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 [ Masterweb Reports: Jasper Uche reports ] – In my assessment, Simon Kolawole, is one of the most respected and thorough-bred columnists in Nigeria today. I have remained an avid reader and fan of THISDAY Newspaper because of his dispassionate and incisive dissection of national issues, including the likes of Segun Adeniyi, Dele Momodu as well as Eddie Iroh’s periodic interventions. Mr.
Kolawole’s thesis on the Backpage Column of THISDAY of Sunday 16th March 2014 on conflict and underdevelopment with a cursory survey of Abia case is apt and factual. It is an open secret that the political economy of  Abia was hamstrung by a plundering and tiny cabal whose obsession to call the shots, even when there is a substantive Governor, impeded development efforts in Governor Orji’s first tenure. What Kolawole observed about the State Capital, Umuahia is a corroboration of what has been attested by not a few local and international guests that had visited Abia. It is therefore a depiction of corrupt mindset and lack of objectivity, to always assume that a journalist or columnist is compromised whenever he appropriates his platform to eulogize and commend performing public officers.
Be that as it may, Governor Orji had humbly admitted that his first term was the locust years, and fought with every inch of his blood, to extricate himself from the godfather that bled the State to a near-stupor. Throughout the larger part of his first term, Governor Orji almost walked on a razor’s edge. His fate was hung on a precipice as a result of the fierce legal battles to consolidate his mandate and the spirited attempts to discredit Governor Orji by the hirelings of the ‘master strategist’.
True to the prayer of Abians and Ochendo’s gallant pedaling, the fox was eventually chased away and Abians heaved sighs of relief. Governor Orji regained a renewed vigour and unfettered momentum to champion an era of legacies in God’s own state. As observed by Kolawole, Abia witnessed a glorious era of rapprochement with the federal government under Ochendo and it had paid off in multiple dimensions. For the first time since the return to civil rule in 1999, Abia elders, founding fathers and the intelligentsia could sit together and discuss like brothers. It has been made possible because of Governor Orji’s accommodating mien, administrative finesse, uncommon urbanity, and unparalleled capacity to galvanize a pool of talents and human capital resources to restore the State to the mainstream of national affairs and the path of socio-economic development. Perhaps, this feat recently threw up Governor Orji to the Chairmanship of South East Governors' Forum, as Ndigbo needs a leader like him to foster robust consensus and minimize the ‘untamed’ individualism that usually trail the corporate strategic interest of Ndigbo.
One does not need a crystal ball to see and appreciate the multi-faceted gains of the relocation of Isi-Gate Market that occupied the centre of the state capital. And that was what first impressed Kolawole, like every other visitor or passer-by. No modern city can afford to harbour a market in a heart of the town and its nuisance effects, with tumultuous and a long stretch of traffic gridlock routinely asphyxiating the decorum and tranquility of a vintage seat of power. It took a rare political will and constructive engagement with the traders by Governor Orji to successfully relocate the market without litigations and protests. This feat had been the dream of over 70 years and it took a hard-nosed reformer like Ochendo to live up to the challenge. Already, a befitting event centre is sprawling up there. Besides, Governor Orji also decongested the city centre by building and relocating the Umuahia Industrial Market to a more spacious site at Ndume and the Mechanic Village /Auto Spare Parts Market at Club Road to Ohiya, a suburb of the state capital. What Governor Orji had done is like the creative concept  of an architect which is a manifestation of the aesthetic beauty we admire in a finished building.
A visit to Ogurube Layout, Umuahia will indeed confirm that Abia is a huge construction site. Apart from the dual carriage way of Ndume Otuka Bypass that connects Ikot-Ekpene road to Ogurube Layout and the Ochendo Bypass, all built by Governor Orji that connects Bende Road with Ogurube Layout, which can be called the New Umuahia; there is a growing impression of a government that is in a hurry to reposition the state. It is like building the state from the scratch. One of the twin magnificent and the state-of-the-art four-storey secretariats is already occupied by some ministries that had their offices in old colonial buildings and rented office accommodation. The second complex is at the verge of completion. The high-brow area is also the location of the International Conference Centre that is nearing completion, apart from the gigantic JAAC/ASUBEB four-storey buildings that have reached advanced stages. The new government house, modern office block for the state legislators, the Abia State E-Library Complex and the new court buildings at the Judiciary Headquarters are among the new structures being built by the present administration to give the state a sound footing. It is nacceptable that a state of over 20 years was not considered fit for befitting workers secretariat by the successive leaders, and the efforts of the present administration to regain the lost ground is disparaged by quislings and desperate power mongers. In the health sector, Governor Orji built three 100-bed hospital in each of the three geo-political zones in the state. They are located at Okeikpe Ukwa West, Arochukwu and Amachara General Hospital, Umuahia. He also took health facilities to the doorsteps of rural dwellers by building over 250 health centers across the state. He established the Abia State Specialist & diagnostic Hospital, Umuahia with Dialysis and Eye Centers to curb medical tourism and a Diagnostic Centre at the Abia State University Teaching Hospital, Aba. The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria had given approval for training of medical interns at the State Specialist Hospital. 
In the education sector, Governor Orji has completed the construction of three model gigantic one-storey classroom blocks of 28-Room capacity in each of the three senatorial zones in Abia State. For Abia North, it is located at Ovim (Technical) Secondary School, Isuikwuato; for Abia Central, it is located at Government College, Umuahia while the one of Abia South is located at Abayi Girls Secondary School, Aba. The State Universal Basic Education Board which in 2012 received the award of the best managed State Education Board in the South East has reconstructed over 154 classroom blocks in both the primary and secondary schools across the 17 LGAs in the state. Under the directive of the Governor, the Abia State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ASOPADEC) embarked on not only renovation of schools but also carried out other educational programmes. It is on record that Abia students have continued to win laurels in most national competitions. 
Glossing over the evident transformation that is quietly assuming its rightful pride of place in Abia has been the trademark of the sworn enemies of the Governor and their hordes of paid emergency social crusaders. They have consistently twisted the environmental challenges in Aba (which is not the making of Governor Orji) to malign his government. Despite the temporary setback caused by kidnapping of workers at construction sites in Aba, the present administration embarked on the reconstruction and ‘dualization’ of the most strategic road in Aba, the Aba-Owerri Road which was a nightmare before Ochendo came on board. People forget easily! Other roads like Danfodio, Azikiwe, Milverton, Brass/Faulks, Georges, Constitution Crescent were rehabilitated while a completely new access road to the Geometric Power Plant was constructed by Governor Orji.
The huge tonnes of refuse generated in Aba daily are promptly disposed by the State Environmental Agency. It is sad that those who cry on the roof top about Aba today could not do anything for them while they held sway. The perennial and incessant erection of unapproved markets, motor parks, residential buildings, petrol stations and business premises are at the root of the seemingly intractable environmental decay and collapse of public roads in Aba. A recent survey of illegal structures indicated that close to 2000 buildings should be demolished if Aba must return to its original master plan, and also protect the road infrastructure from overbearing pressures of hustling and bustling of the commercial town. Yet Governor Orji has been handling the matter with a human face coupled with well-meaning appeals from members of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA). To buttress our point, we reproduce the interview of Governor Orji’s predecessor in The Source Magazine of July 3, 2006 page 15, where he lamented over what he is today struggling to make a political capital from. Hear him: “Even the roads fixed by the Federal Government from Enugu to Port Harcourt, they spoil every year. If you know the number of vehicles that go into Aba and out…Aba is not only my yardstick, what of Umuahia? Nobody talks about it. Aba is supposed to be a disaster area. It is supposed to be taken over by the Federal Government because the amount of environmental problem that comes out of Aba every day, you can’t equate with any other city in Nigeria, even Lagos. This is because everywhere in Aba is market…”. The same person who granted this interview a few years back is now leading a pack of misguided elements to appear people-friendly. But Abians know their history and antics. One irrefutable fact is that today, Aba enjoys a safe business climate occasioned by Governor Orji’s security architecture. Kidnappings and violent crimes that scared investors and made many people to relocate from the city have been stamped out. The security tending apparatus is also sustained and that is Governor Orji’s intangible but greatest legacy. Indeed, conflict is development repellent as espoused by Kolawole.
Jasper Uche reports from Umuahia, Abia State.
*Photo Caption – As seen.

 [ Masterweb Reports: Charles Ajunwa reports ] – On Sunday March 9, 2014, the South East Governors' Forum (SEGF) reached another milestone in its existence as a rallying point for the governors of the five states that constitute the South-east geo-political zone. A thunderous ovation had greeted the announcement of Governor T.A. Orji of Abia State as the new chairman of South East Governors' Forum after a meeting of the forum at Enugu, the regional capital of the South-east. Days after the change of baton the ovation is still resonating. It is a pointer to the fact that the choice of the visionary and hard working Governor of Abia to pilot the affairs of the Forum enjoyed a wide acceptance. Even the usually critical media practitioners could not help but applaud the South-east governors for their choice when Governor Peter Obi broke the cheering news to them. The newsmen that covered the SEGF meeting were moved to join the joyous throng, given that the new chairman of the SEGF is a man they know has already proved his mettle as a quality leader.
  The smooth transition is commendable. In deed, the South-east governors silenced the prophets of doom who had predicted that the change of leadership of the SEGF would be chaotic and stormy. They had even gone to their rumour mill to spin out falsehood about the failure of the SEGF to agree on who should succeed Governor Obi as chairman. But while they were anxiously waiting for the South-east Governors to fail in their bid to choose a new chairman, the naysayers were roundly proved wrong with the maturity and high sense of responsibility with which the Governors conducted the transition process. It was devoid of rancour. There was no expression of primordial sectional sentiments. The transition process was as smooth as silk. Governor Orji enjoyed the trust and confidence of his colleagues hence they unanimously agreed to give him the mantle of leadership.
  For those who have been following the political and leadership trajectory of Abia State Governor, Chief T.A. Orji, his choice to lead the SEGF was not a surprise. Here is a man whose political maturity reaction to national issues has propelled him beyond the confines of God’s Own State where he is the chief executive. In fact, it is no longer news that Governor Orji has become a strong and respected voice at the national level.
This much was pointed out by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku , when he came to Umuahia last month to inaugurate one of Ochendo's Legacy Projects, the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State (BCA). A 48-room ultra modern office complex. The minister had attributed Governor Orji’s rising profile to his sterling performance, which has made the people of Abia,  the Presidency and the national leadership of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be very proud of him. It is therefore a wise decision on the part of the South-east Governors that one of them whose voice and opinion is respected at the national level should take the lead.
In his characteristic humility, Governor T.A. Orji has accepted the additional responsibility placed on his shoulders. He has also acknowledged that the task before him “is enormous”. But he remains unfazed by the new responsibility. As a man of courage and wisdom he has assured that he would not be overwhelmed by the task of leading his people. He has continued to prove it since 2007 when he mounted the saddle of leadership in Abia State. As a team player he knows that he would not succeed alone and has therefore called for the cooperation of not only his colleagues but every segment of the South-east zone. Yes, Governor T.A. Orji is a leader who understands and applies the popular aphorism that when a man dreams alone he becomes a dreamer but when he dreams with others he becomes an achiever. His predecessor, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State had enjoyed full cooperation of the Governors since 2007 when the leadership of the SEGF fell on him. It is noteworthy that the SEGF operated without rancour and bickering and ego contest that was the case before Obi took over. It is therefore expected that such brotherly atmosphere would continue to prevail under the new leadership of Governor T.A Orji.
  Good enough the new chairman of SEGF has hit the ground running. Governor T.A. Orji has set out his priorities right. He said that he would work hard to bring to reality the elusive economic cooperation of the states of the South-east zone. The clamour for the economic integration of the component states of the South-east zone has been on since the formation of the South East Governors Forum. Proponents of the South-east economic integration are of the view that it would enable the component states to tackle common development challenges by pooling resources together  and investing in such areas as power, waste management, education, infrastructure, among others through a jointly owned investment company. This could be made possible through a jointly owned investment company like the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation (ENDC) that used to be the investment arm of the defunct Eastern Region. In making economic cooperation of South-east states a priority issue Governor Orji believes that it is possible for the zone to have a common investment portfolio. As a man synonymous with legacy projects the Abia Governor said that the five states of the South-east could pull their resources together and execute projects that would be of mutual economic benefit to the zone and serve as a lasting legacy for the people.
   Another priority area the new SEGF Chairman has set as his area of focus is to ensure that the South-east will remain united, cohesive and to speak with one voice as has been the case since 2007 when Obi took over as chairman. Governor T.A. Orji is a man of peace and he always craves for peaceful environment and strives hard to create it. It could be recalled that he inherited a highly polarized Abia State where the political elites were fighting among themselves due to the divide and rule policies of the past administration which was laced with injustice and enthronement of mediocrity, and disrespect to elders. But on assumption of office Governor Orji set himself to the task of reconciling all the Abia political elites and today they speak with one voice. All the centripetal and centrifugal forces tearing Abia apart and stagnating its growth have disappeared.
  No doubt Ochendo would apply his healing balm in making the South-east to be united and speak with one voice. This has become more urgent as the Nigerian nation commences the process of holding a national conference where each zone of the country would table its demands and expectations for the emergence of a truly united, strong nation where peace and justice would reign. Good enough, Governor Orji has said that he would galvanize the South-east zone to cooperate with other zones of the country on issues that would promote peace, equity and justice and development of the country, citing the issue of insecurity in the North-east and the forthcoming national conference. Having placed his hands on the ploughshare of leading the South East Governors Forum, there is no looking back for Chief T.A. Orji. It therefore behoves on his brother governors, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the political elites across the South-east zone irrespective of political leanings, and indeed every Igbo man and woman to give maximum support to the new chairman of the SEGF to work for the peace and progress of the zone.
Ajunwa is Chief Press Secretary to the Executive Governor of Abia State.

*Photo Caption – Governor Theodore Orji

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. SKC Ogbonnia reports ] – The news of Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu leading the Igbo delegation to the forthcoming national conference is, as expected, triggering a worldwide condemnation. Such appointment, if true, is not only the height of betrayal, it has the potential to destroy the credibility of the confab. General Ike Nwachukwu is a quintessential saboteur, whose only claim to fame is orchestrating genocide against his own people. Simply put, while some bad may lead to good, and even as Nigeria’s main religions preach forgiveness, bestowing this honor on Nwachukwu is the moral equivalence of Christians extolling Judas Iscariot over Jesus.
Why is the Igbo memory so short? What do we tell our fallen heroes, who must be roaring in their graves at the nature of this appointment—an act completely rooted in selfish interests? A leader of the Igbo delegation must not be someone with questionable characters; and Ike Nwachukwu, a Sabo, falls far short of the desired standard.  
Notice that we have made this mistake of trusting General Nwachukwu in the recent past. Lest we forget, when he was marshaled into the senate in 1999 to represent Abia North, some saw it as an opportunity to lend the perceived wazobia connections toward development in Igboland or even in his senatorial constituency, but he did just the opposite.  Further, while running for president in 2003 under NDP, a party supposedly floated by Ibrahim Babangida, Senator Nwachukwu would also boast of being able to capitalize on the inter-tribal background to gain ground, but outcome remains an embarrassing failure.
What is going on? What is the problem with Igbos?
The answer is quite simple: there seems to be no consequences for bad behavior in Igboland nowadays. This cannot continue. This abomination of imposing the likes of Nwachukwu on the people will not (and should not) be condoned in any culture. Definitely not in Nigeria—not the North or the West! The Yourubas, for instance, have not forgiven (and may never forgive) their sons who, they believed, sabotaged June 12 by serving in Abacha regime (e.g., Lateef Jakande, Olu Onaguruwa, Ebenezar Babatope, and so forth) let alone someone whose sabotage maimed and killed his own people.

To demonstrate that they still matter, Igbo pressure groups (particularly Ohaneze and World Igbo Congress) and Igbo political leaders must act quickly to stop this appointment on its tracks.
Dr. SKC Ogbonnia
Houston, Texas

Specially copied:

        Dr. Humphrey Ihejirika, President, Igbo Peoples Congress, Houston, Texas
        Engr. Joe Eto, Chairman, World Igbo Congress
        Chief Gary Enwo-Igariwey, President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo
        Chief Pius Anyim, Secretary to Federal Government, Nigeria
        Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President
        Chief Theodore Orji, Chairman, South East Governor's Forum
        Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria
*Photo Caption - Ike Omar Sanda Nwachukwu

[ Masterweb Reports: Ogbueshi Nnolim reports ] – I am a Deltan who was brought up in Enugu, schooled in Nsukka, and had business calls in Onitsha and Aba cities. I am not ashamed of my Igbo origin and connection and feel very disturbed when the Igbos are in the news for the wrong reasons. Governor Okorocha’s declarations at Igbozurume Unity Center during the international colloquium on Igbo Question in Enugu, as reported by the Daily Sun of Wednesday, March 12, should not be left untouched. It had enough diction merely to capture attention, but too bad to make changes fundamentally. If Igbos are not united as he claimed, what has he done to unite them or foster peace from his micro unit of the Governor’s forum? If peace seemed elusive, what has he done?
The examples and citation of Oduduwa and Arewa suggest that he lacks knowledge about these bodies. I may be forced to ask, have they been without their problems? Or are they perfect and so exemplary? The Awolowo- Akintola divide is still a potent factor in Yoruba politics. The series of coups in the military were northerners against northerners- Gowon, Murtala, Shagari, Buhari. How long ago did Buhari forgive Babangida? Sociologists posit that society is made up of conflicts and consensus, so there is no big deal in brothers quarreling, rather, the issue is making up. So what is he talking about?
His claim of Igbo being Hebrew is neither here nor there. Are there anthropological or scientific evidence backing it or mere claims of religious apostates who want to be noticed or hungry professors who want easy emigration to the State of Israel? This is certainly the   howlings of uninformed persons. Ohaneze is a rallying point for the Igbos. Remember how Odimegwu Ojukwu was challenged when he picked up the tag of Ezeigbo Gburugburugru. Ikemba used different fora to explain such suggested irredentist monarchy. In one of such interviews, he stated that his kingdom was not physical but one that should exist in the minds of Ndigbo. Mind you, the saying that ‘Igbo Enweze’ is a time-told–truth.
For Igbos and their republican nature, decisions have been taken at Nzuko of Elders which is what Ohaneze is all about. Remember that the representative legislature which has evolved to world-level is indigenous to the Igbos. As stated in many history books, civilization started in Africa and if properly investigated, this classical model presently adopted may have its origin from Igbo land. Igbos may disagree to reach consensus but we are never at war. To some extent, Okorocha’s statement may be inflammatory only aimed at starting a problem where it does not exist.
Come to think of it, Okorocha should take an introspection examining himself, because he has been the least in consensus with Igbo leaders and his fellow Governors. If viewed critically with statistics, he had been more absent from the South East Governor’s forum than anyone else. Ndigbo are not schoolboys to take unnecessary bashing from Okorocha and his muffler wearing converts.
Ogbueshi Nnolim reports from Oshimili LGA, Delta State.
*Photo Caption – Governor Rochas Okorocha

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety has perused the released list of 492 delegates to the National Conference and insisted that the four CSO slots for the Southeast geopolitical zone were hijacked by Abuja and Lagos based CSO activists. That out of the four names: Olisa Agbakoba (Lagos based), Ibuchukwu Ezike (Lagos based), Festus Okoye (Kaduna based) and Ezenwa Nwangwu (Abuja based), drawn from the zone, none is residing and operating in the zone, is a clear case in point. This is a gross injustice to groups and individuals working tirelessly and in risk environment on human rights and pro-democracy advancement in the zone. No activists understand the social, economic, cultural and political challenges in the Southeast zone than those resident and working in the zone. The zone is also the most dangerous environment to work on in matters of advancement of human rights and democracy, which is one of the major reasons why our brothers and sisters in diasporan activism ran away and abandoned it to decay and degrade. That our brothers and sisters in diaspora found their names in the delegates’ list cannot stop us from saying what is obviously indisputable. From the facts on the ground, most of the 24 names included in the delegates’ list by Federal Government, especially four picked on behalf of Southeast CSO, are a product of “Abuja connection”. This is because the names were randomly picked in an Abuja meeting without consulting groups and their leaders in........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] – Many of us have been inspired by the speech given by a former Minister, and co-founder of Transparency International, Ms Obiageli (Oby) Ezekwesili a.k.a. “Madam due process,” at the APC summit which held in Abuja, March 6th, 2014. I will put my full support behind her or any candidate like her for the Presidency of Nigeria in 2015. A particular line reverberates in my mind. In “The Uncomfortable Truth…,” she quoted George Orwell who said, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. Indeed, the truth sets you free. I hope we can all be revolutionists in this sense. I hope we can all be brave enough to speak the truth whether we fear that we stand to be negatively impacted by so doing.
To summarily explain the perhaps controversial heading of this piece; I categorically assert that as long as Nigeria is a single nation, and as long as life, the most valuable resource, of one part belongs to all, all other resource belongs to all. This is part of what ‘nation’ means. Bayelsa oil belongs to Jigawa (too) because Jigawa blood is spilled in Bayelsa. Saying, “It is my oil” is treasonable until and unless Nigeria splits up.
If Nigerian youth from Jigawa can be a part of the nation’s army and be drafted to fight and die in the creeks of the Niger Delta. If Nigerians from Bayelsa can be a part of the nation’s army and be drafted to go and die in the deserts of Borno, then all that is in and from the soil of each of these parts belongs equally to all these youth. The gold of Zamfara belongs to all; so also the oil of Rivers belongs to all.
The most valuable resource of any nation is its human capital. As long as Nigeria remains a nation, and its government and security services are constituted of peoples of all parts called to make the ultimate sacrifice of fighting for and dying for the nation and regions within the nation, all other less valuable resources should belong to all the people. It is treacherous and evil to propose that the national army can die to protect your region, but that its members do not have rights to the life supporting resources in same regions; treasonably wrong and evil.
A truth encountered is that many of those who profess extreme ethnicism or tribalism and fight the loudest for "regionalism" and resource ownership are the first to throw away their “tribe” when they travel abroad. These are the ones you see in America who tell their kids not to speak “language,” because they want them Americanized and not to have “accent.” The same with some who go to Arabia and suddenly become more “Arab” than Arabians themselves. We know much of this is due to poverty, desperation and is sheer hypocrisy, however unless an opening for true conciliation is made, things will only keep getting worse. There is a fundamental problem that must be addressed.
More Nigerian troops and security officers have died in the north and the creeks in the last five years under the current administration than any similar period since the civil war. We read of troops ambushed and slaughtered in the creeks and these are young men from all over Nigeria. Likewise we have read of police men ambushed and killed by Ombatse and soldiers and police slaughtered by Boko Haram. Do we in our individual regions deny these men of our resource while we employ them to die for us in our or ‘foreign’ regions?
Those who read my thoughts know full well that I as an individual am interested and a staunch proponent of regionalism with the possibility of more elaborate disintegration if the people so desire. Whatever will rid the nation of its monstrous corruption, lack of opportunity, the cabal grip on all sustenance and the worsening insecurity and terrorism, is a go for me. The missing billions today finances global terrorism. We urgently must get out of this state of anarchy where no region is safe, not even the President’s own village. Some of us don’t have millions of dollars to offer kidnappers.
Today the north of Nigeria is one of the poorest places in the entire world. Poverty indices are as high as 87% in some regions living below the poverty line. The candid truth is that the average northerner benefits naught from the oil resource abundant in the South. Compared to its northern neighbors, the north of Nigeria is so much poorer. Nearby Mali and Chad have poverty levels in the fifties compared to north Nigeria where poverty is in the eighties. In contrast, Southern states have poverty levels as low as 20%. It has been only the cabal, north and south who have benefited from the oil wealth of the nation. Regionalism will give local leaders a responsibility to ensure the well-being of their people or risk quick and swift rebellion and expulsion. Today, they hide under and blame others and the ‘nation’ for their greed and failure to lift-up their communities.
If Nigeria is to remain as one nation, it should in my view have regions—erroneously dissolved by Aguiyi Ironsi with Decree No. 34 of 1966—reinstituted. I also believe the Parliamentary system of governance, also erroneously replaced with the Presidential, during the Obasanjo first regime, should be brought back. The parliamentary system works better for multi-ethnic nations, as can be seen in similar India; and with this system, the entire 168 million citizens do not war over who is to become President, and only focus on people they know and elect as their local representatives who then select the President from among them in the Parliament. This will not only save cost, but reduce ethnic tension and political financed violence.
But as long as we are one single nation, our lives are risked and sacrificed for each other and so also must our resources be the property of one and all. Boko Haram terror is sponsored by oil money. Why should the people of Bama suffer at the mercy of terrorists being fed fat by the nation’s oil money, but not be re-built from same oil money? Already the average northerner on the streets benefits practically nothing from the oil wealth of the nation, other than what they pay to buy of it at the pump at a price above the global mean.
If regionalism is restored, the people of each region will constitute their own armies who will die for them and the people of each region will be forced to support their own economies, with the center not taking more than a few percent from each region, and then to each will belong his resource.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: ) reports.
*Photo Caption – Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states.

[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the suspended and victimized Nigeria's apex bank chief is already my man of the year for 2013- he has oscillated from my enemy to my friend, my whistle-blower and my hero. In Nigeria where religious and tribal sentiments have beclouded our reasoning that we do not see anything good in someone from another tribe, religion, political party or ideological leaning, it is not surprising to close associates that I have failed to crucify Sanusi the manner the $20 billion dollar oil thieves and their ethnically and religiously brainwashed followers wanted.
Sanusi represents many things in Nigeria. In an earlier piece “Presidential Victimization of Sanusi and the treasonable theft of $20 billion dollars’, I posited that “To many persons, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi represents many things-To majority of Christians in Nigeria, he is a religious fundamentalist who wanted to impose Islamic Banking on the nation. To some Churches, he is the villain who ordered the freezing of the accounts on accounts of terrorism. To some indigenes of Southern parts of Nigeria, he is a suspected Boko Haram sponsor. To the Kano Citizens, he is the Best successor to the throne of the Emirship of Kano. To International investors, he restored confidence in the Nigerian economy. To stock brokers, he maintained stability in the stock exchange market. To business men, he controlled inflation and brought it to all time low in many years. To corrupt bankers, he is the demon who is worse than the EFCC, seeking to retrieve money that is not his father’s .To PDP politicians; he is the Lucifer who wants to stop the accumulation of funds to prosecute the 2015 presidential elections. To financially aware depositors, he is the champion who ensured that every fund they deposited in any bank in Nigeria is always available on demand even at huge cost to national treasury”.
Sanusi is my enemy because he donated CBN money to the tune of N100 million naira to victims of Boko Haram in Kano  while abandoning that of other states especially from South East of Nigeria- he could have extended same to others.
Sanusi is my enemy because while he was proposing his Islamic Bank (which I am not against), he should have given force to our proposals for a Christian Bank.
Sanusi is my enemy because during his tenure as CBN chief, he reserved most plum jobs for his tribesmen to the detriment of other equally competent persons from the rest of the country.
Sanusi is my enemy because he mischievously blocked bank accounts of many churches in Nigeria whilst seeking for sponsors of Boko Haram.
Sanusi is however my friend because he dealt with monarchical bank chiefs who bled the Nigerian economy with sharp practices, enriching their pockets at the expense of genuine business credit administration.
Sanusi is my friend because he frowned at the huge cost of maintaining government establishments especially the National Assembly while  leaving little for capital development.
Sanusi is my friend because he maintained the stability of the naira especially at the time thieving government officials at the federal and state levels are illegally transferring over $25 billion dollars annually at great cost to capital retention in the economy.
Sanusi is my friend because he used federal reserves to shore up bank reserves of distressed banks, thereby giving Nigerian depositors ultra-caste protection and restoring confidence in the banking system.
Sanusi is my friend because while hiding the identity of certain religious leaders, he attacked their acts of aiding and abetting corrupt practices among the banking communities in Nigeria.
Sanusi is my hero because led or (misled) the international community to believe that poverty is largely responsible for militancy in the north-thereby effectively drawing international sympathy to his northern brothers- something our Igbo politicians are too timid to do.
Sanusi is my hero because he exposed the level of rot among the governors of South South region who stole their states blind and enriched banks and businesses in the US and Europe- while leaving their people in poverty.
Sanusi is my whistle blower because he refused to be bribed, settled or intimidated into stomaching a monumental corruption that can cause $ 20 billion dollars (N3.6 trillion naira) to disappear in just eighteen months under his constitutional oversight. He sided with the Nigerian people instead of the looters.
I have said it at different public forums that an Igbo man who used his influence to attract $ 1 billion dollars of national cake to develop the South East is far better than one who stole $ 10 billion dollars and reserved it for his family in a foreign bank. Sanusi’s intervention fund favored the north more than the south. He is better than other government officials who embezzled hundreds of billions for the benefits of their family while abandoning the rest of the north in poverty.
Sansusi in my view is not as bad as people tried to portray him. He has a rare courage lacking in most establishment critics.  He understands the level of poverty of his people and knew what to do to help them, hence his Islamic Bank. However, the manner the bank was presented to the public was very offensive and attracted enemies. Sanusi was looking for sponsors of Boko Haram and asked banks to blocked accounts of some churches till they meet certain suspicious guidelines. I found that act irritating, thus when my fellow senior Christian clerics ordered me to rescue the situation, I carefully released a report on the issue causing the apex bank to refreeze churches accounts within 24 hours.
Were Sanusi to be Igbo, with his abrasive adamancy, the entire world would have known that some blood thirsty Nigerians murdered 2 million Igbos unjustly, and probably the international community would have forced the Nigerian State to pay reparations in trillions of naira. Were he to be Igbo, probably a new Niger Bridge, Onitsha Sea Port and Umuahia International Airport would wither have been built or nearing completion stages.
 Sanusi occasionally exhibits official recklessness, which in itself could be irritating. However, his official recklessness equally saved the banking industry, stabilized the naira, reduced inflation and exposed monumental corruption. Let us see Sanusi through lens devoid of tribal sentiments or religious animosity and many could agree that Sanusi could be an enemy, a friend, a hero and a whistle blower all rolled into one.
 Obinna Akukwe ( Email: ) reports.
 *Photo Caption – Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

[ Masterweb Reports: SKC Ogbonia reports ] – One of the earliest lessons I learned from my father, Ilogebe Ogbonnia, the Ikeoha, is that a habit of excuses is an existential catalyst for failure. Nowhere is this adage more evident than the attitude of Nigerian opposition parties toward the Independent National Election Commission (INEC). Perhaps it is no longer news that the INEC has been the common excuse for failures in the different elections in the Fourth Republic. But with the 2015 general elections around the corner, and even in midst of efforts in the National Assembly to amend electoral laws, recent events show that the opposition is already positioning a fore excuse for another failure.
 This problem is rooted on the long-standing scape-goating of the different chairmen of the Nigerian electoral body and its officials. Even though such excuse is genuine, it masks an inner foolishness for the opposition not to have recognized that expecting a commission fully controlled by a partisan executive arm of the government to produce free and fair elections is no different from perceiving a stench as an aroma.
 The case of Maurice Iwu, the chairman of Independent National Election Commission (INEC) in the controversial elections of 2007 is still fresh in our memory. In the eyes of the opposition, Professor Maurice Iwu was the problem and the problem was Professor Iwu. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan obliged and swiftly replaced Iwu with Attahiru Jega, another radical professor, then generally hailed as the Election Messiah. Yet, after 2011 elections, we are back to square one. According to Muhammadu Buhari of CPC, the main opponent of President Jonathan in the 2011 elections. 

What happened in this year’s elections eclipsed all the other elections in the depth and scope of forgery and rigging. Initially there were high hopes that after 2003 and 2007 a semblance of electoral propriety would be witnessed. The new chairman of INEC, Professor Jega, was touted as competent and a man of integrity. He has proved neither. (As quoted in Vanguard Newspaper, December 28, 2011)

For the national chairman of the then frontline opposition party, Action Congress of Nigeria, Bisi Akande:

The intention of the INEC was to have it right, but what you see is total manipulation particularly by the security agencies and the lower level of INEC staff because the PDP induced people with plenty of money. They managed to use money to manipulate the INEC officials at the lower level of the commission and they used them to intimidate and to falsify the results of the election. (As quoted in Daily Sun, April 15, 2011)

To cap it all, after the 2014 Anambra governorship election, widely seen as the pretest of Nigeria’s general elections of 2015, the opposition (including PDP in this case) also accused the INEC of colluding with security agents to rig the elections in favor of the state ruling APGA. The PDP candidate, Tony Nwonye, had this to say: 

Since the history of elections, I have always known of a conspiracy by incumbents, but this one by Peter Obi is monumental. I have never seen an election where the security agent and the INEC collude to subdue other political parties. (As quoted in Daily Post, November 17, 2013)

This sweeping rebuke of INEC by the political elites is a rude awakening. The inmost gist is that the problem has gone nowhere despite the replacement of a distinguished professor with another. It apparently explains why a broad spectrum of observers has continued to ridicule the degree of the mass ignorance. A maverick senator, Arthur Nzeribe, jumpstarted the debate by arguing that the serial attempts to focus solely on the perceived individual abilities of the chairman rather than the nucleus of the problem was height of hypocrisy (This Day, January 26, 2009). An unbiased umpire, the Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah followed by cautioning that the mere replacement of Maurice Iwu, the individual, would not always guarantee free and fair elections in the future—noting that, "the very fact that we say we are looking for a person of integrity does not mean that anybody that gets there would not become a crook" (As quoted in Sunday Guardian, March 29, 2009). And Professor Okon Uya, a former chairman of National Electoral Commission, would later place the matter exactly how and where it belongs: There is no gainsaying that a leader with deep sense of independence and fairness is desirable for the headship of the electoral commission, but the success of any election is far beyond the ability of a single individual (Daily Sun, February 28, 2011).
 Unless it is enmeshed in sheer amnesia, these incisive viewpoints were sufficient to have provoked the opposition to think otherwise. After all, virtually all heads of Nigeria’s electoral commission in history have been men with outstanding pedigrees before appointment. That is, even if the president is to appoint a given chairman that is most credible, who checkmates him or her to ensure that the real goals and objectives of the electoral commission are being fulfilled? Other than the national chairman, who are the other electoral officers at the national and zonal levels, in the states, local governments, wards, and in the polling booths?  How credible, how efficient, and how independent are these electoral officers? Who are the contractors and other personnel vested with the responsibility of providing the logistics for the elections? How independent and neutral are the security agents and Judiciary in the process of these Nigerian elections?  A review of the last Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) suggests that some of these questions might have been hovering in the minds of its members when they recommended among other things the following: a) the National Judicial Council should appoint the chairman b) the commission should include members of independent organizations, such as the Labor Union or the News-Media. While those considerations have their merits, the question remains: who are these individuals that would work hand in hand with the chairman—agents of the ruling party or the opposition? How will the so-called National Judicial Council be different from judges or other electoral agents who are always manipulated by the party in power? How many truly independent members of the Labor Union or the News-Media are there to recruit? How many independent NLC or pressmen are available and can abandon their jobs to man the over 120,000 polling booths? It is true that INEC eventually recruited members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as Ad-hoc staff in the 2011 elections, but how can such susceptible inexperienced staff (usually in their mid-twenties) not be easily intimidated and influenced by powerful party agents and money bags at the polling booths as were alleged in the pilot exercise of 2011? Another scheme used in the 2011 elections was the deployment of highly placed university professors as Resident Electoral Commissioners. But does the opposition expect these university dons to be so different from most failed politicians, who had also distinguished themselves in previous careers before turning to politics? How do they expect that the university recruits would not be wholly subservient to the ruling parties at the states where their universities are located? 
 Any honest answer to any of these endless questions will reveal that while the INEC and its various personnel might have role to play in the different electoral malpractices, it smacks of crass ignorance on part of the opposition to act as if one needs to be told that the outcomes of most national elections (particularly 2003, 2007, and 2011 polls) were fait accompli—far determined even before the electoral officials began their job. A former Chief Justice of Nigeria and the chairman of the 2008 Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), Mohammed Uwais had alluded to this irony when he remarked that the hoopla about free and fair elections without creating the enabling conditions was pure baloney (Nigerian Guardian, December 1, 2010). Common sense dictates that the emphasis ought to have been on creating a truly independent electoral commission before discussing elections. Yet, the opposition did nothing and still doing nothing serious toward producing a reliable electoral body.
 To improve the system, particularly with the current debate on electoral reform in the legislature, the opposition parties should without further delay compel President Goodluck Jonathan to truly support changes to the electoral commission in two important ways:
 First is to create a commission composed representatives from the ruling party and the opposition. A structure with members drawn from the ruling parties and representatives of truly qualified opposition parties at the different levels of government will strengthen the needed checks and balances within the commission itself. It has the potential to facilitate the enabling environment for effective leadership of the commission, ensure and sustain true independence throughout the width and breadth of the commission, and guarantee fairness to the parties involved.  To abridge the inherent partisanship, the proposed structure can be augmented with a select few drawn from the civil society: the Nigerian Labor Congress, NYSC, Judiciary; and the security agents. In simple terms, the qualified political parties themselves should submit members with clear party affiliations to the new council. The central idea is that the different phases of the election from top leadership to other areas, including but not limited to handling and distribution of election materials, accreditation, supervision, voting, collation, tabulations and declarations (or cancellations) of results—from the national level to polling stations—must be guarded and managed by an election team with full view and representation of members of qualified parties. This approach can forestall the likelihood of situations where, in absence of opposition party agents, the INEC and its leadership connive with the ruling or favored party to manipulate electoral outcomes. The proposal parallels the position of the main opposition party in the 2007 election, the All Nigeria’s Peoples Party (ANPP), where it’s National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Enenkwu, canvassed for members of the different political parties to be included in the leadership of INEC (Champion Newspaper, August 24, 2007). The objective fact here is that true independence or neutrality is far beyond the mere appointment of a national chairman; it is more attainable in an environment that deters or checkmates the group or individual from acting otherwise. Also important, the council members or the observers of elections in the different poll stations should be recruited from the immediate communities where their antecedents are better-known.
 Second, given that most individual elections in Nigeria are already being financed through looted funds from government treasury; similar to the McCain-Feingold in the United States of America, without the choice for individual contributions, Nigeria should adopt full public funding for inter-party elections. Thank God that this proposal will not be burdened by the number of parties as once imagined. The opposition is now gradually evolving to the desired two-party structure after finally realizing that multiplicity of parties was a pyrrhic victory in the first place. Even more, in absence of a two-party structure, to frustrate political merchants who would like to capitalize on the loopholes of the government funding, more stringent conditions should be set for registration as well as participation of parties in elections. 
 Alternatively or simultaneously, the opposition should ensure that that the proposed Cashless Policy is fully implemented and INEC strengthened to enforce extant laws on campaign finance. For instance, despite the fact that the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Acts of 2002, 2006, and 2010 stipulated specific guidelines for campaign finance and attendant penalties, neither Presidents Goodluck Jonathan, Umaru Yar’Adua, nor President Olusegun Obasanjo before them could account for the tens of billions of naira sunk into their respective political campaigns. 
 Of course, there has been some musings here and there on the issue of excessive use of money and its source, with aggrieved parties occasionally hollering, but none of the political parties or individuals has registered any solid official complaint—either because of their own culpability or the simple truth that INEC is not designed to implement the relevant campaign laws ab initio. Not even the Nigeria's promising news media, known for free and sensational journalism, could charge their searchlights when it comes to campaign finance. No one was or is authoritatively asking: How did President Goodluck Jonathan and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar source the funds to openly “settle” the delegates who voted for them in the epic 2011 PDP presidential primary election?  What is the source of money Jonathan used to prosecute his cross-country campaign while his opponents were stalled to their regional enclaves? Conversely, how in the world did an ex-police commissioner, Nuhu Ribadu, suddenly land the money to offset his campaign bills? Just wait…
 To make matters worse, the very commission entrusted with monitoring electoral finance is notoriously nonchalant with this important responsibility. In fact, the current Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, had to confess that even though the Electoral Act empowers it to monitor sources and nature of funding, the “INEC does not even have a desk that handles campaign financing” (As quoted in Vanguard Newspaper, May 8, 2011). While this utter negligence was enough to have provoked a guided mass action, the Nigerian opposition seems to have coolly joined the chorus. The following proclamation by Nuhu Ribadu, the presidential candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria, and a former corruption czar, is an exclamation point: “I won’t bother myself with the integrity of politicians that will fund my campaign. I will take corrupt politician’s money for my campaign as far as the money is not put in my pocket” (As quoted in Vanguard Newspaper, March 20, 2011). The most annoying aspect is that some of Ribadu’s major donors were ex-governors who were indicted for looting state treasury under the watchful eyes of the same Ribadu. Besides, the very thought of the opposition competing to outdo a ruling party with looted funds is not only height of hypocrisy but also of infamy.
 The opposition apologists are expected to roar back here with another excuse. They will cling on the reigning Nigerian political value system which readily insinuates that the opposition leaders have to find any means necessary to gain power first before demonstrating the perceived sense of prudence. But such thinking ought to be quashed once and for all: A simple scan of history in the Fourth Republic profoundly reveals that the success of the opposition in different elections across the country has never been because of superior financial power over ruling parties. This should in no way be misconstrued as saying that money has no role to play. None of that! In fact, money is as important to politics as water is to fish, but there are better ways of raising money than queuing at the domains of rogue politicians. And make no mistake about this: The Nigerian masses may be down but they are definitely not out. We have not yet forgotten that corrupt military brigade that funded President Olusegun Obasanjo’s elections enjoyed immunity while he was in power. The masses still remember that President Umaru Yar’Adua’s disinclination to investigate clear cases of corruption by his predecessor and some ex-governors is attributed to the source of funds used in ushering him (Yar’Adua) to power. Ditto President Goodluck Jonathan. But given that opposition leaders also accept looted funds from government treasury, how and why should the masses then view them as credible alternatives? The answer is that the whole world is tired of what is going on. We are very tired and afraid that the power struggles is to replace existing leaders with others whose visions would not be different from those of their predecessors. 
 Perhaps the opposition could drop one final mundane excuse: President Jonathan would not yield to pragmatic changes to INEC. Although recent events may prove otherwise, but should the president dare toe that path, the opposition should courageously boycott the 2015 elections, and the masses will and should follow. This approach is so potent because, apart from the fact that Jonathan would not like to end as an Abacha monocrat; continuing to engage in elections with predetermined results is a mindless waste of national resources. Further, unless you have not been following, Goodluck Jonathan is very accommodating—probably the kindest president ever. He is kind to the good—and probably kinder to the bad. But while the latter have already capitalized to accomplish their sole objective of milking the country dry, and without qualms; the former (particularly the opposition) is caught moping—continuing to fail to take advantage of the unique kindness to provide a viable alternative to the masses.
  Very daringly, his humble look notwithstanding, President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is no man’s fool. This man who went to school without shoes knows very well that even as he truly means well for the ordinary people, and should; the leadership crisis is tipping the critical threshold for revolution, and the political logic of resisting change no longer favors him. Jonathan can remember vividly that blind leadership made it possible for mere clandestine organizations to dethrone the military power. The man can also recall that stern opposition with unity of purpose rubbished Obasanjo’s third term ambition as well as his legacy. More poignantly, the president is quite aware that any effort in Nigeria similar to Arab Spring will not only doom him for life but will also gain worldwide support. Thusly, the brother is wise enough to grasp that a change through civil opposition is by far a safer alternative. The problem is the failure of the opposition to read the mood of both the president and the people they are hoping to lead. This problem is squarely a lack of a dynamic opposition party—one that is visionary, focused, capable of differentiating itself from the ruling party, capable of providing the desired checks and balances toward effective national leadership; and ready, willing, and able to replace the party in power. 

SKC Ogbonia, Ph.D. ( Email: ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Governor Chief Theodore Orji

[ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – Whether President Goodluck Jonathan decides to victimize, sack or prosecute Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Nigeria’s sacked Central Bank Chief, the truth is that a $20 billion dollar theft has been exposed and the sheer size of the theft is treasonable, especially with 80 million people living below $10 dollars daily.

$20 billion dollars have been stolen, hoarded, hidden and unremitted by some officials of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) with the connivance of some elements within the presidency. I have made case in the earlier piece released just before Sanusi’s suspension titled ‘Jonathan, Sanusi, NNPC and the missing ( Stolen) $20 billion Dollars ‘ that “those who connived to withhold the $20 billion dollars include Christians from the Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, White Garment and Pentecostal folds. They also include Muslims from Shia sect, Sunni sect, NASFAT, Boko Haram sect and all groups calling on God or Allah to protect them from the wicked ranting of impoverished unfortunate countrymen about to challenge their divine $ 20 billion dollar breakthrough”.

 All these attempts to tag a N163 billion naira, ( $1 billion dollar) accusations of wasteful and unauthorized spending  on Sansui’s head is an attempt to sweep the issue of the stolen billions into the carpet. To cover up a treasonable theft of $20 billion dollars, a kite of reckless use of $ 1 billion dollars was flown about. In 2012 when Hon Farouk Lawan Committee of the lower parliament exposed the theft of $10 billion dollars (N1.7 trillion naira) of petroleum products paid for without being supplied to the Nigerian people, the agents and friends of government pursued Lawan with corruption until they trapped him with bribery of $1 million dollars, and that was how a theft of $ 10 Billion dollars was forgotten.

The House of Representatives have confirmed that Nigeria loses $5 billion dollars to oil theft annually. According to the Chairman of the House ad-hoc Committee on Crude Oil Theft, Bashir Adamu, “The level of oil theft is alarming and of grave concern to stakeholders”.. “Illegal bunkering has caused Nigeria to lose an estimated $5 billion (N780 billion) yearly, amounting to $400 billion since Nigeria’s independence. “Statistics show that a total of 350,000 barrels per day was lost to illegal bunkering in 2012, representing an increase of 45 per cent over the figure of 2011, and 67 per cent over that of 2010, while the trend for 2013 is even more alarming”.  In Jonathan’s tenure since 2010, it amounts to $20 billion dollars in 4 years. Sanusi’s revelations shows that $20 billion dollars was stolen in eighteen months, it follows that in four years $56 billion dollars would ultimately have missed.

Therefore, from this oil business, Nigeria has lost approximately $20 billion dollars to oil theft, $20 billion dollars to subsidy theft of 2011, $20 billion dollars missing funds and probably another $20 billion dollars missing from the previous 18 months not yet exposed. Add the recently exposed $ 7billion dollars fraud in the NNPC Swiss oil deal and the $1 billion dollar Malabu Oil Deal and you get $88 billion dollars stolen in four years. Therefore, when Nigerians stop asking questions on what happened to $88 billion dollars and become interested in how Sanusi allegedly mismanaged $1 billlion dollars, then an Indian charm is working on everybody.

Months ago a document allegedly from the Nigerian Customs indicted the Coordinating Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iwuala of granting waivers to the tune of 1.4 trillion naira ( $9 billion Dollars ) between 2011 and 2013 to companies allegedly owned by friends and cronies of government., The Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs, Mr Dikko. Inde Speaking when he appeared before the Joint Senate Committees on Finance and Appropriation said that about N 866 billion was lost to waivers within a 9-month period, including N263.8 billion granted on importation of petroleum products. This is $ 4 billion dollars in nine months alone. Jonathan is yet to issue a query to Mrs Okonjo Iwuala  on the issue. When the Senate was cross examining her, she admitted granting waiver of over N 170 Billion naira. Her bosom friend and Nigeria’s oil minister Dieziani Madueke has more financial infractions than every other government official and no frown has yet come from the government. Therefore, the speed at which Sanusi was thrown away is just an act of victimization for exposing a 20 billion dollar sleaze.

To many persons, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi represents many things-
To majority of Christians in Nigeria, he is a religious fundamentalist who wanted to impose Islamic Banking on the nation.
To some Churches, he is the villain who ordered he freezing of the accounts on accounts of terrorism
To some indigenes of Southern parts of Nigeria, he is a suspected Boko Haram sponsor
To the Kano Citizens, he is the Best successor to the throne of the Emirship of Kano
To International investors, he restored confidence in the Nigerian economy.
To stock brokers, he maintained stability in the stock exchange market.
To business men, he controlled inflation and brought it to all time low in many years
To corrupt bankers, he is the demon who is worse than the EFCC, seeking to retrieve money that is not his father’s
To PDP politicians, he is the Lucifer who wants to stop the accumulation of funds to prosecute the 2015 presidential elections
To financially aware depositors, he is the champion who ensured that every fund they deposited in any bank in Nigeria is always available on demand even at huge cost to national treasury.

To me, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is an Islamic Zealot who has a few baggages which has to be tamed and lots of assets which can be of immense help to Nigeria. In a write up I released two years ago titled ‘Sanusi, Ohanaeze and the Timidity of Igbo Public Servants’, I asked Ohanaeze to stop complaining about what Sanusi did for the North, rather they should encourage their Igbo counterpart to do same for their people. It was the most senior Igbo Public Servant in Nigeria that stopped Azubuko Udah from replacing Hafsat Ringim as Inspector General of Police due to Assemblies of God Church local politics.

During the period when CBN froze bank accounts of churches, some Christian Bishops and leaders under the aegis of CAN and PFN approached me to do something about Sanusi’s rascality especially over their frozen funds. They believed that as an activist in their midst, there is something I could do that will yield result quicker than the court processes being planned by the National Leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria led by Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. Therefore, when I released the report on how CBN froze the accounts of churches, within hours spiraled  all over the social media and CBN under Sanusi spent tens of millions of naira denying the facts on every national daily, radio and television stations. Eventually the churches accounts were opened within twenty four hours from the time the report was released and their harassment by EFCC ceased till today. This however does not mean that Sanusi is all about mischief.

 Sansui’s greatest achievement is ensuring that the man on the street has access to his money in the bank, anytime he wants it.  Sanusi also ensured that that the era of thieving bankers doing business with depositor’s money at the expense of genuine business men came to an end. Sanusi drew people’s attention to monumental corruption among South South Governors at the expense of their people. If Sanusi were to be an Igbo man, he would probably have committed billions towards building or pressurized President Jonathan start and finish the construction of a second Niger Bridge. I wish Sanusi were Igbo, he would have dragged our boot licking politicians to the mud, and attracted infrastructural patronage to the South East.

Sanusi is being victimized for exposing another treasonable theft of $20 billion dollars belonging to all Nigerians and people should demand the recovery of the stolen funds because over 80 million Nigerians living below poverty lines need it.

Obinna Akukwe ( Email: ) reports.

*Photo Caption – Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

[ Masterweb Reports: Theophilus Ilevbare reports ] – News of the surging violence by the shadowy sect, Boko Haram, has continued to inundate us even if some no longer shudder at screaming headlines of dozens whose throats have been slit; the extremists have sustained the ongoing brutal campaign against civilian and security targets. The vicious group has showed no sign of slowing down in 2014 with a string of coordinated attacks from Borno to Adamawa and Yobe states. It is inconceivable and incomprehensible in a state under emergency, that terrorist attacks in villages and towns last for hours without any kind of security intervention. The escalation of violence between January and February alone has claimed over 650 lives between Borno and Adamawa. For now, Gwoza, Bama, Konduga and Damboa towns and all the villages around them are facing extinction! The insurgents have left on its trail: lives lost, properties destroyed and terrified residents fleeing their homes. Guerilla tactics in rural areas have made the people vulnerable where Christians and Muslims alike have been on the receiving end of the morally reprehensible sect’s abhorrent violence.
Borno, to Boko Haram, is their spiritual home where the ‘struggle’ began. Losing the battle on this turf to the federal forces will effectively signal the end of their insurrection. In this state, their attacks have been more vicious, somewhat sporadic but with a high level of coordination unexpected in a state under emergency. Their resolve is strengthened by the scores they slaughter in the wee hours of the night. The Nigerian military still has a lot to prove that it is capable of putting down the insurrection.
Guerilla wars (better known as asymmetric combat) are the most difficult to prosecute because the enemies live within the civilian population. Security operatives become vulnerable because they are identifiable but the terrorists are almost invincible. It might be asking for too much from the ill equipped and trained Nigerian military to wage a successful war against them. Such an operation is quite complicated and requires cerebral personnel. It is doubtful if the Nigerian military give adequate training to its men to fight guerilla wars – a 21st century security challenge. The unimpressive way the counterterrorism campaign has been waged by the combined team of security agencies have laid bare their conventional and stereotype inbuilt structure of warfare where there is a clearly defined enemy in a well-defined geographical location. The Nigeria military’s symmetric approach to an asymmetric counterterrorism battle in states under emergency, clearly, has failed. The spate of almost daily attacks on hapless civilians in Borno underscores this point. Their modus operandi is similar to all known terrorist groups in the world. The trademark of the organization is blood, tears and sorrow with both covert and overt violent assault against police officers, military, churches and civilian targets. These persistent and mindless killings from highly networked, richly financed groups waging insurgent war often from within civilian population, use a combination of traditional and modern weapons. There tactics can best be mitigated and/or quelled by military operations backed by the most sophisticated and technologically advanced security gadgets. It is a known fact that the structure and design of Nigeria’s national security is too outdated to meet present day security challenges. It has also been reported that the morale of the military and police is ebbing. In contrast, Boko Haram is better armed and motivated. Years of corruption in the military and police have robbed us of the best.
Consequently, the cruel marauders pose a serious threat to the nation’s sovereignty and the continual harmonious co-existence of the various tribes and religions. The possibility of overrunning the country is real.
However, Nigeria’s security challenges are not insurmountable. With commitment and a dogged political will from the government, the nefarious activities of the blood thirsty fundamentalists can be effectively contained. Furthermore, government should tighten what many now regard as the most porous border in the world! We would easily win any award in that category. There is still an ongoing war in Mali; it’s only been months since the Arab Spring ended. All these have put arms and ammunition in the wrong hands. Those who proliferate these weapons move them across our borders to a mix grill ready market of terrorists, pirates, hoodlums, unrepentant and backsliding ex-militants, 2015 election tugs and other criminal minded elements.
To quell this increasingly complex threat, the tangled-web of terrorist financing must be demystified and those found wanting brought to book. Collaboration like joint military action with our West African neighbours to combat threats along border towns and villages is a strategy the military should urgently explore as part of a comprehensive approach to counter the deadly extremists.
The fierce unrelenting assault on neighbouring villages bordering the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, has highlighted the inefficiency and numerical disadvantage of the Nigerian military and police. With over 8000 troops deployed already to the subregion without any success, the International Criminal Court was spot on when it said Nigeria was embroiled in another civil war. Remote border towns with Cameroon like Banki, in Bama Local Government Area have been the worst hit as the remoteness of their location have made it almost impossible to respond to distress. Recently, the military decried insufficient personnel in such remote towns and villages, as its bane. Residents say in some villages, about six military men, poorly armed, and just about half a dozen policemen are present. This is grossly inadequate and easily outnumbered by over 50 insurgents who storm these target locations in vehicles and motor bikes, armed to the teeth. The presence of more security personnel in the remote villages will to a great extent improve the security situation.
It is ridiculous when our security chiefs give themselves a pat on the back for ‘curtailing’ the Islamic fundamentalists in the North East, preventing their activities from spreading to other parts of the country. This kind of attitude that promotes mediocrity in the rank and file of our national security must be discouraged.
Sabotage, negligence of duty and unhealthy competition among the security agencies are some of the reasons insecurity has been on the rise in the troubled states of the north east, particularly, Borno. The military offensive against the sect has been nothing short of a complete failure.
It is shameful that politicians under whose watch the insurgents evolved still strut the corridors of power, and are partisan politicians till today. It must be traumatising for the victims of Boko Haram. Unfortunately, those who sowed the seed of bloodbath are still at large. Sponsors of the terror group, directly or indirectly, must be brought to justice. Prosecuting the counterterrorism war without exposing and prosecuting their financiers will amount to an effort in futility.
The spirited attempt by the Jonathan government to fight terrorism with mass education of Almajiris is commendable. More of such schools is needed in northern Nigeria. It is an approach that should be encouraged to fight an insurgency that is firmly rooted in illiteracy and ignorance.
Dealing decisively with the grievances that are spawning terrorism and encouraging radicalisation as well as implementing reforms and policies are pathways to restoring lasting peace, security of lives and properties in the north-east and the nation at large.
Now, more than ever, decisive and sustainable victory against Boko Haram has become more elusive but imperative.
Theophilus Ilevbare ( Email: ) is a public affairs commentator.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Borno State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT).