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A Government From Boko Haram By Emeka Asinugo.


By Emeka Asinugo

When, some months back, President Jonathan of Nigeria said that Boko Haram had penetrated his government and federal government agencies, he knew exactly what he was saying. He was right. In a way, the prolonged and mindless Boko Haram killings in the eastern parts of Northern Nigeria seem to be playing out that time-tested song by Jimmy Cliff titled ‘the harder they come, the harder they fall.’ The harder Boko Haram attacks come on the villages of Northern Nigeria, the harder Nigerian citizens of northern extract fall. The destructive presence of Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria can only be compared with the merciless mission of the Janjaweed militia of Darfur.

What Nigerians need to know, at this point in time, is whether these attacks still have religious or political undertones or whether they have turned out to become pure brigandage. For, in these Northern villages which Boko Haram attacks with measured frequency, the people’s cattle, their foodstuff and even their beautiful young daughters are catered away by force, by unknown gunmen, to unknown destinations where, no doubt, the young damsels are subjected to sexual abuse. If this is not brigandage, what could possibly be? Come to think of it! What have foodstuff, cattle and pretty girls got to do with people who claim they want to establish a pure Islamic state, even in a country that embraces a secular and not religious constitution?

Some scholars have, as it were, posited that Boko Haram sect believes some members of a contaminated school of Muslim thought, in tandem with a highly corrupt cabal of Northern politicians, have succeeded in high jacking political dispensation in the Northern part of Nigeria. That is why they are determined to wrestle power from them. They want to see the North return to fundamental Islamic teaching and tradition.

It all sounds good and well.

But if that is their desire, why then are they are killing their own people? Why are they are spilling the blood of their own young and innocent children? Why are they are destroying their own innocent women? Why are they mowing down their own innocent men? What have those being killed got to do with the aspirations of Boko Haram? People no longer have homes in the villages Boko Haram has sacked. They are refugees in their own country, driven away from their homesteads by a mindless sect that claims to be working for their interest.

Boko Haram is the vampire that has kept sucking the blood of Northern Nigeria’s future generations. The sect members have continued to cut down on their own Northern population. They have continued to limit their voting power by reducing their own number. So, someone should tell me: what sort of government can possibly emerge from the rubbles of such recklessness?

Just think about it. This is a wake-up call. How can Boko Haram, if ever they succeed in becoming a government of their own people, dry the tears from the eyes of thousands of women they prematurely turned into widows, and the many more children they turned into orphans? How can they say ‘sorry’ to all those families they threw into grief or left in agony after they mowed down their breadwinner? With what face will they meet their subjects after the battle is fought and won?

If all this is part of the alleged plan to make governance difficult for President Jonathan, then honestly, people from that part of the country should have their heads examined. I am sorry: I am not being rude, but I am almost convinced that this group of rascals cannot possibly stand the ground against a united Northern elders’ forum which endorses government as a democratic dispensation and not a cabal of the rich and mighty shoving it down the throats of the weak and vulnerable.

Boko Haram has caused so much pain to so many families across the nation. They have killed the Yoruba. They have killed the Hausa and the Fulani. They have killed Christians. They have killed Muslims. They have killed students. They have killed people in the marketplace. They have killed people during events. They just don’t care who they kill. They go for vulnerable people in strategic places.

Now, assuming that tomorrow a Muslim northerner becomes President of Nigeria, will these mindless killings stop?

Maybe it will be good for Nigerians to know. It is obvious that any government emanating straight from the ashes of Boko Haram’s killings will either be an autocracy or another Taliban type of government which will enforce strict Islamic Laws that tend to deny women of their human rights – a government that will dry the women’s tears with fire, and not with handkerchiefs. Will a Northern President be able to placate the Boko Haram sect and bring their nefarious activities under control? In other words, can a Northern President heal the wounds inflicted by Boko Haram on so many families in the North and in the South?

Nigerians should learn from the history of their country – both ancient and contemporary history. When two-time Head of State, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was in power, Niger Delta people were agitating so much about being marginalized in the scheme of things in the country. The bulk of the oil which sustained the economy of the nation was coming from their land. And they were being neglected. Basic infrastructure was obsolete and in some cases, non-existent. No good roads. No clean drinking water. No affordable medical care. No standard schools. Electricity supply was epileptic. There was general poverty in the land. The oil companies which were exploring oil from the Delta Region were said to have turned a blind eye to all the suffering the people of the region were passing through. They were not doing much to alleviate the level of poverty that was eating deep into the communities that made up the Delta Region. In the midst of the excruciating poverty that was ravaging the region, their top officers and chief executives preferred to live in palatial mansions in the big cities wining and dining with Governors, walking tall on the corridors of power.

Overwhelmed by their circumstances, the people of the Delta Region began to make trouble. They kidnapped oil workers. They kidnapped indigenes. They kidnapped foreigners. They kidnapped members of the families of public office holders. They vandalized oil pipelines and oil installations. They stole crude oil and refined them in makeshift refineries within the creeks, far away from government’s scrutiny.

It was all telling on Chief Obasanjo as Head of State because he is a man who loves his country but who, from experience, knew how difficult it was to please every Nigerian at the same time from the Presidential Villa. Obasanjo thought out a plan.

He was convinced that a President coming from the Delta Region would be in a better position to sort out Delta people and bring relief to the country. So, he sponsored the late Musa Yar ‘Adua as President and Jonathan as Vice President under the auspices of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which at the time was largest and the ruling party.

Jonathan had become Governor of Bayelsa State after his predecessor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, had been indicted for money laundering by a London court and was impeached by Bayelsa House of Assembly on that account. The elder brother of Governor Musa Yar ‘Adua, Major General Shehu Yar’ Adua, had been a successful businessman, soldier, and politician. His father was a former Minister for Lagos during the First Republic. Shehu trained at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England and participated in the Nigerian Civil War. He was Vice President of Nigeria when Olusegun Obasanjo was military Head of State from 1976 until 1979.

In 1995, the older Yar ‘Adua was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal after he called on the military government of General Sani Abacha and his Provisional Ruling Council to re-establish civilian rule. Obasanjo was also imprisoned at the same time. Unfortunately, Shehu Yar ‘Adua died in prison two years later, on 8 December 1997. When eventually Obasanjo was released from prison, he wanted to see justice done to the family of the Yar’Aduas. So, he sponsored Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua, the younger brother of his late prison mate, Shehu, to be elected as President of Nigeria in 2007 while Goodluck Jonathan was Vice President.

Everybody knew that Musa Yar ‘Adua was a sick man. Twice, during his tenure as governor, he had gone for medical treatment abroad, which kept him away from work for several months at a time. But because he was loved, not only by his people from Northern Nigeria, but by almost every other Nigerian both from the East and the West, he didn’t have any problem getting back into his office on return.

Whether by accident or by design, the pressure of work killed Musa Yar ‘Adua after three and half years as President. Jonathan succeeded him in office.

But since Jonathan, a son of Delta Region, became President, the troubles in Delta State have not ended. No. Rather, they have escalated. The level of impunity has gone up. Members of the families of government officials are no longer safe. Even members of the family of the President himself are not safe. Recently, the step-father of President Jonathan was kidnapped right from his village home, and the kidnappers are asking for a ransom amount of N500 million (£2 million).

That level of impunity!

So, assuming that by tomorrow, Boko Haram succeeds in “wrestling power from the democratically elected government that is in control in the North”, what sort of government will they be able to form? Will the fact that a Northerner has become President stop the agitation of Boko Haram? Just as having a Delta President could not stop the Delta rebellion, so a Northern President may not be able to twist the arms of Boko Haram insurgency.

In that case, will it not be an indication to Eastern and Western Nigerians that it is time for them to decide for themselves if they still want this do-or-die leadership style of their militant northern brothers or to go their separate ways because things have fallen apart and the centre can no longer hold? If that is what Nigerians need to know – and react to – this is the time to speak up, the National Conference, the opportunity.

 

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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COVER THE LIES OF NIGERIA OR GET FIRED; Why I Sacked Odimegwu by Jonathan.


Abuja — PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan  explained, yesterday, that the former chairman of the National  Population Commission, NPC, Chief Festus Odimegwu was relieved of his  appointment because of certain statements he made, which brought  credibility problem to the commission.
The president, who disclosed this while swearing in the chairman and  two commissioners of the National Population Commission; a member of the  ICPC as well as two Advisers at the Presidential Villa, charged public  officials to be mindful of their utterances in order not to erode the  confidence of the people in the work of their agencies.
He said: “When we have a country that the population is growing than  the way our economy is growing, then we must know our population  figures, so that government at federal, state and local levels will be  able to plan.
“The population commission is critical and you also have to be  mindful about the statements you make and that is not limited to the  national population commission alone, but to all of us who are holding  offices.
“You must be very mindful and not make statements that will create problem for the society.”
Addressing the new chairman, the President said: “I dropped your predecessor because of certain statements he made.
“He is a fine gentleman, everybody knows him, very cerebral. But an  institution like the National Population Commission must be one that  people will believe in whatever you do.
“And if you make pronouncements that will create credibility problem  to that institution, the best thing is for you to step aside for some  other person to step in because the credibility of that institution is  critical.
“Perception in most cases are stronger than real, no matter what you  do if the perception is wrong then society will not follow you,” the  president charged.
Odimegwu’s comments raised a quantum of dust in the polity with the  presidency firing him a query. He also received an avalanche of attacks  from many northerners especially, Kano State Governor, Rabiu Musa  Kwankwaso.
Going by the 2006 headcount, Kano is the most populous state in the country.
During a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan at the Presidential  Villa, Abuja, Kwankwaso called for Odimegwu’s sack over his denigration  of the 2006 Nigeria census, saying: “We are not happy about that  appointment and think that it was a mistake. Festus shouldn’t be there  in the first place… because he cannot be the chairman of NPC and at  the same time be attacking what his predecessor had done.”
Odumegwu’s comments belie Nigeria’s topsy-turvy experience with  population census. Acclaimed as the most populous nation in Africa, the  true number of Nigerians has always remained a matter of estimates.  Currently, Nigeria’s population is between 160 – 167 million based on  projections from the 2006 census that put the nation’s population at 140  million with the North accounting for 73.6 million and the South having  64.9 million.
Population figures had always been a subject of mudslinging between  Southern and Northern politicians. For Southerners, the belief is that  the population of the North has been “over-counted”.
They argue that going by simple demographic distribution pattern  across the globe, population increases as one moves from the hinterland  (desert or Savannah regions) to the coast. They wondered why in the case  of Nigeria, the North which lies more in the arid zone, is more  populous than the coastal South.
For Northerners, their extensive landmass and population must not be  taken for granted, facts, said argued that several head counts had  confirmed.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ihejirika: Igbo youths, others warn northern elders.


 

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A coalition of Northern and Igbo youths has cautioned the Northern Elders Forum on its call for Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika’s trial at the International Crime Court (ICC).

It said the elders should not destroy the young generation with hatred, division and mistrust.

Addressing a joint news briefing in Abuja, the presidents of the Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo Youth Organisation, Comrade Uzoh Ifeanyi and Northern Youth Leaders Assembly, Comrade Tijani Kabiru Mohammed, said the elders were seeking media attention and looking for the spoils of the political economy of their self-made crisis.

They said the feeling among Igbo youths was that the North could still not imagine that an Igbo man could head the Army, while northern youths were given the impression that an Igbo man commanded a troop to kill northerners.

 

“We the northern and Igbo youths have built bridges of fraternity and friendship and do not want anybody to lead us back to the hatred and bitterness of the civil war era.

“As Nigerians, we are united in search of a solution to our national challenges. It could be suffocating when wisdom vanishes from the heads of elders.

“We, the youth, have a duty to tell them that they are wrong and should stop. The country is yet to recover from the threats issued by some of them in 2011. We can hardly afford another crisis,” the youths said.

They condemned attempt by the elders forum to create tension, disunity, instability and hatred, urging them to stop inciting Nigerians against one another.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Gunmen attack church in Adamawa, many feared dead.


 

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Many people including 2 policemen were feared killed as gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members attacked a church in Chakawa village of Madagali Local Government area of Adamawa.Some residents of the affected village who fled the area told newsmen that they were attacked by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members during Sunday service in the morning.” They used explosives during the attack on worshippers and many people lost their lives”, local villagers recounted their ordeals.” I can not actually say how many people were kill but I learnt that there are about 16 people evacuated from the church”, one of the residents who identified himself as Apogu said.Another resident claimed that some houses were also attacked by the gunmen who took some men as hostage, while two policemen, an Inspector and a Sergeant who were on guard in the church were killed instantly.” I saw some people crying saying that their relations had been taken away as hostage by the gunmen”, the resident who prefer anonymity said.Attempt to get the military and police authorities in the area to comment on the incident did not yield result.A soldier in the area who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press told Vanguard that nine people lost their lives during the attack.He said the Army have sealed up the area and were hunting for the fleeing attackers.Military authorities in Adamawa State have promised to speak on the issue later, even as the chairman of Madagali Local Government, Maina Ularamu confimed the attack, but declined the civilian casualties.Madagali Local Government is bordering Gwoza Local Govenment of Borno state known for series of insurgent attacks since the declaration of the state of emergency.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jerry Gana- North’s opposition to Jonathan’s 2nd term 2015 unfair.


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A member of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Board of Trustees, Professor Jerry Gana, yesterday, described as unfair the mounting opposition from the north against President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid in 2015.

Prof. Gana, who made the claim in an exclusive interview with Vanguard in Abuja, pointed out that Jonathan had an inalienable right to run again in 2015, as there was no law barring him from the contest.

Gana pleaded with those in the north still opposed to Jonathan’s presidential bid in 2015 to give him a chance to complete his tenure as provided for by the Nigerian Constitution.

According to the BoT member, it is wrong for uninformed persons to claim that Jonathan had hit the limit of his tenure after serving out the late President

Yar’Ádua’s tenure and contesting for the first time as president in 2011.

The former Information minister, who noted with dismay the claim by some northerners that Jonathan signed an agreement with them to run for a single term of four years, disputed the existence of such a deal and challenged those making the allegation to produce the document or keep quiet.

Gana said it was in the interest of the north to support Jonathan for a second term since the President had done so well for the region and Nigeria within two years than any sitting President in Nigeria.

He said the achievements of Jonathan in the areas of improved power supply; roads, agriculture, aviation and job creation were unprecedented in recent years.
The BoT member noted that even if Jonathan did not want to run in 2015, the South-South, which has always supported the North to produce the President of Nigeria, should be assisted by the North to contest and win.

BY Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North

Source: Radio Biafra.

Islamisation Agenda In Nigeria: Our Concern – CAN.


CAN

President of Christian Welfare Initiative (CWI), who doubles as the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), South-west Zone, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, had recently urged Christians to join in the 31-day fasting and prayers programme for the persecuted Church in Nigeria which started on January 14, noting that denominations/ministries which had begun fasting and prayers programme in this season should add the prayers for the persecuted Church to their prayer schedules in addition to praying against any Islamic agenda.Atilade maintained that Christians should use the period to draw attention of the entire country, as well as other nations of the world, to the growing security threats to Christians in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.“We affirm that Nigeria is a secular society in which all the citizens have free right to live, work, and express their faith according to their individual convictions. If the secularity of Nigeria has in any way been reviewed or modified, we are not aware,” he stated, adding that the Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and the right to worship God according to individual conviction,” Atilade stated.“We are however disturbed, and very alarmed, at the rate and consistency with which Christians are being slaughtered in northern Nigeria, in a manner similar to the genocide in Rwanda. The brutality, cruelty and inhuman manner in which Nigerian Christians are being systematically and consistently slaughtered by individuals claiming to be adherents of the Islamic faith has reached an alarming proportion that we are compelled to speak out. THIS IS INHUMAN!“In the northern parts of the country, these individuals and groups of individuals have been operating for years with impunity and without regard for law and order, or respect for the right of other Nigerians to live and express their faith in God according to their choice.”According to Atilade, the Fulani herdsmen are fast becoming notorious as a harbinger of destruction wherever they lead their cattle to, in the Middle Belt, South-west and in the South-east. He also outlined several instances since March 2010 when the militant Islamic sect, Boko Haram, had caused mayhem all over the North killing Christians and destroying properties.“It is quite amazing that these Fulani herdsmen are yet to be convicted of mass murder. It is equally disheartening that even moderate Muslims that do not seem to support these agents of death and destruction are also targeted and killed by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group. It is very unfortunate that innocent students are also massacred by these terrorists,” the CAN leader stated.“While attacks have been reported against moderate Muslims that do not support these insurgents, it is clear to the whole world that the main target of these terrorist attacks by both Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen are Christians in Nigeria.“While some mischievous

elements in the media have attempted portraying these killings as ethnic or socio-economic related clashes, the pattern of the attacks confirm that it is a religious war, patterned after the Islamic Jihad. According to the World Watch List, The majority of the incidents of conflicts that have been reported in the international media as ‘clashes’ between Muslims and Christians in actual fact have been one-sided violence against Christians.”Continuing, he said as a result of these crises, thousands of Christian men, women and children have been murdered, thousands of children have become orphans, thousands of women are widowed, while innumerable Christian men and women have been maimed and mutilated.“It is unbelievable that in this age and period, human beings could descend to such level of inhuman barbarity and cruelty while claiming divine mandate. Nigerian citizens have been hacked to death with machete, their throats have been slit with knives like rams, their heads have been severed from their necks with the saw carpenters use on wood, the barrel of AK 47 has been placed on their nose before being fired, the stomach of pregnant women were ripped open with knives, they have been burnt alive, and all manners of unprintable atrocities have been committed by some Nigerian citizens against other Nigerian citizens all in the name of expanding a religion,” he stated.“In Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Kogi, Niger, Nassarawa, Taraba, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, individuals and groups of individuals, claiming Islamic injunction, have been routinely killing, bombing, maiming and mutilating Christians. Properties of Christians are being destroyed and their places of worship as well as business locations are routinely burnt and destroyed.“The situation reached a crescendo that the Federal Government was compelled to impose a state of emergency in the states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa on May 14, 2013.“Despite the emergency rule, the Islamic terrorists did not relent in their attacks.”.Atilade maintained that the 2013 World Watch List report showed that 66% of Christians killed, globally, were Nigerian Christians.Wondering why there is a conspiracy of silence over the emerging religious war in Nigeria, the archbishop attempted to give reasons why the situation persists, noting that what is more distressing is the valid information that the incessant bloodshed is a culmination of a carefully planned agenda to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state and Africa as an Islamic continent.Members of the Boko Haram, he argued, have clearly announced that their objective is to Islamize Nigeria. “We are aware that a meeting was held many years ago to strategize on Islamizing Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. We are also aware that eradication of Christian groups resistant to Islamic conversion was advocated in a conference held in Abuja in 1989. That Islamic agenda is unfolding before our eyes today,” the archbishop said.“We wish to use this medium to alert Christians in Nigeria, particularly in the South-west, that there is an Islamic agenda that has been launched against Nigeria, and the trend of events seems to point in the direction of the South-west as the next battle ground. There seems to be a gradual plot to make Islam the dominant religion in the region.“We cannot understand why the political party that is currently ruling in the South-west fielded mostly Muslims as its governorship candidates. 80 per cent of the governors of this political party in the South-west are Muslims. It is a gross imbalance that must be redressed without delay.“To add to our apprehension, Osun State Gov. Rauf Aregbesola has commenced taking decisions and introducing policies that are clearly anti-Christian.“Osun State under Gov. Aregbesola is not hiding its intolerance and disdain for the Christian faith. Recently, as a direct result of his policies, a Christian secondary school in Osun was invaded by Muslims and the principal was nearly beaten into a state of coma. It is by a stroke of divine intervention that he did not die.
To date, we are yet to witness the prosecution of the Muslims who perpetrated that dastardly act.“Christians in Nigeria should be warned not to underestimate the unfolding Islamic agenda in the country. Historically, nations like Turkey, Egypt, Algeria, and so on, were Christian nations before they were overran by Islam. Not only were they overrun by Islam, their culture and governance were taken over by Arabs. If a nation like Turkey could be Islamized, Christians in Nigeria should not assume that the Islamization agenda is an idle threat.”He therefore advised Christians in the South-west, who have concluded that the region is immune to such attacks, to study carefully what is unfolding in Osun, noting that “developments in Osun State clearly confirm that there is cause for concern.”“We wish to state clearly that those of us who are Christians in Nigeria shall not renounce Christianity, and neither shall we convert to Islam. We are Christians by choice, and we choose to remain Christians. We are persuaded that no human being needs to be forced or coerced to accept a gift. A gift that comes with a sword as an alternative is a questionable gift. It is a suspicious gift. Every gift speaks for itself and forceful persuasion becomes unnecessary,” the CAN leader stated.On politics of religion, Atilade observed that it is worrisome that religion is gradually becoming the defining factor in politics in the country.“We are also disturbed by the consistent intensity with which Muslim politicians seek to destabilize the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. We clearly remember that before his election, certain Muslim politicians threatened to make Nigeria ungovernable for him should he exercise his constitutional right of seeking election as the president of Nigeria. Events that have unfolded after his election, starting with the post-election violence in 2011, proved that it was not an idle threat,” he stressed.“We appeal to our fellow Muslim citizens that are determined to cause problem in the nation, that Nigeria belongs to both Christians and Muslims. Every Nigerian has the constitutional right to seek elective office and no one should be harassed or intimidated for doing so. In addition, we are observing the emergence of political gatherings with conflicting signals about its religious intent.“As Christians, we welcome an all-inclusive political party that will protect the interests of all Nigerian citizens, irrespective of tribe, religion, or social status.“The unfortunate religious persecution in the northern parts of Nigeria is an eye-opener and calls for caution in establishing political associations. The current imbalance in the religious structure in the North of Nigeria that is gradually being replicated in the South West demands serious attention by all leaders of the church in Nigeria.”“Undoubtedly,” he continued, “the unbalanced control of the political machinery by a religion in the northern parts of Nigeria is at the bedrock of the current religious intolerance that is plaguing the region. To have such structure replicated at any other zone in the country should be of grave concern to every Nigerian.“Therefore, at the Christian Welfare Initiative (CWI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), South-west, we recommend as follows: Christians all over Nigeria and in the South West in particular, should embark on prayer and fasting from January 14 – February 14, 2014 for the Church in Nigeria and for the nation. Prayers should be mobilized that every conspiracy that has been conceived against Christians in Nigeria shall fail.“We call on Nigeria’s president, the Inspector General of Police and the governors of the states where mass murder is being committed to come up with effective and proactive policing strategies to ensure that no Nigerian citizen or village becomes a soft target for the harbingers of terror.“The use of technology (drones and CCTV) for surveillance and rapid response purposes by security agents should be employed. We wish to inform our Muslim relatives in the South-west that any Islamic violence in Yoruba land portends grave danger, not only to Christians, but also to Muslims. Sometime in 2013, when the terrorists from the North attempted to blow up the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos, they did not make plans to evacuate Muslims from the impending disaster. If they had succeeded, they would have killed both Christians and Muslims. As we see in the North, Boko Haram is killing both Christians and Muslims.“Therefore, Muslims in the South-west should join the clarion call that the secularity of the region must be maintained. No Yoruba man or woman will profit from any Islamization agenda in the South-west. For our sake and for the sake of our descendants, we must maintain the delicate balance of our society so that Yorubaland does not become the next Syria, Iraq, or Somalia.“It is a common saying with our people that ‘we shall not adopt insanity with religion’. What is going on in the North of Nigeria must be prevented from taking place in the South-west.“Christians in the South West must raise their voices and demand that the next governor of Lagos State in 2015 must be a genuine Christian. After 16 years of Muslim governors, it is only fair that the next governor should be a Christian.“This is in keeping with the secular nature of the nation and maintains the delicate balance in our society.“We are equally concerned about the gradual Islamization of the civil service structure in states where the governor is a Muslim. There is a visible lopsided appointment of directors, permanent secretaries, and heads of parastatals in favor of Muslims.“This is the scenario in the 12 Sharia states in northern Nigeria and it is disturbing that it is being replicated in the South-west. It must be reversed immediately, in the best interest of our people,” Atilade said. [Vanguard]

Rotational Presidency and Jonathan’s withdrawal from the race the only way to avert bloodshed: Open Letter to the President:


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Borrowing from the Ondo and Anambra Governorship Polls of October 20, 2012 and November 16, 2013, respectively, as in INEC’s conduct of election 120 days before the end of the tenure of a serving governor; and specifically according to Section 132 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011, the election into the office of the President of Nigeria may most likely hold by January 2015.

On the same premise, elections into the 360 members of the House of Reps and 109 senatorial seats may most likely take place by the same month. This is in accordance with Section 76 (2) of the Constitution as amended. Elections into about 1,152 State legislative seats of the 36 States may most likely take place by the

same month in accordance with Section 116 (2) of the Constitution as amended. And elections into the 31 States’ governorship seats may most likely hold by the same January 2015. This is in accordance with Section 178 (2) of the Constitution as amended. The Independent National Electoral Commission is expected to announce the timetable for the elections most likely by October 2013(usually not later than 90 days before the poll’s date).

There are a total of 1,695 top elective offices at Nigeria’s Federal and States’ tiers of government, out of which, polls may most likely be conducted in 1, 685 seats by January 2015. The remaining ten governorship and deputy governorship seats are presently under staggered electoral calendar owing to Peter Obi v INEC Case of 2007 delivered by the Supreme Court of Nigeria. While INEC is constitutionally empowered to organize elections into 1, 695 top elective seats of the Federal and States’ governments, the States’ Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) are charged with the constitutional responsibility of conducting elections into 11, 788 Local Government chairmanships and councillorships in the country’s 774 LGAs under staggered circumstances.

It is a truism that one out of the 1, 685 elective polls to be conducted by INEC by January 2015 will make or mar Nigeria. This singular election is “an election too many” and it is no other than “the presidential election of 2015”. It is our indisputable findings that the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission hold the key to the success or failure of the all-important 2015 general elections in Nigeria. The three important political establishments also face three major challenges threatening not only the polls, but also the lives and liberties of Nigerians as well as corporate existence of the country. The three major challenges are: security, unconstitutionality of rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones and Mr. President’s second term ambition. It is correct to say that solutions to these three major challenges will save the country from chaos and bloodletting of unimaginable proportion looming large over the polls.

Consequences Of Political Domination Across Borders:

In the world over, political dominance in heterogeneous and multi religious countries by particular tribes or sections against their minority or weaker partners have led to disintegration of hitherto united and vibrant countries and caused hundreds of thousands, if not millions of deaths and institutionalization of group crimes. From former Yugoslavia to Lebanon; from Rwanda to Burundi; from Ivory Coast to Central African Republic; the list continues. The Serbs/Christian dominance of political powers from the time of Marshal Josip Broz Tito, who died in office (1st prime minister of Yugoslavia from 1943 and president between 14th of January 1953 and 4th of May, 1980), led to the Yugoslavian complex and bloody civil wars between 1991 and 2001. The wars eventually broke up the country into seven countries of Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, on account of the Dayton Peace Accords of 1995.

In Lebanon, it was ethno-religious differences between Maronite Christians and Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and political dominance and foreign influences that led to her blood civil war between 1975 and 1990. In Rwanda and Burundi, political and military dominance by the Tutsi tribe, which constitutes about 14% of the two countries’ populations respectively against the majority Hutu tribe (85%) and acute minority tribe Twa (1%) led to several civil wars that engulfed the two countries since 60s with that of Rwanda degenerating into genocide that killed between 800,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus between April and July 1994, a period of three months. Presently in the Central African Republic, the country is polarized and divided along Christian and Muslim war zones since the ousting of Gen. Francois Bozize on 24th March, 2013 by an Islamic rebel alliance known as “Seleka”.

In Nigeria, political dominance is incontestably factual. Though Section 14 (3) of the Constitution frowns at it, but the Section is made leprous by Section 6, sub 6 (c) of the same Constitution, which ousts the jurisdiction of any court to inquire and sanction its defaulters, likewise other provisions under Chapter Two-Fundamental Objectives & Directive Principles of State Policy. In 1999, the Southwest or Yoruba tribe got the Presidency through pen militancy and the South-south or Southern Nigeria’s minorities, who presently occupy the throne since 2010 (successor presidency), got it through arms propelled by resource control militancy. As the 2015 general polls, especially the presidential poll, draw closer, we are now a witness to mass defection from one party to the other and fusion of political parties with strong tribal or ethno-religious influences.

These are all geared towards returning Nigeria back to “born to rule” inglorious epoch where the old Western and Muslim Northern regions were “born to rule” and other federating partners including Igbo tribe, northern and southern minorities were “born to be ruled”. Since equity demands “what ought to be”, to be and “what ought to be done”, to be done, and judging from the premise of six geopolitical zones of Northwest, Northeast, North-central, Southeast, South-south and Southwest; the three zones of Southwest, Northwest and South-south are disqualified by equity from contesting the 2015 Presidential Poll in Nigeria, having held the plum post democratically in 1999 to 2007 (Southwest), 2007 to 2010 (Northwest) and 2010 to 2015 (South-south). In order of equitable hierarchy, Southeast, North-east and North-central are equitably favoured and qualified to contest the 2015 Presidency and two others following it and among the three, Southeast is the “primus inter pares”, followed by the Northeast. Even during the military’s inglorious epoch, it was Mohammadu Buhari (1983 to 1987) Katsina Northwest, Ibrahim Babangida (1987 to 1993) Niger North-central, Sani Abacha (1993 to 1998) Kano Northwest and Abdulsalami Abubakar (1998 to 1999) Niger North-central.

The best solution to social disharmony in a consociation democracy and ethno-religiously divided country like Nigeria is power rotation. The Republic of Tanzania made up of Unions of Tanganyika and Zanzibar formed in 1964 remains one of the stable countries in Africa. It has also not experienced any military coup since independence in 1961. It emerged from its post independence turbulence under its ruling party-Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) with some form of power balance within its ruling party, between Tanganyika, dominated by Christians and animists and Zanzibar dominated by Muslims. Its presidency has flowed from Julius Nyerere (Tanganyika) 1961 to 1985 (under limitless tenure), Ali Hassan Mwinyi (Zanzibar) 1985 to 1995, Benjamin Mkakpa(Tanganyika) 1995 to 2005 to Dr. Jakaya Kikwete (Tanganyika) 2005 to 2015. In its ongoing constitutional review, one of the leading agitations is the constitutional rotation of its presidency between Tanganyika and Zanzibar with insistence that next president will come from Zanzibar in its 2015 presidential poll. In Lebanon, with parliamentary system, the presidency and army chief are zoned to Maronite Christians, the prime minister is zoned to Sunni Muslims and the speaker of the parliament is zoned to Shia Muslims and this has restored internal political stability in the country, except other external political factors and influences such as “Palestine question” and the fate of the State of Israel on the so called Arab lands.

Summary Of What Must Be Done:

Without prejudice to a planned national conference of whatever name called, the National Assembly including the Senate and the House of Reps bodies working on constitutional amendment, should, as a matter of uttermost urgency and national importance, incorporate into the Constitution the rotation of the presidency among the six geopolitical zones under reference and state clearly on the premise of equity which zone should take the first shot bearing in mind that Southeast and Northeast have not governed Nigeria in recent times. Our prescribed order of hierarchy on the basis of a single tenure of six years is as follows: Southeast, six years (2015 to 2021), Northeast, six years (2021 to 2027), North-central six years (2027 to 2033), Southwest six years (2033 to 2039), Northwest six years (2039 to 2045) and South-south six years (2045 to 2051). If it is decided that it should start from the Northeast, or after the Southeast must have taken its turn, the arrangement must accommodate the Christians and minorities of Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi and Gombe States. It is very important to point out that in the rotational arrangement being demanded, there will be a time for each beneficiary zone to “cry and smile”. The said constitutional arrangement can only be altered through a national conference, especially if the federating partners wish to live apart peacefully.

The second important thing that must be done is that President Goodluck Jonathan should withdraw his second term ambition so as to allow the equitably favoured zone to take its turn and avert chaos and bloodletting imminent in the polls. This sacrifice for national unity and cohesion must be accompanied with collective acceptance by other federating partners of Northwest and Southwest extractions that six geopolitical zones’ presidential rotation be incorporated into the Constitution on a single term of six years. The third important issue is the provision of adequate security to secure the liberties and lives of Nigerians before, during and after the polls. The security arrangement must also include demographic security on the part of INEC. This includes credible voters’ cards’ review, efficient continuous voters’ registration and non politicization of INEC’s substantive and adhoc staff recruitment and management.

Where It Concerns Mr. President:

Your Excellency, Mr. President should do the following:

1. Shelve Your Excellency’s second term ambition for sake of national peace, unity and cohesion.

2. Ensure that Your Excellency quickly assent to the constitutional amendment bill under reference once it is brought to Your Excellency’s attention and if indeed it warrants Your Excellency’s assent.

3. Your Excellency’s shelving of Your Excellency’s second term ambition should be conditional and must be predicated on collective readiness of the federating partners of Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba extractions to allow for constitutionality of six geopolitical zonal rotating presidency with a start from Southeast, or at extreme consideration, the Northeast, with Christian, Muslim and Minorities’ eligibility.

4. Your Excellency as the Commander-in-Chief should ensure adequate security and liberty for all Nigerians before, during and after the January 2015 general polls. To this extent, Your Excellency should reshuffle Your Excellency’s Service Chiefs and restructure the command hierarchies of the Armed Forces including the Nigeria Police Force.

5. Your Excellency, as Chairman of the Nigeria Police Council, should look into secretive and lopsided promotions of senior officers in the Nigeria Police Force by the IGP, M.D. Abubakar and some say surrogate Nigeria Police Service Commission. The names of the beneficiaries of such promotions are kept secret because the exercise is utterly lopsided and appeared to have been designed to favour Hausa-Fulani Muslim senior officers. It is alleged that a number of course mates of the present IGP from the Southeast and South-south, are still at the rank of Deputy Commissioners of Police.

Where It Concerns The National Assembly Members & Their Leaders (Senate President & House Speaker):

1. An unambiguous provision should be inserted into the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as being amended, providing for a six year single term rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones in the order below: Southeast, Northeast, North-central, Southwest, Northwest and South-south. It should be done with uttermost immediacy and national importance.

2. Adequate funds should be provided for INEC for effective and efficient conduct of the important polls under reference.

3. Excuses of any type geared towards blocking or delaying the constitutional amendment being demanded, which may be premised on “want of time” or “national conference outcome” are totally rejected and immaterial to the present circumstance. If about 31 sections and sub sections’ amendments could be successfully carried out in the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 prior to the 2011 general polls within a short time frame, this popular demand of ours can as well be met in a question of few months before the polls.

Where It Concerns INEC Chairman & His Management:

1. Your Commission must discharge its duties in strict compliance with the provisions of the INEC Establishment Act of 2004, the Electoral Act of 2010 and the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011.

2. To this extent, Your Commission should commence timely the continuous registration of voters and revalidation of voters’ cards and relaxation of stiff conditions attached to voters’ cards’ transfer processes and allied issues.

3. Your Commission should ensure deployment of adequate voters’ registration tools and personnel and designate clearly through adequate publicity registration centers across the country, which must be within the reach of registrable Nigerians. We advise that polling centers should be used.

4. Your Commission should avoid recruiting career politicians either as substantive electoral officers like RECs or adhoc electoral officers like EOs or ROs.

5. Your Commission should liaise with the NPF and the DSS with a view to constituting enforcement units to apprehend and prosecute those found flouting the criminal aspect of the Electoral Act of 2010 with specific reference to poll violence including killings, maiming, assaults, arson and other property destruction.

Finally, ominous signs are already showing the imminence of chaos and bloodletting in the January 2015 general polls. It is an established and incontestable opinion that Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gun powder. With five to seven million illicit small arms said to exist and be borne by wrong hands in the country and scattered across the country, the Presidency, the National Assembly and the Independent National Electoral Commission must act swiftly to save the country and her citizens from violence of unimaginable proportion threatening the conduct of the all important polls. All forms of parochial and ethno-religious interests must be nailed in a coffin and collectivist national interests made to hold sway. And the chief among the collectivist national interests is the constitutionality of rotational presidency among the six geopolitical zones.

The complex and complicated civil wars fought in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001 should serve as a collective lesson to the political authorities under reference in Nigeria. In the wars, Serbs and Montenegrins fought on one side, Croats and Bosniaks in Bosnia fought on the other. Also wars erupted between Bosniaks and Croats in Bosnia, between Croats on one side and Serbs and Montenegrins in Croatia on the other, between Serbs and Slovenes in Slovenia, between Serbs and Albanians in Serbia, between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians in Kosovo and between Albanians and Macedonians in Macedonia. If the foregoing tragic scenario plays out in Nigeria, the so called “giant of Africa” and “the world’s birth place for black people” will be a history. The Yugoslavian pogrom and “war of all against all” must not be allowed a space in Nigeria!

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
Email: emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk

Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma, Head, Publicity Desk
Email: juijeoma@yahoo.com

Source: Radio Biafra.

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