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Posts tagged ‘Onitsha’

Duplicitous Atiku Commends Jonathan On 2nd Niger Bridge, knowing full well that it is a scam.


Former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, said, Monday, that the flag off of the construction of the second Niger Bridge by President Goodluck Jonathan was belated, “as the project ought to have been completed before now.”

Atiku stated this while delivering a keynote address at the 16th annual conference of African Council for Communication Education.

The conference was entitled “Communication, Children and the Youth in the 21stcentury,” and was hosted by the Department of Mass Communication, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

At the time Atiku was speaking at Nsukka, President Jonathan was in Onitsha, Anambra State, flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge.

The former vice president, however, commended the President for eventually flagging off the construction of the second Niger Bridge after long years of wait.

He said that when completed, “the bridge would boost economic activities and transportation in the South-East zone and environs.”

In his address, Atiku urged participants at the ACCE conference to find solutions on how best to ensure that 10 million out-of-school children returned to school.

“The participants should also seek solution to the high rate of unemployment facing youths in the country,” he said.

He tasked the media on content that would promote the Nigerian economy, which, he said, has diverse sources of revenue and employment generation. “We don’t have to depend just on oil, but on agriculture, solid minerals, manufacturing and services”.

He said, “The media as an agenda setter should promote ideas for building the 21stcentury robust economy. You also have the responsibility to promote an education system mix of academic and vocational training, so as to cater for diverse needs of the youth and the emerging economy.”

Atiku, a presidential hopeful in the All Progressives Congress, advocated that federal schools be handed over to states in which they were located, saying, “It would help in administration and management of the schools.”

He added, “The Federal Government should also focus on setting regulatory standards and insist on implementing these standards.

“It will save cost as well as make it easier in management if federal schools were handed over to the states.”

The Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Prof. Bartho Okolo, expressed appreciation to the former vice president for honoring the invitation.

Earlier, the Head, Department of Mass Communication in the institution, Dr. Ray Udeaja, explained that the aim of the conference was to continue to advance evolution of communication education in Africa as well as guarantee the dignity of young Africans in the coming days.

“We are aware of the faith our society reposes on those of us who are in the academics. This is why we organise such conferences as these to enable us contribute to sustainable development.

“This conference targets young Africans who are our successors on this planet,” he said.

Udeaja added that the ACCE 2013 annual conference held this year (2014) because of the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities strike last year. [Vanguard]

(From Biafra Galaxy)

Peter Obi’s Political blunders : Nzam most neglected community in Anambra • Pregnant mothers deliver at home • Hospital, electricity, pipe borne water and good roads rare • Bicycle a major source of transportation.


nzam Anambra

In this age of globalization and technological innovations, some  communities still exist as in the Stone Age era where all the modern  amenities of life are absent and citizens rely on nature and human  natural instincts to survive.
Nzam Community, the headquarters of Anambra West Local Government,  Anambra State fits into the above description.  A recent trip to the  community by the reporter confirms the lyrics of the song by Afro beat  legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti that some people are “suffering and  smiling.”   A land so blessed with rich agricultural produce but yet  wallows under the throes of underdevelopment and government neglect.
In Nzam, most children have never seen electric light since they were  born, while access to clean water, hospitals or accessible roads is  like a luxury often dreamt of by the people but yet to feel it.
A turbulent two and half hours sail through the River Niger by boat  from the Niger Bridge Head brought the reporter to the precincts of the  community.  On berthing and anchoring at the bank of the river, one is  confronted with weary villagers loading and offloading agricultural  products behind mud houses and thatched roofs.
A narrow swampy road from the river bank leads to the community  accessed by trekking or boarding of commercial cycle a major  preoccupation of the youths in the area who have lost interest in  farming.
Though there were few electric poles fixed on the narrow road which  connects the local police post and an empty Health Post, the first  response one gets on asking where to charge one’s phone battery through  the public power source is a jolt on the real situation.
“My brother, maybe you are in a dream land,” the Okada rider  said. “Ever since I grew to maturity, I’ve never seen electric light  from NEPA here. These electric poles you see now are just fancy  decorations on the road because that is where it ends. We have no light  and our people only travel to Onitsha by boat to get the diesel, which  we use to power our rice milling plants.  There is no telephone network  too as you may have noticed that your phone has lost service as you  alighted from the boat. We are like people living in another planet and  what they do is to visit us with empty promises whenever election time  is approaching. That is all we see or get from them,” he lamented.
At the market square, though it was a work day and schools were in  session, many children were seen playing by the heap of sand beside the  community rice grinding mill.   Farmers coming back from their rice farm  all conveyed the yet-to-be-parboiled rice on bicycles. The local  government secretariat, which was accessed by the reporter on a  motorcycle through another narrow path with streams and locally made  bridges, was like a ghost place.
The sign post bearing the inscription “Anambra West Local Government  Headquarters, Nzam” was swallowed by grasses that it becomes difficult  to view the signpost from afar. The secretariat, though deserted had  some nice buildings. The old secretariat complex commissioned on 18th  February 1999 was built by the military administration of Uwakwe Ukaegbu  in Anambra. On enquiry about the state of affairs in the local council,  a staffer who pleaded anonymity alleged  that the members of the  transition council of the local government reside in Onitsha and only  visit once in month when their entitlements is released by the state  government. He said they immediately return to Onitsha in their  speedboat after sharing the booty for the month.

‘Our local government is the worst in Anambra’
An executive member of the town union, Kenneth Nwabunwanne in a chat with Sunday Sun described their local government area as the worst in Anambra State.
“During the flood crisis in 2012, our community was ravaged beyond  proportion and we are yet to recover from the immense destruction. But  before the flood disaster, we were living as the dregs of the society  here. We have a health center but nothing is inside so it is more like a  monument. When people fall sick, we are at the mercy of patent medicine  shops while there is no hospital or qualified doctors to handle  emergencies.  We have no road and because of that, we are cut off from  the rest of Anambra communities. There is no trade connection between us  and others because of lack of access roads while those who can access  this place through the river are very much limited. Our needs are  numerous that we don’t know where to begin itemizing them but all I can  say is that this place is the worst local government in Anambra State.”
Elizabeth Maduneme, a mother of five voiced the pains of mothers in  the community thus: “Just last week, we lost a woman during childbirth,  infant and child mortality is very high here because of absence of  medical facilities. The woman had complications after delivery at home  and before we could make arrangements to convey her to Onitsha, she  died. We don’t have roads, water and light.  All of us are basically  farmers here and we cultivate yam, rice and cassava in large quantities  but we don’t get encouragement from any quarter. During the rainy season  it is bye – bye to Onitsha unless you can use boats but if not, we are  cut off completely,” she lamented.
A community and its unique culture
Nzam community is the Ijam and Igala speaking part of Anambra State.  It is made up of seven villages, comprising of Etakolo, Odobo,  Udda,  Urubi,  Enekpa , Ndiokpoliba and Echa.
Despite suffering from government neglect, the people are a happy  people steeped in various cultural and traditional festivities and are  happy for that. An elder in the community, Chife Amekwe told Sunday Sun the historical origin of the community and its cultural activities.
“The natives of Nzam were the descendants of General Ajida, a notable  warrior of Idah origin in Kogi State. Ajida is the father of Field  Marshal Ogbe who was married to Iyida Ogbe and Iyida had five  children-Nzam, Anam, Anaku , Oloshi and Okpanam. Ogbe and his family  lived around Ankpa in Igala Kingdom.  When the Apa and Jukun warriors  invaded the Igala communities, Field Marshal Ogbe along with many others  retreated with their families through the present Ibaji jungle moving  Southwards along the course of the River Niger.  As they journeyed  through their way, various children of Ogbe for one reason or the other  settled themselves at their present locations. This movement from the  Igala Kingdom explains the fact that there are Odobo , Enekpa, Igah ,  Iyano towns in both Ibaji local government area of Kogi State and also  in Nzam town in Anambra West Local Governent Area of Anambra State.
“Between January and June, we have festivals like Ugwolegwu, Edo onu  Ananwulu and Enachune.  In the month of January we call on the earth  goddess to bless the children and bless our crops. The Ugwolegwu  festival has to do with masquerades. It is more of masquerade feasts  celebrated with different soups and rich fish sauces.
Enachune is the Iwa ji yam festival.  We do it religiously because  without that, the yam will purge us if we don’t mark the festival.  The  new yam festival proper takes place in August and we call it Uchuero.   By December, we mark the Eka ceremony which is more of thanksgiving to  God for life and bountiful harvest,” he said.

‘Only Peter Obi administration remembered us but we want more’
While the people of Nzam regret the seeming underdevelopment and deprivation of the area, many of the residents who spoke to Sunday Sun said that the entire local government area was like a totally forgotten  enclave before the Peter Obi administration. A list of projects done by  the Obi administration for the local council obtained at the local  government secretariat by the reporter included “Umueze Mmiata Anam road  under construction, Iyiora Anam health center, new bridges at Utolu,  Oroma etiti  Anam and egonwa bridge at Nzam, solar powered borehole at  the local government secretariat, Nzam and completed Magistrate Court at  Umueze Anam among others.
Jonathan Nwafee in a reflection on the development regretted that  most of the projects executed by the Obi administration in Anambra West  were sited outside Nzam, away from the local government headquarters. He  lauded Obi for the developmental strides but expressed optimism that  with the conclusion of the governorship and council polls in the state,  the governor-elect, Chief Willie Obiano and the new Local Government  Chairman in the area, Mr. Simon Mbanefo Okafor would give the area a new  sense of belonging in Anambra State.
FROM ALOYSIUS ATTAH, ONITSHA

Source: Radio Biafra.

MASSOB THE SYMBOL OF FAKE BIAFRA FREEDOM FIGTERS, launches a new plate number for motorcyclists in Enugu SELLING IT FOR N1,500. DO NOT BUY THIS PLATE IF YOU ARE A TRUE BIAFRAN.


 

massob pLATE

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, over the weekend, launched new Biafra motorcycle plate number in Enugu.

MASSOB leader, Chief Raph Uwazurike, who performed the official launching in Nsukka called on Ndigbo to see the new Biafra plate number as their identity and as one of the criteria for the realization of freedom.

Uwazuruike, represented by Chief Larry Odimma, Aba Regional Administrator of MASSOB, enjoined members not to be afraid of purchasing the plate number.

“I am here on the mandate of our leader, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike to launch this plate number, which is aimed at identifying Biafrans and forestalling criminal activities among people who hide under our name to perpetrate evil”, he said.

According to Odimma, the plate number would be sold to people with unquestionable character.

He said, “the national leadership of MASSOB applauds the freedom being enjoyed here in Enugu State unlike what we witness in places like Aba, Ontisha and Umuahia, where our members are constantly harassed by security agents”.

He sued for continuity of peace and harmony in the conduct of MASSOB activities in the state

“We urge you to continue in our vision of non- violence and non-arms carrying as we march towards the take off of Biafra government”, he added.

In his remark, the Regional Administrator of MASSOB in Nsukka, Mr. Kenneth Okwudili said the region expects everyone who shares in the dream of MASSOB to comply and get the plate number

“We expect every true and honest Igbo man with motorcycle to come forward and buy the plate number; this is our identity as Biafrans and we have to embrace it”, he stated.

He further noted that since the creation of Nsukka into a region in 2010, they had managed and sustained the struggle of MASSOB, adding that the launching of the plate number was part of their contribution to the sustenance and struggle for the actualization of the sovereign state of Biafra.
“MASSOB members will continue to partner and support the ideas of the Joshua of our time, Chief Dr. Ralph Uwazuruike in his course of maintaining non violence in actualizing Biafra”, he assured.

DailyPost learnt that the MASSOB plate number costs N1, 500.

Source: Radio Biafra.

The Shape of Things To Come? Okey Ndibe.


Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

I have had several sad conversations in the past two weeks with friends who, like me, are from Anambra State. The conversations have focused on the local government election held in the state on January 11.

One friend, who lives in Onitsha, rang me last week. He pointed to an aspect of my recent column on the possible electoral implications of political realignments in Nigeria. I had speculated that the 2015 elections “are bound to be another Nigerian-made mess, a fraud fest, a classic of rigging.”

“You’re living in the past,” this friend said in a mordant tone.

“How so?” I asked. I wondered whether he wanted to chide me for offering a dim prognosis of the 2015 elections. I have had encounters with Nigerians who imagine that elections in their country are of acceptable quality if not irreproachable.

“The fact that you’re still writing about rigging,” the friend explained, “tells me you don’t know where things stand. Nigeria has now moved past the stage of rigging. Rigging can only happen when there’s a pretense of an election. But we have found another formula that spares the ruling party the headache of having to rig. The recent local government election in Anambra introduced a new formula. Results were written everywhere before the election, and just announced. That’s the new formula.”

Another friend, from Nnewi, expressed a similar outlook. The state electoral commission had invalidated the polls in Nnewi North, the commission’s chairman, Sylvester Okonkwo, citing “a security report” made to him. But my friend insisted that a grim political purpose was at play. She accused the state electoral commission of cancelling the election because the voters of Nnewi would not abide the kind of impunity that marked, and marred, the local government election elsewhere in the state.

“The [Nnewi North] community decided not to allow any person or party to hijack their votes. That’s why the election was cancelled,” she asserted.

The results of the election as announced by the Anambra State Independent Electoral Commission were nothing short of astonishing. Of the 20 local government chairmanships where the results were announced, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) swept all. The only spot not claimed by APGA was that of Nnewi North, which was cancelled.

I’m willing to bet that the results represented a grave manipulation. The people of Anambra State are far from the monolithic APGA-ists that the so-called results suggest. There isn’t anything near the level of political homogeneity mirrored by the results in Anambra. In a credible election, there would have been a far more heterogeneous outcome, with the candidates of a variety of political parties winning in different places. So how did APGA manage its sweep?

By—I hazard—crooked means, period.

The state electoral commission, like its national counterpart, appeared to have become willing or innocent tools for electoral manipulators. The headline and content of one Nigerian newspaper told a sordid part of the story. “Anambra LG poll: Electoral officers, voters fight over result sheets,” was a headline in January 11, 2014 edition of the Punchnewspaper. According to the report, “Violence broke out in some parts of Anambra State on Saturday during the election held to elect local government chairmen and councilors. At Nkwelle, Awka South Local Government Area, ballot materials were burnt when a fight broke out because polling officers failed to produce result sheets. It was a similar story at Igwebeze Primary School, Ifite-Awka where some party agents insisted that voting would not commence unless the result sheets were made available. The Presiding Officer for the Igwebeze polling unit 2, Mr. Jude Onwubiko, however pleaded with the agents and voters to let the voting process continue, explaining that the results sheets were being brought by the supervisory presiding officer. There was also violence at Igboukwu Town Hall, Fegge, Onitsha, where some youths protested against alleged thumb-printing by members of a particular political party. All the polling units visited by our correspondent did not have results sheets.”

Therein—in the last line of the quoted report—was the crux. What was the electoral commission thinking? How could you presume to conduct an election when the sheets for recording the results were missing? Where were those sheets?

It all lends credence to what several of my contacts as well as most of the political parties have alleged: that the results were written ahead of the election, and announced after hapless voters had spent hours in a hollow, meaningless ritual.

Mr. Okonkwo, the state’s electoral commissioner who presided over this apparent sham, was quick to issue a standard, cynical response. He asked disaffected parties and candidates to take their case to court. He knows, this electoral officer, that Nigerian courts have on the whole given a poor account of themselves in adjudicating electoral cases. The odds are stacked in favor of the rigger, who all too often gets away with his/her stolen electoral goods. That explains part of the reason ruling parties act with particular impunity in elections. They figure that, given a judiciary packed with unethical judges willing to peddle influence, their electoral heists would be hard to reverse.

The deplorable “electoral” experiment in Anambra should disturb all enlightened Nigerians, not just those from Anambra. Each election cycle, Nigerian politicians, with the help of electoral officials, seem to come up with novel ways of thwarting voters’ will. Each new anti-people idea becomes contagious in Nigeria, widely copied. We ought to worry that what happened in Anambra State, an election in which the result sheet was missing in action, could become the norm for future elections elsewhere—and nationally.

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Is this a turning point? MASSOB suspends seven administrators over Onitsha clash.


 

MASSOB

Following previous Monday’s clash between members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) and traders at the Old Motor Spare Parts, Mgbuka, in the commercial city of Onitsha, seven regional administrators of the movement have been suspended by its leadership over their alleged involvement in the fracas.
The leader of MASSOB, Ralph Uwazuruike, disclosed this on Thursday after an emergency meeting where he also inaugurated a peace and reconciliatory committee to meet with the market leaders over the crisis.
Uwazuruike further regretted the recent clash between his men and traders, adding that the seven suspended regional administrators were given marching orders over their suspected complicity in the market crisis.
He also apologised to the traders over the unfortunate attack on them by some overzealous MASSOB members, adding that the peace committee led by the National Director of Information, Uchenna Madu, and a Catholic Priest will soon meet with market leaders to find a way of settling the matter.
“After our meeting, we resolved that a panel of inquiry be set up to look into the activities of MASSOB in the commercial city of Onitsha and the constant clashes with traders and security agents, and anybody that is found wanting will be dealt with and expelled from the organisation. The aim is to bring sanity in the struggle; we remained the only genuine pressure group that is championing the true cause of Ndigbo and, therefore, cannot be the same to oppress them. I have ordered for immediate suspension of seven regional administrators in Onitsha because of their roles in the constant clash,” he said.
It was gathered that the affected regional administrators are Stephen Ahaneku in charge of Onitsha South, Emmanuel Omenka, Ogbaru, Vincent Ilo, Onitsha North, Donatus Nweke, Anambra West, Osondu Okwaraeke, Anambra East, and Innocent Kalu of Oyi regions.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Jonathan, Igbos, And The Second Niger Bridge By Frank Onia.


 

By Frank Onia, PhD

The standard criteria for decisions on infrastructural deployment include need, available resources, competing demands for finite resources, alignment with related infrastructure, incubatory foundation for progressive deployment, social benefits, political patronage, economic benefits, minimization of stress and hardship for the citizens, potentials for stimulating overall economic development, balancing considerations, replacement of obsolete infrastructure, need to embrace emerging and efficient technology, etc, etc. When viewed from an objective prism and against the backdrop of the itemized criteria above, it is long overdue to replace the Niger Bridge at Onitsha, which has verifiably and universally been identified as a deathtrap. This bridge was constructed in 1963, and is the ONLY link between the South-East of Nigeria and the rest of the country (towards the West). This bridge serves as the ONLY access point to Anambra, Imo, Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Benue, and Plateau States, when you approach from Lagos, and, indeed, all the states that formerly constituted the Western and mid-Western Regions, as well as from Abuja and segments of the North.

It is trite to mention that this bridge handles the highest concentration of vehicular traffic in the country, and has served this purpose progressively and exhaustively for fifty years! The exponential growth in population and number of vehicles in the country in the past five decades have added to the pressure on the bridge, with the result that it is nearly collapsing, with the attendant risks for human lives, economic activities, mass psychology, and national development. Citizens from the Eastern parts of the country are the most itinerant in the country, with the evident implication that tens of millions of individuals make frequent trips to their homeland, relying on a safe passage through this same bridge. This assumption of basic safety has been denied them perennially for several years, and is currently being toyed with even further. The significance of this bridge is emphasized during the festive period at the end of each year, when millions of people are trapped and delayed at the bridge for several hours in what should, otherwise, be pleasurable commutes back home. As a country, we have witnessed this for several decades and have failed to do anything about it. When any attention has been paid to the need to replace and expand this bridge, it has been suffused with empty promises, vacuous platitudes, cheap politics, and exploration of the underlying potentials for corruption. The Obasanjo civilian administration played games with the need to replace this bridge for eight years, ensuring that new promises were recycled as elections approached. And, yet, nothing was done.

While the South East, as a Region, contributes very significantly to the development of Nigeria, especially outside Igboland, there is NO single Federal Government institution or semblance of infrastructure in the entire Region. Even though Igbos and their brothers from the South-South are among the most widely-traveled people in the world, there is NO worthy international airport in the larger Region, thereby forcing residents of the Region/s to travel to Lagos or Abuja, before they can travel overseas. Professor Chinua Achebe was involved in a ghastly motor accident near Awka, Anambra State, because he had to travel overseas from Lagos, even though he then resided at Nsukka in Enugu State. This accident cost him his limbs, paralyzed him for life, and hastened his relocation to the United States, where he died many years later.

There are thousands of others who have lost their lives in a similar manner; the additional cost and inconvenience involved in these unnecessary local travels are best imagined, as such travelers must stay in hotels, eat, utilize local transportation, and incur sundry expenses in (mostly) Lagos and Abuja, purely on account of a deliberate State policy to punish Igbo people for whatever reason, While Igbos easily dominate the trading and commercial sectors of Nigeria and West Africa, there is no discernible effort to dredge the River Niger at Onitsha, to enable port activities. The only federal “investment” on River Niger has been the deliberate channeling of the water to the Northern parts of the country, for irrigation activities, while the Onitsha end of the River has been drying up in the  past 20 years, thereby impeding fishing, subsistence farming, and overall economic growth. While Abuja, the North, and other Regions of the country, continue to attract comparatively-significant infrastructural investments and upgrades (for example, the hundreds of billions of Naira being spent to expand the access road from the Abuja airport into the City, as well as the scandalous budget of over N55 billion for the erection of a mere City Gate in Abuja), it is clear that holding the South East down is a Directive Principle of State Policy in Nigeria. No other conclusion is possible from the continued neglect of the Niger Bridge, and the criminal disrespect with which the belated redemptive measures are being packaged. It is noteworthy that the Federal Government funds projects in Abuja and elsewhere directly and does not charge tolls on those roads.

In a society like ours, ethnic agitation for legitimate attention is entirely understandable, hence the tone and tenor of this submission. When our statecraft develops to the stage of objectivity, justice, and fairness, then, possibly our micro-national identities may become muted. The Jonathan Administration has failed both the South-South and South-East by its singular failure to provide basic infrastructure in the two pivotal Regions. The fact that the so-called East-West Road remains uncompleted after all these years, while humongous budgetary allocations have officially been designated to its conclusion, should remain a source of embarrassment for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, well after his stay in office. Pray, how did a treasonous impostor like Mr. Ibrahim Babangida manage to utilize both federal funds (from oil sales!) and oil futures to build a new federal capital city in Abuja, when the man who literally owns the oil cannot construct the road leading to his hometown, even with a democratic mandate? Shame has only one definition.

As it pertains to the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, a categorical imperative, the same Jonathan Administration is being clever by half, by concessioning the bridge to that veritable purveyor impunity and corruption in Nigeria, Julius Berger Construction. This initiator and exemplar of corruption in Nigeria has since announced that the 1.8 kilometer bridge will cost them N100 billion to construct, as a justification for the sweetheart deal extended to them by Jonathan and his Administration, whereby Julius Berger will install three toll gates on that bridge in perpetuity, ostensibly to recover their “investment”. Knowing Julius Berger and Nigeria, this project will eventually cost N200 billion on paper, when completed. Julius Berger did not bring any foreign investment whatsoever when it left its decrepit office in Wiesbaden, Germany, to emerge on Nigeria’s shores 40 years ago, on the private invitation of the late Major General Shehu Musa Yar Adua, number two man in the erstwhile dictatorship of the perennial fumbler and dissembler, Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo, which lapsed in 1979.

Let it be made clear that a bridge is a road with its foundation in water. Nigerians need to be aware that the same Julius Berger has just paid penalties to the United States Government totaling tens of millions of dollars for specific cases of corruption it perpetrated in Nigeria. The United States Government, which was not victimized, benefited by way of this penalty payment by Julius Berger, while this construction company that has been at the forefront of corrupting public officials in Nigeria for the past 40 years, neither paid any penalty or compensation to the real victim, Nigeria, nor is it being blacklisted or censured in any way.

Rather, successive Nigerian Governments continue to reward Julius Berger with heavily-inflated contracts, responsibility for maintaining strategic locations like the Aso Rock Presidential Complex and the National Assembly. The same company is constructing the new residences for the Vice-President, Senate President, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, projects that have already gulped close to N60 billion on paper even before completion. To deepen the culture of impunity and complete the psychological humiliation of the illustrious Igbos of Nigeria, the Jonathan Administration, which owes the South-East a second Niger Bridge as well as tangible federal presence, has mortgaged the entire East to Julius Berger by criminally acquiescing in the perpetual exploitation of the teeming people under a most suspicious and fraudulent Concession Arrangement. Where else in the country is a whole Region held prostate and captive in this manner? Where else is the ONLY bridge leading into a Region casually assigned to a criminal enterprise for the exploitation of citizens who have no alternatives?

In this, it must be stated that Jonathan and his Administration are playing a script already tested and fine-tuned by Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Governor Fashola of Lagos State, wherein residents of the Lekki axis have effectively been hemmed in and subjected to unnecessary and usurious toll charges each time they either access or exit their homes, despite the very significant contribution these residents make to the much-vaunted Internally-Generated Revenue of Lagos State. It is significant that the same Julius Berger is the partner to Messrs Tinubu and Fashola on the bridge toll exploitation project linking Ikoyi and Lekki Phase One. Yet another toll gate ensures that you also cannot get to Lekki from Victoria Island without feeding Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his crony, Fashola’s, insatiable greed and appetite.

It is very clear from this single example that both the PDP and the APC (seeking leprous and blind navigators) are the same in philosophy, orientation, and content; both are fraudulent and self-serving devices.

If our dealers must feel entitled to collecting both public revenue and IGR, and yet charge the citizens for token infrastructure provided in their areas of jurisdiction, all in an environment of opaqueness, arrogance, impunity, and absence of citizen input, it might well be better to sack all governments and share the revenue of the country among the citizens, who are perpetually burdened with the direct provision of basic services, for which Governments exist in the first place. In all of this, these dealers feel perfectly justified in magisterially cornering significant chunks of State resources under various guises, notably the poorly-christened Security Votes.

Regarding the second Niger Bridge, there is NO WAY that a 1.8 km bridge of the best quality, together with immediate access roads, will cost up to N10 billion, yet, we are told that the initial assessment for the bridge is N100 billion. Why must Julius Berger be the only company handling all these projects? What process leads to these awards and appointments? Why are competent and established construction companies all over the world being frustrated from accessing the Nigerian market by Government Officials protecting this small German company, with a small office in their home country? Are they not aware that the unrivaled access given Julius Berger’s engineers and staff is a grave national security risk? What is the role of the National Security Adviser and the DG-SSS, in guiding the government appropriately? Are people now so incompetent or corrupt that they neither know nor care that sophisticated Intelligence Collection devices are installed in all these sensitive locations, with the downloading and processing taking place at the Julius Berger Operational Headquarters at Life Camp, Abuja, under the able supervision of German Intelligence Officials – all of this intrusive and aggressive collection against Nigeria paid for Nigeria. What a country!

Given the identified urgency of the need to construct the second Niger Bridge, you would think that, in the absence of common sense in high places, senior government officials of Igbo origin would be easy and strident advocates of the Federal Government swiftly constructing the bridge as its duty to the people, with an apology to the citizens for the delayed implementation. Some of the referenced officials are the Coordinating, Supervising, and Overseeing Secretary to the Federal Government, His Massive Excellency Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim; the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy (in hubris-free English, the Minister of Finance), Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Viola Onwuliri; the Deputy Senate President, Mr. Ike Ekweremadu; the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha; the Chairmen of the Works Committees in both the Senate and the House of Representatives; the crisis-ridden and inflated Supervising and Coordinating Minister of Aviation and its Parastatals, Ms Stella Oduah; the immediate past Army Chief, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika; the recently-relieved Chief of Naval Staff; Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba; the Director-General of the so-called Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Emeka Eze – whose village roads have all been tarred by contractors executing Federal Government contracts; 15 undistinguished Senators from the South East; several dishonorable Members of the House of Representatives; the five state governors of the South-East; ex-this and ex-that, etc, etc.

Even if the objective case fails to penetrate thick skulls, surely the selfish and symbolic motive of garnering solid Igbo votes should impel the urgent construction of that overdue bridge. I say this because expectations have been grossly lowered in Nigeria, to the extent that a 1.8 km bridge could guarantee you bloc Regional votes. Mr. Jonathan could even extend the tokenism by naming the new bridge after Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, in a symbolic gesture of connecting the erstwhile Biafran heartland with the rest of the country. The identified officials are rather satisfied with having Julius Berger construct private homes for them in Abuja and their remote villages, in a well-oiled program of corruption, collusion, and compromise. The definition of shame has still not changed.

If all of this fails, what stops the Governors of the South-East from reducing their greed quotient by utilizing their so-called Security Votes (since kidnappers have taken over the Region anyway!) to construct this vital bridge for their people, and then heap the necessary propaganda guilt on the Federal Government that has been permanently negligent and wicked towards Igbos? The failure to do the right thing, and at the right time, is the bane of the Nigerian society. The complacency of the Nigerian society is yet a latent contributing factor to the charade that is called governance in Nigeria.

Let it be clear, though, that Julius Berger, or any other company so-called, should not be allowed to exploit the people under whatever Concession Arrangement involving a critical piece of infrastructure like the second Niger Bridge. Their so-called investment should and will come to nothing. A bridge built on a fraudulent foundation MUST fall. Citizens must begin to demand their due dessert from pretenders to the throne. A life of surrender, conditioned by endless prayers and exploitation by clerical purveyors of hope, will not suffice in this case.

Mr. Jonathan, his handlers, and cronies from the South-East and South-South still have very limited time to reverse themselves, as well as their deeply-offensive and odious ineptitude and policies, by directly and quickly completing the East-West Road and the second Niger Bridge, without further ado and delay. They could, as always, collect multiples of the real contract value as bribe; someday, the United States Government will extract penalties from the complicit Construction Company. In other countries where non-strategic infrastructure have been concessioned out, the Government acts as the protector of the citizens, setting standards, aggregating public interest, achieving optimal costs, minimizing waste, setting the tariff, and defining the time-frame for toll collection. In Nigeria’s case, both the Government and the so-called Concessionaires are a united usurious entity, exposing the citizens unduly to endemic exploitation. In any case, competing and several alternatives are provided before roads are tolled. Not in Nigeria. Our dealers will do well to study the Latin American model, to understand how this program works.

I have discussed with a wide range of Igbo professionals in Nigeria and overseas, and they are in unison regarding the egregious insult involved in the structure being proposed by Mr. Jonathan, his Minister of Works, and their Administration. They affirm that, rather than accept the so-called concessioning of the Niger Bridge, Igbos should be allowed to float a Municipal Bond or contribute among themselves, to construct the bridge. The implication of this would be a final severance of whatever psychological link Igbos have with Nigeria. It is common knowledge that Igbo people have typically taxed themselves to provide electricity, water, roads, schools, etc., in their communities, through a well-honed self-effort system. They can also construct this short bridge that will save their lives, without the involvement of their politicians and their mentors in Abuja. In the case of the second Niger Bridge, let it be made very clear that the Igbos will not forget or forgive the perpetuation of marginalization, exploitation, and insult under any arrangement that involves the erection of toll gates on that bridge. Indeed, that bridge shall not stand, under the Jonathan paradigm, and Mr. Jonathan will do well not to delude himself that he is guaranteed of Igbo votes in 2015.

 

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

Made In Biafra, Not Made In Nigeria; Nigeria will start exporting cars soon – Jonathan.


 

Jonathan

THE PUNCH NEWSPAPER – President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday expressed the belief that with  the measures put in place by his administration, especially the new  National Automotive Industry Policy; the country would soon be exporting  cars to other countries.
Jonathan spoke at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, while granting  audience to a delegation of the business community from Anambra State  led by Governor Peter Obi.
In responding to an address by the delegation, the President said, “I  will refer all the issues you raised to the various departments of  government. We are totally committed to creating jobs. Nigeria is a  country with huge population of youths. If jobs are not created, there  will be crisis. The housing, agriculture and power sectors are also  receiving attention.
“In the next few years, Nigeria will begin to export cars to other  countries. We are encouraging the government to support local  manufacturers.”
Jonathan promised that the industrialists’ basic needs such as roads,  power and port facilities would be addressed appropriately.
He said if Nigeria must become great as expected by all, the Federal Government must industrialise the nation.
To this end, he said his administration would continue to encourage industrialists in the country.
“If any country will be great, we must industrialise. If Nigeria must  be a great country, we must industrialise. To this end, we will  continue to encourage industrialists in Anambra,” the President added.
He said his government was also devoting attention and resources to  the power sector because of its critical role in industrialisation.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo told the delegation that Jonathan had  recently approved $3.7bn to improve power transmission across the  country.
Obi had earlier told the President that the enterprising and  preserving nature of Anambra people made them well-positioned to assist  Jonathan to achieve his administration’s transformation agenda.
While declaring the support of the people of the state for Jonathan,  Obi said, “You have excess credit in your political account that these  people (members of the delegation) are ready to pay you when you need  it.”
The governor said he led the delegation to express their support for  the President and bring to his attention some of the industrialists’  collective, which if addressed, would help in anchoring the growth and  development of industry in the state.
Some of the needs, according to him, are the completion of the  330/132/33KV power substation at Nnewi; provision of uninterrupted power  supply in the Onitsha Harbour Industrial Area and Ozubulu Industrial  Hub; completion of the Nnamdi Azikwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi; and the  inclusion of Anambra State in the rail master plan.
Obi also made a case for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of  federal roads within the state such as the Oba-Nnewi-Okigwe Section 1,  Nnewi-Okija, start of Onitsha Second Niger Bridge, completion of the  Onitsha-Enugu dual carriageway and completion of the Umueze-Anam Kogi  road.
The governor also thanked the President for the inclusion of Nnewi in  the National Automotive Industry Policy of the Federal Government.
This, he said, would attract many ancillary industries, especially  with the coming on stream of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant, adding that the  local content in vehicle manufacturing in no time would increase from 40  per cent to 60 per cent.

Source: Radio Biafra.

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