Translational inhibition due to CHEAP RETIN-A the fact that the path of the excitation occurs Br neuron. recurrent inhibition     Carried intercalary brake cells (Renshaw). Axons of buy nolvadex online canada motor neurons often give collaterals (branches), ending with Renshaw cells. Renshaw cell axons terminate on the body or dendrites of the motor neuron, forming inhibitory synapses. Arousal that occurs in motor neurons travel in a straight path to the skeletal muscle, as well as collaterals to inhibitory neurons, which send impulses to motoneurons and inhibits them. The stronger the motor neuron excitation, the more excited Renshaw cells and the more intense they exert their inhibitory effect, which protects nerve cells from overstimulation. lateral inhibition    
 

 -Masterweb Reports
 

Ojukwu was 33years of age when the Nigerian Civil War erupted. He was born in the small Northern town of Zungeru while his father was on a short business trip. Born among the landed gentry of his multi-millionaire father, young Ojukwu grew to boyhood in the embrace of loving parents-Catholic education and Religion shaped his formative years naturally. His father -Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a bull of a man, highly cultured but not quite a man of erudition and yet he believed in formal education for all his children. At age 7, young Emeka Ojukwu was encouraged to read the classics on long evenings in front of his father’s huge and complex home.

 
By age 9, Ojukwu could write long passages from Illiad in Pope’s translation and knew the Catholic Bible by heart. Sir Louis died in September 1966,with a Knighthood of St. John-few months after the Nigeria’s military coup. Ojukwu had the education money could buy, Catholic Grammar School in 1940, Lagos King’s College soon after. At age 13, his father sent him to Epson College England and upon completing his high school, he moved into Lincoln College, Oxford. It was here that he had his first clash with his father and won. His father, the Victorian type, wanted him to study Law, but ‘Emeka’ Ojukwu wanted to read Modern History. Driven in on himself, Ojukwu developed a private philosophy of total self-reliance, and unyielding internal sufficiency that required no external support from others.

 
Despite frequent clashes with his House Master, Ojukwu excelled on the highest level of the class, played a good game of Rugby and set a new Junior Discus record. Ojukwu’s British classmate and sports partner called him “a Steam-Engine in pants-an African boy with enormous brain power.” Known to have a volcanic temper, young Ojukwu was deeply involved in students’ protests in his High School days. He was locked up for slapping his white English teacher, Mr Slade, for badgering him over incomplete project. Ojukwu earned his graduate degree in Modern History and hurried to his fatherland-Nigeria. Again, to express his independence, ‘Emeka’ opted for the Civil Service job rather than surrendering to his father’s recommendation- to be the Director of his father’s multi-millionaire business enterprise. He was subsequently made an Assistant Division Officer-[ADO] in a short span of time. In an effort to prove himself, Ojukwu threw himself into the work with great vengeance -personally taking part in building roads, ditches, culverts among the peasantry.

 
Ironically, it was a vital apprenticeship for his future as the General of the People’s Army. At this position, Ojukwu mastered the Psychology of his people-the Ibos at the level of the common man. He understood their problems, fears and aspirations, prejudices and innuendoes. He joined the Nigerian Military after two years of Civil Service. This transition was ironical for a man who was to be accused of “breaking up the federation” during the Civil War. Historically, Ojukwu was a convinced Federalist who resented the narrow confines of regionalism -that straight-jacketed the Civil Service and he saw in the military an institution where tribe, race, and social standing should not count. Non-the less, Gen. Ojukwu was immediately sent for officer training at Eastern Hall, Britain and he graduated as a Second Lieutenant. After further advanced courses at Hythe and War Ministry in Britain, he was later promoted to Captain and sent to Army H/Q Lagos in 1955.

 
Highly talented and showing promise of a military genius, Ojukwu was sent to the popular West African Frontier Force in Ghana as a Lecturer in Tactics and Military Law. Back to Nigeria again, he was appointed Company Commander of the Fifth Battalion of the Nigerian Army. In 1962, Ojukwu was selected for further military training and he attended the Joint Services Staff College in England and upon his arrival in Nigeria, he was promoted to a Lieutenant-Colonel[1963] and became the first indigenous Quarter Master General. By virtue of his experience in this position, Ojukwu adopted a policy of “buying the best Arms and Munitions from any source. ”Under Ojukwu, the major old arms contracts with British firms were cancelled and fresh ones placed with more price-competitive manufacturers in Europe.

 
THE UNTOLD CHARACTER OF GEN. OJUKWU : THE COMPLEXITY AND CONTROVERSY OF A TITAN

 
After the military coup that culminated in the massacre of thousands of Easterners, the Commander of the nation’s Armed Forces appointed Ojukwu to govern the Easterners. He was truly a complex and controversial figure. He was highly respected and equally feared by many who know him intimately. His legacy transcended his military conquests. He was also an unrepentant, aristocratic snob whose devotion to the common soldier and his people was irreproachable. Forty-two years after the Civil War, Ojukwu’s name still reverberates world wide. An Oxford-educated, a military tactician, a Shakespearian admirer. He was an omnivorous reader. He consumed the biographies of Winston Churchill and mastered the Themes in Tolstoi’s War and Peace, and Ghandhi’s Non-Violence. Gen. Ojukwu was a Workaholic, a Public Policy Wonk who plowed through weighty tomes of history for pleasure and knowledge. He worked like the demons and drove his staff crazy with military work assignments. He looked cultured and mild-mannered but could be a fire-brand when angered or provoked.

 
Ojukwu,s life experiences helped him engage in the ineffable crucial struggles for his ‘defeated’ people and in seeking justice and truth, he tended to liberate the truth by seeking liberty for all. Ojukwu was tough. He was charismatic. He was brilliant. He had no peers in the annals of modern warfare. He argued his people’s case with matchless accuracy, thunder and dash. He was passionate, but arrogant where situation called for it. He was vilified and deified by both critics and admirers. When it came to the business of War and Governance and Fair play, Ojukwu had no competitors. His profile reveals a complex personality of a man who struck fear into the Nigerian Civil War Generals and left everyone questioning the sanity of ‘this demigod.’

 
Gen. Ojukwu was “a man of many parts.” He was a master of showmanship, a fighter, a war strategist, perhaps an idealist, an insatiable political animal. Many believed that in a country of imponderables, Ojukwu is Nigeria’s last hope. He was also a mystic who believed in reincarnation, a Catholic by birth and orientation, but a Calvinist in practical daily life. Ojukwu practiced misanthropy- “Save for the Rainy Day.; ”he would always caution. His personal savings summed up to $8million in the British Bank. But he squandered the entire savings when the realities of war became apparent to Biafra. “ Here is a man for whom you could go to hell and come back, ”remarked Captain Anene of the Biafran Engineering Unit, in admiration of Ojukwu’s talents. Many believed in the infallibility of ‘His Excellency.’ His British greatest admirer likened Ojukwu to Daniel Webster-” a super professional with a volcanic inner drive that propelled him on, when others chose to stop.” As both practitioner and philosopher of Martial Arts, Ojukwu was an avid reader, [five hundred words in a minute] a devoted student of his Oxford University and prolific writer and Celebrated Orator. He often used his Diary as a stetch pad and as a means of venting his spleen. The General’s gift for aphorisms had a didactic influence on generations of people. Many quoted him during and after the Civil War. Succinct snatches such as “Hold the serpent by his head”, “ Let all Biafrans sleep with one eye open.” “No power in Black Africa can subdue us” and “May God have mercy on our enemy,” were prominently heralded in the national newspapers and quoted by Foreign Press.

 
August, 15,2005, this writer had one-time opportunity to meet with Gen.Ojukwu at his Enugu War-like - looking Palace. He was routinely surrounded by a handful of the Biafran Ex Generals reminiscing over their pension status and pleading with Gen. Ojukwu to help with their full benefits. It was a casual discussion, but Ojukwu digressed and talked about why the Roman Empire fell and spent endless time synthesizing the qualities that separated Great Commanders from “Average Mortals.” “Leadership is the element that wins battles; I have it but I will be damned if I can’t use it.” he smiled fiendishly to the retired Generals.. He had certain permanent ‘trademarks’ no other human has: a relentless quiet aggression, faith in a military offensive, an uncanny instinct for the enemy intention and dispositions, a steely unwillingness to sustain high casualities-perhaps out of conviction that “cowards die many times before their death.”
 

Ojukwu is a legend. He kept extensive diaries of events but made few confidences. Unlike millions of humans, he was a composite of different personalities, drives and characteristics. He was a distinct African type, equatorial, gallant and seasoned -the product of a tough, difficult, disciplinarian father with no overtones of quilt, a stern morality humanized by British Oxford Education, a profound sense of right and wrong that owed more to the Bible and moral education-“doing the right thing” than to any set of political doctrine. Certainly Ojukwu is the type historian Bernard De Voto called “The tall, the gallant, the gaunt, the powerful, sallow men-men of great mental and physical strength.” Surely, his basic values are those hardened by hard work, perseverance, selflessness, and dignity of labor. Only a few close friends of Ojukwu knew that he was disarmingly informal and ingratiatingly friendly but took himself very seriously. He accomplished his intended daily goals in a record time and chose his intimates meticulously. He trusted few-the consequence of war experience but kept a good distance from his subordinates, except a nucleus of powerful uncles and cousins. ”It’s impossible to be intimate with these hard-playing, rambunctious generals,” commented a war-time Biafran Ambassador defending Ojukwu and pleading anonymity.

 
Visibly anti-imperialist, Ojukwu challenged Harold Wilson and the British government over the morality and brutality of their Arms-Supply policy to one side in the conflict.” “Britain, leave us alone, so that we can solve our problems in our own way.!” Yet, his precise, no nonsense approach to national affairs endeared him to the world leaders. He literally frowned at the complacent and the idiotic, yes, a sterling model for humanity. Ojukwu loved Nigeria, but he loved Biafra more when confrontation became inevitable. He had zero-tolerance for the ‘laggards’- what he called “political insufferable whip-per-snappers.” Close associates of Gen. Ojukwu sworn that he practiced Psychic Phenomenon known as ‘de-ja vu’ -the sensation of having been somewhere or seen military events before. This had extraordinary positive effect on him. That is why Ojukwu viewed war in its broadest panorama, and applied the lessons of the past to real situation and current experiences to future plans.

 
Episodes of the past were deposited in Ojukwu’s mind like grains of gold in South African River ready to be washed out. He would always identify himself with them, and would adopt them as his own subconscious memories. He forgot nothing-he was naturally endowed with encyclopedic mind.-What a mega-photo memory! Ojukwu viewed himself therefore as a timeless man who would have been fit to live in any time and age. “ Gen.Ojukwu would have been a good Field Marshall in the time of Napoleon” remarked a Biafran General in his administration. ’His Excellency’ once affirmed that “Men live in deeds, not in years” as he faced the World Press. He also reaffirmed the occult notion about reincarnation of a ‘fighting man‘ in no uncertain terms in his personal philosophy- “To thy Own Self Be True.” quoting Shakespeare. As an Extraordinary character, Ancient and Modern History made an enormous impact on Ojukwu. Instinctively , young Ojukwu emphasized the study of Ancient History in High Schools and studied Modern History in Oxford, England. He read tons of books on Mythology. “If you want to predict the future ,study the past.“ Ojukwu would always remind the youthful high school Biafrans as he visited local schools. Cerebral and studious, Ojukwu’s mystique is that he projected self-confidence in all situation. He never smiled, except in a magnetic way, and could not be anything else but authentic.

 
Interest in History determined Ojukwu at a tender age to become a soldier later in life. But he’s literally destined by tradition and genetics, ordained so to speak by the chromosomes of Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu and his African ancestors-a kindred known for their frontier mentality. Ojukwu, the product of British Military Schools would always claim: “Im sure, my ancestors are always with me; They’re watching. They expect a lot of me.” and he gesticulated into the high heaven with the contours of his Castroic eyes wider than ever. The General’s first marriage to Njideka produced two sons. But the relationship became a casualty of the Civil War.It floundered on the alter of deromanticism!

 
“Emeka loved his family intimately, but he loved Biafra more“, recalled a close friend of Ojukwu’s wife regrettably. “He’s always at the hem of things-at the war fronts, planning, executing, commanding, plodding-a true perfectionist, no quality time for his family.” General Ojukwu made history for himself. As a positive, creative force in Nigeria and in his chosen profession, as an intellectual, as a natural leader, as a visionary and a comforter, as a military genius, as a writer and an orator, as a chronicler of his time and age, as a peace-maker, as an individual terribly and universally admired and feared alike, as the most controversial Nigerian and African, he remains an enigma and a hydra-headed superman. Simply put, Ojukwu remains an indestructible force. No one can pin him down. He was always at the center of controversy. What an indispensable, ageless political animal! And no wonder that Gen. Ojukwu’s British classmate and Sports Partner nicknamed him “a Steam Engine in Pants.” Though dead and buried, but many believe that this Demi-god [ god of War] is still alive and well, and will continue to contend in Nigeria’s rough-and-tumble politics. The British Tony Blair was very blunt in his description of the General: “There’s universal belief that Ojukwu possesses intimidating-cult personality; face-to-face, it was almost impossible to dislike him. I found I had to like him despite all the evidence to the contrary. He’s truly clever, quick and capable of huge efforts over short time span, and his ethical credentials are beyond reproof.”

 
FINAL DAYS OF A TITAN: While in sick-bed, in London, Gen. Ojukwu warned and advised his people through his most trusted Surrogate - Gov. Peter Obi of “a whirlwind we would reap by not studying our history-history of great events, great Movements and great people.” “If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of the eradication of the Ibo Memory that could ultimately result in an erosion of the Ibo Spirit.” The General raised his head from his bed, looked around and signaled to Gov. Obi for a whisper. Surprising to his VIP visitors, Ojukwu continued with what he considered as ‘Dogma of Life for his people’:

 
** “ Eastern States should not be treated as Archipelago of human Suffering or as the Devils’ Island. Rabbits can’t survive in a jungle, only Lions can. The tongue is sharper than two-edged knife- How many times do we kill with our tongues? Don’t forget that America was founded by individuals who first were on their knees before they were on their feet. Don’t ever throw rocks and stones at one another for the sake of political gamesmanship. The signal of Weakness is a dangerous one, and could place you on a Tinder Box. The next Nigerian President should have unprecedented opportunity to break with the past-and re-invent Nigerian Politics at home and its image abroad. No one can live meaningfully without the Bible. With all biological baggage women possess, they are our Best Hope in politics.” “ Corruption in Nigeria requires a multi-prong approach: the Mass Media, prominent individuals in high places, Professors, intellectuals, and private organizations.”

 
BOOKS WISE PEOPLE SHOULD READ: As a British Journalist observed, the General looked exhausted after his long ‘sermon‘ from his sick bed, but his bewitchingly beautiful wife-Bianca quickly served her husband a glass of red wine. , Ojukwu gained momentary energy and moved into another phase of ‘educating’ his hospital friends and visitors the virtues of reading ‘good books.’ “For people to be humanized, they have to read the FOUR most important BOOKS in this universe.” Gen. Ojukwu emphasized with alacrity. ** The Oxford Book of 16th Century Verse- The Glory of English Poetry
** The Complete Works of Shakespeare
** The Bible
** Charles Dickens-by David Copperfield.

 
Bold and unapologetic, Ojukwu’s human engineering is unfathomable. He remains one of the colossus of the Twentieth Century Africa. Energetic, and bull-headed, the retired General is closely watching the dichotomies and tribal intrigues in his native Nigerian Politics. Gen. Ojukwu is truly an INSTITUTION for all Nigerians, the people of the Millennium and particularly for the Ibo race.

 
Hon. Sylvester Obi Dikas reports.

 
Hon. Sylvester Obi Dikas, Ph.D. ( SDikas@aol.com )
Member, Writers’ Guild of America
Scholar of Gen. Ojukwu as An Institution

 
*Photo Caption - Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu.

 -Masterweb Reports
 

While I’m anxiously waiting for my copy of “There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra” by Prof. Chinua Achebe, I couldn’t believe the barrage of critics of the Novelist, the most celebrated writer in the world by nobodies and nonentities including the unruly Femi Fani-Kayode, a political idler who ought to be serving jail sentence if Nigeria had been a genuine democratic and civil society.

 
The piece “Obafemi Awolowo and Chinua Achebe’s tale of fantasy” by Femi Fani-Kayode reveals his ignorance and lack of grasp of the dark, sad and sordid history of a nation he once served as a thug under former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Femi Fani-Kayode is simply rude and ignorant. Perhaps, he has not read Professor Wole Soyinka’s book on the Nigerian-Biafran civil war and how the Nobel Laureate spoke against the atrocities perpetrated against Ndi-Igbo. Even his masterpiece treatise on the nation: “The Open Sore of a Continent – A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis” by the Nobel Laureate for Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka talked about the flawed origin of Nigeria. I just couldn’t believe how the ignorant Femi Fani-Kayode could criticize a true and historic book memoir written by one of the celebrated story-teller of all time. His rush to criticism clearly shows that Femi Fani-Kayode is rude, arrogant, and ignorant.

 
Prof. Chinua Achebe wants to set the record straight before he departs this earthly realm. I think that the novelist is a very wise man. I join millions around the world to thank him and pay gratitude to him for setting the record straight about those who perpetrated such malicious atrocities and genocide against Igbo people. The Nigerian State should simply seek for genuine reconciliation by sincerely repenting of its hate and maliciousness against Ndi-Igbo and ask for forgiveness. Otherwise, Nigeria will never have peace and prosperity until sincere apology is tendered and genuine forgiveness and reconciliation made.

 
There is no doubt that the late Obafemi Awolowo was and even in death, remains a revered political figure in Yoruba. We all have respect for visionary people like him. The political history of Nigeria cannot be written without his name being mentioned many times. He was a great political figure and icon, who fought for the welfare of Yoruba people. The high level of enlightenment and educated Yoruba people today is attributed to his vision for free education in the Western region. However, the answers to why he, the Finance Minister during Gowon regime then, introduced monetary policies that were purely punitive and spiteful treatment of the Igbos, whom he had already defeated in war remains to be answered. His monetary policies such as – change of currency, twenty pounds policy, starvation measures, abandoned property, etc., were so detrimental to Ndi-Igbo. It was a nine years of spiteful and pernicious treatment of people who had already lost everything. That was evil and malicious.  

 
And so the rambunctious Femi Fani-Kayode may help the nation to heal by answering these questions:

 
1. After the civil war, who and why was the twenty pounds policy introduced?
2. During the war, why was starvation policy implemented? ?
3. Who and why was change of currency introduced after the civil war? ?
4. Who and why was abandoned property introduced and implemented across Nigeria after the civil war?

 
If Femi Fani-Kayode cannot answer those questions, then he should simply shut-up his mouth and stop being an ignorant apologist for a revered leader, who simply made mistakes as a great leader. Mr. Fani-Kayode should stop criticizing and writing against Prof. Chinua Achebe memoir concerning one of the most dastardly mayhem and atrocities meted against Ndi-Igbo – or even write about a sordid history he’s so ignorant about.

 
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke reports.

 
*Photo Caption - Prof. Chinua Achebe

 -Masterweb Reports
 

Ohaneze Ndigbo the apex Igbo Social, cultural and political rallying point is enmeshed in crisis over allegations that some of the leaders have auctioned the Igbo presidency 2015 project due to presidential largesse estimated to run into billions of naira. This amount includes various sums allegedly released by the presidency for the purpose of settling Ohaneze chieftains in support of 2011 presidential bid and the second tranche released in appreciation for the role Ohaneze played in garnering Igbo votes for president Goodluck . There is wide belief among the protesting Ohaneze chieftains known as the transparency group that other sums, contracts and appointments are being obtained secretly to auction and scuttle any attempt by the Igbo people to present a common front for 2015. Presently, Ohaneze President General, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue is at loggerheads with the Secretary General, Chief Nduka Eya and Deputy President General, Chief Nnachi Enwo Igaliwey , Chief Chukwuemeka Onyesoh among others. Uwechue and his loyalists including Chief Joe Nworgu, Chairman of Igbo Day Organizing Committee among others are insisting that no such largesse was ever received from President Jonathan. This crisis have become so protracted that Ambassador Uwechue runs the Ohaneze Secretariat from his African House Residence in Asaba and has not visited the secretariat more than thrice in 2012.

 
Chief Nduka Eya has been insisting that transparency must be the watchword in Ohaneze Ndigbo financial dealings to avoid a situation where Igbo interests are sabotaged. He insists that whatever largesse from anybody, group, forum and even the presidency must as a matter of policy be tabled before the Ime-Obi Ohaneze so that the forum would decide whether to accept the gift or not, and on what condition. Chief Igaliwey claimed that he rejected his own share of Ohaneze national cake of N20 million naira which was an attempt to bribe him. He claims that since he rejected and exposed the dealings, his life is being threatened from unknown sources including sources claiming to come from within the presidency. Therefore, the man lives a life of hiding for safety purposes.

 
The accusations and counter- accusations which started as unsubstantiated reports have now grown to the point that the documented evidences are volumes and the chieftains are threatening to expose the entire dealings if the leadership fails to confess and ask for forgiveness. Since the once secret affair blew open, a lot of Igbo youth organizations and opinion leaders have been going on pilgrimage to Asaba to know whether they can collect their own share from the Ohaneze leader and reports have it that some of these groups did not go home empty handed.. Chief Rochas Okorocha called a meeting at Government House, Owerri in early September 2012 to settle the rift but the two parties stuck to their guns. Three days later he paid an unscheduled visit to Ohaneze Headquarters but met a disillusioned workforce.

 
Chief Nduka Eya , Chief Igaliwe and Chief Emeka Onyeso are leading the group which insists that Ohaneze Ndigbo is not a one man show and that Ambassador Uwechue must consult widely before any critical decision. They posited that neither the exco meeting nor the Ime Obi meeting has been called in the past twelve months. When the new National Security Adviser, Sambo scheduled to talk with Igbo leaders on the state of the nation at the Ohaneze Headquarters on the 13th of July 2012,, they accused Uwechue of scuttling the meeting because of personal differences with Senator Chukwumerije.

 
They pointed out that Uwechue set up a personal outfit, the Ohaneze Foundation, which he allegedly used to collect billions of naira from the Goodluck Jonathan team under the guise of Igbo interest with the assistance of a presidential aide, Mr Akachukwu Nwankpa. This Ohaneze Foundation as part of its business venture is a transport outfit known as Ikenga Express with a fleet of about 30 buses. They insisted that Uwechue has been hijacked by the presidential aide and both of them are doing business with the name of Ohaneze and deceiving Jonathan. They claimed that he has cancelled the monthly Ime Obi meeting and Executive Council meeting, which has not held more than four times since the inception of his tenure in 2008 The Uwechue group insists that the Ohaneze leader have been running the secretariat from his personal finances since he came on board as the leader ,including payment of secretariat staff salary without any help from the disgruntled group, therefore they should hold their peace. They also insisted that there was no such business transaction and that Uwechue have used personal finances to support Ohaneze since the South East Governors failed to support the body financially. They also believe that Uwechue have not betrayed any Igbo interest if he collected some money to run Ohaneze when other ethnic nationalities were collecting theirs.

 
Various traditional rulers and elder statesmen in Igboland have tried to mediate on this crisis since the past eleven months to be able to forge a common front to present Igbo interests but the two groups have stuck to their grounds. This crisis almost took the shine off the 2012 Igbo day celebrations held at Asaba, Delta State. Many Ohaneze Chieftains boycotted the Igbo Day celebration at Asaba, Delta State in September 2012. However Governor Peter Obi graced the occasion while Governor Rochas Okorocha came after the end of the event.

 
It is obvious that other ethnic nationalities are repositioning themselves for 2015 while Ohaneze Ndigbo is bickering over presidential largesse which informed sources said was also extended to leaders of other ethnic nationalities, including the O’dua People’s Congress(OPC), Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), South South Peoples Assembly (SSPA), Middle Belt Forum, among others before, during and after the presidential elections.. The sharing of this national cake has not brought any conflict within other nationalities. They have swallowed their share and cleaned their mouth. The other ethnic nationalities are repositioning their people in preparation for 2015. The Buhari- Tinubu alliance is a strong South West agenda to recapture power after the turn of the north. The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) is looking seriously in the direction of Senate President David Mark. The Core North in the ruling party,PDP, still has Vice President Sambo as a joker if Boko Haram succeeds in frightening President Jonathan into the creeks. Former Vice President Atiku is still breathing around the corner and incumbent president Jonathan is being prepared by his South South and Ijaw people to recontest in 2015. It is only the Ohaneze that is still at the level of speech making while others nationalities are strategizing ahead of 2015.

 
The situation in Ohaneze, if not checkmated will greatly imperil Igbo Presidency project 2015. The two elephants are fighting and the grasses, the hardworking Igbos are being massacred by Boko Haramists and other enemies at the slightest provocation. Their means of livelihood is being destroyed with nobody to help them. The state of infrastructural decay in Igbo land is monumental and is seems the war is not yet over.

 
A cross section of Igbo leaders including Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Dr Dozie Ikedife, Col Joe Achuzia, Chief Charles Okereke among others have canvassed support for Igbo presidency severally with the mindset that the apez Igbo body is working assidously towards it. The optimism may be misplaced because this crisis have taken the front burner and the task of repositioning Ndigbo has been limited to fine speeches and rhetorics without any serious strategizing Ohaneze cannot continue to chase rat while the house is on fire. They should settle this rift urgently and not allow this distraction from sabotaging the uphill task of reaching out to other nationalities ahead of 2015 or risk being appropriately labelled turncoats who have auctioned Igbo their people for a bowl of presidential porridge.

 
Obinna Akukwe

 
*Photo Caption - Hon. Amb. Ralph Uwaechue, President General Ohaneze Ndigbo 

 -Masterweb Reports
 
Ibrahim Babangida has become the most criticized former leader of the Nigerian State specifically on account of corruption and recently alleged suspicion of being a Boko Haram sponsor. This Minna born General, said to have married his late wife Maryam according to both Islamic and Christian rites is widely believed to have institutionalized corruption in Nigeria.

 
This same General used the genius in him to dribble all the Nigerian politicians of recycling reputation in his never ending political transition which led to the proscription of all political parties in 1992 and the formation of NRC and SDP, two government parties with rightist and leftist leanings. Babangida made a mess of political ambitions of Adamu Ciroma, Bamanga Tukur, Arthur Nzeribe, Shehu Yar-adua among others and he dribbled them into the dustbin of politics in the order of Argentine footballer ,Diego Maradona.

 
The attempt to dribble MKO Abiola was the watershed that led to the fall of Babangida in 1993. The Nigerian people got tired of his dribbling skills and mobilized enough pressure that he had to abandon Aso Rock in August 1993 for Chief Ernest Shonekan under the security watch of late General Sanni Abacha.

 
During the Babangida era, corruption became so magnified that the Shagari era was described as Introduction to Corruption. When one of the military governors cornered state wealth to his pocket in a brazen manner, the then Chief of General Staff, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu , described the exercise as misapplication of public funds and not misappropriation. A whopping $12billion dollars of gulf oil windfall was said to have vamoosed under his nose such that an irritated General Sanni Abacha had to commission an enquiry to discover how the funds disappeared or was spent.

 
Babangida introduced discretionary award of oil block to Nigerians and Conoil was the first indigenous oil company to benefit from the largesse. Discretionary oil block involves a situation whereby a head of State after a sumptuous meal of amala and gbegiri soup could decide to reward the experienced cook with oil block as a compensation for satisfying his stomach with such a local delicacy.

 
Recently elder statesman Edwin Clarke at the 2nd State of the Federation lecture organized by the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies in Abuja alleged that Babangida is among the mask behind Boko Haram. According to Clarke ’’ IBB should have spoken on the Boko Haram issue long before now, why has he been silent all this while? Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has visited Maiduguri, why have IBB and General Buhari not visited the place?’’ Babangida promptly replied by calling Clerk a senile man and in his defence he made a statement which appears a bit reasonable. Acording to his spokesman “IBB has since left the political turf for the younger generation of Nigerians. He has said repeatedly that he will no longer be an applicant in the political industry in Nigeria until Allah calls him home. Rather than crucify General IBB for nothing, Chief Edwin Clark should blame the corruption in the system and the several incompetence and inadequacies of the present system”

 
Babangida had left office since 1993, almost twenty years now and successive regimes had the opportunity of reversing whatsoever wrong Babangida did. Abacha, Abdulsalami, Obasanjo, Yaradua and now Jonathan all had twenty years now to correct the ills of Babangida and yet the situation had not improved substantially. The Tony Elumelu Committee Report and the Farouk Lawan Committee Reports all alluded that N1.3 Trillion naira and N1.7 trillion naira respectively was wasted on power projects and subsidy bills and it was not under Babangida regime.

 
Babangida annulled the freest election in Nigeria in 1993 and successive regimes elevated annulment to the more you look the more your votes disappears in instances of monumental rigging. The 1999 elections widely believed to have been won by Olu Falae were rigged in favour of Obasanjo. The 2003 and 2007 presidential election which Buhari was believed to have won was rigged in favor of Obasanjo and Yaradua. What Babangida introduced in 1993 have been digitalized and amplified by successive regimes that Nigeria has become an experiment in rigging technology.

 
Olu Falae was robbed in 1999, Buhari was robbed in 2003 and 2007 and most states and local councils in Nigeria had public officials selected through flawed and fraudulent electoral processes and nobody appears to now have the solution. Babangida is certainly not behind these. The corrupt system brazenly elevated is frightening and threatening his presidential ambition.

 
Babangida increased fuel price by about 50kobo from 20 kobo in March 1986 to 70kobo in March 1991, while successive regimes have increased it from 70kobo in 1991 to N97 in 2012.

 
Babangida was alleged to have killed Dele Giwa through letter bomb. Under successive regimes including civilian regimes Bola Ige, Harry Marshal, Ugwu, Oyerinde among others were allegedly killed by politicians.

 
Therefore Babangida is not the major problem of Nigeria. Some regimes after him had proved worse than his. Obasanjo regime received in 2005 the same revenue Babangida got in his entire eight years. Some South South states have received in eight years the same amount Babangida received in eight years and yet all these funds are now hidden in foreign accounts.

 
The discretionary award of oil block first introduced by Babangida has been elevated to the level whereby mistresses are compensated for good night sleep with oil blocks worth billions of dollars as though it is Keke Napep (tricycle) that is being distributed.

 
Babangida introduced corruption into Nigeria but it is obvious that we cannot continue to blame Babangida for all our woes when successive regimes had all the chances to reverse the ills and the challenges have overwhelmed them. Blaming the evil genius for increasing corruption in Nigeria is simply playing politics with corruption. Successive regimes should endeavor to move the nation forward and correct the ills of the past. If the government of the day has evidence that Babangida has hand in Boko Haram activities, they should stop the politics,sanction him appropriately and save further loss of lives or else hold their peace and allow us put our fate in God.

 
Obinna Akukwe reports.

 
*Photo Caption – Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.)

-Masterweb Reports
 
Delta State capital, Asaba witnessed a flurry of activities between
Friday, 28th September and Saturday, 29th September, 2012 when Igbos from all works of life gathered to observe the Igbo Day celebration.
 
The occasion hosted by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State
witnessed speeches by Igbo leaders, cultural dances and goodwill messages. The event conducted in a clement weather and at the Cenotaph in Asaba, began with lectures at the Grand Hotel Asaba. The lectures were delivered by a well known political scientist Professor BIC Ijeomah, Professor Ralph Nwokedi and Dr. Mrs Ofomata, a well known author of several works on culture and history.
 
In his well laced message to Ndigbo, the President-General of Ohanaeze
Ndigbo, Amb. Ralph Uwechue went into memory lane on the checkered history of Ndigbo in the Nigerian Project. He called on Ndigbo to unite and pursue their goals in Nigeria with an unwavering candour and indubitable
resilience. He re-iterated the commitment of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to the
Nigerian Presidency of Igbo extraction project.
 
In his key note address, the Governor of Delta State who came to the venue
of the event very early declared the event a historic one in the sense that
is was the first time and during his regime that such event was holding in
Delta State. He advocated an increased geo-political rapport between the
South East and the South South, emphasizing that the geo-political and even economic interest of both zones are coterminous. He traced the history of the geo-political and economic contagion between the two zones which culminated to the massive Igbo vote for a South Southerner Goodluck
Jonathan in the 2011 Presidential election. Declaring himself an Igbo man,
Governor Uduaghan re-iterated his commitment to promote inter-ethnic
harmony among all the ethnic groups in Delta State. He also shared the view of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on the Handshake Across the Niger.
 
In his speech, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Chairman of the Forum of South East Governors congratulated the President-General of Ohanaeze Amb. Ralph Uwechue, the Chairman of the 2012 Igbo Day Planning committee Dr. Joe Nwaorgu and the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for -organizing the historic event. He called on Ndigbo to unite and speak with one voice on national issues while strengthening the bond of fraternity with their nearest neighbours and brothers in the South South.
 
In his own speech, Senator Ben Obi who represented the Secretary to the
Federal Government of Nigeria Senator Anyim Pius Anyim stressed on the need for Ndigbo to keep the Dreams of their forebears alive and assert themselves in the larger Nigeria family. The Chairman of the event and Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe saluted Ndigbo for their resilience and courage. He re-iterated that Igbos everywhere
irrespective of geographical or spatial diversity remain one. He called on
Ndigbo to remain focused and demand their legitimate rights in Nigeria.
 
The former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme harped on Igbo Unity and the
urgent need for Igbo rediscovery. The representative of the Governor of
Abia State Chief Dr T A Orji and the Deputy Governor of the state, Chief
Emeka Ananaba traced the dialectics and checkered history of Ndigbo in
Nigeria and congratulated the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for noting the historical
imperative of building bridges and knitting together Igbos from all
corners of Igboland.
 
The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State who represented the Governor, Chief Seriake Dickson congratulated Ndigbo for finding it necessary to build brigdes with their brothers in the South South and hoped such bond will continue in the years ahead. The Governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas
Okorocha was also on hand though few minutes to the end of the
program to give his Igbocentric halo to the event.
 
The President of the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), Dr. Anakwenze whose organization had earlier had a lecture on the 27th of September with the theme "Actualisation of Igbo Agenda and Youth Empowernment" was full of joy for the success of the event and and assured Ndigbo that IWA
would always work with Ohanaeze Ndigbo to protect the interest of
Ndigbo all over the world.
 
The highlight of the event was cultural dances, processions and youth
activities. Many top Igbo dignitaries like Pa Onyenso Nwachukwu, Dr
Anagha Ezikpe, Chief J D Maduako, Dr Gorge Obiozor, Dr ABC Nwosu, HRH Eze Ilomuanya, Ohanaeze chieftains, Igbo youth leaders and Umuada Igbo graced the occasion.

 
Chuks Ibegbu reports.

 
Chuks Ibegbu (Writer on national and international issues)
08035410176

 
*Photo Caption – President-General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue

-Masterweb Reports
 
It is always good for the wind to blow so as to know the mindset of people. The governor of Kano State, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso has shown the kind of bigoted mindset characteristic of most sectional Nigerian politicians like him. He has shown that the illusion of 'BORN TO RULE' is still beclouding him and his types.

 
His uncharitable attack against Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the South East has revealed how deeply unjust and bigoted some elements in the corridors of power can create perpetual rumpus in the polity. I believe that Kwankwaso spoke the mind of a group hiding under him.

 
Now let us dissect the import of his outburst. Firstly, he claimed that Kano State deserves three more states and is more populated than any other state in Nigeria. Secondly, he asserted that South East does not deserve the extra state the National Confab of 2005 granted her before the third term saga enervated it . He also claimed, as if an expert in demographic issues, that South East does not have the population to make such clamour. Finally, he adumbrated that his state and the North have such expanse of land that they deserve even more states than they presently have. I will take each claim one by one.

 
The claim that Kano State deserves three more states and is more populated than other states in Nigeria is laughable. There is yet to be any credible population census in Nigeria to justify that claim. But for the unjust exercise in state and local government creation by past military juntas that principally came from his side of the country, most enclaves that call themselves states and local governments in the North would not have qualified to be created in the first place.. Until there is a credible census in Nigeria, Kwankwaso's bogus claim that Kano State is more populated than other states in Nigeria and his risible demand for more states from Kano, will remain an exercise in mere conjecture.

 
In fact Kwankwaso should rather shut up and continue enjoying for now the product of the structural injustice and falsification and impunity by past military juntas. He is a beneficiary of high level impunity and social injustice and instead of keeping quiet and continuing enjoying such undeserved privilege, at least for now, Kwankwaso is provocatively annoying the victims of the long years of injustice by elements from his area.

 
He also asserted that South East has no population to justify the demand for an extra state. I sympathize with Kwankwaso on his myopic view. In fact I do not blame him for this disjointed view. Is Kwankwaso so insular as to know that people in arid areas are less populated than people from rain forest belt. Is he not aware from his social study and geography books that South East has the highest population density in Africa. Landmass is not the criteria for population density, else Sudan, Mali, Niger, Chad, Zaire, etc. would have been the most populated countries in the world. Is he not aware that in all states in Nigeria, Igbos form the single largest ethnic group after the indigenes of the state. It is now known why people like Kwankwaso have been stridently against the inclusion of ethnicity and religion in past census data in the country. They keep on basking on bogus and false population figures and use such in making false claims to our national patrimony which they largely contribute nothing to.

 
For long they have used this deceit to cheat other parts of the country and because the senate and National Assembly now want to address this issue, people like Kwankwaso ae crying blue murder. Does he know the untold suffering of the people of South East because of structural marginalization since the end of the civil war? Has he ever stepped into any Igbo town to know the depth of population density there-in? Does he not know that even more than half of the population he claims come from Kano State are actually foreigners. By the way why is it that each time national issues that will make this country just and equitable are raised, irredentists like Kwankwaso will begin to shudder and play ethnic cards. What do people like him benefit from social injustice.

 
Why do people like Kwankwaso claim to be champions of the North when the same people he claims to be protecting are being wiped off in Jos, Benue, Taraba and other middle belt states. Who is fooling who? Is Kwankwaso truly speaking for the Gwari and Southern Kaduna people who are at the receiving end of the terrorism unleashed regularly by people that largely come from Kwankwaso's area. Let him know that the era of a Monolithic North for which people like him used to hoodwink innocent Middle Beltans is gone for good and forever. Middle Beltans are wiser today.

 
Rather than Kwankwaso spending all his energy to pillory a just move by progressive Nigerians to correct the injustices of the past, he should spend his time proffering solution to the Boko Haram tragedy that have held his Kano State and other parts of the North and Nigeria in quandary for the past few years. Nigerians have already agreed that South East needs at least one more state to put it at par with other zones. That it has not even been implemented till now is a greater injustice to them. Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the National Assembly should go on and do the right thing notwithstanding the antics of people like Rabiu Kwankwaso.

 
Chuks Ibegbu
A social analyst and writer on national and international issues. He wrote from Enugu.
08035410176

 
*Photo Caption -  Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State

-Masterweb Reports
 
The summary of this topic, which is a follow up to the first topic is that Nigeria, again, is a leading global indebted country and has gone back to the highly indebted poor country status (HIPC) which she exited via “Iweala Magic” in 2006; that the country’s current total public debts are approximated at $100billion or N15.5trillion; that by the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the country’s federal civilian governments would have made total budgets of N37.665trillion or $240billion from 1999, a period of fourteen years, out of which N21.7trillion would have gone for recurrent, N4.5trillion or $28billion for domestic and foreign debts servicing (excluding $12billion paid to liquidate $18billion foreign debts in 2006) and N11.3trillion for capital development; that Nigeria runs one of the most expensive public governances in the world far beyond her financial limits; that Nigeria borrows hugely and fraudulently too, to offset her huge overhead costs and service the country’s 17,500 top public officers and their approximately 24,165 inferior subordinates, thereby starving and impoverishing her approximately 160million citizens; that cabalistic criminals still dominate Nigeria’s public affairs; that corruption and social deprivations are entrenched and customized in the country’s polity; that Nigeria’s public wealth is controlled by less than one percent of the population; that approximately 60 million employable Nigerians including over 25 million higher education graduates are unemployed; that the state of public infrastructures including critical infrastructures in Nigeria is shockingly horrible; over 90% of the huge public spendings on personnel costs goes into the payment of allowances; that public governance in Nigeria has become a private enterprise with profit maximization as the end-product; that Nigeria has disastrously maintained a steady culture of budget deficit in place of balanced or surplus budget since 1999; that the last time Nigeria recorded a budget surplus was in 1997 under Abacha’s maximum rulership when N37billion was returned as surplus; and that Nigeria spends an average of 11.5% of her total federal revenues annually in domestic and foreign debts servicing, with the said debts remaining alarmingly high at all times.
 
By Intersociety
 
Ref: Intersociety/NG/002/01/10/012/FMF/ABJ/FGN
 
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Finance Minister & Coordinating Minister of Economy
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Secretariat Complex
Abuja, Nigeria
 
Dear Coordinating Minister of Economy,
 
Nigeria Desperately Needs Another Iweala Magic As She Celebrates Huge Public Debts Of Approximately $100Billion (N15trillion), Outrageous Recurrent Expenditures, Corruption And Under-development At 52: A Document For Records & Socio-economic Revolution
 
Above subject matter refers.
 
(Onitsha-Nigeria, 1st October 2012)-On 3rd of September 2012, the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Onitsha, Nigeria, released the first part of this topic; titled: How Nigeria’s Trillions & $44Billion Public Debts Are Pocketed By Her 17,500 Top Public Officers And Criminals (ref: intersociety-ng.org).
 
Main Summary:
The summary of this topic, which is a follow up to the first topic is that Nigeria, again, is a leading global indebted country and has gone back to the highly indebted poor country status (HIPC) which she exited via “Iweala Magic” in 2006; that the country’s current total public debts are approximated at $100billion or N15.5trillion; that by the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the country’s federal civilian governments would have made total budgets of N37.665trillion or $240billion from 1999, a period of fourteen years, out of which N21.7trillion would have gone for recurrent, N4.5trillion or $28billion for domestic and foreign debts servicing (excluding $12billion paid to liquidate $18billion foreign debts in 2006) and N11.3trillion for capital development; that Nigeria runs one of the most expensive public governances in the world far beyond her financial limits; that Nigeria borrows hugely and fraudulently too, to offset her huge overhead costs and service the country’s 17,500 top public officers and their approximately 24,165 inferior subordinates, thereby starving and impoverishing her approximately 160million citizens; that cabalistic criminals still dominate Nigeria’s public affairs; that corruption and social deprivations are entrenched and customized in the country’s polity; that Nigeria’s public wealth is controlled by less than one percent of the population; that approximately 60 million employable Nigerians including over 25 million higher education graduates are unemployed; that the state of public infrastructures including critical infrastructures in Nigeria is shockingly horrible; over 90% of the huge public spendings on personnel costs goes into the payment of allowances; that public governance in Nigeria has become a private enterprise with profit maximization as the end-product; that Nigeria has disastrously maintained a steady culture of budget deficit in place of balanced or surplus budget since 1999; that the last time Nigeria recorded a budget surplus was in 1997 under Abacha’s maximum rulership when N37billion was returned as surplus; and that Nigeria spends an average of 11.5% of her total federal revenues annually in domestic and foreign debts servicing, with the said debts remaining alarmingly high at all times.
 
Full Details:
Debts:
In the first part of this topic, the $44billion debts figure quoted was solely obtained from the official website of the Nigeria’s Debt Management Office. But our further investigations have revealed that the totality of public debts in Nigeria is much higher than the figures given by the DMO. Besides, the DMO has updated its records on public debts in Nigeria as at end of June 2012, from end of March 2012. Also, the DMO’s public debts records grossly omitted other versions of public debts in Nigeria. For example, its records did not include the domestic debts profiles of the 36 States, the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja and the 774 LGAs (local government areas), which can “borrow and lend” for public interests under the law. The records also did not include court judgment debts owed by the Federal and State governments and their MDAs, arrears owed contractors at Federal and States’ levels on jobs certified “done and completed”. The arrears owed serving and retired public workforce by Nigeria’s three tiers of government was not included in the DMO’s calculations. Contestably, informed independent sources strongly believe that the local and foreign debts figures disclosed by the DMO as Nigeria’s total public debts are grossly under-quoted. In other words, the actual figures are higher than the quoted.
 
For instance, the CIA World Fact Book 2012, one of the world’s most credible sources of information believes that Nigeria’s total foreign debts, as at December 31st 2011 was $12.06billion. This excludes the foreign borrowings of 2012. It also states that Nigeria generated $24.54billion (N3.63 trillion) in 2011 and spent $32.65billion (N4.9trillion), leaving a whopping deficit of $8.1billion (N1.24trillion). The Newswatch Magazine of June 15, 2012 similarly quoted informed independent sources as insisting that the Nigeria’s total domestic debts stock should be in the region of N9.1trillion if the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON’s bond of N3trillion and the DMO’S bonds issued in the months of April and May 2012 were included. The Federal Government of Nigeria, according to the respected Magazine, has also concluded arrangements to borrow in the next three years a total of $7.9billion (N1.2trillion). The loan, said to attract 2.5% interest, will be borrowed from World Bank, African Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Agence Franciase de Development and Exim Bank of China. Out of this huge sum, $3billion (N465billion) is be borrowed from China. Already, $1.1billion (N170billion) has been secured from the Exim Bank of China. Another whopping sum of about $1billion loan has been secured from external sources including the Eurobond of $500million and another $370million reportedly secured from the Islamic Development Bank, with an outstanding balance of $600million to be taken from the same bank before the end of this fiscal year (Newswatch June 2012).
 
Further, according to the Debt Management Office, Nigeria’s total domestic debts as at 30th day of June 2012 stood at N6.15trillion, from N5.96trillion ($38.3billion) in March 2012, while the country’s total foreign debts within the period stood at $6.035billion from $5.9billion in March 2012. In other words, Nigeria’s domestic debts increased to N190billion while foreign debts recorded an increase of $135million within three months (April to June 2012). But the foregoing may most likely not be the true picture of Nigeria’s domestic and foreign debts profile even as at June 2012. Apart from domestic and foreign borrowings that took place between July and September 2012 and those to be borrowed before the end of the current fiscal year, informed independent sources including the CIA World Fact Book 2012 strongly believe that Nigeria’s domestic and foreign debts are much higher than figures given by the DMO. For instance, in 2005, Nigeria’s foreign debts were $36billion, out of which $30billion was liquidated leaving the balance of $6billion. Between 2007 and 2011, Nigeria has borrowed externally over $6billion, bringing the total to over $12billion. And between December 2011 and September 2012, Nigeria borrowed extra $3billion, thereby bringing the current total foreign debts of Nigeria to over $15billion (N2.3trillion).
 
Nigeria’s total domestic public debts are also wrongly calculated. For instance, apart from N9.1trillion believed by informed independent sources to be the actual total figure of domestic debts in Nigeria, other legitimate versions of domestic public debts are utterly excluded in the calculations. At the Federal level alone, approximately N1trillion is owed by the Federal Government and its MDAs to contractors, suppliers, consultants, etc on jobs certified done and completed. For instance, N88.38billion is owed as “judgment debts” by the Federal Government and its MDAs (Daily Trust Newspaper September 12, 2012). The Power Holding Company of Nigeria owes its contractors, suppliers and consultants a whopping sum of N400billion (Punch June 1, 2012). The Nigeria Police Force owed its contractors N7.4billion since 2008 and 2009. The contractors in the public construction sector are owed over N100billion by the Federal Government for jobs done and completed (This Day August 18, 2012), out of which the Federal Ministry of Works owes N60billion. Over N1trillion is still owed the serving and retired federal civil servants in Nigeria.
 
At the level of the 36 States of Nigeria, which substantially control the 774 LGAs in the country, over N3trillion debts may have arisen from reckless domestic borrowings, judgment debts and arrears owed contractors, suppliers, consultants, and serving and retired workforce. It is widely believed that an average of N50billion is domestically owed by every State in Nigeria including the FCT, Abuja. For instance, between 2011 and 2012, between N20billion and N50billion bond had been floated by many States in the local capital markets. Rivers and Delta States reportedly floated N100 billion each from local capital markets. Also Cross Rivers State maintains a domestic debt of N80billion; Akwa Ibom State obtained a bond of N50billion excluding other inherited domestic debts. Rivers State confirmed it only borrowed N30billion in October 2010 and another N20billion in July 2011. Ekiti and Osun States borrowed N20billion each within the said period (Punch August 9, 2012). Imo State owed over N100billion locally as at May 2011(Okorocha 2011). Also, Abia State owes approximately N100billion, out of which N29billion was inherited from the former regime of Orji Uzor Kalu(T.A. Orji 2010); and Bayelsa State owes locally a whopping sum of N207billion (Punch, August 9, 2012).
 
While Anambra State’s current foreign debt is $25.3million (N3.8billion), its domestic debts profile including arrears owed serving and retired workforce of some State parastatals such as Anambra State Broadcasting Service, Anambra State Water Corporation, Anambra State Newspaper Company, publishers of the National Light Newspaper, etc run into billions of naira as at September 2012. Though the State is one of the least locally and externally indebted States in Nigeria, its current local loan profile is largely shrouded in secrecy. Before the 2006 external debt forgiveness ably spearheaded by you, Madam Coordinating Minister of Economy, Anambra’s domestic and foreign debts stocks were over N40billion. These included $120milliom foreign debt and over N25billion local debt; out of which over N8billion was owed pensioners and serving workforce. Also part of the two sets of loan was the 2001 N2.9billion local bond for “Sir Louis Ojukwu Industrial Estate Project” (abandoned), a $10million loan for “Oba International Market Project” (abandoned) and an N650million loan for “Awka Stadium Project” (abandoned). While the $120million external loan has been brought down to $25million, thanks to the said 2006 external debt forgiveness, the present government of Anambra State has also liquidated some of the arrears so owed. It has commendably maintained a low loan policy and brought down budget deficits since 2008 except unpaid arrears above mentioned, which include unpaid local debts inherited from former regimes and the benevolent loans called “credit facilities with little or zero interest rates”, which it indisputably secures for strategic health, agricultural and educational projects. The present Government of Anambra State also does well in meeting its obligations to contractors, suppliers and consultants, with perhaps, the exception of judgment debts. In 2008, a whopping sum of N12.6billion was approved for local borrowing, but in 2009, it returned a surplus of N10billion to the State coffers without borrowing a dime. The State is an exception when it comes to reckless and fraudulent borrowings, but we wish to see it as a total debt-free State in Nigeria.
 
As you may have known Madam Minister, out of an estimated $15billion (N2.3trillon) owed externally by Nigeria as of date, the 36 States and the Federal Capital territory of Abuja owe a total of $2.214billion (N343billion). Geopolitically, Southwest zone owes the lion’s share of $840.9million (N131.8billion); followed by Northwest $473.3million (N77.5billion); South-south $289.9million (N45billion); Southeast $197.7million (N30.06billion), North-central $189.1million (N29.3billion); and Northeast $186.3million (N28.8billion). At the level of States, Lagos State owes the lion’s share of $517.6million (N80.15billion); followed by Kaduna $197.1million, Cross River $109.3million; Ogun $96.2million; and Oyo $78.8million. Borno is the least externally indebted State with 12.7million (N1.9billion); followed by Delta $15.7million; Plateau $20.1million; Taraba $20.6million; and Anambra $25.3million (DMO June 2012). The official exchange rate of N155.00 per USD is used by Intersociety in all its calculations in this topic.
 
Therefore Madam Coordinating Minister of Economy, it may be an indisputable fact to say that Nigeria’s current total domestic and external public debts are in the neighborhood of $100billion or N15.5trillion comprising the external loans of $15billion (N2.3trillion), judgment debts and Federal Government’s contractors’ debts of over N1trillion and local capital markets’ debts of N9.1trillion as well as its staffers’ arrears of over N1trillion. It also includes the States and the FCT’s local capital markets’ debts, contractors’ debts and workforce (serving and retired) arrears of over N3trillion, all amounting to over $100billion or N15.5trillion. As a result, Nigeria has again fallen back to the disastrous category of the “highly indebted poor country” status as well as one of the poorest countries in the world despite the abundance of human and highly profitable natural resources.
 
As you may have known Madam Coordinating Minister of Economy, Nigeria’s disastrous journey into hellish indebtedness started in 1965. By 1970, the country’s foreign debts substantially owed to the IMF stood at $970million, from which it rose to a whopping sum of $32.5billion in 2000. Through debt forgiveness of 2006, it was brought down to $6billion in December 2006, from its all time high of $36billion. But between June 2007 and September 2012, during Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan’s eras, it increased to about $15billion and by the end of the 2013 and 2014 fiscal years; it would be over $20billion or N3.1trillion. For domestic debts, their increase is alarming and shocking too. As at December 2006, the Federal Government’s domestic borrowings stood at N1.8trillion (about $13billion), from N28.44billion in 1986 (Igamu Joseph Augustus (Yusuf) (2012). But between June 2007 and September 2012 they increased to N9.1trillion, an increased of 500%, thereby making the President Jonathan’s regime, under whom you are the Coordinating Minister of Economy, the most indebted regime in the history of Nigeria because under him the increase was and still is astronomical.
 
Also, the productivity of these borrowings is totally questionable. Apart from their provocative use for servicing the country’s 17,500 top public officers and their 24,165 inferior aides and associated profligacy, the amount being spent annually in servicing them and the high interests at which they are borrowed, in addition to their non- judicious utilization, are alarming and deafening. For instance, Nigeria borrowed from the Paris Club of Creditors as at December 2001 a total of $13.5billion and spent a total of $41.2billion within the same period on its servicing. Yet as at December 2001, Nigeria owed the same Paris Club a total of $22.092billion. Between 2007 and 2012, a period of six years, Nigeria had spent a total of $19.52billion (N3.05trillion) on domestic and foreign debts servicing, yet the borrowings have alarmingly continued with associated steady increases in interests and penalties. The branch of the public debts that attracted this huge spending is the local capital market borrowings of N9.1trillion, which belongs to the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) and the external capital market borrowings of $15billion shared by the FGN, States and the FCT. Despite the whopping sum of N560billion or $3.7billion provided for debts servicing in the 2012 budget, official increases of N190billion and $135million have been recorded in three months (April to June 2012) for local and foreign debts respectively. In 2011, N445billion or $2.9billion was spent on both domestic and foreign debts servicing; in 2010, N517billion or $3.35billion was spent; in 2009, N357billion or $2.34billion was spent; in 2008, N620billion or $4.05billion was spent; and in 2007, N492 or $3.18billion was spent (Appropriation Acts of the affected fiscal years).
 
Further, when a loan is borrowed, it carries three modes of repayment; that is to say principal, interests and penalties. According to the Newswatch Magazine of June 15, 2012, Nigeria’s local borrowings are obtained at an average interest rate of 10.5% with long unhealthy years of repayment. In 2010 for instance, Nigeria borrowed locally three major loans with twenty, five and three years’ repayment periods. Under the 20 years bond, Nigeria borrowed N412.30 with 20years interests of N1.18trillion. In other words, the country will repay a total of N1.59trillion in twenty years time in a loan of N412.30billion. For the $1.1billion (N165billion) recently obtained from the Exim Bank of China at the official interest of 2.5% with 30 years repayment period, it will cost Nigeria a whopping sum of $810million to service it excluding principal and penalties.
 
Nigeria’s Budgets Of The Few By The Few And For The Few:
Budget is realistic when it touches positively the lives of the generality of the people, tangibly and intangibly. Sadly, Nigeria’s budgets over the years (since 1999) have been oligarchic and anti-people’s driven. They are also loan-driven, corruption-ridden and anti-development. The greatest threat to Nigeria’s socio-economic and technological advancement is no longer her long years of military dictatorships but her years of “public machinery” budgets, which concentrate heavily on personnel and overhead spendings at the gross expense of capital developments. These reckless and outrageous spendings are also clothed in the layers of official criminality whereby substantial part of such spending is done outside the living law. Another major impediment to Nigeria’s growth and development is huge and reckless spending on allowances and overheads as well as profligacy.
 
Budget, as you know Madam Coordinating Minister of Economy is traditionally divided into capital and recurrent expenditures and recurrent is sub-divided into personnel and overheads. While overheads take care of maintenance of government machinery, personnel take care of the salaries and allowances of government appointees, electees and those hired to make government machinery work. Capital budget is the most productive component part of any budget and a country without dominant capital budget is doomed. Disastrously speaking, Nigeria’s capital budgets have been relegated to the third fiddle since 1999, steadily surpassed by personnel and overhead spendings.
 
Other organized and focused countries rarely borrow and even if they do, they borrow to enhance development and good living standards of their countries and nationals, but Nigeria borrows to pay salaries and allowances as well as to offset her huge overheads costs. Also budget has three performance indexes; that is to say: surplus, balanced and deficit. A budget surplus means excellent performance; balanced budget means good performance; and budget deficit means failure performance. Sadly, other than in 1997 when the Abacha’s maximum rulership returned a budget surplus of N37billion without borrowing a dime and after faithful implementation of the year’s budget, the successive civilian governments since 1999 have consistently run huge budget deficits. What they called “statutory transfers” at the beginning of every fiscal year are usually the remainders from non-capital releases and unspent loans, particularly the portion allocated to capital sub-sector. Sadly, recurrent expenditures usually attract over 100% implementation while capital expenditures with minute allocations attract less than 70% at the end of each fiscal year. This is despite the fact that allocations to capital development are less than 30% of the total budget. For example, as at July 2012, only N404billion (27%) had been released for capital expenditures, whereas the recurrent expenditures attracted over 70% releases.
 
By the end of the 2013 fiscal year, the Federal civilian Governments of Nigeria would have recorded a total budget of N37, 665trillion($240billion), that is to say from June 1999 to December 2013. Out of this huge figure, only N11.3trillion (30%) would have been spent on capital development; N21.7trillion ($145billion) representing 58.5% would have been spent on recurrent expenditures; while N4.5trillion ($28billion) representing an average of 11.5% (for each of the budgets) would have gone for domestic and external debts servicing. If the $12billion paid in 2006 for debt forgiveness is added, then Nigeria’s federal civilian governments would have spent a whopping sum of $40billion (N3.6trillion) in servicing and repaying her domestic and external debts since 1999, a period of 14 years. Yet Nigeria’s total public debts as of September 2012 including sundry arrears have remained at an alarming estimated rate of $100billion or N15.5trillion.
 
Also, in the six years of the military regime in Nigeria, 1994 to May 1999, a total budget of N1.305trillion was spent, whereas in the six years of the civilian rule, 2000 to 2005, a total budget of N7.22trillion including the 1999 supplementary budget of N165billion was spent. The frugal military budgets of N1.305trillion were far more public oriented than the bloated civilian budgets of N7.22trillion especially considering the fact that most of the public corporations privatized today were under the payroll of the military regime. The following breakdown of the military budgets shows that in 1994, N110billion was spent; it was N155billion in 1995; N174billion in 1996; N247billion in 1997; N200billion in 1998; and N419.5billion in 1999. In the area of the civilian regime’s budgets, 2000 to 2005, N165billion was spent in 1999 as supplementary budget; N667billion was spent in 2000; N894billion in 2001; N1.064trillion in 2002; N1.446trillion in 2003; N1.189trillion in 2004; and N1.8trillion in 2005. Also, in 2006, N1.9trillion was spent; N2.3trillion in 2007; N3.58trillion in 2008; N3.76trillion in 2009; N4.61trillion in 2010; N4.484trillion in 2011; N4.877trillion in 2012; and N4.929trillion has been proposed for 2013, totaling N37.665trillion in fourteen fiscal years, June 1999 to December 2013.
 
Bloated Allowances & Overhead Costs:
In 2002, the Nigeria’s Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders’ Act was enacted. The Act contained about 17,500 top appointive and elective public offices in Nigeria with majority of them located in the country’s 774 LGAs. About 13,500 of the offices are elective and 4000 others are appointive. The 17,500 top public offices include 12,788 LGAs top offices comprises 8,692 councilors and 3,096 executives; 1,152 State lawmakers and 2,664 State executives; 469 federal lawmakers and 472 federal executives, and 142 federal and 792 State judges bringing the total to approximately 17,500 top public officers in Nigeria. Their total annual salaries and allowances as at 2002 was N755billion. The passage of the said Act was done in a “commando style”. As if that was not enough, the Act was unilaterally reviewed upwards by 50% in 2008 and their total annual pay became N1.13trillion. In clear violation of the Act and the Constitution, these 17,500 top public officers also recruited approximately 24,165 inferior aides who are annually serviced with a whopping sum of approximately N20billion. The Act in line with the amended Constitution of Nigeria 1999 only recognizes special advisers and above for first class top public officers like the president and governors. The Act fragrantly allows the inclusion of personal assistance allowance clause into the motley of allowances paid to the said 17,500 top public officers.
 
While payment of salaries constitutes only 10% of the total annual pay for these 17,500 top public officers, payment of allowances alarmingly takes 90%. The N20billion spent annually on the 24,165 inferior aides is illegitimately sourced from both the Act and the allowances provided illegitimately in the Appropriation Acts called “quarterly allowances”. For instance, out of N592.8billion spent annually on 12,788 LGAs top officers in Nigeria, allowances account for N550.9billion while salaries account for only N41.8billion; out of N300.5billion spent on 2.664 State executives, allowances account for N272.1billion while salaries account for only N28.3billion. Out of N40.9billion spent on 1,152 State lawmakers N35.8billion is spent on allowances and salaries account for N5.09billion. Out of N98.3billion spent on 472 federal executives, N89.7billion is spent on allowances and salaries account for N8.6billion. Also, out of N60.4billion spent on 469 federal lawmakers, N54.2billion is spent on allowances and salaries account for only N6.1billion. Out of N18.5billion on 792 State judges, N15.4billion is spent on allowances and salaries account for only N3.1billion; and out of N14.8billion spent on 142 federal judges annually, N13.1billion is spent on allowances and salaries account for only N1.7billion.
 
In an investigation carried out by the Punch Newspaper of September 20, 2012, a Nigerian Senator earns an annual basic salary of N2.484million and enjoys fifteen categories of allowances, which are as follows: 1. Hardship allowance at 5% of his or her annual basic salary or N1.24million; 2. Furniture allowance at 300% BS (basic salary) or N7.452million; 3. Constituency allowance at 200% of BS or N4.96 million; 4. Newspaper allowance at 50% of BS or N1.242million; 5. Wardrope allowance at 25% of BS or N0.621million; 6. Recess allowance at 10% of BS or N0.248million; 7. Accommodation allowance at 200% of BS or N4.968million; 8. Utilities allowance at 30% of BS or N0.828million; 9. Domestic staff allowance at 35% of BS or N0.868million.
 
Others are: 10. Entertainment allowance at 30% of BS or N0.828million; 11. Personal assistance allowance at 25% of BS or N0.621million; 12. Vehicle maintenance allowance at 75% of BS or N1.863million, 13. Leave allowance at 10% of BS or N0.248million; 14. Severance allowance at 300% of BS or N7.452million; and 15. Motor vehicle allowance at 400% of BS or N9.936million, totaling N45.5million, out of which N18.1million is collected monthly, which translates to about N216million yearly. In other words, a Nigerian Senator collects a total of N498.7million in four years as salaries and allowances in accordance with the 2008 amended Salaries and Allowances Act of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, comprising monthly allowances of N216million per annum for four years, annual basic salaries of N9.93million for four years and N24.8million once in four years for motor vehicle, severance, furniture and accommodation allowances. In similar premise, each House of Reps Member in Nigeria goes home statutorily at the end of every four years with about N400million.
 
There are also illegitimate huge collections and allowances being pocketed by federal lawmakers and executives called “duty tour, estacodes, travel and quarterly allowances”. For instance, the Punch Newspaper of September 20, 2012 reported that each Senator is paid a whopping sum of N38million quarterly and N152million annually in the form of “quarterly allowance”. Each House of Reps Member is paid N27million quarterly and N108million annually. The Senate President is paid N250million quarterly and N1billion yearly. The Deputy Senate President is paid N150million quarterly and N600million yearly.
 
Using this benchmark, it may be correct to say that the Speaker of the House of Reps and the Deputy Speaker are paid N1.4billion yearly as “quarterly allowance”. The various standing committees and other principal leaderships in the Senate and the House of Reps may be collecting approximately N12billion per annum as quarterly allowance on average of N200million each per quarter. There may be over 60 standing committees and leaderships in the two houses. In all, there may be extra N60billion spent annually on the 469 federal lawmakers and their leaderships in the form of “quarterly allowances”. This huge sum is totally unknown to the Salaries & Allowances amended Act of 2008. Further breakdown shows that the 360 members of the House of Reps are paid extra N38.88billion annually (N27million each). The 109 Senators are paid N16.7billion (N38million each). The sum of about N3billion goes to the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps, while N12billion goes to their standing committees and others.
 
As if these were not enough, it was also reported in the said Punch Newspaper edition that the House members were agitating for further increase of N7million in the so-called “quarterly allowance” of N27million per member. The federal executive arm is also not left out in this official thievery legitimatised through criminal appropriations. It may be correct to say that the origin of the so-called “constituency projects” of N100billion in the federal budget initiated by the federal lawmakers is traced to the so-called “presidential safety net” of N100billion reportedly initiated by the federal executives, which has remained fiscally inexplicable to Nigerians for years. The conspiracy of the highest order between the federal lawmakers and the executives in this respect abounds. It may most likely be correct to say that two sets of salaries and allowances codes clearly exist in Nigeria today; the ones contained in the 2008 amended Salaries & Allowances Act and ones smuggled into the Appropriation Acts. It is no longer news that a Nigerian Federal lawmaker earns much more than each of the leaders of US, UK, Japan, France, South Africa, Germany, Belgium, South Korea, Russia, Portugal, the Council of Europe, Austria, Denmark and Mexico. In spite of these outrageous earnings and official thievery, Nigeria’s federal lawmakers’ legislative performance index is one of the lowest in the world. Their oversight duties, which are lowest in the standard legislative duties’ calendar globally, have taken over their core legislative duties because of their reported juicy nature. They no longer legislate for social change and welfare of the society but for their private pockets.
 
Observations & Demands:
Judging from the foregoing therefore, Nigeria has continued to wobble and fumble at 52 in spite of abundance of human and material resources. When a country is not envisioned in leadership, criminality and other social vices become the norm. Sadly, positive and democratic forces in the country such as the Nigerian Labour Congress/Trade Union Congress, Academic Staff Union of Universities, National Association of Nigerian Students, media, civil society organizations (rights & pro-good governance groups) and other socio-cultural groups have derailed from their social responsibilities of social re-engineering, constructive and developmental advocacy.
 
Nigeria features prominently and ceaselessly in all known negative social indexes globally and parades very corrupt, unpatriotic, criminal and visionless political leadership and very lazy, corrupt and unproductive public workforce. The country parades at least 25,000 modern medical specialists in USA alone yet her public health system remains killer-delivery. In the infant mortality, life expectancy, religional and global higher education performance, poverty reduction, security and crime, trade and investment, indebtedness and debt management, human rights records, sporting and youth development, global brain drain, foreign exchange reserves, job productivity and satisfaction, industrialization and economic development, employment and social benefits, corruption and abuse of office indexes, Nigeria has dangerously and perpetually remained in the red or danger list.
 
In the 1960s, China was busy destroying its cultural heritage (Cultural Revolution); today China has come from cave to become the world second largest economy with $3trillion in its foreign exchange reserves in 2012, from $700billion in 2006 and $2.3trillion in 2010. It still exports 40% of the world coal production. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan paid back their last foreign debts between 1972 and 1992, today, apart from having intimidating foreign exchange reserves, there are over 2,300 universities in China, 980 in Japan, 432 in South Korea and 172 in Taiwan including nine security and intelligence universities. In Nigeria, with the UN estimated population of 158million (2011), only 124 universities exist and none of them is research-based. Japan still sources 40% of its electricity from coal, while Nigerians spend N95.16trillion annually on powering their generating sets. Companies spend N93.6trillion; while individuals who own 60million generating sets in their homes spend N1.56trillion annually (CBN via Nigerian Compass Newspaper, August 20, 2010).
 
While India has 816million workforce as at 2010, Nigeria still maintains 57million workforce out of her 160million population. Most of the workers in Nigeria’s private sector are under-employed. The country still imports 98% of her human basic needs from overseas and an average Nigerian rich businessperson still engages in importation with at least N200million capital; a sum capable of building a medium scale industry with direct and indirect employment opportunities for hundreds of Nigerians. The $6.5billion (N1.04trillion) reportedly spent on 130 private jets mostly by criminally rich Nigerians has the capacity of building at least 105 large scale industries at N1billion each with direct and indirect employment capacity of 110.000 on average of 1000 jobs each. There are also over 25million unemployed higher education graduates in Nigeria. In 2000, the Federal Office of Statistics gave the total number of unemployed graduates in Nigeria as at then as 5.6million. Less than 5% of graduates from Nigeria’s 194 universities and university colleges secure employment annually. Organized crime (advance fee fraud and kidnapping), victimless crime (prostitution) and marriage are three leading alternatives to the country’s teeming unemployed graduates.
 
Our writing you, Madam Coordinating Minister of Economy at this year’s 52nd independence statehood of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is expressly predicated on the foregoing. It is time to think home and domesticate Nigeria. At 52, despite the privatization of the leading and critical public corporations in the country, things have gone to worst. There is no national carrier in Nigeria; jets land in Nigeria and refuel in Ghana; the country’s 445,000 barrels of crude oil meant for local consumption cannot be refined locally; FGN’s 30,000 kilometers of trunk A roads country-wide is only better than Somalian roads; insecurity and flood disaster have become an avenue for federal legislators and executives to enrich their pockets through bloated budget and call for supplementary budget instead of an avenue for remorseful national concern and proactive action. Defence budget for 2012 is N921billion; more than monies allocated to education, health and agriculture put together.
 
Illicit arms are available in Nigeria from left, right and center. 371,000 persons presently people the Nigeria Police Force and plans are underway to recruit additional 280,000 persons, yet the country’s security, particularly the security of lives and property of Nigerians remains porous. When other countries are busy embracing proactive, preventive and intelligence policing, Nigeria is busy staking her neck on reactive, manual and militarized policing. Our writing you is also to remind you of your 2006 magic in the area of economy and zero debt management, which saw Nigeria bouncing back economically and exiting the club of impoverish nations within one fiscal year including raising and payment in six months of a whopping sum of $12billion to the Paris Club of Creditors. Overseeing an economy of estimated $100billion debts; a declined foreign exchange reserves of $39billion and zero rainy day savings, is a big minus to your revered international reputation.
 
Therefore, we prayerfully urge you to recommend and push for the following: Amendment of all existing Acts of the Federation as they concern allowances paid to 17,500 top Nigeria’s public officers and other senior public /civil servants from level 13 and above, with a view to cutting down their allowances by 60% for 17,500 top public officers and 40% for other senior public/civil servants. One of those Acts to be amended is the Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act of 2002 as amended (2008). For instance, our express calculation is that if the N550billion spent annually on 12,788 LGAs top officers’ allowances is cut by 60%, then N330billion will be saved and channeled into capital development. Also all duplicated allowances like “furniture allowance” and “accommodation allowance” contained in the federal lawmakers’ allowances should be identified and deleted alongside those considered irrelevant and utterly wasteful.
 
1. Abolition of quarterly allowances to the federal and State lawmakers and their executive counterparts (if any), under whatever names called and reduction of those allowances spent quarterly on the offices of the Senate President, Deputy Senate President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Reps and their standing committees, etc by 60%. This should also be extended to State Assemblies and members of the Federal and State Executive Councils including president, vice president, governors and deputy governors.
 
2. Strict adherence to the provisions of the Salaries & Allowances for Top Public Office Holders Act 2008 (amended) and abolition of dual allowances provided under whatever names called in the appropriation Acts, etc.
 
3. Discontinuation of indiscriminate and outrageous hikes in the appropriation bills of the Federation especially by the National Assembly and MDAs and strict scrutiny of budget proposals of the National Assembly, especially its recurrent and overhead costs.
 
4. Reversion of the Federal Appropriation Bills to 60% for capital development, 40% for recurrent expenditures including 5% for debt servicing.
 
5. Under recurrent expenditures: reduction of all overheads by 40% including the security votes and other relevant overheads of the presidency, the governors and leaderships of the federal and State legislative chambers.
 
6. Cutting down the overhead and personnel spending on defence and increasing its capital spending for renovation of barracks, construction of new ones, procurement of security vehicles and modern policing tools and building of security intelligence universities. Also, the planned recruitment of 280,000 more persons into the NPF should be put on hold and serving ones re-trained on modern and scientific policing. A situation where the huge sum of N921billion (2012 defence budget) is spent to track down young physicists from some northern universities and polytechnics who make and use local explosive devices made and corked in used “coca cola and fanta” cans, with Libyan and Somalia-bound AK-47s, speaks volume of political leaders in Nigeria replicating “blood diamond” saga in Sierra Leone and Liberia, akin to merchants of death.
 
7. Placing a national moratorium on local and foreign borrowings and proactive management (repayment and reduction) by federal and State governments of the existing debts.
 
8. Merging federal ministries, parastatals and departments and cutting down the number of ministers and special advisers as well as reducing the present number of inferior public aides (approximately 24,165) in Nigeria by 60%. Huge expenditures associated with official foreign travels by the executives and the legislators in the country should be drastically cut down.
 
9. Exposing Nigeria’s enormous investment potentials to the outside world, not by globetrotting, but by addressing frontally problems of insecurity, awkward trade policy/legislation, and corruption and epileptic power failure.
 
10. Abolishing from the Appropriation Acts the so-called constituency projects that engulf N100billion annually and removing the so-called “presidential safety Net” if still found that also consumes N100billion annually.
 
11. Ensuring that the DMO keeps to its recent public promise of releasing the domestic debts profiles of the 36 States and the FCT by the end of October 2012, which have for years been shrouded in uttermost secrecy.
 
12. Amending the EFCC and the ICPC acts of the Federation to provide for stiffer sanctions especially to provide for longer years of jail sentence. A situation whereby an embezzler of N50billion is sentenced for six months imprisonment whereas a stealer of bush meat is sent to five years jail term is socially abominable and globally abhorrent.
 
13. Making the Chapter Two of the Constitution legally actionable or as “Fundamental Human Rights”.
 
14. Passing the Social Security Bill into law and ensuring that it is fully implemented.
 
15. Granting full autonomy to the Nigerian Local Government System and abolishing the so-called “States and Local Government Joint Accounts”.
 
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org
Website: intersociety-ng.org
 
Emeka Umeagbalasi
Chairman, Board of Trustees
+234(0) 8033601078, +234(0) 8180103912
 
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
 
CC:
Senator Pius Anyim
Secretary to the Government of the Federation 

-Masterweb Reports
 
Today, we see a renewed interest and courageous fight for self government, regional autonomy, secession, sovereign national dialogue, fiscal federalism, etc. The reason for this frustration, anger and fights is not only because of the economic and political injustice but lack of coherent national core value system that gives sense of patriotism and empowers the peoples of Nigeria to believe in themselves and their national leadership. Since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, she has had many kinds of government – unitary, parliamentary, Military and for the last thirteen years, a democratic presidential system. Yet, despite Nigeria’s enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, the promise of these various governments has been a dismal failure. The nation’s leaders have not kept their promises but floundered and left the Nigerian masses worse than when they were under their slave master, Britain.

 
Let us review compactly the history.

 
The Era of Military Juntas

 
In October 1975, General Gowon was overthrown in a coup, on the anniversary of his ninth year in office, after he could not keep his earlier promise to return power to a democratically elected government in 1976. He announced an indefinite postponement of a programme of transition to civil rule. The late Murtala Mohammed, the new head of state promised a 1979 restoration of democracy. On February 13, 1976, Murtala Mohammed was killed in the traffic on his way to work. On February 14, 1976, General Murtala Mohammed was succeeded by General Olusegun Obasanjo who pledged to pursue his predecessor’s transition programme. In 1979, Nigeria adopted and approved a new Constitution.

 
On October 1, 1979, Nigeria momentarily returned to democratic system of government. General Obasanjo handed over power after completing the remainder of three years of Murtala-Obasanjo military regime to Alhaji Shehu Shagari as first elected Executive President and the first politician to govern Nigeria since 1966. Five parties had competed for the presidency, and Shagari of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was declared the winner. The other parties were: Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), National People’s Party (UPN), Great Nigeria People’s Party (GNPP), and People’s Redemption Party (PRP). The conduct of the general elections was criticized by opposing parties and the media. Violence erupted in some parts of the west. On September 1983, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was re-elected president of Nigeria. Three months later, following a coup d’état on December 31, 1983, the military returned to power. Major-General Muhammad Buhari was named head of state.



 
From August 1985 to May 1999, Nigeria was basically ruled by various military dictators and corrupt civilian politicians – namely military dictator Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, military dictator Sani Abacha, and Abdulsalam Abubakar. It was an era of decrees, indiscipline, ethinc cleaning, visionless economic programs that destroyed the nation’s currency-Naira and basically rubbished the Nigerian economy, which actually elevated greed, bribery, and corruption and enthroned most of the crooks, cronies and pathetic personalities we have today as political leaders in the nation. The military despots looted the national treasury and left the Nigerian economy with a horrendous national debt. During these various regimes most of the nations’ institutions collapsed.

 
The Return to Democratic Governments, Political Hooligans and Lawlessness

 
The cancellation of the 1992 democratic elections won by Chief M. K. O Abiola and his sudden demise in prison provoked riots and civil disobedience by thousands of human rights activist, pro-democracy activists, media and ordinary citizens. The return to democracy at point was non-negotiable. The political wrangling and maneuvering of that period eventually led to the surprising win of a former military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo, a prisoner of Sani Abacha, from Southwest and same state with MKO Abiola. Many have written that Obasanjo’s civilian presidency 1999-2007 was a compensation for Chief Abiola’s mysterious death and denial of his rightful winner of the 1992 presidential elections. In 1999, Nigeria returned permanently to a democratic presidential system of government, however, political instability, poor leadership, religious ignorance and intolerance and violence, ethnic hatred, moral degradation, corruption, injustice, indiscipline and irresponsibility quickly marred the nations’ prospect for development and progress. Until today, Nigerians have not really enjoyed any genuine freedom or political peace and national prosperity, despite abundant natural and human resources God endowed but business as usual – a vicious circle of myopic, incompetent, and irresponsible politicians as leaders. In a nutshell, Nigeria has been ruled by fools and idiots as IBB and OBJ revealed to Nigerians during their squabble last year.

 
During the 8-year presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, corruption, political thuggery, godfatherism, political assassinations, Niger Delta militancy, armed robbery, kidnapping, religious intolerance, radical Islamic fundamentalism and lawlessness reached its zenith. Before he completed his two-term reign, he began to campaign for Alhaji Yar’adua, the then governor of Katsina State, and surprisingly handed the presidency to a sick man, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, another Northerner to be the president of Nigeria. President Yar’Adua took office in May 29, 2007 and in his inauguration messianic speech , he admitted that Nigerians were going through hell and promised to create 40 million jobs within 10 years, lower interest rates, reduce inflation and achieve realistic exchange rate for Naira. His seven-point agenda was crystal clear, but then he reversed all the Economic agenda of his predecessor, refused to support the CBN monetary policy which was the second phase of PDP economic agenda. He reversed most of the economic reforms and most laws of his predecessor and re-deployed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the anti corruption czar to the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State, Nigeria and finally sacked him. Nigeria returned to the same vicious circle of incompetence and lawlessness.

 
During Yar’Adua’s watch, Nigeria entered into a state of hopelessness, until his demise in May 2010. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, his VP and a civilian from oil rich South-south finished the term and then in April 16, 2011 overwhelmingly won the presidential election, which has been adjudged to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history. However, since his inauguration on April 29, 2011, the country has been besieged with radical Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism. Hundreds of innocent citizens have been killed and thousand displaced in several Northern states.

 
President Jonathan styled his leadership as transformational unlike his predecessor, the late Alhaji Yar’Adua, who called himself a servant leader. Within months into his presidency despite the challenges from opposition regarding the election, President Jonathan rather than focus on the security challenges, economy and other social problems confronting the nation, embarked on constitutional amendment with a concocted six-year single tenure for the president and governors. Public opinion fumed against such insensitivity and just within weeks, the National Assembly tossed out that part of the bill, saying it is untimely and suspicious. Just this week, the president promised that the Constitutional Amendment will be ready in June 2013 and that it will be people’s oriented constitution. The President has not performed despite that he brought in technocrats in his cabinet including Nigeria’s pride in the likes of Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former World Bank president, Prof. Barth Nnaji and others to focus on the nation’s comatose economy and ecliptic power supply. Shockingly and surprisingly, Prof. Barth Nnaji resigned last week as Minister of Power due to conflict of interest in the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria as was insinuated. His resignation shocked millions of Nigerians including nations around the world. His resignation and forced out of office will be reserved for another article, but I suffice to say that Prof. Nnaji is not a crude politician but a scientist, an innovator, inventor and scholar of international repute. Many who he knew him, trusted his expertise and leadership, but also had fears whether he will survive in an environment filled with conflict, irritation, abuse and corrupt people.

 
Prof. Nnaji before his courting by President Jonathan was a professor and researcher at one of the finest universities in the U.S. – University of Massachusetts (UMASS) and a consultant to NASA. In less than one year, he assumed office; Nigerians began to see some “LIGHT” now I’m afraid, we are going back to our routine “DARKNESS “again. It’s sad that decent people can’t be good politicians and leaders in Nigeria. He was sincere and honest to declare his business interest in the privatization of the power sector. After all, it is an area of his expertise. A typical Nigerian politician will find a way to hide such business interests and continue to dupe and siphon the government and the public. During the so-called privatization exercise during Obasanjo’s administration, most of the federal business entities were auctioned off to family members, friends and to businesses where some of the ruling politicians had enormous interest in. In Nigeria, it is not a secret that many of our leaders built their private businesses with public funds while serving in government. Prof. Nnaji is an exception and now shows our corrupt politicians how to separate personal interest from public service.

 
And so, since the return of a democratic government 14 years of ago, Nigeria has not had good leaders but hooligans and military gangsters masquerading as politicians that piloted the affairs of the country. Nigeria as a nation has not really enjoyed any genuine political peace and national prosperity despite enormous blessings that God endowed on her but violence, bombs, terrorism and irrational killings of innocent citizens. Today, Nigeria is ruled and governed by military and political dictators that continue to deny the people of Nigeria security, order, peace and basic needs of livelihood. For fifty-two years, Nigeria has had military dictatorship, political hypocrisy, and extravagantly indulgent corrupt judicial system that oppressed the poor, women, young people, children and minority members of the nation. Despite her enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, the promises of democracy have been a dismal failure. After 13 years of democracy, people are yet to see the so-called “Dividends of Democracy”.

 
Niger Delta Militancy and Oil Pollution

 
It is because of the injustices in our nation that led some courageous men to form peaceful groups and unfortunately some militant groups to battle against the biased, discriminatory and satanic system that they live in. Today, we have MASSOB, OPC, MEND, BAKASSI, and Niger Delta militants fighting against injustice in the federal system. Today, we are witnesses of the renewed fight and courageous call for self government and peaceful division of Nigeria.

 
Let us forget about the 1960’s butchery of the Igbos and fast forward to the 1980’s. Military despot Sani Abacha persecuted, arrested and imprisoned many notable Nigerians including Ken Saro Wiwa, leader of the Movement for Salvation of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), for treason and punishable by death for criticizing his government. Sani Abacha carried out ethnic cleansing in Ogni, Okirika, and Adoni - oil rich Delta regions of River State. On October 31, 1995, Abacha’s civil disturbances tribunal found the writer and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP leaders guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging. Despite appeal for mercy from the human rights organizations, statesmen, religious leaders, international governments and world leaders including the Commonwealth and iconic figure like Nelson Mandela, on November 10, 1995, all 9 MOSOP leaders and activist were hung. Ken Saro-Wiwa, a writer, playwright and environmentalist was hung simply because he called the government’s attention to the oil spillage and environmental pollution and degradation in his hometown, Ogni. The military despot, Sani Abacha and his cohorts were so ignorant and visionless, that they refused to listen to the world renowned environmentalist. Few years ago, the United Nations (UN) carried an investigation and confirmed of massive oil pollution in Niger Delta region. The report from the United Nations Environment Programme, the first of its kind in Nigeria, was based on two years of in-depth scientific research. It found that oil contamination is widespread and severe, and that people in the Niger Delta have been exposed for decades – the report said. The report provided irrefutable evidence of the devastating impact of oil pollution on people's lives in the Delta - one of Africa's most bio-diverse regions. It examined the damage to agriculture and fisheries, which has destroyed livelihoods and food sources of the Niger Delta region and its environs. One of the most serious facts to come to light is the scale of contamination of drinking water, which exposed communities to serious health risks. Amnesty International Global Issues Director, Audrey Gaughran, who has researched the human rights impacts of pollution in the Delta Region, also said, "This report proves Shell has had a terrible impact in Nigeria, but has got away with denying it for decades, falsely claiming they work to best international standards." The UN and Federal Government of Nigeria reported that it would take about a $1 billion and up to 30 years to clean. We now know it will take 50 years or more to cleanup and restore normalcy to the area devastated with oil pollution and ongoing oil spillage.

 
Eye witnesses report that the Niger Delta oil pollution is much worse than the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil leak in the Gulf Coast, which affected the ecosystem and fishing businesses of those that live around the coastline of Louisiana State, USA. The business owners and citizens fumed and when it is all said done, BP paid out nearly $750 million to compensate businesses, fix the leak and cleans their mess. Until today, BP is still faced with litigation, lawsuits, reparation and compensation for oil spillage in the Louisiana coastline. Oil pollution has been going on in the South-south and some Southeast communities for years. The BP oil spill was rated the worst oil spill in US history even though it was just about 7 month’s oil leak. The Niger Delta region oil pollution is been going on for 50 years. When will the Nigerian government clean the Niger Delta regions? When will the president and his environmental Minister push for reparation from Shell as well as enforce stringent laws and policies on multi-national oil companies operating in Nigeria to protect the environment? This is a challenge of this and future governments which demands a lot of capable and skilled hands as well as calls for compassion of the health and well-being of the citizens of those regions.

 
Boko-haram Jihadist Sect and Insecurity

 
Since the return to democratic government in 1999, there have been ethnic, religious, economic, and political motivated violence and conflicts that have decimated thousands of innocent lives in Nigeria. Since the last decade, we have witnessed rash of rampage and despicable acts of violence, looting, killings and wanton massacre of innocent Nigerians by Boko-Haram sect in many cities and states in the North. This ignorant, intolerable, irrational rampage and despicable acts of killings and massacre are getting worse each day. From 2007 till date, an estimated 3,000 or more Nigerians have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced and their means of livelihood shattered. Since 1999, an estimated 14,000 innocent Nigerians have been massacred while the Federal Government, State, Local and Security agencies remain incapable of stopping the murderous sect. The government and security agencies –especially the police have failed in their basic duty to provide security and protection of innocent human lives. They all should resign and give way to competent and capable hands – including international community to handle the security and terrorist challenges that are confronting the nation.

 
The wise and great Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark recently spoke truth to power, when he called on IBB and other Northern leaders to speak out against Boko-haram. Nigeria needs wise, courageous and compassionate leaders like him. In the last two years, check the record, go and read public statements made by many Northern politicians, religious leaders and elders – no one has had the courage and temerity to condemn the murderous activities of Boko Haram. Rather, they blame it on poverty and their past leaders. If there were any courageous politician and leader in the North, the Jihadist and murderous activities of Boko Haram would have been curtailed –if not out rightly stopped. By the way, Boko Haram is the religious-political army of the Hausa/Fulani Oligarchy. Boko Haram did not start in 2009 as stated; it has been in existence since the history of Nigeria. Boko Haram mushroomed into this militant movement to fight for return of power to north and without question there are politicians and powers behind them. And they won’t stop until power returns to the North. I wrote a few years ago, that Nigeria must brace up for the murderous activities of Boko Haram. Boko Haram is our “intifada” and their ultimate desire is to impose the “Rule of Allah” in Nigeria. This is the universal teaching of Islam worldwide – to make Islam worldwide religion. And I don’t have any qualms about Boko Haram establishing an Islamic/Sharia State, but I have serious problem about “Islamization” and “Somalization” of Nigeria and imposing Sharia and the Rule of Allah upon Nigerians who disagree with them. They should know by now that Nigeria is a multi-religious nation.

 
I ask, when will this despicable and wanton killings of innocent Nigerians stop? When will the Federal Government take action about these lecherous killings of innocent Nigerian citizens in the North? When will the Federal government bring to justice the perpetrators and the sponsors of these heinous killings and cowardice acts against innocent Nigerians? When will this foolishness stop in our nation? When will all Nigerians stand together, unite, and condemn this immoral and satanic massacre of innocent citizens and God’s children? When will Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) engage in serious Ecumenical and interfaith dialogue with Islam and Muslim leaders not just a council meeting with Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostal but ecumenical –interfaith dialogue with Islam and the Imams? The leadership at CAN – especially the Pentecostal pastors and bishops shave failed woefully in their calling and divine mandate to build the kingdom of God. For decades, they had focused on prosperity and materialistic message rather than preaching the adulterated gospel of Jesus Christ – the gospel of the kingdom of God on planet earth. For years, they had been after their own selfish and worldly interests while their sheep and flocks of God are dying and perishing everyday.

 
Way Forward –

 
Amend the Constitution to Address the Injustices in the Federal Government

 
It is an acceptable fact that the 1999 Constitution is over due for review and amendment considering the inadequacies and anomalies in our society. Despite my skimpy knowledge on matters of constitutional matters, I have always argued that the constitution that we have today is not only deficient to the ethos of presidential and democratic system of government that we clearly copied from the United States of America, but, additionally does not accommodate the true aspirations of all Nigerians. The current political, social, economic and religious turmoil in the nation can be checked and minimized based on the quality of our constitution, patriotic legislation and honest enforcement of those laws. In fact, many Nigerians are clamoring for Sovereign National Conference to address the inadequacies and injustices in the Nigeria Federal Structure. Even, some are calling for true federalism rather than amendment of the constitution. However, the constitutional amendment can give the people an opportunity to revamp and fix the injustices in the federal structure, in order for the nation to make progress.

 
I also think that amendment of Constitution should not be left solely into the hands of the Legislative body. The Constitution Amendment Committee should include constitutional lawyers, judges, liberal scholars, thinkers, leaders of thought, historians, traditional and religious leaders, ex-presidents, governors, senators, diplomats and frankly fewer politicians and legislators. The current political, social, economic and religious turmoil in the nation can only be checked and minimized based on the quality of the constitution, patriotic legislation and honest enforcement of those laws. Nigeria should rethink of her current political culture and figure out the best methodology the nation can tailor and construct its constitution and political systems in order to produce credible candidates, knowledgeable electorates, build strong democratic institutions and entrench patriotic values that are capable of yielding the expected progress and dividends of democracy.

 
Educate the Citizens and Develop a National Core Value System (Patriotism)

 
The culture of learning which was strong and admired by Nigerians has eroded due to weak educational leadership and corrupt government leaders. Since the return to democratic government in 1999, the portfolio of education has been held by corrupt and incompetent politicians. Moreover, most of the governors of the various states in Nigeria have been visionless and myopic. The university campuses have become centers for raping young girls, gang activities, cultists, in addition to constant strikes, poor lecturers and lack of funds. Everything nowadays is driven by money even the university admissions are now bought by rich people for their sons and daughters. The schools are also dilapidated and teachers who cannot write simple correct sentences or speak it are teaching our children.

 
The picture is evidence of lawlessness and purposeless education in present day Nigeria. That is why many young Nigerians are dying to leave Nigeria – even to the nearest neighboring countries like Ghana or South Africa to attend university. Those of them who are extremely lucky to travel to the European Union and United States are excelling in their studies and academics. Why would the young people live in a nation that does not care for them, recognized as the future leaders of the country, receive proper training, developed and prepared to take over the running of the country at some point? Why would they live in a nation without job after their university education and unemployment roaring at almost 80%? President Jonathan must declare state of emergence in the education sector. Nigeria needs a massive educational restructuring. The government must find ways to tap into the uncommon Nigerians scattered around the world – by seriously fighting insecurity, providing basic infrastructure , setting up attractive incentives and conducive working environment to be able to attract some of these Nigerian geniuses in Diaspora back to Nigeria. Nigeria does not lack the brains, but the political will to galvanize and harness her God given resources - human and natural. However, I'm afraid to say that the new wave of suicide bomb blasts in Nigeria may be a clear indication that Nigeria is becoming a terrorist pariah state. The cabals – the ‘satanic cult” and "powers to be" that are so entrenched must be destroyed in order to restructure the society. The state of education sector in Nigeria today clearly points that Nigeria has become a lawless and disorderly nation. To fix these anomalies, will take some form of revolution. There cannot be strong and great leaders without massive education reform and restructuring.

 
Also, there cannot be strong, moral and courageous leadership without a well-defined set of core values that will shape the lives of those called to lead. Core values are constant and passionate beliefs that drive lives, business decisions or nation’s priorities. Core values determine and shape daily actions of people, business or government leaders. They are hidden motivations that dictate every decision and determine life’s priorities. Vision, passion and purpose are driven by core values. Without core values or code of conduct, people, families, businesses or even nations will have a broken focus? Dr. Mike Murdock, one of the great wisdom teachers of our contemporary time said, “The passion of our daily routine is the hidden secret for our success, people fail because of broken focus.” Daily routines are core values or value systems that drive and determine life’s success. Daily routines determine and shape our daily actions.

 
The same is true of a nation. Core values ask the question, why do I do what I do? Developing national core values and the passion for why we as a nation will be the secret to our nation’s success. Well-defined strong national core values will not only contribute to our nation’s success but also will also inspire people to reach their fullest potential, embrace good change, communicate what is important and enhance credible leadership. Core values are not only applicable to individuals or business organizations, families or churches, but also to nations, states and cities. Without a strong national value system no nation can flourish and be successful.

 
There has to be patriotic decisions and passionate actions that determine and drive our nation’s priorities. The problem is that the framers of the first Nigerian constitution were not Nigerians but slave masters. Nigeria's first constitution was written by the British people in 1922. These are people who did not understand our culture or value systems of the myriad groups that make up Nigeria. Since then, the constitution has been revised a few times without the constitutional experts but dictators and stooges of a gangster government, who evaded radically revamping the constitution to accommodate the social, cultural, religious and tribal norms of all the variant groups that make up Nigeria. The fundamental rights as defined in our constitution today does not contain defined set of core values such as character, honesty, genuine integrity, discipline, character, trust, truth, commitment, dedication, patriotism …that are capable of producing patriotic citizenry, credible leaders, spur nation building, promote good business culture and inspire people to embrace good change in-order to reach their potential.

 
I am convinced that in order to build a respectable and prosperous nation that we aspire and dream to have, there must be first of all a set of well-defined core values or code of conduct that will help to create an environment in which government, businesses, investment and people can thrive and prosper. Trust, integrity, honesty and sincere character are seriously lacking in our society in all levels. How can a nation make progress without trust? Trust is lacking among Nigerians. Ijaw, Igbo, Yoruba , Hausa-Fulani, etc., do trust each other instead they hate each other with passion. How can a nation make progress in such a hateful and mistrust environment?

 
I think the time is now for Nigerians to have a serious dialogue and discussion on how to move forward as a nation. There is too much suffering and hopelessness. There is anger and frustration everywhere in Nigeria – the Boko Haram, MEND, Niger Delta militants, MASSOB, CPC, Bakassi people of the oil rich island, and then unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, death-trap roads, religious ignorance and intolerance, insecurity, corruption and so on. Nigeria is at a tipping point. These frustrations and disagreements must be handled courageously through national dialogue and debate.

 
Last year, the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka made a direct call to the political leaders and warned of people’s anger and frustration concerning the senseless killings, corruption, and incompetent political leadership. He called for dialogue and discussion on how to move the nation forward. The former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar in an interview that month also called for all ethnic groups in Nigeria to sit on the roundtable to renegotiate their continued co-existence. Those calls are sincere, honest, and courageous calls.

 
The nation needs a dialogue – sovereign national conference or national dialogue, no matter what it is called; all the people groups of Nigeria must sit down to chart their destiny. The dialogue and agreed ideas must be documented and cherished as the basis of democratic system government. Any document produced from the dialogue should be used to govern the affairs of the state and its people. It should provide defense, administer justice, and order, in which people could go in safety about their business. It should have checks and balances that provide more realistic safeguards – constraining absolute power of the federal government, security of its citizens and welfare of all Nigerian people. The documents must set a well-defined set of core values that will shape the lives and especially those who are called to lead.

 
Final Words

 
A lot has been said and written about the amalgamation of Nigeria as a nation. The late visionary leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo once observed that Nigeria is not a nation, but merely a geographical expression. Many notable visionaries and leaders of thought have also referred the Nigerian nation as merely a political expression for the economic and political interest of the colonial masters. The amalgamation of Nigeria as a nation is an issue that must be addressed if we really desire to live in peace and fulfill our destiny. I believe that without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be order, unity and peace in our country. We cannot move forward as a nation and fulfill our common purpose and destiny until ethnicity, tribalism and injustice are addressed in our country. We truly need a national identity that harbors ethnicity but promotes national identity entity, if not we break the Union. The amalgamation of Nigeria has been costly. The impelled amalgamation of the variant groups that make up Nigeria today has been problematic and costly to manage due to ethnic jingoism and diverse dynamics of interests of the various groups. In essence, our challenges clearly shows that we have not grown-up as a people, but still immature in our way of doing business with each other and with outside world. The tendencies and acts of childishness are still evident in our everyday life and living. Since Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, she has had only turbulent periods of political crisis, religious violence and ethnic warfare that led to unforgettable genocidal civil war of 1967-1970 that claimed more than two million lives and left her surviving citizens with so much bitterness, hatred and rage against one another. At fifty-two years of self-government, Nigeria continues to flounder due to bad leadership, culture of impunity, culture of callousness, covetousness, greed, money worshippers, egotism, avarice, hatred, and rage. I think it is time for Nigerians to genuinely forgive one another, bury its tumultuous past and fractured history in-order to live together and peacefully again. Without genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, there cannot be unity, peace, and prosperity. The declaration for the end of the war slogan: “No Victor No Vanquished” should be revisited and properly implemented, otherwise Nigeria will continue to flounder and not reach its full potential.

 
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke reports - Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.

 
Note: The content of this essay was taken from some of my past writings and especially from my book: Leadership Liability – A Clarion Call to Courageous, Compassionate and Wise Leadership, published by Author House, March, 2011.

 
*READ "Nigeria – The Cost and Consequences of Coerced Amalgamation – Part 1" at => http://nigeriamasterweb.com/blog/index.php/2012/08/24/nigeria-the-cost-and-consequences-of-coerced-amalgamation-part-1

 
Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing Bakassi peninsular and parts of Cameroon

-Masterweb Reports
 
The south-eastern part of Nigeria is the home of the Igbo speaking people. They constitute almost 100% of the population of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States, and about 30 to 50% of the population of Delta and Rivers States. Because Igbo people are highly mobile and itinerant, they can be found in significant numbers in all major cities of Nigeria, as well as in other parts of the world. In North America, the population of Ndi Igbo is probably in the millions in the US, and in the thousands in Canada. The Igbo language itself is highly dialectical. Thus one can expect variation in certain rites and practices from one part of Igboland to another, and even from one town to another. Birth, marriage and death are rites that are held in great esteem amongst Ndi Igbo. This article is about Igbo traditional marriage. The Internet contains a plethora of articles, publications and even books written on Igbo traditional marriage. One noteworthy source is the book titled “Marrying Wealth, Marrying Poverty (2007)” published by Tafford Publishing, Canada and UK, and written by Dr. Patrick Iroegbu. A chapter from this book, titled “Stages, Strategies and Symbolism of Traditional Marriage in a Changing Igbo Society” was posted in Kwenu (www.kwenu.com) in 2007. Dr. Iroegbu described the key elements of Igbo traditional marriage using practices from the Mbano area of Imo State. This write-up will focus on the traditional marriage practices prevalent in the northern parts of Igboland, namely, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States.

 
There are a number of principles that underpin Igbo traditional marriage that are worth reiterating. One of them is that marriage in Igboland is not between one man and one woman. Rather it is between families and to a great extent between clans or even villages. Another principle is that marriage is regarded as sacrosanct. Divorce or separation is not common. However in extenuating circumstances (which include flagrant abuse and neglect, promiscuity, acts likely to cause illness, death or embarrassment to member(s) of the family), the marriage may be set aside in accordance with rules and practices prevalent in the locality. The introduction and practice of Christianity in Igboland have helped to preserve the sanctity and reverence of Igbo marriages. A third principle of Igbo traditional marriage is that dating or any kind of relationship between the man and the girl before they get formally married is not encouraged.

 
Finding the Right Partner:

 
Both the man and the lady normally attain the appropriate age before they enter into marriage. Underage marriage is very rare among Ndi Igbo. For the man in particular, he needs to accomplish a number of well defined tasks before he is judged to be ready for marriage. In most parts of Igboland, there are defined rites of passage. These include initiation into the masquerade and age grade societies. In parts of Udi LGA in Enugu State, the rite of manhood called “iwa ogodu” was what a son and his father had to do to indicate that the boy has come of age. This ceremony involves the father buying a cow and the son parading the cow in the market place. At the right moment, the son being initiated would be expected to cut off the tail of the cow with one stroke of a well sharpened machete.

 
Following the initiation to manhood, the ready to be husband is expected to have acquired the infrastructure and the skills necessary to make a living for himself and his would be family. Such infrastructure includes a house for himself separate from that of his parents. His skill set would include the ability to successfully and profitably farm a sizable plot of land for crops such as yam, cocoyam, corn, beans, cassava, peanuts; and the ability to tend palm trees either for the wine or for the palm fruit. These days, farming, fishing or palm tree tending skills are no longer adequate to demonstrate the readiness of the young man for marriage. Getting formal education at least to the secondary school level, (but preferably to the post secondary level) is necessary, coupled with landing a permanent, good paying job. Another alternative is for the young man to undergo many years of apprenticeship and establish himself firmly as an artisan (carpenter, mason, plumber, painter, motor mechanic, electrician, welder, etc), or as a trader in a specialty area such as clothing, shoes, electronics, building materials, hardware, jewellery, foods, etc.

 
For the girls, the right of passage is not as well defined as for the boys. However, acquiring culinary, child care and home management skills is mandatory. In addition, most families these days would strive to educate their daughters to the secondary and even post-secondary level. Girls also strive to acquire professional skills through formal education, and some seek to establish themselves in trades such as dressmaking and hairdressing. For a girl aspiring to be married, she is expected to look her best and be of the best behaviour at all times. Some communities would go to the extent of organizing their marriageable girls into dance troupes where the girls do the dancing, while the men and the women provide the vocals and the instrument back up. Learning these dance steps usually takes several years and a great deal of hard work. The outing and showcasing of the dance troupe is widely advertised and takes place over several weeks and in several venues. The dancers are exquisitely decked up to orchestrate their femininity. Within weeks of the launching of the dance, most of the girls are often scooped up by eligible bachelors, some of the men coming from distant towns, but who might have seen or heard of the dance.

 
Igbo tradition does not encourage girls to go out in search of husbands. Regardless of the status of the girl, she must wait until the prospective husband approaches her family. Thus, it is the man who does the hard work of finding the right partner, while the girl and her family have the easier of task of saying yes or no. The common denominator here is that all members of the respective extended family are involved in this very important task. Often relations of the man identify the prospective bride and inform the man. Once he gives his consent, the relatives will carry out a detailed investigation of the girl and her family history. The investigation will dig into the background of members of the girl’s family going as far back as possible, looking for any incidents of recurring diseases, abominable acts, problems with bearing children, insubordination or other marital problems. Once the background check has been completed to the satisfaction of the man’s family, then the formal marriage rites will proceed. During each of the several steps and stages of these marriage rites, the family of the prospective bride will continue to check out the groom’s family looking for essentially the same undesirable traits. The key concern for the bride’s family would include the ability of the man to take care of their daughter and any children that she would have.

 
Initial Inquiry by the Groom (Iku Aka):

 
This is the initial and official declaration to the parents of the girl by the would-be groom that he is interested in having their daughter as a wife. The prospective groom is accompanied by a small group made up of close family members such as his parents, one or two uncles and aunts. The visitors come with kola nuts and a small amount of palm wine. Before the kola nut is broken and shared, the suitor’s party would state their intention to the bride’s family. The prospective bride would then be asked for her consent to accept the kola nut. If she fails to give her consent then the process comes to an end. On the other hand, if she consents, then the kola nut and the wine is accepted and shared. Further visits are then scheduled before the groom’s party leaves.

 
Second and third visitations (Mmanya Nne na Nna, Mmanya Ikwunne, Mmanya Umunna, Mmanya Isi Ada)

 
If the initial introductory rite (Iku Aka) is positive, the groom’s party will receive a list of what other steps are involved and what the requirements of the bride’s clan or town are. There are variations from one town to another. With each additional visitation, the size of the groom’s party continues to increase until the apex visitation which is the Igba Nkwu ceremony. The first visitation to the bride’s family is for the purpose of Mmanya Nne na Nna (wine for the bride’s parents). The groom’s party is limited to about 6 to 10 persons, and their gifts will include kola nut, palm wine, beer, soft drinks and tobacco. The bride’s family will prepare food and serve the visitors. The third visitation at the bride’s home is for the purpose of Mmanya Umunna, which is to inform the extended family from the bride’s father’s side that someone is interested in marrying their daughter. For this visitation, the groom’s party may number up to 20, and the number and assortment of gifts and drinks also increases. A goat is often a part of the gifts. The hosts will also prepare assorted meals for the visitors.

 
In some communities, the rites of Mmanya Ikwunne and Mmanya Isi Ada are also mandatory. The former is to inform the relations of the bride’s mother that someone wants to marry their daughter. The latter is for the first daughter of the bride’s father or family. The groom’s party is limited in both cases, and the gifts are identical in scope and size, but they must include kola nuts, palm wine, beer, soft drinks, heads of tobacco and snuff. The consent from all these distinct family members must be secured before the final marriage rites are agreed to and scheduled.

 
Bride wealth/Dowry Settlement:

 
This rite may be done as part of Igba Nkwu, but in general, it requires a visitation to the bride’s family. In the past, at the end of the lengthy negotiations which can take a whole night, money does change hands. These days the exchange of money does not take place, but the negotiations do still take place. Because of the difficulty in determining the value of a wife to a man, most families settle for a commitment from the groom that he would take good care of the bride and her children, and that he would assist the bride’s family with the training of the bride’s siblings. At the start of the dowry or bride wealth negotiations, the bride’s family will extol her virtues and accomplishments. Usually broom sticks are used to represent money. Thus, at the start, the bride’s family will present a huge bundle of broom sticks which is what they believe their daughter is worth. The groom’s party will then go out and consult with themselves and come back with a counter offer which is in the form of a much reduced bundle of broom sticks. The bride’s family will again go to their own meeting and agree on a slightly reduced amount. This back and forth session will continue until a final count (amount) is agreed to.

 
Igba Nkwu/Mmanya Nkute:

 
This is the final ceremony to consummate the marriage, and it takes place in the bride’s family compound. The guest list from both the groom’s and bride’s families is often unlimited. Depending on the resources of the two families, several hundreds or even thousands of people come to witness the occasion. The entire extended family system, going as far back as they know is invited. Both the groom and bride would normally invite their friends, colleagues and co-workers in addition to members of their respective extend families. As is the case with other rites that come before Igba Nkwu, some communities specify items that the groom must present to the bride’s family. These would include kola nuts, palm wine and other assorted drinks, heads of tobacco, snuff, cloths, jewellery, etc. For the bride’s family, it is also the occasion to show their love and care for their daughter. They would give her presents including cooking utensils for her new home. The bride’s compound is typically decked up for the event with extra chairs and tables brought in for the numerous guests expected. Oftentimes, dance groups and musicians are in attendance to entertain the audience.

 
The Igba Nkwu ceremony kicks off with the arrival of the groom’s party with their drinks and other gifts. They are led to the area reserved for them. Next the bride’s family comes out to greet their in-laws. Meantime, the bride and her maids are inside the house getting dressed. Once most of the guests are settled in their respective places, the bride and her maids make the first appearance. This is primarily to greet the in-laws. They dance regally around the venue while relatives spray money on them. Following the appearance of the bride, the groom’s party presents their gifts to the in-laws. Relatives of the bride will check the items to make sure that they are in accordance with their specifications. Any shortfall of omission usually means that the groom has to make up for it by cash payment. Once the drinks and other gifts are accepted, the kola nuts are broken and shared.

 
In some communities, the bride and her party will make a second appearance. This time they will carry boiled eggs in trays. They will give these eggs to the guests who in turn will put money into the trays as payment for the eggs. The significance of this ceremony is to show that the bride is capable of making money by trading. Before the drinks are shared, the bride and her party make another appearance. This time, the bride kneels before her father to receive his blessing. After the blessing, the father pours palm wine into a cup and hands the cup over to his daughter to give to the groom. The groom is usually well hidden among the crowd to make it difficult for the bride to find him. The bride and her party will keep searching everywhere until they find him. Once she does that, she will offer him the cup of wine, which he sips and hands back to the bride for her to sip as well all to the applause of the audience. Both the groom and the bride now go before each of their parents to get their prayers and blessing. Once the blessings are given, the newly married couple will dance together to entertain their guests. While the dance is going on, money is sprayed on them as well as on their parents and other relatives. Meantime, the bride’s family serves assorted food items that have been meticulously prepared to all the guests wherever they may be seated.

 
These days, Igba Nkwu also features the cutting of a cake by the newly married couple. Once the cake is cut, the couple then takes their seat at a conspicuous location in the compound. Relatives, friends and well-wishers then take turns to present gifts to the couple. The eating and drinking and general merry-making goes on till late into the night. As the party begins to wind down, the family of the groom will by way of a song indicate that they are about to leave, and that they have to take their wife with them. Most of the time there are no issues, and the parents of the bride will present their own gifts to her to take to her husband’s place. The parting of the bride from her family is always an emotional one, but in the end, the bride must join her husband’s party as they make their way back to their place.

 
Post Igba Nkwu Rites:

 
These days, the Igba Nkwu and traditional marriage rites are almost immediately followed by church wedding. Sometimes, the church wedding takes place the next day or within a few weeks of Igba Nkwu. This time, the groom’s family is responsible for organizing the wedding and the reception that follows the wedding. Depending on the resources of the groom, the reception party is often lavish and more gifts are showered on the newly weds.

 
Traditionally, the first night that the bride spends in her new husband’s home is the night of Igba Nkwu. The following morning, the bride is expected to be up early to sweep the entire compound of her husband’s family. Other women married in the family as well as Umuada will join in the sweeping. The men folk will shower the new wife with money as she goes from one compound to another. On the fourth day of her stay in her new home or shortly thereafter, the new wife makes her visit to her parents place. This is referred to as Nnalu. The husband has to give her presents to give to her relatives according to the tradition of the area. These would include toilet soaps, bar soaps, items of clothing, food items, jewellery, palm wine, and assorted drinks, etc. The bride will spend a couple of days with her parents and relatives before returning to her husband.

 
Dr. Chris Chiwetelu

 
*Photo Caption - Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria )

-Masterweb Reports
 
There is no doubt that the Niger Delta region is blessed with natural resources. Apart from oil, the region is also endowed with some of the country’s most fertile land. Ironically, inhabitants of the region are not reaping the fruits of nature’s bounties as much as expected because of years of environmental degradation. Thus, majority of its people are still living and dying in poverty.

 
Assessing the level of poverty among the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria in 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria, observed that south-south geopolitical zone is the worst hit by poverty among the three zones in southern part of the country. Before the oil boom era, more than 95 per cent of the people in the region were engaged in agriculture. Since Shell first struck oil in Oloibiri in 1956, unquantifiable oil spills have continued to pollute the water and soil while dangerous gases from gas flares poison the air across the region, destroying the livelihoods of fishermen and farmers.

 
To make matters worse, the Nigerian nation had come to depend almost entirely on crude oil for economic survival. The result, of course, is inadequate investment in the agricultural sector. Indeed, annual production of both cash and staple food crops dropped significantly since oil money came into the economic matrix. For example, although Nigeria was the world’s largest cocoa exporter in 1960, cocoa production has since dropped to a dismal 250,000 Metric Tonnes per annum placing her behind Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire. Similarly, other cash crops such as rubber, palm produce, cotton and groundnuts, which were major foreign exchange earners before oil, have lost their export appeal.

 
Recognizing that Nigeria was once able to produce enough food to feed its people, as well as supply raw materials to local industries and still have enough for export, the Federal Government seems poised for a change of course. According to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the production of locally milled rice would increase from 2.21 metric tonnes to 6.4 million metric tonnes annually by 2015. To achieve this, he said that the government would attract 100 large rice millers into the country and form cluster rice farms around the mills. Obviously, the high rate of rice importation gives government officials the jitters, considering the country’s ever growing population. Nigeria is not only the largest consumer of rice in Africa; it also eats more than it produces. One can, therefore, understand the minister’s eagerness to turn things around. He has promised to make agriculture earn for the nation what crude oil does at the moment.

 
As part of the efforts to make good this promise, Nigeria recently sealed a deal with a US manufacturing firm, for the production of 300,000 tractors with a view to encouraging large-scale farming. The partnership, involving delegates from USAID and the U.S. Bureau for Food Security (BFS), is expected to attract an investment worth 60 million dollars into Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Dr. Adesina said that the ultimate goal was to create employment for our teeming graduates as it is estimated that roughly 4 .5 million youths were entering our already saturated labour market every year. Another country which has shown interest in the development of modern agriculture in Nigeria is Israel. This is a country that is exporting food and earning as much as $714 million yearly, while Nigeria is spending billions of naira on the importation of food. Interestingly, Israel that is reaping huge sums from the exportation of agricultural produce is in the heart of the desert, unlike Nigeria with abundant fertile land. So, the Jewish State owes its success in agriculture to the deployment of modern technology. They have demonstrated in various spheres of life that technology is the key to economic power in the modern world.

 
Last year, the Israeli ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Moshe Ram, said he was happy that Israel was collaborating with Nigeria to return the Niger Delta to a major food-producing zone in the country. He recalled that palm produce used to flourish in the region and expressed happiness that Israeli expertise would help to bring back those days of glory.

 
In fulfillment of the pledge, the Israeli embassy is collaborating with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to rejuvenate and modernize agricultural practices in the oil-producing region. The NDDC has also entered into partnership with other stakeholders in its efforts to reactivate the agricultural potential of the Niger Delta and empower farmers to reclaim their livelihoods.

 
The Managing Director of the commission, Dr.Chris Oboh, said it was very necessary that agriculture was revived to make it a major economic activity in the Niger Delta region. He made the pledge at a ceremony to formally welcome 11 trainees from India, who received specialised trainings on mechanised farming and repair of farm equipment. “We are focused on diversifying our local economy in a manner that will drastically reduce our dependence on oil,” Oboh said.

 
He said the commission would vigorously pursue programmes that would boost agriculture to make it rival the oil sector as a major income earner in the region. Oboh urged the beneficiaries of the training to use their skills and knowledge to further boost the development of agriculture in the region.

 
The NDDC had been running agricultural training programmes in conjunction with Songhai Delta, a reputable capacity building and youth empowerment centre based in Amupke, Delta State. The scheme aimed at training youths in Niger Delta in various aspects of agriculture, took off in January 2008. The NDDC said it has trained over 6,500 youths of the region in various agricultural practices.

 
The commission has promised to increase food supply by building rice processing mills across the oil producing states to produce rice in commercial quantity. According to Dr. Godspower Amadi, NDDC’s deputy director, agric and fisheries, “we started commercial rice farming as far back as 2007 with nine pilot farms in the region. Our giant rice processing plant at Elele Alimini in Rivers State will soon start churning out tonnes of high quality rice.”

 
Today’s farming cannot be anything but science-driven with the requisite technical sophistry. The NDDC is well aware of this fact, hence its contributions to the transition from subsistence farming to modern agricultural practices. Just last year, the interventionist agency donated 27 tractors to the Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) group, for delivery to farmer cooperatives in their respective host communities. The OPTS is supported by the major oil companies.

 
Engineer Anthony Abolarin of Total, who received keys to the tractors on behalf of the OPTS members, described the event as unique and monumental. He said that the handing over of the tractors by the NDDC demonstrates the level of understanding and cooperation between the commission and oil companies.

 
It is only through this kind of intervention that the oil producing communities and indeed the entire country can be empowered to meaningfully engage in mechanized agriculture that would make Nigeria to become self-surficient in food production. It will also help the nation to reduce its ever-rising food import bills, which according to the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Dalhatu Tafida, stands at about 10 billion dollars annually.

 
This worrying situation is stirring some state governments into action. The Rivers State government is one of those that have taken up the challenge. According to the Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, agriculture would be made the mainstay of the state economy in no distant time. Thus, the government has put pen to paper with an Israeli-based firm, LR Group Limited for a multi-billion naira 2000-hectare farm in Etche Local Government. Governor Amaechi said the development was part of the efforts by his administration to shift emphasis from oil-dependent economy to an agro-based economy.

 
The administration of Senator Bukola Saraki and the present government of Abdulfatah Ahmed took Kwara State to a new level of commercial agriculture. Saraki cleared the grounds for agrarian revolution when he invited white Zimbabwean farmers in 2004 to introduce modern technology to farming in the state.

 
Apparently, the message is beginning to sink in. Technology is the key to the agricultural revolution needed to lift Nigeria from the status of a mono-cultural economy.

 
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( ifeatuagbu@yahoo.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

 
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt