History of Igbo people of Nigeria

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Read Time:11 Minute, 6 Second

The Igbo, sometimes (especially formerly) referred to as Ibo, are one of the largest single ethnicities in Africa. Most Igbo speakers are based in southeast Nigeria, where they constitute about 17% of the population; they can also be found in significant numbers in Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
Their language is also called Igbo. The primary Igbo states in Nigeria are Anambra, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, and Enugu States. The Igbos also constitute more than 25% of the population in some Nigerian States like Delta State and Rivers State. Traces of the Igbo Culture and language could be found in Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa States. Igbo language is predominant in such cities like Onitsha, Aba, Owerri, Enugu, Nnewi, Nsukka, Awka, Umuahia, and Asaba, amongst others.

Origin

There have been postulations of different origins of the Igbo; however, serious studies based on testable facts clarify that the Igbo have lived in their country for tens of millennia. The archeological finds at Ugwuele Okigwe make an insightful proof of human activities in the theatre of Igbo civilization more than two hundred and fifty thousand years ago. Evidence of man-made tools like axe, pottery and carved stones dug up at the present day Enugu and Ebonyi states establish the credibility of the habitation of Igbo for a very long time. In other words, traditions of Igbo origin favor Igbo genesis in Igboland.

According to Professor Oriji as well as Forde and Jones, the Isu group of the Igbo nation would appear to be the largest in population and seem to occupy a contiguous stretch of land from the center of Igboland expanding to all directions. This implies that the initial Igbo cultural and structural ideas likely evolved from the Isu. Their spread has helped to harmonize the features of the Igbo Cultural Area. In the Orlu section of Isu that claim autochthony for instance, a primogenitor was recollected of the name Igbo Ngidi, who was spiritually and scientifically advanced. He founded Ama Igbo [The abode of the Igbo].

From Ama Igbo in Orlu, he instituted various blacksmithing centers, agricultural practices, commerce and religious oracles. He further established his ideas at a place he called Igbo Ukwu [Igbo the Great] in praise of his success. It was from these places of initial causes (Ama Igbo and Igbo Ukwu) that the Igbo multiplied and occupied the present-day Igboland. It is recollected that Igbo people called themselves Umu Igbo Ngidi [Children of Igbo Ngidi], which was shortened to Umu Igbo. Today, Igbo means the people, the language and the land. Etymologically, the word "Igbo" connotes "human community".

With regard to the genesis of the Igbo in relation to their original population stock and areas of initial settlements and dispersals, four views are worth mentioning:

THE AMAIGBO VIEW OF IGBO ORIGIN

There exists the speculation of settlement from antiquity among the Orlu and Isu group. Within this zone, Amaigbo stands out with complex sophistication that ushers valid insight into Igbo settlements of old as well as the evolution of the cultural, linguistic, behavioral and psychological patterns that give the Igbo a distinct outlook. Some historians noted that with population explosion, people from this region spread rapidly and founded other parts of Igboland. The axis in question constitutes the upper half of the "Southern Igbo" involving the Isu, Orsu, Orlu and Ihiala group.

THE OWERE VIEW OF IGBO ORIGIN

This is shared by both indigenes and foreigners alike, who see the Owere region as the archetype originality of Igbo. Critical insights into the height of linguistic and cultural evolution attained here attest this standpoint. This region covers the stretch of land from Urata surroundings to Umuahia areas. This view is held by Elizabeth Isichei, who suggests that Igbo origin has its root somewhere in Owere-Umuahia axis. Hence, from here, there skyrocketed the outward radiation of Igbo characteristic elan. In other words, the original population stock from this region expanded north, south, east and west.

THE AWKA VIEW OF IGBO ORIGIN

It suggests an earlier habitation of the Awka and Nri axis, whose people emerged as the first and original Igbo group. After elapsing series of internal evolution, there was the need to expand due to population pressures. There are claims of autochthony here, where migrations are just remembered to be a few miles from the present abode. Igbo cultural thoughts could have developed by this region around the Omambara and Ezu river basins being among the important elements of civilization. Factors that fuel this view include the Awka smithery and the emergence of Nri ritual functions.

THE OWERE-AWKA VIEW OF IGBO ORIGIN

The fourth satisfies the result of archaeological studies that noted the continuous inhabitation of Igboland from prehistoric period. Regarding the complex dynamism involved in the question of Igbo origin, K.O. Dike and P.A. Talbot argue that Awka and Owere form the focal foundation of early Igbo dispersal. Chikezie Uchendu also holds this view that the area stretching from Awka to Owere form the Igbo heartland belt. Botanical and anthropological evidence confirm a continuous settlement of the Igbo in Igboland with a cultural continuum from the lithic periods to this day. Uchendu elaborates that "the belt formed by Owerri, Awka, Orlu and Okigwe divisions constitute this nuclear area" of Igbo evolution. People in this area have no tradition of coming from anywhere else. Within this belt, villages are small in area but are very densely populated due to internal sub-divisions over long period of habitation and group autonomy. Communities lying outside this core belt make a sharp contrast, where villages are large in area but are scantly populated.

Pre-colonial life

Pre-colonial Igbo political organization was based on semi-autonomous communities, devoid of kings or governing chiefs. With the exception of towns such as Onitsha, which had kings called Obis, and places like Nri and Arochukwu, which had priest kings known as Ezes, most Igbo village governments were ruled solely by an assembly of the common people. Although titleholders were respected because of their accomplishments, they were never revered as kings, but often performed special functions given to them by such these assemblies. This way of governing was immensely different from most other communities of Western Africa, and only shared by the Ewe of Ghana. Igbo secret societies also had a ceremonial script called Nsibidi. Igbos had a calendar in which a week has four days. A month has seven weeks and thirteen months a year. The last month had an extra day.They also had mathematics called Okwe and Mkpisi and a saving and loans bank system called Isusu. They settled law matters by oath-taking to a god. If that person died in a certain amount of time, he was guilty. If not, he was free to go, but if guilty, that person could face exile or servitude to a deity.

Post-colonization

The arrival of the British in the 1870s and increased encounters between the Igbo and other Nigerians led to a deepening sense of a distinct Igbo ethnic identity. The Igbo also proved remarkably decisive and enthusiastic in their embrace of Christianity and Western education. Under British colonial rule, the diversity within each of Nigeria's major ethnic groups slowly decreased and distinctions between the Igbo and other large ethnic groups, such as the Hausa and the Yoruba became sharper.

The novel Things Fall Apart by Igbo author Chinua Achebe, is a fictional account of the clash between the new influences of the British and the traditional life of the Igbo.

Instability and Biafra Seccession
In 1966, a failed coup d' tat by Nigerian army officers led by an Igbo—Major Kaduna Nzeogwu's”resulted in the death of Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, a prominent northern Nigerian of the Hausa ethnic group. Although the coup was foiled primarily by another Igbo, Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the belief prevailed in northern Nigeria that Hausa leaders were singled out for death. This situation gave rise to a retaliatory pogrom in which tens of thousands of Igbo were murdered in northern Nigeria, which led to the headlong flight back to the Eastern Region of as many as two million Igbos.

Eventually, the crisis reached an apex in May 1967 with the secession of the Igbo-dominated Eastern Region from Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra headed by the aforementioned Colonel Ojukwu. The secession quickly led to civil war after talks between former Army colleagues, Yakubu Gowon and Ojukwu broke down. The Republic of Biafra lasted only until January 1970 after a campaign of starvation by the Nigerian Army with the support of Egypt, Sudan and the United Kingdom led to a decisive victory.

Excerpt from last wartime speech of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu Head of Biafran state.

"In the three years of the war necessity gave birth to invention. During those three years of heroic bound, we leapt across the great chasm that separates knowledge from know-how. We built rocket, and we designed and built our own delivery systems. We guided our rockets. We guided them far; we guided them accurately. For three years, blockaded without hope of import, we maintained all our vehicles. The state extracted and refined petrol, individuals refined petrol in their back gardens. We built and maintained our airports, maintained them under heavy bombardment. Despite the heavy bombardment, we recovered so quickly after each raid that we were able to maintain the record for the busiest airport in the continent of Africa. We spoke to the world through telecommunication system engineered by local ingenuity; the world heard us and spoke back to us! We built armored cars and tanks. We modified aircraft from trainer to fighters, from passenger aircraft to bombers. In the three years of freedom we had broken the technological barrier. In the three years we became the most civilized, the most technologically advanced black people on earth."

The Igbo Today

After the Nigerian Civil War, Igboland had been severely devastated. Many hospitals, schools, and homes had been completely destroyed in the brutal war. The Federal government of Nigeria denied the Igbo people access to all the hard currencies such as pound sterling they had saved in Nigeria banks before the civil war, and only allowed them a minuscule compensation of ‚£20 per adult bank account holder. For example, a man who had over ‚£450,000.00 savings in one or several bank accounts could only receive ‚£20.00 following this policy.

In addition to the loss of their savings, many Igbo people found themselves discriminated against by other ethnic groups and the new non-Igbo federal government. Due to the discrimination of employers, many Igbos had trouble finding employment, and the Igbos became one of the poorest ethnic groups in Nigeria during the early 1970s. As an even greater insult, in Port Harcourt, their control was handed over to their Ijaw neighbours and the Ikwerre (an Igbo subgroup who have separated and claimed no Igbo origin). Igboland was gradually rebuilt over a period of twenty years and the economy was again prospering due to the rise of the Niger Delta petroleum industry, which led to new factories being set up in southern Nigeria. This recovery, from the depths of the Biafran War, is an example of the uncanny resilience and resourcefulness of the Igbo. Many Igbos eventually regained government positions.

The Igbo, however, also face many problems and challenges today. Even today, Igbo people have sometimes continued to face discrimination from other ethnic groups. Igboland towns, such as Enugu, Onitsha and Owerri, lack sufficient resources and good infrastructure for their inhabitants. Also, because the traditional Igbo homeland was becoming too small for its growing population, many Igbo have emigrated out of Igboland.

The Igbo Diaspora
After the Nigerian Civil War, many Igbo emigrated out of the traditional Igbo homeland in southeastern Nigeria due to a growing population, decreasing land, and poor infrastructure. Not only have the Igbo people moved to such Nigerian cities as Lagos, Benin City, and Abuja, but have also moved to other countries such as Togo, Ghana, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Prominent Igbo communities outside Africa include those of London, UK, Houston, Atlanta and Washington D.C USA. Finland, Malaysia. Infact Igbo's can be found in virtually any part of the world.

In summary, the Igbo are African people who have occupied their land for many millennia, splitting off from other Africans and evolving a distinct system.

References:

    Isichei, Elizabeth. A History of the Igbo People. London: Macmillan, 1976.
    Oriji, Nwachimereze J. Traditions of Igbo Origin: A study of pre-colonial population movements in Africa. New York: P. Lang, 1994.
    Talbot, P.A. The Peoples of Southern Nigeria. Vol. 4. London: Oxford, 1926.
    Uchendu, Victor C. The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria. New York: Holt, 1965
    .Nnewi At AllExperts, Nnewi , DA 28.12.07
    http://www.imostate.gov.ng/
    http://www.anambrastateng.org/general/
    http://www.igboguide.org/index.php
    Onwutalobi, A. C, History of Otolo Nnewi,

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Removed INEC chairman Mr. iwu may not have second chance

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Read Time:2 Minute, 20 Second

Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, last Wednesday, bowed to pressure both locally and internationally as he directed Maurice Iwu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to proceed on a pre-disengagement leave

Jonathan’s directive was given in a terse statement signed by Ima Niboro, his senior special assistant on media and communication. He directed Iwu to “hand over to the most senior national commissioner, who shall oversee the activities of the commission pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.”

The removal of Iwu as INEC chairman did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise. This is because in the past few months, there has been persistent campaign against his reappointment for second term. Some civil society groups, including the Save Nigeria Group, had also organised rallies to press for his removal .They blamed him for the flawed 2007 general elections which produced the incumbent administration.

The United States government had also advised the acting president to sack Iwu as a recipe for free and fair elections in 2011. Johnnie Carson, US assistant secretary of state for Africa, had categorically called on the acting president to sack the Imo State-born electoral umpire.  During his recent visit to the US, Jonathan indicated that Iwu’s removal was imminent when he promised that major changes would be implemented in the management of the electoral body. Many Nigerians have applauded his removal.  Balarabe Musa, former governor of Kaduna State, described Iwu’s sack as good riddance to bad rubbish. “Those who demonstrated recently that Iwu should be re-appointed for a second term are those who benefited from his rubbish. It is certainly a positive development. It means that despite the unfavourable condition the acting president is facing, he would try to make the 2011 general elections at least tolerable,” Musa said.

Bamidele Aturu, Lagos-based lawyer, said the acting president’s decision  to send Iwu on pre-disengagement leave,was an unnecessary euphemism for a long overdue sack. he said. Aturu asked the acting president to go further and disband INEC and appoint Nigerians with impeccable record of integrity to make the commission truly an independent umpire.

Lai Mohammed, national publicity secretary of Action Congress, AC, said the removal of Iwu was in line with the opinion of democrats. He, however, explained that the total disengagement of Iwu would only serve its purpose if someone of integrity replaces him.

Iwu was an INEC commissioner until 2005 when he was appointed the chairman of the commission by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, after the expiration of the tenure of Abel Guobadia, his predecessor.

Although he has been directed to proceed on pre-disengagement leave, his  five-year   tenure expires on June 13, this year.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Central Bank of Nigeria in Policy Somersault

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Read Time:6 Minute, 44 Second

A well-targeted policy reform does involve a process of adaptation and learning the outcomes with regard to the reform targets. Nevertheless, it is axiomatic and development experts agree that the less disruptive the change policy, the higher the possibility of its buy-in and success.

Also, change policies within an industry or sector stand better chances of success when they have consistent elements and have linear focus over time. The Nigerian experience always tends to negate these

truisms through rapid yet inconsistent change policies within an industry or sector. This is how the terminology “policy somersault” sticks in the highly volatile Nigerian policy terrain.
Policy Somersault
After the assault on bank debtors and little more than harassment of a few bank executive directors, the banking regulator is now sacking the existing banking policies with the familiar drama. In about 18 to 24 months, the Nigerian banking sector will assume a completely new character, negating all the defining selling attributes of the industry in the three years before the local experience of the global banking crisis.
Some of the new policies being introduced will depart completely from the existing order. Instead of a ‘manageable’ two dozen banks, the CBN says it is ready to licence several new banks. Replacing the policies that intended to encourage banks to spread across national, regional and global markets, the CBN would like to re-direct the banks into a specific geographic and operational pigeon holes, under an impending classification of banks.
Not done, the CBN wants to re-license the banks as specialized banks after withdrawing their universal banking licenses.
Here are some questions on the immediate point of stepping down the banks’ scope of operation as planned by the CBN. Will the banks have to pay for their new licenses? Since the licenses will be narrow in scope, will the CBN pay compensation to the banks for obvious inferior licenses? In fact, will the CBN compensate bank shareholders for decline in profit arising from loss of previous other areas of business? We ask ominously: what will happen to the banks? subsidiaries if their owners are unable to find buyers for the severed assets in two years from now?
Immediate Past Banking Reform Targets
Just six years ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) rolled out the banking industry reform policies. Through its communication and implementation, it was clear the reform targets included:
  • Consolidation of Nigerian banks through mergers and acquisitions to eliminate widespread distress syndrome which was linked to existence of several marginal banks which compounded the challenges faced by the regulators and supervisors in executing their mandates effectively.
  • Emergence of big Nigerian banks having capacities to finance large projects
  • Incentivized tier-1 capital growth beyond the N25 billion regulatory capital to help Nigerian banks break into the top ranking of African banks to reflect the relative big size of the country’s economy
  • Affiliation of Nigerian banks with global banks with the specific objective that the country’s deposit money banks also gain asset management knowledge and experience
  • Evolution of a banking sector that contributes significantly to economic growth through improved credit penetration and wider financial access
Three years before the mid-2004 banking reform took off, Nigeria had adopted the universal banking model to address issues around levelling the playing field for all market participants and encouraging innovation and competition.
Dispelling claims against the banking consolidation and universal banking
The core principles of both the last banking reform and introduction of universal banking regime in Nigeria did not necessarily lead to the ills and near-disaster they have been associated with in the last nine months. The local experience of the financial market crisis mirrored the causes and effects of the global problem.
Financial market growth rides on asset bubble which bursts in a matter of time. This is usually cyclical.
During the period of growth, market players tend to be ahead of the regulators and or supervisors. Therefore, the direction of regulatory reforms across the Atlantic is how to manage future financial market growth through counter-cyclical measures and keep regulators and supervisors ahead of the game.
The reason why there seems to be little progress with the reform process in the matured market is because the process is driven by debate and not impulse. More important, the process aims at improved safety and soundness, but never to impair growth. So the most unlikely of places – Nigeria – is where we are seeing the most drastic regulatory reforms after the crisis.
With a modicum of fastidiousness, several myths could be unveiled with regard to why Nigeria must make 180 degrees turn from the past banking policies. Some of the myths are enumerated hereunder.
One, introduction of N25 billion regulatory capital did not preclude a bank from becoming a regional bank, serving only one state out of the 36 states of the federation and Abuja, or serving one of the six geo-political zones or completely limiting its footprint to any of the geo-ethnic cleavages in the country.
Two, universal banking does not compel all the 25 and later 24 consolidated banks to have investment banking, stock brokerage, insurance, mortgage, (pension) asset management and microfinance arms, since all the banks operate commercial banking first and foremost. Neither does universal banking mean an Arewa Bank, Oduduwa Bank or Igbo Bank could not operationally be an agric, infrastructure or trade finance bank.
Three, so far, it is even more plausible that universal banking and banking industry consolidation have increased skill aggregates in the system. The banks are leveraging on bigger capital bases, global outlook and attraction of professionals from outside the country including Nigeria in Diaspora who otherwise would have had nothing to do with erstwhile Nigerian micro banks.
Four, failure of regulation and supervision of 25 “mega” banks will not translate into more efficiency of the regulators when additional x number of smaller banks are added to the system after slicing up the existing big banks.
Five, in the last nine months, we have seen that a wildcard invitation of foreign equity holding in the Nigerian banking sector will not be received and responded to with unstudied enthusiasm.
Yet other myths
The CBN is taking the system through the new tracks in implementation of its reform targets of “enhancing the quality of banks, establishing financial stability, enabling healthy financial sector evolution and ensuring that the financial sector contributes to the real economy in many areas”.
Take the classifying of banks into operational and geographic pigeon hole for instance. One obvious lesson of the global banking crisis is that banks cannot grow too big to fail. But we now know as well that small banks are by far less able to survive major banking crisis. In 2008, 25 banks were closed in the United States. Last year, the number of bank failures jumped to 140. But a February 23 statement by FDIC Chairman, Sheila Bair, said 30 banks had already failed in the US this year. The bad news actually is that she estimated bank failure in 2010 to surpass the 2009 figure.
Of the 195 bank failures in the US since 2008, Lehman Brother and Bear Stearns collapses are the best known. The overwhelming majority of the failed banks were small(er), regional or specialised banks the CBN wants to re-create in Nigeria. Nigerian mushroom “specialised” banks had always disappeared in no time.
Collaboration amongst regulators
After the plunge the current regime at the CBN took ostensibly to sanitise the market mid 2009, it is encouraging to see that attempts are now being made to fashion more robust and collaborative regulation and supervision across the Nigerian financial markets. This is a welcome development. What one wishes is that the revamped meetings of the Financial Services Regulation Coordinating Committee (FSRCC), comprising the CBN, FMF, NDIC, SEC, CAC, NAICOM, PENCOM, NSE and ASCE, will promote necessary debates on measure to strengthen regulation and supervision, and coordination of the independent bodies that dot the country’s financial landscape.
By: Jide Akintunde and Chris Ogbodo

Jide Akintunde (jide@financialnigeria.com)

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: PDP Party fears severe division over Jonathan Ambition

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Read Time:3 Minute, 8 Second

Even after its no-victor-no-vanquished national executive committee,  NEC , meeting of last Tuesday, the leadership of the ruling PDP remains divided down the line over the widely speculated presidential ambition of Acting President Goodluck Jonathan.

Already the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has sent word to the Acting President to ensure that “the virtues of peace, fairness, equity and justice are the guiding principles of his administration”.

The ACF, Sunday Vanguard can also reveal, is insisting that the zoning arrangement of the PDP is a sure panacea for the evolution of equity in the country.

A source in the party’s Board of Trustees, BoT, told Sunday Vanguard that “what we are hearing is that the Acting President wants to contest the presidential election of next year and it is dividing the party.

“Although I have not heard it from him, that is the general story.

Acting President Jonathan

“The only problem is that when the National Assembly made its proclamation making him Acting President, we had thought that he would just focus on solving the immediate problems in the country which is power supply and security.

“But we are still waiting to see what happens because things are not very clear now; may be in a couple of weeks we would be sure of what is happening and at that time we can speak better.

“The other problem is that the north has made its position clear about the matter and they are not lying low.  They say they still want the issue of zoning which, to be fair, is their right”

Asked about the role of Obasanjo in the plot about Jonathan’s ambition, the source said, “we are watching events and if we discover that the Acting President will refuse to be his own man, then  we will have to leave him to his fate”.

North Kicks

Sunday Vanguard gathered that the ACF in making its position on the issue of zoning known to the Acting President, last week, was very clear: it must remain.

Already, three northerners, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd); National Security Adviser, NSA, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau (rtd) and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar are in the race for the presidency next year – although Gusau and Atiku have not made their ambition public.

The numerical superiority of Northern PDP in any election is what the ACF is said to be banking on in its insistence that any attempt to disorganize the zoning arrangement would not be taken lightly.

Jonathan’s Base
Meanwhile, there are indications that the acting president may not have an easy ride in his reported presidential ambition in his South-South base.

Edo, Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States are not known to swing in the way of Jonathan in the emerging political re-configuration for next year’s presidential election.

Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State is a member of the Action Congress, AC, and, may therefore, remain indifferent; a large segment of the political leadership in Delta State does not share the Gestapo-style approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in its pursuit of the case against former governor James Onanefe Ibori of the state; and there is the challenge from his home Bayelsa State where the state governor, Timpreye Silva is at loggerheads with the Acting President.

Added to this is the concern in some quarters that Jonathan had never really mounted the rostrum to campaign in an election for himself and, therefore, may not have the political wherewithal to mobilize for himself.

For Rivers, Cross River and Akwa Ibom State, it would only be a matter of time for their hands to be played out.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Could Nigeria Ex Military Leader Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida be serious ?

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Read Time:10 Minute, 36 Second

I have not been consulted this time even though I was part of a middle-belt group which the General invited, among others, for “consultation” before his stepping aside in 1993. The General under Nigeria’s constitution has the inalienable right like any other Nigerian, – not disqualified by the rules – to aspire to any political office. By the same token all Nigerians including me reserve the right to express their opinions as to the acceptability and competence or otherwise of all those who seek to rule over them in a democratic setting. Indeed it has been the failure of those Nigerians with the capacity to express their rights of objective criticism that has foisted as leaders at various levels simpletons, the light fingered, and even the fanatically insane. The crisis of development and the near failed-state status of Nigeria today is the outcome of this collective failure to strictly audit those who became leaders in Nigeria.

Three Generals namely, Gowon, Obasanjo and Babangida ruled Nigeria for 9, 11 and 8 years respectively. These three, therefore, have between them ruled Nigeria for the total of 28 years or 56% of 50 years since independence in 1960. A common denominator which characterizes their years in office is plentiful petrodollars, but how can each of them be said to have performed.

Gen. Gowon can be said to have secured national unity and integration by his post civil wars policies of “no victor no vanquished”, his Reconciliation, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction as well as the NYSC programs. Before then, Gowon had laid down the political and administrative structure (12 state structures) of Nigeria upon which subsequent developments have taken cue. He can also be credited with establishing Nigeria’s basic economic, social and artistic infrastructure including: roads, bridges, electricity and energy, universities, colleges, and polytechnics, hospitals and the new Federal Capital city of Abuja, the National theater and FESTAC 77 among others. Gen. Gowons failure was reneging on his promise to hand over to a civilian administration.

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (rtd.)

General Obasanjo is credited during his first tour of duty with successfully handing over to a civilian administration in 1979. During his second tour, albeit under U.S pressure, he established the anti graft agencies of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). However, his most outstanding achievements remain the ushering in of the mobile phone revolution and the procurement debt relief and forgiveness for Nigeria from the London and Paris clubs.

Obasanjo failed with respect to organizing free and fair elections, infrastructure development such as power, roads, etc, his utilizing the anti-graft agencies selectively against perceived opponents and his sit-tight-attempt to have a third term as president. Obasanjo’s place in Nigeria’s history as villain-in-chief has however been assured by his imposition of an ailing Yar’adua as president in 2007.

With respect to General Babangida his, administration was strong on initiation of institutions, policies and programs but weak on strengthening them, policy implementation and sustainability. For instance, Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DIFRRI), National Economic Reconstruction Fund (NERFUND), National Directorate for Employment (NDE), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nation Board for Community Banks (NBCB), National Republican Convention (NRC), Social Democratic Party (SDP), Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), Commercialization and privatization programs and many more are some of the examples of institutions, policies and programs initiated by the Gen. Babangida.

However, like Gen. Obasanjo’s EFCC and ICPC, Gen. Babangida’s NDLEA which has survived and thrived may also have been established under pressure from the USA. At the time, Nigeria had become the drug hub of Africa, and Nigerian leaders and their lackey’s were indeed the drug barons. I suspect that NDLEA was established as a compromise to save Nigeria from the kind of treatment which the USA meted out to Panama and its then leader Gen. Noriega. Luckily for the country NDLEA, except in a few instances, has largely served the objectives for which it was established. The BPE, NERFUND, Commercialization and Privatization as institutions, policies and programs respectively have also survived.

The shine has however been removed from these initiatives as they were largely perceived as used by the General and his cronies as avenues for dispensing undeserved favors and patronage as well as means for legalizing the mass plunder of our national assets and patrimony in the name of privatization. These apart, all other institutions, policies and programs of the Babangida era have been scrapped, have crumbled or simply collapsed under the weight of their irrelevance, inefficiency, corruption and non-viability. Spectacular among which are: SDP, NRC, MAMSER, DIFRRI, NACB and many more.

General Babangida’s failures in the political and economic realms are even more puzzling given the relatively more favorable and unfettered environment in which he led Nigeria. His transition to civil rule program was just last week described by the Nation Newspaper’s Dele Akinola as “the longest running failed state project in recent global history.” That program becomes even more of a moral burden on Babangida and his boys given the monumental waste of time and resources which the building of NRC and SDP party offices across the nation, funding the operations of the two parties, and banning and un-banning of candidates at will represented. Indeed had this mad – scientist experiment not ended with the annulment of the fairest, freest and most credible election till date, the killing of Chief Abiola and Gen. Shehu Musa Yar’adua and setting up of the disastrous Interim National Government (ING) led by Chief Shonekan, history may have been kinder to Babangida.

On the economic front, we have already noted the General’s privatization program as legalized plunder. But most disturbing was Babangida’s failure to utilize the first Gulf war oil money wind-fall to, modernize Nigeria’s power, roads and rail infrastructure or improve its foreign reserves or reduce its high debt profile by paying up its debt to the Paris and London clubs. That none of these happened, and that the money was “fritted away on non priority

Ex-President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo

projects” not beneficial to the economy as posited by the Okigbo investigation panel leaves Babangida’s economic and financial record severely tainted. There is not much that IBB or his apologists can say to mitigate his culpability in this respect. Also, given the claim of his regime’s “elevation of corruption to a major state policy” nothing favorable can be said about the general.

With respect to the personality and character traits of these three Generals, once again Babangida tops them from the bottom. If one is to be charitable IBB and Obasanjo can be ranked the same, yet Obasanjo with all his legendary braggadocio, infidelity and treachery to me comes a distant second, when compared to IBB. The Nation’s Newspaper Deputy Editor on IBB’s character trait is instructive when he says that he is “a leader whose trademark is saying what he would later deny and denying what he will later say.” While Owei Lakemfa of Vanguard says that “but we all know that as part of his instinctive nature of deception, whenever Babangida talks about peace, he would have sounded the bugle for war.”

In my opinion, Gen. Babangida’s personality traits are in consonance with his leadership style of governing by deception, subterfuge, treachery, backstabbing, booby-traps and non-predictability. The general has indeed not helped the perception of his person and character by crowning himself the grand master of these negative attributes, styling himself as the “evil genius”, the “Maradona of Nigerian politics” and “Machiavelli-in-chief”.

Gen. Babangida has the unenviable distinction of being Nigeria’s leader when a prominent journalist was killed by parcel bomb the first in our history. This killing coincided with the maturation of drug trafficking in Nigeria and the mystery of the death and or disappearance of an apprehended drug courier Miss. Gloria Okon in police custody. He also holds the record of detaining the highest number of journalists at any one time, and shutting down more magazine and newspaper publishing houses than any other regime.

With respect to the annulment of the elections of June 12 1993, very few Nigerians are aware of the fact that Gen. Babangida had appointed and sworn-in a tribunal specifically to hear petitions on that presidential election. The tribunal was under the chairmanship of a justice of the Supreme Court Justice Babalakin now retired. Gen. Babangida’s perfidy was at its highest when he proceeded to annul the same election for which the tribunal was set up two days before it was due to start sittings. In the recent past, Gen Babangida made a mockery of the justice Oputa panel on truth and reconciliation by not only refusing to appear before it but by placing all available legal obstacles to frustrate its work. The Gen. had to avoid the Oputa Panel because he could not afford to be question under oath as that will finally exposed his culpability on several fronts such as the Dele Giwa, Gloria Okon, Gen. Vatsa’s, the Gulf war wind-fall, and the June 12 elections among others.

In the last few months while past leaders, men of honour, goodwill and patriotism and integrity rose in support of the then Vice President Jonathan Goodluck to assume presidential powers as Acting President, Gen. Babangida characteristically did not stand up to be counted.

These character traits explain why Gen. Babangida finds it hard or impossible to take a clear and an unequivocal and principled stand on any issue. Whether the issue, be that of the IMF loan, SAP, number and structure of political parties, candidates at elections, trial and execution of suspected coup-plotters, nullification of fair and free elections. Babangida’s motives and justification for any of his actions and decisions in the issues mentioned above have up till today remained mysterious. This obscurantism has also characterized IBB’s acclaimed leadership abilities because there are no concrete and verifiable criteria which he or his apologists can proffer as his leadership assets.

Most Nigerians are mesmerized by the illusion of IBB’s grandeur, charisma and presumed leadership abilities which to me are inconsequential. Nigeria’s situation today requires incontrovertible and concrete proof of a leader’s intellectual, physical, moral, mental and psychological abilities. Nigerians should no longer accept illusive, obscure, undefined and unverified claims to leadership abilities as has been the case with the General Babangida. It is time Nigerians knew the why, of any individual’s leadership aspirations, the what he intends to achieve and the how he intend to achieve his declared intentions for the country. We can ill afford a leader whose style is that of dithering, prevarication and concealment. Democracy has no room for these and it would be foolhardy for Nigerians to think that IBB can be born again at this stage of his existence.

It is now agreed by all that Nigeria requires strong institutions and the rule of law i.e. a mature political culture but not strong leaders. In this regard, Babangida is neither strong nor the person who can build our institutions or strengthen our laws. His multiple failures in governance, institution building and entrenching the rule of law, his moral standing and credibility spring no doubt from his intrinsic nature and character. Never one to be strong on any issue, his, it is to leave us wondering while himself wondering without direction. Otherwise, how do you explain his introducing the federal character principle into Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution and his being adverse to its application today.

If, as portrayed above, Babangida failed in the many fronts described as an unfettered military dictator within a much more favorable economic regime, what are we to expect from him in a much tighter, civilian and democratic setting where compromise and complex horse trading are order of the day? A culture which a general and a dictator is deeply averse to, and in a world just recovering from a major economic recession no one should expect miracle from the General. If Babangida himself or any of his apologists have fresh facts and logical arguments contrary to these given above, I am open to reconsider. For now, my conclusion is that Nigeria does not need IBB at this point in time.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Jonathan May dissolve the PDP Zoning System come 2011 Election

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Read Time:16 Minute, 53 Second

Nigeria Acting President Jonathan Goodluck

This is the story of the bad blood being generated by on-going moves to scuttle the PDP zoning arrangement which concedes the presidency to the north until 2015.  The plot to kill the zoning formula is to pave the way for Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to contest next year’s presidential election. But will the plan succeed?  The report traces how the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, introduced zoning as a principle of political office allocation.

Oddly, the evil deed happened on a day that was meant for holy deeds.. Then Vice President Atiku Abubakar had been deliberately sent out of Nigeria to avoid a counter action.  Then President Olusegun Obasanjo could have sent just any other person.  But because the latter knew exactly the game he wanted to play, he chose his deputy for the diplomatic mission to the Central African Republic, CAR.  Then on that fateful Sunday, Obasanjo invited Chief Audu Ogbeh, the then embattled National Chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who also doubled as Obasanjo’s Special Adviser on Agriculture to the Presidential Villa for a private meeting.

Once Ogbeh got inside the president’s wing of the villa, Obasanjo waved off his security aides who were around.  The task at hand was as simple as it was ridiculous.  Because some days earlier, just as tension enveloped the polity this past week, the nation was on edge that January 2005 just before PDP held it’s National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting.  Just as it happened this past week when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan was pitched against party chairman, Vincent Eze Ogbulafor, Obasanjo in 2005 was pitched against Ogbeh and more than half of the state governors of PDP extraction.

The major domo in the opposition within the PDP at that time was Atiku Abubakar, Obasanjo’s deputy.  But because the compromise that was reached in 2005 and which saved both Obasanjo and Ogbeh from public embarrassment was that the latter would resign ahead of the party’s national convention, which effectively meant that he would be leaving office ahead of the expiration of his tenure, Obasanjo, known to always operate like a locomotive engine whose break system has gone kaput, wanted Ogbeh’s resignation on the spot.

Therefore, right there in Aso Rock Villa, Obasanjo made available to Ogbeh all he needed to produce his resignation.  It was an act of unmitigated show of presidential power by Obasanjo.  Ogbeh, who was alone, could neither reach Atiku, who was already in CAR, nor establish telephone communication with any other leader of PDP.

He resigned there and then as directed by Obasanjo.

Like a rain-beaten chicken, Ogbeh announced the following day that he had resigned as national chairman of PDP.

For an Obasanjo who took delight in warehousing offences committed by government officials and party leaders, what, perhaps, appears to be playing out in the present case of the arraignment of Ogbulafor by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, is no different from the Obasanjo-style warehousing of offences.
So, what was Obasanjo’s reason for acting in that manner?

That removal of Ogbeh, was the very first signs that Obasanjo was about to tinker with the zoning arrangement of his party by elongating his own tenure beyond the constitutionally stipulated two terms of four years. For, had Obasanjo sailed through with his Third Term Agenda that would have effectively been the nunc dimitis of the zoning arrangement in PDP?

Today, it is Acting President Jonathan who is breathing down the neck of Ogbulafor for daring to insist that the party’s zoning formula would be adhered to for the 2011 elections.

With that statement, Ogbulafor foreclosed any growing ambition in Jonathan to vie for the presidency next year.  But pro-Jonathan forces in the presidency and the polity would have none of that and, therefore, went for Ogbulafor’s jugular by exhuming a 2004 corruption case against the PDP chairman.

But Who Owns The Zoning Rights?
It was in 1979, during the formative years of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, that the idea was suggested. For the NPN, the fable goes that it had been assured of the presidency by the out-going military junta then led by Obasanjo. But what punctures this fable was an incident which happened immediately after the Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, elected the late Chief Philip Umeadi as his running mate.

Sunday Vanguard was reliably informed that once Awolowo chose Umeadi as his running mate, Obasanjo sent words to Awolowo to change that choice.  Obasanjo’s argument was that the choice made by UPN did not in any way take into cognizance Nigeria’s peculiar ethno-tribal balancing.  But Awolowo and the UPN refused to shift their ground.  Their counter position was that there was need to ensure that merit was not sacrificed on the altar of federal character or quota system.

But the NPN, peopled by politicians whose main advantage bore all the signs of pragmatism ended up with Alhaji Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari, from Shagari Village in Sokoto State.  The party then went all the way down, as if slightly diagonally to the left across the Niger River, to Anambra State to choose Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme.

Still disputed in some quarters, the NPN won the 1979 presidential elections.  Though Awolowo went all the way to the Supreme Court, he lost to the calculation of a constitutional provision which states that whoever would emerge President and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigeria Armed Forces needed two thirds of the total votes cast in two thirds of the states of the Nigerian Federation.  This provision itself lends itself to the ethos of national spread and, by implication, the need for participatory mandate.

The NPN did not stop there.  It also ensured that it zoned party offices across the groups in the country vis: Yoruba, Igbo, Southern Minorities, Middle Belt, North (East and West).

Flowing from that arrangement, its national chairman, Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye emerged from the Yoruba West and the Senate President, Joseph Wayas from Southern Minority Cross River State. The Speaker, House of Representatives, Edwin Ume-Ezeoke came from the South-East, having been nominated by the Nigerian Peoples Party, NPP, which had a working relationship with the NPN.  But where did zoning lead the NPN and Nigeria?

Most Nigerians at that time did not understand the principles behind what NPN called zoning.  Bashorun MKO Abiola wanted the NPN presidential ticket in 1983; but the NPN zoning arrangement was bound to put paid to that.  Abiola persisted but the leadership of the party simply went ahead with their national convention in Kaduna.

Despite his enormous resources and his contributions to the NPN, Abiola was muscled out of the race, with the then powerful Transport Minister, Alhaji Umaru Dikko saying the party’s presidential ticket was not for sale to the highest bidder. Although with his resources, MKO could have sprung a surprise on the NPN leadership, they did not want to take any chances hence their strategy of not even allowing him to participate in the primaries which held in Kaduna.  He read the handwriting clearly and kissed the party bye-bye.

Enter PDP’s Zoning Arrangement
Consequent upon the war of attrition waged by the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, and some pro-democracy activists across the length and breath of Nigeria on account of the injustice arising from the annulment of the election of MKO Abiola as president on June 12, 1993, and the unwritten concession that for Nigeria to know peace, there was the need for a conscious effort to placate the Yoruba South West geo-political zone, the presidency should be given to the Yoruba, the out-going military junta of Abdulsalami Abubakar surreptitiously ensured that the PDP was the party of choice to win the presidential election.  It did not stop there.  It then went ahead to deploy resources of all sorts to ensure that Obasanjo, a Yoruba man, emerged as the party’s presidential candidate.

And as if the Nigerian nation agreed to the zoning arrangement in 1999, even the Alliance for Democracy, AD, and the then All Peoples Party, APP, now All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, went into an alliance which meant one of the parties would subsume its interest.  APP was the senior partner in the alliance and, therefore, was expected to produce the presidential candidate while AD was expected to produce the running mate.  But by one curious yet inexplicable twist, the alliance handed the presidential ticket to the junior AD’s Olu Falae, who emerged via the decision of a few old men sitting in an apartment at D’Rovan’s Hotel in Ibadan.

Ogbonnaya Onu, who was the APP presidential candidate was not even taken into confidence in giving away his ticket.  But his prospective running mate, Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, the Marafan Sokoto, ran with Falae, a Yoruba man.  Therefore, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the presidential election was a straight fight between two sons of Oduduwa, the Yoruba progenitor.

Requiem for Zoning?
Lately, however, there has been a plethora of opinions challenging the propriety of zoning or national character or quota system.  Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida had made statements to the effect that national character might not take Nigeria very far.  Senate President David Mark has been known to extol the virtues of meritocracy.

In fact, Chief Richard Akinjide, Second Republic Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, insisted that “the talk about turn by turn would not do us any good in that context.  Look, isn’t it ridiculous, that whenever we want to talk of the presidency of Nigeria we talk in terms of Hausa Fulani, Yoruba or Igbo.  Totally unfair!  In the US, Obama comes from a minority of the minority but look at him now, because he was the best man for the job, the people of America said he should go and do the job.

“The truth we must understand is that in a particular circumstance or at a particular period, the area you zone the office to may not have the best man for the job.

“One of the flaws in our constitution is the matter of this geographical spread things and candidacy or national character thing.  This national character or zoning thing is nonsense.  That doctrine was introduced in India, we are not the original owners of that doctrine but it is subject to quality in India.  It doesn’t mean that if the geographical spread must apply to your area and you then bring a buffoon or a nonentity then it must be imposed on all of us, no.  It’s not right, it’s been abused.

I would advocate that this national character thing should be abrogated as regards certain offices.”
To compound the woes of the apostle of zoning, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua suddenly developed serious health challenges that have kept him away from office since Monday November 23, 2009.  It took the creative legislative acumen of the Senate, in consultation with other segments of the leadership of the Nigerian state, to pronounce Yar’Adua’s deputy, Jonathan, as Acting President, relying on the doctrine of necessity.

But once Jonathan took over, a new breed of forces emerged in his support and defence and has since been putting pressure on him to contest the presidency next year.

Therein lies the problem
First, since Ogbulafor dared to re-echo the position of PDP on zoning, that the presidency would remain in the North for next year’s election, he became a marked man.
Besides, once it was discovered that a few former state governors had enormous resources that could stop a Jonathan-for-president project, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, sprang into action again and made James Onanefe Ibori the first target.  Ibori is at large and is being looked for.  Then came the PDP Reform Forum which is insisting that merit should be the order of the day as against the usually whimsical approach of PDP as a political party.

An Anti-Climactic NEC Meeting
This explains why PDP’s 50th NEC meeting which was held last Tuesday after an injunction and counter injunction was sought and quashed, respectively, ended up as an anti-climax of sorts.  The main decision of the NEC meeting was the proposed amendments which the party believes would do it a world of good.

The issue of reforms was not discussed as expected.  The Acting President made preachments on the need for caution, respect for due-process and rule of law, as well as the halting of the vaulting ambitions of some politicians ahead of next year’s general elections.  The party is amending the following sections of its constitution 12.14, 12.46, and 12.48.  The parts of the PDP amendment deal with number of delegates to elect flag-bearers of the Party at various levels, just as it noted that the current provision which makes the number of delegates in a Senatorial Congress more than those electing a Governorship Candidate was an anomaly

A communiqué at the end of the meeting read by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Professor Rufai Ahmed Alkali said, “the 50th meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party just ended here at our National Secretariat.

“NEC passed a vote of confidence on the Acting President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan for his heroic role in stabilizing the polity since his assumption of office as the Acting President.
“NEC also passed a vote of confidence and commendation on the National Assembly for their steadfastness in ensuring the stability and good governance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“In the same vein, NEC also unanimously expressed a vote of confidence on the National Working Committee, led by the National Chairman, Prince Dr. Vincent Eze Ogbulafor and encouraged the National Working Committee to continue along its current line of organizing the Party and ensuring its growth and stability.

“NEC received a report on progress on the new National Secretariat and expressed its delight that the contractors have fully mobilized to site and work has commenced in earnest. NEC commended the Acting President for the pivotal role he has played in the realization of the project”.

Will The North Agree?
To be fair, the north as an entity, the core north may not buy this argument about meritocracy.  The simple reason is that after Nigeria had gone through the eight years of Obasanjo, and the north having just enjoyed (if that is the word) barely two and a half years of the presidency via Yar’Adua’s headship, would it be fair as a federation to now re-order the arrangement and chant the mantra of meritocracy as against the gentleman’s agreement of zoning.

Yet, for anybody to argue safely on the matter, it should be made clear that zoning is purely a PDP arrangement of convenience.

The north which is kicking and would kick forever against the re-ordering of the zoning arrangement knows that the ladder to the presidency is the PDP.

In any case, for all the ills and vices of PDP, which political party can stand in its way?

PDP Reps on zoning formula of the partyHon. Aminu Shehu Shagari (PDP/Sokoto)

Let the PDP keep to its words on zoning.  The zoning formula was an agreement reached by the PDP long ago. I want the PDP to be a keeper of its words. If we say something, we should abide by it.

Hon. Clever M. Ikisikpo (PDP/Bayelsa)

There is no constitutional provision for zoning.  Zoning, as currently arranged by the PDP, is not provided for in the constitution. It was an agreement reached by the party after the consideration of some issues. But it behoves  on the PDP to look into the current zoning arrangement and decide whether it is in the best interest of the country, because what matters in the end is how to improve on the well being of the electorate. But, as a faithful member of the PDP, whatever the PDP decides on, I shall abide by it.

Hon. Elizabeth Ogbaga (PDP Ebonyi)
We have to be careful and wise on this issue. I believe that zoning should be done in a manner that minimises conflicts.
There should be places where zoning should be applied, and some places where it may not be applied. But, I know that in the past, it has helped to reduce all kinds of problems.

And, as a member of the PDP, I am bound to respect the decision of the party at all times, and I don’t want to think that I would have problem with that.

Don’t contest, Fayose to Jonathan

Former governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose says: ‘’l will personally advise the Acting President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan not to heed the advice of those in the ruling PDP asking him  to  run for 2011 presidential election, his mission  should be on  how he would organise a credible election for Nigerians without himself taken part.
‘’He should not allow the sycophants around the Presidential Villa  to mislead him ,l think Mr acting president should remains tactful and watchful

‘’But l must admit that Dr  Jonathan being a Nigerian has an inherent constitutional power to stand for any election on the platform of any party.  I know he is a sensible person , he would do the right thing.

Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope – PDP will continue with zoning

“Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has not told anyone that he wants to run for election. His speech to the PDP National Executive Committee, NEC meeting, was a great speech from a great mind and from the way I look at it because I was present at the NEC meeting, Jonathan was guided by the highest interest of the PDP. I am convinced that Acting President Jonathan will never do anything that is detrimental to the zoning arrangement of the PDP.
The PDP will continue with the zoning because it is in the best interest of the party to do.

Already, Jonathan is establishing himself as a hero of Nigeria who acted to save the country at this very time. I am sure that when the rotational presidency moves down to the South, Acting President Jonathan will be the automatic choice”.

Zoning should not stop Jonathan -Dr. Goodnews Agbi, former Delta State governorship aspirant and PDP Chieftain

“Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has not come up to tell Nigerians that he wants to contest for the position of President of this country, but if he wants to contest, it is in order because every Nigerian who is capable, intelligent and very resourceful should be allowed to aspire to any office of the land. The idea of zoning at the initial stage was to allow disadvantaged zones to contest for the highest office in the land, but now, every thing in the world and Nigeria evolves, Nigeria has got to a stage where anyone who is capable to address the problems should be allowed to do so.

“As a PDP chieftain, I believe that if Jonathan wants to contest for the Presidency, he should go ahead. For example, the South South has not had a taste of the Presidency before.  It is the time for Acting President to contest.  After all, other political parties provide candidates for elections, with or without the zoning arrangement of the PDP”.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria: Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima allegedly marries girl, age 13

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Read Time:3 Minute, 32 Second

LAGOS, Nigeria — The marriage took place at one of the Nigerian capital’s most recognizable landmarks, under the golden dome of the National Mosque in front of an audience of the elite.

But the recent wedding of one of the Muslim leaders who brought Shariah law to Africa’s most populous nation is under scrutiny as human rights groups say he married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl.

As authorities investigate Senator Ahmad Sani Yerima, the marriage is drawing fresh questions about the role of religion in a country of 150 million people split between Christians and Muslims.

Yerima, 49, arranged the marriage with the girl after paying her family a $100,000 dowry, according to a complaint filed by the Nigerian Human Rights Commission in April. Initially, Yerima couldn’t arrange a visa for the girl to travel from Egypt to Nigeria, so he instead brought the girl through neighboring Niger, said Chidi Odinkalu, a lawyer for works for the Open Society Justice Initiative.

That leaves Yerima open to human trafficking charges, as well as possible child-sex and endangerment charges, the lawyer said.

“You don’t need the Quran or the Bible to get this,” Odinkalu said. “I think most people, irrespective of the cleavage between the two faiths, wouldn’t marry off their 13 year old.”

Yet 30 members of the girl’s family attended the ceremony at the National Mosque, the human rights commission said. It’s unclear who else attended the wedding. Ustaz Musa Mohammed, the chief imam of the National Mosque, could not be reached for comment.

Under child protection laws enforceable in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, a woman must be 18 before being able to consent to marriage. However, those laws aren’t enacted in all of Nigeria’s 36 states and activists say child brides have been married off in Muslim communities after their first period.

It also isn’t the first time Yerima has apparently married a child bride. The right commission alleged that he married a 15-year-old girl, only to divorce her at 17 as she nurses his child.

“The senator is in the habit of marrying minors and has gained notoriety in enticing girls to marry him,” the commission said.

Yerima himself appears unrepentant in recent interviews, though he has declined to say how old his new wife is.

“As a Muslim, as I always say, I consider God’s law and that of his prophet above any other law,” Yerima told the BBC’s Hausa language radio service. “I will not respect any law that contradicts that and whoever wants to sanction me for that is free to do that.”

Religion has played an integral part in Yerima’s political career. As Nigeria came out of a string of military dictatorships and into democracy in 1999, Yerima was elected as governor of Zamfara state in northern Nigeria. There, Islam has been the dominate religion since Muslim warriors on horseback claimed the territory in the early 1800s.

When he became governor, Yerima was one of the first politicians to champion the idea of putting a Shariah court system in place, which rules based on Islamic civil law. Now, more than a dozen northern states allow Shariah law, something that Nigeria’s Christian south warily accepted — if at all. Rioting and violence over the introduction of Shariah law left thousands dead.

Yerima himself blames the attention on his marriage to that, though it sealed his political fortunes.

“I consider all those complaining about this issue as detractors, because since 1999 … many people have been waging different kind of wars against me,” he said.

But those who have brought the allegations against Yerima are struggling not to make it a religious debate in a nation where killings over faith still happen. The Senate is investigating Yerima over allegedly breaking the law, while other agencies are examining whether he illegally brought the child bride into the country.

“He’s breached the law. It’s not about faith,” said Iheoma Obibi, executive director of Alliances for Africa, a human rights group. “In the campaign with the sisters from the north, we’ve been very careful not to address this in the religious situation.”

The whereabouts of the Egyptian girl remain unknown.

“She should be in school,” Obibi said. “She shouldn’t be rolling off your bed.”

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Nigeria Acting President says credible poll, security among priorities

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Read Time:1 Minute, 51 Second

ABUJA — Nigeria’s Acting President Goodluck Jonathan said Saturday his priorities while in office were providing a regular power supply, peace and security in the Niger Delta, and fair and free elections.

“I have taken the challenge of an inadequate power supply, peace and rapid development of Niger Delta, food security as well as overall security of all Nigerians and promoting credible elections as priorities in the concluding months of this administration,” Jonathan said at a May Day rally in Abuja.

Jonathan, previously deputy president, took over as acting president in February from President Umaru Yar’Adua, whose ill health has kept him in a hospital bed for months.

The acting president is expected to step down in May 2011 at the end of Yar’Adua’s tenure and the oil-rich west African country is due to hold general elections next year.

Jonathan told the rally of hundreds of workers that his government would give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections in 2011, compared with previous polls that were judged largely flawed by local and international observers, including the United Nations and the United States.

He also promised to improve security in the restive, oil-rich Niger Delta that has in the past three years been the theatre of kidnappings and attacks.

Besides the violence in the oil region which has substantially hurt the multi-billion-dollar oil industy, Jonathan vowed to stem growing insecurity in other parts of the country.

Around 1,500 people have been killed in sectarian clashes in the central city of Jos since the beginning of the year, according to local rights groups.

Jonathan assured the workers that the government would meet their aspirations for higher wages.

“I am aware that negotiation is going on by the joint negotiation council on the issue of a national minimum wage. This negotiation must have a time limit which must give birth to positive results,” he said.

The Nigerian leader said he hoped that a deal would be struck within three months.

“A good working environment is non-negotiable because it is the basis for the most beneficial productivity,” he said, adding that the government would create a conducive working environment in appreciation of workers’ immense contributions to nation-building.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Vaccines: Perspective from Nigeria

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Read Time:1 Minute, 49 Second

I think making the next ten years of vaccines successful will require two main efforts: first, the billions of poorer populations in our world today should have access to the most basic services, with immunization through vaccines being top priority. Continue reading

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Yes, a bad marriage can kill -Pastor Aity Inyang

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Read Time:7 Minute, 46 Second

A good marriage tastes like honey. It excites and warms the heart. It gives you the kind of feeling that starts from the scalp of your head and gently spreads downwards to the tip of your fingers and the nerve endings of your toes.

Remembering moments shared with your spouse can turn you into a poet, and make you begin to pen lines like King Solomon did in the Songs of Solomon, a very significant book in the Bible. The micro-electrical charge set off by the recollection effortlessly makes the tiny muscle at the base of the shaft of the hair on your skin to contract and pull the hair up, off the surface of the skin. And goose pimples break out all over your skin.

Make no mistake about this: a loving marital relationship really helps keep the blood pressure at a normal level. You talk about it, all the time glorifying God for putting you in such a beautiful union. It is a wonderful, treasured feeling, every woman wants to experience and hold onto “for life”, an expression Pastor Aity Inyang unabashedly uses to describe her enviable marriage to the Senior Pastor of Sure Word Assembly, Pastor Dennis Inyang.
The depth of her feelings for her husband comes across when you listen to the songs she writes specially for him in all her music CDs.

The lady with the winsome smile is a fulltime gospel music artiste who with her husband, is also engaged in pastoral work. With 20 wonderful and memorable years in marriage tucked under her belt, Aity has been using the experience she acquired to help couples build relationships that would equal or even surpass the beautiful edifice which her union with Pastor Inyang has turned out to be.

“My husband is my friend for life,” she says delightfully.
In an earlier interview, she told Sunday Sun: “In my CDs, I write songs for him. In my current work, the song I wrote for him is called Just Like Yesterday. Because it’s actually just like yesterday even though August this year will make our marriage 20 years old. In my last CD, I wrote a song for him (My Beloved – If I Ever Had To Choose Again). Whenever I travel, and I do so often, he does his best to take care of the home. He calls me so often to be sure I’m Ok. He is interested in my wellbeing. In fact, he is what any woman would ask for in a husband. He wins the Husband of the Year Award every year.”

But then, Aity also revealed: “I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be a pastor’s wife; but God has a sense of humour. When you consider my sanguine go-go temperament, you can give it to God that He can indeed use anybody. As a pastor’s wife, you affect the lives of so many people. You are a role model to several women in terms of dressing, conduct etc. So you have to make sure you are not a disappointment to God and to the ministry.

I have also found out that you share your life and your husband’s time with the whole church. So, if you are the very jealous type, you need to sit up, be mature and adapt to the situation very fast. If not, you will die before your time. Another thing is, you must know that inasmuch as so many people will bless and appreciate you for your contributions to their lives, you will be hurt by countless others, especially those you least expect. So you must learn to have a heart as large as the bosom of Abraham, and budget to live a continuous life of forgiveness, so that you don’t live in bitterness and wind up in hell while you were busy trying to prepare people for heaven. God forbid! In summary, being a pastor’s wife is actually a very rewarding experience.”

When God is involved in a person’s choice of a marriage partner, He usually gives you the right individual that complements your life in a seamless, lovely and beautiful way. In addition to being a full time gospel artiste, pastor, mother, Aity is a magazine/book editor, who bagged a first degree in French and put the icing on her academic cake with a Master’s degree in Mass Communication. At different times she worked as a french teacher, TV producer and advertising practitioner.

And all that experience (please, assets, just like the virtuous woman) she has poured into the work of the ministry, using the abundant grace of God to minister to couples in troubled marriages, prayerfully nudging them to re-discover romance and marital friendship. More than 95 percent of the time, she and her husband have been successful, but there are those who, she reveals, fall into the undesirable five percent.
In this interview, Aity shares her views on troubled marriages. Excerpts…
At what point should a partner pull out when a marriage is heading for the rocks?
I believe if the couple knows that their marriage is heading for the rocks, instead of pulling out, they should do everything to change direction and head towards a safer destination. No sensible couple should just sit back and helplessly watch their marriage crash. Even some air crashes have been avoided. God didn’t create anyone to come and live as a loner in this world.

The couple should get help immediately they notice the first signs of cracks in the marriage. They should talk with a marriage counselor, a pastor or a reliable friend. Help is always available. I have seen a turnaround in so many marriages that were heading for a crash just because the couple or one partner was bold and wise enough to seek help. Why we are witnessing many divorces today is sometimes because many people pretend everything is okay while they are dying in silence.

When does a marriage actually become life threatening? And at this point should either of the parties call it quits especially the partner who feels threatened?
There are instances when a sickness actually becomes life threatening because the patient ignored the warning signs or the ailment was not diagnosed early and properly treated. A marriage can become life threatening, which is to say that the life of one or both partners is in danger as a result of the marriage.

For example, if there is extreme physical abuse or one party vows to kill the other, then that is a life-threatening situation. Much as I do not advocate divorce, nobody should wait to be transformed into a corpse in the name of marriage. There are some people who, if they go to hell when they die, would have gone to the place two times because their so called marriage here on earth is hell already with the husband or wife as the presiding demon.

Is it possible that Christian couples could find themselves in that situation? Can you give examples that you’ve witnessed or had to intervene?
Yes, it’s very possible for a Christian couple to have that kind of experience. Life is what you make of it. Some people take instructions and their lives get better while others don’t care about whatever counsel they are given. Marriage involves two people and if both of them (…please note that I said both of them, not just one partner) are not willing and consciously working at making the union work, then that would be the end of Solomon Grundy.

Of course, I have seen some cases of this kind of marriage. I remember one couple vividly that we had to keep intervening. Each time the wife ran away, the husband would come to beg us to intervene. When we got into the case, we discovered that theirs was a boxing ring with the children as the unfortunate spectators. The wife was very stubborn and without feelings. The man resorted to becoming a Mohammed Ali and since the woman didn’t have enough fighting skill, she had to keep fleeing to stay alive.

Don’t forget that two of them were Christians, carrying very big bibles without bothering to check what was inside. If you saw them outside, you would think all was rosy. They were great posers. We counseled them to no avail. One of those times when she escaped and we tried to intervene, she said something that my husband and I can’t forget.

She said, ‘Pastor, one day my husband will kill me in that house and will tell the world a different story and since I will not be there to say that he was the one who killed me, everyone will believe him and life will go on. Pastor, when that happens what will you do?’ Since the couple was not ready to heed our counsel and we were not ready to conduct a burial, we had to stop bringing the woman back. Today they are living apart but at least they are alive.

About Post Author

Anthony-Claret Ifeanyi Onwutalobi

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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