Nigeria: Ikemba Ojukwu’s Conditional Endorsement of Prof Iwu

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It’s taking many Nigerians 40 years to understand every statement Ojukwu made. It’s taking many Nigerians 40 years to comprehend the truth in what Ojukwu negotiated at Aburi (Aburi Accord), which Gowon and the Hausa/Fulani oligarchs did not allow to see the light of the day then. What Ojukwu saw and pointed out at Aburi, is staring the people of Plateau in the face now. Ojukwu warned about these (injustice) 40 years ago and nobody understood him then. What Ojukwu saw as the solution to Nigeria’s problem in 1967, is what Gaddafi recommended for Nigeria in 2010. The point is that it will take dumbbells in Nigeria almost half a century to decipher whatever the Ikemba of Nnewi said. Anybody without (discerning) intellectual acumen, should not criticise Ojukwu, because he or she might end up making a fool of him/herself. The Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, paid a visit to Ojukwu the other day in Enugu. Iwu took the Resident Electoral Commissioners for Enugu, Anambra and Abia states during the visit to Ikemba at his Casa Bianca residence.

The visit was important for Iwu because his electoral commission has been criticized by so many Nigerians, civil organizations, political parties and labour unions, who all want him not to be reappointed for a second term. Their grouse against Iwu was based on his alleged unimpressive conduct of elections in the country which had foisted corrupt and visionless people in public office across the country, beside the fact that most of the elections in which winners were declared have been overturned by the courts for various reasons. Many more elections will still be declared void 3 years after. During the visit, Ojukwu, in the presence of the National Chairman of his party, Chief Victor Umeh, had a closed door meeting with his visitors, for a long time, before journalists were invited to cover the aspect of the visit they wanted the public to know. Those blaming Ojukwu should know that he must have dressed Iwu and his commissioners down behind that closed door. My people say that “it’s not everything a palm wine tapper sees up there that he comes down to narrate”. Punch told us that Iwu expressed his gratitude to Ojukwu for the roles he played in the run up to the Anambra State governorship election, particularly his call on the people to come out and exercise their civil obligations. He noted that the call contributed in no small measure to the success of the election as it helped in dousing tension. In Iwu’s words: “The election turned out to be one of the best as it captured the people’s intention and it was the first time losers would congratulate the winner”. Responding, Ojukwu said the commission had charted a new pattern which should be followed for the deepening of the nation’s democracy. He (Ojukwu) said that he would support the INEC chairman for another term in office if he continued to conduct credible elections in the country. Ojukwu also lauded Iwu for the “peaceful, transparent and open” Anambra governorship election which he described as one of the freest elections ever held in the country. He also assured Iwu of his support if he continued in the pattern of the Anambra governorship election. Journalists who were taken aback by Ojukwu’s softened posture on Iwu pointedly asked him if he was actually endorsing his visitor for another term in office, to which he responded. “Everybody knows that I am not afraid to stand on any position I take. I did not endorse Iwu for another term. What I said is that if he continues to conduct credible elections in the country, I will support him for another term.” The National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria and many Nigerians have lambasted Ojukwu for his conditional support for Iwu’s re-appointment.

Those criticising Ojukwu are ignorant of Igbo culture. A stranger, on his journey, cannot enter Onyeigbo’s house or compound to ask for the toilet or drinking water without getting what he/she asked for. Ojukwu is the “father” of Ndiigbo; Iwu went to him for his blessing. Check the distance between Umuahia, where Iwu went on an official duty and Ojukwu’s house, where he (Iwu) went for the sage’s blessing. It was just like a son going to a father for a blessing. A wise father does not scold his child in the open, no matter how wayward he/she is. A wise father does not with-hold his blessing from his child, no matter whatever that child did wrong in the past. A child runs to a father for protection, whenever he/she gets into trouble outside. A father’s love for his children will always be there. Some of us are fathers or mothers; we’ve children with different qualities/characteristics, some are more intelligent or more reserved than others, still we love and help them equally, no matter the characteristics they exhibit. Good parents even do lend more helping hands to those children who’re struggling or who’re overwhelmed in one particular task or the other, so that they can meet up with others. My people say that “a person cannot because he didn’t sell what he took to the market, decides to abandon the ware there (in the market)”. Ojukwu might have been a party to the 2007 lawsuit against INEC for declaring Yar’Adua president when it was obvious that the election wasn’t transparent. 2007 to 2010 is like a light year for an elder; as we grow older, we become wiser. Ojukwu has accumulated wisdom as each second passed, Ojukwu is now older and wiser; that was why, he had to bless Iwu by supporting his re-appointment, if he continues to conduct credible elections. Anybody might accuse Ojukwu of being parochial, but no father will come out in the open to admonish his own child. In a situation where Ndiigbo are looking for emancipation after the war that drew them backward, condemning one of their own who has managed to crawl into national limelight, no matter how awkward, is not the act of a father. This writer had condemned Ojukwu few years back for what he did or did not do during the war, but, that was when I was younger, now I’m older and wiser, I can never condemn my ethnic father again, more especially now that we’ve learnt that Biafra did not capitulate (was not defeated) as we were meant to believe. Now we know that some Igbo prodigals betrayed the Biafran cause which led to the collapse of the lofty dreams. Achuzia told us more about all that happened during the war. Please open the link provided and read: (Danjuma instigated the killing of Ironsi, Fajuyi –Joe Achuzia )We learnt that few Igbos tricked Ojukwu by asking him to go to Ivory Coast to scout for help for the Biafran cause, not knowing that they just wanted to ease him (Ojukwu) out in order to hand over Biafra back to Nigeria. We learnt that these Igbo saboteurs were compromised because Nigeria promised them huge amount, if they succeed in easing Ojukwu out of Biafra. When they succeeded in convincing Ojukwu to leave for Ivory Coast, these Igbo prodigals hurriedly handed Biafra back to Nigeria without remorse and not in defeat. That was why Biafran soldiers were allowed to keep (go home) with their weapons, because a defeated people will never leave with their weapon, as disarming is the first thing a defeated army will experience. Ojukwu was so incensed by the betrayal that he has refused to reconcile with some of the sell-outs till this day. Ojukwu defended Iwu because a good Igbo father will never admonish his wayward child when strangers are watching, but, will do that within the four walls of his house or compound. That’s why Ndiigbo say that first of all, a chicken to be picked by the hawk should be saved, then at home, the chicken will be blamed for not watching its steps. I’m sure Ojukwu, as a wise father, has told Iwu where he “erred”, behind closed door, and must have also told him to go and err no more. Iwu is incompetent and overtly partisan, but, almost all his predecessors were also accused as such. Chief Eyo E. Esua (1964-66), Chief Michael Ani (1976-79), Justice Victor Ovie-Whiskey (1980-83); Prof. Eme Awa (1987-89), Prof. Humphrey Nwosu (1989-93), Amb. Prof. Okon Edet Uya (1993); Chief Sumner Dagogo-Jack (1994-1998); Justice Ephraim Akpata (1998-2000), Dr. Abel Guobadia (2000-2005) were all accused of one thing or the other. The problem of electoral fraud and malpractice do not necessarily lie in a person heading the electoral body, but, with the system. Iwu might not be the only cause of Nigeria’s recent electoral nightmares; even if we remove him and in his place, a new national electoral umpire, whether from north, south-south or west, is appointment, and with still the old system/order in place, the person would falter. Unless the electoral system is genuinely overhauled (reformed), even a saint, as the INEC Chairman, cannot guarantee free and fair elections. If the electoral institution is well-reformed, a corrupt umpire cannot influence the outcome of the election and gets away with it. Part of the problem here are the system, culture, institution, and not only the individuals. Let’s put in place a strong and incorruptible electoral system, then free and fair elections would then become part of our political culture. Prof. Humphrey Nwosu might have conducted the most free and fair election in Nigeria’s history, but, due to the corrupt system inherent then/now, the election was not allowed to stand. The point is that Ojukwu’s support for Iwu’s re-appointment (if he continues to conduct credible elections) is an opinion. Everybody is entitled to his/her (as long as no insult is added). The acting president might not heed it as he has already made up his mind to replace him (Iwu). Moreover, now that USA has joined in the call for Iwu’s removal, I don’t think that he has any chance. We learnt that Iwu, as the INEC Chairman, is as good as gone, because, the presidency has shortlisted Wole Soyinka; Emeka Anyaoku; Attahiru Jega; Jibril Ibrahim; Ishola Williams, and Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) as his replacement. Let’s us also blame the political players for election mess.

The INEC commissioner for Kwara State, said recently that the inordinate ambition of the Nigerian politicians to grab power at all cost is the springboard of all electoral fraud in the country, adding that INEC should not be blamed for the flaws inherent in the conduct of elections in the country, adding that the commission’s personnel represented an insignificant proportion of the nation’s population. In his words: “The problem with our system is mainly that of politicians who recruit these jobless touts to cause confusion during elections so that they can falsify results in their favour in the ensuing chaos. If you blame INEC for election rigging and snatching of ballot boxes and other things that happen at the polling stations, I will really be surprised. But if you blame INEC for conducting shoddy elections, I would understand why, it is a fault of INEC.” Also, a legal practitioner, Steve Adehi, said the blame for the nation’s problems should be laid at the doorsteps of politicians and not the INEC. He therefore, cautioned politicians not to truncate the nation’s democracy through their selfish agenda. Obienyem wrote: “Past elections in our country did not pass one enduring test. In 2003 and 2007 what took place in Nigeria were not even qualified to be called elections. In 2007, for example, voting did not take place anywhere in Anambra and yet results were announced and a winner declared. At that time, all the prominent people in the State, The Obi of Onitsha, the Catholic and Anglican Bishops in the State, Prof. Dora Akunyili, and others did not vote. Even the Governor stayed in his polling booth for the whole day but could not vote, yet at the end of the day a winner was announced. With the Anambra poll, INEC has made a 360 degrees turn. If all politicians in Nigeria will, like INEC, make such revolutionary changes, Nigeria will become a better place. It will therefore amount to intellectual dishonesty if we fail to commend INEC for that. Ojukwu is not afraid of his own voice, his support for Iwu is conditional and he made it clear: “I did not endorse Iwu for another term. What I said is that if he continues to conduct credible elections in the country, I will support him for another term.” If indeed we are all for credible poll, Ojukwu’s statement should be taken as a model. Wisdom is not the ability to write florid prose, but the ability to see things from richer, wider perspective; this is what Ojukwu has going for him. Some Nigerians may stay in their offices and condemn what Ojukwu said or did not say, but they may be too myopic to see things from his rich experience, the perspective of wisdom. I was reading Will Durant’s Story of Civilization, where he described an ancient Emperor who did not append his signature for the execution of the condemned persons until he had fasted for three days. We shall soon ban people from sitting in judgment over what Ojukwu said or did not say until they fast for seven days and get inspiration to understand Ojukwu’s view points. When St Paul underwent conversion, did he not end up as the foremost Christian? Granted that INEC may not have lived up to expectations due principally to the meddlesomeness of politicians, today, going by Anambra poll, INEC has shown very strong determination to cleanse itself and we must all acknowledge this. The way it is now, with our support INEC has the potential of becoming the best electoral body if as Ojukwu said, it conducts future elections the way it conducted Anambra election.” Ojukwu did not give an outright endorsement of Iwu for a second term as he attached a condition to it, but, as a father, he did what he was supposed to, at that particular time. THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!! TIT BITS *I’m elated that goodnews can come out of Nigeria. For those who haven’t read this: Britain’s Brainiest Family is Black/Nigerians and has 9-Year-Old High School-Bound Twins. According to the story: “Paula and Peter Imafidon are just like any other 9-year-olds. They love laughing, playing on the computer and fighting with each other. What sets these twins apart from their peers, though, is that they are, hands down, prodigies who are about to enter high school and make British history as the youngest to do so.

The precocious London-based tykes, known as the “Wonder Twins,” floored academics a year ago when they aced University of Cambridge’s advanced mathematics exam. They are the youngest students to ever pass the test. The future little scholars’ father, Chris, and mother, Ann, immigrated to Britain from Nigeria more than 30 years ago and have actually been down this prodigy route before with their three older children, who are also overachievers. The couple’s oldest daughter, Anne-Marie, is now 20, but at age 13, she won a British government scholarship to take undergraduate courses at John s Hopkins University in Baltimore. Christiana, 17, their other daughter, is the youngest student ever to study at the undergraduate level in any British University at the age of 11. Youngest daughter, Samantha, now 12, passed two rigorous high school–level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of 6. She mentored the twins to pass their own math secondary school test when they were also 6. Even with all of this, the proud dad denies that there is any particular genius in his family. He does credit his children’s success to the Excellence in Education program for disadvantaged inner-city youth. “Every child is a genius,” he said. Once you identify the talent of a child and put them in the environment that will nurture that talent, then the sky is the limit. Look at Tiger Woods or the Williams sisters — they were nurtured. You can never rule anything out with them. The competition between the two of them makes them excel in anything they do. The darling duo is competitive to say the least, and this is what fuels them to out-achieve each other. Paula said, “I am excited to pass, but I should have got higher than Peter.” As far as career paths Paula says she wants to be a math teacher, while Peter aspires to be prime minister one day.” *General Secretary of Lutheran World Federation (LWF), Dr Ishmael Noko, has said that the cycle of bloodshed and the recent killings in Northern Nigeria contradicted the leading role the country had played in conflict resolution and peace promotion in Africa. *Latest report from the International Maritime Bureau Piracy Reporting Centre in London, United Kingdom shows that Nigeria is now next to Somalia in the list of countries whose waters have been invaded by pirates. Specifically, the IMB report showed that only 20 percent of the attacks carried out around the Lagos waters are reported. It said that Nigeria ranks second in attacks with 40 reported incidents including 27 vessels boarded, five hijackings and 39 crew members kidnapped. The bureau explained that approximately 100 unconfirmed incidents occurred in Nigeria last year. Under-reporting from vessels involved in incidents in the Nigerian waters remains a great concern,” it said. It was learnt that the reported attacks were just the tip of the iceberg as many operators are reluctant to file reports due to commercial pressures or fear of reprisals. While only 20 attacks were officially reported to IMB in 2009, information received from external sources indicates that at least 50 per cent of attacks on vessels, mostly related to the oil industry, have gone unreported,” said the bureau. It was gathered that the acting president had been miffed by reports that the United States of America (USA) has downgraded Nigeria’s efforts at fighting money laundering and financial crimes. The report by the US agency in charge of financial crimes and corruption had indicated that Nigeria’s battle against corruption and money laundering has nosedived in recent years and that there could be a link in government’s lukewarm attitude to fighting illicit sources of wealth. The acting president was said to have carefully studied the situation since he assumed office and had concluded that renewed efforts at fighting corruption could enhance Nigeria’s image and ensure development. Sources said that the acting president had called the chairman of the EFCC immediately he assumed office and assured her of his government’s readiness to fight corruption. A source quoted Jonathan as telling Waziri to get cracking or risk losing her job: “The acting president did not mince words when he summoned the EFCC boss.

He told her to get busy, get cracking and get results. Muhammadu Buhari captured the essence of our time when he said: “Nigeria is witnessing an awful institutional collapse similar to the conditions that preceded the failure of Somalia, yet with all the potentials of being worse than the Somali experience”. *We learnt Next Newspapers that there is a massive hunt for James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, in connection with recently launched investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on his role in the illegal disposal of about 500 million units of Delta State-owned bank shares. The Paper wrote that Mr. Ibori, who is wanted for questioning over some of his actions while he was governor of the oil rich state from 1999 to 2007, has ‘disappeared’ and has not been seen in the past two weeks. That Mr. Ibori has cut off communication with all but few associates and relatives. “It is believed that he may be communicating with the Delta State governor, who is related to him. Indeed, Mr. Ibori, who was hitherto very visible in government circles, has suddenly become very scarce. It was not uncommon to find Mr. Ibori in the company of Vincent Ogbulafor, chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the presidential villa, in the era of the Yar’Adua presidency. However, he has not been seen in the State House in recent times. Asides the 107 count-charges brought against Mr. Ibori by the EFCC in 2007, the commission is preparing fresh charges against the former governor following a petition signed by some leading citizens of his state”. Please if you know where Ibori must be, inform the authorities. The crooks are running away or going into hiding now that Ribadu is coming home. It’s now quieter in Nigeria. Thanks Mr. Acting President for saving Nigerians from the noise and tramples of some of the corrupt ones, by your plan to bring Ribadu back. That’s the goodnews.

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