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
 
Women are more than fifty percent of the world’s population. They
perform two-third of the world’s work, yet receive one-tenth of the
world’s income and own one-hundredth of the world’s property.  They
represent a staggering seventy percent of the world’s one billion
poorest people. This is a stack development reality for our world.

 
My country-Nigeria has the highest population of any African country.
With a population of over 162 million, Nigeria is ranked the world’s
seventh most populated country. Of this magnitude, forty-nine percent
are female; some 80.2 million girls and women. Comparatively,
thirty-eight percent of women in Nigeria lack formal education as
against twenty-five for men and only four percent of women have higher
education against the seven percent of their male counterpart. Nigeria
ranks 118 of 134 countries in the Gender Equality Index.

 
Commenting on the fore, it is apparent that no appreciable development
can be made either at the local, national or international platform
without recognising girls and women as equal players in the game of life
whilst empowering, up-skilling and investing in them for a better world.
“When we empower women, we empower communities, nations and entire human
family” un Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

 
We live in a world where majority of girls and women face real-time
poverty, gross inequality, molestation and injustice, which could run
through from birth to death. From poor education to poor nutrition to
violence and brutalization to vulnerable and low pay employment, the
sequence of discrimination and atrocities a woman may suffer during her
entire life is unacceptable but all too common in our global society.

 
In her assessment of gender inequality, Nigerian Ambassador to the UN,
Joy Ogwu, rightly noted, “It is about having half of humanity
participate. The progress of women means…the progress of the world”.

 
Undoubtedly, Nigeria and the World at large has in the last decade
witnessed an unprecedented expansion of women’s rights, being one of the
most profound social revolutions the world has ever seen. Couple of
decades back, only two countries allowed women to vote. Today, that
right is virtually universal. Millions of men and women around the world
now support the call for gender equality although there is much to be
done especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

 
Reviewing the UK Department for International Development (DFID), 2012
Gender Report in Nigeria, “Nigeria’s 80.2 million women and girls have
significantly worse life chances than men and also their sisters in
comparable societies”. This reveals the neglect of the Nigerian people
and government in tackling the issue of gender inequality despite calls
from various quarters.  It also brings to bare our frail understanding
of preparing the girl child for tomorrow’s motherhood, family and
societal challenges.

 
The report which succinctly stated that “Women are Nigeria’s hidden
resource”, exposed that over 1.5 million Nigeria children aged
6-14(8.1%) are currently not in school, a situation which has
effortlessly earned Nigeria the world’s largest out of school children
country-an unfortunate achievement of a robust nation. “In eight
Northern States, over 80% of women are unable to read (compared with 54%
for men). In Jigawa State, 94% of women (42% of men) are illiterate”.
Apparently, we have failed to realize that just a few investments have
as large a payoff as girls’ education.

 
Some traceable factors to this ill-starred development include lack of
funds resulting from wide-spread poverty, traditional and religious
inclination which place low priority on educating the girl child,
non-provision of educational facilities by government, poor funding of
the educational sector, weak educational policies, early marriage, early
childbirth, poor sanitation, ignorance amongst others.

 
“Nigeria has one of the lowest rates of female entrepreneurship in
sub-Saharan Africa. The majority of women are concentrated in casual,
low-skilled, low paid informal sector employment. Only 15% of women have
a bank account”. Educating and empowering the girl child implies
preparing her for future motherhood challenges that will in the nearest
future affect a family and the larger society either positively or
negatively.

 
The huge geographical and ideological disparities of Nigeria, makes her
a unique country with though global yet slightly peculiar challenges and
opportunities, even as it relates to gender inequality. Human
development outcomes for girls and women are worse in the northern part
of the country where poverty levels are sometimes twice as high as in
the south. Nearly half of all children under age five are malnourished
in the North-East, with the figures expected to increase across the
country in the wake of national and international food crises.

 
On maternal mortality, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria noted that
Nigeria has one of the highest rate of maternal mortality in the world,
a case where in every ten minutes, one Nigerian women dies in
childbirth. With about forty-seven percent of Nigerian women being
mothers before the age of twenty, the report cautioned that without
access to safe childbirth services, adequate and affordable emergency
obstetric care, improved healthcare funding, enormous political will and
civil society pressure, Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate could double
from its current 545 deaths per 100,000 live births. Note, “Every 90
seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth”, world
over.

 
“Women around the world are dynamic leaders and powerful advocates of
change. But space for their leadership and broader social and political
participation remains constrained. By mid-2011, only 28 countries could
claim that women’s parliamentary representation had reached a critical
mass of 30 percent or more. Only 19 women were leading their countries
as elected heads of state or government”.

 
In Nigeria, only 25 out of the 360 members of the Nigerian House of
Representatives being women and only about 4% of local government
councillors are women, confirming that “women are under-represented in
all political decision making bodies and their representation has not
increased since the inception of democratic rule”.  This could perhaps
be an explanation for Nigeria’s low investment in sections that are
crucial to human development outcomes such as health and education.

 
It is pertinent to note that the quality of our democracy, the strength
of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of
peace —are all undermined when we fail to fully tap half of the world’s
talent and potential. Where women have access to secondary education,
good jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are
enhanced, and we see lower maternal mortality, improved child nutrition,
greater food security, and less risk of HIV and AIDS.

 
In a society like ours, violence against women and girls cannot be
ignored though it is being ignored. “One in three of all women and girls
aged 15-24 have been a victim of violence. Women who have never married
are more likely to have been attacked than married women. Up to one
third of Nigerian women report that they have been subjected to some
form of violence. One in five has experienced physical violence”.

 
Rape, sexual insult and assault, brutalization and molestation, domestic
violence on girls and women have in recent time upsurge in Nigeria, with
victims feeling embarrassed to report such incidence to the right
agencies for justice. However, kudos must be given to some individuals,
civil society and media organisations that have continually been
campaigning against violence on the female folk, though, there is more
to be done noting that women and girls pay an unjustifiable price for
violence and discrimination, but they do not do so alone.

 
The United Nation Women says “Ending violence against women requires
know-how”. The know-how of judicial and health processes. In her words,
Karen Valero, Colombia said “I dream of a world where women are free
from domestic violence…Everyone is equal. We have the same rights in
every way”

 
Curbing and stopping violence against women requires the creation and
passage of laws regarding such violence, adopting action plans and
budgets to implement legislation, instituting prevention programmes and
protection services for women survivors, and campaigning to raise
awareness whilst instilling sound moral and religious instructions in
the girl-child towards a chaste and modest future.

 
Achieving gender equality and women’s rights in Nigeria and the world at
large is crucial to establishing and sustaining developments as
specifically addressed by three Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Gender inequality has a much greater impact than the explicit MDGs.
Gender dynamics underpin all of the MDGs and to make progress, we need
specific gender-sensitive policies and action across the entire project.

 
In promoting women’s livelihood, the 2012 DFID Gender Report in Nigeria,
recommends that “Government policy should prioritise agriculture and
rural development, because 54 million of Nigeria’s 80.2 million women
live and work in rural areas where they constitute 60-70% of the rural
work force”. It also advocates the formulation and implementation of
laws that will assist the female gender in actualising her mandate.

 
On education, the report advised the creation of incentives for all
girls to complete primary and secondary education, whilst delivering
free education to girls and better funding for the educational sector
both at the state and national levels. 

 
This fight for gender equality can only be successful with YOU and I
playing our individual yet concerted roles towards successful women’s
leadership; strengthening women’s economic empowerment; ending violence
against women; promoting women’s participation in peace and security
processes; and ensuring that public planning and budgeting responds to
the needs and rights of women. Together-we can make it happen!

 
According to the Executive Director, UN Women, Michelle Bachelet,
“Gender equality must become a lived reality”.

 
At this juncture, let me drop my pen in recognition and appreciation of
all female: girls and women across the globe, who despite societal
inequality and discrimination have just like my mother and sisters
continued to grow in leaps and bounds…I love, respect and cherish you
all. PEACE!

 
Tayo Elegbede Jet reports.

 
*Photo Caption - Woman & man images against their standard gender symbols.  

 -Masterweb Reports
 
So much has been said about the problems besetting Nigeria - economic, political, social - name it and you can see the evidence all around. Since 1999 when the Abubakar military regime returned the country back to civilian rule, Nigeria has been enjoying an unbroken era of civilian government and one would expect such longevity era of democratic dispensation to bring unprecedented benefits to this most populated country in Africa. However, the opposite is the case. The arrays of problems facing the country today reveals once again that there are inherent weaknesses in the foundation upon which the country was built and if these inherent weaknesses are not addressed, they may well become the catalysts that will facilitate the collapse of the Nigeria project.

 
When you look at the country as a whole, what you will see is a given mass area of Africa blessed with unimaginable abundance of natural resources and human resources. One can be forgiven for imagining that the people living in such an area will be enjoying the benefits of such abundant wealth. However, with Nigeria, what supposed to be her blessings have become her curse. You look at the crude oil for instance, this supposed to bring enormous revenue into the country with which the country should be able to utilise to develop itself and be able to take its place among the committee of great nations, but the opposite is the case. The Nigeria set up has not made this possible. One need to be in the corridor of power or at least closely associated with the corridor of power in order to benefit from these abundant wealth. Similarly, if you look at the size of the population, you will be forgiven to imagine that such a large population will be a great source of strength to the country and a blessing in terms of human resources. If one look around the world and compare those countries with large number of population and in fact very few of them, one will see that it is a source of strength and blessings to such nations. With Nigeria, this is not the case. Nigeria is an aberration. What supposed to be her strength has become her weakness and what supposed to bring her together has become the source of her disunity. Then you cannot but wonder where are we heading as a country?

 
What is wrong with Nigeria?

 
During the colonial era, the country was governed by a system of protectorates which recognises the diversity of the people in this area of Africa. In the early years of colonial rule, the Niger Coast Protectorate became Southern Nigeria and had its seat of government in Lagos (Southern Nigeria was made up of the Eastern and the Western regions). Similarly, the protectorate of Northern Nigeria was placed under a high commissioner Frederick Lugard. Although, the regions were formally united as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria in 1914, administratively Nigeria remained divided into the Northern and Southern Provinces and Lagos Colony. System of administrations among the regions varied widely and British staffs in each region were encouraged to operate according to procedures developed before unification. In the north for instance, legislation took the form of a decree by the governor and the emir, whilst in the south, the colonial governor sought the approval of the Legislative Council.

 
In 1957, the Western and the Eastern regions became formally self-governing under the parliamentary system and in 1959 the Northern region became self-governing. Although the whole country was said to be under a federal government, there were numerous differences of detail among the regional governments and there were wide differences in the conduct of public affairs among the regions. The only similarity was that all the three regions adhered to a parliamentary form of government but each was autonomous in relation to the federal government at Lagos. The federal government has specified powers, which included responsibility for defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications, but real political power resides in the regions and significantly, it was the regional governments that controlled public expenditures derived from revenues raised within their regions.

 
This was the prevailing system that the then politicians inherited when Nigeria got her independence from Britain in 1960 - a system whereby there were three distinct autonomous regions and each with its own parliament but with a federal government with its seat of power in Lagos. The benefits of these arrangements were there to see - each region follow their own ways of life and determine their own pace of development whilst the role of the federal government was limited to the areas where it was most needed and beneficial to the country as a whole - namely defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications.

 
However, today’s Nigeria is completely different from when the country started. Nigeria have experimented with several systems of government ranging from unitary system to the current muddled-up federal system.

 
How did we get here?

 
First Military Government - Aguiyi Ironsi government (January 1966 - July 1966)

 
When the First Republic under the Premiership of Tafawa Balewa was overthrown by a group of mostly Igbo junior officers under Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and the Aguiyi Ironsi (not connected with the coup) military government took over on 16 January 1966 , Nigeria was deeply divided along ethnic lines. In its effort to encourage unity and prevent the country from breaking apart, the Ironsi government promulgated the Unification Decree 34 which abolished the inherited federal structure and put in place a unitary system in the belief that the new system will move the country away from the brink of collapse. This move proved unpopular particularly among the Northerners who were suspicious of Southern domination. Though the decree was abolished when Aguiyi-Ironsi was deposed and killed on 29 July 1966, it however set the trend for the modern day Nigeria.

 
Until the incursion of the military into Nigeria politics and the promulgation of Decree 34, the regional governments enjoyed a significant level of independence and could make their own foreign relation policies including having their own so called “mini-embassies” abroad. However, since the overthrow of the Tafawa Balewa government and the incursion of the military into the Nigeria politics, there has been gradual erosion of the autonomy of the regions and their authorities vis a vis the federal government. Subsequent governments over the years and in particular military governments have continued this trend.

 
Second Military Regime - Gowon Government (July 1966 - July 1975)

 
On ascent to power Lt Col. Gowon abolished the unpopular Decree 34 however he did not completely restore the federal principle that was in operation at independence. This was evident when the 3 regions were eventually divided into 12 states by the Gowon government. This move by the Gowon government was in response to the tension created between the Eastern Region government headed by Col. Ojukwu and the federal government headed by Gowon.

 
Following the coup led by some officers of Eastern origin which brought an end to the First Republic and also cost the lives of many politicians particularly many Northern politicians, suspicious were raised among the Northerners who thought the coup was an Igbo conspiracy. Although the Ironsi government made efforts to dispel this notion but his failure to punish the coup plotters lent credence to this suspicion. This led some Northern officers to plan a counter coup which cost the life of Ironsi and the lives of some other notable officers. The counter coup was followed by the massacre of thousands of Easterners throughout the Northern Region. The persecution led to the flight of more than a million Igbo from the North and towards their homelands in Eastern Nigeria. Col. Ojukwu who at the time was the military governor of the Eastern region felt that if the Nigeria state could not offer protection to the Igbos, the Igbos reserved the right to establish a state of their own in which their lives would be protected. He therefore demanded for talks with the federal government controlled by Gowon on neutral soil. In response to the demand, a summit attended by Ojukwu, Gowon and other members of the Supreme Military Council was held at Aburi in Ghana. The outcome of the summit was the Aburi Accord in which it was agreed that Nigeria was to be a confederation of regions. However, this agreement was never implemented by the Gowon government. It was rumoured that Gowon and also Ojukwu had knowledge of the discovery of large oil reserves in the Niger Delta area of the Eastern part of Nigeria in the mid-1960s and this was partly responsible for the Gowon government’s reluctance to implement the agreement.

 
In a move to restrict the influence of the Ojukwu's government in the East, the Gowon government divided Nigeria into 12 states: North-Western State, North-Eastern state, Kano State, North-Central State, Benue-Plateau State, Kwara State, Western State, Lagos State, Mid-Western State, Rivers State, South-Eastern State, and East-Central State on 5 May 1967. Until then the only region created after independence was the Mid-Western region which was by plebiscite in accordance with due process as laid down in the constitution. Henceforth, state creation exercise has continued under military regimes and by decree.

 
The erosion of the authority of the regional governments and the arrogation of powers by the federal authority combined with the discovery of the oil reserve and the control of which was now firmly established in the hand of the federal government, set the stage for a rapid increase in corruption particularly at the federal level. Although Gowon was not personally implicated in any corrupt practices but there were widespread allegations of corruption by government officials and the Gowon government failing to do anything about it.

 
Third Military Regime - Mohammed Government (July 1975 - February 1976)

 
As mentioned earlier, during the colonial rule and also at independence real powers resided in the regions, the federal government sphere of authority was limited to defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications . Slowly but steadily, the federal government under successive military regimes arrogate powers vis-a-vis the regional governments. During the Murtala Mohammed regime, the federal government extended its sphere of authority into areas which were formerly exclusive to the regional governments thereby restricting the powers of the state governments in those areas. Under the military set up and in particular under the Murtala Mohammed military government, the newly appointed military governors of the states were expected to administer policies handed down by the federal government through the Supreme Military Council on which none of the state governors had a seat. In addition, the federal government took over the control of the country’s largest newspapers and made broadcasting a monopoly of the federal government. State-run universities were also brought under federal control. Although Gen. Murtala Mohammed made attempt to curb corruption particularly at the federal level but his effort was short lived as his regime was overthrown in a bloody coup which claim his life and the lives of some notable officers on 13 February 1976.

 
Fourth Military Regime - Obasanjo Government (February 1976 - October 1979)

 
The Obasanjo military government was an extension of the Murtala Mohammed regime. General Olusegun Obasanjo was the second in command to General Murtala Mohammed when the latter was the head of state. Gen. Obasanjo took over power following the death of Gen. Murtala Mohammed in an unsuccessful coup led by Lt. Col. Dimka. Although the Obasanjo government fulfilled the promise made by the Mohammed government to return the country to civil rule by handing over power to an elected government but corruption was becoming widespread and unabated. There were allegations of massive corruption perpetrated under the Obasanjo military government. Retiring army generals were said to be rich beyond what their life term earnings as military officers could account for. Holding power at the centre had become so attractive since it puts whoever is in power at the centre in total control of the enormous wealth of the whole nation, and with little or no control, subsequent Nigerian leaders particularly at the centre have exploited the set up to enrich themselves with dire consequences for the whole nation. It was during the Obasanjo government that 2.8 Billion Naira (equivalent to about 2.8 billion British pounds sterling at the time) was alleged to have gone missing from the nation‘s account but this was later dismissed as a mathematical error. During the Obasanjo government, the country was further divided into 19 states thereby further reducing the influence of the regions in the nation politics. The mannerism of the state creation exercise have also become detached from any justifiable reason and had become more or less the personal wish and judgement of those in power at the centre rather than the needs or the wish of the people.

 
Second Republic - Shagari Government (October 1979 - December 1983)

 
In accordance with the promise of Gen. Murtala Mohammed to hand over power to an elected government and the declaration by the Obasanjo government to honour this promise (Obasanjo government being an extension of the Murtala Mohammed government), Gen. Obasanjo handed over power to an elected government headed by Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 1st October 1979. However, the circumstances surrounding the whole conduct of the election and subsequent declaration of results and the controversy surrounding it, suggested that the military were now firmly established in politics as the outgoing regime seemed interested on who succeeded it.

 
The set up under the civilian government was not completely different from what was obtained under the military government. Before handing over power to elected government the preceding military government always enact a constitution under which the subsequent civilian government is to operate. These constitutions was never a return to the inherited constitution at the time of independence but a constitution that those handing over power prepared and sanctioned. Hence, the continuing trend of the centre arrogating more powers to the detriment of the regional governments. Furthermore, the weakness in such a set up and the consequences of it was the more glaring after just four years of the Shagari government when it became clear that reckless spending and corrupt practises on the part of the federal government had caused irreparable damage to the Nigeria economy leading the country to eventually ask for a bail out from the International Monetary Fund.

 
By the time the Shagari government was overthrown by the Buhari/Idiagbon regime on 31 December 1983, Nigeria was on her knees economically. Politicians have seen the weaknesses introduced into the system by the military regimes and have massively and recklessly exploited the weaknesses. Corruption was widespread and the use of arson to cover their tracks were common place under the Shagari government.

 
Fifth Military Regime - Buhari Government (December 1983 - August 1985)

 
The Buhari regime that overthrew the Shagari elected government stated that the reason for the overthrow was because the Shagari government was very corrupt and the new military government initiated the ‘War Against Indiscipline’ to sanitise the society. Many politicians were arrested and tried for embezzling public money. The Buhari government was praised for its stand against corruption but failed to correct the inherent weaknesses in the system which put the whole nation’s resources at the mercy of the government at the centre and which had made control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians and leaders. The economic problem created by the reckless spending and corruption of the Shagari government meant that austerity measures had to be introduced which resulted in economic hardship for majority of Nigerians. On 27 August 1985, the Buhari regime was overthrown by General Ibrahim Babangida, the Chief of Army Staff and a member of the Supreme Military Council during the Buhari Regime.

 
Sixth Military Regime - Babangida Government (August 1985 - August 1993)

 
The Babangida government that took over power following the overthrow of the Buhari government was well known for taking corruption to a level never witnessed before. No Nigerian leader before Babangida had exploited the weaknesses in the system to the extent carried out by the Babangida government and never until then was there such a culture of impunity in dealing with public money. Corruption was widespread and there was a free for all attitude within the polity. At one stage during his administration, it was difficult to delineate between Babangida’s own personal account and the state account as public money was spent with total disregard for due process. As a matter of fact, the Babangida’s regime was criticised by the World Bank for spending two Billion British pounds sterling without budgeting. State sponsored assassination was also introduced into the system to silence government critics. The extravagant spending and widespread corruption together with the infamous decision to cancel what most observers believed to be the fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria (12 June 1993 Presidential Election), brought Nigeria to the brink of economic and political collapse. Facing widespread revolt particularly from the western part of the country, on 27 August 1993 President Babangida as he wished to be called decided to ‘step aside’ and installed an Interim Government led by Mr Earnest Shonekan, an industrialist from the western part of the country.

 
Interim Government - Ernest Shonekan (August 1993 - November 1993)

 
The Interim government of Earnest Shonekan that succeeded the General Babangida government was a victim of the Babangida misrule. Nigeria was already on her knees politically and economically by the time President Babangida decided to step aside. There were widespread industrial action by the Labour Congress and the operation of the business of governance had become paralysed. With no form of legitimacy whatsoever, the interim government lasted only three months before it was dismissed by General Sanni Abacha on 17 November 1993 following a court ruling that declared the Interim Government illegal.

 
Seventh Military Regime - Abacha Government (November 1993 - June 1998)

 
Following the dismissal of the Interim Government headed by Shonekan, Gen. Abacha took over the rein of power. The Abacha government completely exploited the weaknesses in the system to its advantage and to the benefit of those close to the government and the Abacha family but to the detriment of the country. Corruption was blatant and so also the abuse of power by those in authority. Gen. Abacha simply continued in the vein of the Babangida government.

 
There were large scale embezzlement of public funds. It was reported that during Abacha's government, a total of £5 billion was stolen from the public purse by Abacha and his family. Abacha was labelled the fourth most corrupt leader in history at the time. A preliminary report commissioned by the Abubakar government that succeeded the Abacha government described to some details how the Abacha government swindled the Nigeria coffer. It described a process whereby Abacha's national security adviser, Alhaji Ismaila Gwarzo, under the direction of Gen. Abacha would make a fake request for fund which Gen. Abacha would then approved. Gwarzo would withdraw the money from the Nigeria Central Bank by way of cash or travellers cheques before depositing the money in Abbacha’s house. Abacha’s son Mohammed would then arrange for the money to be laundered to offshore accounts. It was estimated that about $1.4 billion in cash was taken out in this way.

 
General Abacha declared on 6 September 1994 that his government had absolute power meaning that his government is above the jurisdiction of the courts. Despite the existence of courts in the country, none was prepared to challenge the authority of the Abacha government. General Abacha also promised to hand over power to elected government in 1998 but it became clear that he only planned to succeed himself as the elected president because he had forced all the five registered political parties to adopt him as the sole candidate.

 
There were widespread human rights abuses during the Abacha regime. Some Ogoni activists including Ken Saro-Wiwa were hanged whilst Chief MKO Abiola (the presumed winner of the 12 June 1993 Presidential Election), retired Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo were among those jailed for treason. Gen. Yar’ Adua and Chief Abiola later died in prison.

 
Eighth Military Regime - Abubakar Government (June 1998 - May 1999)

 
Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar succeeded Gen. Abacha following the sudden death of the latter on June 8 1998. The country inherited by the Abubakar government was in a mess both politically and economically. Successive governments’ mismanagement of the Nigeria economy coupled with some politically insensitive decisions by previous governments have brought the country to the brink of collapse. There were murmurings of secession as many people from the regions started to question the viability of the Nigeria project. The leaders have over-milked the Nigeria coffer and the masses were reeling under severe economic hardship. The Abubakar government knew that time was not on its side and within days of assuming power promised a return to civilian rule within a year. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established to oversee the conduct of elections. However, just as in previous elections conducted under the aegis of the military, the results and particularly results at the centre were more or less stage-managed. Many knew that Gen. Obasanjo of the People’s Democratic Party was a President in waiting not because of his huge popularity or wider political appeal but because he was a safe pair of hands for the ruling elite - the clique. The prevailing situation at the time threatened the privileged position of the clique - the Nigeria people were near revolt against a system that have yielded nothing but years of economic mismanagement, oppression and a culture of impunity for erring leaders. The clique needed someone who could be trusted to pacify the anger of the people and at the same time safeguard the system to ensure the continuation of their privileged position and their protection. It did not come as a surprise when the conduct of the elections drew strong criticisms from foreign observers for widespread irregularities.

 
Just as in the past, the outgoing military adopted a new constitution for the country on 5 May 1999. A constitution of their own making which the people have no say in its making nor were they consulted about it. This is a constitution formulated by the leaders, for the leaders, to manage the people.

 
In fulfilment of its promise, the Abubakar government handed over power to an ‘elected’ government on 29 May 1999 but not without the controversy of corruption as once again the retiring generals have left the seat of power with more than a golden handshake that ensures that their amassed wealth surpassed what their life-time earnings as civil servants could account for.

 
Third Republic - President Obasanjo Government (May 1999 - May 2007)

 
The fact that Chief Obasanjo was only called to lead the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) after its formation was not a secret. He was the choice of the clique and Gen. Obasanjo now President Obasanjo did not disappoint. With smart political manoeuvring, the country was moved away from the brink of collapse and apart from some cosmetic changes, the system was maintained as the clique had wished. We had gone round in circle and back to where we were before.

 
Although Obasanjo made fighting corruption one of the stated aims of his first term in office and managed to pass some anti-corruption laws, his government was accused of doing little to control corruption particularly at the federal level. The tone of its government with regards to corruption was encapsulated in President Obasanjo’s response to a question about whether or not his government would probe former President Babangida who had been alleged to have embezzled large sums of public money when in office. President Obasanjo replied that whoever has got any evidence against Babangida should let him know and he would prosecute Babangida. Also the remit of the task entrusted to him by the clique was also revealed in this comment made by President Obasanjo in Dutse, Jigawa state: “In 1999 Nigeria was not looking for a President that will build roads or fix power supply or provide water, Nigeria was looking for a President that will hold Nigerians together." With this kind of comment, one need to ask for whose benefit President Obasanjo came to power in 1999. This is because, building good roads, fixing the power supply problems and providing clean water supply are the issues that matters most to the long-suffering masses, but keeping Nigeria together and maintaining the tainted and discredited system are issues that matters most to the ruling elite. It shows that the Nigeria public without any doubt had been short-changed once again by the ruling elite.

 
And just as with previous governments under the current system, the Obasanjo government was rife in corruption. There were allegations of large scale mismanagement of funds. There was the allegation of corruption in the sale of the country's businesses like Nitel and Nicon Noga Hilton together with land allocations and oil blocks which Obasanjo was accused of allocating to himself and his cronies. There was also allegation of mismanagement of the funds for road projects. The Obasanjo government embarked on war against corruption and set up Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) but it soon became clear that the anti-corruption drive was selective with the government targeting political opponents and ethnic militants, whilst ignoring growing concerns about wide-scale corruption within its own inner political circle. In March 2008, President Obasanjo was indicted by a committee of the Nigeria National Assembly for awarding energy contracts worth $2.2bn without due process. The report of the committee was never accepted by the National Assembly as the entire process was derailed. It was no surprise that Ribadu, the head of the EFCC faced a lot of persecutions after Obasanjo left the seat of power because many had seen the operations of the EFCC during Obasanjo government as selective justice.

 
Third Republic - Yar Adua Government (May 2007 - May 2010)

 
It was a well known fact that the Yar’ Adua and Jonathan government that succeeded the Obasanjo government was a brainchild of President Obasanjo. What was not clear was the main reasons behind it. There were those who believed that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Yar’ Adua was one of the few governors without a blemish on their record. There were others who felt that Obasanjo had wanted Yar’ Adua to succeed him because Obasanjo was close to Yar’ Adua’s late brother as the latter was his second in command when Obasanjo was the military head of state and Obasanjo saw the younger brother Musa Yar’ Adua as someone he could easily control.

 
At the time of his nomination for the candidacy of the PDP, Yar’ Adua was relatively unknown on the national stage although he was the Governor of Katsina State. There was also a rumour about the fact that Yar’ Adua had no presidential ambition but for the persuasion and the support of President Obasanjo who in fact did many of the campaigning on Yar‘ Adua‘s behalf as the latter was always in and out of hospital due to his ailing health.

 
As for Goodluck Jonathan, he hails from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria where most of Nigeria oil, the main source of revenue for the country came from. His candidature as the running mate to President Yar’ Adua was a way of diluting the protest by the Niger Delta people and to placate the militant organisation, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that had been fighting against the foreign oil corporations and the Nigeria establishment who they felt were exploiting them.

 
Mr Goodluck Ebere Jonathan is a perfect gentleman. His demeanour not only depicts this but his history in politics confirms it. Whilst the deputy governor in Bayelsa state, even when the then governor was more or less incapacitated due to his involvement in money laundering case and temporary detention in London, Mr Jonathan was reluctant to step into the vacuum of power. Again when he found himself in similar situation as a result of the pro-longed ill health of President Yar Adua, Vice President Jonathan was reluctant to step up and fill the vacuum created by the President’s ill health. Mr Jonathan is not someone that can be described as a career politician but someone who finds himself in politics and then found himself thrust into position of high authority as a result of catalogue of unplanned events - stroke of luck. Goodluck Jonathan also was said not to nurture any presidential ambition until the intervention of President Obasanjo who persuaded Jonathan and supported him.

 
The inertia of the Yar Adua government caused by the late President’s ill health was there for all to see. As a matter of fact, the issue about the late President’s ill health was not a secret. Whilst he was the governor of Katsina, he was constantly in and out of hospital. Only in Nigeria will someone with such a history of poor health get to win the nomination of his party and then went on to win the presidential election. Even during the campaign for the presidential election, Yar Adua was constantly in and out of hospital for treatment. There was a time during one of the campaigns where the outgoing President at the time President Obasanjo was doing the campaigning for him whilst Mr Yar’ Adua was on a sick bed in a German hospital. There was a rumour about whether or not he was still alive at the time and President Obasanjo had to quell the rumour by phoning him on his mobile phone and had a phone chat with him for the audience to witness. This helped to confirm to the crowd that he was alive and receiving treatment in hospital in Germany. In fact there was some disquiet within the PDP that Obasanjo had imposed Yar’Adua on the party and by implication, on the country.

 
The successes of Yar’ Adua and Jonathan both at their party’s primary and at the general election were said to be largely down to Obasanjo’s political manoeuvring and the general election in particular was massively rigged in favour of the two. The conduct of the presidential election was criticised by foreign observers which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. This is Nigeria and we are yet to witness a free and fair presidential election. There is too much at stake for the ruling elite to allow presidential election to be free and fair.

 
The government of Yar’ Adua and now Jonathan have left much to be desired. It shows that when you put together a team of the unwilling to head the executive of a country, what you will get is a reluctant Presidency and a nation that is left to drift. There was so much optimism at the beginning of the Yar’ Adua government but the fact that President Yar’ Adua was always in and out of hospital due to ill health means the government lacked leadership and direction. And with the Vice President unwilling or unable to lead, a dangerous power vacuum was created which means important decisions were not being made or made late to the detriment of the country. The fact that there was no visible person to effectively take on the mantle of leadership in the absence of the President also allowed many government officials and ministers to dictate their own direction and again corruption went on unchecked.

 
On 23 November 2009, President Yar'Adua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia to receive treatment for a heart condition but was never seen in public again. His return back to Nigeria was carried out under the cover of darkness which generated more controversy as he was flown back in an air ambulance which clearly indicated that something was gravely wrong with the President’s health. On 5 May 2010, the country was informed that Yar'Adua had died and on the following day, he was buried in his hometown.

 
Third Republic - Jonathan Government (May 2010 - Current day)

 
Following the death of President Umaru Yar'Adua, Vice President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in on 6 May 2010. Goodluck Jonathan had been the Acting President since 9 February 2010 when the Senate decided that presidential powers be transferred to the Vice President until President Yar’ Adua return to full health which he never did. This decision by the Senate was preceded by so much outcry from concerned organisations like the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the Save Nigeria Group. On 22 January 2010 the Supreme Court of Nigeria gave the Federal Executive Council (FEC) fourteen days ultimatum to decide a resolution on the capability of the ailing President to discharge his presidential functions. It was clear that Vice President Jonathan was never going to make any move of his own accord or provide the leadership needed at a time when the President was no where to be found to discharge his constitutional duties and despite the fact that the President’s poor state of health was a general knowledge.

 
On 18 May 2010, the National Assembly approved Jonathan's nomination of Namadi Sambo, the Kaduna State governor for the position of Vice President. This continued the unfinished four year term of late President Yar’ Adua. On 15 September 2010, President Jonathan announced that he would run for re-election and on 18 April, Jonathan was declared the winner of the election. His victory was however marred by violence in the northern part of the country over claims of vote rigging.

 
The election or the assumption to the Presidency of an Ijaw man and in particular someone who did not come from one of the usual major tribes in Nigeria gave many people a sense of hope for the country but so far, the Presidency of Jonathan has left much to be desired. Accounts of events so far over the Jonathan’s Presidency have indicated that Mr Jonathan was either unprepared for the Presidency or he did not fully had a grasp of the magnitude of the task he was taking on. Presidential decisions were either made late or not at all and even in some instances where presidential decisions were made, it is opened to serious questioning the judgement behind such decisions. The Jonathan government so far gives the impression of being in government but not in power. The death of the ailing President Yar’ Adua had not changed anything as the country is still drifting under the Presidency of Jonathan. The country lacked real leadership and many government officials have seized the opportunity to do whatever they like. There was no clearer example than in the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria Mallam Lamido Sanusi who had become an executive governor in his own right with little or no control from the real head of the executive. Islamic banking was introduced into Nigeria polity not by National Assembly passing any law to that effect or by the Presidency giving the authorisation for the Central Bank governor to do so. Also, following the bombing of areas in the Northern part of Nigeria by the Boko Haram sect, the Central Bank governor had not only been going about making political statements in contradiction of his position as a civil servant but had also been disbursing Central Bank money as he wish without any reprimand from the President. Even pressure group like the Save Nigeria Group who had stood up and decried some of the excesses of the Central Bank governor and in particular when he made political statements as to why Boko Haram engaged in terrorism and then donated N100million to the victims of the Boko Haram carnage in Kano, acquiesced when Mallam Sanusi made a balancing act by giving N25million to the Christian victims of the 2011 Christmas bombing by Boko Haram. Those who kept quiet when wrongful acts are done in their favour loses the moral right to complain when wrongful acts are done against them. Regardless of the balancing act, Mallam Lamido Sanusi was well beyond the remit of his duty and should be censured. He had no authority whatsoever to give the money of the Nigeria Central Bank to any victim of the bombings. His actions are politicising the office of the governor of the Central Bank and polarising the Nigeria society. It is a further evidence of the weakness in the current system which has outlived its usefulness to our country if it was ever useful at all.

 
Also, there is the issue of the fairness of the current revenue allocation formula which have been left unresolved. Even many from the Delta region that have been agitating for a fair deal for the Niger Delta people have become more or less quiet now that one of their own is in power. It seems it is just enough for them to have one of their own in Aso Rock with little or no benefit to their surrounding and their people. For many of us who supported the derivation formula of revenue allocation and sympathise with the Delta people for their cause, will find it difficult to maintain the support when all that the majority of the Delta people want now that one of their own is in power is just a safe and uneventful passage through Aso Rock for one of their own. What many failed to realise is that, if all they are just contented with now that one of their own is in power is just ensuring a safe passage through Aso Rock and kept quiet on the issue of their agitation for fairness, they will have no moral right to demand for a better deal when the power pass on to not one of their own. Then they will be seen as trouble maker because they were contented with the status quo when one of their own was in power.

 
Thus events over the years have changed the fate of the Nigeria nation. The current set up in Nigeria today is completely different from what existed during the colonial era and much different to what the politicians inherited at the country’s independence from Britain in 1960. The federal government today has arrogated so much powers that the state governments only exist at its mercy. Control of natural resources and revenue derived from them are firmly in the hand of the federal government with little or no control from the regions. This, coupled with the inherent weaknesses in the system have resulted in unprecedented level of corruption and without doubt make the control of power at the centre very attractive to unscrupulous politicians. These two combined have created a vicious cycle which without any doubt will eventually lead to the collapse of Nigeria if not addressed.

 
Nigeria leaders over the years (military and politicians) who have been fortunate enough (unfortunately for the general masses) to grace the throne of power in Nigeria have seen the inherent weaknesses in the Nigeria set up and have exploited it for their benefit. Many have enriched themselves and in the process impoverished the masses. As a matter of fact, what past and current leaders in Nigeria have done is to make sure that the current set up with the inherent weaknesses are maintained and would go to any length to defend the status quo. The victims in all these are the Nigerian masses who continue to endure year on year of unprecedented level of misrule and mismanagement resulting in total collapse of infrastructures and normal daily life.

 
There are talks about amending the constitution and President Jonathan has assigned the task to a commission to look at this. But for anyone to think that the leaders who stands to benefit from the continual operation of the current constitution would then agree to change or amend it in such a way that will deprive them of their privileged position of unfettered access to the nation’s wealth or take away their undue authority is either plain stupid or suffering from the worst kind of brain damage. As a matter of fact asking for a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) when it is clear that the federal government is never going to organise one represents a complete naivety to the point of complicity.

 
The issue here is also about mandate and whether the regional governments should accept such a move. The original constitution make a provision for the regional governments to approve major changes in the constitution before it is implemented but this provision had not been respected over the years. Under the current system, the role and responsibilities of each level of government have been diluted. Military incursion into Nigeria politics have created a great imbalance between the regional governments and the central government resulting in the replication of a military style pyramidal chain of command. The central government has arrogated powers over the years at the expense of the regional governments. This was a de facto arrangement, a consequence of military incursion into Nigerian politics as opposed to a negotiated agreement between the regions. For the regions (or states as they are now called) to subscribe to such arrangement and agrees to the central government undertaking its own constitutional amendment not only amounts to legalising the illegality of central government acts over the years but also meant failing to defend the rights of their people against central government encroachment which in itself a great injustice to the majority of the Nigeria people who have been deprived of any say in the formation of the constitution and its imposition on them over the years. It also means legalising the act of fraud performed on the Nigeria populace when the constitution inherited at independence was replaced by a constitution promulgated by the military ruler and imposed on the people without the people having any say. The current system is a fraud not only on the regional governments but also on the people of Nigeria and should be resisted. The fact that the federal government is now in full control of natural resources like crude oil, makes control of power at the centre very tempting and military coup very attractive to unscrupulous military officers. Even the dedicated and professional officers among them will be tempted to get involved because of the prize awaiting such a successful coup - the control of the resources of the whole country in the hands of the few. Secondly, it discourages enterprising among the states since states can get their hands on money which they do not generate. Thirdly, it encourages the agitation for more states and the creation of more local governments by the states as this is the only way to boost their allocations from the central government. The corollary of this is that it leads to substantial increase in the cost of administration. It is now estimated that Nigeria spends over 80% of its GDP on administrative costs. This is not sustainable and it is a barrier to growth and development. With so much spent on administration, little is left on building infrastructures for the people. Fifthly, it makes the conduct of fair and accurate census impossible as it encourages falsification and artificial inflation of census’ figures. States are using the figures to justify the creation of more local governments and demands for more money from the central government. Up till the present day, Nigeria is yet to conduct a credible census. Therefore, any changes to the current system that leaves the control of the nations resources in the hands of the central government should be resisted. Some people have suggested the limiting of the term of office for elective office holder to a single term of six years, seven years or whatever. How this will help the people of Nigeria or help to fight corruption in Nigeria is yet to be seen. We have witnessed in the not too distant past how our leaders even with not a long time in office have enriched themselves to the detriment of the whole country. The Abubakar government was in power for only eleven months and yet there were allegations of large scale embezzlement of public money. The Abacha government was only in power for less than five years and billions of pounds sterling was siphon from the government coffer. The only people that will benefit from such provision in the constitution are the corrupt leaders as this would make sure that their turns come round quickly. In addition, when those in power realise that they won’t be facing another election make them to act with total disregard for accountability. Those who fail to learn from their past will become a victim of their future.

 
Nigerians For Referendum (NFR)

 
This is why we in the NFR believe that a real mandate from the people is necessary to challenge the continuous operation of this discredited system imposed on the whole nation by the few to the benefit of the few and to the detriment of the majority.

 
Sadly, the situation in Nigeria today more or less resembles the situation prevailing in the old Soviet Union. For a long time, those in position of authority at the centre were aware that the Soviet Union was in a mess politically and economically and there were urgent needs for changes to be made to address the problems but the changes were resisted. There were those who believed that the status of the country as a super power would be jeopardised if the required changes were made and there were those who thought their privileged positions would be threatened if the changes were made. As a result, the problems were allowed to fester until it started to threaten to collapse the whole country. Gorbachev was brought in to try and execute some changes but when his attempts at making changes at the system through Perestroika threatened the privileged positions of some old guards, attempt was made to remove him through a coup d’etat. The coup failed and the old Soviet Union collapsed.

 
It has become clear that real and required changes will not be effected from the centre when it comes to Nigeria as those at the centre are oblivion to the fact that the corporate existence of Nigeria is under threat. They are too much pre-occupied with maintaining their own privileged position and undue benefits the current system accords those who manage to gain power at the centre. This is the reason why we in Nigerians For Referendum are now advocating for changes effected from the regions. What the country needs is a total abandonment of the current system not an amendment of it. This current system is a complete fraud on the people of Nigeria. A system that put the whole resources of a whole nation in the hands of the few and allow them the authority to deal in the country‘s revenue as they so wish and as if it is their own personal account; a system that allows our leaders to steal our money and then decide among themselves how much they can keep and how much they should return. This is a discredited system which should not be allowed to continue in this day and age. Nigerians have been taken for granted for too long. Nowhere in the world would the public money be treated the way Nigeria’s revenue had been treated over the years and those involved been allowed to get away with it to the embarrassment of the whole nation and to the detriment of the whole country. Everything is wrong about the current system. It was neither negotiated nor agreed upon. It was imposed on the people. This is why we are proposing a return to the original plan put in place at independence (though with some changes) before military incursion into the country‘s politics derailed it. We are proposing a return to regional government based on each state having full control over revenue from resources found within their states. A system that restore the regional autonomy that was taken away by the current system. We are proposing a system that will strip the central government of its unjust arrogated powers and return those powers to the states where their exercise will be for the benefit of the people. We are asking for a system that allows each region the freedom to map out its own path to development dictated by its own chosen pace. This is a plan designed to save Nigeria and restore dignity to our people. This is why we are calling for a referendum based on two issues: returning of the total control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which the resources were found and the restoration of the original regional governments.

 
Why a referendum? In a democracy power or authority are derived from the people and for any major changes like the one being advocated to be implemented legally and legitimately, you need the full mandate of the people to carry it out. Much have been said about National Sovereign Conference but if one take a good look at it, it is fraught with a lot of difficulties. Firstly, we have an elected National Assembly which is sovereign in its own right. You cannot select a group of people and then accorded them with such privilege which by any means they do not deserve. The corollary of selecting people to undertake the task of debating our problems and finding solutions is just continuing with the same elitist democratic system that allows certain kind of people the honour and undue privilege to decide on the future and direction of our country while depriving others a say on issues that concern them. Thirdly, the authority of the National Assembly is derived from the people, therefore the only power that supersedes this authority is the people themselves as they are the highest sovereign in a democracy hence the need to have the people decide on what they want the government to do on these important issues.

 
Why the returning of the control of resources and the revenue derived from them to the state governments in which they are found?

 
Firstly, this was the arrangement at independence and this arrangement has served us well in the past and we believe it will serve us well now and in the future if adopted. It is evident that most public spending on services and on development projects are undertaken by the states and the new arrangement will stop the concentration of the control of resources of the whole country in the hands of the few at the centre. The current arrangement has become the bane of corruption in Nigeria. This is not to say that the new system being proposed will wipe away corruption or that there won’t be corruption at the state level but never again will the corruption by one individual or group of individuals in a state affects the whole nation as the case is under the current system. In addition, because the state governments are closer to the people, accountability will be more effective and mismanagement easily spotted. Furthermore, state governments are below the regional government in hierarchical order and as each state will only be required to give certain percentage e.g. 20% of its revenue to the regional government, the regional government will have cause to ensure that corrupt state government is exposed since allowing the state government officials to embezzle government’s money would mean a reduction in the amount turned over to the regional government and hence less money for the regional government to spend. Therefore, the new arrangement will have an inbuilt checks which will go some way to discourage corruption.

 
Why the restoration of the original regional governments? It should be acknowledged that prior to the army incursion into Nigeria politics, the Mid-Western region had been created by a plebiscite in accordance with the constitutional provision. However, the reason behind the agitation was to prevent the domination of the minority Mid-Western people and we believe that the retention of the created states will continue to serve this purpose and allay the fears of the minorities hence the suggestion for the return to the original three regions with the individual states in full control of resources found within their states and revenue derived from them but operating under the umbrella of a region.

 
We also believe that Nigeria should be a union of autonomous regions and not a federation as it is now. This will allow each region to determine the path to their own development and the pace of their own development. This is what we had before the incursion of the military into the country’s politics. This is not to say that there won’t be any role for a central government but this would be based on cooperation between the regional governments. Also, the areas of cooperation will be clearly defined and will only include those areas that were originally reserved exclusively for the central government at independence namely, defence, external affairs, currency, banking, shipping, navigation, and communications. Much have been said about the role of a President for the whole country but we had existed before without a President albeit with a head of state and a prime minister but we don’t have to have a directly elected President for the whole country as the role can be rotated between the elected leaders of the three regions. This will go a long way to resolve the current and continuing tension within Nigeria. And since the area of cooperation is the area already assigned to the regional governments, cooperation in these areas will be more effective and efficient.

 
In order to achieve these objectives, we are proposing the following 2 point plan:

 
(i) The introduction of a ‘referendum’ bill in each state House of Assembly. The bill could be sponsored by any member of the House of Assembly or by the state government.

 
(ii) The bill is to authorise the state government to consult its people to seek their mandate through a referendum on the following issues: (a) should Nigeria continue with current arrangement or be a union of autonomous regions as it was at independence; (b) Should state governments assume control of all resources found within their states and the revenue derived from them.

 
We urge all Nigerians to join hands with us in demanding for a referendum organised by the states in actualising this plan. We in the NFR believe and justifiably so that what can save Nigeria from the impending collapse is a return to the arrangement obtained at independence where real powers reside with the regional governments. Much have been said about the Aburi Accord which suggested a confederation arrangement for Nigeria but which was never implemented by the Gowon government. The truth is that the Aburi Accord was a negotiated agreement but this current system was neither negotiated or agreed upon, it was imposed. We don’t have to practice federalism, we don’t have to accept someone else’s discredited plan. We are human beings with hope and aspiration and we have a right to self determination. This is more the reason why we are calling for a total change from the path that our past military leaders have taken the country. It is a path leading to nowhere but destruction. The current system favoured no one but our leaders and their families and cronies Other countries in the world are moving forward while we continue to watch in agony how our dear country is being left behind. Many of our children have lost their lives in search for a better future abroad that they are being denied at home. There are tribal and religious tensions which are costing the lives of many innocent Nigerians but with no solution in sight. We in the NFR believes that these problems have solutions and this is why we have suggested a referendum on those issues that if adopted without doubt will bring us nearer to finding solutions to our perennial problems as a country. Together we can save Nigeria from the impending catastrophe and restore dignity to our people but we must be brave to take the important and needed steps to achieve this.

 
To find out more about NFR, visit us at: www.nigeriansforreferendum.co.uk or if you would like to join NFR, leave your name and contact details at: nigeriansforreferendum@mail.com and we will get back to you. You can also leave your comments on Facebook: Nigerians For Referendum

 
Folorunso Makinde
President NFR

 
Chief Evans Akpanobong
Head
NFR (Nigeria)



 
www.nigeriansforreferendum.co.uk
Email: nigeriansforreferendum@mail.com
Tel. + 44 - 07574342640

 
*Photo Caption - Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State. *In photo - sitting from left to right are Hassan Katsina, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, David Ejoor, J.E.A. Wey and Yakubu Gowon. Click For Enlarged Photo

 -Masterweb Reports
 
Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo is in the news again – this time in the United Kingdom. Sadly for him, Britain is not Nigeria, where the corrupt courts absolved him of all wrong doings, his abuses and violence against a young worshiper of his church at Winner Chapel – aka “Cananland” It was the video of his satanic slap of a young girl, probably an uneducated parishioner, who didn’t know how best to express her love and witness for Jesus, that exposed the abuse and muddled message that is being promulgated by the bishop to his gullible and biblical ignorant followers. Since then, I have penned a couple of articles calling on the federal government intervention to enact laws and policies to checkmate abuses - physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and moral abuses in places of worship in the nation in order to protect the vulnerable. I’m not too concerned about the learned and intelligent parishioners that sit under such blasphemous teachings every week. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” To earn a PhD or have a lucrative job or business does not make one knowledgeable. However, it still baffles me how an educated and intelligent person could sit under such teachers and listen to the junks that some of them teach from their pulpit every week. So, it behooves the government to protect the weak and vulnerable especially from physical and sexual abuses in the name of God.

 
Christianity is no longer an intellectual exercise in an age of prosperity gospel

 
The Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Walton, the new Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church, and professor at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in his first “morning prayers,” a ritual of welcoming freshman move-in day to Harvard University at Cambridge, said, “Religion (faith) is an intellectual as well as spiritual exercise. The Memorial Church, he declared, is a place to educate minds and expand hearts - action that defines faith, belief that encourages discussion, and joyousness that allows for the occasional bout of existential angst.” I agree with Professor Walton. If theology, spirituality, faith, religion and the call to teach the infallible Word of God, was not an intellectual exercise, I would have quit being one long time ago. Training to become a priest/pastor takes years of study and preparation. Sadly the “holy office” is no-longer sacred and intellectually stimulating because cone men and women, who have no business with the “holy calling”, have desecrated it in order to dwindle and deceive the gullible and weak in the society. This kind of unbalanced gospel messages that are being promulgated by the so-called “men of God” and super pastors and preaches of our day around the world is appalling and troublesome.

 
Christianity has lost its moral mandate and mission. Today, the gospel message, the good news of the kingdom is perverted. What we have nowadays is another gospel, a false gospel, and a religious syncretism. “The gospel teaching that subtly implies and often overtly states that God wants you to be rich is a false gospel,” writes Pastor Jim Bakker, a former prosperity preacher and proponent of “God wants you rich theology,” who dwindled his parishioners millions of dollars and later while serving term in prison, he diligently read and studied the Scripture and God opened his understanding. That teaching he says, does not lineup with the tenets of the Holy Scriptures. It is another gospel – another Jesus, in fact, a gospel of Satan and message of hell fire - a prosperity-tinged Pentecostalism.”

 
Christianity is in crisis

 
Dr. Hank Hanegraaf, president of Christian Research Institute in California, and one of the finest and courageous Christian apologists of our time, in his book, “Christianity in Crisis” prophetically and passionately argued that modern-day Christianity is in crisis. He said that the Church is undergoing a major transformation and that millions of Christians have embraced another gospel, another Jesus, a gospel of false promises of prosperity, wealth, healing, signs and wonders. He attributes the problem to lack of sound biblical training and Seminary education. George Barna, the famous Church consultant, researcher and writer, also supports Dr. Hanegraaf postulations that the Church is dying due to lack of sound Bible teachers and strong Church leadership. There is no doubt that the Christian faith has lost its value, respect and dignity. C. S. Lewis, the famous Oxford apologist for the faith, wrote: “We must return to Christianity in order to preserve the things we value. But we cannot return to Christianity at all unless the thing we value above all else is Christ….. Otherwise, we are in effect, asking to save our idols for us.”

 
In his best-selling book, “Crisis in the Village,” Dr. Robert M. Franklin, a theologian and public intellectual, wrote that the “Church has lost her moral mission, call and commitment.” Today baby boomers and the new “millennials” are flooding to churches and synagogues because of widespread hunger for meaning and many bring aversion to such traditional teachings such as sin, evil, forgiveness, commitment, even truth itself. As a result, what we have today in many large churches is “designer gospel message” and “religious syncretism” where the gospel are re-packaged to suit those who want a faith to satisfy their “felt need,” the gospel message that “God wants you to be rich.” “Send money as a step of faith and God will bless you message.” “Give a $1,000 pledge and God will bless you.” Name it claims it.” “Give to get rich message.” “100 fold return-blessing and even 1000 times return” is another gospel, a different gospel from what Jesus Christ taught. Their tricks are working because many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are biblically ignorant and gullible and that is why ‘god-want-you-rich theology’ is a booming business for their proponents. It is true that Jesus taught on the subject of money and finance more than any other subject in the Bible – but all His teachings on money were in negative connotation. I will write more on Jesus’ teachings on prosperity in the part-2 of my article.

 
Big faith equals wealth $millions$

 
In the July 2007 edition of Christianity Today, it carried a survey conducted in 2006 by the PEW forum on religion and public life. They found that 25% of Nigerian Christians are renewalists - that is Pentecostals and Charismatic. The same survey noted that 33% of South Africans and 50% of Kenyans were also renewalists. Out of nearly 900 million Africans, which include Christians, Muslims, pagans, Atheists and other religious persuasions, about 150 million Christians are now renewalists. Professor Paul Gifford of the University of London, England, in his 2004 book: “New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalizing African Economy” writes, “African Christians believe that success is determined by your faith.” Professor Gifford notes that these renewalists have moved beyond traditional Pentecostal practices of speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing to the belief that God will provide – money, cars, houses, and even spouses – in response to the believer’s faith – if not immediately, then soon. In the same 2006 survey by PEW forum, 92% Nigerian Christians, 90% South African and 85% of Kenyan Christians agreed that “wealth and material blessings are based on one’s faith.” What a tragedy and travesty!

 
This is how sad and drastic prosperity gospel has become among Christians in Nigeria and most of Africa. Prosperity message is destructive and has negative effects. This blind spirituality is not only destructive, damaging, and deceptive but worse than slavery. It is bondage, abuse, deception, manipulation, godlessness and satanic capitalism. Most Nigerian Christians are only not enslaved spiritually, morally and financially but intellectually as well. It is economic, moral, and intellectual slavery. Million of Nigerian Christians are now victims of Satanic Churches and their false prophets. The prosperity gospel is also destroying Nigerian society –family, homes, causing a combination of disappointment, hurts, discouragement, and anger toward God and sometimes causes people to turn away from God. What we have nowadays is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance, a modern day voodoo and satanic spiritual spiritualism. In a nutshell, what we have today is 419 in the Church. What we have today is materialistic Christianity and there is enormous danger in it.

 
Warning against false doctrine and false prophets and teachers

 
Jesus Christ warned his disciples and followers about false prophets who would rise up to lead many astray and to destruction (Matthew 24:11). In Oliver Discourse, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name. And will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). Jesus said if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – John 8:31-32. People remain in bondage when they are ignorant of what has been provided for them through the life and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, today, too many Christians are more interested in this present world materialism than in the balanced teachings of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul dedicated the entire epistle of Timothy to teach against false prophets, false doctrines and godlessness in the last days. He warns Timothy, his son in the ministry, to flee from such things. He writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.

 
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul warns, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

 
2 Timothy 3:16-17 say, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Apostle Paul charges Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” As teachers and preachers of the Word of God, we are reminded to do our best to study and show ourselves approved to God, a workman who odes not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

 
There is no doubt that that the Nigerian Pentecostal Church and certain bishops in the fold are emulating and borrowing from the rich American Church and her superstar pastors, bishops and televangelists like Pastor Benny Hinn, Bishop TD Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Dale Bronner, Pastor Joel Osten, Pastor Joyce Myer, Pastor Paula White, and Pastor Darlene Bishop etc. These imitators and imposters refused to understand that United States is a rich and capitalist country. The American Church organizations are big businesses and they have learned to tap into the wealth and prosperity of the nation without depending on the meager tithes and offerings from their members. Today, the streets of major cities in Nigeria are littered with all kinds of Churches promising healing, wealth, prosperity and happiness and yet Nigeria and vast majority of its citizens are among the poorest people in the world. Additionally, the presence and practice of rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo, magic, envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, hypocrisy, ungodliness, wickedness, lust, immorality, adultery and corruption remain rampant and alarming in the society. There is no sign of righteousness, love, peace and hope, but injustice, unrighteousness, hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, evil, wickedness, violence, killings, and hopelessness reign supreme in every household, neighborhood and city.

 
Modern-day designer Church is perverted

 
I’m afraid to say that what we have today is a perverted Church; a Church that is totally misconstrued, misguided and misinformed where spiritual witchcraft and biblical ignorance are in abundance. What we have today is a Church that is bewitched, a Church that is preaching and teaching another gospel; another Jesus and a message of “get rich and get healed theology,” a Church were the so-called men of God are preaching eisegesis rather proper exegesis and sound exposition of the Word of God, where they are using pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success and for solving spiritual issues rather than sound exposition of God’s Word, men who are using the Word of God for lucre and for profit.

 
The Church was called upon to uphold the honor, glory and authority of Christ on planet earth. Instead of upholding this divine mandate with dignity, the Church and her leaders have been deceived and trampled upon by demons of antichrist and cultic and pharisaic associations where the presence of God is completely absent and self and pride are enthroned. What we have today are Church buildings where sin, wickedness, witchcraft and all manners evil are practiced and people accept it so; multimillion dollar buildings and temples where the spirit of Christ has been thrown out and Satan himself is enthroned on the altar. No wonder atrocities and exploitations of worshipers such as the ones we read in our newspapers and watch on television are happening every day. The Church must pray for revival and renewal. I agree with Rev. D. Peter C. Moore, who wrote that, “The Church that God cherishes is one that is “Evangelical in Teaching, Catholic in Sacrament, Reformed in Doctrine, Charismatic in Ministry Gifts, and Liberal in Ethos and Global in Scope.” Anything else is just humanistic and designer religion.

 
The danger of prosperity and materialistic message rather than true gospel

 
The danger of Pentecostal prosperity and materialistic message is giving people false hope – that God will fulfill His promises based on their twisted interpretation of Scripture. Biblical hope is more of a simple wish; it entails certainty based on God’s demonstration of faithfulness to people in the history of salivation recorded in the scriptures and as experienced by promise of Christ’s return and the anticipation of resurrection from the dead. That is the blessed hope in God. Most of these prosperity preachers may have earned PhD’s in other fields of study but not in theology, divinity or ministry. They should go back to school – Seminary to study the Scriptures – and take course in exegesis, biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, homiletics, and biblical languages such as Hebrew w and Greek in order to be qualified to correctly teach the Bible. Because what most of them are teaching today is another gospel, a twisted and muddled gospel - a gospel of hell and that of Satan designed for the coming of antichrist. Prosperity teachers are preaching arrogance, foolishness, sin, and false doctrine – because what most of them are propagating today is not true gospel but another gospel, a muddled message. They should repent and confess their sins for contradicting and twisting the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

 
In Part 2 of this essay, I will unpack the teachings of prosperity preachers and share what the true gospel message is about including the prosperity aspect of the gospel from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who is the Gospel.
 

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.

 
*Photo Caption - Bishop David Oyedepo 

 -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