So many Nigerians would have by now developed thick skins to President Muhammadu Buhari’s pillage of buffonery as probably the only president in human race whose record of incompetence will not be dwarfed by the worst president anytime soon.
Every keen observer must have noticed by now that nobody criticizes the president again. Not that he has done anything spectacular to make Nigeria any better than he met it or the evidence on ground suggests there is a new roadmap to tackle head on the avalanche of protracted octopus problem of wanton killings, ravaging hunger, economic depravity, general insecurity, ethnic jingoism, palpable hatred and widening divisiveness in our country. The decision to give up among Nigerians was conceived and birthed out of sheer frustration, despondency and lack of confidence.
Expectedly, the president in his usual sense of open advert for lack of concern, pity, proactiveness, that is often packaged to the feeble minds as humour by Lai, Femi and Garba in a brazen display of sheer insensitivity and stone-heartedness went overboard when he chose to equate the sea of blood in the land to the weight of his Inspector General of Police upon his return from UK last week.
To say that President Buhari is probably the only Nigerian that has not lost anything, including a second of his sleep since his catastrophic ascension to the throne commenced is to put it mildly. His decision to jet out of the country for self pleasure on the bills of our common patrimony at a time his countrymen were being slaughtered like sheep without shepherd is a bazaar of insensitivity of a chief security officer taken too far.
If there was one sector the expectations of Nigerians were high from president Muhammadu Buhari, it was in the area of enhancing the security and safety of Nigerians both home and abroad, coming from the security background where his achievements was said to have set a world record, a claim that has continued to exist not in record but on the figment of the imagination of the progenitors. Unfortunately, the crystal manifestation of the president’s lack of capacity to move our dear country out of the deep neck doldrums it has been mired into is even more visible in the area of porosity of the lives of our compatriots in the hands of criminal harbingers of death.
The number of Nigerians whose lives were cut in prime by the sword of seeds of Lucifer, wielding death anywhere they set their foot on is enough to startle the coldest of hearts. In a June 2018 report, The United States Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said it has documented at least 19,890 deaths in Nigeria since June 2015, just after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015. Another body, United Kingdom-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) also disclosed that Fulani militias killed 1,061 people in about 106 attacks on communities in North central Nigeria in the first quarter of 2018. CSW said 11 other attacks on communities in the southern parts of the country by the militia claimed a further 21 lives.
Sadly, beyond the empty rhetoric which often characterise such carnage, not much is done by the already overpowered security forces to surmount the challenges. Usually, the number one man will through his media aides exhume a worn-out text of the condemnation of the “dastardly act” with a jesty assurance of “bringing the perpetrators to book”, a figure of speech that is often as valueless as one’s imagination can extend.
Paradoxically, all those who asked for former president Goodluck Jonathan’s head when he took a drastic step to curtail insecurity in our land are now at the peak of their wailing career having been given a bloody nose by the army of toxic reptiles they unwittingly breastfed yesterday.
That the garrulous governor from Kaduna has suddenly realized that there is an orchestrated plan by criminal elements to wipe out some ethnic groups in his state is indicative of the fact that he just woke up from his deep slumber. The governor at a point had to physically join the security agencies in a stop and search operation. Good morning His Excellency!
El-Rufa’i is not alone in this desperate search for solution. Borno governor is crying, Katsina governor is wailing, Zamfara governor is weeping, resigning and unresigning, Kano governor is sweating, emotionally baptized by the blood of their citizens whose lives are now pawns in the chessboard of the merchants of death.
The conspiracy of silence of the Northern leaders on this visible incompetence and lack of capacity of president Muhammadu Buhari to look at insecurity beyond the weight of IGP is not only criminal, but unpatriotic and wicked. It encapsulates everything wrong with us as a nation. It is a patrical misbehaviour ridden on the crest of “na our kinsman”. Engr. Buba Galadima couldn’t have been any less right when he said the Northern leaders have looked the other way to Buhari’s Guinness world book of record incompetence because of mundane ethic considerations.
That this is happening in a nation where all those that call the shot in the security apparatchik are from the North leaves much to be desired. From the National Security Adviser to Chief of Defence Staff, to the Chief of Army Staff, IGP, to the Chief of Air Staff to the Minister of Interior, to the minister of Defence, fully Northern bloods. Some have even raised questions as to which language is used during security meetings in a multi ethnic and religious nation like ours.
Yet with all these, our people live in palpable fear, hopelessness and uncertainty. In Zamfara where the Minister of Defence, Mansur Muhammad Dan is from, the Shinkafi local government chairman Alhaji Sani Galadima openly announced to the world that the the people renew their “security” every day by paying ransoms to the hoodlums who have held the people by the jugular as a way of buying their mercy.
No right thinking person will thumb his chest in pride for being a Nigerian. With criminal gangs reigning supreme in many parts of the country, especially in the North, what we have today cannot be said to be something anyone will be proud of.
Your imagination must not be tempted to race to the point of assuming what we would have had in our hands today if we had this legion of service chiefs from the South, yet the mindless killings in the North continues unabated. We would have had a very chaotic experience if not a total turmoil. The interpretation given to harvest of deaths in Nasarawa, Plateau, Zamfara, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina et al would have been one the security chiefs will battle to extricate themselves from.
Just like the eloquent Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the man whose kingdom is being balkanised like a Christmas chicken recently noted, competence and ethnicity are miles apart each other. Unfortunately, we have a president who believes that the people he should trust must be from one region of the country, a hyper-jingoism that has not only bred bad blood, antagonism and hate, but has watered all the hydra headed challenges president Muhammadu Buhari had come to fight.
Whatever the president had in mind before mundanising the protracted insecurity staring us at the face with the weight of IGP Adamu Mohammed, as indicative of how hard he has worked, it passes as the public relations gaffe of the year. It shows that the president we elected to guarantee our safety and security has abdicated his responsibility to a second fiddle. It shows the president is not in charge. It shows the president is totally out of touch with what our people have been subjected to.
Whatever the president had in mind, he must add to it that the insecurity across the country really calls for a drastic action by any concerned chief security officer. Whatever the president had in mind, he must add to it that those who have been slaughtered by arm bandits in the past couple of years are people’s fathers, mothers, uncles, aunties, breadwinners, friends and lovers. Whatever the president had in mind, he must add to it that no amount of his dry condemnation of the “dastardly act” will bring back the lives of those who are already gone. Whatever the president had in mind, he must add to it that the confidence of investors in terms of security of their lives and property is at its lowest ebb, whatever the president had in mind, he must add to it that the sky high insecurity in our land has bred food insecurity.
These may as well make the list of catalogue of things the president is not aware of. Maybe, those in his family in Katsina will tell him that the district head of Daura, his hometown Alhaji Musa Umar, was kidnapped, an indication that just like my Ebeyi Nvosi in Abia State hometown is not immuned from insecurity, the president’s hometown is prone to attack too. This may have prompted his recent outcry that youth restiveness is assuming an alarming proportion. I thought the president should have known that like a century ago.
That the president recently expressed shock at the level of poverty in the land is a clear indication that he may not have been listening or deliberately chose to feign ignorance to the voices of religious, traditional and women leaders, including opinion moulders whose voices have echoed this, challenge that assumed a new high since he came on board. This may have prompted the Emire of Katsina, the president’s state to send a message through the president’s aides thus, “tell the president the people are hungry”.
Since we have been made to believe that the majority of Nigerians want president Buhari to drive us from CHANGE to NEXT LEVEL, we will allow the court to take a decision on that in the coming days.
Whatever the issues are, we must lay aside our garments of ethnicity, religion and politics and give the president the needed support to lead our dear country. It is yet to be known why the president is still keeping his service chiefs who have failed to bring respite to the orgy of killings that has ravaged our land. Whatever his permutations are, he must chart a new course through a potent foreign partnership to confront the myriads of security challenges facing us.
Enemanna is an Abuja based journalist, political editor ABN TV
An Open Letter To Senator T.A Orji
By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
I am writing this letter to you with so much grieve and disappointment after reading the report of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on how you, your son and other crooks who could be at large fleeced Abia State treasury and left the entire State in total ruins. Considering the magnitude of your financial banditry as a former Governor, I contemplated throwing caution to the wind in this letter but however, I considered how parochial such approach could be looking at the level of premium placed on the issue at hand.
Since the return of the much touted democracy in 1999, Gods Own State has had it so bad when it comes to good governance. The narrative has been very unfavourable. It has been a reign of economic vandals and petty thieves who know next to nothing about leadership. When other federating units are working assiduously with the scarce resources at their disposal just to better the wellbeing of their people, the sermon seems to be the otherwise in Abia State as political demagogues are rather engrossed in a marathon of looting and political vendetta
In 2007, when Mr Orji Uzor Kalu handpicked and made you his successor, many of us knew that you were not different from him; an old wine was simply changed into a new wine skin. He conscripted you into the government house with the false believe that you shall assist to shield his financial malfeasance from the public. But unfortunately, his instinct dribbled him when he suddenly became aware that you were nothing but a dubious and peckish lion panting for the slightest opportunity to devour and unleash mayhem. The recent revelation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on how you and your son who is now the speaker of Abia State House of Assembly plundered the common wealth of the State calls for an urgent action.
Mr Orji, your era as the former Governor of Abia State was characterised by elaborate fraud. Abia never witnessed any iota of development. It was all about the usual sharing of money to political contractors and thugs who assisted in maintaining the political abracadabra that sustained your inept and clueless administration. Under your supervision, Abia State became the most dirtiest place in Nigeria, insecurity was at the peak and there was high level of infrastructural decay. Your government did practically nothing in order to ensure that Abia metamorphosed from the threshold of peripheralism. Little did we know that you were busy looting and mortgaging the future of the State for personal aggrandizement.
The terrible tale of how you and your fickle son embezzled over five hundred billion naira meant for a State that is on the brink of economic collapse calls for a state of emergency. Very catastrophic for Gods Own State that hardly pays its workers and pensioners. When we thought the enemy was far from us little did we know that the killer was within. Five hundred billion naira which would have changed the entire economic landscape of Abia State was diverted and pocketed by a heartless fellow like you without any sign of remorse. You bastardised the entire political process in Abia State and also recruited a wimp as a successor whom the political baton of cleaning up the mess you created was given. Know wonder you ran like a kleptomaniac toad to the senate to hibernate.
Are you not ashamed of yourself Mr T. A Orji? Where is your conscience? With five hundred billion naira, Abia State would have been on the page of economic prosperity. There will be state of the art hospitals, schools, roads, factories and viable transport system. Thousands of jobs will be created with such money but you never thought it wise, now Abia State is dying because of your selfishness. The pathetic side of the whole charade is that you are presently in the senate as a law maker. I wonder the kind of law an economic saboteur will be making in the parliament. No doubt, only a nation without a defined priority would allow a distinguished enemy of democracy like you to be in their legislative chamber. If there is any atom of shame in you Mr T. A Orji, by now you should have vacated your seat in the senate and surrendered yourself to the anti graft agency for onward prosecution.
You pocketed N383 billion, revenue from federal account, N55 billion from excess crude revenue, N2.3 billion Sure-P, N1.8 billion ecological funds, N10.5 billion loan from First Bank of Nigeria through the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Local Government Affairs, N4 billion loan from Diamond Bank, N12 billion Paris Club refund, N2 billion agricultural loan for farmers, N55 billion ASOPADEC fund and N500 million purported to be security vote, which were being converted for eight years according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Mr Orji, history will be unkind to you and other scoundrels that perpetuated this ominous crime which has left Abia State in tatters. But one thing is paramount, there won’t be any hiding rendezvous for you and others as the long arm of the law is bound to catch all of you. Many workers and pensioners died out of frustration due to your greed and their blood will be on your head. The good people of God’s Own State won’t rest until justice is served. You are wicked and very ungodly.
In conclusion, late Anini would have been more preferable in the Senate than you. You constitute a threat to democracy and economic prosperity. As the anti graft agency is thorougly digging into your case, I will suggest you start preparing yourself for what is to come because out of greed you decided to eat alone at the expense of the poor masses. There won’t be peace for the wicked.
Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance journalist.
He can be reached via email: Kalunwokoroidika@yahoo.com
Disclaimer: Opinion articles are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official standpoint of Oriental Times or any of its editors thereof.
Breakdown Of Igbo Marginalization In Nigeria
By Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba
“I sincerely believe that the incessant cries about Igbo marginalization in Nigeria is unfounded”
Mr. Kassim in a well written article (On Feb 17, 2020, at 3:43 PM,) wrote the above. He went to try to prove the impossible, that the Igbo is not marginalized except for the period 1967-1970 (the war period). He cited examples: The Igbo are doing just as well as other ethnic groups; The Igbo are found in almost every village, town and city outside of the SE where they ply their trades; work in all professions for which they are qualified, live and raise their children; have been in every government since the war; have a small percentage of their mega rich, the ordinarily rich and the comfortable ones among them who breathe the same air as the ever dwindling and struggling no of the middle class and a mass of poor people; thanks to their hard work, the Igbo own more than 2/3 of the privately owned properties in Abuja; The Igbo also own residential and commercial real estate properties in Lagos, Port Harcourt, and many other major cities in Nigeria; etc.
Mr. Kassim concluded by stating that “Marginalized and oppressed peoples throughout the world are usually not granted free access to live anywhere they want in their countries.”
The examples cited by Mr. Kassim would look like true. When the Igbo cry about marginalization what they actually mean is marginalization by the federal government. Let’s see how:
The SE zone has only 5 states as compared to 6 and 7 states in other zones; has just 15 senators as compared with 18-21 in other zones out of 106 members; has 43 representatives out of 360; has 5 governors out of 36; the lowest number by dollars and by counts of all federal infrastructure development programs including road mileage and bridges; zero police and military colleges and infrastructure; little refineries and electricity grids and pay the highest for electricity; etc.
The federal government borrows money for its development programs but invests the least in SE even though we collectively pay for the loans. 50 years after the war, the war damages have not been repaired despite the fact that billions of dollars were donated by foreign government to repair the damages. The money went to other Nigerian states that had no war damages; some state governments seized Igbo assets and did not release them and did not develop them and they went to blazes. Etc.
These are the reasons for the incessant cries about Igbo marginalization. Nigerians when they sit in a conference like in the House or the Senate agree on the marginalization principles.
But individual Nigerians once out of group welcome the Igbo in their communities. The quick recovery of the Igbo is due to individual efforts of Nigerians. The Yoruba, Hausa/Fulani, Edo, Ijaw, Efik, etc. each as individual made tremendous sacrifices to see the survival of the Igbo. My uncle had a couple of houses in Kafanchan. During the war, the tenants collected the rent from his property and after the war they handed the rents to him. He was instantly rehabilitated and he sent my cousins to America where they now are thriving. The suppliers to Igbo traders refurnished their customers with inventory without demanding credit worthiness or security deposits. My former students came looking for me and one who was in a secondary school in 1970 gave me one pound from his pocket money. The former military governor of Midwestern Nigeria, Col Ogbemudia, gave a grant to University of Nigeria. There were many benevolent acts like these.
But the Military Governor of Rivers State, Diette Spiff, seized Igbo properties in Port Harcourt and disposed them to his cronies. No compensation. And he put a Rivers’ government stamp on the act. Mr. Kassim’s treatise on the Igbo discrimination/marginalization may look good to a casual reader but there was/is structural marginalization embedded in Nigeria governance that calls for incessant marginalization calls. Until we listen to the cries and do something about them, they will be incessant.
Restructuring is possibly the only solution and many other Nigerian ethnic groups seem to be coming around to the idea.
Nigeria putting her head in the sand like the ostrich, and ignoring the reasons for the cries is not the answer.
~ Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba writes from Boston, Massachusetts, United States.
The North And Vanity Of Power
By Charles Ogbu
Northern Nigeria is a tragic paradox. A walking contradiction, I mean.
For over 40 years, the North has ruled Nigeria and controlled every aspect of her national life. The current President of Nigeria is from the North and virtually every security agencies in Nigeria including the paramilitary ones are in the hands of Northerners. Yet, almost half of the North is firmly in the hands of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements operating under different names. Both our Army Chief, Defence minister and even the Commander-In-Chief now need to be escorted by almost the entire Nigerian armed forces before they visit their home towns all in the North. As I type, some of the bodies of dozenS of people butchered by bandits Friday evening in President Buhari’s own home state of Katsina are yet to be interred.
All the revenue generating agencies in the country from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) etc are manned by Northerners. The richest man in Africa is from the North. Yet, according to a recent report released by World Bank, 87% of Nigerians living in poverty are in the North.
Beyond poverty and insecurity, the North boasts of having the highest number of out-of-school children estimated at 12 million by a UN report. The worst case of infant and maternal mortality in Nigeria is in the North. The worst case of illiteracy and drug abuse is in the North. It is also in the North that the highest number of unemployed and unemployable youths are found.
This raises the question: What exactly has the Northern elites done for the North with all the long years they’ve controlled political power in the country? Of what use is power if you cannot use it to change the fortune of your people?
In the midst of all these internal contradictions, why do Northern youths still seem to worship their political elites as some god instead of seeing and treating them as the real authors of their misfortune? Why do Northern youths only care about helping their elites acquire political power without deploying that same energy towards making sure they use that power in a way it will benefit the average Northerner?
Funny enough, despite the consensus on the nothingness that is the Buhari regime and the entire North becoming a hotbed of terrorism and banditry under a Northern Commander-In-Chief, if elections were to be held today between President Buhari who has failed beyond every doubt and a Southern candidate with excellent record and a credible chance of transforming Nigeria, chances are the average Northern youth will vote Buhari even if doing so will conclusively put the country on the way to golgotha. He will, because all that matters to him is having a fellow Northern Muslim at the helm of affairs. Mind you, if the North were to be a separate Nation, Northerners would never elect someone of Buhari’s intellect and competence to head even a hamlet because they know he has nothing to offer. The only reason they support Buhari is because they care more about dominating others than they do about performance.
It is a cultural thing. It has a name: Feudalism.
And this is exactly why the North and the South can never coexist happily because the two regions have a world view and value system that contrasts sharply with each other. One wants to explore the world and her full potentials while the other simply wants to dominate everyone and force others to go back to the dark ages with her.
I understand that we are in a time when truth sounds like hate to those who hate it but it must be stated in an unmistakable term that the Northern part of Nigeria is a huge liability to the rest of the country. If the region fails to take immediate steps to address her issues, the North risks collapsing under the weight of her internal contradictions. And when it happens, it will drag the rest of the country along as we are already witnessing.
Southern leaders must start making preparations for the day-after-tomorrow because if a man cannot stop a bad rain from falling, wisdom demands he should at least take measures to protect himself from being beaten by the rain.
Ogbu is a socio-political analyst and good governance advocate. He tweets from @RealCharlesOgbu