PDP: New wine in Old bottle by Abdullahi Yinusa

  

OPINION

Given the party’s sordid record for the long period, it was in power, one had expected a more contrite and reformed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Having fought tooth and nail to protect what is left of the self-acclaimed largest political fraternity in Africa after it was booted out of power in 2015; one had expected the PDP and its chieftains to be more sober, reflective and very mindful of their actions and inactions. Sadly, like the proverbial leopard that never changes her spots, the party has so far not displayed any sign of genuine repentance.

For a party that left Nigeria in tatters, ruins and extreme lack, the just concluded non-elective convention it organised in Abuja was an opportunity for her to redeem its image and represent itself to Nigerians. Instead, it abused, misused and squandered the opportunity as party men mounted the podium at the Eagle Square to rationalise the larcenous acts perpetrated by the party in the recent past.

The event was an avenue for the party to apologise to Nigerians and furnish us with reasons why Nigerians should give them another chance. We expected them to storm the convention venue a completely changed and reformed party members. Regrettably, that wasn’t the case as they showed no sense of remorse as seen in their proclamations.In all, the outing fell far short of what some of us who are advocates of multi-party democracy and credible opposition had anticipated. The absence of credible, viable and virile opposition isn’t healthy for any democratic setup. It emboldens the ruling party to ride roughshod without recourse to constitutional stipulations. Democracy thrives better in an environment where the actions and inactions of both state and non-state actors are interrogated and made to align with those of the state.

Speakers at the event took turn to foul the air. They thumbed their chests. They boasted. They displayed sheer arrogance and empty pride all in the bid to spite the APC led government. They all sounded like people with pristine public records. Even those who turned every available space in their houses to bank vaults had a thing or two to say.

Surprisingly, the very man, former President Goodluck Jonathan, under whose watch political appointees stole the country blind was the first to remind us of the very dirty past we are trying hard to put behind us. President Jonathan still doesn’t see anything wrong in all that happened during his reign. He still thinks all the huge cash and assets recovered from a number of his key aides are rumours put together to ridicule him

The annoying thing about these characters is the bravado they often display each time they appear in the media. It is a clear case of an armed robber openly displaying his loot in the presence of his victim. Where is the place of shame in all of these?

The party is more concerned about wresting power from the APC than building a strong, formidable and virile party. The PDP should seek to evolve measures that would help her maintain reasonable stability first.

Signs that there are still cracks within the party are quite glaring. So, instead of deafening us with the sing-song of “we shall reclaim power in 2019”, they should focus on putting their house in order first. The PDP, as presently constituted, is still a shadow of her old self. The party is still in ruins. The party appears deflated, raped and demoralised. First things first, put your house in order first.

The urgent task before the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led National Caretaker Committee is simply to inject life into the PDP, not to prepare grounds for clinching power come 2019. The damage inflicted on the party is quite colossal that you will require more than four years to repair. The NCC should focus attention on how to strengthen the various organs of the party. The PDP is still like a carcass. It is visibly weak, morally ruptured and lacking in strategies required of any serious political party. Greed, impunity, covetousness and corruption all ate deep into its very fabric.The PDP chieftains and other party faithful should think of ways to rework, repackage, remodel and reorganise the party in line with the visions of its founding fathers.

Mr Yunusa writes from Plot 243, CRD, FHA Lugbe, Abuja.

Boko Haram: Open Letter to Borno People By Yushau A. Shuaib

_*“Fear a tumult which will affect those who caused it as well as the innocent ones…”*_

Quran Chapter Anfal 8:25
I have deliberately quoted the above verse from the Quran, the Holy Book of Islam since the majority of Borno People are Muslims without ignoring the fact that there are other communities and towns within the state that are predominantly Non-Muslims.
As a Nigerian like most of you, I express my deepest sympathy and great empathy with Governor Kassim Shettima, the Shehu of Bornu, Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai El-Kanemi and the resilient people of Borno State over the seeming unabated Boko Haram insurgency.
It is rather regrettable that when the military had prepared for a massive onslaught with a declared 40 days ultimatum for a major arrest, Nigerian troops escorting oil prospectors and geologists were ambushed by the terrorists in the state. While some of the victims including soldiers, Civilian JTF Volunteers, and staff from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) were massacred, few others were paraded in a video to attract public outrage and compel further negotiations with the terrorists (Link: https://goo.gl/ky5hyD.)
Rather than engaging in frivolous conspiracy theories over the reasons and those behind the Boko Haram crisis, which engulfed some states in Nigeria some years ago, it is necessary to point out that it started in Borno with the involvement of the people of the state and with supports, if not connivance, with influential people in the state.
The Army spokesperson, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman recently issued a statement that parents were donating their children for suicide bombings that are now rampant in Borno State (Link: https://goo.gl/vv49d6). That was not the first of such warnings. In fact, on September 25, 2015, the Nigerian Army had raised an alarm over plans by “some highly-placed individuals” in the same state to sabotage military operations in the region. The Military even issued a strongly worded warning saying that “the unscrupulous individuals and their cohorts were determined to reverse the gains made and scuttle military efforts of achieving the Presidential directive to defeat Boko Haram terrorists within 3 months.” The statement further disclosed that the elites “were enlisting the services of some Non-Governmental Organizations in the grand design.” (Link: https://goo.gl/qErv5V)
Since the recovery of many towns and villages by Nigerian troops from Boko Haram in Adamawa and Yobe, the people of these two states and elsewhere have cooperated with the security agencies. Recent statements from the Department of State Services (DSS) headed by a Katsina man, Lawal Musa Daura, have shown how useful information provided by the people in other states, and intelligence sharing by security agencies, curtailed terrorism in Gombe, Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Kogi Taraba, Nasarawa, Plateau and the even Lagos States with arrests of many suspects. (Link: https://goo.gl/6UePPz)
Surprisingly, one of the finest strategies adopted by President Muhammadu Buhari, a veteran himself, was the appointments of people from Borno into highly strategic positions in the administration with the hope that the deliberate policy would assist in intelligence gathering to end the Boko Haram insurgency and address the plight of the victims.
Some of the individuals from Borno holding influential positions at the national level include the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; the National Security Adviser, General Babagana Monguno; the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Yusuf Buratai and even the renowned jailer of corrupt suspects and the boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu among others.
We must not ignore the commitment and relentless efforts of Governor Shettima, who is pumping large chunk of state’s share from the Federation Account to address the security challenges, the plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as well as the rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the terrorists in the state (Link: https://goo.gl/P6n5XH).
It is rather baffling that with the incessant Boko Haram ambush, suicide bombings and their propaganda videos, the suspects are not detected early enough before wrecking havocs in soft targets as if they drop from the moon.
Apart from the loss of lives and displacements of people, the economic impact of Boko Haram activities in Borno is estimated at $5.9 billion (N1.9tr) according to the Army. Representing the Chief of Army Staff at the first annual conference of Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, Major General Peter Dauke said that Borno had about 400,000 houses damaged by Boko Haram Link: https://goo.gl/Mj9Sg9)
The latest Annual States Viability Index (ASVI), published by the Economic Confidential, an economic intelligence magazine, indicated that Borno State cannot survive on its internally generated revenue (IGR) without the free flow of revenue from the Federation Account and supports from other states like the recent donations by Northern governors (https://goo.gl/ZugR6M). Yet, the state possesses significant potentials in agriculture, industry and other resources including a landmass and lake that provide huge economic advantages for farming, fishing, husbandry, forestry and tourism among others.
Apart from its potentials for oil explorations, Borno has billionaires with huge investments outside the state. It is also blessed with highly educated and skilled individuals that could contribute to the economic development of the state.
More worrisome is the ever-increasing number of local and International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the state whose impacts are not felt in the productive sector by facilitating job opportunities for the people. The NGOs merely engage in multi-million dollars advocacy programmes and relief distributions of mostly foreign produced items to the beggarly IDPs.
With the complex irony, could some groups and individuals be profiting from this seeming and booming terrorism industry?
It is high time that Borno people, especially the political elites, public office holders, traditional rulers, community leaders and youth groups to do more in providing the necessary information and intelligence for security agencies towards addressing the insecurity, ignorance, poverty and other malaise in the state. The reality on the ground is that Boko Haram menace is not only seen as Borno’s ‘wahala’ but a tragedy that affects Nigeria and its neighbours.
Yushau A. Shuaib

http://www.YAShuaib.com

yashuaib@yahoo.com

Nigeria’s post-cosmopolitanism and the culture of the worstBy Jibrin Ibrahim 

Nigeria is becoming more and more frightening. Last week’s massacre of eleven worshippers and the wounding of 18 others at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu spread shock waves all over the country. Conversations centred on the wanton nature of the killings – that the killers could not find their targets so they killed those they saw. Why would human beings kill just for the fun of it? The fact of the matter is that what happened is the new normal. For over one year, the Badoo Cult has been operating in Ikorodu where they have been killing dozens of people for ritual purposes. They are reported to have a preference for killing people abducted while praying in churches. Since 2009, Boko Haram insurgents have been killing people praying in mosques and churches. Lucky victims are blown up by bombs and the unlucky ones are subjected to ritual killing in which their throats are slit. This year alone, over 80 girls have been murdered as they were being used as suicide bombers. There is clearly a descent into barbarism that is difficult to understand. 

One of the reasons why rising barbarism is confusing is that a series of polls, including respected surveys by the Pew Centre have shown Nigeria to be one of the most religious countries in the world. Virtually all Nigerians affirm to be believers in Christianity or Islam. There are no significant numbers of self-confessed adherents of traditional religions. In addition, Nigeria holds the world record in terms of time and money devoted to prayers and religious activities. The expectation would then be that Islam and Christianity, which are based on the precepts of love, honesty, good and moral conduct, respect for the other and for human life would dictate the conduct of Nigerians. Read any newspaper and one is assailed about massive corruption, the raping of babies, stealing, including the theft of money collected for religious work and so on. There is a huge lie about what Nigerians say they are and what they really are. The reality is ugly and frightening. Life has become very precarious and ephemeral. Rural banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping, militancy, widespread paganism, wanton killing characterise daily life.

What does the future hold for Nigeria? We appear to be modernising. More Nigerians have been having access to education. Cities have grown all over the country. Today, over 50% of Nigerians have abandoned their villages and moved to cities and towns. Since then, the conditions for future development in Nigeria have been dictated by rapid urbanisation. The pattern of urbanization has developed along corridors – Lagos-Ibadan, Port Harcourt-Enugu and Kaduna-Kano. Over and beyond these corridors of mega cities, the development of states and local governments have led to the development of over one thousand state capitals and provincial towns. As urbanisation has grown, the signifier of social trends has been the growth of informality at the level of the economy, society and above all in religion. Nigerian informality is located in poverty for the masses and obscene wealth for a vocal, crass minority.

The most important contemporary problem for Nigeria is the lack of opportunity for the youth. We have developed a huge youth bulge that has been growing and is indeed galloping. This is happening at a time in which formal opportunities for employment are declining, and most industries have closed down. Having a job has become a minority experience for Nigerians and opportunities only exist in the informal sector. Nigeria’s youth has been seeking to negotiate with a society in which poverty is growing and the future looks bleak for the majority. When we had a relatively high growth for over a decade, the future was bleak. Now that we have been in recession for two years, there is no future except for the daring and the wicked. Meanwhile, the marginalised youth who are glued to the social media know we have massive wealth for a few and conspicuous consumption of the obscene wealthy is what they see everyday.

The reality is that opportunities for the majority exist only in the sphere of darkness, the underworld, the criminal networks and above all, in occult arenas where the devil can help the bold and needy. So blood continues to flow as violence grows and is democratised, or rather popularised. Orthodox religious practices are displaced and new as well as old interpretations that offer faster routes to wealth and satisfaction become the order of the day.

Our sociology has been transformed profoundly. From the 1950s to the 1980s, migration to urban centres was based on the acquisition of modern education and skills. That was the era of cosmopolitanism. The pattern of migration therefore left the poorest in the rural areas and the adoption of urban life signalled social mobility. However, as population increase continued and a significant youth bulge developed in the population profile, the poor youth in the rural areas have also moved to urban centres. In this context, these cities have become the new focal point for the aggregation and aggravation of poverty amidst massive accumulation by a tiny elite. The most profound poverty has therefore been moving from the rural to the urban centres. The era of post cosmopolitanism has arrived.

Since the 1990s therefore, urban poverty has been growing more rapidly than rural poverty. Indeed, the main feature of urban life in contemporary Nigeria has been the precariousness of life. Daily subsistence needs such as food, housing, healthcare and education are lacking for a large proportion of the population. There is serious pressure on livelihoods, both formal and informal. More and more people are being pushed into the informal sector. The breakdown of the social fabric and family bonds is producing a lumpen culture characterised by delinquency, violence and religious extremism. 

The conditions created by urbanisation and social transformation is producing a new post cosmopolitanism. It is not based on the spread of modern education and the development of knowledge and refined culture. Diversity and multiculturalism has limited impact as many of the shantytowns in the cities are characterised by the aggregations of the village in urban centres. Globalisation is a major player for these communities. The village is transferred to the new urban centres but it’s a new village whose culture is being transformed through satellite television, cassettes, then video and now the social media. Cell phones have applications with ring tones that call the Muslim faithful to prayer and the Christian to the latest fiery sermons of the pastor. The Hausa villager in the city has a worldview that is daily informed by complex news analysis in their language from the United Kingdom, Iran, Egypt, France, Germany and China. Global conflicts and interpretations of religion, politics and social life are constantly on the ears of our people. Objectively, what our government is saying, doing, and above all, not doing, becomes a small part of the universe. Yes it’s small, but it’s important because it produces anger.

On the economic front, the informal sector with all its incertitudes is the basis of precarious livelihoods. The precariousness of life has created ideal conditions for the proliferation of informal as well as formal religious activities. Sufi and Wahabi orders and Pentecostal churches provide many survival functions – shelter, medical support and economic networks – that neither the family nor the state can secure in these times of crisis. Increasingly, it is the religious actors who are the social agents that provide meaning for the new and difficult conditions of life in the squatter towns. It is true that the village has been transplanted into the city but at the same time, new forms of bonding and differentiation are being created – new social networks are needed to provide comfort and emergency relief to those in distress; new lucrative spheres for accumulation, both legal and criminal, are being created – and for all of these and more, the religious sphere provides the most effective framework. As this new sociology takes root, I wonder who is watching and studying, not to talk of planning and taking action in these interesting times when the village has moved to the city but the logic of the city is firmly controlled by globalisation. Would we continue to watch the massive proliferation of divinity that is occurring and the runaway inflation in the production of religious movements, leaders and charlatans with teeming followers? As our society transforms god into a franchise that can be replicated by every budding entrepreneur with virtually no initial capital outlay, what does the future hold for us?

The Song Before The Genocide By Emmanuel Ugwu

When a group of Northern youths gathered in Arewa House, Kaduna and issued a ‘quit notice’ to all Igbos resident in the Northern Nigeria from that symbolic bastion of Arewaland, I hastened to clarify that “It’s A Genocide Notice, Not A Quit Notice.” My reading of that thinly veiled threat of pogrom has proved to be accurate. A hate song advocating for the urgent extermination of the Igbo race is currently a hit single in the North. The genocidal anthem is a product of calculated penmanship. It’s an apologia for ethnic cleansing. An Igbophobic manifesto, complete with ‘reasons’ why the ‘Inyamirin’ should be wiped off the land.

The song, which was recorded by an unknown banshee, starts with an atrocious prayer to ‘Allah’ for message discipline: “First I want to appeal to Allah to help me in this song not to deviate…” The rest of the ‘song’ promoted the need for Igbo-bashing: it denied the humanity of the Igbo people, found them collectively guilty of fictional crimes and sentenced them to communal death.

The song declared all people of Igbo roots “ungrateful people and fools;” “a curse to Nigeria;” folks “whose existence and birth as a people in Nigeria is useless;’’ a tribe of “bastards” whose abortion would have blessed the earth more than their birth.

The song further indulges in fake history, lying that “in the beginning” Igbos had no name and identity and that “they have nothing since their origin.” It claims that “Igbos are the ones that ruined this country.” Igbos are the vampires masquerading as bloodthirsty Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram terrorists, “killing people without shame.” Igbos are “the ones destroying our youths and children with drugs.”

From start to finish, the song scapegoats Igbo people. The theme is generalized demonization.  All Igbos are inherently evil. No Igbo person is deserving of earthly existence or human tolerance.

The song is a sincere hate memo. It is tribal character assassination conceived as a preface to actual physical slaughter. The goal of the song is to stir the macabre dance of an Igbo massacre.

Those who scorned the “Kaduna Declaration” as the inconsequential bluster of some jobless attention seekers must now pause and recognize the Nazist tone of the musical spin-off from that “quit notice.”

The blanket inquisition of the Igbo people and their judgment were spelled out in black and white. The hate verse was vocalized in Hausa and performed in the song form. The adoption of the sound of music was meant to spread the contagion to ubiquity.

The song is a programming language. Its purpose is to condition the mind of the Hausas and ready them to a manifest a rabid Pavlovian response. The intent is to raise the level of appropriacy of Igbo killing in the North so that when the set time comes, the murder of the ‘Inyamirin’ will be instinctual and automatic.   

The use of the song medium was to engender a climate conducive for the butchery of the Igbos. The function of the song is to popularize an Igbo version of antisemitism. To build a groundswell of race-specific rage that can only be satiated with copious blood from a Holocaust-grade purge.

This corruption of the song genre must worry all good men. Hate speech traveling on the wings of melody promises exponential bloodbath. Hate speech shaped as a song will fulfill violence on steroids.

A song is hypnotic in effect. It attaches itself to the heart and mind more easily than the spoken word. It is a more enduring state of propaganda.

The mind-bending anthem topping the chart in the North is not a fleeting fad: it will not fade into oblivion. It is a recipe for carnage: it will demagogue Northerners into a fetish of killing that is more frenzied than the anti-Igbo slaughters triggered by a cartoon and a column.

The North is the less literate half of Nigeria. It is home to a majority of Nigeria’s out of school children. The streets of the North teem with 9.5 million abandoned kids and teens. They are an impressionable and excitable legion, ready to generate hell on cue.

It’s only a matter of time before the unquestioning Almajiri army memorizes that song. At the right prompting, the maddening falsehood lodged in their heads will drive them to give full expression to the song. And the mass murder of the Igbo people will yield orgasmic entertainment for the hungry, disillusioned  foot soldiers.

The unleashing of the song followed the reiteration of the “quit notice” by the leaders of Northern youths. This indicates that there is an orderly plot. There’s method in the madness.  

Sadly, the Nigerian state is part of the bid to enact the sequel to 1966 anti-Igbo pogrom. The federal government and security agencies have declined to take proactive steps to avert the scheduled doom. The authorities and law enforcement have only helped to prepare the stage for the impending disaster.

The Nigerian Police announced the commencement of a manhunt for the publishers of the ‘”quit notice.” But it almost immediately begged off the search in the most shameful instance of cowardly surrender of power by a federal police. Even after the miscreants started a circus tour and dared the police to arrest them, the Nigerian Police did nothing.

Acting President Yemi Osibanjo chose to address the threat to commit crimes against humanity with parleys of appeasement. The pastor asked the threatening party to repent. And he begged the threatened not to take the genocidal vow seriously.

As the October 1 deadline approaches, the Igbos in the North must disregard any hollow guarantee of safety issued by the government. They must appreciate their vulnerability in a region that habitually sheds Igbo blood to no consequence. They must respect the meanness of the misanthropes who detest their existence.

Commonsense advises that Igbo settlers in the North should flee for the sake of their own lives. A foreordained war does not consume the lame. The ocean cannot drown a man who is far away from the waters.

You can reach Emmanuel at immaugwu@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EmmaUgwuTheMan.

Another Northern Messenger From Hell By Peter Claver Oparah

Just out of the blue, we hear an anonymous female singer has released an audio recording calling for the killing of Igbo, who were described in unprintable words in the evil audio music. The song was allegedly recorded in the Hausa language and is said to be circulated in several parts of the North. It is certain that the anonymous singer is one of the messengers of hell that have taken the bait of Nnamdi Kanu and his group of fellow dolts to urinate without care in the village shrine. It is certain that her message is from hell and only the children of hell will set off and start killing because a hellish messenger tells them to do so. It is obvious that the latest effort to blare hell’s message is borne from a wicked desire to inflict pain on humanity and liberalize the theaters of bloodshed, targeting innocent citizens that are not part of the stupidity that brought about this tragedy. It is certain that the latest hell’s messenger adds to the tall list of enemies of humanity who relish in provoking and destroying what they cannot create.

I believe whoever it is that recorded and sent that musical message wants to suck some blood; she is a vampire. Vampires relish the taste of blood and she is one such heinous creature. I believe whoever it is that is behind that evil project is blood thirsty and desires the devolution of evil to satisfy a bloody craving. It is certain that the seedy characters that came up with that idea to preach genocide, murder and violence against innocent citizens are sons and daughters of a dog that wants to take the challenge of their fellow sons and daughters of dogs in Igboland who started this madness immediately after Jonathan and PDP were thrown off power in March 2015.

It is certain that whoever launched this carnivorous project desires to see charred remains of fellow Nigerians, consumed in a silly war that bears no merits to the silly purveyors of bloodletting and violence; either in the East, West, South or North of the country. It is certain that carnivorous beings are let loose on the country for very selfish and egotistic purposes. It is certain that a bloody urn has been levied by those who desire a liberalized culture of mass death and violence. It is sure that sadists, anarchists and horror vendors are let loose on Nigeria and they have an insatiable desire for human blood. 

As it is now, everything seems to be working to the chilling deadly desires of those that vowed to set the country ablaze to satiate their hurting political and other base desires. It is certain that the latest female messenger of hell had bought into the project of those that vowed they would not live and would see Nigeria consumed in violence and destruction since 2015. It is certain that the latest angel of death and carnage is buying into the anarchist mission of the Nnamdi Kanus and their IPOB confederates and that of the Arewa youths that issued a moratorium for Igbo to leave the north. It is obvious that whoever was behind the evil message that was thrown into the raging Nigerian furnace last week is consumed in the same pool of bloody desire as those that started this asinine project. Knowingly or unknowingly, the person that issued the latest fatwa against Igbo has helped the vendors of death and violence sell their bloody market. It is tragic. It is fearful, it is chilling.

Whatever is the intent of the singer that delivered that evil baby of calling for genocide against Igbo, she has failed, as the Nnamdi Kanu she was trying to match up with failed. Whatever sired that desire to call for the heads of fellow Nigerians will meet with terrible failure. Whatever the messenger of hell that did that evil art and sold it to fellow Nigerians wants to achieve will fail. She will fail because her mission is evil. She will fail because her mission is deprecating. She will fail because her goal is seedy. You might ask if all those with seedy missions failed in the past but then even as evil may have its temporary sway, it had not survived in the long run. 

I feel there is an urgent need for religious, political, traditional and community leaders in the north to go to work to frustrate these messengers of hell. There is an urgent need for all sane voices everywhere in Nigeria to rise and quench all these messengers of evil and their nasty mission. An age old aphorism says that evil triumph when good men keep quiet so there is every need for Nigerians to speak out from their respective corners to drive away these seedy characters desperate to set Nigerians against fellow Nigerians. No one gains from war, even the victor in any war counts the costs at the end of the day. We have played the ostrich for long, deifying and worshiping the idol of our respective tribes and expecting to reap whatever we perceive as the dividends of such self-consuming expeditions.

Gratefully, when the earlier messengers of hell shot out in the form of Arewa youth groups to issue ultimatum to Igbo to leave the north before October 1, northern leaders and opinionists rose with one voice to shout them down. They have been consistent in assuring Igbo of their safety in the north and urging them to disregard the ultimatum. What more, they have been extra busy in dispersing the threat and building credible assurance that should gladden the hearts of all Nigerians. The current messenger of hell presents them with an added challenge to rise up and not only clamp down on this evil messenger but work amongst their people to disown not only the messenger but also the message. Nigeria needs such urgent action. The north needs it. Igbo need this quick action and everybody will benefit from it. The north is blessed with a centralized political structure that ensures messages take little time to simmer down the ranks; to the remotest grassroots. They need to bring this into play. The evil messenger must be identified and ostracized. Nothing should be spared in ensuring she doesn’t win souls with her evil message. Everything should be done by the northern leaders, in concert with the federal and state governments in the north to rebuild confidence in Igbo who are targeted by this latest call, as in the first case. 

Having said that, I think Igbo need to go to work; urgent critical work to retrieve its land from miscreants and social outlaws. Igbo must shed their quiet tolerance of the nuisance of Nnamdi Kanu and his brood of ruffians who seem to be sworn to a mission to massively endanger the lives of Igbo, not only in the South East, but in the entire country, as these unending antagonisms against Igbo have proven. Nnamdi Kanu and his hirelings have been behaving like bulls in a china shop. Their nuisance must be tamed if not, they are going to provoke a mass assault on Ndigbo everywhere in Nigeria. The other day, we read he went to attack the Anambra governor in church. He and his band have caused enough damage to Igbo that they need to be reined in. it is becoming obvious that the more sane and informed minds in Igbo keep quiet in the face of the provocative excesses of Nnamdi Kanu and his band of miscreants, the more he puts the security and well being of Igbo, struggling in various parts of the country in grave danger. Igbo must take a quick and urgent decision on this. Enough should be enough and if Igbo refuse to cage this monster, they should be ready to pay for their complacency. Are we pretending that by denying the truth or feeling that others don’t know the root cause of this madness, we will evade the recompense for Nnamdi Kanu’s crass irresponsibility? Are we second-guessing on why we have become the objects of the persistent hatred in the north and other parts of Nigeria? I don’t see why Igbo should continue to play deaf to the dangers Kanu and his irrational actions and behavior pose to their well being and interests. For how long will they play this hypocritical role while their people slide into real danger in all parts of the country? I don’t want to belabor this issue in this report. A word should be enough for the wise.
 
 
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Ikeja, Lagos. You can reach him at peterclaver2000@yahoo.com.

The Moral Debris Of GEJ’s Looted Home By Louis Odion


BY LOUIS ODION

A Vanguard editorial, in my view, belongs in the heavyweight echelon of Nigeria’s commentariat. The weight of its punch is to be judged not only by the resonance of the message over the years, but also its economy of phrase – the uncanny facility to say a lot in so few words, packing so much into so little a space.

But its edition of August 3 must rank among those that fall miserably short of the high value it normally espouses. In the comment entitled, “Looting of ex-President Jonathan’s home,” the newspaper said everything expected against the cops-turned-burglars and those who trafficked the stolen goods.

What would have been a fine argument against yet another iniquity of man was, however sullied when, in the next breath, it openly sought to either deny anyone the right to outrage against Jonathan on any count whatsoever or make a villain outright of those unable to express pity or empathy with the victim on this matter.

It wrote: “No decent human being can claim that what took place in… President Jonathan’s house is excusable on any ground. All people of conscience must rise up and condemn evil, no matter who is involved. The atmosphere of hatred which seems to have seized the people of this country by the throat must be made to give way to empathy for one another, as that is the only way we can build a united, strong country.”

For effect, it reminded us of the great sacrifice GEJ made to secure democracy:

“It was due to his gentle and patriotic disposition that the nation experienced a peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another in 2015.”

In the haste to whip up sentiments, the editorialist, alas, missed the context and the nuance of the great heist at issue. To start with, seeking to overplay Jonathan’s 2015 concession of defeat as reflected above is very cheap indeed. Care needs be taken against overdrawing that goodwill account. His action then was the most honorable thing to do at that moment, for which enough encomium has been showered on him both within and outside our shores.

But that can, by no means, now amount to an entitlement to pity at all times. Nor can it possibly be tendered as adequate inoculation against reproach or perpetual immunity against public scrutiny.

Otherwise, we, given what is now also known about the sordid aspects of the same past, risk enthroning a new relativity of morality with the suggestion that gross ethical inadequacy be excused in the throes of sentimentality or being captive to one memory.

Rather, the intelligentsia must be seen as setting very high standards for the society, holding all actors by a universal principle. Inherent in that resolve is a commitment not to compromise values or lend itself to those seeking to lower the society’s ethical bar on sentiments ranging from ethnicity to creed.

Two, there can be no disputation as to whether Jonathan, were he another ordinary Nigerian, would be deserving of pity over this loss of valuables. While it may be true that most Nigerians indeed lack true love for their nation as an entity, they certainly do not hate one another at an interpersonal level, as can be verified from the instinctive response of the average Nigerian meeting complete strangers at an accident scene, for instance. He is very unlikely to turn the other way but play the biblical Good Samaritan – lending a hand to those in distress.

As a people, Nigerians are not incapable of pity when sufficiently aroused.

In the present circumstance, the truth is that Jonathan is definitely not the guy next door. And if we can summon courage to face the more inconvenient truth, many – if not most – Nigerians today would argue GEJ only just got a mini dose of the bitter portion the nation was force-fed with under his watch as president.

In a poetic reversal of roles, while the man from Otuoke grieved over the loss of domestic valuables under police guard, his fellow compatriots have not stopped bemoaning the mindless looting of their own country while Jonathan was sentinel.

On account of what is now known, those who wish to discount the GEJ silhouette as only totemic of looting without limit cannot therefore be accused of being uncharitable. The cost of plasma TVs, refrigerators and bowlers is certainly insignificant compared to, say, the $150m (N54b) of luxury assets recently forfeited by Diezani and co. to US authorities alone, not to mention the estimated $15b (N5.4t) systematically stolen through Dasukigate.

Funny enough, when the likes of then CBN governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi were crying out that the national exchequer was being bled to death, Jonathan took it upon himself to parlay every national platform to vigorously defend Diezani as hapless victim of those playing malicious political games.

When you occupy an enviable office, he once philosophized on a national television in her defence, enemies tell fat lies to pull you down.

So, if some citizens are now unable to bring themselves to pity Jonathan over the Gwarinpa  burglary as the Vanguard editorial surmised, it must be understood in the context of a nation still unable to come to terms with the mega heist under his watch, the lurid details of which continue to unfold with stifling pungency both at home and abroad.

In the statement to the police, he lamented his home was “completely stripped bare,” underlining an epic betrayal of truth. Policemen asked to guard a home chose to become the thieves themselves.

But once the marauding vultures had been upbraided and chased away, it will be time to censure the mother fowl for exposing her chicks to danger in the first place. By Jonathan’s own admission, the theft was only discovered last month. The truth he was obviously too shy to share is that the property in question was lying waste as he lives elsewhere in Abuja. That apparently left the door ajar for the evil cops to systematically clean out the four-bedroom duplex over the months.

Of course, in a society where estimated 60 percent of the population is thought homelessness and many more go to bed on empty stomach at night, that is not the sort of secret you want to let out.

So, had the media not become awash last week with “sensational” claims of what went missing, it is debatable if Jonathan would not have preferred to hush things up to avoid eyebrows being raised or some hard questions being asked. His statement on the theft would then seem to be motivated more by a desire to debunk the “exaggerated” claims than a willingness to give self up for scrutiny.

Obviously to deflect initial reports suggesting “36 Plasma television sets and 25 refrigerators,” the former president detailed the haul to include only 6 flat screen TV sets, toilet seats, 3 refrigerators, doors and one gas cooker. His statement was however conveniently silent on the reports on “bales and bales of babanriga wears and designer suits with his names embroidered on the inner linings.”

Without being induced, some witnesses have already volunteered accounts of what really happened.

One Mallam Shuaibu has been named as one of the buyers of the stolen items at the popular Pankera Second-hand Market, Abuja. One account said each suit was auctioned for N5,000. And what a boom time it was in that corner of the market for a long time before the secret leaked. You would see locals of all nations and creeds trying assorted bowler hats on display and “woko” Ijaw jumpers of many colors in the open before making a pick.

Not surprising, the four cops implicated in the shameful conduct have since been dismissed by the police after an orderly room trial preparatory to their being formally prosecuted. The same way Ibrahim Bagobiri, chairman of the Pankera Market, has been defenestrated by members for allegedly partaking in the receipt and disposal of the stolen goods.

From media pictures of the crime scene, it is easy to feel anger, vengeance in the clinical severity with which the policemen-burglars violated the haven where Jonathan once dined and slept.

Literally, what remained was for the brigands to excavate the floor tiles and the blocks to complete a furious plunder.

Though no one can tell for sure how long it took them to finish the pillage, since they were reportedly posted after the former president quit Aso Rock, it is perhaps safe to assume they had taken charge before the slime of Dasukigate began to seep out by the twilight of 2015.

Dazed by the stories of grand larceny that began to circulate, chances are that the unscrupulous policemen themselves only saw Jonathan’s personal effects and household goods as their own fair portion of the elephantine loot. Ordinarily, no one would wish to be left out when the proverbial butchered elephant is being shared.

It is clear karma had passed through Gwarinpa with all its mystical stealth.

Diezani Alison-Madueke: What An Appetite

From time immemorial, precious metals – gold, silver and sparkling stones such as diamonds have delighted women.  Relationships have been built and destroyed, wars fought for and reconciliations cemented with gold and precious stones.  Not too far back in history, Liberia was the theatre of war over Blood Diamonds.

Unlike Liberia however, the Nigerian nation is not at war.  But, it seems Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, until recently, Minister of Petroleum Resources, going by the sheer amount of her acquisition of gold and diamonds, may have been fighting a spirited war against millions of compatriots who are heavily and unevenly yoked by crass poverty.   To boot, the former minister is accused of having stolen – in broad daylight – the money that funded her acquisitive binge.

A search of one of Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewelry, worth several million pounds sterling. 

Apart from the jewelry, the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption agency, has traced N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The former minister who has been in London since the birth of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has however continued to deny any financial misdeed.  She insists she is being severely maligned and persecuted by the EFCC. But, on the strength of weighty evidence placed before Nigerian courts, there are a string of judicial pronouncements ordering the forfeiture of all allegedly ill-gotten wealth to Alison-Madueke’s former employers, the Federal Government of Nigeria.

One of the constitutional requirements to be appointed to public office in Nigeria is the total declaration of all personal assets. It does seem like that provision was observed more in the breach by Alison-Madueke.

The EFCC, in the course of the investigation, traced another property valued at $37.5m to the former minister in Banana Island, Lagos. She was said to have purchased the 15-storey building, which comprises 18 flats and six penthouses, between 2011 and 2012from the developers, YF Construction and Real  Estate. The property was allegedly acquired in the name of a shell company, Rusimpex Limited, which is managed by one Afamefuna Nwokedim, Principal Partner, Stillwaters Law Firm, Lagos.

On August 7, 2017, Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) property on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos allegedly belonging to Diezani Alison-Madueke. The order followed an exparte application filed on July 17, 2017, by the EFCC.

At the last adjourned sitting on July 19, 2017, counsel to the EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko, while moving the ex-parte application, had urged the court to order the forfeiture of the total sum of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70 respectively found by the Commission in Rusimpex USD account No. 1013612486 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities. Ozioko had also urged the court to order an interim forfeiture of the assets and property. Ruling on the applications, Justice Obiozor had ordered the respondents- Deziani, Afamefuna Nwokedi and Rusimpex Limited- to show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge had further ordered the publication of the interim order in any national newspaper for the respondents or anyone who is interested in the property to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government.

At the resumed hearing on August 7, counsel to the EFCC argued that the failure of the second and third respondent, Nwokedi and Rusimex meant that “they are not willing to contest the application”.

In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered the final forfeiture of the property to the Federal government, in view of the failure of any interested parties or persons to contest the interim forfeiture order as published in a national newspaper by the Commission. The court also ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70respectively realized as rent on the property.

But, by far the most numbing, record-shattering acquisitions of Alison-Madueke, is to be found in the ritzy, nouveaux riches playground of Banana Island, Lagos.  It consists of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court. The apartments which are Penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N.  For them, a $350 Million (Three Hundred and Fifty Million US Dollar) hole was allegedly dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Alison-Madueke.

Also in Lagos, Alison-Madueke allegedly bought a block of six units serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few hundred meters away from the EFCC zonal operations hub. The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant. The property was bought at the rate of N800 Million (Eight Hundred Million Naira) on January 6, 2012.
Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the eagle eyes of the Commission’s operatives, are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight 4-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of  3-bedrooms each and six 3-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one 4-bedroom apartment.

The Yaba, Lagos properties, which dug a deep hole of an eye-popping N1 Billion (One Billion Naira), were paid for on May 30, 2012. The same day Alison-Madueke splashed N900 million for the Port Harcourt estate.

In Lekki Phase one, an upscale neighborhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex. The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200 Million (Two Hundred Million Naira).

Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister. The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilized as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012, for N135 Million (One Hundred and Thirty- Five Million Naira).
Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12 Million (Twelve Million Naira) on December 20, 2011.

On plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro district of Abuja, lies a tastefully built and finished duplex. In the compound, there are also a Guest Chalet, Boy’s Quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities. Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December 2009, at the cost of N400 Million (Four Hundred Million Naira)  was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Alison-Madueke.
Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini estate at Mabushi, Abuja. The estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters.  It was purchased on April 2, 2012, at the princely sum of N650 Million (Six Hundred and Fifty Million Naira).

In Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja, Alison-Madueke reportedly acquired a 6-bedroom ensuite apartment made up of three large living rooms, two bedroom Guest Chalets, two bedroom Boys Quarters, two lock up garages and a car park. It was bought on July 20, 2011 for N80 Million (Eighty Million Naira).

Down South in Nigeria’s oil city of Port Harcourt, the former minister’s acquisitive appetite took her to Heritage Court Estate, located on Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu Government Residential Area, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt. The Estate which is made up of 16 four bedroom terrace duplexes is equipped with among other facilities, a massive standby power generating set. Alison-Madueke did not blink as she shelled out N900 Million (Nine Hundred Million Naira) for it on May 30, 2012,

Diezani Alison-MaduekeIn neighboring Bayelsa State, an apartment with two blocks of flats, all en-suite, and with a Maid’s Quarters were also traced to her. The house located on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa is sitting on a large expanse of land.  Realtors spoken to by EFCC investigators have placed estimated values running into hundreds of millions of Naira on the property. The apartments have four living rooms, eight bedrooms, and gold-plated furniture.  

Aside from jewelry and property, Alison-Madueke, EFCC operatives charge, has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) in various Nigerian banks.

Based on the evidence presented by the Commission before the court, Justice Muslim Suleiman Hassan on January 6 2017, ordered the funds’ temporary forfeiture to the federal government.

The EFCC again, on January 24, 2017, urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the forfeiture of yet another N9 billion allegedly laundered by some bank officials for Alison-Madueke.

A month later, on February 16, 2017, Justice Hassan ordered the final forfeiture to the federal government, of a whooping sum ofN34 Billion naira which has been traced to the former minister.
Earlier in May 2016, the sum of over $100 Million (One Hundred Million US dollars) were traced to the accounts of several Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staffers, who were allegedly bribed by Alison-Madueke to compromise Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.
Justice Mohammed B. Idris of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on April 27, 2017, ordered the final forfeiture of the bribe money traced to one staff of INEC, Christian Nwosu, who was arraigned on April 5, 2017.

In the course of the trial, Nwosu pleaded guilty to receiving the sum of N30 Million (Thirty Million Naira) from Alison-Madueke. Upon his confession, the court ordered the final forfeiture of his landed property situated at Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. Also forfeited by Nwosu to the federal government was the cash sum of N5 Million (Five Million Naira).

Going by the continued unearthing of hard-to-ignore evidences of unexplained acquisitions, coupled with Justice Chuka Obiozor’s ruling on the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) to the federal government, ex-minister Alison-Madueke’s evidence-free counter-charge, that she is a victim of EFCC persecution, may be ringing hollower and hollower. 

Orilade and Gambari are officers of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.