner of Police is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. This relationship is definitely best appreciated when it is harnessed to ensure peace and tranquillity in the state”.

Ogunsakin revealed his intention to collaborate with various communities, non-governmental organisations, and all other stakeholders. The result of this, he enthused, would be an objective, liberal, firm and non-partisan policing of the state.

“I will deploy my expertise to manage the affairs of the Rivers State Police Command in the best possible professional manner”, he assured. “I will strategically marshal a formidable operational plan that will speedily arrest the trend of all forms of criminality, particularly violent crimes in the state”.

Amaechi himself stated the readiness of the state government to cooperate with the Police in restoring law and order. But he noted that this would be impossible were the Police to support either of the two parties battling for the reins of the state in 2015.

“We are willing to cooperate with the Police to restore law and order. The only thing we need is for the Police to have the courage to restore law and order”, he said.

“The Police must do whatever it takes to restore law and order. Don’t support PDP, and don’t also support APC; just support Rivers people. Please don’t obey any illegal order from the Rivers State Government. What we want is a neutral police commissioner who is firm and [who] understands that the state needs to accommodate everybody — not one that loves to be in any of the political parties”.

Amaechi endured a rancorous relationship with former Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mbu Joseph Mubu, who was believed to be working for President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP, notoriously banning all forms of political rallies in the state and proscribing activities of such pro-Amaechi groups as the Grassroots Development Initiative, Save Rivers Movement, and the Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation, among many other blatant use of Police apparatus to negate pro-Amaechi individuals and associations.

Mixed Metaphors: Ethical Jungles By Sonala Olumhense.


 

Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

I do not often find reason to support President Goodluck Jonathan’s tragi-comedy of a government, but I am in his corner over his investigation of curious financial donations being made by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi Lamido, to interests of his own choosing.

Among others, the CBN boss is reported to have given N4 billion given to Bayero University Kano; N10 billion given to Uthman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto; N500 million to the University of Benin; and N100 million to Kano, his home town.

The presidency alleges that by the donations, Mr. Sanusi violated due process and politicized his office.  As part of the enquiry last week, it summoned the Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), Jim Obazee, to cough up information on the donations.

The trouble is that Mr. Sanusi recently called out the Jonathan government in a letter to the President in September 2013, a document that subsequently leaked to the press.  In it, he declared that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had failed to repatriate to the Federation Account in 2012 and 2013 a whopping $49.8 billion.

Following subsequent “reconciliation” manoeuvres, the government declared that (only) a few dollars were actually yet to be “reconciled.”

President Jonathan would then ask Mr. Sanusi to resign his appointment, a kind offer the CBN chief turned down, saying that only the federal legislature could truncate his tenure.

Apparently, that has Mr. Jonathan got upset, resulting in the current “investigation.”  It would appear to be a serious gamble to get Mr. Jonathan upset, because it gets him thinking rule of law and due process and undue politicization.

I wish the president well, but Mr. Sanusi has been in the donation business for a couple of years.  In “Damnocracy Dividends,” another edition of my Mixed Metaphors in April 2012, I focused on the donation industry into which the CBN boss had ventured.

At that time, he had just donated the N100 million to Kano, completely unperturbed that anyone might suggest he had overstepped his bounds.

Mr. Jonathan made no such suggestion.

When the stench began to spread, Mr. Sanusi asked the bank to explain his conduct.  That was when Professor Sam Olofin of the CBN Board, falling on his face, told Nigerians that the “plan” had been [for Sanusi] to visit Kano and also St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madala, to make a donation to help Boko Haram bomb victims there.

The donation to Madalla was not made, apparently because the parish priest was not available.  Still Sanusi, completely without shame, led his delegation to the Emir of Kano and plunked down N100m.

As I said, President Jonathan saw nothing wrong.  Sanusi had not crossed any ethical or administrative boundary he recognized.

I wrote, “What Sanusi’s conduct confirms is that the rules by which we are playing at the highest levels in this country are no rules at all.  It is a jungle in which we make our own rules.”

That is the jungle that permits a leader to identify wrong only when he is personally challenged.  It explains why thieving government officials are never challenged, well-known thieves are given appointments and National Awards, and convicted thieves are given state pardon.

Speaking of identifications, how do you gauge the sincerity of the current government in Nigeria?  There may be no easier measure than the swiftness with which it announces an unpopular or policy or idea.  In 2011, one of President Jonathan’s first explorations was the option of a seven year term.

Earlier, when he took power in 2010, the first substantive action he announced was the decision to buy three new jets.  In the 2014 budget, he wants to buy another one.

Now, where is the devil?  Is anybody really looking for this guy?

Remember that in January 2012, President Jonathan, speaking at a New Year service at the First Baptist Church in Garki, Abuja, unveiled him as the one responsible for our problems.

“When you compare Nigeria to other nations, Nigeria is not moving fast enough,” he said.  “We have our challenges and that is where the devil comes in and puts road blocks.”

He is apparently still not under arrest.

And on the subject of arrests, Professor Attahiru Jega, the chairman of the so-called “Independent” National Electoral Commission, has warned Nigerians not to expect perfect elections next year.

Of course.  In March 2011, Professor Jega had wonderful news concerning Nigeria’s brand new electoral register.  “I must tell you that we have caught some high-profile double registrants and we may be able to start with them in terms of prosecution,” he said at the National Summit on Free and Fair Elections, declaring that justice was coming to Nigeria’s Big Men who “feel confident that they will get away with whatever they do.”
According to him, “For the first time, we are saying that if you violate the law, we have the capacity to apprehend and prosecute you.”

When you think about it, he actually said, “capacity.”  I thought he meant “intention.”  Little wonder not one big man has seen justice since those violations.  And now, Jega is about to sell another election.  Why should they be perfect?

Justice is easy, apparently, to impose on the vulnerable: Under Nigeria’s new Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, homosexuality has been “abolished.” Nigerians are not to practice it, or know it, or countenance it.

We do not see it, do not recognize it and do not maintain knowledge of it in our heads, unless we first purge it by identifying to the government people we know to be guilty of it.

When we do that, the government will presumably pause in its task of protecting the lootocracy, symbolized by the federal executive and the legislature, to assemble the guilty and ensure they are punished severely, with up to 14 years in jail.

And then, in addition to banning the gathering of homosexuals, the law prescribes 10 years for anyone or group who “supports the registration, operation and sustenance of gay clubs, societies, organizations, processions or meetings.”

To be clear, I have an objection to gay marriage, but Nigeria is going to be jailing people because they are gay in a country where the biggest thieves are celebrated, given National Honours and made leaders?

We are going to be jailing parents who love their children whether they are gay or straight because love does not discriminate?  We are going to be jailing doctors and nurses because they treat HIV& AIDS patients knowing but not telling the government that they are gay?  We are going to be jailing young boys and girls because they are reported to be gay but cannot hire the same expensive lawyers who defend the rich?

Finally, it turns out that Bamanga Tukur, the former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was merely reassigned, not neutralized.  In the PDP family, you are never bad enough to lose.

 

In an ethical jungle, you play for keeps.  There are no rules.

 

Countdown Calendar: There Are 490 Goodluck Jonathan Days Left.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Recuperating Senator Abe Writes The Senate, Condemns Attack On Supporters, Saying He Survived A Serious Attack By The Police.


 

Senator Magnus Abe
By SaharaReporters, New York

Senator Magnus Abe, who was shot with a rubber bullet by the Police at a Save Rivers Movement (SRM) rally in Port Harcourt over a week ago, has condemned last Sunday’s attack on supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori

In a statement signed by his spokesperson, Honour Sirawoo, Senator Abe (Rivers South-East Senatorial District) lamented that instead of implementing the UNEP report on Ogoniland, the Federal Government choose to arm youths with guns worth millions to kill fellow human beings.

He expressed gratitude to friends, well-meaning individual Nigerians and groups for their support following his ordeal, and thanked them for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support, praying to God for their protection in these dangerous times.

Having faced violence before and emerged victorious, he called for forgiveness as well as focus on set goals, stressing that the law as impossible as it may look today, will one day take its course.

“Every gun has a life span of over a hundred years, our politics may change,” he said. “As today’s friends become opponents tomorrow, the guns will also change hands; but they will still remain lethal, even against their present owners.”

Abe, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) maintained that rather than encourage violence in order to gain relevance in politics, he will continue to arm his supporters, just like his children, with school fees, laptops, prayers and the fear of God.

SEE RAW LETTER SENT TO THE SENATE PRESIDENT DAVID MARK

 

Anarchy Looms In Rivers As President Sits Idly By, APC Warns.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned of the impending anarchy in Rivers that may have far-reaching consequences beyond the state, unless President Goodluck Jonathan urgently reins in his supporters who, backed by a gross-partisan police, have now resorted to bringing in ex-militants from neighbouring states to attack innocent people in Rivers.

“Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood bath,” the party warned in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

“Because we abhor anarchy, which is the very antithesis of democracy, we hereby call, for the umpteenth time, on President Jonathan to act today to stop the looming anarchy in Rivers unless of course he is bent on throwing the country he was elected to govern into chaos,” it said.

APC also warned that the decision of the desperate pro-Jonathan politicians and their supporters in Rivers to resort to ferrying in ex-militants from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom to cause mayhem in Rivers and make it ungovernable for Gov. Chibuike Amaechi will have far-reaching consequences in the months ahead, most serious of which is that it will revive militancy not only in Rivers but in the entire South-South.

“The ex-militants, who are being hired daily by the anarchists in Rivers today, will turn against them and the people tomorrow when, one way or the other, the present situation in the state is resolved. The outcome will be a resurgence of insecurity, including hostage taking and attacks on oil and other infrastructure, in the entire region. This is why we are warning those who believe they are having a free rein today to tarry a while and retrace their steps,” the party said.

It expressed absolute shock that a President who has been widely quoted as saying his political ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen is now standing by, pretending to be oblivious to the happenings around him, as the same citizens’ blood is being used to water his ambition to have a second term in office.

“This President has deliberately refused to listen to the calls by numerous individuals and organisations, including the opposition parties, labour unions and the National Assembly for peace to be allowed to reign in Rivers. He has tacitly egged on the police to champion the worsening impunity in the state and even thumbed his nose at the Constitution, while the Police Service Commission has suddenly lost its steam and is even defending the arrowhead of the anarchy in Rivers.

“It is instructive that while the police have stood by and allowed hired ex-militants to attack innocent citizens whose only offence is that they are exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of association, movement and speech, the same police have provided protection for pro-Jonathan and anti-Amaechi elements who have turned the state into a battle ground.

“Twice in eight days, peaceful rallies organized by the Save Rivers Movement have been brutally broken up by police-backed hoodlums, who shot at innocent citizens including women and children; a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has been shot and is now being treated in a foreign hospital and, as we write this press release, hoodlums brought in from Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom have gathered at different points in Port Harcourt to protest any attempt to remove Police Commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu, the man who is now using the police against the same people they are paid to protect,” APC said.

The party also chronicled, for the record, the series of impunity that has helped prepared the ground for the looming anarchy in Rivers:

– Mbu practically provided the needed backing for a group of hired thugs and ex-militants with dangerous weapons to unlawfully and forcefully invade the Rivers State House of Assembly to terrorize its members, sack them and other management staff members from the complex and prevent the lawful exercise of legislative functions.

– A caretaker committee lawfully set up for Obi/Akpor Local Government Area was prevented from delivering governance to the people due to the sealing of the LGA secretariat by police operatives acting under Mr. Mbu’s directive.

– Security details were withdrawn from the principal members of the state government, including but not limited to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Attorney-General and principal judicial officers of the state.

– Mbu again provided cover for a sponsored protest by over 5,000 ex-militants and other criminal elements brandishing dangerous weapons to completely take over and parade the streets of Port Harcourt, thereby creating fear and an atmosphere reminiscent of pre-amnesty siege in the minds of right-thinking residents.

– Mbu almost engineered an unnecessary but deadly riot by directing his men to restrain over 500 people – including traditional rulers – from the Orashi communities of Rivers State from paying a scheduled and legitimate courtesy and solidarity visit to the State Governor at Government House, Port Harcourt.

– A potential bloodbath at the Island Community of Bonny was averted only by the maturity exhibited by the young members of the Rivers Leadership Advancement Foundation in the face of serial provocation by members of the Rivers State Police Command.

– When five colleagues of Governor Amaechi – who felt they were exercising their constitutional  rights of free movement and association – had the temerity to pay him a solidarity visit in Port Harcourt, they were molested and humiliated at the Port Harcourt Airport by hired thugs under the protection of Mr. Mbu.

– Police operatives used tear gas to cause a potentially-deadly stampede through the forceful dispersal of 13,201 newly-recruited and trained teachers who had gathered at the Liberation Stadium in Port Harcourt for the final round of their training, orientation, mobilization and deployment to primary and secondary schools.

– The Rivers State Command, acting on the orders of Mbu, blockaded a road leading to the Government House in Port Harcourt, forcing the Governor’s convoy to turn back and take another route to his official residence.

– Police prevented a plane chartered by the Governor from taking off ostensibly because it was carrying a lawmaker said to be wanted by the police. When the lawmaker was not found on the plane, no apology was issued to the Governor.

“We have decided to remind Nigerians how the situation in Rivers state got to the present dangerous level, even as calls by the nation’s lawmakers, labour unions and other well-meaning Nigerians for the redeployment of Mbu have fallen on deaf ears.

“Our party has also intervened numerous times to warn the nation that President Jonathan is using Rivers as a testing ground for fascism, especially ahead of the 2015 general elections, all seemingly to no avail as the crisis has worsened instead of abating.

“It is in this light that we reiterate our fears of a looming anarchy, which is the outcome of months of impunity, as the man who swore to an oath to ensure the welfare and security of all citizens – the raison d’etre for any government – has now become the quiet sponsor of violence against the same citizens. It is time to stop the madness in Rivers!,”’ APC said.

Anti-Amaechi protesters shut Port Harcourt down.


River-youth-protest-port

Hundreds of protesters from the four-Ikwerre speaking council areas of Rivers State, on Tuesday, took over the busy Port Harcourt-Aba Road in Port Harcourt, expressing solidarity for the state Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu.
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They disrupted traffic flow on the road and caused panic in surrounding areas.

Following the protest, the Rivers State government has accused those it described as Federal Government agents as the sponsors of the protest, adding that the state had been subjected to war by the Federal Government.

The protesters, under the aegis of Ikwerre Peoples Assembly (IPA), took over the GRA Junction point of the highway, vowing to shut public and multinational facilities down should the commissioner of police be transferred out of the state.

 

The protest, which lasted about one hour, had a full police cover.

The protesters described Mbu in glowing terms, adding that his problem with the state government was his refusal to be used against those opposed to the governor.

The spokesman of the group, Chima Boms, who was also the counsel to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by the late Justice Kayode Eso (JSC), also said Mbu had performed creditably well in the state.

According to Boms, “CP Mbu, in our estimation, has performed creditably well and deserves commendation. We, therefore, request that he continues to serve in Rivers State for the good of the people. Consequently, the Ikwerre Peoples’ Assembly will resist any attempt to redeploy CP Mbu as commissioner of police in Rivers State as such move will take us back to the dark era.”

Meanwhile, the senator representing Rivers South-East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Magnus Abe, who was shot with a rubber bullet by the police at a Save Rivers Movement (SRM) rally in Port Harcourt over a week ago, has finally broken his silence.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Senator Abe expressed gratitude to friends, well-meaning individuals, groups and indeed, Nigerians, for their prayers, phone calls, solidarity messages and support, and prayed God to protect them at these dangerous times.

He condemned Sunday’s attack on supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi at Bori.

In a related development, pposition All Progressives Congress (APC), on Tuesday, alleged that supporters of President Goodluck Jonathan are importing ex-militants from Bayelsa and Akwa-Ibom States to cause mayhem in Rivers State.

A statement by its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, warned that supporters of Governor Rotimi Amaechi might resort to self-help since Police are allegedly backing the other faction.

Warning of impending bloodbath, the party said, ”Having lost confidence in the ability of the police to protect them and keenly aware of the President’s deliberate refusal to allow peace to reign in their state, the patience of the people of Rivers is wearing thin, and there is an increasing possibility that they may resort to self help, which can only result in a blood-bath.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

Quo Vadis: A Memo to the President By Ejiro Onobrakpeya.


By Ejiro Onobrakpeya

Mr. President :  It’s a new year and one cannot but hope, for the good of the country, that this year ends better than the last. It is understandable if in the current climate, you think this is yet another in the deluge of critical comments, some well-meaning and others orchestrated by disaffected patrons of your administration. I am actually offering unsolicited advice, for the good of the country, which might help change the trajectory of your administration. Doing this also puts to the test the veracity of repeated claims that you welcome constructive criticism and policy prescriptions. So here goes:

 
The National Mood
 
To put it nicely, your administration has not lived up to the goodwill and high expectations that marked your election as the first executive leader of the country with a college degree. Before you, Nigeria has been mostly led by poorly-educated men and soldiers whose claim to fame and leadership was mobilizing tanks and dissident troops to seize the national radio station and promoting themselves as Generals for this great military feat.
 
These, by the way, are the same men Nigeria’s political class now regard as “statesmen” who enjoy lifelong pensions, belong to the Council of State and hold the nation’s highest honours. Is it any wonder then that these individuals would arrogate to themselves the right to determine Nigeria’s political future, that they will pick who governs the country, on what terms and for how long? They imposed a self-serving constitution on the nation with the immunity clause to cover themselves and want pliant successors they can teleguide in office.
 
The citizenry is today highly disaffected by the drift and rampant corruption which, to be fair to you, was inherited from the old man and estranged political mentor but for which you must now take the blame. Owing one’s ascendancy to a political mentor should not be subordinated to the interests of the electorate who voted and even died (remember the Youth Corpers) for you to become President in the hope of making their lives better.   
 
The only thing you have going for you right now is that the political opposition is not only adopting the same template that brought the PDP into power but actually mass recruiting PDP defectors and the aforementioned ex-military autocrats for guidance on how to short-circuit your presidency. That is their stock in trade based on their jaundiced understanding of what democracy truly represents. Democracy is not derived from deal-making by a cabal of plutocrats imposing pliant candidates on the people through the agency of corrupt party and electoral processes. This is the template which the APC is now replicating right before our eyes. A cliché here defines insanity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We are witnessing an alliance of convenience by strange political bedfellows for the sole purpose of gaining power.
 
So where do we go from here?
 
The company you keep.
 
You may not like to hear this but you are surrounded by officials and party members some of questionable character and competence. And some have gone so far to display this “our-turn-to-eat” mentality that is tarnishing your administration. You must discourage and distance yourself from such people.  
 
I hope you still find time to read the biographies of great leaders both locally and internationally. There is nothing wrong with helping one’s people since charity begins at home. Please read how Awo empowered his people with his pan-Yoruba agenda. He did not site a University in his hometown nor did he seek to make every Ijebuman a cocoa millionaire. Instead, he availed all his people of modern and comprehensive education, developed a Yoruba intelligentsia and created the enabling environment for job creation and commerce for his people – an advantage which the Yorubas enjoy till today. That is why Awo was bestowed with the titular leader of his grateful people and remains a revered figure in the pantheon of Yoruba leaders.
 
Unlike the current pretender to that mantle, Awo actually went to school, embraced education and surrounded himself with intellectuals from every field of human endeavour. He did not achieve greatness by engaging in crass accumulation and making his wife a Senator, his daughter leader of the market women nor did he strive so mightily to ensure that nieces, nephews, in-laws and even the family dog would amass millions. The likes of Awo and the great Zik, with his pan-Nigerian outlook, provide a leadership template for you to consider.  
 
The Way Forward
 
Let me share some ideas on the way forward that might influence the narrative of your Presidency. My hope is about building a decent legacy for your period in office so that the country is not set back another wasted decade.
 
However, we must acknowledge your constitutional right to seek re-election if you so wish, unless the courts say otherwise and I see no grounds for such a ruling. Incompetence is not an impeachable offence nor is unhappiness or disappointment with a Presidency. The Nigerian voters elected you and reserve the sovereign right to vote for you or reject you through the ballot box. No cabal, back room deals or pledges made to self-appointed power-brokers should be allowed to short-circuit the democratic process.
 
The old man and his confederates are entitled to cast just one vote like all other eligible voters. Let the Nigerian people decide who governs them and for how long. Free and fair elections should be the only means of installing or removing a government and the people must thereafter live with that choice until the next elections unless in other instances laid down in the constitution. That is the basis of due process and the rule of law. I hope that every Nigerian, home or abroad will stand in defence of that principle- no matter who is President. The days of subverting a democratically elected government in Nigeria should be gone for good – so those hoping to spark an uprising are just wasting their time and should focus instead on winning elections.
 
That said, for the good of the country and building a legacy with whatever time you have left in office, you might want to consider a package of options some of which you can easily execute and others that might call for some tough decisions on your part. First the easy part-
 
–       Reshuffle the cabinet: Nothing shows that you are willing to press the reset button than to bring in new hands and technocrats in key departments of the government. Competence, integrity and requisite skills must take precedence over rewarding party loyalists. You can still meet the constitutional requirements of reflecting “federal character” by making less qualified party loyalists as junior ministers (or ministers of state as you call it). Those who don’t like it can go join the APC – you are putting the peoples’ interest above the party’s in order to rebuild the nation and your legacy.
–       A reshuffle also gives the opportunity to bid farewell to the controversial and tainted members of your team responsible for the perception of a corrupt administration. So break the news to them at the next cabinet meeting and please thank them for their service to the nation. Then inform them that anyone who has a case to answer will surely hear from a revitalized, unfettered and autonomous EFCC. That means you will not interfere or intercede on behalf of anyone facing an investigation of corruption.
 
–       And lest I forget, please also invite CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi to the meeting and inform him you are fast-tracking his retirement, with full pay and all benefits due to him, with immediate effect. There is no need keeping a flame-thrower in place a day longer, especially one who has been mostly self-serving in his approach to his job and openly ignored laid down channels of communication with his boss. If I were your appointee, sending you this public memo would be deserving of termination too. Again, that is due process.
 
–       You will need to focus on a new Justice Minister with a mandate to clean up the open rot in the Nigerian judiciary. That is going to be a Herculean effort and might require asking for the services of a retired Supreme Court Justice or the likes of Professors Nwabueze, Sagay or others of similar standing and respect with the Nigerian public. Men who know what is required to rebuild integrity and faith in Nigeria’s justice system.
–       You will especially need new and competent hands in the Petroleum Ministry, Aviation, Education (sorry, you don’t get to keep your job if under your watch, the nation’s universities are shut for half of the year, nothing personal) and Health (if the incumbent cannot head off a planned nation-wide doctors’ strike after months of notice and warnings by the aggrieved unions).
–       The new Aviation Minister should be mandated to establish a national flag carrier before the end of 2014. How a private individual came to acquire the “Air Nigeria” name deserves investigation and should be withdrawn if it involved sweetheart deals or lack of transparency.
–       Rescind the planned ban on the importation of used vehicles into the country. Give the public a four-year notice during which the domestic auto industry finds its feet and you embark on federal-state partnerships to emplace real mass transit (road, rail, ferry services) as alternatives for the public. You must begin the demilitarization of policy-making in Nigeria. You are not presiding over a conquered people who must be ruled by imperial decrees or make major policy announcements “with immediate effect”. Again I remind you that the people are your employers and voted for you to make their lives better and not impose unnecessary hardship on them for well-connected corporate interests to make money.
 
–       Rescind the renaming of the University of Lagos. This was another ill-advised move on your part despite the good intentions behind the gesture. Despite his family’s understandable sentiments about honoring his memory, the late Moshood Abiola would have been aghast at the thought of throwing away, overnight, the academic reputation and global branding of an institution that has matriculated and certified graduates for half a century.
 
–       And in the same vein, please make it federal policy to stop the renaming of our existing institutions after individuals. We have enough roads, buildings, stadia and bridges to name after deserving individuals or national heroes. If Awo had wanted it, he would have named the University of Ife he founded after himself but his goal was to put Ile-Ife on the world map as the mythical cradle of the Yoruba nation. So by renaming UnIfe, his goal was needlessly subverted by a military dictator’s bid to woo the Yorubas into supporting his intended bid to become a civilian President. He ignored the fact then that the new university in Ondo State was to be named after the Yoruba leader. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a proud alumnus of the University of Ife (as stated on my degree).
 
–       Declare June 12 Democracy Day and a federal holiday. This was the right thing to have done in the first place. Nigeria’s current “democracy” owes a lot to those who gave of themselves and their lives, in the cause of upholding the freest elections in Nigerian history and the mandate given to MKO. So honour that historic day as the old man should have done. But his ego and small-mindedness are now well-known as a person who would put out someone else’s lamp in order to make his own shine bright.
 
–       Reform the PDP – a saying here goes that when life hands you a lemon, you turn it into lemonade. The defections from your party actually provide a unique opportunity to rebuild and rebrand the PDP as a party of equal joiners and members on the same footing. The political jobbers will leave until they find out that there are not enough positions to satisfy all aspirations in the opposition. Going forward, party positions should be by open nominations and filled through transparent elections from the ward to the national level. The party’s constitution should be reviewed to attract the right membership and not crooks and scoundrels hoping to make a quick buck or feed fat at the public trough. The party constitution must include a moral turpitude clause stating that any member, elected or not, whose conduct or actions tarnishes the reputation and credibility shall be subject to expulsion from the party. That would have taken care of the degree-forgers and committee chairmen taking bribes to pass budgets or influence reports. Do that and you strike a blow against corruption in the party and by extension, the government.
 
To achieve the above, you will have to lead by example and recommit yourself to the highest standards of probity in public service.
 
 The Samson Option
 
This is the hard part but likely to be the quickest way to win back the public trust. I call it the Samson option since it calls for personal sacrifice and you taking steps you have so far refused to consider.
I am sure you remember the story of Samson in Bible and how he wasted his powers carousing rather than serving his people as God had called him to do. Well, Samson got one last chance to redeem himself and literarily brought down the temple of iniquity. So please consider the following:
 
–       You have to declare your assets and be prepared to quietly make restitution to the national treasury. No questions asked. There is precedence for this – ask for the files about a former head of state and alleged war-time looting of the Central Bank branch in Benin.
–       Doing the foregoing frees you to demand a mandatory declaration of assets by ALL public officials – going back to 1999 – just like you have done and with an offer of a 90-day no-questions-asked amnesty for those who refund or hand over ill-gotten assets to the federal treasury.
–       After the grace period expires, the EFCC, in concert with relevant agencies like the assets bureau and the Police will begin painstaking forensic investigations of asset declarations. As an incentive to expose wrong-doing, initiate a whistle-blower law so anyone who provides useful and confidential information about ill-gotten assets will get to keep twenty percent of the reported asset on forfeiture.
 
–       Retroactively revoke all import waivers granted since 1999 and demand that beneficiaries have 90 days to pay the assessed Customs duties or forfeit those items to the federal government for sale at auction. That will right a grave wrong that has seen the well-connected and those most able to pay import duties avoid it while lesser Nigerians do. We cannot be a nation with two sets of laws – one for the wealthy and privileged who buy justice and avoid taxes while the other puts ordinary citizens under the rule of law and payment of levies. Paying all due taxes is a duty for all citizens, corporate bodies and even non-governmental organizations (yes – even tax-exempt religious organizations should be levied what is known here as Payments In Lieu of Tax (PILOT) for the services they enjoy in the local governments in which they operate (religious bodies use public amenities like roads, water, power and Police services like all other citizens).
 
–       Declare a national electric power emergency with the goal of providing a minimum of 20-hours of electricity to every Nigerian home by the end of 2014. This might require a review of budget priorities and ten percent across the board budget cuts for all federal ministries and agencies, including the Presidency to fund the power sector. No new furniture, cars or aircraft for the Presidency, cabinet members or legislators.
 
–       Pay GE and the other power contractors whatever is needed to fast-track their work to meet this goal of boosting power generation. The Power minister should be required to provide a monthly update on improvements in the public power supply. To pay for this, every worker should be required to pay an additional 2% and companies 4% special “power tax” to achieve this goal. They are already paying more out of pocket to buy generators and diesel. The ultimate result will be reliable power supply, more job creation and a reduction in the cost of living, goods and services for the generality of the people. It will also mitigate the debilitating health effects of the noise and poisonous fumes from the millions of private generators in use throughout the country.
 
If providing stable electricity is the only thing you achieve while tamping down corruption, then your Presidency would have made a notable difference in the lives of the people and given you a worthwhile legacy. Bill Clinton remains a popular figure in American politics today and his presidency is remembered more for ushering a period of remarkable prosperity – 20 million new jobs and a huge budget surplus- than for his impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Fortunately, Nigerians are a special breed of people who reward effort as much as they do results. You don’t have to do much for our people to say, in Nigerian English, “the man is trying.”
 
 
The Islamist Insurgency and Snipers
 
Lastly, I would urge you to be more open about the silly but rabble-rousing charge that you have abdicated your responsibility in fighting the Islamist insurgency and instead trained snipers to go after perceived enemies of your administration. That is the most irresponsible and infantile accusation I have ever read in a while and speaks to the desperation of those determined to railroad your presidency. Those who call for a storm forget that when it rains, it falls on everyone.
 
If your administration is training special forces to combat an insurgency that has has claimed hundreds of innocent lives and brought misery to fellow citizens in the North eastern quadrant of the nation, then say so and, in my opinion, take due credit for it. If it is a Presidential Guard, also acknowledge it. Transparency is the best antidote for such vicious rumour-mongering.
 
That and the ongoing sacrifices being made by our brave soldiers to protect the nation are worth celebrating. Again, Madam and Governors wives should devote time to visiting wounded soldiers and families of those killed in action to ensure that they are cared for and all entitlements paid to them in a timely fashion. The public at large – individuals, companies and religious bodies should be solicited to voluntarily support an Armed Forces Relief Fund as a collective gesture of supporting our troops.
 
By the way, is there anything wrong with the defence ministry putting out the names and faces of those killed in combat – following family notification? Why should they be unknown and unmourned by a grateful nation as is done in civilized societies? That should make better news than stories of ministers importing duty-free armoured sedans (at public expense) when they are thousands of miles removed from the war front.
 
The fact is that an insurgency that once threatened to cripple major cities in the North, with multiple attacks and bombs going off in places like Gombe, Kaduna, Kano and even Abuja, has now been mostly contained to two states. Governor Kwankwaso of Kano would not have had the time of day to be party-hopping or wasting scarce public funds on sponsoring mass marriages (which he and the Zamfara pedophile now take to the APC) if Boko Haram had maintained the stranglehold it once had on Kano City. Yet these are the same folks now playing politics with a national security issue.
 
In conclusion, let me explain the dead language that headlines this memo. Quo Vadis is Latin for “Wither goest thou?” in King James English or in simple English – “Where are you going?”
Since you recently visited Jerusalem and the birthplace of Jesus, I think you can relate to the apocryphal Acts of the Apostle Peter. Facing possible arrest and execution for proselytizing in Rome, Peter was fleeing from the city when Jesus appeared, walking in the opposite direction. Peter then asked Jesus ‘Where are you going?” and Jesus replied “I am going to Rome to be crucified again” Peter got the message and returned to Rome to fulfill the mission of founding the church for which he also gave his life.
 
Had Peter shirked his mission, there would be no Christianity in the world today.
 
So Mr. President, where do you go from here?
 
 
Ejiro Onobrakpeya, is a former Editor of The Sunday Times newspaper.

 

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

Dear President Jonathan, Please End the Tragic Farce in Rivers State Now! By Ogaga Ifowodo.


 

Columnist:

Ogaga Ifowodo

Dear President Jonathan , I never thought I would join in the letter writing orgy that has seized all of Nigeria by the wrist! Certainly, not given the self-serving purposes of the Epistle of Saint Matthew of Otta to the people of Nigeria through you and the many replies to it. At the time of writing, said St Matthew had just fired off yet another missile, I mean missive, to Bamanga Turkur who has the singular luck of presiding over the disintegration of the greatest party in Africa on which the political sun was never to set. St Matthew’s umbrage this time is that a “habitual criminal . . . wanted abroad,” one Buruji Kashamu, has been elected zonal leader of the PDP. Consequently, he has served notice of withdrawal from the party to protest the PDP’s pride of place as the paragon of “morality, decency, discipline, principles and leadership example.”

But let me go to the reason for my letter, which is to implore you, in all earnestness, to kindly put an immediate stop to the long-running tragic farce in your erstwhile home state of Rivers. I confess my ignorance of the mysterious ways in which power works, its wonders to perform. But I have sought enlightenment from many older and wiser than me, only that they too are befuddled. Since I can’t be sure of making it past the gate to the presidential villa where you preside, directly or indirectly but at any rate vicariously, over the increasingly dangerous saga in Rivers, I am forced to ask you through this open medium the questions agitating my mind: What, your excellency, is the great public good served by your refusal to end the macabre drama in Rivers? Surely you are mindful of the threat to national security posed by the absurd theatre of power, vendetta, blind loyalty, thuggery and open warfare waged with words and soon — in the light of recent reports — lethal arms? Are you content to see Rivers State turn into “the rough, rough beast of the East” that could spark a national crisis in a pathetic parody of Oyo State as “the wild, wild West” of our early post-independence existence?

I should hope not, for I suppose you have heard that six young persons, all with traceable ties to your esteemed wife, Patience — who, I hope you will admit, is neck-deep in the crisis rendering her home state ungovernable — were arrested on 4 January by a Joint Military Task Force for being in possession of military calibre weapons, among them AK-47 rifles and rounds of ammunition clearly not intended for antelope-hunting.  One of the armed men, Daniel Ibito-Anga, is said to be in the habit of describing himself as Security Adviser and, or, Personal Assistant to Senator George Sekibo and Evans Bipi, the latter being the same who declared your good wife as his Jesus Christ, perceived blasphemy of whom provoked him into starting the mayhem of 9 July 2013 that has since shut down legislative activity. Pictures of the arms and the men were all over the news. Were you bothered by those images? Or by the fact that a serving senator, Magnus Abe, was shot last week (and has had to be flown abroad) for treatment when the police broke up a peaceful protest at which he was merely exercising his right to peaceable assembly? Are you troubled by the fact that police commissioner Joseph Mbu is believed by many to be Aso Rock’s enforcer  in Rivers, and that he did nothing to dispel the suspicion by being more worried about the news of the armed youths’ arrest making it to the press than that dangerous weapons were in their hands in the first place? Do you think that Mr Mbu will bring charges against the suspects?

Commanders-in-chief shouldn’t be too easily perturbed, but surely you are disturbed by the bombing of the premises of a high court hearing a case in which an order was issued to restrain Bipi from parading himself as the speaker of the state house of assembly?

Your Excellency, whatever the great public good that warrants your ominous fiddling — or is it drumming? I don’t know your preferred musical instrument, but I speak figuratively anyway — while Rivers State boils, I think it is high time you brought the curtain down on the frightening drama. Especially, if that good can only be served through a permanent siege to Government House Port Harcourt and young men roaming the state in Range Rovers loaded with AK-47s. Just think, sir, that your antagonist, the harried Governor Rotimi Amaechi, had before the arrests raised an alarm about arms and ammunition being shipped into the state by opponents of his administration. Do you really think you can change the narrative and the mind of an apprehensive public more and more astonished by the unfolding scenario in the state? I fear that each day you fail to end the escalating anarchy, you shoot yourself in the foot. And aren’t you hobbled enough, as it is, by the many troubles of the country that confront you night and day? A stitch in time, it is said, saves nine. Sir, for sake of country and the long-suffering people of Rivers State, act now before it is too late.

Sincerely,

Citizen Ogaga

omoliho@gmail.com

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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