IBB camp dismisses President Jonathan Goodluck’s 2011 chances

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Read Time:1 Minute, 51 Second

The campaign team of former military president, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, has declared that he will be the People’s Democratic Party candidate for the 2011 general elections.

They dismissed reports that alleged that governors from the south-west had declared their support for President Goodluck Jonathan.

Kassim Afegbua, Mr Babangida’s spokesperson, said Nigerians are coming out to lend their support to the former general’s ambition.

“[They] are too highly educated and politically sophisticated to endorse President Jonathan, who has not declared his intention whether to run or not to run,” he said.

However, he said the campaign would not reveal its strategies for winning over the south-west region on the pages of newspapers. He assured that Mr Babangida had solutions to the problems confronting the country. “IBB cannot lose,” Afegbua said.

“Rather, we are to ask if Jonathan loses the primary to him, will the former military ruler fly the PDP ticket?”

Not all confidence

Mr Afegbua also debunked recent media reports that Mr Babangida’s meeting with former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, suggests the former general may not be as confident as his supporters claim.

“Atiku is just one of the individuals we are talking to,” he said.

“We are not limiting our consultation to Atiku; we are consulting other notable personalities and groups all over Nigeria.”

However, supporters of the vice president were equally confident of their chances at the PDP primaries – provided he is allowed to rejoin the party.

Henry Iyanyan, an Abuja-based lawyer and member of Mr Atiku’s campaign team, said he was angry at the delays stalling Mr Atiku’s return.

“It is moral corruption for them not to allow Atiku to contest in PDP, waiver or no waiver. If the PDP grants Atiku a waiver today, he will empty Jonathan’s camp. That is why they are afraid of him,” he said.

Mr Iyanyan disagreed with Mr Afegbua that Mr Babangida was a force to be reckoned with.

“Atiku’s credibility cannot be found on any of [the other] politicians jostling to rule Nigeria today,” he said.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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 Goodluck is being pushed around by third term losers, says IBB’s aide

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Read Time:2 Minute, 2 Second

Abdulyekeem Umar, the national campaign coordinator for former president Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, on Monday said that Nigeria’s incumbent leader is being tossed around by the team that tried to enforce a third term in 2009 but failed.

Speaking to correspondents at the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 (MMA2), Lagos, Mr Umar argued that the ex-military leader will emerge as Nigeria’s president come the 2011 general elections regardless of whoever it is that governs the country currently, adding that should the forthcoming polls be free and fair, most citizens will vote for Mr Babangida.

“If you look at people who are pushing Goodluck, you will agree that those are the third term losers. I tell you authoritatively, and if you don’t know, then I will point them,” he said. “Those are the third term losers; they have lost before, for it is not the first time for them to loose, and I can bet you as far as we are going to contest, conduct a good election that is free and fair, IBB will take 85 per cent of the votes.”

No incumbency power

Calling on Goodluck Jonathan to declare his interest for the seat of the country’s helmsman, Mr Umar said that the election is all about the number of people who cast their votes in favour of a candidate, adding that Mr Jonathan cannot exercise any power of incumbency in the forthcoming elections.

“Ever before I prayed that Goodluck will not come out and tell us that he didn’t want to run, for he is coming to face IBB and I wish him good luck,” he said.

“Everybody is talking about power of incumbency, forgetting that is a game of numbers, so I wonder why people will always say he (Jonathan) will use power of incumbency. It is game of numbers and Goodluck is coming to test run his popularity and what he thinks he can give to Nigerians.”

Mr Umar further stated that his presidential candidate is not disturbed about the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) primaries, which is coming up later in the year, as he boasted that Mr Babangida will come out tops.

“Babangida has proven to be the man to beat in the 2011 election, as well as the primaries and I know that he will emerge Nigeria’s president,” he said.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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The hypocrisy of Developed Nation’s Foreign Policies and the colossal failure of Diaspora Africans

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Read Time:4 Minute, 55 Second

I have been a proponent that the fate of the African continent lies in the hands of Africans. No amount of foreign aid will solve our problems when we lack basic understanding of the concept of self development and true patriotism. Our dependence on nations that thrives on the principles of capitalism to create a model of self and economic development for us is foolish at best knowing that their partnership is motivated by their image promotions and economic gains. This is because our true economic independence will create another competition that will minimize their monopoly on economic dominance.

The unfortunate explosion of a BP offshore rig that resulted in the deaths of eleven workers and unleashed the nations worst oil spill on April 20, 2010 and the subsequent actions of the government further exposes the hypocrisy of the so called developed nations and their attitude towards the actual value of life with regards to the African continent.  My question to Africans and our various governments is where is the outrage? For 96 days, the British Petroleum has spent nearly $1.6b to clean up the oil spills around the gulf coast, this amount does not includes fines of $69m sought and received by the federal government through the attorney general’s office, it does not include law suits that will be filed by individuals and businesses that have claimed deprivation of their livelihood due to the spill and this is also with the blessing of the federal government through the justice department. According to BP, they are speeding up payments towards 90% of the large commercial claims filed as a result of financial losses. BP further stated that they have approved 337 payments to businesses that have filed claims larger than $5000 a piece. The federal government continues to pressure BP to speed up payments of claims.

This ladies shack was burnt down in fire resulting from spill in the Niger Delta. No compensation recorded. I wonder who is processing her claims. The fisher men on the left also have families to feed. No catch for the day because of oil presence in the lake.  Where is the outrage?

 

While I am neither an environmentalist nor an ecological expert, the impact of oil spill is glaring even to the eyes of a lay man, many of the long-term effects may remain hidden as natural processes and chemical dispersants break up the oil into small globules dense enough to sink to the bottom. There, it has the potential to affect bottom dwellers for decades. What scientists know about how oil spills can affect the environment – and for how long – is drawn from a range of past events, no two of which have been alike. It means that the leading scientists can build a model for what they think is going to happen, but we may wake up the next morning and not know exactly what to expect.

Young man swimming in a lake glazed with oil from the nearby rigs, what do you think is the life expectancy of this man. Where is the EPA? Look at the proximity of this rig to the shacks in the Village in Niger Delta Most of the oil companies shares are not traded in the Nigerian stock exchange, 90% of all their capital investments are outside the continent, 100% of all their property uses in Nigeria for example are all leased with no long term capital liability to the companies, that means shell can pick up and leave Nigeria tomorrow without waiting to sell their buildings in Port Harcourt, Abuja or where ever else. Where is the outrage? It stunned me to realize that no singular Nigerian organization in the Diaspora has spoken up about the unfairness in attitude of these Multi National Corporations (MNC) particularly the oil companies doing business in Nigeria, particularly with regards to pollution, lack of respect to human life. Most Americans do not have a clue the unfair standards and the trepidation of human lives for these companies to extract oil for their personal consumptions here in the United States, tragedies like the gulf spill has always been a spring board for exposures that results in policy changes, why not in our country?. We have a duty to expose to the western world that spills like this occurs daily in Nigeria, fishermen go days without any catch, villagers breed polluted air daily from gas flaring in the Niger Delta by these same companies. The humane society capitalized on Mick Vick dog fight to affect all kinds of policy changes with regards to animal rights. It kills my mind to see all these foolishness about many Igbo organizations tying up their fate in courts, depositing all their monies in accounts of major banks with very minimal activities that allow the banks to really make money with our money.


Where is the outrage WIC? Where is the outrage ASA-USA?  Where is the outrage Enugu State-USA? Where is the outrage ISCA, Abia State-USA National? Where is the outrage Ebony State –USA?

By our silence are we validating the silent known but ugly fact that the value of life in Africa is worth less even when the chips to change that fact lies in our hand. Has it become a hopeless expectation that Africans at home should not depend on Africans in Diaspora to bring about a much needed change that could benefit the continent. Have we all been good stewards and good ambassadors of our nations? Shall we ever rise beyond our selfish agenda for the common good of others? These are all pertinent questions that need answers. Are you tired of being tired of the foolishness of building an organizations that could be a vehicle for change, drafting the constitution, holding a convention and then breaking apart?

Where is the outrage?

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Regulatory Inertia vis-a-vis Predatory Banking Practices in Nigeria (Part 1)

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Read Time:6 Minute, 7 Second

The classical laissez-faire theory is not practised anywhere; even in the most liberal capitalist economies industries are still subject to regulation. A regulator is there to oversee the activities of operators or players in the industry under its supervision, ensure the efficient supply of quality products and check the exploitation of users of the products. Unfortunately, most regulators in Nigeria do none of such. Almost in all sectors, the Nigerian consumer or customer is abandoned to the whims and caprices of rapacious operators. More worrisome is that this issue hardly bothers the relevant committees of our “representatives” at the National Assembly. For instance, the complaints of impoverished Nigerians over poor but exploitative mobile telephone services in the country remain unaddressed by the appropriate authorities.

As an undergraduate at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, I offered courses on Law of Banking, Banking Methods & Process and even wrote my LL.B Project on “Bank Failure in Nigeria: The Legal Perspectives”, yet I make no pretensions to expertise in banking and finance. Thus, any misconception here should be excused. This, nonetheless, is without prejudice to the fact that this essay is based on personal experiences and reliable information. I now face the thrust of my write-up.

There are daily reports of how Nigerian banks rip off their customers through various charges and practices. And, repeatedly, these customers complain and cry out for appropriate regulatory intervention. Unfortunately, their complaints seem to fall on deaf ears, for I am unaware of any positive regulatory action in response thereto. Emboldened by regulatory inaction and indifference (which suggest tacit approval), many Nigerian banks now engage in more exploitative practices. The categories of such predatory bank practices are unfolded daily.

Normally, when a customer secures loan from a bank, the latter fixes a negotiated lending rate based on the prevailing interest rate approved by the apex bank. Any change in the interest rate should be brought to the notice of the borrower except otherwise agreed. In Nigeria, however, the lending rate is rarely negotiated and, when it is reviewed upwards by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the average bank automatically applies the new rate to the outstanding loan without notifying the borrower. Ironically, the same bank hides the fact of any downward review of the lending rate from its mostly uninformed customer, thereby illegally subjecting him to a higher interest regime.

Often, what bank staff present to a prospective borrower during loan negotiations as the total charges become hydra-headed once he swallows the bait. While processing loans, Nigerian banks impose on borrowers both “processing” and “administrative” fees which are duplicates. Again, they charge borrowers and corporate customers higher than what they pay lawyers to conduct searches at land and company registries. I believe that the interest rates Nigerian banks perfunctorily display at their offices and report to CBN per section 23 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA, Chapter B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004) are different from what most of them impose on customers. To verify this, CBN may wish to randomly obtain and examine depositors/borrowers account statements from banks.

Ancillary to the above is the fact that in line with globally accepted banking rules and practices interest rates applicable to deposits are negotiable, and banks should inform depositors of their right to negotiate same and allow them do so. But contrary to this, Nigerian banks arbitrarily fix such interest rates and impose same on depositors. Again, most Nigerians banks now surreptitiously extend to savings accounts charges that are traditionally meant for current accounts. Comparatively, the new generation banks are notorious for imposing these very unjust and variegated charges on customers.

When one withdraws a million naira or more, Nigerian banks impose what they call “cash handling charges” of about N5 for every N1000 for counting the money! This is in addition to the usual commission on transaction (COT). Is it not a time-honoured banking practice for a cashier to ensure through a count that the amount written on a cheque, withdrawal or deposit slip matches what he dispenses or receives? Moreover, do banks not handle cash when people pay in cash into accounts? Perhaps, Nigerian banks may soon impose “cash handling charges” for such cash deposits.

Generally, a current account holder is entitled to receive from his bank monthly statements of account through post at the address he stated in his account opening forms free of charge. For a savings account holder, I learnt this is once every three months. Furthermore, in this era of advanced ICT – which Nigerian banks noisily lay claim to – such statements can also be easily emailed to customers at no cost to them. But what do Nigerian banks do? Some print the bank statements in fact but fail to mail them to their customers, probably to avoid postal charges. Upon inquiry, their staffers glibly claim that the statement has been posted to you and, since you have not received it, urge you to apply for a printout which costs between N250 and N500 per page! To get such a free bank statement, a customer has to visit the bank branch where his account is domiciled within the first week of a new month and demand same. This is my grouse with a branch of Zenith Bank Plc where I maintain an account.

At the extreme, some banks do not print the free monthly statements at all; rather, they browbeat their customers into applying and paying between N250 and N500 per page for them. Many Nigerian bank depositors who were kept in the dark over their accounts have narrated sad stories of what they saw when they eventually got their bank statements. Sometimes, account holders see several bank charges with confusing nomenclature in their monthly statements.

Hitherto, GT Bank Plc used to email my monthly bank statements to me but, without warning, it just stopped doing so recently. It only sends sms and email alerts when there is a transaction on my account. Recently, I read on the website www.nairaland.com that some Nigerian banks currently refuse to oblige customers with their account balances at the Customer Service Unit, and insist they check their balances through ATMs or telephone calls to designated numbers. I had dismissed this as untrue, only to confirm it about two weeks ago when I visited a branch of GT Bank Plc in Abuja. Surely, this is an indirect way of coercing customers to use ATM cards. Again, any stranger can now call and know When the wave of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) hit the Nigerian banking shores, banks began to compel their customers to use ATM cards for withdrawals. Many of them introduced several gimmicks under which they imposed many unjustifiable charges on customers, such as monthly charges whether customers use the cards or not. This writer had, in a piece entitled “Are These ATM Charges Approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria?” published in 2008 by some Nigerian tabloids and websites, joined many Nigerians to condemn the ugly trend and urge CBN to address it. But recent events suggest that the CBN may have done nothing to check the ugly trend.

Ikechukwu A. Ogu, a legal practitioner, writes from Central Business District, Abuja. Email: ikechukwuogu@yahoo.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Why Nigeria Needs No Elections In 2011

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Read Time:14 Minute, 23 Second

Nigerians must insist of credible elections. It is the first prerequisite for the turning point that we sought. We know that corruptions, stupidity, senselessness and outright madness dominate Nigerian politics but credible elections remains the most single important avenue to start re-addressing our national woes.

Next in line is the scrapping of the EFCC and its replacement with a genuine, transparent, efficient and neutral body that will zealously pursue investigations and prosecutions of political criminals, looters, fraudsters and others who mismanage public/private funds. The new body must be able to arrest or prosecute anyone irrespective of their positions in the government or society.

When our elections are good and when any kind of political thief at all is sent to locations like kirikiri maximum prison, discipline and sanity will return to our lives. The future will be ready for our children.

However I don’t think Nigeria should have any elections in 2011. Come September the 19th 2010 I will vote again in the Swedish Elections. I voted 4 years ago as well. My voting card has been sent to me by post. I can actually vote before September 19 at some designated centres. But if I wait until the 19th, there will be a lot of people and I must cast my vote latest 1800hr.

Nigeria should probably avoid elections in 2011.

If Elections are conducted in Nigeria in 2011 under the present arrangements of things, political assassinations and kidnappings will rise to new heights. Many saints and lambs will be slaughtered in the survival game of Nigerian do-or-die politics.

Any election that will be conducted in Nigeria must meet international and acceptable standards. Anything short of that must be avoided. The time on our hand between now and when INEC planned to conduct new elections (January-April 2011) is likely too short for Nigeria to achieve the prerequisites for credible elections.

As I write I am convinced that all the political parties are already planning how to stuff ballot boxes with fake election materials. Plans are in top gears in Nigeria to ensure multiple registrations and multiple voting among many other electoral vices.

In 2007, across Nigeria from the Deep Delta to the Hot Deserts of northern Nigeria, PDP chairmen, godfathers, touts and thugs across Nigeria sat in secret locations thumbing on electoral materials. Other political parties fought hard too in this useless game of dirty politics but the machinery of the PDP was too sophisticated in these cheating games plus having Maurice Iwu doing the deeds of the most wicked ones. See how people were sweating in secret locations heavily guarded by men with sophisticated weapons of war and even cutlasses!

Under the present circumstances in Nigeria this feat will repeat itself in 2011. PDP will once again use the machinery of the government to outwit the others. Political madness will continue and Jega will be helpless. He will cook lies like the actors before him who occupied the seat. The problem will not be Jega.

We fail to see that the system in Nigeria have turned all good men and women to vultures and stupid liars. In today’s Nigeria I have no living hero. I am standing alone on my belief and principles of do it well or get out the way! Don’t ignite my anger by reminding me of your favourite internet-popular czar because Obasanjo, Andy Uba and the jet loads of prostitutes and raw dollars are still flying. 

The malpractices associated with our elections must be tackled before new elections. The scenario of stuffing ballot boxes, multiple voting, voting at secret locations, intimidation, assassination connected to elections and as a matter of fact the simultaneous eradication of corruption and the eventual delivery of the dividends of democracy are tied to one thing: credible elections where votes are counted to elect public officers knowing that the votes will be re-counted every 4 years.

If a politician knows that his position is jeopardised if he doesn’t deliver in office, he or she will start to perform before the next voting season. We must ensure at any future election that votes are what bring people into offices and can be used to sweep them away. Until then the intimidation, kidnapping and even assassinations of political opponents and genuine reporters of political affairs will rise and we won’t have performances in offices. Organised corruption will remain our hallmark.

Since we can have a new face for our anticorruption agency after a fine electoral process, then those who loot even after being voted into offices must face judgment. Hopefully the useless immunity clause will be removed by emerging revolutionary minds in our society. Let everyone go to judgement irrespective of their positions.

Nigerians must insist on the removal of the immunity clause after a viable financial corruption agency is established. EFCC is not on my mind. That is just a toothless bulldog whose activities where ruined since Obasanjo’s yeye 3rd third bid. EFCC died with the 3rd term agenda. Wake up gullible people!

What then do we need in 2011?

In 2011 the Ministry of Internal Affairs must step in. That Ministry must work hand in hand with all other public and private institutions in Nigeria to ensure that it makes an appropriate list of Nigerians. The Ministry of Internal Affairs must ensure that every living Nigeria carries an identity card with each person having a specific number. That number will be a key number for the electoral commission.

We must find everyone living in Nigeria and ensure that they carry an identity card. In everyway possible double or multiple registrations must be avoided and punishable with long-term imprisonment. I recommend 15 years minimum.

In 2011 Nigeria must gather together her computer gurus, forensic experts and statisticians who know what figures and numbers represent. This group of people are part of our sources of the hope for the future.

Look around, see the computer gurus in Nigeria. Get the technology, train them if necessary and give them the incentives to allow them face the task without fear or favour. Computer experts and statisticians in Nigeria must rally round the Internal Affairs Ministry and INEC. They should propagate these ideas. They are experts and they know what to do.

Between now and the end of 2011, they must work round the clock to make those missions possible and they must report to the appropriate authorities when some idiots start to rare their ugly heads in multiple registrations.

In 2011 Nigerians must ensure that one major thing happen. This is the radiation of both truth and trust among the citizens-that we can make it if we work together. Our collective aim will be to ensure that this process work. This process will establish everlasting sanity when it comes to identification of individuals and the eventual benefits in elections and other endeavours of life.

I am tired of people saying this is impossible in Nigeria. If this is impossible then it means the black man is not intelligent. It means that he is so foolish that he doesn’t even know what he needs to get himself a decent life and to make his society better for his own benefits. Are we stupid? Are we retarded?

Impossible is nothing! Candidly from my perspective, Nigerians should forget about elections in 2011. I tell you all these assassination will cease. Political violence will vanish once those illiterates, thugs, educated morons and daredevil politicians know that something is on ground to computerise the system-something that will checkmate their atrocities before, during and after elections. They will simmer down. Political manifestos and reasoning can prevail again in Nigeria.

Let each person carry an identity card with peculiar numbers. At the end of 2011 or whatever time our geniuses have finished with the identity card registration processes, INEC should send out voting cards that tally with the identity cards. When a person cast his or her votes, the system automatically records it. And since we have put our geniuses in place at the beginning to avoid double registrations, attempts by people (some will beat the system anyway) to vote twice will be minimal.

But I tell you with the simple finger print technology and dedicated statisticians and forensic experts on ground, there may never be anything called double or multiple registrations. This is where the rule of law, its effectiveness and application come into play.

We must not forget that if we fail in our next election, the black race failed, again! We are then simply dumb and foolish. We will then not be able to protest that we are not intelligent enough to carve our activities and carry them out successfully. If we fail it will go a long way to show that colonisation of the black race was far better!

If we fail like we did in 1959, 1979, 1983, 1993, 1999, 2003, 2007, then take it or leave it Nigerians are very bad species of the black race. If we fail again, then there is something wrong with our cognitive abilities. A thorough anthropological research will be required to verify why we allow the few thoughtless people among us to continue to dictate the pattern and emergence of our political structures. We know that our political display and the outcomes reflected by extreme poverty and diseases for examples have been used as the benchmark to “judge” who we are and how we think.

The turning point for Nigeria is now or never! We have had enough of stupid and useless elections since 1959! Haba ! Ki lo deee!!

Did we pay mugun fees? To whom? Let’s get the ID card scheme and elections right jooo!

My suggestions may not be the most appropriates especially against the backdrop of our extreme diversities of opinions. Our views of life, essence of living and the way we see relationships between humanity, public service and our interplay with nature are too diverse that we have always failed to find common grounds. It’s a dilemma.

Yet I’m convinced there are ways to pursue and execute credible elections that will neutralise all the electoral failures since 1959. We are 140m but democratic successes have been recorded in India where you’ll find more than 1b people.

INEC must ensure that all Nigerian voters are registered not only on paper but on the computer system in all your offices across the nation.

Please don’t give us the excuse that Nigeria is not yet that developed. We are sensible and we must begin to do things in compliance with the present age and technological advancements.

Credible elections after 50 years of waste and hopelessness must happen now or we will never have them.

Postpone those elections until the initial things are done right! Why the rush? Where are we heading with stupid elections?

Put everyone on the database and ensure that the compilations, distribution/collection of voter’s card tally with the finger prints or any other forensic/character recognition feature.

Nigerians should be able to vote even before the election dates to avoid crowding at the voting centres and late voting on the last day.

Apart from the voting centres or tents on the streets, open up the post offices and other special centres for pre voting.

Men and women above 80 years old and people with disabilities should vote before the actual election day if they so wished. Send them special forms with your staff and party representatives in attendance. Provide credible witnesses when these categories of people cast their votes at home or at the hospitals. Don’t tell us you don’t have the possibilities to serve everybody, unless you mean that INEC can’t think of how to solve problems or face tough challenges.

The Electoral Commission must ensure that the election materials are available several weeks in advance. As suggested earlier, let our pre-voting period span at least 2 weeks before the actual voting day.

Once a vote is casted, that person’s name is ticked on the database as “having voted”. Therefore an individual cannot vote twice. INEC’s staff members must be well educated and trusted. Those found wanting should be dismissed immediately or prosecuted if they engaged in criminal manipulations.

When the final count is made, the cumulative total of votes casted must tally with the ticks on the central database in your establishment or at your headquarters.

INEC must function not as a Jega-entity but as an organisation with structures that any dude can mange with minimal intellectual capacity.

INEC must avoid half-baked elections or do-or-die elections just because we must have elections. In 2007 we became a laughing stock in the comity of nations in the name of power transfer. It was one of the biggest shames I’d faced in my life. The black man was reduced to “incapable” to do the right thing. In addition to outstanding stigmatizations, he became the one who can’t count and add.

We want to get it right this time and we don’t want any excuse.

The people should know how the electoral commission is collaborating with the various ministries especially the Internal Affairs’ Ministry.

Tell us how the postal agencies can work with you to ensure that voting cards or papers are delivered to the right persons from age 18 when the time comes.

If it will take 2 years to get everything perfect, please start now. Provide a timeline of what it would take and how Nigerians can have credible elections.

In our next elections, everything associated with violence and stuffing of ballot boxes must be made irrelevant and worthless.

Stuffing of ballot boxes and printing of fake electoral materials will be useless if a person’s number is ticked on the database after casting his or her votes.

Please don’t tell us that we don’t have the technology. We have the money for anything in this country. We can afford 10 presidential jets if we so desire. What is computer technology for Nigeria? Piece of cake!

Nigeria and Nigerians must not go ahead with any crude voting methods. All the political parties are probably now scheming on how to surpass one another with the ballot stuffing. Kidnapping and all forms of madness associated with elections will be reduced or eliminated if the eventual playing field becomes open, clear and non-surmountable by evil machinations now dominant in Nigerian politics.

PDP was dominant in 2007 because they had more access to INEC and the instruments of governance. The order of things must change and the scheming of INEC is the biggest source of checkmate. Nigeria must for once give Africa an example worth emulating.

A neutral INEC with computer based analyses of voting and results by applying state of the art technology will make sure that all those planning to rig are wasting their time and energy.

My arguments about the 2011 elections can be expanded beyond this scope. The bottom line is that what is worth doing at all is worth doing well. In history nearly has never caught a bird.

Please and please no more primitive elections in Nigeria. No more procrastination on the application of computer, information and communication technology in our elections.

If we must shift our elections to make room for the application of the latest technology to ensure that our votes are counted, so be it. We have wasted 50 years of our lives and two generations. This ingredient-a credible election-is a needed stepping stone for the turning point.

It is about time our voted are counted. INEC has an obligation to fulfil one of the things that give us our sense of dignity. The realisation of our fundamental human rights to vote and be voted for since 1959 is back in INEC’s court. Let time not be a hindrance.

The time for wishful thinking should be over. Somehow all the genuine advocates of true democracy and trusted agencies responsible for the protection of human rights and democratic principles must work hand in hand in unity and trust to carry the citizenry along on the need for transparency and accountability in the on going electoral processes.

We have been through wuruwuru, please let us not see jagajaga.

If we fail again this time, I will come back to the intelligence question: how intelligent are we really in solving our problems and taking stands for the essence of our lives?

The solutions to Nigeria’s problems lie on our hands, how we think, how we act. The solutions are collective responsibilities and are multi-faceted. We can rekindle the dead hope of Nigeria.

I am convinced beyond reasonable doubts that a credible/acceptable electoral process is the single most important step forward in healing Nigeria. The entire healing processes are cumbersome and extremely long but results can be achieved when my children’s children arrive if we start now.

 aderounmu@gmail.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Dr. Bukola Saraki Launches Dairy Development Program

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Read Time:2 Minute, 16 Second

Kwara State governor, Dr. Abubabakar Bukola Saraki on Thursday (August 19, 2010) commissioned a Dairy Development Program at Shonga in the Edu local government area of the state. The aim of the program is to make the products of the Shonga dairy consortium more accessible to members of the the public.The program is a joint project between the Kwara State government, WAMCO Campina Friesland (makers of Peak, Three Crowns, and Friso brands of milk), and the Shonga dairy consortium.

Under the program, the Shonga dairy consortium will supply WAMCO Campina Friesland with fresh milk for production purposes. This will be the first fresh milk collection initiative of WAMCO Campina Friesland in 35 years of operation. The Shonga dairy consortium currently has one of the largest dairy farms in the country. It has 850 milking cows, and is capable of producing 60,000 liters of fresh milk per day.

According to the The Managing Director of Friesland Campina WAMCO, Mr. Bob Steetskamp, the program was made possible by the commitment of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, whom he met at a meeting of stakeholders in the Nigerian agricultural sector about 6 months ago. He revealed the that the meeting was a turning point for WAMCO, which decided to embark on the Dairy Development Programme speedily. He expressed the readiness of WAMCO to explore all opportunities to ensure the success of dairy development in Nigeria. He however called on the Feedral Government to provide moral and material support to overcome bureaucratic problems among others.

Speaking at the event, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said the commisioning of the Dairy Development Program further goes to show the commitment of his administration to its commercial agricultural project. According to him, “with the commissioning today, it will further prove to the people that we mean business.” Indeed the Kwara State Government under Dr. Bukola Saraki has been unflagging in its commitment to its commercial agriculture project, leaving nothing to chance in order to ensure its success.

Dr. Saraki said that his administration wanted to demonstrate to the whole country that its policies and programs were achievable. He also called on the Federal government to follow suit by creating an enabling atmosphere to encourage firms to come and invest in the country. He observed with dismay the low quality of milk available for sale in the Nigerian market. He pointed out that the modern milk factory of the Shonga dairy consortium produces ultra-high temperarure (UHT) milk, which is of high quality.

Mr. Jacob Ajekigbe, the chairman of the board of directors (WAMCO) also spoke at the event. He commended the hpst communities for their cooperation and expressed the willingness of WAMCO wo carry the partnership to the next level.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Bukola Saraki Warns Traffic Agency Against Indiscipline

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Read Time:2 Minute, 38 Second

Kwara State Governor Bukola Saraki on Monday warned the newly created Kwara State Road Traffic Management Authority against indiscipline.

Saraki gave the warning while receiving the executive members of the agency in his office in Ilorin.

The governor, who also advised members of the agency to shun all forms of corruption, noted that the warning had become necessary because of the seeming bad image of state traffic departments in the country.

He advised that any act capable of denting the image of the agency and by extension, the state, should be discouraged by KWARTMA, adding that the government would not fail to punish its members for any act of misdemeanor.

He noted that being a critical body in the effort to attract investors into the state, the agency should be above board at all times.

He said, “Since you have a role to play in development, you must be disciplined and corruption-free. You must be honest and transparent with zero tolerance for sleaze.

“This agency will create jobs for our teeming youths. Don’t also forget that you are being paid with the taxpayers’ money. You must therefore exercise caution in dealing with the pubic.”

He advised them to commence an awareness campaign for the public, noting that all traffic offenders must be treated with all fairness and firmness.

Meanwhile, the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, has called for a peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.

Adeyemi, who expressed joy at the cordial relationship between Oyo and Ilorin, stated this when he paid a visit to the governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on Monday.

The Alaafin, who advised Nigerians to note that growth and development could only take place in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, urged them to see one another as brothers.

The monarch refused to speak on the agitation for an Ibadan State, “because I am not here for politics.’’

He noted that the harmony existing among the traditional rulers in the country had assisted in bringing development to the country.

He lauded the governor for his efforts in developing the infrastructural base of the state, adding that part of his mission was to encourage the governor.

Saraki has also urged traditional rulers in the state to always ensure that peace and tranquility reign supreme in their domains preparatory to the 2011 elections.

He made the appeal on Monday at Kaima, Kaima Local Government Area while installing the new Emir of Kaima, Bagidi Kiyaru IV, Alhaji Shehu Omar.

The governor said that was the only way the community could collectively sustain the peaceful atmosphere prevalent in the state.

He reminded the monarch that as the custodian of the culture and tradition of the people, he should jealously guide and guard them.

 Saraki urged the traditional rulers to provide effective leadership to their people so that the legacies of the accelerated development in their community could be sustained .

 Earlier the commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Alhaji Ahmed Makama , had called on all those who contested for the stool of Kaima Emirate to cooperate with the new Emir.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Wole Soyinka’s “The Avoidable Trap Of Cultural Relativism”* – A Comment

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Read Time:6 Minute, 25 Second

I think in order to discuss Wole Soyinka’s speech, (whether I am really qualified and intellectual enough to do this is another question, but I will try nevertheless) as above, it is necessary to understand what Cultural Relativism implies. The first use of the term, “Cultural Relativism” was around 1924 when Alan Locke described Robert Lowe’s “extreme cultural relativism”, and since then there have been numerous debates between cultural relativism and universal human rights.

It is normal to assume that any intelligentsia from the so-called Third World will find the philosophy of cultural relativism abhorrent and definitely unacceptable. This is because it is the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be understood in terms of his or her own culture. Some school of thought also believe it to be an undeniable fact; moral rules and social institutions evidence a surprising cultural and historical inconsistency.

However, there is a conflict with those who hold universal human rights very dear, and this is evident from the Wole Soyinka’s treatise. However, the Nobel Laureate made no attempt to reconcile the competing claims of cultural relativism and universal human rights, and indeed is wary of the claims made by the proponents and promoters of the former.

The eminent, Nobel Laureate Professor also outlined the issue of “Cultural Diversity” of the human, which is of course an undeniable and acknowledged fact. Human beings are diverse and hence we have for example, blacks and whites, Africans and Asians, and even amongst Africans, we have Nigerians and South Africans, and furthermore, within Nigeria, we have Yorubas, Igbos and others.

To acknowledge other people’s diversity is a good thing and this, as is increasingly evident to all, should ultimately bring about the peaceful co-existence of diverse cultures and people in the world. However, the danger, as Wole Soyinka pointed out, is in the usurpation of the cultural diversity by the proponents of cultural relativism, despite the fact that they are mutually exclusive philosophies.

This has then led to a distortion of the principles of universal human rights, even as imperfect as it is. And perhaps, it is because of this imperfection that cultural relativists have been able to exploit the weakness

Furthermore, the essay pointed out the how the philosophies of cultural relativism could be distorted to endorse certain human differences which are inherent in this world, and then used to justify certain barbarisms which we have experienced since the beginning of time. But then, we know that all ideas, philosophies and religious creeds could be so distorted even by the most devoted of practitioners of these creeds. We know how the holy books of The Bible and The Koran have been distorted for largely personal reasons, or to justify hatred, killings, etc. It is the same way that cultural relativism has been, and is still being warped today, and will probably continue for a very long time.

The essay again asserted that cultural relativism has created an environment in which diverse views or opinions on various cultural, or rather socio-cultural issues in the society are refused or totally ignored, such that dissent is not permitted.  This has therefore led to dictatorship, discrimination and even state-sanctioned genocide. An example of the latter that comes to my mind is the “ethnic cleansing” that happened when the former Yugoslavia broke up.

Diversity of culture and human rights are better presented without the baggage of cultural relativism. All humans, as the essay/speech pointed out, have rights by virtue of their humanity and those rights cannot be conditioned by gender or national or ethnic origin.  Also, we know that human rights as it exists universally are the highest moral rights, so no rights can be subordinated to another person (e.g. a husband) or an institution (e.g. the state). This is in diametric opposition to the philosophy of cultural relativism.

One could therefore see the antagonism of human rights proponents and supporters to the theories of cultural relativism.

Personally, I believe, and this is also reflected very visibly in the essay/speech, that cultural relativism, if we are not careful, is leaning more towards accepting the inequality of the races as a natural phenomenon, and therefore promotes racism. The essay also presupposes that it is this doctrine that could have been responsible for ethnic and religious problems and occurrences we are having all over the world today, and whose proponents are vigorously trying to push down our throats, especially in the so-called Third World or developing countries and economies of the world.

My own take on this is this. I am definitely not a fan or follower of the ideals or philosophy of cultural relativism. However, with a little bit of research to get more knowledge about the topic, I have come to realise that it is possible that both sides of the debate on cultural relativism and universal human rights are manipulated to be made reciprocally exclusive and both sides make claims that are not only valid but reconcilable.

From the point of view of someone whose people are always on the receiving end of injustice, discrimination, inequality, etc, (that is, Africans), Wole Soyinka is right to be wary of a doctrine which instead of promoting equality and dignity of the races (that is Human Rights), seems to be doing the opposite while couching the deed in a way that seems acceptable to everybody, and in fact is being promoted in high places around the world.

However, the fact remains that Human Rights, as we have it defined today, are not universal, but predicated on Western moral values which might not necessarily be adaptable to, say, someone in Botswana or Thailand, and therefore should not be imposed as model on non-Western societies in disregard of those non-Western societies’ historical and economic progress and in disregard of their cultural differences and perceptions of what is right and wrong.

Universalism holds that more “primitive” cultures will eventually evolve to have the same system of law and rights as Western cultures. Cultural relativists hold an apposite, but similarly rigid viewpoint, that a traditional culture is not changeable.

This then reflected what I have pointed out above that universalism is modelled after only the Western viewpoint, disregarding other cultures and in fact denigrating other cultures as inferior. This is racism of the highest order.

As again pointed out in the speech by Wole Soyinka, cultural relativism has great problems and potential for abuse, however, I submit that universalism or universal human rights in its current state is not the ideal solution. Why, for example, if we have an African King, who has an advisory council of 12 senior chiefs, this system is any less representative than the supposedly more liberal Western societies?

I think the challenge to moralists and proponents of both concepts is to “marry” the two viewpoints or philosophies or ideologies to find an ideal solution or a common ground for the betterment of the society at large.  We still need to take into consideration such issues as efficacy of international laws, international system of human rights, promotion and protection of human rights, and state compliance.

However, if cultural tradition or cultural relativism alone governs State observance of international standards, then widespread disrespect, abuse and violation of human rights would be given legitimacy, and these I think, is the crux of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s essay.

 

*Wole Soyinka, 2008. “The Avoidable Trap Of Cultural Relativism”. Speech on the occasion of the second edition of the Geneva Lecture Series, Geneva, 10 December 2008.

 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Helping the Nigerian Economy Stay in Shape

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Read Time:5 Minute, 51 Second
In the most important speech of his life, the moment that would launch a Titanic battle affecting the lives of ordinary citizens and the economy, that could define his presidency, restore badly eroded public faith in the political system ability to serve people, and redeem a promise more than forty nine years in the making to provide good economic policies. President Goodluck Jonathan made a promised of change in political and economic system of our nation.
‘Wise men know that change is part of necessary process which societies must pass if they are to grow and survived in improved state. Wiser men know that change has other faces whose influence might well lead to the improvishment of the very society we wish to nourish’. Nigerians have learned from bitter experiences not to take their leaders at their word. The phrase ‘credibility gap’ entered into their language with Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP); the phenomena grew with every successive presidents. From Vission 2010 of Sani Abacha, Olusegun Obasanjo privatisation, to Yar’adua seven point agenda, Nigerians have been disillusioned again and again and again.
I’d like to make two points to open the discussion, one is general and one is specific. The general point I want to make is that I think profound change has happened in societies when essentially people understand that the cost of staying with the present situations is greater than the cost of change. The specific point I want to make is we’ve always known where we are going, but we don’t know how exactly we would get there. This is a time for profound change, profound opportunity, and profound dislocation and uncertainty.
A lot of Nigerians are facing the future with fair. They don’t know if they can trust their government or the so called corporate Nigerians, and private institutions. Because, they are not just faced with poverty, but an extreme poverty which goes beyond the World Bank narrow definition to mean low income. Nigerians poverty is beyond that, is about too many people having little access to health care, basic literacy, to sanitary arrangements or clean water and spending their lives fighting morbidity often succumbing to premature mortality.
Since independence, Nigeria’s economic policies under successive administration were seldom subjected to critical public discussion, an important ingredient of a good public policy. Most of our previous administration was under military regimes, which has no claim
to popular mandate. Only the last eleven years held hope for democracy as a system of government in Nigeria. Dictionary.com (2010), defined democracy as the government by the people; in which the supreme power is vested on them and a society characterized by social justice, equity, and fairness.
The forthcoming general elections in Nigeria will provide us opportunity for a new beginning, including; a fundamental shift of our economic policies, especially policies that affects our national cohesion and social harmony. However, Nigerians seems to be missing the essence of democracy. What we refer in Nigeria as dividends of democracy are constructing buildings without libraries, laboratories, quality teachers and more importantly student intake with adequate preparation or building hospitals without quality doctors, nurses, drugs, and equipment.
At the centre and heart of democracy is the opportunity it provides for us to discuss publicly and openly, the government policy of our nation, especially the economic policy direction of the nation, which determines the question of social justice- the ultimate objective of all decent societies. Social justice cannot be achieved by concentrating our minds on power rotation or zoning, but only by reducing and eliminating poverty and inequality.
For a democracy, our reforms of the last eleven years and their implementation might as well have been dictated by the politburo of a communist party! It is formulated and executed through top down imposition by a group of few styling itself as a technocracy not constrained by politics because the teams are always answerable to the president and not the people. But in a democracy, policies that determine the future wellbeing- the social and political stability of society should be in the realm of politics and be subjected to full public discussion.
The issue of public discussion and social participation is central to the making of a good policy within a democratic framework. We should begin this now, in the run-up to the next set of elections due in few months. It is for us all to determine the direction of the society we want to build and live in.
Societies and situations differ and the answers will be different in different countries, but, luckily, for us there is accumulated evidence of over a century of various reforms strategies conceived and implemented all over the world and from which we can learn some useful and practical lessons. These reforms have been implemented in the developed economies, developing economies, and transition economies.
Those involve in managing our economy cannot be unaware of the change of professional, academia and economist opinion from the orthodoxy of the Washington consensus. That free market economy alone will not solve all the problems. The challenge facing us in Nigeria today, is balancing the acts. To decide where to draw the line; how to balance public and private spheres: public good and private interest: visible hand of the government and regulators: the invisible hand of the market-the balance between the government and the market.
In view of this, our major task is to order our priorities. In the first instance, we have to build institution of state; a professional and independent judiciary: a professional an incorruptible force, and well trained and professional civil service. Every economic model requires an effective state for it’s to flourish. An effective state will then clearly stipulate the appropriate legal and regulatory regimes with a strong but equitable tax regime. We need an active effective state that will regulate the activities of the market to check the abuses of special interest corporate groups and financial interest. This is not to stifle private initiative but to ensure that the private sector does not escape regulation.
Way Forward
De-Colonise our colonised minds. The economic policies should be appropriately sequenced with objective of combining the pursuit of sustainable growth and human development strategy by devoting massive resources to education (education is a prerequisite for prosperity), and healthcare in order to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. In short, the government should put people at the centre of its reforms, economic policies, and development that would be about transforming their lives, not just transforming economies or sterile government statistics.
Growth should be about people and their lives and not statistical GDP growth figures. We should move from policies of trickle-down economies to a strategy based on a comprehensive development with equity which would enable us build a society where morality, justice and fairness would be an altered by time.
Suleiman Nadabo,
Msc Strategic IT Management,
Stockholm University,
Stockholm, Sweden.
sl_nadabo@hotmail.com

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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Political assassination in Nigeria

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Read Time:7 Minute, 34 Second
OF all the political developments that currently bother me, the one most difficult for me to analyse and comprehend appears be the new regime of political assassination in the south-east zone of Nigeria. General Sani Abacha’s junta first professionalised political assassination, and then developed it into a systematic method of fighting the “enemies” of the state in general and the supporters of Chief Moshood Abiola in particular. After the death of the general and the inauguration of Obasanjo’s government, the nation enjoyed a brief assassination-free period. Then the evil regime returned- thus confirming the thesis that a political weapon, once it emerges out of historical circumstances, does not simply disappear, and is not withdrawn at will.

However vigorous the campaigns against the weapon, however righteous or self-righteous our opposition to it may be, a political weapon disappears only when the circumstances that brought it into being, the need which nourishes it, and the conditions which makes its employment possible disappear. Thus, whereas it is debatable whether or not the weapon of aircraft hijack employed in Nigeria in October 1993 has disappeared, we know that the weapon of political assassination in Nigeria did not come as an aberration. It is, in fact, still being fashioned and developed.

I am of course, not the only one bothered by the regime of political assassination. But what bothers me more is the peculiarity of this regime in the South-East. I can, without being cynical, advise a Nigerian politician who is scared by the spectre of political assassination to disengage publicly from politics, and be seen to have done so. But then, in the South-East, especially in Enugu and Anambra states, non-politicians are being assassinated politically. Chief Victor Nwankwo, who was assassinated in Enugu a couple of weeks ago, was not a politician in the Nigerian sense of the term: hustling for office – appointive or elective – and “chopping” from politics. However, although Victor was not a politician, he was political in the sense that his thinking, his actions, his ideas and his pronouncements were all informed and influenced by politics, radical politics, to be specific; He was a brilliant intellectual, engineer and publisher. His contemporaries say he was very brilliant as a student. I can also confirm that he was a serious human being. I first met Victor in Enugu in 1990 when I was a guest of his elder brother, Arthur Nwankwo. I had come to attend events marking Chinua Achebe’s 60th birthday in Nsukka and to negotiate the publication of a manuscript by The Fourth Dimension the management of which Arthur was then handing over to Victor.

Professor Chimere Ikoku, assassinated in the same city, Enugu, a fortnight after the elimination of Victor Nwankwo, was not a politician. However, as an academic and intellectual, he belonged to the radical political tendency. In other words, he was political. I first met Ikoku in Jos in May 1976, at a meeting of a national committee of solidarity with the people of South Africa then fighting the apartheid regime. Professor Ikoku chaired the meeting and I acted as Secretary in the absence of the substantive Secretary. We, on the left, celebrated the appointment of Chimere Ikoku as Nigeria’s first leftist University Vice-Chancellor. Others have since followed, including the latest: Professor Akpan H. Ekpo of the University of Uyo. A few months before Nwankwo and Ikoku were murdered, armed thugs invaded a prayer ground at Enugu. The priest can be described the way that I have described the two murdered compatriots, that is, he is political and radical, but not partisan. The priest, I think, escaped unhurt, but some worshippers were reportedly killed and others wounded. Several other priest, I understand, have recently escaped assassination in Enugu. A couple of weeks ago, Anambra State witnessed the murder, in Onitsha, of a prominent lawyer and his wife.

 

I may attempt a further description of the frightening phenomenon that now characteristics politics in parts of the South-East, including Enugu and Anambra States. We remember Ken Saro-Wiwa, the radical writer and minority rights activist, a highly political but not-partisan fighter, who was executed by General Sani Abacha seven years ago, in November 1995. Saro-Wiwa was offered large sums of money to keep quiet and betray his people. He refused. He was offered a big and lucrative position in government. He refused. He was blackmailed. He called the bluff of the blackmailers. He was threatened. He asked the faceless agents to go to hell. Having exhausted all possible means of calling Saro-Wiwa “to order”” but without success” the forces against which he was battling decided he must die. And he died. If the opportunity of the “Ogoni Four” had not offered itself for use in carrying out the death sentence on Saro-Wiwa, other opportunities would have been found, or created, by forces whose power, while it lasted, was second only to that of God.

Although he was not interested in coming to power through a coup or otherwise, Ken Saro-Wiwa was considered by the Abacha junta to be more dangerous than opposition political leaders and coup-tested, but disloyal, army officers. Why? Because Saro-Wiwa’s ideas and messages went deep into the foundations of the civil society and some state institutions. As Karl Marx would say, Saro-Wiwa’s ideas were becoming a powerful weapon. A coup plotting army officer and his collaborators can be arrested and executed. The matter may end there. An ordinary politician can be defeated or rigged out of an election. The matter may also end there. But the “danger” represented by someone like Saro-Wiwa cannot be easily excised. It is deep, pervasive and “poisonous”. And you know how poison moves. The current wave of political assassination in the South-East can be likened to the Saro Wiwa question.

The question arises why has politics in the South-East produced the Saro-Wiwa question? In other words, why has political assassination of non-partisan radicals become so prominent in the South-East? Or put differently, why has the conservative political right become so desperate in the South-East? If I restrict myself to the level of politics and the state, a provisional answer can be given. The Eastern power bloc was destroyed during the crisis and civil of (1966-1970), leaving Nigeria with only two power blocs – the Western and the Northern. The situation subsists. But the struggle to reconstitute the power bloc in the East, with the Igbo ethnic group as core, has been going on since the end of that war and the re-integration of defeated Biafra into the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The struggle is between the political forces in support of this reconstitution and those opposed to it. Of course, there are political forces which, for various reasons, are neither here nor there. Most of those fence-sitters are opportunists seeking to benefit from both sides. The whole argument over Igbo presidency is an aspect of the struggle for, or against, the reconstitution of an Eastern power bloc. If the dividing line appears confusing to you, then seek out the political opportunities for explanations. And in doing this you must distinguish between revolutionary partisans of a truly equal and united Nigeria and opportunists who seek accommodation in slave situation.

Whereas before Olusegun Obasanjo became president, the struggle was not altogether a do-or-die affair, it has now become so. And whereas before Obasanjo it was not an either-or question, today it is. Several Igbo politicians argue that you are either in support of the historical project, or you are against it; that you cannot eat from both sides. Those who are against the emergence of the power bloc seek federal support to hold on to the control of their states, while trading away any claim which the Igbo mainstream politicians make on the centre. Those in favour want to establish their hegemony in the East as a way of strengthening their claim on the leadership of the centre. I think the group opposed to the emergence of an Eastern power bloc is the one fashioning and using the weapon of political assassination. It would appear that there is a support for my thesis in the press statement which Arthur Nwankwo, brother of the slain Victor Nwankwo, released after the latter’s burial at Ajali, Anambra State. This support, I think, I saw, at least, in the list of the government and state agencies Arthur indicted for complicity in the murder.

In conclusion, let me make two quick points. As I recalled in this column a couple of weeks ago, the Austrian philosopher, Karl Popper, posed the question of how to construct a state such that governments can be changed by a majority vote, without violence, without bloodshed, and before an incumbent government does too much harm. We may ignore Popper’s class prejudices and reflect on his question. Secondly, we should try to make a distinction between victims of political violence in general and victims of deliberate political assassination.

April 2003

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

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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