​Full text of the address delivered by His Excellency, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, Governor of Ekiti State, on the occasion of his official declaration to contest the 2019 Presidential Election under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)


I welcome you all to this historic event, which is landmark in the political landscape of our country, Nigeria.
My inviting you today, distinguished leaders of our party, is to inform you formally that I will be seeking the ticket of our great party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to contest the 2019 presidential election. This is without prejudice to our party’s position.
However, I am a supporter of competence and capacity, especially now that this country needs young and able leaders that can take our country out of this present state of hopelessness.
Most importantly, despite that the party has zoned the presidency to the North, it may interest you that no one has come out in this manner to show interest and our party should not wait or beg anyone to fly its flag. Do we now say that if no one comes out from the North, the party won’t have a candidate?
Going down memory lane, in 1999 and 2003, despite that our party zoned the presidency to the South, the likes of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi of blessed memory and Chief Banabas Gemade contested the ticket.
Also in 2007, some party members from the South did not only declare their intention to contest, they also showed interest and obtained nomination Forms. Those from the South were; Chief Victor Attah, Dr. Peter Odili, Dr. Sam Egwu, Dr. Donald Duke, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, Owelle Rochas Okorocha among others.
This, in itself, assisted in deepening democracy.
Our party must not lose sight that Nigerians at this period are desirous of a President with demonstrated capacity to change their fortunes. Furthermore, we must be mindful of the fact that our party needs a candidate like me, with a penchant for defeating incumbents. 
Twice, I defeated incumbents to become the Governor of Ekiti State and I am confident that with your support as my party leaders and supporters, I will defeat the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari, in a free and fair election.
Let me state that in Ekiti, God has used me twice for our party to regain power from the opposition and I believe same feat will be repeated at the national level. 
I do not stand before Nigerians today to present myself as one with the answers to all our national questions. Rather, I present myself as one with the required knowledge, understanding, competence and, above all, the political will to coordinate the human and material resources that we have in abundance to achieve national greatness.
Having served successfully as governor twice in a state with very meagre resources, I have by this garnered enough experience over time to prepare me well enough for the task of leading our country.
By the grace of God, I am the longest-serving governor in Nigeria today, having served under three Presidents – Obasanjo, Jonathan, and now Buhari. 
Therefore, I can say expressly that I am well equipped in terms of knowledge, experience as well as physical and mental capacities to hit the ground running as soon as I assume office as President of Nigeria in 2019.
Today, our country is faced with myriad of problems. Our economy that was the fastest-growing in Africa when our party was in power has gone comatose, with the present managers who are completely clueless.
Scarcity of food last experienced when President Buhari was Military Head of State between 1983 and 1985 has returned to the country, with Nigerians going to bed daily on empty stomach. 
Regrettably, a bag of rice that was N7, 000 when PDP was in government is now N17, 000!
Allocation from the Federation Account to the three tiers of government has declined to such a level that most States can no longer carry out the basic obligation of paying workers’ salary.
Under the present government, our economy recorded its second worst investment inflow in 10 years. Exchange Rate that was N197/dollar in 2015 is now over N360/dollar. 
In the area of security, which they leveraged on to come to power, despite claims by the government that Boko Haram was technically defeated; Nigerians are being killed by the insurgents while villages are being attacked in the North-East. Also, herdsmen are killing Nigerians and destroying farmlands with reckless abandon while kidnapping is now on the rise. 
Most worrisome is the fact that our country is now more divided than ever before, with the unity of the country being threatened due to nepotism, religious bigotry and favouritism of the present government.
Unemployment has risen to an alarming level. Instead of creating three million jobs per year as promised, millions of jobs are being lost daily, with many companies folding up. This government has successfully wiped off the middle-class.
Like they lied to win election, the APC government of President Buhari has been deceitful for over two years and an end must come to this deceptive government by 2019. 
My party leaders, standing before you is Peter (The Rock) Ayodele Fayose, the man already destined by God to take Nigeria out of the present political and economic stagnations. 
You are all witnesses to my commitment to this party in this difficult period, where I have demonstrated uncommon courage that makes me stand out as capable of leading our country at this time.
Our economy will be revived and returned to the path of progress that it was before we had the misfortune of having these clueless people in power. We will ensure diversification of the economy through agriculture, adequate supply of power and massive industrialization, thereby creating employment for our youths. We can do it, and we will do it.
With me as your President, you can be rest assured of a government that will be responsive to your needs. You are guaranteed a federal government that will relate with all Nigerians not on the basis of ethnicity, religion, political affiliations and the percentage of votes but on equity and justice as citizens of one nation, one people, and one destiny.
In Ekiti State where I am presently the governor, our success story in education is there for all to see. Ekiti State was number 29th in 2014 NECO examinations but within two years, we were able to move the State to number one in 2016 and again in 2017.
Also in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), Ekiti State’s performance, which was 25 percent in 2014, moved to 74.86 percent in 2017.
We were able to revive this sector because we placed our teachers in the driver-seat of our policies. We will do the same at the national level because we are mindful of the fact that education is the bedrock of the development of any nation.
As a governor, I encouraged my children to attend schools here in Nigeria and I have never travelled abroad for Medicare. This, I hope to sustain as president of Nigeria by making sure that our schools and health facilities are of international standard. 
Our justice system will be such that judges will not be molested and the common people of this country will see our courts as truly their last hope while our security system will make all Nigerians feel safe living in their own country. 
Our fight against corruption will not be selective but total.
My party leaders, I present myself to you as the needed vehicle for our party to move back to the presidency. I am doing so because I am confident that with God and all of you behind me, we can do it, and we will do it.
Thanks and God bless.

Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari In IPOB By Charly Boy


BY CHARLES OPUTA A.K.A CHARLY BOY  

Mr President

I bear my heart out in this letter with great respect and humility. Often times I wonder if you read any of my open letters. However, I write this open letter so fellow Nigerians will understand the ache in my heart.

I was about 17yrs during the Nigerian civil war. My youth was scandalized, and since then, I have carried a big scar in my heart. All I saw around me then, was blood, death, and hunger. That war, which could have been avoided was a collateral damage for easterners. Over three million people died – when it could have been resolved on a conference table.

Charly Boy

Mr. President Sir, most Nigerians, are hopeless, helpless, fearful, aggrieved, and have been brutalized by poverty created by the status quo to terrorize my people.

When you came on board I had hoped that yours would be a government that would assist the ordinary people; a government that will turn round the economy and put a smile on the faces of Nigerians.

No, I don’t blame you for the woes that have befallen us, but, truth be told, you have so far spent too much time passing the buck than actually serving the people you struggled to lead. Two years is enough for us to start feeling like something would happen. I can’t believe that as hard and as many times as you applied for this job and you finally got it, this is the best you can do? Haba, baba!

Now you can see the disadvantage of surrounding yourself with incompetent people. 

I remember it was your wife who first cried out, warned us that you have been hijacked by the hyenas, jackals, and very suspicious people who don’t really care about Nigeria or you. 

Sir, as a father, please do something to calm down this rising tension.

As a father, it is very wrong to show your children that you have a favorite. Right now, it is clear that we are in a big mess. And sometimes I wonder if you understand how difficult it is for the masses to cope. People even from your village have complained to us (OurMumuDonDo movement); From Sokoto to Owerri, Benue to Delta, hunger everywhere, young people committing suicide, yet the legislators and executives still maintain their obnoxious lifestyle.

There is so much I want to say as a very frustrated Nigerian, but for now what’s uppermost in my heart is to plead with you to intervene in this “Operation Python Dance” Biko Baba, you should be committed to dousing tensions and promoting peace and unity. 

In as much as I am aware that the Federal Government is concerned about curbing divisive messages and inordinate agitations within the country, I believe it should be more concerned about safeguarding the lives and properties of all Nigerians in any part of the country. 

It is also important to note that though recanted, the October 1 ultimatum issued by some misguided northern youths to the Igbos in the north remains weighty in the minds of many and the atmosphere is hypersensitive to any mishap that could foment such inter-ethnic wahala.

Sir, suffering Nigerians are begging you to quell this tension than steaming up the flames of enmity and discord within the country by using force on harmless citizens.

During The Resume or Resign peaceful protest, Baba, you listened, and that’s why you came back. 

On behalf of all frustrated, hopeless, unsafe, hungry Nigerians I beg you, hear our prayer. As a Father show some compassion and give us hope that this too shall pass away.

I am proud to say that am discovering exceptional youths who are inflamed by the love of fatherland, angered at the rape of our dignity and prosperity, determined to rise up and hold one another, to march down and uphold the dignity and prosperity of all Nigerians. 


Baba, make Naija no spoil for your hand O!!!!!!

God Bless Nigeria.



Best regards


AreaFada (CharlyBoy)

President
All Frustrated Nigerians.
http://www.ourmumudondo.org
Twitter: @Areafada1

Nnamdi Kanu, Nigeria, and Wasted Opportunities By Charles Odimgbe

Whhat is going on in Nigeria today is beyond comprehension. I have no clue what the young man called Nnamdi Kalu wants from the Igbo, or how he came to such huge fame so quickly. However, his rise strikes me as indicative of the state of the Igbo in the current dispensation. It goes to say that the Igbo, especially those at home, have no faith in their leaders—hence the blind adoration and celebration of Nnamdi Kanu, a man whose academic and professional biography is as shrouded in mystery as his political antecedents are unknown.

I have said on several occasions that Nnamdi Kanu was dancing with the devil. The court granted him bail on certain conditions, but he arrogantly violated all the conditions in the name of Biafra. My position is simply that the federal government and the judiciary, so far, have shown significant restraint in dealing with him. They could have rightly picked him up on the first violation. However, in the interest of political expediency, they looked the other way while Mr. Kanu flapped his wings.

An Igbo proverb states that a fly with no advisers always gets buried with the corpse. Mr. Kanu lacks political savvy. Rather than antagonize the federal government, that already set a trap for him, he should have focused on using his newfound position to galvanize the entire Igbo land against their current corrupt and unruly elite.

Charity, it is said, begins at home. This young man had the opportunity to change the political landscape of the entire Igbo land, but chose to squander it all in this battle with his “chi”. He could have mobilized the throngs of Igbo youth who have been charmed by him, using their numbers to vote out all the Igbo leeches we call our representatives who have been sucking the life out of the Igbo collectivity, both at the federal and state levels. He could have used his just-acquired charisma with the teeming Igbo youth to set a new standard for any Igbo man or woman presenting themselves for election.

Instead of his childish rants, Kanu could have lent his voice in support of restructuring, a much better deal for Igbo people. He could have forced our so-called Igbo leaders to work on drafting a restructuring agenda for us while speaking with one voice. He could have used his position to begin to influence and reinvigorate the Igbo mentality of “live and let die.” He could have helped persuade the Igbo elite to get serious about investing in their homeland even as they prosper in regions outside. How about using his newfound status to demand accountability and answers regarding the state of infrastructural development in the Southeast?

He certainly had the platform, he had the voice, he had the channels, but he decided to embark upon this dead agenda called secession. These opportunities beckoned, but he decided that he had eaten to his fill, ready to challenge his “chi” to a battle.

Mr. Kanu should understand that he is now the target and no longer the leader of IPOB. His agitation for a sovereign Biafra has just come to screeching halt. Any and everything he does today will be subject to close scrutiny by the military and the world.

I have friends who have been agitating for an independent Biafra since the war ended. A few years ago, that mantle was taken up by MASSOB ever so subtly. However, Kanu came assuming he knew more than those agitating for Biafra before him. He has now become the proverbial nwanza, and has overstepped his bounds. He got so enamored of the crowd that followed him every day that he coveted his own army or militia, demonstrating the folly of the weak human mind and the seduction of absolute power.

His decision to form a militia is enough to bring on charges of treason against him.  Those of us in the US well remember Ruby Ridge, the Black Panther Party, Waco Texas, etc. In the US, as in Nigeria, any threat to the sovereignty of the nation is often met with overwhelming force. Why, then, are some surprised that the military suddenly showed up at Kanu’s doorsteps with guns blazing? Mr. Kanu was toying with the tail of the Lion. He should be bold enough to deal with the consequences. My hope is that he does not become the meal of the day.

Now, this matter of Operation Python Dance II. What an ill-conceived notion. When you think that our leaders will show no more stupidity they often will surprise you with worse. I would have loved to be a fly on that wall where this plan was conceived. To think that someone looked our president in the eye and said, “Mr. President, I think we should move our arms and ammunition to the Southeast to make a ‘show of force,’ to tell this Nnamdi Kanu guy that we mean business.

The Buhari administration lost the confidence of many supporters in the Southeast when it allowed Nnamdi Kanu to violate the conditions of his bail. This action, “Operation Python Dance II”, highlights the effects of “brain drain” on the Nigerian psyche. It is clear that our current leaders lack advisers with common sense. What is even more appalling was the speech by the operations’ commander. Ok, let’s assume that all the intelligence gathered by our intelligence agencies indicated that the federal government needed to take this action. Did the military not understand that using a commander who was not of Igbo extraction would raise suspicion? Are they so oblivious of all the cries of marginalization, lopsided appointments and the fact that the Igbo hardly trust the other ethnic groups? Wow!

As I watched civilian trucks roll through the southeast loaded with all these armored vehicles, what went through my mind was, “My God, the Nigerian military in all its pomp and pageantry could not afford armor and personnel carriers?” Really are those civilian trucks being used to transport our military gear to a war zone? Then my thoughts shifted and I wondered if all these armored vehicles were meant for Mr. Kanu and his rag tag militia—a militia whose members on social media looked like what they needed most was some good home meal? This is overkill! What a waste of millions of naira to accomplish something the police could have handled in no time. Ah my brothers, Nigeria is jaga-jaga!

President Buhari’s advisers got it wrong with this purported “Operation Python Dance II.” You do not need to waste your bullets and millions of naira on innocent youth trying to get some attention. That’s what young people do. You should focus on Boko Haram, the very group that is threatening your downfall and that of Nigeria—and they are in your backyard. President Buhari ought to ask why many groups clamor to leave Nigeria. The answers may surprise him. It’s all about equity and fairness. A show of force in the Southeast will not revive your war on corruption—a war we seem to be losing. That war was the core of your agenda as you campaigned for election. “Operation Python Dance” will not change the facts that your own cabinet is in disarray. We may not be at Aso Rock, but we can see Aso Rock through the actions of your own staff. If Kanu violated the terms of his bail, pick him up and lock him up, and then, let the legal processes take their course. Looking the other way for fear of offending the Igbo only served to make the situation worse.

One question. Through all the military buildup, where were the governors of these southeast states? Why were they so silent? Why had they not spoken out either for or against this military action in their states? Did they know something that we didn’t? Was the military operation a prelude to declaring a state of emergency in the Southeast? Were they so afraid of Nnamdi Kanu that they did not care what and how the federal government shut him down? Were they even made aware; and were they fine with this military action in their states?

We need answers to these questions to help us understand the actions of our erratic leaders. Now I am beginning to wonder if our president did not cut his medical treatment short to come home and deal with Nnamdi Kanu. My frustration is that Nnamdi Kanu does not warrant the kind of attention he is getting from the Igbo and the federal government. If the federal government wants to train their army, an excellent training ground would be in the Sambisa forest against Boko Haram and not in the Southeast. Another area would be protecting our farmers from the marauding cattlemen and not a bunch of hungry looking youth seeking whatever opportunity to make a dime—a condition that we created due to bad governance.

If Nigeria’s intelligence agencies were worth anything, they would have known by now that most of the Igbo people do not support seceding from the Union. All the Igbo desire is fair treatment and a piece of the national pie, a “pie” that has eluded us since the Nigerian Union was formed—and history tells us so. So: why all the hoopla? What has the federal government done to reach out to the silent majority who go about their businesses everyday contributing to the progress of Nigeria? Why has the government not tried to use those that believe in our nationhood to counter the bombastic behavior of Nnamdi Kanu? Why, why, why?

Bloody clashes occurred between the army and the Igbo youth. Now what? Do we understand that these incidences, currently trending on social media, will do nothing but widen the gap of distrust between the Igbo and our federal and state governments? How is that helpful to anyone? And there’s the audacity of the military to call this a “show of force”? Force against whom?

IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu

We are truly a weird country full of wacky leaders, ideas and ideals. For those of our youth who did not get killed or injured, I will echo one advice I saw on social media: ”Go home and be safe”

I wish Nnamdi Kanu did not lead some young men and women to their early graves—their blood forever on his head. The military has now categorized IPOB as a terrorist organization. The southeast governors have proscribed it. It all points to Kanu’s wasted opportunities. He could have used his influence to reshape the political landscape and strengthen our position in Nigeria. He could have deployed his charisma (which he was counting on to mobilize two million youths he promised to take to Abuja if arrested) to get the same youth to vote the current inept and corrupt political officials out of office. If he had done this, we would have seen and cheered his power. He should have fought to set the stage for a new era in politics in the Southeast as this chop-I-chop mentality is killing us and needs to go.

The Igbo have always been some of the originators of great ideas and ideals in Nigeria, and it should not stop now. With the wide recognition he currently enjoys among the Igbo, he could have helped create jobs for youth, his largest followers and the greatest assets of our people. We must be mindful that any country in which the federal government is the largest employer is doomed. Yes, think globally but act locally.

I urge the silent majority of the Igbo to disavow silence. Unless they speak, they run the risk of finding themselves behind a war zone. This is no time to sleep or be sheepish. This is the time to make your opinion known through whichever medium you use. Let’s remember it was partly our gullibility that led to the last civil war and the loss of more than one million lives. Forget your history and you are bound to relive the grave mistakes of the past!

My fellow Nigerians, regardless of your position on the tense and unfolding situation in our country, please exercise restraint and display commonsense. Remember: a child who says his or her parents will not sleep, will not sleep either. Nigeria should be “one nation, with one destiny.

Of Dancing Pythons, Oduduwa Republic, Militancy, And 40 Billion Metric Tons of Deceptions By Ọ̀gbẹ́ni Akofe

Dear fellow Nigerians:
The Nigerian state is peculiar. From her creation to her declaration as a peculiar mess by Late Adelabu, to her current state. All nations in the world are peculiar in their own ways, in some places deception is veiled, cryptic, scripted, institutionalized, and legalized, while in some places even ‘scoobydoos’ can smell deception as it is done with reckless abandon.
 
However, in Nigeria the smell of deception is pungent and the stench so pervasive, but so often than not we have devised a way of spraying expensive air fresheners to temporarily hide the stench of our mess while spinning, creating, and weaving multiple layers of webs (deception and misdirection) to divert us from our scarily grim but hopeful reality as a nation.
 
Another wonderful exception in the Nigerian context is that being among the most educated, most intelligent, brightest, and most traveled group of people, we have all collectively decided to make our nation a mess. The compounds and interiors of many homes in Ikoyi, Lekki, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Zaria, Kaduna and all over Nigeria subdues & swallows what even the wealthy have as homes in the USA, United Kingdom, and other functional nations.
 
We have smart sense but we are also stupidly silly once the “selfish” button in us all is pressed. Yes, we all have the “selfish” button, some have theirs openly accessible while some have theirs masqueraded (they act as freedom fighters like they are fighting for the masses while they are just junky jobbers). Cars sold for $50,000 abroad by the makers are sold here for 80 Million Naira or above and we all keep quiet with our aim being how to steal or loot enough money to acquire our own.

Since this prosperous nation was founded, no tribe has had a reason not to complain. We have all wronged, irritated, exploited, and deceived ourselves at one point or another. Let us reduce the cost of governance (earning and privileges of political appointees and elected officials at all levels and we will be en route prosperity again with a solid future).
 
Please let history be mandatory in our schools and force our youths to read books that tell our story, this will help us.

As sad as it may be, now a ruthless Python is dancing and strangulating helplessly weak people with some people dead, some asphyxiate, and some drunken with muddy water which is the python’s home zone.
 
No matter how bad the situation is, we must all uphold sanity or else this whole thing will blow in our faces and we will all lose (God forbid). When push came to shove in 1960s civil war, the heat came on fully after the feeding bottle of food and medical aid was removed.
 
The effect: millions died, destinies were thwarted, marriages destroyed, problems created, hunger was raging, rape, arson, and madness were rife. People were used and disposed at will or acquired and shipped out as property due to selfish reasons and in the midst of all this, the “Messiah” ran away. Yes, he took off, ran away and left his helpless devotees, he could not die for what he was preaching.
 
Can Kanu die for what he is preaching? This is a London boy that is just an air ticket away or either via any of our numerous porous borders or with connivance via a private jet owner and he is fooling the brightest people – the Igbos.
 
Can you live in Nigeria today without you having a direct or indirect interaction with an Igbo person daily? They (Igbos) import most of what we consume daily as we are an importing economy and our local production recovery army is led by these our industrious siblings (Innoson, Aba Market, numerous pharmaceutical firms et al). So why allow this Kanu guy to fool us?
 
For me, I see this Kanu show as a show by the wealthy and powerful for the wealthy and powerful at the detriment of the poor, helpless, and those without knowledge. 
 
Oduduwa Republic is also another thing that some people are selling now as a solution to the Nigerian mess, the sellers are wealthy ex-powerful political goons who want to be in the inner caucus of government at the peak level at all times by all means while their marketers are political prostitutes who have been at the helm of affairs, held key positions, and dined with the high and mighty while the society, their society, and posterity has nothing to show for their sojourn in those high places until they fell. 

Some fell out with their former bosses while karma felled some.
Some folks are also beating their fat fleshy chests screaming militancy in the South-South while turning a blind eye to making their leaders accountable for every penny they received, are receiving, and will receive. As a people, we are so twisted that our “person” being in government makes more sense than our person doing his/her duty and making our lives better.
 
At the golf club, everybody is friends with everybody, they put their political robes and masks away and you see them all bonding when you travel abroad, you even see them visiting each other and eating together while some poor folks are fighting and bitter because of fickle party loyalty.
 
Since we all cannot be in Abuja, our state capitals or council offices we elected some of our folks, it’s sad that we end up worshipping them instead of questioning them and holding them accountable for every kobo and Naira they receive on our behalf in our name. 
 
Instead, we are happy when our names are on Hajj or Jerusalem pilgrimage lists, they give us board appointments, employ our children and feel fulfilled, they allow us to smell the food while they eat, store, eat, store, and store more. Ask your local government councilor, chairman, State House of Representatives member, or senator representing you, key questions and you will see how we all failed.

The judiciary that should save us has been swallowed by itself, the veil covering the eyes of the adjudicator is a net mesh that allows him to see and judge partially based on alliances, connections, bonds, promises, and gifts. 
 
Fixing Nigeria is not mission impossible. However the current state of our mess has many beneficiaries and the list of the beneficiaries, and would-be beneficiaries increase almost per minute. Picture those who will lose if we get the Nigerian economy straight, picture those who will lose when Lagos has 8 refineries, Port Harcourt has 8, the North has 10, and other parts of this nation have functional refineries.
 
They (the goons) cannot import almost daily again and the wealth revolves around all of us. Picture those who will lose when there is a functional high-speed rail system in the Niger Delta linking all those beautiful states and fostering a prosperous economy. 
 
Picture those who will lose when anybody’s car can be searched and picture whose who will lose when we have functional industries without having to import toothpick, tuna fish, and concentrate to make our numerous sugar drinks. Picture those who will lose when you can get elected without worshipping them.
 
Never forget that a functional society creates wealth for everyone with equal opportunities while a dysfunctional society creates wealth for the few at the detriment of the majority who have almost zero opportunity. Those are the folks sponsoring, aiding, and fostering these problems we have in Nigeria, I am Yoruba by birth, my best friends are from the North, while my wife is from the South-South with a bit of South-East blood, and I do not plan on getting a visa to visit my in-laws.

Regards,
Ọ̀gbẹ́ni Akowe, a legal practitioner wrote from Lagos, Nigeria.

​Our Dear Army, Please Cool Temper By Dele Momodu 

Fellow Nigerians,

 let me confess my admiration for security forces generally. It is not just because of the cleanliness and crispiness of their uniform or the famed discipline that they imbue in their members. It is because I find their job too risky. I often wonder why any man or woman would voluntarily sign his or her death warrant. For me, they appear more like suicide bombers. As a toddler in the ancient city of Ile-Ife, I remember being told by older people that “soldiers are trained to kill” and we were told to avoid them. The myth flying around included that most of them were recruited without having much education. But as I grew up, I began to acquire a special fascination for them, especially the elite squads in the Navy and the Air Force. I would later interact with many soldiers at home and abroad. I love their uniforms, jackboots and in particular their menacing guns.

I still imagine till this day what it takes to be a killer. We were told soldiers were regularly injected with special drugs that makes it impossible for them to have the milk of human kindness in them. But with time, I saw and met many soft-hearted soldiers. I used to tease them about what we were told as kids. I must say I became one of their fans and good friends. I visited our soldiers in Sierra Leone and Liberia and gave them my humble support and they were very appreciative of my modest contribution and inspiration.

The reason for my preamble must be obvious to you all. I was seriously angry after seeing a video purportedly showing how our soldiers were brutalising fellow Nigerians and subjecting them to the worst indignities known to mankind. I’ve been praying that the videos were shot in outer space and not anywhere near Nigeria. But if what I saw very vividly actually took place on our planet and in this our dear beloved nation, then we’ve truly missed the road. I did not see any sign of weapons with these hapless victims of oppression and repression. At the very worst, even if as the military authorities claimed, that the soldiers were pelted with pebbles and stones, the treatment meted out to the personalities in the video is undeserved by any human being. How was the response from the military commensurate to that of the supposed hoodlums? Was it not an act of provocation in itself for soldiers to be engaging in drills in an area already soaked with tension?

Let me stretch the argument a bit further. Whose idea was it to draft the soldiers onto the streets to intimidate Nigerians in areas where there was no war? How can anyone send soldiers to threaten a people who already feel marginalised and are saying so very resoundingly? What is wrong with empowering members of the Nigeria Police Force and especially the anti-riot police squad to tackle cases of hooliganism and even terrorism. Soldiers are meant to come out in open battle only in extreme cases where there is total chaos and mayhem. President Muhammadu Buhari has wittingly or inadvertently walked into the trap cleverly set for him by the Biafra secessionists. Kanu and company have read the President well knowing his proclivity for no-nonsense and high-handedness.

If truth must be told, this is the height of intolerance on the part of the Nigerian State. I have not seen any Lawyer who believes in the legality of what our soldiers have done. Kanu may be reckless and irresponsible by promoting internecine wars and heating up our country unnecessarily but no one can deny him the right of expressing himself and agitating for his beliefs. What could have been done to him was very simple; send the police after him and get him rearrested for flouting his bail conditions. Some of his hard core loyalists and acolytes could be easily identified and kept out of circulation. For the past few months, Kanu has been raking and ranting but he has not fired a bullet. As a matter of fact, this government has unfortunately resurrected a man who was already on his way to Golgotha and at a time his bravado was becoming increasingly irritating to many of those who took him seriously initially. The staccato fashion of his argument was becoming boring and predictable. I really don’t know who misadvised our leaders into thinking they can fight all wars and win all. Believe me please, I know Nigeria a bit, it is a dangerous gamble.

I’m aware that our President is a retired Major General, a man well known for his taciturnity, who packs his punches and loves to take on known and imaginary enemies. But we supported him because we believed Baba had transfigured into a born again democrat. The Buhari we supported was not the man who ruled with draconian Decrees from 1983-85 and was forced out of power and his detractors rejoiced openly and widely. The same Nigerians who praised you for beating your child would soon turn around to castigate you and ask why you’re so wicked. That is the reality of Nigeria. This particular case is even more precarious. Some Northerners had issued threats to the Igbos to quit their territory or face monumental reprisals. A few of the respected people in the North cautioned them but they were rebuffed with insults in a most vicious manner. No security arm ever tried to even invite them for any chat not to talk of arrests. The then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, did so well by engaging different sections of Nigeria in peaceful dialogue and we were happy that the ticking bomb was carefully detonated. Just imagine what would have happened if he invaded parts of the North or East with soldiers blazing with guns and bayonets. He would have been accused of all sorts, including ethnic cleansing.

Our President should be told in very clear terms that the world has changed drastically in the last three decades. No leader can order his troops out in the streets to kill and destroy wantonly. We should not over-stretch our luck. Nigeria cannot afford a second civil war. Our economy is already in shambles. We should prosecute how to return to economic recovery urgently and resist the temptation of wasting our scarce resources on persecuting our fellow citizens. The videos in circulation tend to portray us as barbarians who belong in the prehistoric age. We’ve suffered enough negativity and should not invite the wrath of the world upon ourselves. Believe it or not, Nigeria may find itself in the bad book of War Crimes Tribunal. It is not impossible, no matter how long it takes. Mass graves have been reported in some parts of Nigeria with concrete proofs. Nigerians have been detained indefinitely in near solitary confinements without trial. This are not the best examples to lay for our future. Many of those who should speak up against tyranny are too squeamish for obvious reasons. But it should not be so.

I’m not a supporter of Biafra. I don’t have to be. I love and prefer a bigger, stronger and more prosperous Nigeria. But there are reasons for many Nigerians to detest Nigeria, today. They feel they have been horribly marginalised and treated like second class citizens in their own country. Their perception is that they believe all or most of the following things. Their children no longer attend the good schools for which the Igbos have become well known. The goods, some of which they even make themselves in Aba, have become only available for the rich.

Infrastructure is sorely lacking for the most part. Where they exist, they are decaying and nobody is really attending to them. There are no new jobs and the few old jobs are being lost in droves. The state of healthcare is almost hopeless. Federal character has become a total charade. We can go on, ad infinitum, reeling out the litany of woes that our brothers and sisters in the South East believe is responsible for the unusually strident agitation that we are now witnessing. To be fair and charitable they do have cause to be aggrieved in many respects. Our government should address these issues instead of attacking those who disagree with them. One of the surest ways to do this is by education, information and public enlightenment to demonstrate that the position is not as bad as they feel. The social media is awash with facts and figures for and against the depth and seriousness of the so-called marginalisation of the South East. The next step would be to identify those issues which are of critical concern, proffer solutions to resolve them and then act on these solutions. The third and equally important duty of the government is to ensure an equitable distribution of resources and positions. Indeed, this is the major reason for the clamour for restructuring. Whilst we still operate in a system where government provides practically everything, it is only just that people must have a sense of belonging and participation. However, the best form of restructuring that Nigeria needs now is not merely to decentralise power but to cede power completely to the private sector whilst government contributes its quota by providing the enabling environment for the much needed industrialisation and technological advancement that will take us out of our present doldrums..

In the name of God, the omnipotent and merciful, everyone should beg our Federal Government to end this self-immolating war of attrition. We have nothing to gain. In fact, we have more to lose.

Buhari, Buratai, And The Python Panacea By Emmanuel Ugwu

The ongoing destructive ‘Python Dance’ of the Nigerian troops in the South East states of Nigeria is easily the most futile conceivable strategy for defeating the growing Biafra consciousness in Igboland. It’s a thought out police witch-hunt operation, and it is destined to end in a shameful retreat like all brawny wars waged against persuasions rooted in hearts and minds. 

 
The barbarous militarization of the reasonably quiet geopolitical zone is a bald-faced abuse of the Nigerian army. Emptying the barracks into civilian space in the absence of a present or imminent security threat is creating a gladiatorial arena for no just reason. 
 
It should never have happened because it is unconstitutional for the President of Nigeria to deploy troops on a whim. And even if were, it’s a repulsive course of action because its atmospherics cannot but help solidify the case for Biafra 2.0, radicalize the youths of the region, and create the perfect storm that didn’t exist before the soldiers’ siege.    
 
The ‘Python Dance’ does not have any perceptible prospect of getting Igbo heartland over a barrel. It can only be counterproductive. It will lend momentum to Nnamdi Kanu’s cause, enlarge his support base, and enhance his profile as an ordained prophet-leader of Biafra’s second exodus.
 
The ‘Python Dance’ panacea is a dumb idea. The only way it begins to make sense as a present-day reality is understanding that it is a dramatic product of the intersection of the Biafra paranoia of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the snake fetishism of his army chief, General Tukur Yusuf Buratai. 
 
President Buhari is sick of Biafra. He is obsessed with Biafra. He dreads Biafra, nourishes that dread, and makes his nightmares out of its intangible essence. 
 
Buhari is so tormented by a seemingly ubiquitous apparition of Biafra that he is expressing and exercising that fear as state policy. He is radiating that fear like a distressed coward vested with military omnipotence. He is transmitting that fear as a command, making his anxiety the lived experience of other people.   
 
The current siege on Igboland stems from Buhari’s desperate need to attack his own Biafra paranoia. He fears that if he hesitates to preemptively destroy Biafra, Biafra will destroy him. He believes the only pro-Biafra activists that can’t haunt him and aggravate his fears are the ones killed in cold blood.
 
Buhari unleashed Nigerian soldiers on Igboland in a bid to annihilate the fear he harbored within.  The facts on the ground did not demand the deployment of a trigger-happy army of occupation to the South East. But he had to validate his Biafran paranoia by dispatching the military. 
 
President Buhari’s short broadcast on his return from London, after 104 days in medical exile, was all about the putative unity of Nigeria and how Biafra would secede over the dead bodies of its canvassers. Of the myriad issues that needed to be addressed, he laser-focused on Biafra. He prioritized and singularized it. As far he was concerned, it was the most serious problem of Nigeria because it represented his greatest private headache.  
 
During his first briefing with military chiefs, he gave them marching orders to destroy ‘threats to national security and unity’, and by that he meant Biafra. The Biafra he never tires of vowing to ‘crush’.
 
Fortunately, he has a brutal automaton for chief of army staff. Buratai is in sync with his commander in chief’s anti-Igbo hate. And he received the instruction as another chance to immortalize himself as a militant agent of the Grim Reaper.
 
In November last year, he launched ‘Operation Python Dance 1’ in the five South East states. He rationalized the provocative militarization as a mission necessitated by ‘’violent agitations by separatist groups’’. That was a false pretext for invading the Igbo space and assaulting the sensibilities of the people. There were no violent agitations in Igboland at the time.
 
Buratai’s relaunch of his ‘Python Dance’ consequent upon Buhari’s order scarcely lasted 24 hours before claiming its first innocent causalities: 3 dead and 20 severely wounded. By Buratai’s standards, this figure from the army’s raid of Nnamdi Kanu’s residence is nothing. It’s nowhere close to his Zaria overkill.
 
The military occupation of the South East has now thrown parts of the zone into turmoil, with civilians mustering some forms of resistance. This is a needless crisis. It is a case of making trouble for the fun of it.
 
The codename of the military operation, ‘Python Dance’, reveals that its purpose is to satisfy an expensive taste. General Buratai is a snake fetishist who takes pride in indulging his fantasy. He is cashing in on his headship of the Nigerian army to eternalize his fascination for snakes.
 
General Buratai keeps the statuette of an Egyptian cobra on his official desk.  He farms snakes. He takes selfies with snakes. He feels an affinity for snakes. He launched ‘Python Dance’ to assert himself.
 
For some reason, Buratai derives a sense of meaning from snakes. His pursuit of ‘Python Dance’ is a quest to ensure to ensure that his life counts. It’s an attempt to secure historical significance.
 
Buratai has purported to ‘kill’ Abubakar Shekau many times. He has declared Boko Haram defeated countless times. But both Shekau and the death cult he leads continue to exist and kill with abandon. 
 
Buratai recently set for himself a 40-day target to get Shekau dead or alive. That deadline passed without any incident. Shekau was not captured, and Buratai did not resign. 
 
In fact, after Buratai failed to make good on his promise to capture or kill Shekau, Nigeria’s most serious threat, Buhari rewarded the army chief with the easier task of terrorizing civilians of South East Nigeria. The spoiled general has seized that face-saving, achievable challenge as an opportunity to execute a snake-themed military operation. 
 
Nnamdi Kanu was a mere source of bombast on a pirate radio station until President Buhari made him a folk hero. Buhari’s arrest and incarceration of Kanu turned him into a martyr and phenomenon. He is now the most popular Igbo man alive. 
 
The grotesque ‘Python Dance’ plays into Kanu’s narrative of Nigeria’s hatred for the Igbo race.  It furthers the perception that Nigeria continues to maintain a policy of hostility against Igbo people after the 30 month-long civil war that wasted 3 million Biafrans. The deaths and human violations resulting from the operation will inevitably multiply the grievances that are fueling the agitation for Biafra’s secession from Nigeria. 
 
The siege on Igboland is legitimizing Kanu’s quest for Biafra’s self-determination. His house arrest will make him a prisoner of conscience. Every state sponsored act of intimidation helps his cause. 
 
‘Python Dance’ is snake oil. It will avail Nigeria nothing. Except romancing Buhari’s paranoia and his army chief’s snake fetish.  
 
immaugwu@gmail.com
@EmmaUgwuTheMan

N120bn Corruption Allegation: To Understand Nigerian Police, Read Their Response By Ifeanyi Izeze

When the lawmaker representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Isah Misau, took a swipe at the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, alleging that he collects about N120 billion annually as payment for special security services rendered by the police to corporate organizations and very important personalities, in a country of serious-minded people, it would have been expected that the police boss would come out with real facts and figures to clear his name and the sanctity of the office he occupies.

Is it not worrisome that every day we hear mind-blowing allegations of malfeasance against the very people that are supposed to be at the fore of our nation’s fight against corruption? Earlier, it was against the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, and now the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, the two men (both police officers) championing the government’s efforts at addressing the menace of corruption in the country.

As alleged by Senator Misau, “Specifically, the IGP, on good authority from within the force, collects over N10bn on a monthly basis as money for special security provided by men of the force to corporate bodies and highly placed individuals, including criminals, running to N120bn on a yearly basis without any reflection in the police’s annual budget or internally generated revenue.

“Let me give you an example of the so many corruption cases that are taking place. More than 10,000 policemen are working with the oil companies and every month the companies are paying money. Where is the money going? Is the money going into the Federal Government’s coffers or into some people’s pockets?

“We have over 10,000 officers working in banks. Are they paying money to the Federal Government? Who are they paying the money to? Where is the money? We have policemen in thousands working for companies and private individuals. Go to the airports and you will see that people of questionable character have policemen attached to them. Are they paying money to the Federal Government?”

The N120bn fraud allegation against the IG of police is too weighty and the police authority must purge itself of this accusation. Is it not clear that the sudden realization that Senator Misau is a deserter further exposes the complicity of the police force on this matter? How can you be said to be fighting corruption and at the same time covering up what clearly represents outright stealing of not just small money but amounts that can conveniently fund the annual budgets of both the EFCC and the Police?

The Police High Command should have been seen to be eager to free itself from the accusation considering the fact that they are too weighty to be ignored or replied with trivialities such as someone deserting the force.

Allegations against Senator Misau are poorly-packaged damage control tactics employed by the police; why else would the issue of himbeing a deserter come up only after he exposed the corrupt practices of the IG?

Senator Misau collected nomination forms, participated in his party primaries and emerged a candidate in the full glare of the public and the police. He was known to have campaigned openly. He was also provided with the requisite police and other security services lawfully expected in the circumstances of party politics and elections. Since he won the election the police authorities did not raise any issues about his years of service until he made the damaging allegations against the “Oga at the top.”  Why did it take two years after his election in 2015 for the police to make self-indicting claims?

All the allegations by Senator Misau against the police are true and the Force High Command knows that, and that explains why Mr. Idris chose not to address them. I therefore challenge the government to carry out a fact-finding inquest into the matter. President Buhari will be shocked at what such investigation would unveil. Senator Misau only scratched the surface of the sleaze by the Police High and even the military. Police and military officers pay huge bribes to be posted to the oil-producing Niger Delta region where they believe they can “make it” in a matter of months. Then when they arrive the region, they pay another set of bribe to be posted to lucrative oil producing and servicing companies. This is in addition to the broad-day robbery checkpoints these officers mount to collect compulsory N100/N200 from every motorist especially commercial transporters including keke and okada.

It’s a known fact that the police high command and the military collect huge amounts of money from corporate bodies, private individuals and even government organizations to render sundry security services and the money never enters government coffers and so never accounted for.  They end up in the bank accounts of top military and police officials.

Let the police tell the world that they don’t collect money from corporate organizations and VIPs. If they do, to whose account, TSA or police account? To the best of our knowledge, all payments to the federal government should be through the TSA, if it’s otherwise, IGP Idris should tell us.

If the top echelon of the Nigerian Police is not fantastically corrupt, there is no way policemen would be brazenly be extorting money from the citizens and you tell me that the Inspector General is not aware of the happening. The reason why the police High Command feigns ignorance and do nothing is simply because such money extorted by these policemen in the field passes through networks to eventually find their ways into the pockets of the top officers including the Inspector General on daily basis.

If the government is indeed sincere and serious with its anti-graft campaign, they actually ask: Where do all the billions paid to policemen for guarding all the VIPs in Nigeria go to as the police still depend on the monthly salary paid to them by the federal government?

How can we continue like this as a nation? Now, spin doctors are being sponsored by whoever to divert our attention from the momentous allegations by trying to sell the story that Ibrahim Idris is the fourth best IGP in the world.

How? And as asked by a concerned Nigerian: who conducted the assessment? What methodology was used in arriving at such award? When did such award start? Who are the first, second, and third Police Inspector Generals before ours as the fourth? And by the way, how could the Nigerian IGP be the fourth best in the world as claimed when the appointment of an Inspector General is mostly a concept in the Commonwealth nations because of the obvious colonial linkage to Britain and not the world at large? Modern policing is all science and technology and how could Nigeria that is several light years behind in modern policing produce the fourth best Police boss in the world? And even if he is, is that the issue the police should be marketing now? Abeg, this country sef don tire person!

 

Ifeanyi Izeze writes from Abuja. You can reach him at iizeze@yahoo.com.