Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Sani Abacha’

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

Advertisements

Dear Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala II By Sonala Olumhense.


Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

I thank you for acknowledging my article published last week.  I trouble you with this follow-up only because of the dangerous debris left behind by your Special Adviser, Mr. Paul Nwabuikwu.

First, on the “Abacha loot” recovery, let it be clear that my advocacy concerning Nigeria’s “recovered” funds is neither new, nor limited to your story.

In “Whatever Happened to the Abacha Loot?” (June 22, 2008), I wrote, “The national interest would be well served by a transparent picture of what has actually happened…The indications are that some of the funds recovered from the man and his family may have been re-stolen, or misused.”

In terms of numbers, my case is that Nigeria seems to have recovered between $2 and $3b from Abacha.  You say $500 million.

I know that the realistic number is mine because that is what the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), under Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, reported in 2006.

In a statement in London in November of that year, Mr. Ribadu stated that “Abacha “took over $6 billion from Nigeria,” and that $2 billion had been recovered during his term of office.  He repeated that figure that same month during the 12th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Guatemala.  In Dakar at the 2nd Annual High Level Dialogue on Governance and Democracy in Africa, just three months ago, Mr. Ribadu repeated the claim that Nigeria recovered $2 billion.  Nobody has ever challenged him.

It is also significant, Madam, that one year before Ribadu went on record about the $2 billion recovery for the first time, you said the same thing.  The event was a press conference in September 2005 in Switzerland.  Up till that point, Nigeria had recovered “about $2 billion total of assets,” you said.

Nonetheless, the $2 billion recovered in the Abacha hunt that was referred to by Mr. Ribadu and your good self in 2005 and 2006 is without prejudice to the $700 million that former Finance Minister Michael Ani said in November 1998 had been recovered from Abacha.  Ani described $1.3bn in illegal withdrawals discovered to have been made by Ismaila Gwarzo, the National Security Adviser for Abacha.

To Gwarzo belongs one of the sadder chapters of the loot recovery story. At the end of 1998, Abdussalam Abubakar said the government had recovered $1 billion from the Abacha family and another $250 million from Gwarzo.  When Obasanjo became president, at least $500 million more was recovered from Gwarzo in 2000.

The foregoing might explain why you said in a speech after you left the Obasanjo government, “General Abacha looted about $3-5 billion from the Nigerian treasury in truckloads of cash in foreign currencies, in traveler’s checks and other means.”

My point is: much more than $500 million was recovered from Abacha, some of them before, and some of them in-between your tenures as Minister of Finance.

Perhaps you refer only to $500m because the specific subject of your September 2005 Switzerland press conference was $458 million, which you said Nigeria had recovered.

That $500m is supported somewhat by an account of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Bank, which said at the launch of the Stolen Asset Recovery in September 2007 that Nigeria had recovered a total of $505.5 million from the Swiss government.   On that occasion, at which you were present, it was also stated that up to $800m had been recovered from Abacha domestically.

Before all that, in November 2003, you personally announced that Nigeria had recovered $149 million from the Island of Jersey.  In case you may have forgotten, you clarified that the $149 million was not part of a $618 million trip you had just made to Switzerland at that time.

Nonetheless, in December 2006, La Declaration de Berne, a Swiss humanitarian body, alleged that Switzerland had repatriated $700 million to Nigeria, but alleged irregularities in Nigeria’s use of the money, claiming $200 million was unaccounted for.

That $700m figure seems to be in harmony with the statement made by Dr. Hans-Rudolf Hodel, the Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria at a press conference three months ago, during which he gave that figure as what his country returned to Nigeria.

Similarly, on 10 March 2008, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) announced at a joint press conference they had recovered “over N600 billion” in five years.

That sum seems somewhat conservative, but a lot more than $500 million of it came from Abacha.  Here are a few thoughts:

  • In May 2000, Luxembourg confirmed it had found and frozen $630 million in eight bank accounts in a private bank, in the names of the Abachas, awaiting Nigeria’s claim.
  • In August 2000, Nigeria asked Liechtenstein to help recover 100m British pounds.
  • In October 2001, a British High Court asked the government ahead to help Nigeria trace over $1bn in Abacha loot.
  • In May 2002, President Obasanjo struck a deal with the Abachas under which the government was to recover about $1.2 billion.
  • In February 2010, the British Government announced in Abuja it would repatriate 43 million pounds recovered from the offshore accounts of various Nigerian officials.

Some of these happened when you were not in the government, I know, but we are not talking about your personal life.  The point is that as a people, we cannot move forward unless there is true and full transparency.  Where is all the money?  Can you tell us?

Your over-reaching spokesman illustrates my point.  “On the NNPC oil accounts issue…Dr Okonjo-Iweala has called for an independent forensic audit to establish the facts of any unaccounted for money and ensure that all every Naira that is owed the treasury is returned to the Federation Account…the fundamental problem of determining the facts as a basis for action must still be tackled. Is there room for more action on corruption? Of course the answer can only be yes. But action is needed to achieve change. Talk is cheap, action is crucial.”

Exactly, Madame Minister, let us have a forensic independent audit.  But may I propose three productive caveats to your government?  The audit must be international; cover the NNPC and the recovered funds; and date from 1999.   This is the only scenario that can guarantee that the full story will be told.

Let me illustrate the depth of our depravity with a graphic example made by Ribadu in 2009 to the US House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services.  “Mr. D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha, governor of oil rich Bayelsa State. He had four properties in London valued at about £10 million, plus another property in Cape Town valued at $1.2 million. £1 million cash was found in his bedroom at his apartment in London. £2 million was restrained at the Royal Bank of Scotland in London and over $240 million in Nigeria. This is in addition to bank accounts traced to Cyprus, Denmark, USA and the Bahamas.”

This is the kleptocracy in which Nigerian leaders have stolen over $380bn since independence, as the same Ribadu told the BBC in 2006.  Yet, that Alamieyeseigha, like others, has been pardoned by your government.  This is why we will never get real answers by putting your “independent” audit in the hands of a pre-programmed Abuja panel.

Finally, you bristle at my reference to the issue of the recurrent budget.  You say I have no moral authority to comment on the matter.

So let us talk about moral authority.

Following your negotiations of Nigeria’s foreign with the Paris Club in 2006, Audu Ogbeh, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman, publicly said that one “top member” of your government had walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion.  I had expected that President Obasanjo or you would be outraged, and challenge the allegation, but nobody ever has.  I would have defended my father’s name.

I repeat my support of your campaign finance proposal, in principle.  But a cafeteria approach to reform never works, and your forensic audit is bound to be eaten alive in the all-purpose impunity and kleptocracy that currently masquerades as governance.  The answer is banging on the front door.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Vulture-like: Jonathan ignored the frequents deaths in Nigeria to justify centenary celebration.


President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday said the Federal Government decided to celebrate the 100 years of the nation’s amalgamation despite challenges facing it because of the need for the country to thank God for His faithfulness.
He said although Nigeria like any other country in the world had its challenges, the nation’s opportunities were more than its temporal predicaments.
“We have our challenges in this country like any other country in the world. But fortunately, we have more opportunities in this country than challenges. Our challenges are very ephemeral. Other countries have passed through even more difficult challenges,” Jonathan said at the centenary interdenominational church service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
The service with the theme, “Good to give thanks” was the last in the series of a year-long programmes lined up to celebrate the 100 years of the nation’s amalgamation.
The President, who admitted that the country’s road to nationhood in the last 100 years had been rough, expressed optimism that Nigeria would triumph over its challenges.
He reiterated his position that the prayers of the faithful had been sustaining the country.
Jonathan added, “We need a new Nigeria filled with love, with great determination, with passion, a greater Nigeria. Of course, this is my article of faith and hope for a brighter future. Our commitment is to create a Nigeria that our children will be proud of.
“I appeal to all of us to show love more than ever before to one another, regardless of  tribe, religion or race. Let us show love even when it hurts most for our lives to be more fulfilled.”
While eulogising the nation’s past leaders, especially a former military leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (retd.), for their roles in keeping the nation united, Jonathan observed that Nigerians would not have been celebrating if the civil war had succeeded in dividing the country.
Gowon, in a short remark, said the reconciliation that took place at the end of the nation’s civil war was second to none in the world with his no victor, no vanquished declaration.
He urged Nigerians to keep faith with the country and ensure that it continued in peace and unity.
In his sermon, a former Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Archbishop Ola Makinde, wondered where Nigeria would have been if God was not with the country.
He listed the various challenges the country had faced in its 100 years of existence to include the civil war, the various military coups and counter-coups, the annulment of the June 12,1993 presidential election and the ensued violence, the deaths of a former military dictator, Sani Abacha and Chief M.K.O Abiola, Niger Delta militancy, the death of a former President Umar Yar’Adua and the doctrine of necessity as well as the activities of the Boko Haram Islamists.
by Olalekan Adetayo
(From Biafra Galaxy)

Aliyu Gusau: The Real Evil Genius Returns By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo.


 

Columnist:

By Rudolph Okonkwo

Sometime in the late 1980s, Okey Ndibe wrote a cover story for the African Guardian magazine where he labeled the then military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Maradona- after the Argentinian football player. Ndibe did so for the way Babangida dribbled the political class with his transition to nowhere.

The tag soon entered the psyche of the military president. In early 1990s, Babangida had become so cocky that he declared in a newspaper interview that he was an evil genius. The Nigerian political elite and the hordes of commentators bought into it. But as President Goodluck Jonathan would say, “that’s not korrect.”

The real evil genius of Nigeria is Gen. Aliyu Gusau, retired or not.
I came to that realization after a piece on Gusau by Dr. Perry Brimah compelled me go back and re-read the Wikileak cables where Gen. Gusau, as the National Security Adviser under President Olusegun Obasanjo, was blabbing in front of American Ambassador to Nigeria. Gusau’s encounter with the ambassador says a lot about the man and his regard for Nigeria, a country that for the last 30 years he has played a major role in what it is today. His mastery is in using the intelligence he is in possession of to get what he wants from people in power. His only failure is in his inability to translate it into his ultimate goal- being the Oga Kpatakpata at the Top.

For the record, the primary reason for Gusau’s return is President Jonathan’s last ditch effort to placate Babangida and Obasanjo, all friends and allies of Gusau. With Gusau in place, he hopes to also assure the North that their interest will be taken care of while he runs out the clock for another 4 years when power will definitely return to the north. As is always the case, the interest of Gusau is being interchanged with the interest of the North.
As Gusau prepares to return to power as a possible minister of defense, I looked back at something that I wrote about him and others like him over 14 years ago. The piece is called, “Aliyu Gusau and other Untouchables.” It’s telling that in Nigeria, the more things change, the more they remain the same.

Enjoy.

Behind every throne, the philosopher says, there is something bigger than the King. The Nigerian presidency is a throne presently occupied by Olusegun Obasanjo. But behind that throne are people who are bigger than the King. None of them has been on the spotlight lately as Lt.-General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau. He belongs to the exclusive club of the Nigerian untouchables. Currently, he is under attack by a section of the Nigerian media and he is fighting back with great fury. And when an untouchable fights back, it is not a pretty sight.

Mohammed Gusau is Nigeria’s National Security Adviser. He was the Chief of Army Staff during Shonekan’s Interim National Government of 1993. Just like many people around Obasanjo, he has been on Nigeria’s political scene for a while. He was a royal friend of Babangida who was retired by Abacha. He is credited to be the man who “sold” Obasanjo to the north. Before Gen. Babangida paid the famous courtesy call to Otah farm, General Gusau was the forerunner.

As the National Security Adviser, General Gusau is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria. He knows what ordinary Nigerians do not know. He is in control of both the military and civilian intelligence network, so he can make things happen. And he does with impunity. He knows who is writing fake checks and who is wearing dirty underwear. He knows who is sleeping with another man’s wife and who is stealing Nigeria’s money. He knows a lot. Obviously, more than the King, Obasanjo, knows. That is why he is something behind the throne that is bigger than the King.

One of his special assignments in this current administration is the recovery of public funds stolen from Nigeria’s treasury by past governments. Whether that assignment includes looking at the activities of his friend Babangida from 1983 – 1993, we may never know. By all indication, Gusau is on the heels of the Abachas. Like everything Nigeria, Gusau’s problems seem to be coming from all the complications that follow anyone who ever dined with the devil. And in his case, he dined with a short spoon.

As Nigeria’s security agencies uncover loots and fingerprints, the Nigerian press uncovers footprints. Sometimes, the footprints of the untouchable are seen in areas where the devil stepped on. Which is not totally unexpected considering the fact that the untouchables have the habit of hanging around the devils. In defense of the Nigerian press, the press like the police does little profiling. It also believes that birds of the same feather flock together. The press thinks there is no smoke without fire. That is the premise from which the press begins to work until stories are confirmed and published or unconfirmed and discarded. So it is not difficult to understand why a sector of the Nigerian press will begin by labeling Gusau as the ring leader of the cabal trying to impose Obasanjo on Nigeria and ended up calling him the principal actor trying to destabilize Obasanjo’s administration.

Nigerians are beginning to discover that the man Babangida embraced is more dangerous than the man Abacha did. I would first have as heroes men Babangida rejected before I would accept those Abacha rejected. Abacha was crude, evil and insane. He surrounded himself with sycophantic fools who displayed their pathetic ignorance. The same could not be said of Babangida. He was tactical, evil and cancerous. He surrounded himself with intelligent idiots who displayed their criminal foolishness. In the long run, it would be proved that friends of Babangida did more damage to Nigeria than friends of Abacha. Abacha’s men took away our cash but Babangida’s men took away our cash and something more expensive- our soul.

So the tragedy of General Gusau goes back to the tragedy of his master, Babangida. Like most men around Obasanjo, he came in with heavy luggage and it is beginning to wear him down. Surrounding himself with a legion of untouchables was Obasanjo’s first mistake. Those Warren Christophers of Nigeria, those Henry Kissingers of Nigeria who ought to have retired into private life are busy parading themselves along Nigeria’s corridors of power with all their luggage as the untouchables. The Asiodus, the Ciromas, the Ogbemudias. Men, whose names I learnt in Social Studies classes in primary school are the same names that my children would be learning. And it wasn’t that they did such a wonderful job in the past to warrant a return journey. When Babangida brought in Philip Asiodu to serve in his Interim Government, the press asked Asiodu how he felt about the enormous task facing him. Asiodu told the press it was just a routine assignment.

To the untouchables, the Nigeria project is just a routine assignment. They have been there, and they have done that. On pieces of papers where Nigeria’s money were signed away, their signatures abound. They know the system very well. They have traveled the road many times. They are well connected. They were there when it all began. There is nothing really that anybody can do to them. They can blackmail. They can open a can of worm nobody wants to open. They can pull the right strings and people will start falling down. Yes, they can. They have all the apparatus of state power in their hand. Each day the untouchables spend around the corridors of power, they are busy covering their footprints.

Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, publisher of ThisDay newspaper now knows what it means to look for and discover the footprint of an untouchable along the unholy path of Nigeria’s public life. The paper has the audacity to pursue stories about possible links between Aliyu Mohammed Gusau’s Paris account and the loots recovered from the Sani Abacha family. They were looking at possible kick-backs in the 12 billion naira paid to Julius Berger before Obasanjo visited Germany and if it is responsible for the current in-fighting between government officials. The paper was also looking at Vice-president Atiku’s claim that retired Generals were behind Sharia crises.

How dare you ask questions about the untouchables? For that reason, Obaigbena has to explain to the State Security Service (SSS) the circumstances behind an unsettled bill of $23, 407.39 owed to Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, in Washington DC during IMF/World Bank meeting with Nigerian officials in DC. Mr. Obaigbena has since stepped aside as the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of ThisDay while he fights to clear his name. He would be fighting amongst others, the National Council on Privatization (NCP) who he claimed owe his company, Leaders and Company Limited $150,000 for co-ordinating dinner/briefing of the 1999 World bank/IMF annual meeting held at Marriott Wardman Park House.

If there is a non-criminal way of qualifying Abacha’s name with the word credit, it is in relation to the untouchables. Abacha, in his brutal nature, showed no respect for the untouchables. He dethroned Alhaji Ibrahim Dasuki. He put Obasanjo in jail- something Babangida only dreamt of. He also put Yaradua in jail. A move that even shocked Yaradua himself. And he succeeded in replacing the old untouchables with his cronies whom he devoured, as he seemed fit.

The first goal of any Nigerian that hopes to contribute to Nigeria’s development is to get ready for a battle with the untouchables. These symbols of Nigerian entrenched power must be demystified if the new breed will have any chance. Until we sweep them all out of power, into retirement, there would not be any change in attitude. The greatest danger the untouchables pose to the Nigerian nation is that they are contaminating another generation of Nigerians who are struggling to find their way into positions of responsibility. That is the deepest cuts of them all.

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

An Albatross Named Mujaheed Asari Dokubo By Olugu Olugu Orji mnia.


By Olugu Olugu Orji mnia

An albatross is a burden; a burden that refuses to let you be and prevents you from doing something. When that ‘something’ is harmful, then an albatross can be quite beneficial. There is a media outfit in Nigeria that has as its motto, TRUTH IS A BURDEN. Now I’m certain you can appreciate the context in which I employ the word.

Mujaheed Asari Dokubo is a man that needs no introduction. Courts of law usually grant legal privileges to the likes of him on the basis of self-recognition. As founder of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, he has never been too far from the spotlight for nearly fifteen years. Many feel better describing him as an ex-militant, but that does injury to his reputation. In my opinion, Asari has always been a militant, and barring any record-shattering miracles, he will remain one. When you have a preference for using force or pressure to achieve your aim, you are militant and a militant.

Recently, he stirred the hornets’ nest once more by promising war if President Jonathan is not returned as president in 2015. The Department of State Services reined him in for questioning but he has since been allowed to go home. The authorities have consistently warned politicians and the rest of the people to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of threatening the nation’s ‘fragile’ peace. It is either he is oblivious of the directive or he has elected to ignore it. Asari has since made it his life work to disturb the peace (whatever that is).

To many, he is a pest and a nuisance deserving of neutralization. Many would wish he could be locked away permanently like had been envisaged for the voluble Al-Mustapha. Unarguably, he has come to establish himself as the nemesis of the North. They crave the presidency which Asari insists must remain in the South until 2019. If you ask me, I think the battle line has been drawn.

Before you go castigating me as an Asari apologist, here are a few clarifications. I don’t even like the fellow: neither his Body/Mass Index nor his preference for the uncouth. And his beard scares the living daylight out of me. Yet I will not ignore facts and truth simply because it is coarsely presented by one with an avowed aversion to doublespeak.

He had had a run-in with the administration of Obasanjo who had promptly arrested him but was compelled to let him go sometime in 2007. Now hear him, “The last time Obasanjo arrested me, my arrest reduced Nigeria’s oil production to 700,000 barrels per day.” I do not know about the figures but I can confirm that when Obasanjo was purporting to fight militancy in the Niger Delta, oil production dropped significantly. He adds ominously, “This time, we will reduce it to zero (oil production) and we will match violence with violence. We are ready for them. Jonathan will complete his tenure of two terms whether they like it or not.”

So what makes this fellow so rambunctious and cavalier? Why does he speak with such impunity; as if taunting and daring the rest of us? The answer is as simple as a b c. Nigeria is a one-legged structure; so to threaten her, all you require is capacity to hurt the leg. For now, oil is our only leg and last time I checked, the bulk of the oil still flows from the Niger Delta from where Asari and Jonathan hail.

You can spin all manner of nationalistic tales and engage in unparalleled cognitive dissonance. You may even throw in the centenary argument that seems to be trending in official quarters. If we have survived together for a hundred years, then nothing can separate us. But you will still come back to the sobering realization that everything about us – our peace, our economy, our cohesion, and our politics – is fragile; and one-legged.

Maybe that is what the man formerly known as Melford Dokubo Goodhead Jr. before converting to Islam, seeks to remind us of. If we do not honestly and expeditiously deal with Nigeria’s structural defects, the words of Asari and legions in his mould will continue to haunt us.

When the late Kenule Saro-Wiwa was carrying on his own crusade from a more intellectual platform, Abacha would have none of it. In spite of pleas from those who should matter, he had him hanged. Maybe if Abacha had bowed to superior logic, Asari in all his crudity would not have been created. But he’s already here with us and if you can believe anything, then believe that he speaks for millions of the criminally deprived in the Niger Delta.

Jonathan’s National Conference presents us a unique opportunity to re-negotiate Nigeria along the lines of justice and equity. Predictably, many are already complaining about the proposed structure of the conference that they suspect will be tilted to favour the official position. The only position I’m aware the federal government has taken is the declaration of Nigeria’s disintegration as off-limits. For me, that is good enough. If we sincerely and conscientiously apply ourselves to the conference, I believe a better nation will emerge whose fortunes can quickly be weaned off the uncertainties of a mono-product economy. No segment of the polity should be required to pay so much more to keep us balanced and moving forward.

Then and only then can we be rid of the irritable ranting of Asari and his ilk. But if we persist in collective deceit and grandstanding, let us be assured that the whole landscape will soon be crawling with Asari wannabes making us wish we had done the needful.

He who reminds us of what must be done may seem like an irritant but he is certainly not an enemy.

 

OLUGU OLUGU ORJI mnia

nnanta2012@gmail.com

 

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

Northern leaders sponsor Boko Haram.


 
Lt-General-Azubuike-Ihejirika-002

Chairman of the Niger Delta Nationalities Forum, Seigha Manager has said that the threat by members of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)

to drag the former chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, clearly shows that they are the real sponsors of the Boko Haram Islamist sect.

Manager, who said President Goodluck Jonathan has done well to deserve a second term in office, also warned that any attempt by any person or group of persons to deny Jonathan the right to contest in 2015 will cause chaos in the polity.

In this interview, he speaks on a number of issues.

Excerpts.

Do you think President Goodluck Jonathan has done well to deserve a second term in office?

I think he has done well and when you measure the performance of a person, you have to do that side-by-side with the performances of that nature within the same period. Everybody knows that former President Obasanjo spent his first four years in office from 1999 to 2003, traversing the whole world. Of course, you cannot blame him because Nigeria was a pariah country at the time. The CommonWealth of Nations had banned Nigeria when the former Head of State, late Gen Abacha killed Ken Saro-Wiwa. So, Obasanjo spent between 1999 and 2003 trying to get the rest of the international community to begin to now believe in Nigeria. If you look at the personnel that worked with Obasanjo at that time, you can remember people like Anenih, Ciroma, Danjuma and others.

These were people who are supposed to be fathers of minsters but they were the ministers then, so not much was achieved. In his second term, Obasanjo was able to sit down and that was when people like Ribadu, Okonjo-Iweala, Ezekwesili, El-Rufai and the rest of them came on board. They gave some light to his government and that was about two years to the end of his tenure. Of course, that was why he tried to come back through the failed third term project. When Yar’Adua took over from him in 2007, he also spent the first two years trying to sort out his personal health and at the same time trying to correct some of the wrong things he met.

So, Yar’Adua’s portfolio too was a very good one but when you look at Jonathan, you see the difference between a properly educated person and a politician. Jonathan is an academic. He started by ensuring that the right personnel work with him. So, you can see that a lot of technocrats are in his government. It takes quite a long time for serious planning. Somebody who wants to achieve must ensure he has good planning. Recall too that over $16 billion was spent for upgrading our electricity during the Obasanjo administration and all went down the drain. But, Jonathan has taken his time within the first two years to ensure that the first and most important thing was to repackage the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). He has successfully done that; PHCN is now in the hands of private owners. So, Nigerians can, within the next six months, be sure of between 12 to 18 hours of uninterrupted power supply. And those are the things that will truly show that he has succeeded. Now, if you want to truly measure Jonathan, you must not do that by his person because he is an introverted person.

He is not the extroverted type that talks a lot about his achievements. He is a man who works through sectors. He is not a man who goes from house to house giving money to people, non-governmental organisations or groups making noise but a man who works through sectors. That is why his performance in the aviation sector is now visible. Nigerians can also see what is happening in the agricultural sector and people can criticise it. Nigerians can see that electricity is epileptic but it has shown progress. If you look at the transport sector, you now see clearly that a lot of gigantic work is being put in place. So, Jonathan is putting structures all over Nigeria and you must move from point A to B to know that he is actually doing something. But, those who sit where they are to say that nothing is happening are actually those who are just relying on secondary information. We also know another category of people who are saying that he has not done well. These are people who have been benefiting from the system in one way or the other but because some of the loopholes and leakages from where they benefited in the past have all been blocked, such people are now ploughing back the little money left with them into the press and making a lot of noise that he is not doing well. I can categorically tell you that one of the problems that Jonathan has is his information management machinery. Without prejudice to the minister of information, I think there is more that the minister can do because selling the president and his activities is a big job; far bigger than what any of the ministers is doing in his or her own personal ministry. It takes the minister of information to tell Nigerians what aviation, agriculture, defence, power, health, education and other ministries are doing.

Can you say that Jonathan’s government has really addressed the three basic needs of man –food, clothing and shelter for the average Nigerian?

This is one of the misconceptions that we have. Food, clothing and shelter are the primary needs of man and these needs ought to be provided at the third tier of government. The Federal Government is not supposed to be held responsible for the survival of Nigerians at the family level. What is the local government chairman doing? What is the state governor doing? Of course housing, yes, the Federal Government should have been directly involved in that but you also know the politics that come with housing in Nigeria. What Jonathan government is doing is to provide the atmosphere and not necessarily getting the Federal Government involved in providing housing because the Nigeria factor is always there.

Has government provided the enabling environment?

Yes, it has. Remember that when the former Housing minister, Miss Amah Pepple was there. What they spent all their time doing was to galvanise the mortgage industry and the banks to ensure that the ordinary Nigerian had access to mortgage loan, so that you can build for yourself rather than the Federal Government giving money to certain people and they would build houses that are not habitable.

But has that produced any result?

Successfully, what it has produced is a $300 billion loan from China. That is the result of what that has done. It started from Amah Pepple’s time and when the president went to China and the Chinese government saw the potentials in what the Federal Government was doing to provide housing, they became interested because that is what happens in China. In China, it is not the government that is building houses; it only provides mortgage and that is why a new mortgage re-financing was recently launched in Nigeria. The aim is to reach ordinary Nigerians. So, no Federal Government official will be holding any money and asking the whole of his town or village people to come and benefit. People will be benefiting through where they work, at the primary or secondary levels; through the local or state governments or as a federal worker. Providing that platform is the most important thing that we have always lost. In the past, a head of state or president will personally give it to his cronies and they will mess it up. Before you know what is happening, billions of money have gone to people without the structure succeeding. You recall that during the Abacha time, Lateef Jakande, who is renowned for providing shelter for his people in Lagos was the minister for Works and Housing. I was a civil servant then and we all contributed money towards the housing scheme but because the Federal Government was directly involved, the money never came and Jakande never built a single house. Those are the type of things that Jonathan is trying to avoid; that’s why I said he is working with experts in their various areas.

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has just threatened to drag the immediate past chief of army staff, Lt-Gen Azubuike Ihejirika to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes during the military onslaught on the Boko Haram insurgents in the North East. What is your take on that?

The Niger Delta Nationalities Forum as a group wants to say that Lt-Gen Ihejirika is not from the Niger Delta but he brought a lot of positive developments to the Armed forces and that is why Jonathan’s government has succeeded in curtailing the activities of Boko Haram to a small section of the North. We want to urge those who are masquerading as members of NEF to take Ihejirika to ICC at The Hague. We will be happy if they do so and we’ll also urge them to make their names known. They shouldn’t send their organisational name alone; they should also be bold to list all the members of that organisation to the ICC, so that we, in turn, will use that opportunity to know them and submit their names before the United Nations and the United States of America. Recall that America had already classified Boko Haram as a terrorist group . And Jonathan’s government has been battling the Boko Haram insurgents. From a N4.9 trillion budget, one trillion goes to security just to battle Boko Haram alone and Nigerians are the worst for it. Today, instead of praising Ihejirika who had successfully resticted the group to a very tiny area in the North, NEF is saying he committed crimes against humanity. If that is what they truly mean, we are prepared to submit their names before the UN as the sponsors of Boko Haram. We know very well that former President Babangida, former heads of state; Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as Maitama Sule are not members of that group. So, if these renowned northern leaders are not part of such group, who then are those people who call themselves leaders of that group? We believe that they are the sponsors of Boko Haram and we want them to carry out that threat.

Former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife recently added his voice to those who warned that Nigeria would boil if Jonathan is not allowed to contest the 2015 presidential election. How does your group see those threats or warnings?

As a group from the Niger Delta, we are appealing to Nigerians that as Niger Deltans, we have paid our dues. We have supported every government led by the northerners or westerners from independence to date. It is either by coincidence or accident that a Niger Delta person became the president of Nigeria and we thank all Nigerians for the opportunity. We also think that giving Jonathan another four years will not cause Nigeria any harm; it will only unite Nigeria further and give us a sense of belonging that we are also part of Nigeria.

However, if any group, in the name of NEF or whatever insists on denying Jonathan his fundamental human rights of contesting for a second term, we can assure them that the Niger Delta will not be part of that Nigeria which they think they will use our resources to project. In simple terms, if they do that, everybody is going to answer his own name. If Jonathan is allowed to contest the election like any other Nigerian and Nigerians as a people decide not to choose Jonathan in the polls, there is nothing anybody can do about that because Nigerians have spoken. It is who Nigerians want that will be the president of Nigeria. So, if Jonathan contests election and Nigerians refuse to elect him as the president, so be it.

By SUNDAY ANI

Source: Radio Biafra.

Tag Cloud