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A National Insult Rejected By Okey Ndibe.


 

Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

For those unaware of its source, I might as well state from the outset that the title of this column is not original. It’s adapted from a statement released last week by Wole Soyinka. The statement, which bore the Nobel laureate’s stamp of revulsion at moral impunity, chastised the Goodluck Jonathan administration for its bizarre line-up of 100 personalities worthy of honor at a ceremony marking the centenary of Nigeria’s amalgamation.

The centenary list, typical of such rolls in Nigeria, was a hodgepodge. It bracketed imperial personages, so-called “contributors to the making of Nigeria”—including Queen Elizabeth 11 of England and Lord Frederick Lugard, first British overseer of the forcibly amalgamated territory—with such notable nationalist fighters as Herbert Macaulay, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Anthony Enahoro. It squeezed Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Michael Imoudu, Aminu Kano, Kenneth Onwuka Dike, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, John Pepper Clark, Chike Obi, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Dagogo Fubara, and Moshood Kashimawo Abiola into the same tent as Sani Abacha. In an even weirder development, Mr. Abacha shows up—along with Yakubu Gowon, Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida—under the category of “Outstanding Promoters of Unity, Patriotism and National Development”.

How did we quickly forget that Abacha’s looting of public funds from the vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria was a patriotic act? Or that he gave his cronies licenses to import toxic fuel into Nigeria because he so fiercely loved Nigerians and fervently desired their development? Or that Babangida’s annulment of the June 12 presidential election was a recipe for Nigeria’s unity?

Anybody who only followed the Aso Rock version of the centenary could have run away with the impression that Nigerians are ever grateful to the coalition of British merchants, bureaucrats, adventurers and royals who cobbled their country together—and named it Nigeria. But the deeper truth lies elsewhere. There were two sets of memory at play last week, two attitudes to Nigeria—a so-called nation bereft of a national spirit, a space that is unformed, ill-formed and malformed.

Those who preside today over the looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria’s resources may deceive themselves that the 100th anniversary of the amalgamation of Nigeria is an occasion for celebration. Many—I’d argue, most—Nigerians think otherwise. For several months, the Internet was abuzz with speculations that the legal instruments of amalgamation stipulated one hundred years as the event’s expiry date. With a great sense of expectancy, many looked forward to the formal cessation of the tragic, nightmarish, and blood-soaked experiment called Nigeria. Was the Jonathan administration unaware of this swell of hope that Nigeria should cease?

In the build-up to the centenary, the band of Islamist extremists known as Boko Haram carried out one of their most savage and outrageous attacks yet. They stormed a secondary school in Yobe under the cover of darkness, slaughtered 60 boys, and set their victims’ dorms on fire. In any serious country, one such act would forever scar the collective conscience, provoking a resolve of “Never again!” Not in Nigeria, a place where a human life is worth far less than a chicken. How did Nigeria’s “transformational” leadership respond to this latest callousness by Boko Haram? It responded in its accustomed soft, indifferent manner. It issued the same tiresome, obligatory condemnation of the carnage, nothing more. The Presidency did not consider the shocking abbreviation of so many innocent lives an occasion to devise and announce a bold, effective plan to assure the safety of all citizens, especially school children, in the Boko Haram-plagued, terror-infested areas. It was, as usual, a do-nothing stance.

But then the government did something even worse than habitual abdication. Apparently, Reno Omokri, Mr. Jonathan’s point man on social media, orchestrated a release that sought to link Nigeria’s suspended Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, with a spike in Boko Haram’s gruesome activities, including the Yobe slaughter. Apparently Mr. Omokri did not reckon with the fact that many Nigerians are quite adept at cyber intelligence, deft at the kind of detective work that can unmask those who exploit the seeming anonymity of the Internet to slander others. Mr. Sanusi is the Jonathan administration’s Public Enemy Number One. The sacked CBN Governor committed the unpardonable sin of telling the world that a major agency of the Nigerian state had failed to deposit $20 billion earned from crude oil exports. In response, the government accused Mr. Sanusi of squandering the funds of the bank he ran, awarding contracts without following requisite laws, and dispensing Nigeria’s funds as if they were his private treasury.

If Mr. Sanusi committed these crimes, I’d like to see him prosecuted, convicted and punished. I’d also like to see the administration account fully for the funds that Mr. Sanusi alleged to be missing. Here’s what the government doesn’t have a right to do: sending Mr. Omokri, its cyber warrior-in-chief, to concoct and disseminate horrific lies against Mr. Sanusi or any Nigerian. Unless Mr. Omokri can demonstrate that he did not mastermind the craven forgery, he ought to resign immediately. Or be fired.

It’s tragic that the Nigerian government, from the president to his aides, continues to fiddle while the country burns. It’s shameful that President Jonathan and Nigerian legislators prioritize a phantom war—going after gays—when the country is besieged by mindless, well-armed zealots who see unarmed Nigerians, including children, as fair game. How does the targeting of gays solve Nigeria’s infrastructural problems? Are gays the reason elections are massively rigged in Nigeria; public funds looted with depraved greed; our educational system a shambles; our healthcare system ghastly?

Nigeria fought a civil war that claimed anything from one to three million lives. It was a war to defend a British-made idea, to uphold the sanctity of a space wrought by British imperial fiat. The mantra was: To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done. To their credit, the British had an excellent reason for keeping Nigeria one. Nigeria was their largest holding in Africa (and their second largest anywhere, after India). It was a prodigious source of raw materials for British firms as well as a huge dumping ground for British-made goods. It made sound sense, from the British point of view, to keep Nigeria one.

As British rule ended, the Nigerian elite who inherited the spoils of the state adopted as an article of faith the idea that Nigeria must remain one entity. But they shied away from asking the hard questions. What’s so sacred about Nigeria? Why should we remain one? What ends are served by remaining one? What does Nigeria represent? And—if unity was not negotiable—then what must be the irreducible terms of our engagement?

I’ve argued before that a central part of Nigeria’s tragedy arises from the fact that the country fought a costly war, but has never permitted the lessons of that war to inform its conduct, to shape its ethos. It’s as if we went to war to defend the right of a few to continue to plunder, to continue to feed fat at the expense of the rest of us, to perpetually rig themselves into power, and to add their contemptible names to every roll of honor, even though they refrain from doing anything that is remotely honorable.

As Mr. Jonathan feted the so-called giants of Nigeria’s centenary, a different, oppositional narrative played itself out. The collective memory of the vast majority of Nigerians beheld Nigeria, not as a splendid monument, but as a sordid, wretched edifice. They saw what Mr. Jonathan and his ilk refuse to see: that the Nigerian state is a provocation, a moral affront, a failed, misery-dispensing state.

Soyinka captured part of the spirit of that deep split in the way Nigeria is regarded. He acted bravely by excusing himself from the insouciant official ritual that amounted to an insult to the outraged sensibilities of the majority of Nigerians. In a statement of renunciation titled “Canonization of Terror,” Mr. Soyinka called attention to the wasted lives of the students in Yobe. He drew our attention to “the entire ethical landscape into which this nation has been forced by insensate leadership.” He would not succumb to the summons to collective amnesia, the only condition under which an ogre like Sani Abacha would be invited to arise, ghost-like, to accept national veneration as a patriotic champion of Nigerian “unity and national development.” Stated Mr. Soyinka: “Under that ruler, torture and other forms of barbarism were enthroned as the norm of governance. To round up, nine Nigerian citizens, including the writer and environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa, were hanged after a trial that was stomach churning even by the most primitive standards of judicial trial, and in defiance of the intervention of world leadership.”

In the end, Soyinka spoke for me—and I suggest, for many other enlightened people—when he stated, “I reject my share of this national insult.”

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

 

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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Nigeria’s foreign policy in 100 years.


Diplomatic and bilateral ties which Nigeria had as a colony were mostly dominated by Britain.

Before the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates in 1914, agricultural commodities were exported to Europe and totally controlled by the British Empire. This showed the level of foreign bilateral trade between the colony and the outside world, where cocoa, groundnuts, palm oil and palm kernels were exported and chemicals, machines, transportation equipment and other manufactured products were imported. This level of bilateral trade extended until the 1950s.

The dual mandate adopted by the Europeans, whereby African countries will receive Europe’s civilization in exchange for unrestricted access to the continent resources prevailed during that era.

British stood as Nigeria’s major trading partner, even as 70 percent of her exports, as late as 1955 went to Britain and another 47 percent of import came from that country to Nigeria.

However, this bilateral trade changed from 1976, when British dominance of Nigeria’s economy began to wane. The United States then took over as Nigeria leading trade partner. By this time, exports to Britain dropped to 38 percent while import from the country to Nigeria dropped to 32 percent.

At post independence and for decades, Nigeria’s foreign policy thrust remained consistent with catering for the interests of African countries. However, the change in policy focus was brought about as government sort to arrest the declining economic setbacks. The end of apartheid in South Africa brought to a climax the Afrocentric position Nigeria’s foreign policy. Hence, in the country’s 1999 Constitution the policy shift revolved around economic diplomacy. This became a useful tool for promoting and protecting the country’s national interest in its bilateral ties with other countries.

Each regime during and after the country’s independence in 1960, took to formulating its own course of action to manipulate and propel national interest within the international community; with the purpose of forging a unique identity for their governments. There was a welter of dynamic and conservative foreign policies that went a long way towards how governments of the country actively or passively influenced the country’s interests on the international scene.

While the governments of Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon and Shehu Shagari were seen as conservative by foreign policy analysts, those of late Muritala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo (during the military era of 1976-79) operated dynamic foreign policies. However, observers of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially in her interaction with the international community may have confused radicalism for dynamism, hence, faulting this conceptualisation as a virile tool for measuring an effective policy. The erstwhileAction Group shadow Foreign Minister, late Anthony Enahoro was attributed as being a proponent of dynamic foreign policy.

He is reported to having moved a motion and prompted the country’s first post independence legislative house, arguing that the August 20, 1960 foreign policy adopted by the House of Representatives lacked dynamism and regretted that the Tafawa Balewa government’s interpretation and conduct of foreign policy lacked all ingredients of activism.

The August 20, 1960 official statement of Prime Minister Tafawa Balewa at the Federal House of Representatives, stated that Nigeria is “adopting clear and practical policies with regard to Africa; it will be our aim to assist any country to find solution to its problem”. Nevertheless, observers and analysts are of the view that the country’s foreign policy then lacked any definite direction.

Nigeria’s Afrocentric policy

By adopting an Afrocentric policy, in the wake of the country’s independence Nigeria aimed to engage the international community through Africa’s interests and issues that tended to be of benefits to the continent. Nigerian’s first Foreign Minister, Jaja Wachukwu threw more perspectives to this Afrocentricism posture, when he said; “Charity begins at home and therefore any Nigerian foreign policy that does not take into consideration the peculiar position of Africa is unrealistic”. Nigeria under this policy framework contributed immensely in the struggles that led to the independence of Angola, Mozambique, and Namibia and participated in the anti-apartheid struggles in South Africa. Nigeria also played a crucial role in the establishment of continental and regional organisations. For example, Nigeria was pivotal to the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963. Nigeria was also instrumental in ensuring that it attained the two major objectives that included the quick decolonization of colonies in Africa and the rapid socio-economic growth and development of African countries.

Similarly, the creation of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) on May 28, 1975 saw Nigeria taking a fundamental role in spearheading the integration of neighbouring countries’ resources to enhance regional prosperity. Under the leadership of ex-General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria led the formation of the 16-member regional body that signed the treaty establishing ECOWAS.

Nigeria further played a significant role in military peacekeeping operations on the continent. It contributed both financial and human resources in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) peacekeeping operations in Liberia, Sierra LeChad and several others.

New policy thrust in citizen diplomacy

The interventions to restore peace in Liberia, Sierra Leone and the fight against apartheid in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Angola among other missions of mediating in conflict prone countries like Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso especially after coup d’états, signified the apogee in foreign interventions in the past decades. Of recent, the country’s foreign relations has become tamed, mainly due to internal problems and politics associated with getting a proper footing for our nascent democracy amid pressing economic problems.

The military regime of ex- Gen. Ibrahim Babaginda conceptualised a new face to Nigeria’s foreign policy, where economic diplomacy would enhance the promotion of export trade, investment and financial assistance from friendly countries. The then Foreign Affairs Minister, ex-Gen Ike Nwachukwu in June 1988, said that “it is the responsibility of our foreign policy apparatus to advance the course of our national economic recovery.”

It was during the democratically elected government of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the country’s foreign policy was refocused to de-emphasise an explicitly African bias. While appointing ambassadors in 1999, his administration admonished that “Nigeria’s foreign policy today extends, however, far beyond our concern for the well being of our continent, Africa”. In addition, Obasanjo, pointed out that “The debt burden, for instance, is not an exclusively African predicament. Many countries in Asia, the Caribbean and South America were facing similar problems.

It is imperative; therefore, that these regions harmonise their efforts in the search for a fairer deal from the industrialised nations of the west; and this requires of us a more global approach to world affairs than was previously the case.

Last year, the President Jonathan administration paved a new path for the country’s foreign policy thrust, by embracing an agenda that promotes growth and national development. In this new policy, both private partnership and foreign missions will be utilised as new vanguards in economic diplomacy. Hence, the collapsing of both economic and citizen diplomacy by the current administration, that is geared towards attaining national economic development and growth where the citizens at home and abroad are used as agents towards achieving policy goals.

Bilateral relations with members of the developing eight countries for economic cooperation (D8) have been a centre piece for the country’s economic diplomacy. In this regard, the foreign ministry has engaged in various economic activities of the D8, especially since it assumed leadership of the group in 2010.

Using the economic diplomacy policy to source and promote trade between Nigeria and D8 members, the foreign ministry has rectified three of its important legal documents: The D-8 preferential Trade Agreement, Multilateral Agreement on administrative assistance in Customs Matters and the Simplification of VISA procedures for businessmen of D8 member countries.

Former Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ashiru, while expatiating on the new paradigm shift, said that: “We will redress existing imbalances and forge a strong partnership with OPS to assist economic growth. Consequently, members of OPS will frequently constitute part of any bilateral discussions between our governments and other foreign delegations, so that Nigeria can benefit from visits to and from other countries.”

“Our envoys will be directed to drive this new focus of our foreign policy by spending more time and effort on attracting foreign investments to Nigeria. Simply put, our ambassadors will be the foot-soldiers in this new approach for the purpose of achieving our Vision 20:2020 while bringing economic benefits to Nigeria.”

When contacted, Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told National Mirror, that any country’s foreign policy should be for the benefits of the people.

“I will say Nigeria’s foreign policy is not really doing badly and not getting worse. Though, sometimes we may not be getting it right and in other times we do get it right. The people must come first, so Nigerians at home and those in Diaspora should be the centre of our policy thrust.

Nigeria was faced with huge challenge during the military era where her public image was relegated. The country’s foreign policy could not stand as imperative tool for image building, especially, where dictatorial rule and clampdowns on human rights were strongly opposed by the western world.”

Nigeria played a prominent role in the Congo crisis of 1960-1965. It sent military peacekeeping troops.

In addition, during the Cold War era, Nigeria adopted a non-aligned stance; where it refused to align with any of the power blocs.

Another significant development in Nigeria foreign relations after the country’s independence was the protest of Nigerian students against the signing of agreement by the then new Tafawa Balewa’s government with the British government. The Anglo-Nigerian Defence Pact entered by the government then meant that British military could maintain bases and presence in Kano. The Nigerian student’s protest made Tafawa Balewa’s government to back down from the intended deal. The message of the student then was that Britain was to be kept at arm’s length.

The foreign relations between Nigeria and Britain experienced some challenging moment, especially during the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo where the Nigerian government nationalized the British Petroleum’s (BP( interest in the country, as a measure to arm-twist the UK government into withdrawing its sanctions and to restore British authority in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). This was after the white supremacist in that country hijacked power. This created a scene at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Lusaka in 1978. When the British Prime Minister challenged the Nigerian Foreign Minister, General Adefowope, he told Margret Thatcher, “Madam Prime Minister that is Act 1, Scene 1, many more will follow if you don’t play ball on Zimbabwe”. Thatcher had no choice than to relent and began process that enabled Zimbabwe have a free and fair elections.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Namadi Sambo’s Furniture, House Upgrade Gulp N2.1 Billion In Four Years-PREMIUM TIMES.


By Ini Ekott

Vice President Namadi Sambo is spending a fortune to furnish and upgrade his official residence and guest house, two projects costing N2.1 billion and lingering since his election alongside President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.

In three years leading up to 2013, the government has spent a minimum of N300 million annually to furnish and upgrade the vice president’s residence and guest house, according to past and present federal budgets.

The biggest spending -N900 million- for the upgrade and furnishing was done in 2011.

That year alone, N500 million was channelled into acquiring, upgrading and furnishing the vice president’s guest house at Aguda House, while a separate N400 million was spent on purchasing some more furniture and extending the vice president’s lounge there.

In 2012, the government spent additional N437.1 million for the “upgrading and furnishing” of the same guest house, and squandered additional N112 million solely on “household equipment” for Mr. Sambo’s residence.

The installation of Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) facilities at the residence, was completed at a whopping N202 million.

This year, the vice president’s Aguda guest house and his residence were furnished at a relatively modest N75.7 million, while landscaping at the residence alone was done at N26 million.

A new guest house for Mr. Sambo, at Yakubu Gowon crescent, Asokoro, was also given N170.7 million worth of furniture.

It could not be immediately confirmed how much of the proposed works have been implemented after spending more than N2 billion, an amount enough to furnish at least 200 primary schools where pupils attend classes under tree shades and sit on bare floors.

Such school furnishings are estimated at an average N10 million per school in the federal budgets.

Used differently, the amount can provide water in at least 200 Nigerian communities, based on the same budgetary estimates of N10 million community water scheme.

Despite the huge funding already, the government has made new allocations for the project for 2014, with the likelihood of even more spending for the vice president’s furniture and upgrading coming in 2015.

If the National Assembly approves a new budget proposal submitted by President Jonathan, as it likely would since previous furniture allocations for Mr. Sambo were not blocked, then the government will spend an extra N123 million on Mr. Sambo’s new guest house at Yakubu Gowon crescent.

Taxpayers will also buy kitchen utensils worth N8 million for the vice president.

The total N2.1 billion for furnishing and upgrading is far ahead of government’s allocation for some key road projects within the same period.

The obscene allocations for Mr. Sambo’s home and guest houses follows a trend that has seen the government repeatedly channel more funds for the convenience of public office holders while key projects suffer.

While the government claims it was cutting the cost of governance to address dwindling revenues and mounting developmental needs, it has for years continued to direct scarce funds for the luxury of its officials, providing them with exotic cars, homes, and other perks while more than half of Nigerians live on less than a dollar per day.

The presidency is one of the biggest beneficiaries of that anomaly.

In 2012, the presidency budgeted N1 billion for feeding, and half a billion naira for cars for President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo.

The car purchase was suspended after public outrage following media reports.

Mr. Sambo’s office has become notorious for some of the administration’s most outlandish spending. The cars the vice president was to receive would have been his second set in two years, having already spent N323 million on cars in 2011.

Also in 2012, the Federal Capital Territory Administration raised an already outrageous N7 billion for the construction of a home for the vice president by adding extra N9 billion to make it N16 billion.

The National Assembly finally blocked that request.

The furnishing and upgrading for the vice president was also listed in 2010, but under relatively modest subheads. The extension of the VP lounge, proposed for N207 million in 2012, was N30 million in 2010.
Furniture/household items
Upgrade
Total

2011
Acquisition, upgrading & furnishing of VP’s guest house at AgudaN400 million

Extension of VP lounge at Aguda house + furnishing of Aguda houseN500 million

N900 million

2012
1.       Purchase of household equipment & materials for VP’s residence  N112 million

2.       Acquisition, upgrading & furnishing of VP’s guest house at Aguda

N230 million

3.       Extension of VP lounge at Aguda house + furnishing of Aguda houseN207.1 million

4.       Installation of UPS facilities at the Vice President’s residence

N202 million
N751.1 million

2013
1.       Furnishing of the new vice president’s guest house at 41 Yakubu Gowon crescent, AsokoroN170.7 million

2.       Furnishing of ancillary offices at Aguda house and new vice president’s residence

N75.7 million

3.       Landscaping of new VP’s residence    N25.9 million

 

Remodelling of the new Vice President’s guest house at #41 Yakubu Gowon Crescent AsokoroN120 million

N392.3 million

2014

1.       Remodelling of the new Vice President’s guest house at #41 Yakubu Gowon Crescent Asokoro N115 million

2.       Purchase of household and kitchen equipment for VP’s residenceN8 million

N123 million

 
Grand totalN2.17 billion

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Oshiomhole’s Leadership Qualities In Nigeria: A Model For The Country By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

As I gather my thoughts for my new year resolutions, it just crossed my mind to take a look back in time and to show how bad leadership has been a major drag on the progress of Nigeria for much of our 53 years of independence. I want to begin this piece with a self confession about what I need to do better in 2014. I get regular feed backs from fans of this column around the world and I am grateful for them. While the great majority admit and thank me for sharing my thoughts with them, a respectable minority including one or two of my trusted friends and confidants have wondered aloud if I could make those articles shorter. It is a correct observation I plan to work on in the new year.

I am not a trained journalist. I do have some journalists I so much respect for their lucid language and brevity. Three of them include a gentleman named Sonala Olumhense who proudly won “the journalist of the year award from Sahara Reporters on December 21 at their well attended Christmas Party in New York. The other two are Okey Ndibe and Rudolf Okonkwo. They all can write and their articles are never as lengthy or wordy as mine. I have become their student  for the most part, and part of my new year resolution is to emulate them more in 2014 and beyond. I crave your indulgence to let this be the longest article for this year. It is a promise I mean to keep. So help me God.

I make this confession because I have come to realize that “To err is human and to forgive is divine.” Above all I have come to appreciate that the closest that any human being will ever get to perfection as observed by Sigmund Freud, is to admit his or her mistakes. I see Governor Oshiomhole as fitting that bill even though many of you may disagree with me. Many have criticized Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State for losing his cool in the public and openly humiliating a Nigerian widow in Benin for breaking the Law by turning his government’s newly constructed road in Benin into a market place thereby creating a public nuisance. In a moment of frustration or desperation, the Governor, a former trade union leader and activist lost his cool and uttered a few words that are beneath the dignity of office.

For that infraction, the Governor has been ridiculed for weeks in newspapers and on the Internet and television studios around the world for abusing his power in pretty much the same way like the news media came down very hard on Pastor Oyedepo the General Overseer of Winners Chapel in Nigeria for arrogantly and physically abusing a member of his congregation. The nation and the whole world including Pope Francis would be shocked to see such a brutal and judgmental display of power on television cameras by a cleric who should have exercised more restraint if he was of the same mindset with the new hope who cautioned pastors to not judge others.

What I take away and what I hope the readers of this column would take away from the two incidents is how the Governor and Pastor Oyedepo have reacted to public criticisms of their horrendous abuse of power. Governor Oshiomhole did not waste time admitting he did something wrong while Pastor Oyedepo defended his right to so intimidate the little girl who dared to tell the pastor what he did not want to hear. You may disagree with how Governor Oshiomhole had sought to get some political mileage out of what he did to correct the mistake, but I would be the first to submit to you that the Governor did the right thing and he set an example in magnanimity and a heart-felt admission of guilt not easy to find among most African leaders with the possible exception of Madiba Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere and Murtala Mohammed who demanded from the press to hold his feet to fire if he departed from what he had promised the nation on taking over from General Yakubu Gowon. That kind of compassion is not something Nigerian politicians and leaders are  noted for. Once in power, most of our leaders act and behave like “tin gods” who are above the Law. I will give a few examples of such leaders in Nigeria and how few of them have handled what many of their subjects or victims would have considered a clear abuse of their position and power.

Once upon a time in Akure, my home town, there was a Deji of Akure named Odundun Asodedero who reigned from 1882 to 1890 as documented in my “Lion King and the Cubs” a biography of Kabiyesi Deji Adesida Afunbiowo the First which has sold more than 200,000 copies as of last Saturday. Deji Odundun once ordered one of his wives beheaded for sharing a joke with him in the bathroom. He gave the order because he could, but worse still, he ordered the woman’s head delivered in cold blood to the parents of his wife to show them he had the power of life and death. He got away with the murder because Pax Britanica and the Rule of Law had not yet taken hold in our own neck of the woods in Nigeria at the time.

Oba of Benin, Ogiso Overamen demonstrated the same feudalistic power in 1897 when he ordered his traditional troops to attack the British invaders who wanted to enter Benin during his “Igue” festival when the city was not supposed to welcome or entertain any foreign elements. Due to some bad communication or foolhardiness, the Benin Expedition led by one Captain Philips ended in total fiasco for the Oba who was captured and exiled to Calabar where he died almost changing the course of history in Benin City before “Afinju Oba Ado Otolu Apara” Eweka, the father of Oba Akensua came on board.

The very same year, on June 22, 1897 Oba Adesida Afunbiowo the First was crowned the Deji in Akure after two futile attempts at getting the nod of the king makers.

3 months after his coronation, the Anglican Missionaries came to Akure followed in quick succession by the emissaries of the colonial Government based in Lagos. Oba Adesida who was a very knowledgeable and versatile Ifa consultant had consulted his Ifa because he had learnt some useful  lessons from what had just occurred in Benin. His Ifa had revealed to him to expect some foreign visitors but that he must welcome them to his domain with open hands and not antagonize them. He was assured their coming was going to forever change the fortunes of his town and his own tenure on the throne like no other Deji before him. As sure as death, the white visitors came and Oba Afunbiowo did precisely what his” Orunmila,  Ifa Atererekaiye, o soro dayo” had told him. That simple obedience to Ifa, the only God he knew and devotedly worshiped had laid the foundation for what Akure later became in the history of Ondo State starting with her initial elevation from provincial headquarters, to state capital and later on in 2004 to the 8th Millennium Center for Development in Africa. Oba Afunbiowo the First came about his oriki or popular cognomen in Akure dialect, “Aga a morire, O toye gboro, O m’oyinbo goke, Iwerepe gbara re gba igi oko, Olori alade a jiwajiwa Ileke, o tori ileke d’oluku Oyo, O beri omo sa gongon t’Oke Eda ro do.”

Oba Afunbiowo became the longest reigning Deji in all of Akure history with his 60 years on the throne and another 46 years added by three of his direct children and one direct daughter and 3 great grand daughters as Regents in Akure. The individuals include Deji Agunsoye Ademuagun Adesida, the first educated Deji and attorney who succeeded Afunbiowo for 16 years from 1957 to 1973, followed by Deji Otitubiosun Adelegan Adesida who reigned from 1975 to 1991 and Deji Ataiyese Adebobajo Adesida who reigned from 1991 to 1999 followed by his daughter, Princess Adeyinka Adesida who reigned as regent from 1999 to 2005 the previous Regents included Princess Adetinu Famotua who succeeded her father in 1957 before Ademuagun came on board. The next was Princess Adebusola Oduntan Odunlami who succeeded her learned Barrister father in 1973. The next was Madam Aina who succeeded her father Deji Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida for less than a year in 1991. The next Regent in line is going to be” Omo Oba to nfase mutin,” Kabiyesi Princess Adetutu Adesida a licensed Pharmacist in Houston, Texas who is going to take a leave of absence from her big job in Texas, United States to answer the call of duty like all the previous Adesidas before her.

The first “non-omo-ori- ite” Deji Adebiyi Adegboye Adesida Afunbiowo the Second who in 3 years on that throne has done what no Deji  before him has ever done in Akure history made his transition 24 days ago. He built a new Palace all by his own effort and he took to his grave the chairmanship of the Ondo State Council of Obas. The chairmanship was among the many firsts he has recorded in his short but epoch-making tenure in that office. The written history of Akure is by and large the history of the Adesidas on the throne of Akure any way you slice it. The only time in 2005 Akure ever attempted to alter that succession to the Deji’s throne has ended in regret and disaster with the imposition of the so-called Osupatadolaa the Third who cannot tell us when Osupatadolaa the Second ever reigned in Akure. The classification as the Third was a ruse. Nothing more nothing less. You are free to double-check this information from the list of the 46 Dejis who have so far ruled in Akure as listed in the Lion King and the Cubs” which is there for anybody to buy and read. The deposed Deji who is now begging for forgiveness he has always denied others got kicked out of that office by doing something no Deji has ever done in 900 years of Akure history.

I am not making up the story. I am only documenting what happened for generations yet unborn in the interest of History.

Now talking about abuse of power and compassion, Deji Afunbiowo the First was exemplary. As narrated in my “Lion King”, Deji  Afunbiowo belonged to a different kettle of fish as compared to Deji Odundun. Deji Afunbiowo had fallen  in love with “Otubeji , O dumosa luku Aiyegbe” the fiancee of one of his Palace servants named Tapere Famotua. “Adumosa” an Ado-Akure beauty born and raised at  Itaogbolu had come on a visit to Akure Palace to cheer his fiance, Omodeowa Famotua who was taking part in the “Owa Oropo” annual festival, which was  the Akure equivalent of the New York or the Boston Marathon in those days for those of you who know Akure history very well like i do. Who says the black race is inferior to the white race?  Akure has been having her own marathon race hundred of years before you ever hear of the New York Marathon. I can tell you that.

Deji Afunbiowo saw the lady in the crowd and he sent for her like he had the power to do. Without knowing the lady had come to cheer up her boy friend, Kabiyesi made his irreversible pronouncement as the “Ka bi o ko si” meaning nobody challenges your authority or reverse your order. That was how the stunning beauty from Itaogbolu became his Olori (queen) from that moment forward to the total frustration of Omodeowa Famutua who could not say a word because his lord and master has spoken and he was in no position to hold a contrary view. Kabiyesi had what he wanted. He married Adumosha and within a short time he conferred on her the high title of the “Eyelua” of the Oloris in Akure because the Eyelua was an “Afinju Adaba to njeun lawujo Asa” meaning “the gutsy and fearless dove that feeds among the eagles in the wild” Be ni o.Egun Mogaji ni Eyelua. She was an exemplary woman of distinction on her own merit. The woman  naturally rose to prominence very quickly among her peers in the Palace because she quickly captured the heart of Kabiyesi but Kabiyesi became worried after he knew he had snatched the fiancee of one of his Palace servants. He was a Deji who valued loyalty and service like no other Deji n Akure. He therefore decided to do what many of the religious people of nowadays label as “Restitution” even though the man was never a born-again Christian and he never saw the four walls of a school talk less of a University, but he was a very selfless and compassionate Deji of all times who obey the Biblical injunction of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

He admitted his mistakes pretty much like Governor Oshiomhole. He decided to compensate Pa Famotua after  profusely apologizing to him for taking his fiancee. He decided to give his own first daughter, the impeccably beautiful  Mama Tinuade Adesida in marriage to Pa Famotua. He did not stop there. He gave Pa Famotua freedom from his burden as a palace servant and a slave in the Palace up to that point. That was how Famotua  changed from a commoner to become a nobility or a Duke and the husband of a “crown princess” in Akure till tomorrow. That was Oba Afunbiowo at his best. There would never be another Deji like him from now to eternity. God knows it and Akure people know it.

Now let us compare what Afunbiowo had done to what the deposed Deji who is now begging the Ondo State Governor to please reinstate him, even before the last Deji’s funeral rites have been completed and his first daughter, Princess Adetutu crowned as the next Regent of Akure according to Akure tradition and custom. If the deposed Deji had learnt his lesson by now, he would have thought twice before displaying such a poor judgment and lack of traditional restraint to say the least. It was the wrong step to take at a time Akures at home and abroad are still mourning the last Deji and wanting to investigate what killed him and who could have been responsible for taking out his life like “a candle in the wind” while the ovation was loudest and before he has had a chance to spend just one night in the majestic Taj Mahal he has built with his own sweat and blood which the deposed Deji now wants to inherit. “Haba! O ti o. Ki t’Esu ko”.

I trust the Akure Council of Chiefs under High Chief Oteru Oba Ode. O mori J’Oloja mo dade” James Olusoga to do the right thing, I trust Governor Mimiko, the peoples’ Governor to not allow the desperate individual to dent his image in Akure. The less we speak about the full implications and ramifications of what the deposed Deji has done, the better for him and all the aspiring candidates to the Deji’s throne as we speak. We would cross the bridge when we reach it for Heavens’ sake. If the deposed Deji was a leader like Oshiomhole, he would think twice before doing what he was publicized to have done. It’s that simple.

Akure and the whole of Nigeria would need to  go back to his record on the throne and what he did to deserve his exile to begin with. Forget his indiscretions in claiming to be the reincarnation of Deji Odundun. Forget his indiscretion in giving a bounced post-dated check to the king makers before he fooled them into in recommending him as Deji-elect to the Ondo State Government. Forget his suspension, removal and humiliation of arguably the best Olisa Akure has ever produced. I am talking of Olisa Otutuleyowo the Second, retired Colonel, Elijah Folorunsho David whom I am proud to call my In-law and my childhood friend and whose record in that title is second to none above board if you discount his undiplomatic streak of talking and acting like a soldier who meant what he said and said what he meant without fear or favor by appearing to rubbish or tarnish the reputation of the Adesidas in Akure while he had the power. That was his problem in retrospect, but he was a very good Olisa without any question in my mind and all things considered.

Forget the the deposed Deji going around repossessing lands that his predecessor on that throne had sold and canceling any contracts or deals they have signed as Deji-in-Council.  Forget his failure to honor the memory of the greatest Deji  in History when he turned down the invitation to be the royal father at the formal launching of the book honoring the life and legacies of that Deji. Forget the shabby treatment he gave to the Oloba of Oba-Ile, a fellow traditional ruler for giving new space to Hausa Tomatoe traders the deposed Deji had banished from Alafiatayo market in Akure because they could not pay him the inflated royalties he had wanted them to pay him. Forget the shabby treatment he had given to the same Akure Council of Chiefs he is now begging to take him back. Forget his failure to stand up to the Alaiyede of Ogbese when the Alaiyere, the late Bale Olatunde Ogunsuyi he himself has installed in his Palace was disrespected by the present Alaiyede of Ogbese when he instigated Akure North Local Government to not pay the salaries and allowances to her daughter who served as regent of Alayere following the death of her father, Bale Olatunde Ogunsuyi, the shortest reigning Alayere who reigned for only a day or two after his conferment of the title by the deposed Deji.

Kabiyes, the  Alaiyede and retired Professor of Law, Oba Peter Oluyede had claimed that Alayere title was no longer under the Deji of Akure and the new Alayere after Bale Olatunde Ogunsuyi had sided with the Alaiyede saying that the Alayere owed no allegiance to the Deji of Akure because the authority of the Deji does not extend to the Akure North Local Government as deposed by the Alaiyede of Ogbese. The question now begging for answer is how can any candidate with any claim or linkage to the Alayere throne now come forward to claim they have a right to contest and be crowned a Deji in Akure when the rubber meets the road?  What goes around comes around. Now that the Deji’s throne is vacant, we are now waiting to see how this observation is going to play out. The Olu abo of Ilu Abo Bale Oluyemi Falae who did not at any time gang up with the Laiyede to rebel against the Deji and the Olugunshin of course are the only Bales in Akure North Local Government who can stand tall now and claim they have always been loyal to the Deji of Akure.

Forget all the indiscretion of the deposed Deji when he gives chieftaincy titles only to the highest bidder in Akure regardless of those candidate’s entitlement to those titles. We all knew what he did to Yemi Oluwadare, a former President of Akure National Students Union in the United Kingdom when he was just a floor member. Mrs. Gbonjubola Adesida, the wife of Prince Raphel Adesola Adesida was the first and original Iyalode of Akure when he was installed by Deji Otutubiosun Adelegan Adesida. Akure will not forget how the deposed Deji had refused to recognize Gbonjubola as such because the deposed Deji was only looking out for the highest bidder.

Compared that to what Afunbiowo the First had done when he made late Kole Oluwatuyi the Second as the Olisa of Akure without taking a penny from him because he had wanted to compensate him because his own father, a devout CAC believer like late Olubadan Akinyele of blessed memory,  had died within 3 months of his becoming the Olisa. Deji Afunbiowo the First who never went to school for one day had valued education so much that he persuaded his Akure Council of Chiefs to let Kole Oluwatuyi succeed his father without giving any bribe to anybody because he wanted an educated Olisa to be his second-in command.

That was how Olisa Kole Oluwatuyi the Second became” Olisa Abejoye” in Akure history till tomorrow. Let anyone speak up or prove me wrong  with their facts if they have them. Nigeria is in big trouble because nothing is documented. The way we are going an Igbo man with enough cash to throw around, could,one day, be crowned an Olisa, or Odopetu or Sao or even the Deji in Akure because our value system has been bastardized by Corruption. If you remember that Otun Maiyegun of Ibadan was Orji Uzor Kalu, the former filthy-rich Abia Governor who could, one day, become the Olubadan, you will understand what I am talking about. The deposed Deji would have no qualms allowing an Igbo man to become a High Chief in Akure if the price is right. Ofei Day Spring and Chukwuemeka I grew up with in Akure and who have married Akure daughters and get children from them could tomorrow claim they are descendants of Osupa and Odundun or Obabirin Eyearo the first female Deji in Akure History and they may seek to be crowned a Deji or a high chief in Akure if light weights like the deposed Deji ever get a chance to be crowned a Deji one time too many in Akure. That is just the truth.

The deposed Deji is asking Governor Mimiko to reinstate him forgetting what he did. It is true that Olowo Olagbegi regained his throne after Olowo Adekola Ogunoye, after 25 years in exile. The deposed Deji ought to have known that he could not even tie the sachet of the shoes of Olateru Olagbegi talk less of claiming parity with the great Oba. He would be living in self fantasy and self delusion to compare himself to” Igi Nla” Ekun w’olu Olowo Olateru Olagbegi whose first son Kabiyesi Folagbade, a lawyer by profession, was Chairman of the Ondo State Council of Oba to issue a suspension order banning the deposed Deji from attending the meeting of Ondo State Council of Obas even before Governor Mimiko was forced to act on the scandal by forces beyond his control at the time because he thought the deposed Deji could help his political fortunes in the state capital.

Olowo Folagbade Olateru Olagbegi had acted that way because he argued the deposed Deji had disgraced the institution of Obas in Nigeria by going to the market square to go beat up his wife. If the deposed Deji thinks Nigerians and Akure people at home and abroad have forgotten that, then I have an island to sell to him in the Pacific. That the wife he had sent to her grave is no longer around to plead her own cause should give Akure king makers and his Osupa Ruling Line embracing Odundun descendants food for thought. I believe their current Chairman, the highly respected Dr. Adebimpe Ige Aladejana Ogunleye, who fought for the creation of the ruling line more than anybody, dead or alive, would not fail to factor that observation into his decision when it is time to nominate candidates for the vacant stool. We would all be watching from the sideline.

While it is true that Governor Mimiko is rumored to have granted a general amnesty or pardon to ghost workers who have have fraudulently claimed salaries in Ondo State, it will be very naive of the deposed Deji to expect the same kind of pardon, given the enormity of his traditional transgression. I love and care a lot about Governor Mimiko, but I have some misgivings about what kind of message he was sending to Nigerians if it is true he has granted that clemency as rumored on the internet. It would even be more egregious if he entertains the request from the deposed Deji or give it any serious consideration.

I make all these digressions to further emphasize and underscore my respect for Governor Oshiomhole for having the courage of his conviction to admit he fumbled, big time, by saying what he said to the poor widow. He has acquitted himself creditably in my judgment, however, by taking steps to correct his mistakes and finding a more cost-effective way to rehabilitate the woman. If most of our leaders have been so inclined, Nigeria would not be in the mess she has found herself now under President Jonathan.

I recall Obasanjo after taking over from Murtala Mohammed going to an official appointment somewhere in the North and taking out the whip to teach one Nigerian a lesson he would never forget. Obasanjo who is well known for his crudeness, clearly abused his power and authority that day, but he got away with it, and he never for once apologised to the nation or his victim for what he did. That Oshiomhole would go out of his way to openly apologize to the woman before television cameras should be seen as a sign of progress and I applaud him for it. He is letting the whole world know he is not perfect and that he can lose his cool just  like anyone of us.

What the poor woman did was wrong. That she was a widow was no excuse for her to do what she did because two wrongs don’t make a right. A two term Governor who is not seeking re-election could easily have ridden out the public criticism but Oshiomhole did not do that. He did the right thing and he should be commended for it.

As I compare what he did with how our current President has literarily ignored all the criticism he has so far received on Oduahgate, the public example shown by Oshiomhole has loomed larger than life in my book. It is common knowledge that President Jonathan and his first lady have been sending hoodlums and assassins after Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State as confirmed by the Nobel peace laureate, Wole Soyinka. The problems in Rivers state today are all the brain child of the President and the first lady who are clearly abusing their powers of incumbency to intimidate a weaker opponent or their perceived enemies as insinuated in Obasanjo’s 18 page letter to Mr. President.

The Governor of Central Bank, Lamido Sanusi has written volumes on how the NNPC has misappropriated billions of dollars in oil money which has not been fully accounted for. President Jonathan who says he is fighting Corruption is looking the other way and his body language as suggested by the current Speaker of the House of Representative and as corroborated by Obasanjo is a proof that Jonathan has lost all his credibility on fighting corruption in Nigeria and he should be ashamed of himself. He cannot have the courage to fire Stella Oduah or Madueke the Oil Minister when his own first lady is guilty of worse corruption, which is common knowledge in Nigeria.

Governor Oshiomhole is trying to teach his other colleagues in Government how to be a good and responsive leader and I support him one hundred percent. Nigeria of yester years was far superior to the Nigeria of today. Our leaders in Government and the Civil Service are worse off today than our past leaders. I can tell you that because I have seen it as an insider in my 25 years service to the Federal Civil Service before checking out of Nigeria. The little story I am about to tell  as I end this piece, would convince you.
I served in the Federal Ministry of Education as Secretary to the Ministry’s Tenders Board from November 1969 to February 1974 before my posting to the Federal Ministry of Finance while Obafemi Awolowo was Federal Commissioner for Finance and Deputy Chairman to Yakubu Gowon in the Federal Executive Council. As Secretary to the Tenders Board, I wielded a lot of power and could easily have made millions from Federal contractors looking for accomplices to bribe their way to getting lucrative contracts. I was then serving under one of the 4 most powerful Permanent Secretaries in the Federal Civil Service at the time. The 4 were Allison Ayida, Philip Asiodu, Eme Ebong and Ahmed Joda.

The Tenders Board at Education was under the purview of responsibility of Ahmed Joda. Next to me in the chain of command,  was the chairman of the Board, one Mr. Soyode, a heavy-set man who was Deputy Permanent Secretary to Ahmed Joda. Part of my duties as Secretary was to do the shortlist of contractors whose quotations the board had to consider for the award of any contract.

I did my home work thoroughly and I refused to shortlist any of the contractors who had come to offer me bribe. I refused to take not because I did not like money but because I thought it was a wrong thing to do. Unknown to me the particular contractor has offered my chairman his own bribe and he took it. When we got to the meeting, my chairman has assumed the particular contractor had to be on the list to be considered. He got terribly upset with me because the contractor’s name was not on the list. I tried to explain to him as best I could, my reasons for black-listing the contractor but the man didn’t want to hear a word from me. He summarily called for adjournment. And the next thing I saw was a query from him accusing me of dereliction of duty and recommending to Ahmed Joda to fire me.

Whao! My antennas went up. I was furious and livid knowing what must have happened behind my back. Ahmed Joda called me to his office asking me to defend myself and I knew he was not playing. I asked him to give me 24 hours and I went to town showing why I have blacklisted the particular contractor whose quotation was the highest because he knew he had the chairman in his pocket. I presented the photo copies of the money the contractor had offered me and I named the guy that brought the envelope. I told the guy he had to sign for me that he gave me the cash and he did. That was all I needed to prove my innocence. I taped my discussion with the contractor without his knowledge because I had a premonition I might have to defend myself. I provided all the evidence I needed. They were simply overwhelming for Ahmed Joda. I am glad the man is still alive and can testify to what I am saying.

When my response reached his  desk, he read my submission, summoned his Deputy Permanent Secretary, showed him my response and he dressed him down in my presence while asking him to write to me a special letter of apology and another letter of commendation on me to be copied to the Cabinet Office where the late Osemawe of Ondo, Oba  Fesatus Adedinsewo Adesanoye was then Permanent Secretary. It was my finest moment of my career in the Federal Service. That was how I got my promotion to Senior Assistant  Secretary in the Federal  Civil Service. That was how I became a close friend of Oba Adesanoye till he died. He was the Chairman when I established and launched in Ondo State in 1994, an Educational Foundation to immortalize the contributions of my late father, retired veteran of the Second World War, Sergeant Akintide Gbangba  of blessed memory.

I would never for the rest of my life forget Ahmed Joda from Girei in Adamawa State. The great man is retired now but he is one of the unsung heroes of the fight against Corruption in Nigeria. Rather than fire me, he had his Deputy Permanent Secretary humiliated and transferred to another Ministry because he told him in my presence he would have done the same thing to me had I been found guilty. That was then in Nigeria. What obtains today under President Jonathan is a different ball game.

I could not help but write this article eulogizing Governor Oshiomhole for setting a great example in the kind of leadership we all wish to see in Nigeria as we say good bye to 2013 and as we all hope that the American prediction of the break-up of Nigeria  in 2015 should not materialize, just like is currently happening in South Sudan where Corruption has become the “fons et origo” of the downfall of that country.
Need I say more?

I rest my case. Happy New Year till we see again in 2014. All the Best.

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

Gowon Reacts To Obasanjo Vs. Jonathan Feud, Says Inflammatory Statements Pose Threats To Nigeria.


 

By Saharareporters, New York

In an apparent reaction to the open letter addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as sharp responses by Mr. Jonathan’s aides, former Nigerian military head of state Yakubu Gowon yesterday expressed fears over the persistent issuing of unguarded and inflammatory statements by prominent Nigerian leaders.

Mr. Gowon, a retired general, spoke without mentioning either the name of Mr. Obasanjo or Mr. Jonathan, but it was clear that his speech was a veiled reference to the incendiary exchanges between the two allies turned political foes.

Mr. Gowon, who holds a PhD from Warwick University in the UK, spoke during a book launch in his honor in Abuja. He said there was a need to change the tone of conversations away from things capable of creating tense atmospheres and serious crises to dialogue and resolution of differences.

He described the ongoing political conversation in the country as worrisome, stating, “In 1983 there were statements being made, expressing disappointment with the leadership and I spoke to the President at that time, President Shehu Shagari. And I said to him that he should be very careful.”

Mr. Gowon insisted that the present tension could cause uncertainty for the country, hence the need to prevent doom.  “I felt very sad with all that is happening at the moment, people at leadership positions making statements that can really create problems for the country.”

The former military ruler cautioned leaders to bury their differences, and to think about Nigerian citizens who are bound to bear the negative consequences of their power struggle. He therefore implored top political figures to reconsider their actions.

Palpable Anxiety Forces Gowon, Danjuma, To Rebuke Obasanjo Over Letter To Jonathan, Feared It Breaking The Zoo.


Gowon

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) and former Minister of Defence, Gen Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), have berated former president Olusegun Obasanjo over his open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, describing it as being capable of breaching the peace in the country.The duo stated this yesterday at the 6th edition of the Abuja Festival of Praise, hosted by Danjuma, at the international Conference Centre, Abuja.In a goodwill message, Gowon warned Nigerians, especially leaders, against making utterances capable or breaching the peace of the country, noting that it was important for leaders, past and present to take heart not to say things that can bring about problems as all Nigerians will suffer if there is no peace in the country.”I will like for Nigerians to please take heart to ensure that taken are not taken to do what they should not do.Let all Nigerians, leadership and followership make sure that we do not make utterances or say things that can really create problems for the leadership and for the country because if that happens, if we listen to such utterances, there shall be no peace and we will be the sufferers for it.”I want all of us as faithful to bear in mind that this country needs peace and this peace can only come from all of us, the leadership, past and present and from all of us. We must play our part to ensure that there is peace in the country,” he emphasised, stressing that the message became pertinent in view of recent happenings in the country.Similarly, Danjuma in his goodwill message noted that even though he was mentioned in the letter, he had refrained from making comments to the press about it, insisting that he has unfettered access to the president and will speak with him “face to face” if he has anything to say to him. “The press have been after me, they want me to react to what Obasanjo said about Mr President and I told then that I have complete and I impeded access to the president and if I have anything to say to him, I will do so face to face.These are very difficult times and we must be careful, especially as leaders, what we say in public,” he added.Delivering a goodwill message on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, Minister of Police Addairs, Navy Capt Caleb Olubolade (rtd), emphasised that prayers and songs of praise can save the nation and give hope for a greater nation.
“I strongly believe thy prayers and songs of praise like this can save the nation and give hope for a greater tomorrow in Nigeria, the land the good Lord has given to us.As we labour in our bid to build a greater Nigeria of our dream, a few elements struggle to destroy and disunite us.Why? My prayer as a child of God is for the collective salvation of our souls and for those few elements to repent before the judgement of God comes,” he added. Earlier in a welcome address, Gana, who is the chairman of the festival planning committee noted that praising God can bring peace to humanity, especially to Nigeria in view of the current security and political crises.He urged Nigerians to be at peace with one another during the yuletide season to foster the unity of the country as the nation is going through a trying period.The Abuja Festival of Praise saw over 450 choirs from all over the country and some from the United States of America (USA) converging to praise the Lord and usher in the christmas season.Some of the performances were by the mass choir comprising Abuja Metropolitan Music Society (AMEMUSO), All Saints Choir, Samaru, Zaria, Cathedral Youth Choir, Minna, St. Matthew’s Church Choir, Maitama, Abuja, and Festival  Orchestra, Abuja, while guest performances were by The Amiables, Lagos, J-Cleff Chorale, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Mt. St. Gabriel’s Boys’ Choir, Makurdi and St. Luke’s Catholic Church Choir, Kubwa.
Some of the dignitaries who graced the event were former president, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd), former FCT Minister, Gen Jeremiah Useni (rtd), Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, former Adamawa State governor, Boni Haruna, former Edo State Governor, Osunbor Osaremen and a representative of the Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi.By: Catherine Agbo.

Source: Radio Biafra.

I Pity My Country Nigeria… Dr. Joseph Ozigis Akomodi.


Dr. Joseph Ozigis Akomodi

Lets go back to the drawing board when Nigerians got their independence in 1960. Tafarwabalewa was the Prime Minister of Nigeria hailed from the Northern part of Nigeria. Nigeria was split into four regions. Every leaders of this four regions wanted to be Prime Ministers, envy and jealousness kicks in. The military planned a coup to overthrow the government in which Iseagwu Kaduna spearheaded the killing of Sadauna of Sokota and Tafarwabalewa in the Northern part of Nigeria. When asked the reason why the coup happened the only reason at that time was corruption. Aguyi Ironsi became the head of States. He failed to prosecute the soldiers who did the killings. Even though they were arrested no major punishment befell those who planned the coup. Instead they still retained their ranks in the military.
The damaging aspect of the entire coup was when the British journalist interviewed Kaduna. He stated that he wondered why in Lagos his Bosses were calling them rebels when this was planned and executed with the knowledge of the higher ups. This in itself went to proved that their was dishonesty from the get go. The ego and ambitious power settle in the minds of Nigerian leaders. Base on this assertions the Northern Military Officer seek to revenge what happened to Balewa and Sadauna of Sokoto. This lead to counter coup by the Northern Soldiers, which got rid of Aguyi Ironsi.

The Northern soldiers took this action as a pay back coup. When the center cannot hold, Ojukwu then who was appointed by Aguyi Ironsi as at that time as the Governor of the Eastern Region declared that since the Hausas have started slaughtering any Igbos they laid their hands on in the North, those who escaped the death went back to the Eastern region. He later declared for succession that is to breakaway from Nigeria. Before this the Hausas have decided that since Gowon was the most senior officer in the Military they made him the head of State. This did not settle well with Ojukwu who considered Gowon at that time as being his junior in military ranking.

Again, ambitious became imminent. When they could not resolve their differences they went to Aburi Ghana to see if they can resolved their issues. In Aburi, Ojukwu used grammar to hammered on Gowon, using the word confederation that will be appropriate thing for Nigeria. Gowon at that time did not quite understood what confederation meant agreed on getting to Nigeria, when Gowon realized what that meant he refused such a measure where power is concentrated at the state level and at the National level will be like a figure head. After Gowon realized what he has just agreed to, he decided to back off from it. Ojukwu came with the slogan that in Aburi we stand. From Nigeria we came up with a song that goes, “Ojukwu wanted to separate Nigeria, Gowon said Nigeria must be one. We are now fighting for the Nation, so dear Nigeria must be one.”

This was the slogan of both Biafra’s and Nigerians during the war. The actual war began in 1967, which lasted till 1970 until Nigeria troops declared victory after Ojukwu fled from Biafra side and went into exile. Gowon stayed in power until 1975 when he left to Adisa Baba for OAU meeting his leadership was over thrown because he extended original timeline to hand over the government to civilian rule in 1976 to 1979. A coup was planned as he departed for OAU meeting, his government was toppled, and Muritala Muhammed was installed as the head of state.

Muritala ran the affairs of Nigeria for approximately less than a year and he was assassinated on Friday 1976 in the street of Lagos. Then Baba Iyabo came in, who did not have an agenda of his own. He mainly executed the agenda of his Boss Muritala. In respect to Muritala he handed over the power to Shagari as Muirtala originally planned it. Shagari ruled from 1979 through 1983, then he was overthrown by Buhari regime as a result of hunger for power. He claimed that Shagari regime was corrupt.

Maradona Babangida overthrew him after he spent two years in office in 1985. He then wanted to stay in a leadership role forever. Babangida changed the status of military head of state to President of Nigeria, instead of head of state he preferred to be called President Babangida. As he is known to be an evil genius when his government became unpopular in the hearts and minds or ordinary Nigerians he knew it was time to go. He played the card. An election was held, one of the fairest elections in the history of Nigeria. Abiola was declared the winner. Babangida however declared the election null and void. This eventually led to the death of Abiola. Shonekan was installed by Babangida who retired all the top officers of the army and left Abacha to followed Shonekan like a hawk.

Shonekan was eventually pushed aside by Abacha and declared himself as the President of Nigeria. He later died in office and interim government was installed until election of Baba Iyabo. After Baba Iyabo, Yaradua was elected as the President of Nigeria. Baba Iyabo hand picked Jonathan Goodluck as a vice President of Yaradua. He died in office GEJ became the President of Nigeria.

Looking at such history, it is clear that each time greed propelled every Nigeria leaders. None of them genuinely went there to lead. They were all self centered and just wanted to taste that office. The only true leader African ever produced, is Mandela that just passed away and Kwame Kuruma of Ghana.

 

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

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