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  [ Masterweb Reports: Osita Ebiem reports ] –  Igbo Plan To Leave Nigeria Because Igbo Economy Exceeds Igbo Geography: This is the second part of this essay. It is divided into two parts and derives its title from the argument that Ojo Maduekwe presented in response to Vin Otuonye who wanted Maduekwe to clear the concern of Igbo masses that some Igbo elite seem unfazed by the plight of this and coming generations of their people in Nigeria. The current generation of Igbo believes that there is no prospect for them and their children by remaining part of the Nigerian union. They are convinced that their interests and those of their subsequent generations will be better served only in a state that is separate and independent of the Nigerian state. For this reason the masses of the people are progressively feeling betrayed by their leaders who they think should be at the forefront of the struggle to liberate them from one Nigeria. They think that some of their leaders of thought like Ojo Maduekwe, Obi Nwakanma who is an intellectual genius and others like them, for the sake of some temporary personal considerations, have sold out and mortgaged their people’s future to a hopeless project that is one Nigeria by insisting on the continued existence of Igbo people as part of it. Vin Otuonye called out particularly to Maduekwe to respond to this accusation by Igbo people. Maduekwe in his characteristic articulate haute sense of responsibility was courageous and humble enough to respond. We salute his boldness. We encourage readers to read in full Ojo Maduekwe’s intelligent presentation in order to get a better perspective of the points made in this article. Maduekwe’s piece will be reproduced below this. We consistently and deliberately avoid using titles to address individuals when discussing Igbo matters because we are conscious of the very negative effect those have had on the general psyche of our people. Thank you for reading.
 
THE ARTICLE
Every functional and succeeding society is usually the one that has succeeded in making law and order their cornerstone. There is flagrant and impudent disregard for the “manufactured”, unrealistic and incongruent rules and customs (Constitution) of one Nigeria because there is no common ground on which all the peoples meet. No society can succeed where there is such level of state of anomie because of total disregard for the rule of law as there is in today’s one Nigeria. In one Nigeria there is a complete absence of law and order not because the people are incapable of living by the rules but because the rules do not have roots in the peoples’ original norms and customs. There is no uniformity of interests and collective pursuits so what makes sense to the Igbo does not make the same sense to the Yoruba, Hausa or Fulani.

 
In another sense, advocating that because “Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” then they must remain in one Nigeria can be likened to encouraging Igbo people to practice the type of closed economy that the old Soviet Union tried at the peak of its experiment – doing business mostly with the states they had sovereign influence and control over. As most students of Soviet history agree; that practice contributed significantly to its eventual fall. If there is any lesson at all in it to go by, we can safely conclude that Igbo people do not need to be part of Nigeria in order to conduct successful businesses in Nigeria. To further support this point we need to remind readers that Igbo people are currently living and doing successful businesses in other countries such as Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Ghana and several other places. And there is no need for them to convert these host countries into one Igbo country in order to do businesses in them. In the same manner, Igbo do not need to belong to Nigeria in order do business in Nigeria and with Nigerians.

 
In another instance, some Igbo individuals would prefer that the precarious and hopeless situation of Igbo nation’s continued existence in a united Nigeria be less emphasized or not mentioned at all. These individuals believe that talking about the oppressive and humiliating conditions that Igbo nation experiences in one Nigeria is a show of weakness and exhibition of the victim mentality. Such people talk of and point at the resilience and humble meager accomplishments of some Igbo people in various areas of life as proof that after all Igbo have not been the losers as it is generally assumed. The scope of this article will not permit us to enumerate several instances of discrimination, disdain, injustice, disregard, dishonor, hatred, spite and deliberately contrived obstacles thrown in the way to stunt Igbo growth in Nigeria. From the direct result of Igbo’s forced membership in one Nigeria the Igbo collectively and individually have suffered several missed opportunities, impudent mistreatment and humiliations. The victimization of Igbo in the failed Nigerian project as evidenced everywhere and in all aspects, is real and it will amount to the display of an equal level of dishonest braggadocio as one Nigeria apologists do, for anyone to acknowledge and say otherwise. Stating honestly what is obvious and true does not weaken the position of anyone in any context. Accepting facts of situations is always the first step in finding solution to the problem. Living in denial of one’s true condition and “confessing positively”, would not make the problem to just go away. To humbly and sincerely accept what is true and impacting negatively on one does not mean one has to live with the adverse condition without making effort to extricate themselves from it.

 
Some advocates for separation have cited the Biafran genocide when trying to further persuade those who it is assumed that it is for some selfish reasons that they still think that Igbo people should have no right to self-determination, freedom and sovereign independence outside Nigeria. 3.1 million Igbo and other Biafrans were murdered by the Nigerian state and its citizens during the genocidal years of 1966 to 1970. The Biafran genocide is regarded by many experts as the foundational genocide in the post-colonial Africa. Since that horrible pogrom, genocide and ethnic/religious cleansing in Biafra took place forty something years ago no one has been held accountable for the inhuman atrocities in Biafra. There is a general consensus among most analysts that it is this deliberate neglect to punish the perpetrators of the heinous crime against Biafrans that has led to similar but of less magnitude others in Rwanda, Darfur, Liberia, Sierra Leone and several others. It is believed that subsequent perpetrators of similar crimes in Africa were particularly emboldened because they had no deterrent reference sanctions against the Biafran war criminals. After forty years, Nigeria and its citizens remain unrepentant and unremorseful about the genocide and that especially strengthens the ground of separation advocates.

 
Still using genocidal reason as basis for separation, advocates for Igbo/Biafra’s independence give copious examples of deliberate crimes of genocide, ethnic and religious cleansing against Igbo people and other Biafrans in Nigeria starting from 1945 to the present day. The last reported (it is said that government agents suppress most from getting reported in the media) is as recent as one week ago in Kano Northern Nigeria. The attack, since claimed by the al Qaeda affiliate of Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram targeted Igbo people (the leader of the group said so in his speech justifying the attack). In the attack which was multiple bomb blasts, scores of Igbo people were killed, maimed and their properties destroyed in the Sabon Gari area of Kano. Armed with this and many other reasons separation advocates fight on by claiming that Igbo can only be safe and prosper in a separate sovereign state that is independent of Nigeria.

 
But purely for rhetorical reasons, let us continue with this discussion considering the separation question from the point of view of Ojo Maduekwe and others like him. Let’s for a moment pretend with them and accept that Igbo economic consideration should be the only basis on which Igbo should choose between their continued dehumanizing existence in one Nigeria and separation, self-determination, freedom and honor. But even for solely the sake of argument this thought feels so disgusting and very difficult to contemplate by any decent human being who understands that what makes us humans is much more than material abundance. What about the art? All animals eat and drink but human beings not only do the same they also have the capacity to appreciate beauty and the art and derive incalculable satisfaction from the experience. Human beings unlike base animals can watch the mesmerizing beauty of the sunset or the awe inspiring turbulence of the ocean then lie down, go to sleep and have dreams about the experience and sometimes their circumstances and destinies are changed as a result. These Nature’s display of harmony and beauty do not only cause humans to feel satisfied and happy, sometimes they make them write great poems and produce other great works of art. Many years ago this writer wrote one of his best poems after watching and being captivated by the grandeur of the sunset. 

 
The greatness of all societies and peoples everywhere and in every generation consists in their ability to harmonize and appreciate the beauty of their collective body of art. The amount of value that any society or people attach to their collected body of art and culture can always determine how much greatness they will ultimately attain in every other aspect of their existence. Has the reader wondered why a society’s museum and art centers are considered to be the greatest possessions of the society and its people? Or why some art pieces of societies are priced and prized beyond any material value? For all well-evolved societies and peoples, art/cultural production, their collection and preservation go beyond mere pass time it is their most valued profession. Some artworks sell for millions for this reason.

 
We have only talked about the art and cultural value of the people as being more important than their material possession but what about the human capacity to make choices. Choice in human beings can and should be indulged in deliberately and for the sake of it and in some cases with no reasons given. This takes us back to the point we made in the first part of this article. But here we are emphasizing the fact that Igbo’s considerations in either remaining in cultural, political and social bondage in Nigeria or being free through the principles of Self Determination and Indigenous Peoples Rights must, for the sake of preserving their humanity, go beyond mere economic consideration. As we said earlier we are still trying to compromise and understand why Maduekwe and others like him persist in their perceived unforgivable superficial views on why Igbo should remain in Nigeria. For lack of any convincing reason from the standpoint of one Nigeria apologists we will still go further with this debate and base our next set of arguments on the realities of the present era.

 
We now live in a big global world that has used technology to shrink millions of square miles/kilometers into a tiny virtual village of a few square feet/meters. From one small bedroom anywhere in the world, a technically savvy individual can almost run an entire world’s economy of trillions of dollars on computers. No one needs any more the acquisition and colonization of vast territorial physical empires in order to effectively engage in prosperous economic activities. Igbo people and other Biafrans of this generation must be conscious of and make decisions based on the current time and circumstances they live in. When as a people they fully realize the present time and their place in it, their leaders will learn to refocus and redirect the energy and creative genius of their people toward building a world-class economy which emphasizes virtual territorial geography as against physical geography.

 
They can choose to call it; Igbo or Biafra Borderless Economic Project. Igbo people or Biafrans can build this kind of borderless economy by striving to produce world standard products and services. They should shift their attention to producing things and ideas that are acceptable and exchangeable anywhere in the world. To achieve this Igbo elite and thinkers must play the part of articulating and making clear a comprehensive road map for their people to follow. And we must warn here though that we cannot anticipate any significant achievement in this matter if the leading thinkers and leaders are not prepared to be radically bold and uncompromising with their ideas. Any thinking or idea that includes Igbo as part of Nigeria clearly defeats the effort before it begins. Contrary to what is obtained today, Igbo leaders and ideas men and women must learn to encourage and sponsor creative ingenuity, teamwork or collective achievement amongst their people. They must teach the people how to build excellence, complex and sophisticated bigness and permanence. Such doctrines are impracticable in Nigeria.

 
As Igbo/Biafrans begin to learn to turn their attention and energy in finding their strength and prosperity within them then it will become clearer to Maduekwe and others that think like him that Igbo economy can and should exceed not just the Biafran physical territorial geography but even much more that of the current one Nigeria. As Igbo people discover their right place in the scheme of things in the world it will become very clear to them and others that they have never needed and will never need Nigeria to succeed and prosper. The greatness and prosperity of the Igbo exist and can only be found right inside of them and not in their physical environment. What the Igbo need is a secured sovereign homeland (it doesn’t matter how small because with the right attitude any space is big enough). They need a homeland where they can take charge and be responsible for the consequences of their actions. Igbo need a homeland that will work to defend the lives, properties and interests of its people anywhere in the world.

 
It is not difficult to see by all honest and sincere analysts that Igbo people will never get such a homeland should they for any reason whatsoever remain part of this one Nigeria that is permanently dysfunctional and practically impossible. The separate and independent Igbo/Biafra state we are talking about does not need a million, million square miles/kilometers of physical territory in order to prosper and be strong and capable enough to work for the interest of its people. The sheer greatness and vastness of physical dimension does not by itself translate into real greatness and prosperity.

 
Modern science has shown us that virtual sizes of very infinitesimal dimensions can produce vast amounts of power that the entire known universe can hardly contain. The Big Bang creational theorists have done a good job explaining how everything that we know of today in the physical universe is the product of the explosion that happened about 13 billion years ago of a tiny object of subatomic dimensions. And today, from this incomprehensibly small event has come into existence everything from the smallest atoms to the biggest stars, quasars and galaxies in the whole universe. It goes without saying to remind the reader that Igbo people and all Biafrans are part of this universe and therefore have the same creative seed in them. Every Igbo person or Biafran is an inheritor of the same primordial force that brought everything in the universe into being. It is on the basis of this truth only that they should resolve to achieve greatness by themselves and without the encumbrances of any one Nigeria. For goodness sake, we wish to state here that this comparative point of Igbo as part of the creative force that brought all things into being is just as real and practical as reality can be and should not be taken as mere pep or feel-good talk.

 
In conclusion, we are confident that the time is not far at all when all Igbo leaders and intellectuals including Ojo Maduekwe, Obi Nwakanma and others like them would have become convinced in the fallacy of their belief in one Nigeria. They will look back and wonder how they could have been so smart and sincere and yet lived for so long in such very obvious falsehood. We are  sure that in that moment of collective epiphany, the present opposition to separation and slow-to-come-along separatists will become the greatest apostles of the Igbo or Biafra Borderless Economic Project; an economy that does not consist of or depends on mere physical geographies. In the midst of this realization Igbo political leaders and intellectuals of all hues and shapes will voluntarily be at the vanguard of the millions that are fighting to throw off the neck of Igbo nation forever the strangulating yoke of one Nigeria. When this happens Igbo leaders and thinkers will step forward to help every Igbo everywhere to build an economy that they can conveniently run from the comfort of their bedrooms and never need to step out into the dangerous territories of one Nigeria that is deadly mined with horrible ethnic and religious bigotry, intolerance and searing heat of mortal hatred. Yes, Igbo economy indeed exceeds not just Igbo but Nigeria’s geography and it is for this reason alone that Igbo and Biafra should live free and independent of Nigeria’s restricting physical geography. And the time should be now.

 
Here below is Ojo Maduekwe’s response to Vin Otuonye which is where the line, “Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” is taken from. We owe our thanks to Maduekwe for the brilliant coinage.

 
Dear Vin,

 
I will take the calculated risk of engaging further on this issue possibly for the last time. I feel drawn in because you wonder how much we Igbos in positions of authority raise our voices against Injustice against our people and you charitably reminded all about my constraints as an Ambassador of the Federal Republic that represents all and not just Igbos. The truth of the matter Vin is that if we keep silence in the face of manifest injustice against Igbos while in Government then we cannot truly claim to be the sons of our fathers! Another truth is that when we do so it will be unethical and may even amount to infringement of constitutional oath of office if we came out in the open bragging about what we do for our people. Any public officer doing so does not deserve to be there in the first place and will not last sufficiently to do the good he is obliged to do for his people. The other truth is for such advocacy on injustice to be credible and effective one must also be on record to do right and be just for other groups even to the occasional irritation of one's people. So it is not really that one's public office prevents one for fighting for one’s people. It is about timing, venue, platform, context and choreography. It is about strategic thinking.

 
Yet there is public record to show that some of us even while in high public office have spoken the way you are writing when you refer to the sacrifices of Ndigbo. The point of departure with some of us who were grown up enough to fight the civil war (since you refer to MASSOB's option of nonviolence) is that rather than acquiescing to a permanent victim mindset that is not getting other Nigerians ' attention we are looking for a response befitting a great and big nationality as the Igbos. In the hurly burly real world no one wants to hand over a platform to a group that keeps drawing attention to its victim status if that group cannot compel attention in other persuasive ways. I am worried whether current approaches factor in Rollo May's wry observation that "powerlessness corrupts and absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.” So how we manage our pain and articulate it without scaring everyone else may well hold the key to our breakthrough. Yet as I said earlier, I have spoken, even in high public office on the terrible Igbo price for national unity. Sample: As Transport Minister and leader of Igbo members of Obasanjo Administration in a speech delivered on the occasion of Remembrance Day of Ndigbo who lost their lives during the Nigerian Civil War held at the Michael Okpara Square Enugu 29 September 2000------".

 
As we rightfully remember the Biafran dead on this historic site dedicated to the matchless memory of Michael Okpara, let us solemnly resolve to live up to, those ideas of free society for which our men and women paid the supreme sacrifice. Let us not forget that Biafra at its best, was an indictment of the injustice and corruption which Nigeria in 1967 represented. We honour best our dead by supporting the forces of democracy in order to confront that degree of injustice and abuse of power which inevitably flows from the lethal combination of rampant ethnicity and unbridled corruption......

 
Our Igboness will find its most positive opportunities for excellence through the reconstruction and reconciliation of a Nigeria that will be sensitive to the Biafran concerns for justice, neighborhood values and meritocracy. We must be part of a growing national coalition that is ready and determined to create a new Nigeria. Even as our people died between 1966 and 1970, and as they have died in other carnages since then, it had always been sadly true that the Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography. Our best tribute to our dead will be to find creative routes towards harmonizing that reality with the promise with the promise of a new Nigeria where lives and property will be secure; where citizenship will be marked by residence, and not by tribe and tongue; and where the enterprising qualities  of our people will have the widest possible platform to flourish. Again at the Word Igbo Congress held in Houston from 29th August to 1st September200 I said "Other ethnic groups naturally came to perceive with considerable admiration, Ndigbo as the quintessential Nigerians who had voted with their feet more than any other group for a mobile, liberal society of equal citizenship rights......We Igbos have therefore been at our best when we refused to follow the narrow enclave preoccupation of other groups; when we have seen Nigeria and indeed all of Africa as available for our restless genius; and when we have encouraged our sons and daughters to bear  the brunt of national integration. Of course there was always a price to pay for all this, some of which were extreme to say the least. But on the balance we are not such pathetic losers in the Nigeria Project. We have been strong, resilient, resourceful and justifiably proud. What is required is a new Zikean impetus that can push our interest in a more integrative, more inclusive and less threatening language; an approach that celebrates an interface and reconciliation of Igbo aspirations with the Nigerian dream, and by so doing, place at the service of the leading African nation the talents of some of the best and brightest who combine local relevance with world class instinct in an increasingly globalised community. We have the capacity to do this. Why accept less, especially in a knowledge economy based on the primacy of the market and the consequential retreat of governments from the centre - stage?" Do you need more evidence that some of us have not been silent concerning the Igbo Question within the wider Nigerian Question even while in Government or are seen as part of the establishment.

 
Best Wishes!

 
Ojo Maduekwe

 
*Photo Caption – Map of Nigeria

  [ Masterweb Reports: Osita Ebiem reports ] –  Igbo Plan To Leave Nigeria Because Igbo Economy Exceeds Igbo Geography: This is the first part of this essay. It is divided into two parts and derives its title from the argument that Ojo Maduekwe presented in response to Vin Otuonye who wanted Maduekwe to clear the concern of Igbo masses that some Igbo elite seem unfazed by the plight of this and coming generations of their people in Nigeria. The current generation of Igbo believes that there is no prospect for them and their children by remaining part of the Nigerian union. They are convinced that their interests and those of their subsequent generations will be better served only in a state that is separate and independent of the Nigerian state. For this reason the masses of the people are progressively feeling betrayed by their leaders who they think should be at the forefront of the struggle to liberate them from one Nigeria. They think that some of their leaders of thought like Ojo Maduekwe, Obi Nwakanma who is an intellectual genius and others like them, for the sake of some temporary personal considerations, have sold out and mortgaged their people’s future to a hopeless project that is one Nigeria by insisting on the continued existence of Igbo people as part of it. Vin Otuonye called out particularly to Maduekwe to respond to this accusation by Igbo people. Maduekwe in his characteristic articulate haute sense of responsibility was courageous and humble enough to respond. We salute his boldness. We encourage readers to read in full Ojo Maduekwe’s intelligent presentation in order to get a better perspective of the points made in this article. Maduekwe’s piece will be reproduced below this. We consistently and deliberately avoid using titles to address individuals when discussing Igbo matters because we are conscious of the very negative effect those have had on the general psyche of our people. Thank you for reading.
 
THE ARTICLE
In the past few years, due to increased cases of agitations by several groups within and outside the country for the division of Nigeria, some people are genuinely asking why Igbo people and other Biafrans want to be free from Nigeria. Some Igbo people have also asked for reasons to convince them to join forces with pro-freedom movements and organizations which are agitating to separate Igbo and other Biafrans from the oppressive unity of one Nigeria. A few Igbo people like Ojo Maduekwe that oppose separation of Igbo from the Nigerian union argue that because “Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” therefore Igbo should remain in Nigeria, no matter what, to take advantage that the bigger size and population present.

 
Ojo Maduekwe though had fought as a Biafran soldier during the Biafra-Nigeria war years but today he can afford to see things differently from, perhaps, the way he did in the 1960s while the war raged. Maduekwe is both brilliant and articulate but most importantly, he is a beneficiary of and participant in the current Nigerian dysfunctional state of affairs. He has served Nigeria quite capably in different capacities, including federal ministerial and ambassadorial positions. He has consistently proved to be an innovative and efficient Nigerian civil servant. He is therefore qualified to comment on the issue of Nigeria’s disintegration and Igbo’s proposed exit from the country.

 
Before we go any further, let’s quickly provide what we consider to be a simple and adequate answer to the group that wants to know why Igbo people are anxious to exit the one Nigerian debacle and put the nightmare of a forced “national unity” behind them. (Other answers will come in the second segment of this essay). Some separation advocates like the internationally acclaimed scholar Herbert Ekwe-ekwe believe that Igbo people do not have to give any reason for choosing to want to be free from Nigeria. The people in this school of thought argue that wanting to be free just for the sake of it is reason enough. To the people in this group, freedom for the sake of freedom is good enough reason for them and anyone else that may care to know. In their opinion freedom is just as fundamental to human beings everywhere as breathing and eating. For this reason, the separationists believe that no one should feel ashamed or embarrassed for wanting to be free and stay apart from other people just for the sake of it. In this case Igbo people have expressed their desire to be separate from Yoruba, Hausa and Fulani peoples as members of the same country.

 
It has been argued that the desire for freedom and the ability to choose are basic human instincts and therefore among our fundamental human and peoples’ rights. On that basis, no one needs give any explanations on wanting to exercise these rights. So, the desire of Igbo people to want to be free from Nigeria does not have to make much sense to those who do not share the same feeling. In the existing Nigerian arrangement Igbo people as well as others who are conscripted into it were never given the opportunity to choose to be Nigerians or not. For the Igbo and others in Nigeria today it is citizenship by compulsion. The real essence of freedom is the ability to freely choose who one wants to associate or live with. The current arrangement of one Nigeria is a choice made by another for the Igbo and others without due considerations or consultations. Colonial Britain made that arbitrary choice for the indigenous peoples some one hundred years ago. Hence, separation advocates are asking for a referendum to afford the peoples the opportunity to choose who they want to associate and live with as fellow citizens of a country.

 
Because it seems that people like Ojo Maduekwe are sincere we will try to respond to their argument about economic consideration as basis for Igbo membership of Nigerian union. No doubt, the economic state of any people, Igbo’s inclusive, should be considered as a top priority when making decisions that will affect both their present and coming generations. But as a people and society evolve further away from the basic animal instinct of mere survival (or subsistence) level, they begin to realize that freedom, liberty, dignity and prestige actually take precedence over economic considerations. And it is in the light of this that the economic argument pales and becomes even embarrassing when Maduekwe and others like him sincerely think that Igbo people should remain part of the Nigerian union even at the risk of total annihilation of their population and or undignified ethnic/religious discrimination, unfounded fear and hatred and inhuman subjugation of Igbo people by Nigeria so as to have a wider geography for trade and economic activities.

 
Admittedly, when Maduekwe eloquently came up with the phrase of “Igbo economy exceeding Igbo geography” he must have been satisfied with himself. Who wouldn’t be? After all isn’t it an art to be able to find plausible and persuasively sounding words or phrases for any debates. There are usually two types of debaters. One group wants to persuade their audience by respecting their sense of reasoning so they try to present to them honest and realistic reasons and facts. On another hand, the second group thinks that all they need to win is to excite and satiate the sentiments and emotions of their listeners enough with high sounding phrases; the people do not really have to think, they believe.

 
We agree that such eloquence as Maduekwe’s and those like him when laced with seemingly harmless phrases like “Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” is sure to sweep any unwary audience off their feet to deafening applause and ovation any day. Many times debates have been won not by the reasonableness or truthfulness of the winner’s points but by the plausibleness, emotional excitement and contrived manipulation of the believing audience through some craftily and deftly delivered self-serving phrases.

 
For those who have observed Maduekwe’s activities and utterances and those of the other Igbo elites on the other side of the debate it is not difficult to see that they are knowledgeable and some of them make excellent Nigerian civil servants and they have the overall interests of Igbo people at heart. There is no one that participated in the self-determination efforts of Biafra as Maduekwe did that does not remain a patriot forever. Yet experience has shown that some Biafran veterans especially those who have gone on to serve or benefited from Nigeria tend to suffer from what can be described as battle fatigue or defeat syndrome. They seem to find it difficult to get over the awe and bewilderment that the victor elicits in the vanquished. This experience can be compared to the fears that the painted devil elicits in the eyes of the child. So, we wish to put out this caveat; it does not always matter how smart the one Nigerian advocates sound or act, they still come short or become smart by half because of the effect of the aforementioned syndrome. Without knowing it they try hard to keep faith with a kind of injunction that says, “Love your enemies more than yourself and treat others better than you would like to be treated”.

 
At the end of the day, if this debate will be won on the basis of catchy phrases only then we must admit that our little candle may not stand the dazzling light of those of Ojo Maduekwe, Obi Nwakanma and others like them. These are seemingly unrepentant one Nigerian apologists and admittedly, matchless wordsmiths and expert phrase makers. In this piece we may never be able to come up with a better sounding phrase than that of Ojo Maduekwe; ‘“Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” – ‘so Igbo should endure dishonor and ultimately perish seeking for food in one Nigeria.” By the argument of these people it is alright for Igbo people to continue to endure genocides, ethnic/religious cleansing, remain directionless and hopeless in one Nigeria as long as they can trade and accumulate pennies within the Nigerian geography. Though we readily concede our inability to match Maduekwe’s phrases with better ones or any that is just as plausible but we wish to try to appeal to the reader’s honest and good judgment, nevertheless.

 
“Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” sounds as attractive and catchy as can be but we ask the people that really feel the pain of one Nigeria and their sympathizers to try and subject this phrase to further scrutiny based on the realities of the situation that are obtainable on the ground. We are confident of one thing; we are convinced that any honest seeker after the truth who is patient enough to consider even for a moment Maduekwe’s phrase in the context of one Nigeria’s utter darkness and hopeless prospect for Igbo people in it is sure to experience that inescapable aha moment of every true seeker. We believe that as they reach that point of honesty- and sincerity-induced epiphany they will see Maduekwe’s fancy phrase as no more than mere catchy phrase. We know that in the heat of their “righteous anger” the people will see Maduekwe and others like him as peddlers of feel-happy but very dangerous phrases who knowingly refuse to walk in the light that clearly shows the impossibilities of one Nigeria for Igbo and other Biafrans.

 
Inevitably, when the reader runs their mind through times and places and events that shaped and placed peoples and societies in the positions of economic and political powers they are in at any given time, the reader is compelled to agree that Maduekwe and others who think like him are wrong about Igbo and one Nigeria. The truth is that no successful group of people or individual has ever limited the scope of their economic businesses within the limit of their political/physical geography. This is why nation states establish the diplomatic arm of governments that deals with their international business relations. Successful global business conglomerates have always spread their tentacles beyond the geographical confines of the sovereign states where they have their operational headquarters. These so-called multi-national businesses do not need to bring into a unitary sovereign state each country in which they do business. Such practice would be colonialism. Under such practice you colonize every new people and sovereignty that one does business with and subject them to the rules and customs of the home government of the conqueror for effective control and exploitation. This is the practice that got Igbo people and others into the nightmare of one Nigeria, in the first place.

 
For Igbo people to remain in Nigeria and run a secured and successful economy as Maduekwe and a few others like him are suggesting then they must colonize the other peoples and bring them under total subjugation. They will have to defeat Boko Haram and stop them from establishing their own separate Islamic sharia state which is what they are fighting for. If that sounds utterly stupid and untenable which we think it is, then Igbo people in one Nigeria are bound to continue to experience the overwhelming jealousy, hatred, genocides, ethnic/religious cleansing, fear and discrimination as it is today. But once the people elect to solve the problem they will have to accept the fact that Igbo people’s business, social and political relationship with Yoruba, Hausa and Fulani peoples will become better when they relate with one another as citizens of different countries. Then there will be no more need for the prevailing unhealthy rivalries where each tribe is in constant fear, distrust and loathing of one another.

 
Please expect the second part of this article. Thanks.
 

Here below is Ojo Maduekwe’s response to Vin Otuonye which is where the line, “Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography” is taken from. We owe our thanks to Maduekwe for the brilliant coinage.
 

Dear Vin,

 
I will take the calculated risk of engaging further on this issue possibly for the last time. I feel drawn in because you wonder how much we Igbos in positions of authority raise our voices against Injustice against our people and you charitably reminded all about my constraints as an Ambassador of the Federal Republic that represents all and not just Igbos. The truth of the matter Vin is that if we keep silence in the face of manifest injustice against Igbos while in Government then we cannot truly claim to be the sons of our fathers! Another truth is that when we do so it will be unethical and may even amount to infringement of constitutional oath of office if we came out in the open bragging about what we do for our people. Any public officer doing so does not deserve to be there in the first place and will not last sufficiently to do the good he is obliged to do for his people. The other truth is for such advocacy on injustice to be credible and effective one must also be on record to do right and be just for other groups even to the occasional irritation of one's people. So it is not really that one's public office prevents one for fighting for one’s people. It is about timing, venue, platform, context and choreography. It is about strategic thinking.

 
Yet there is public record to show that some of us even while in high public office have spoken the way you are writing when you refer to the sacrifices of Ndigbo. The point of departure with some of us who were grown up enough to fight the civil war (since you refer to MASSOB's option of nonviolence) is that rather than acquiescing to a permanent victim mindset that is not getting other Nigerians ' attention we are looking for a response befitting a great and big nationality as the Igbos. In the hurly burly real world no one wants to hand over a platform to a group that keeps drawing attention to its victim status if that group cannot compel attention in other persuasive ways. I am worried whether current approaches factor in Rollo May's wry observation that "powerlessness corrupts and absolute powerlessness corrupts absolutely.” So how we manage our pain and articulate it without scaring everyone else may well hold the key to our breakthrough. Yet as I said earlier, I have spoken, even in high public office on the terrible Igbo price for national unity. Sample: As Transport Minister and leader of Igbo members of Obasanjo Administration in a speech delivered on the occasion of Remembrance Day of Ndigbo who lost their lives during the Nigerian Civil War held at the Michael Okpara Square Enugu 29 September 2000------".

 
As we rightfully remember the Biafran dead on this historic site dedicated to the matchless memory of Michael Okpara, let us solemnly resolve to live up to, those ideas of free society for which our men and women paid the supreme sacrifice. Let us not forget that Biafra at its best, was an indictment of the injustice and corruption which Nigeria in 1967 represented. We honour best our dead by supporting the forces of democracy in order to confront that degree of injustice and abuse of power which inevitably flows from the lethal combination of rampant ethnicity and unbridled corruption......

 
Our Igboness will find its most positive opportunities for excellence through the reconstruction and reconciliation of a Nigeria that will be sensitive to the Biafran concerns for justice, neighborhood values and meritocracy. We must be part of a growing national coalition that is ready and determined to create a new Nigeria. Even as our people died between 1966 and 1970, and as they have died in other carnages since then, it had always been sadly true that the Igbo economy exceeds Igbo geography. Our best tribute to our dead will be to find creative routes towards harmonizing that reality with the promise with the promise of a new Nigeria where lives and property will be secure; where citizenship will be marked by residence, and not by tribe and tongue; and where the enterprising qualities  of our people will have the widest possible platform to flourish. Again at the Word Igbo Congress held in Houston from 29th August to 1st September200 I said "Other ethnic groups naturally came to perceive with considerable admiration, Ndigbo as the quintessential Nigerians who had voted with their feet more than any other group for a mobile, liberal society of equal citizenship rights......We Igbos have therefore been at our best when we refused to follow the narrow enclave preoccupation of other groups; when we have seen Nigeria and indeed all of Africa as available for our restless genius; and when we have encouraged our sons and daughters to bear  the brunt of national integration. Of course there was always a price to pay for all this, some of which were extreme to say the least. But on the balance we are not such pathetic losers in the Nigeria Project. We have been strong, resilient, resourceful and justifiably proud. What is required is a new Zikean impetus that can push our interest in a more integrative, more inclusive and less threatening language; an approach that celebrates an interface and reconciliation of Igbo aspirations with the Nigerian dream, and by so doing, place at the service of the leading African nation the talents of some of the best and brightest who combine local relevance with world class instinct in an increasingly globalised community. We have the capacity to do this. Why accept less, especially in a knowledge economy based on the primacy of the market and the consequential retreat of governments from the centre - stage?" Do you need more evidence that some of us have not been silent concerning the Igbo Question within the wider Nigerian Question even while in Government or are seen as part of the establishment.

 
Best Wishes!
Ojo Maduekwe

 
*Photo Caption – Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria ).

 [ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports  ] - Obafemi Awolowo is the undisputed hero of the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria whose wartime policy of starvation and currency change helped kill the Biafran dream. The post colonial era of Nigerian history was dominated by three actors, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo and Ahmadu Bello. Dr Azikiwe was an avowed nationalist who preferred one Nigeria above anything else. Sir Ahmadu Bello was a tribalist who initially preferred a balkanized Nigeria to enable his people live their religious and cultural life without external negative inluence and was later reluctantly convinced to seek an agenda for a united Nigeria. Chief Obafemi Awolowo from the onset did not hide his preference for an Oduduwa Republic.
 
Chief Awolowo is idolized by the Yorubas because he was able to transform the South West into an educational and industrial hub in Africa and build a robust political climate. He so much understood the value of education that he made it free, affordable and offered a lot of scholarships to Yorubas to advance academically to the highest level. He ran a political system in Action Group whereby people have their say while the leader has his way. This is the system Bola Tinubu is unsuccessfully trying to emulate in Action Congress of Nigeria.

 
Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, a core nationalist, never received the level of hero worship Awolowo received in the South West because Igbos severally accuses him of not taking them out of Nigeria when Chief Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello were angling for a balkanized nation. Chief Awolowo was the sage whose idea ended the Nigerian civil war. He advised the Gowon Cabinet to block all food supply to Biafra so as to end the war quickly and according to him ‘’starvation is a legitimate instrument of war’’ This led to the starvation of over one million Biafran children. Thus Awolowo’s advice and actions led to the quick end to the Biafran dream. Therefore it is right to say that what the entire armed forces of Nigeria could not do, the wisdom of Awolowo did. Chief Awolowo convinced Gowon that every adult Biafran who managed to survive the starvation deserved only #20 pounds to start life afresh irrespective of economic status before the war, an action perceived as intended to further reduce the ability of Igbos to recover economically.

 
Another policy of his which frustrated Biafra’s ability to import food and arms was the change of currency which according to Awolowo ‘’And it is on record that Ojukwu admitted that two things defeated him in this war, that’s as at the day he left Biafra. He said one, the change of currency, he said that was the first thing that defeated him, and we did that to prevent Ojukwu taking the money which his soldiers has stolen from our Central bank for sale abroad to buy arms…So I decided to change the currency, and for your benefit, it can now be told the whole world, only Gowon knew the day before, the day before the change took place’’.

 
Chief Awolowo has been variously accused of introducing tribalism into the Nigerian politics. He chased Dr Azikiwe out of the Ibadan in 1954 when the NCNC headed by Azikiwe won majority seats in the West Nigerian House of Assembly and through a palace coup called cross carpeting Zik was denied the Premiership of Western Nigeria, at a time when Professor Eyo Ita, an Efik was premier of Eastern Region and Alhaji Umoru Altine , a Fulani, was Mayor of Enugu. Dr Azikiwe, following the footsteps of Awolowo, had to frustrate Professor Eyo Ita out of Enugu. Chief Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello seems to have a deeper understanding of the Nigerian complexities than Dr Azikiwe.

 
While Awolowo never trusted the Igbos, the north never trusted Awolowo and theYorubas. The northern oligarchy instigated crisis in Western Nigeria in the same manner President Obasanjo used the Uba brothers to instigate crisis in Anambra State. This crisis led to the trumped up charges leading to the trial and imprisonment of Awolowo . Reports has it that he was to be poisoned in prison before the military coup altered the state of affairs.

 
Awolowo was released from Calabar prison by Biafran leader Odumegwu Ojukwu and there was an agreement that while Ojukwu declares Biafra in the East, Awolowo would declare Oduduwa Republic in the West. The British establishment, sensing the dangers of Awolowo declaring Oduduwa Republic in the West, convinced Gowon and the north to checkmate Awolowo’s secessionist agenda by appointing him the Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council. This strategy worked effectively and Awolowo was deceived that after Gowon’s tenure he would be given the opportunity of ruling Nigeria. Awolowo thus had to checkmate the Biafran dream to clear any obstacle to his ruling Nigeria while the north was looking for the right opportunity to throw him into the dustbin. In frustration, Awo resigned from Gowon’s cabinet when he realized he has been politically duped.



 
Awolowo quashed the Biafran dream while the northern establishment killed the Oduduwa dream and betrayed Awolowo’s presidential ambition thrice. This fact was aptly captured by a prominent Yoruba leader and Nigeria’s former minister of aviation Chief Femi Fani-Kayode while replying to a boastful statement by another prominent northern leader, Alhaji Usman Farouk on how the north dominated the Yoruba people and conquered the Niger Delta. According to Fani Kayode, "… the north literally begged Awolowo not to declare Oduduwa Republic and go the way of Biafra even though that was his original intention…Fourthly it was the support that the south west gave to the north that allowed Nigeria to win the war. Fifthly it was the lie that Gowon and the northern leaders fed to Awolowo that he would be made President of the country after the war and after being effectively being made de facto Prime Minister under Gowon during the war that got Awolowo to support them", invariably, the Igbos and Yorubas were effectively dribbled, divided, manipulated and overpowered.

 
The ascension of Awolowo’s kinsman Obasanjo as Head of State was another opportunity for him to realize his dream of ruling Nigeria. The 1979 election result was decided in the infamous judgement where the Supreme Court refused Awolowo’s plea that 2/3 of 19 is 13 states therefore declaring Alhaji Shehu Shagari the winner of the election. The north led by Generals Shehu Yaradua and Theophilus Danjuma convinced Obasanjo on why Awolowo should never be the president of Nigeria. Therefore, instead of a runoff election, which some believe could favour Awolowo,the Supreme Court declared Alhaji Shehu Shagari the winner.

 
Chief MKO Abiola at one point was used by the northern dominated NPN to oppose the presidential ambitions of Awolowo . He used his Nigerian Concord newspaper and enormous wealth to fight Awolowo and UPN and when they finished using him to deal with Awolowo, they frustrated Abiola’s presidential ambition and he had to resign from the party in 1982. Alhaji Umaru Dikko, then transport minister, sent message to Abiola that the presidency is not for sale to the highest bidder. When Babangida annulled the election of Abiola in 1993, Yorubas alluded to a certain curse Awolowo released on Abiola, in the heat of the later’s opposition to his presidency ‘’that even if Abiola was to be given the presidential seat, he would not sit on it.”

 
In 1999, after the suspicious death of Abiola, the northern establishment sensing that Chief Olu Falae was the choice of the Yoruba people, rigged the polls in favour of Obasanjo . It is obvious that the North had shown evidence of being deadly political strategists than their Yoruba and Igbo compatriots, having used the political suspicion between the duos to dribble them. Conclusively, the north is not as dumb as people assume; they used Awolowo to checkmate Biafra and then dealt with Awolowo and his ambitions.

 
Obinna Akukwe ( profetobinna2@yahoo.com ).

 
*Photo Caption - Chief Obafemi Awolowo

[ Masterweb Reports ] - The attention of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law and Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization has been drawn to threats from the office of the Divisional Police Officer of the NORMANSLAND Police Station, Sabon Gari in Kano State, Northwest Nigeria to arrest Mr. Tobias Idika of Ohanaeze Ndigbo , Kano State Branch on trumped up charges. Mr. Tobias Idika is the chairman of the Igbo socio-cultural group in Kano State. There have been sharp disagreements between the Government of Kano State and the security agencies in the State, on one hand; and the Ohanaeze leadership in the State led by Mr. Tobias Idika, on the other, over the management of the casualty figures in the two deadly bomb blasts that were planted and detonated in the Sabon Gari area of Kano State on March 18 and July 29, 2013 respectively. While the former watered down the two figures to 22 and 12 respectively; the latter insisted with facts and figures that over 185 and 50 died in the two blasts. Over ninety-five percent of them were Igbo-Nigerian citizens. The watering down of the number of the dead in both police unlawful killings and other killings carried out by malicious Nigerians in recent years, have become........ Read More
 
 
 
 
 
*Photo Caption - Mr. Tobias Idika, Kano State OHANAEZE Chairman

 [ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – The recent health care reforms of Barrack Obama is being associated with the mark of the beast 666 . A  controversial section of the Health Care Reform act talked of  '(ii) a class II device that is implantable, life-supporting, or life-sustaining'. One of the class (ii) devices is an implantable Verichip or RFID-Chip. Verichip is an inject-able identification chip that can be inserted under the skin of a human being to provide biometric verification. It is about the size of a grain of rice and  holds an identification number, an electromagnetic coil for transmitting data, and a tuning capacitor all enclosed inside a silicon and glass container that is compatible with human tissue.
 
One of the announced  purposes of Obama Care is  to provide affordable health insurance for all US citizens and to reduce the growth in health care spending. The result is that Americans could easily access affordable health care where the patient is prized out of private health insurance. Some of us with good background in database administration understands the value of comprehensive  database in healthcare especially if at the tip of a finger or a Structured Query Language, every relevant data about a patent's health history could be glanced for statistical analysis and proper medical decisions.
 
Beyond the seemingly harmless venture comes a chip which has the ability to be used to manipulate human beings.There is a report  in the early eighties that some British scientists used some human beings as guinea pigs in a secret experiment to discover the potency of implantable devices on the human mind. They discovered that those so tested behaved like human robots. The UK government was said to have quietly quarantined the research for public safety. This research and numerous others from different agencies on the effects of chips on the human mind shows that this seemingly harmless chips technology is capable of being used for ulterior purposes.
 
Human beings have progressed with the use of digitized numbering system. Since the introduction of bar code , the use of unique product identifier has increased.This enables goods to be tracked and traced to the sources including originating batches, products,manufacturers, cities etc. It also helps in tracking goods at stores for inventory, payments etc. Other unique ID system are visible in credit cards,loyalty cards, ATM cards and other identification processes.Technological evolution led to the introduction of  chips technology . Since the introduction of RFID chips by British scientist Kevin Warwick in 1988, its use has been applied to different spheres of life. All these are human efforts to make life, commerce, business etc easy .Therefore, technologically and expediently,  chips technology is necessary for accountability, identification and accessibility.
 
The church leaderships in the US have cried out against the introduction of the chips in Obama Health care reforms. Popular Indiana end-time pastor Paul Bergley have variously condemned the move as tilting towards the mark of the beast. Bergley is reaching over 12 million Americans on the air with his views on the beast mark. Another California Mega pastor Greg Laurie had warned Americans that  "The antichrist's economic policy will be very simple. Take my mark and worship me, or starve to death… No mark, no merchandize… No seal, no sale." and he added that the technology to enforce this is already in place.
 
I remember in 1994 when a group of Korean preachers came to  Nigeria and was hosted by Archbishop Dr AA Nwodika ( then Rev Dr Nwodika) at Grace of God Mission, 2B Owerri Road, Enugu. With all their preachment, I still remember that they warned the congregation during the 3 evenings programme that Jesus Christ appeared to them and asked them to warn the world of the antics of the antichrist and how he would use chips technology to cause people to accept the an evil mark. They warned the audience never to accept the semblance of any mark for whatever reasons as it is a trap from the devil. This warning given in 1994 by the Koreans needs further examination in the light of Obama's chips implantable healthcare policies.
 
Some theologians have labelled Obama as the Anti- Christ. I may not agree with them, however, I believe that anybody who is not spirit filled could be used to fulfill  satanic agenda unknowingly. It is known that even church leaders who refused to follow the leading of the Spirit of God could become tools in the hands of the devil and they may not be aware of it. Politicians and business men have been used by the devil to bring poverty, sorrows, wars and death to their subjects due to irrational actions manipulated from the kingdom of darkness.
 
Particularly in Nigeria, some Christian and Muslim religious leaders receive gratifications from some corrupt politicians for political and social endorsements. Though the religious leaders increased in financial net-worth, the wrong signal was unwittingly sent to their members-that even God can be bribed with corrupt money.These clergymen may not even know that they have advanced the kingdom of darkness they preach against.
 
However, the Bible prophecy have warned Christians who are still interested in going to heaven, to beware of the mark of the beast, either on their hands or forehead. The Bible said that at that time, there will be no buying or selling except with the mark . In Revelation 13 vs16,17 “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”  This simple predicts the global acceptance of chips as means of commerce. The  Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced cashless society in many cities. It started with Lagos and after a year of experiment, it was extended to Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Rivers and Kano States and the rest of the cities would soon follow.  Initially, lots of persons kicked against it, but with the apex bank insisting on nothing less, people started to adopt to the cashless system. The use of Point of Sales( PoS) Terminals in different places of commerce is becoming popular. Internet marketing, banking and commerce is becoming popular and soon the apex body may go further to introduce the idea of chips, as is being done in the US.
 
Therefore,whether for health purposes, social security, physical security, commerce etc all well meaning citizens of every nation must resist the implantation  of chips technology in the human body. Christians, Muslims, Pagans, Traditionalists and whatever shade of belief notwithstanding, everybody should resist this attempt because it will be used by satanic forces in the future to manipulate the freedom of the mind.
 
The Bible says that anyone who receives the mark is damned forever. Revelation 14vs 9-11 stated that "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." -this include Christians,Muslims, Pagans or whatever-it is a global warning. Humanity is in pains today with all the killings, poverty diseases, humiliations, tyranny etc because Adam and Eve failed to obey simple instructions -''thou shall not eat of the fruit in the midst of the garden''-until  the all loving God threw them out of the garden to face the reality of a rampaging serpent .
 
I like Barrack Obama and I know that his presidency has brought appreciable economic recovery, security and international acceptance to the US. Obama has used cautious diplomacy in dealing with other nations whose interest is at variance with the US- reducing America's strategic enemies. However, my fondness for Obama cannot becloud my sense of reasoning to accept this sinister strategy of embedding chips inside a human being in the name of health care.

 
Obinna Akukwe ( profetobinna2@yahoo.com ).

 
*Photo Caption – U.S. President Barrack Obama

 [ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] – The major problem of modern lawmaking in Nigeria is not the appendage of lawmakers to the executive arms that operate at federal and State levels per se. Rather, it is about parliamentary quackery, profligacy and tendency to see lawmaking duty as a business enterprise.  In organized sociopolitical climes, lawmaking is highly professionalized and revered. Parliamentary rascality, which routinely occurs in Nigeria, must not be mixed with the doctrine of parliamentary independence. Impeaching the president or the governor or issuance of threats of impeachment is too far from parliamentary independence.
 
In Nigeria, legislative parochialism, quackery and mercantilism have remained the stock in trade of the lawmaking process. In a standard lawmaking chambers, there exists competition among lawmakers. Such competition arises from demonstration of legislative professionalism and intellectualism. Unfortunately, what we have in Nigeria is competition arising from mercantilism and materialism, especially in the area of legislative oversight enquiries. Though, legislative oversight enquiries are purely civil and non-binding, but the target agencies and firms usually part with huge sums in the context of “corporate bribery” so as to be extricated. This area is now a gold mine for Nigerian lawmakers.

 
An average internationally rated lawmaker operates a world class legislative library and laboratory, which serves not only as a rich resource for private and public oriented civil and criminal inquiries, but also center for formulation and sustenance of national interest, public security and safety as well as foreign policy and diplomacy. Art of modern lawmaking requires being a thinker, a virile agent of social change and a graduate of legislative studentship.

 
The floor of a universally standardized legislative chambers must also composed of "Amicus Curiae" or a team of experts renowned in natural and social science disciplines including gurus in the Bench, Bar, Juridical, Criminology, Security Expertise, Medicine, Pharmacy, Sociology, Theology, Politics, Diplomacy, Environmental Safety, Human Rights, and so on. But in Nigeria, through consistently unchecked executive-legislative-organized labour conspiracy, the country is steadily put in huge indebtedness and high costs of public governance with shocking and crude allocation of over 70% of the annual fiscal accruals for the servicing of infinitesimal public office holders numbering 17,500 and their daily office attendants, leaving other 170 million Nigerians with paltry 30%. This is why there is consistent dearth of basic necessities of life including critical infrastructures.

 
This further explains why our country is monumentally backward and strife-prone. Nigerian legislative doors must be shut against socially downward and upward quarks. This includes professional quarks and compound quarks. That is to say those who are educated illiterates and uneducated illiterates. There shall be established a graduate and post graduate level Institute in the country to train prospective Nigerian lawmakers. Nobody will qualify to become a lawmaker be it at State or federal level unless he or she possesses the Institute's certificate. This should be incorporated into the INEC’s legislative eligibility provisions.

 
To curb the perennial menace of high costs of public governance in the country, all the allowances of Nigerian lawmakers and executive officials both at federal and State levels should be cut by 60%   so as to unclothe them of their present international pariah toga or status of "world's highest paid lawmakers" and recover funds traditionally meant for development and empowerment of Nigerians including those the likes of Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State christened “destitute-Nigerians” . Also allowances paid annually to the country’s 12,788 top LGA officials, which is N550 Billion, should be cut by 60% and N330 Billion saved, channeled into development and sustenance of the country’s critical social sectors.

 
Contributed By: 
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
41 Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Nigeria.
08033601078, 08180103912
emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk   
 
*Photo Caption – Law books & gavel

 [ Masterweb Reports: Akusoba Christopher Chigozie  reports ] – Onitsha residents were saluted with sight of over 70 bizarre persons glitter the scene of upper iweka Head Bridge in the commercial city of Onitsha on 24th July, 2013. This elicited a state of pandemonium in the commercial city as people thought that ferocious Islamic sects have invaded the city. But close observation reveals something very striking. There was a forced removal and internal deportation and those strange faces are merely victims. The victims look very malnourished, pale and with visible signs of grotesque characters. There was a vehement protest among the residents of the city on the gross violation of human dignity. The masses outcry drew the attention of Anambra State government. Nigerian Red Cross society led by Dr.Peter Katcy was at the scene to identify the victim and ascertain the problem. On enquiry, it was discovered that they were arrested by officials of Lagos State Kick against Indiscipline.  Some of them revealed that they were arrested, detained and imprisoned as long as two years before their tortuous and nocturnal journey back to commercial city at 3.20 midnights. There are convincing evidences that some of those victims are not Anambrians because of non-Igbo lingual linkage. Some are from faraway Edo and River States.
 
An examination by Dr. Katchy, proves that most of the victims are not destitute as they have their legitimate means of livelihood to eke out a living. One victim by name Rosemary Nathaniel from Abia state reveals that she was neither a beggar nor hawker but working at a T-shirt weaving center in Lagos. She was whiskered away in commando style by officials of Lagos state government on her way to work and detained for seven months before her onward repatriation to the commercial city. The case is the same with another deportee named Osondu Mbuto, a pretty trade from Ebonyi state. He was abducted on his way to his shop and kept in prison for eight months before he was forcefully brought to Onitsha. One striking similarities among those deported Nigerians was that they look physically fragile, weak with some subtle signs of strange characters. This proves that they are grossly starved, humiliated, dehumanized, traumatized and subjected to a severe psychological torture before their deportation. Some family members of the victims have declared their loved ones dead and some missing because their phones are forcefully taken away from them which rendered them incommunicado. They are been fed once a day with very poor medical care which resulted in the death of many of them in prison.

 
Lagos state Government and its agents led by Mr. Joe Igbokwe have been making frantic effort to justify and rationalize their diabolic and nefarious action of desecration of human dignity.  Mr Joe Igbokwe in his forlorn attempt to justify their satanic action said most of the victims are mentally deranged, but as a sign of Lagos state magnanimity and benevolence, they decided to pick them up from the streets and rehabilitated them. Thereafter, those who are interested in staying were trained in skill acquisition centers while those who want to join their kits and kins in their states of origin were taken to a central place very close to their towns to find their way. I doubt if this statement actually emanated from Mr. Igbokwe but if it was, then I want to know why these deportees were smuggled into Onitsha in the midnight and also accompanied with full surveillance of armed military men if actually those deportees decided on the own to join their families in their various states of origin. This evidence has nullified his defense that those deportees have free choice to relocate.  The result reveals a state imposed forcefully removal which the Lagos state had meted out to innocent Nigerians thereby depriving them their constitutional right of freedom of movement. Close examination on the victims’ show that they are not rehabilitated or trained because there are signs that they are seriously disturbed mentally probably as a result of the psychological torture they went through in various Lagos jails. Another objection I have on Igbokwe defense is his proximity consideration in dumping his fellow Nigerians in Onitsha. I wonder how he came up with proximity consideration on their devilish action of man inhumanity while they dumped Edo state Indigenes in Onitsha. I don’t know how close Onitsha is to various Edo villages and Mr. Igbokwe failed to tell the world how much money he gave their deportees to continue their journey ongoing.

 
Mr. Joe Igbokwe went on to rationalize their evil action by saying that his Lagos state government informed Anambra state Government before their deportation plan and since no reply was receive from Anambra state, then they are forced to remove victims by force and dumped them into Onitsha. He went on to say that their Lagos state abhors a situation where people from other regions will become a security threat to the state.  Mr. Joe Igbokwe submission differs from one of his boss Gov. Fashola who said that he got a reply from Anambra state liaison office Lagos. Mr. Igbokwe should have clarified and reconcile facts with his boss before making public his defense, Nigerians expect coherent reasons for the action. I wonder what made Igbokwe to regard those Nigerians as a security risk that needed immediate and forceful removal. Nigerian constitution made provision for every punishment for every crime under the law. The essence of government is to cater for the needs of the all Nigerians, government have to be for the people and for the people irrespective of status and level in the society. I have never taken cognize of a law that recognized poverty of her citizens as a crime; you cannot criminalize someone because he is a beggar. Nigerians are living in penury because of corrupt attitudes of all the Governors and their agents, Gov. Fashola Inclusive. He lacks the power to punish his fellow Nigerians for the hardship they have collectively unleashed onto them. I would have preferred that Mr. Igbokwe had maintained absolute silence on this delicate issue because he is not from Lagos State. He works for government for monthly salary; his defense on this diabolic action of inhumanity against man is irrational and should be disregarded because it is of no substance. The world is in a fluid state, it is not constant; a day will come when Mr. Joe Igbokwe should be considered a nuisance in his Lagos state Eldorado and will be reminded of his place of origin and will be forced to head home. Then he will experience the feelings of the ordinary Nigerians.

 
Lagos state government has acted beyond its constitutional limit. Nigeria is a federal state and it confides her citizens the right to live in any part of her component parts without fear of harassment and molestation. The action of Lagos state is regrettable and highly condemnable because it has failed her people, deprived them of their human dignity, denies them the constitutional right of movement and dehumanized them by depriving them of their human dignity by the way of their forceful removal. Lagos state through her agents must come out to put the record straight. They must admit their error and formally apologize to these victimized Nigerians and possibly pay damages and compensation to them. Anything short of that is continuing playing to the gallery, which Nigerians and Ndigbo will never accept.

 
Akusoba Christopher Chigozie (Chrischigozieakusoba@yahoo.com ) reports from Sweden.

 
*Photo Caption – Lagos State Igbo deportees

 [ Masterweb Reports ] - The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law sees the last weekend defense by the Government of Lagos State over its roles in dumping in Onitsha Upper Iweka of 72 less privileged citizens, which it called destitute; as constitutionally impeachable. This is because it amounts to gross misconduct, contrary to Section 188(2b) of the Constitution. It is also a grave violation of Section 1(3) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. By Section 1(3), the Constitution does not share her supremacy with any other law and policy in Nigeria that are clearly incoherent with her provisions. From every indication, the Government of Lagos State is a clear opposite of an enclave under organic solidarity and a rabid proponent of mechanical solidarity. Following thunderous and deafening condemnations that trailed the dumping of 72 destitute in Onitsha Upper Iweka, Southeast Nigeria by the Government of Lagos State through its office of Youths & Social Development and the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Command; the State Government, which initially denied knowledge of the criminal exercise, has spoken out and claimed responsibility. According to the Special Adviser to the Governor of Lagos State on Youths & Social Development, Dr. Enitan Dolapo Badru, who spoke to the Guardian Newspapers last weekend, “at least 1, 708 beggars and destitute have been........ Read More
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*Photo Caption - Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety (Left) at a conference. 
 

 [ Masterweb Reports: Omolara Williams reports ] – In the dark old days when the military dominated Nigeria’s political scene, the phenomenon of brain drain became crystallised in our national consciousness, as our best brains in all walks of life embarked on an exodus to nations in different parts of the world, in the wake of oppressive military tyranny. Outside the shores of Nigeria, these brains found comfortable abodes where their intellect and works were highly appreciated.
 
These were times when people we could pinpoint as role models in the country were few and far between. Mammon was then the landmark, and was the only symbol we had left to identify a model. Sadly enough, after the military men were shoved back inside the barracks, things have not improved much with our national psyche and sense of value. Financial opulence still remains a topmost factor in our order of things, and the craze for mammon has blitzed our sense of judgement in identifying the real icons and models of ethical values in our society.

 
However, at the dawn of democracy in 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo began to woo the best brains from the Diaspora back home to come lend their expertise as the nation began a rebuilding process. Not that our democratic experiment has delivered excellently the way we envisioned in the last 14 years, but we’ve taken a leap from where we used to be. Of course, we are not where we want to be, but governance is always a work in progress.

 
In page 6 of her book, Reforming the Unreformable, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ushers her readers into the behind-the-scene events that preceded her appointment into President Obasanjo’s administration. After being suggested by Lady Lynda Chalker, a former International Development Secretary of the United Kingdom and other likeminded individuals in OBJ’s kitchen cabinet, the machine was set in motion for her homecoming. She eventually agreed to come after considering the pros and cons. And no sooner had she come home that she began to drive the reformation agenda of President Obasanjo. Part of that reformation was the write-off of the nation’s debt. That awesome achievement made me an ardent fan of NOI till date.

 
It was obvious her international exposures and networks helped a great deal in securing the debt relief for Nigeria. Her exploits also opened the floodgates for some Nigerian professionals abroad to start heading home, as things were now look brighter for the country. But, after leaving the OBJ’s cabinet and returning after much plea to serve her fatherland in the GEJ’s government, she has been the butt of critical wags of tongues at home.

 
Meanwhile, isn’t it ironic that as much as the critics cast the stones in her direction, accolades have not ceased to come her way, especially from the clime where excellence and hard work are celebrated?

 
Lately, Forbes magazine named her among the most powerful women in the world. Prior to that accolade, the United Nation Secretary General, Mr Ban Kin Moon, appointed her as a member of the Eminent Persons from Around the World working for a new global partnership to eradicate poverty and transform economies through sustainable development.

 
Also, in not too distant time, the prestigious University of Pennsylvania honoured her with an honorary doctorate degree in law alongside US Vice President, Joe Biden. This award was for a select group of personalities from around the world for high achievement in various spheres.

 
In the citation read at the ceremony, we are told that: “Okonjo-Iweala is responsible for managing the finances of Africa’s most populous nation and one of the world’s fastest growing economies. She’s a former managing director of the World Bank where she had oversight responsibility for the bank’s $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe and Central Asia.

 
“She also spearheaded initiatives to assist low-income countries during the food crisis and later the financial crisis, and she chaired the raising of $49.3 billion in grants and low-interest credit for the world’s poorest nations.”

 
The laurels stated above are just an infinitesimal fraction of all the honours that NOI has amassed in her academic, career and political expedition. And the surprising thing is that, even while our legislators and other not-so-informed people at home are busy maligning her, the world keeps celebrating her. Thus making hers the proverbial prophet who is honoured everywhere except in his own household. For every girl child like me, she is a shining light, who is breasting the tape of achievements and setting a glorious path for upward-looking people to follow.

 
Isn’t it about time we started celebrating our own?

 
*Photo Caption – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

 [ Masterweb Reports: Obinna Akukwe reports ] – The processes of gaining admission into Nigerian universities have been bastardized by the trio of JAMB, respective universities and desperate parents. The once transparent admission process into Nigerian universities has degenerated into a cash and carry fraudulent system devoid of fairness, where the highest bidder carries the day. During our own time, there was so much anxiety over Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) examinations that students attended all manners of extra-mural studies to pass. With the passage of time, especially in the early nineties, graft entered into the JAMB admission processes. Some special centres and villages became centres of 'expo' and malpractices. This led JAMB to continue to cancel centres where it is suspected that malpractice took place. In the process, a lot of innocent students were lumped for punishment with the guilty. Years later schools started employing the services of policemen and other law officers to stem the tide of malpractice. Two years into using the policemen, they too became conduit pipes for the distribution of leaked answer scripts and their usefulness was destroyed.
 
The situation degenerated so much that answer scripts were leaked from either JAMB office in Lagos or respective zonal centres. In 1995 particularly, I remembered students hawking JAMB question papers eighteen hours to the examinations. Those who felt the papers were fake got the shockers of their lives when they discovered that their honesty and patriotic home training was mocked on the exams hall. Few years ago, I heard that some students distributed solved probable JAMB answers A, B, C, D, E, etc on facebook to their friends.

 
Speaking on the level of compromise associated with the examination, the Registrar of JAMB, Prof  Dibu Ojerinde said that “In 2012 UTME, we had some disturbing news of extortion of money from innocent candidates by greedy proprietors and supervisors all these persons will be brought to book,” Earlier in that 2011 he told news men  that “JAMB is currently investigating some results of 7, 504 candidates, from some centres which are suspicious…the results must undergo further screening because of the unusual performances recorded by candidates from those centre”.

 
Constant malpractice coupled with incessant demands for university autonomy by lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Committee of Vice Chancellors and other university pressure groups led to the acceding of the request for individual universities to set exams for prospective students. This led to the introduction of Post-University Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (Post-UTME) exams. This Post-UTME examination is yet to solve the problems associated with the earlier UTME, UME AND JAMB exams.
 

In the first instances, parents have to send or travel with their wards to different universities to write Post-UTME exams. A student may travel from Enugu to Abuja to write Post-UTME for University of Abuja, and then travels again to Lagos to write for University of Lagos, then moves to Port Harcourt to write that of University of Port Harcourt and back to base to sit for Enugu State University of Science and Technology’s exams, criss-crossing thousands of kilometers across dangerous countryside to write exams. The students usually purchases exorbitant exams forms from all these schools, travel to these locations, and lodge in hotels or with boyfriends, girl friends and sugar mummies in places if the cost of hotel accommodation is unaffordable. I inquired of a girl in Abuja some time in 2009 from her brother and was told that the girl traveled to Lagos to write Post-UTME exams and never returned back again. Whether rapists, robbers or ritualists caught hold of her and cut her breasts, eyes etc for rituals, nobody could tell.

 
In 2012 three prospective students traveling to UNN, Nsukka for Post-UTME got involved in auto crash. I do not know whether they died after being rushed to the hospital. During the same phased examinations, the process was cancelled midway because the university discovered that the papers actually leaked the night before. Some students told me that they had the answers in their phones and distributed such through text messages hours before the exams. The authorities told the students to go home and come back later to rewrite the papers at the expense of parents and sponsors. It was later discovered that some university staff leaked the papers to their wards who in turn sold same to the highest bidders. The embarrassed authorities with the aid of the police arrested the erring staffers for prosecution.
 

Despite all these Post-UTME exams, some parents still pay for their ward’s admission. Last year, a family told me that they paid N400.000 for their ward to read medicine in a university in Lagos, while another family confided that they paid N240, 000 to help their ward secure admission to read law in Port-Harcourt. This process disenfranchises those who are supposed to be on the merit list because highest bidders have taken over their chances. This is because some university staffers reserve lots of chances for themselves which they can sell or dispense as they deem fit.

 
This non-transparent process have made many parents to sell family land, properties and life savings to send their frustrated  wards to schools in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia while few buoyant ones send theirs to UK for admission. I have unenthusiastically assisted some frustrated families with finance to send their wards to some of these East-European schools and I kept on pondering at how Nigeria is enriching other people's economy due to moronic and educational policies. This results in capital flight and the enrichment of other nation's education industry. Those who are not buoyant for overseas enrollment litter the streets of Nigeria and constitutes nuisance to the society. Many have joined robbery, kidnapping and prostitution gangs because idle minds are devils workshops.

 
Nigeria’s Minister of Education Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai recently told a news conference that “out of the over 1.7million students that sat for the examinations in 2013, only 500,000 will gain admission”. This means that 1.2 million students will be disappointed. In 2012, 1,503, 931 students sat for the exams and about 450,000 was admitted. In 2011 it was 1,493,603 with about 420,000 getting admitted. In 2010 according to JAMB about 1,375,642 sat for the exams with spaces for less than 400,000.  From the JAMB statistics, it is obvious that about 900,000 applicants were disappointed in 2010; 1 million applicants in 2011, 1.1 million others in 2012, 1.2 million ‘disappointed’ in 2013 and probably 1.4 million come 2014.

 
Two years ago the Nigerian Senate made attempts to scrap Post-UTME exams citing corruption and duplication of functions. The process failed because the lawmakers couldn’t find a common ground of acceptance.  Around my residence in Abuja lots of brilliant students have been writing JAMB and Post- UTME exams for many years and yet cannot get admission. Some of them have gotten admitted only for their names to disappear from the merit list. According to their frustrated parents, the number on the merit list for some departments of their choice are not up to 20% while the rest is admission by favoritism. In the same neighborhood, some frustrated parents used political party links and corrupt processes to get their wards admitted.

 
The solution to these anomalies is for NUC to relax processes for establishment of universities. Their stringent condition is such that only mega funded billionaire institutions and individuals can dare it. How come Ghana is wooing Nigerian students to go there and study? They have enough quality schools to contain their applicants and they maintained qualitative small universities established at little cost. Secondly JAMB should ensure that individual schools admit at least 50% of those who write Post-UTME exams on the merit list. The amount of money spent on these Post-UTME exams should be reduced and if the universities cannot guarantee transparency, the process should be scraped. Nigeria admission process have been compromised by individual universities, JAMB, NUC,  parents and applicants, and God will not leave some people unpunished whose actions or inaction contributed to the bastardization of the once transparent admission process.

 
Obinna Akukwe ( profetobinna2@yahoo.com ).

 
*Photo Caption – University of Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria.