Written By Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe
A few days ago, some youth groups in the Niger Delta region aired what they termed their resentment in the appointment of Mr Effiong Okon Akwa as Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) by President Muhammadu Buhari. One of the groups, Uhrobo Youth Leaders Council (UYLC) was said to have dragged the Honourable Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio before a Federal High Court sitting in Warri, Delta State, over the said appointment of the new NDDC helmsman. The UYLC stands commended for its civilised method. Some other youths, who claimed to be of Uhrobo extraction, engaged in a theatre of the absurd by blocking the ever-busy East West road, thereby causing untold hardship on travelers who ply that road. While it is inconsequential to dwell on the cursing spree and death wish on the Minister as they poured libation on the expressway, it must be stressed that much as people have the right to vent their steam, such action should not impinge on the right of way of other law-abiding citizens.
It is trite knowledge that informed Urhobo youths are not part of the said action, but a few disgruntled hirelings masquerading as youths of the revered ethnic nationality. This is a clear case of the hands of Jacob in the garb of Esau.
The use of anti-democratic tendencies by overt beneficiaries of democratic norms, to distract the Hon. Minister of Niger Delta and, by extension, President Buhari, must be condemned and stands condemned, by every right-thinking Niger Deltan. One begins to wonder the rationale behind the conscription of youths to block the ever-busy East-West road, if not to discredit President Buhari.
Players in the NDDC political industry are not finding it difficult to situate the reason behind the incessant attacks on President Buhari and the Hon. Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio. The outright rejection of the ill-fated Obudu and Okumagba Board, even after being screened by the Senate, has remained the albatross on the neck of the Senate Deputy President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. He had tactically positioned the two men in order to take absolute control of the NDDC, but according to what we say in the Nigerian parlance, “God pass dem.” The macabre dance steps of those youths are in tandem with the quick drumbeats of Senator Omo-Agege. Could these be happening on the wrong assumption that President Buhari rarely bite? Sometimes, one is tempted to wish these mundane scripts were being played out in an Obasanjo era. Audu Ogbe’s experience as National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during Obasanjo’s administration readily comes to mind here.
How can a man who prides himself as “leader of the South-South APC” continue to exhibit flagrant disregard for the President and Commander-in-Chief, thereby hampering whatever successes the President and his party would have recorded?
Recall that the Interim Management Committee under the leadership of Prof. Pondei was made of no effect following what Femi Adesina, Presidential Spokesman on Media, described as “plethora of litigations and a restraining order issued recently against the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC by a Federal High Court in Abuja.” Since therefore there was no room for vacuum in governance, and considering the fact that the leadership echelon in the NDDC have been embroiled, over time, in the obvious rot and stench in the Commission, the President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, considered it expedient to appoint an untainted hand to oversee the running of the Commission until the conclusion of the on-going forensic audit.
Worthy of note is the fact that the incessant unease in the NDDC is boiling to a crescendo following President Buhari’s approval of a forensic audit of the Commission from 2001 to 2019. Those who have had unethical dealings in the Commission have left no stone unturned in their efforts to truncate the exercise. Fortunately, Mr. President has, both in words and action, demonstrated unwavering commitment to unearth the itchy fingers behind the stealing of humongous budgets appropriated for the development of the Niger delta region. Sadly, and most shocking, are incontrovertible revelations that most of the infractions recorded in the bleeding commission were brazenly committed by those who, ordinarily, were entrusted to protect the common wealth of the Niger Delta region.
That Senator Godswill Akpabio is in the eyes of the storm is therefore no surprise; man that has been mostly misjudged by his party men for their misplaced fear of being outshined. Some of them believe that allowing Akpabio to function without hindrance will open another window to replicate the feat in Akwa Ibom State which earned him the sobriquet, “The Uncommon Transformer”, thereby putting him ahead of other leaders from the region, or at most, give him an edge over many of them.
How can we forget, so soon, the “Honourable-Minister-off-the-Mic” incident during the probe of activities of the Commission at the National Assembly? The hunter suddenly became the hunted when the raw truth started coming out, hence the heart-felt appeal for the minister to off the mic. That Senator Akpabio could speak truth to power in the full glare of everybody watching across the globe, is a testimonial that he has nothing to hide concerning the NDDC.
Nigerians have not forgotten the startling revelation that a single senator was awarded 300 contracts, out of which 120 were fully paid for without commensurate job execution? Should Nigerians be reminded that it is the huge number of these phantom contracts that have left a debt burden of over N3 trillion hanging on the neck of the Commission? Should Nigerians be cowed by the blistering undertakers who are desperate to divide the living child because theirs died last night? Certainly not
As a sharp contrast from what used to obtain before, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has demonstrated leadership in its determination not to be part of any politically-motivated protest that would destabilise the region. According to the IYC President Worldwide, Peter Timothy Igbifa, “parents should monitor the activities of their children and stop them from engaging in any demonstration, especially the one targeting the occupation of NDDC headquarters using the name of IYC.” It is therefore expected that other youth groups in the region should borrow a leaf from the IYC in the journey to making the NDDC achieve the desired purpose.
Rather than distract the Sole Administrator of the Commission from delivering on his assignment, Niger Deltans, and indeed Nigerians, should be concerned about the overall decrepit infrastructure and downward slope of human capital that abound in the region. The commission is presently passing through a season of realization and rebirth, and the best Nigerians can offer now is understanding, devoid of any grandstanding by filthy players whose fingers are already soiled by their unbridled love for and commitment to the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region. The time to check these scavengers is now.
Written By Obiaruko Christie Ndukwe
President, Citizens Quest for Truth Initiative
PENDULUM BY DELE MOMODU: Who Shall Tell the President Nigeria is Dying?
Fellow Nigerians, please, take note of the title of my column this week. I did not say Nigerians are dying. That is stale news, as well as an understatement. My focus is that the country called Nigeria is dying. I do not know what sort of security briefing President Muhammadu Buhari, regularly or periodically, receives from his obviously reticent and incompetent security team. I doubt it includes the fact that Nigeria is speeding towards a monumental collapse, unless a miracle, or something drastic is done to stop this supersonic drift towards perdition. It might even be that the President does not receive any or proper security details, either because he does not want to hear or worse still, he assumes all is well. Whichever way one contemplates these last two scenarios, it is a calamity indeed.
Believe me, I’m not writing as a wailing wailer, or as a Prophet of doom. I am not writing as a clairvoyant or a seer. I merely write as a realist. The symptoms of a failed nation are just too palpable to be missed or ignored by a reasonable people. I am not talking about a State which has failed because of social and economic policies that even the authors and protagonists cannot decipher or fathom. This nation is on the precipice because its leaders are playing Russian Roulette with the security of Africa’s biggest and most important country. It is all now a matter of guesswork, that the gun is loaded, but the way we are going it is looking like every chamber is now full and not just one. Whatever shot you fire is bound to be the killer shot. Our leaders clearly know this but are in such an inebriated state that they have become oblivious, impervious and immune to all the danger signals.
I know power makes people blind. It intoxicates, addles the mind and takes full possession of the powerful, especially if they want to play God. This is why I’m shocked that some Nigerians are already daydreaming about becoming President in 2023, when they have no guarantee that Nigeria will still be alive by then. Or maybe I should not be surprised because what better can one expect from this bungling class of crass elements. The usual leading contenders, as typical of this confounding breed of persons, are pretending that all is well, although they know much better having been the contributors to, and cause, of the problem. They must not be seen to be criticizing the rudderless, directionless and visionless government of President Buhari lest they are marked down as enemies of the President. They know that elections are never held here, stricto sensu. What we have is a selection process with the hapless people being trundled out to deceive the unsuspecting international observers who can’t believe that what they are seeing is possible even in a Banana Republic. Simply put, elections are largely controlled from the very top, where the omnipotent President holds sway, and the outcome of the selection process is dictated by his whims and caprices.
If nobody has yet told the President, then he must hear this somehow. Our security situation is more than dire and grim. It is now catastrophic. Nigerians are now being killed, kidnapped and raped in places that used to know only peace. The orgy of banditry has since moved from the core North and middle belt to Yorubaland, previously considered a safe haven. The tales are unbelievably horrid and terrible. The situation in Ondo State is so critical that the Governor Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) has now cried out that the “Fulani bandits” must move out of his State within seven days. I salute him for having the courage to say it as it is, being a member of the same party as our most reluctant President who seems unabashedly unaware of the bloody forays and operations perpetrated by some of his kinsmen in far-flung territories and domains outside their traditional space. The Governor obviously cried out in utter exasperation, frustration and, perhaps, fear. I knew him as a die-hard Buharist. But only a bastard would sit arms akimbo and watch his mother or daughter being raped by some monsters and say or do nothing! That is the situation in which Arakunrin Akeredolu has more or less found himself. As with the President, he has discovered, albeit tragically, that family comes first. Nobody will watch over yours, when theirs is also threatened by the same fate. As the Yorubas will say, “a ki so ori olori, ki awodi gbe t’eni lo”!
Osun State has virtually become a major theatre of war involving series of killings and kidnappings. I don’t know if the Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, has been as vociferous as Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), but I am sure he is slowly being driven to come to the same conclusion. Akeredolu has nothing against the Fulani. There are many great and peaceful Fulani living in different parts of Nigeria. Some generations of Fulani people have fully integrated in those communities outside their sphere of influence without anyone raising eyebrows. But these bloodthirsty wanderers and vagrants, who are said to have meandered their ways from outside Nigeria, must be flushed out and ruthlessly dealt with regardless of whether the current President of Nigeria is their godfather, avuncular mentor, swami or whatever he represents to them.
The situation in Oyo State is just as scary. I have read the account from no less a personage than the highly respected and revered Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III, another die-hard Buharist who now appears ready to part ways with Buhari if necessary. I have had the opportunity of sitting with Iku Baba Yeye, as we fondly call him, and I know how disappointed this esteemed traditional ruler is that the Federal Government has refused to act speedily and decisively on the matter of the gross insecurity ravaging and destroying the country. I was not surprised to receive his lengthy letter to the President days ago which I hope Buhari found time to read, or someone found the opportunity to read to him. I won’t bother to talk about very reserved and highly respectable and regarded Northern Leaders led by the spiritual monarch, The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, a cosmopolitan and cerebral leader I have come to love and adulate so much for his simplicity and forthrightness. Virtually every part of the nation is haemorrhaging to death while the Federal Government is watching helplessly and hopelessly!
The Alaafin has done well by properly documenting some of the dastardly acts of these merciless bandits and his public missive to our President, Muhammadu Buhari excerpts of which are worth repeating on these pages because the letter is one for posterity whatever fate befalls the entity presently known as Nigeria and whichever way the country goes in the end:
“In recent times however, I am worried about the security situation in the country, especially in the South West geo-political zone, nay the entire Yoruba-speaking area of the country including KWARA, Kogi, and Edo States.
“This has to do with the incessant and increasing menace of Fulani herdsmen that have laid siege in almost all the highways of Yorubaland. Whether in Owo, AKURE, Ilesanmi/Ife-Ibadan Road or Ibarapa zone and Ijebu area of Ogun State, the story is the same.
“I have held series of consultations with opinion moulders and eminent Yoruba leaders across board about the menace of these cattle herdsmen with such assault like raping of our women and on some occasions in the presence of their husbands. That is apart from massive destruction of our agricultural lands; which ultimately points to imminent starvation…
“After due consultations with Yoruba leaders… we are worried by the audacity of these lawless people in effecting their illegal acts in broad daylight on our usually bushy highways without any arm of security being able to do anything…
“Now, we cannot even talk of parading suspects, when in actual sense, no major arrests have been made in this part of the country. Without arrests we cannot talk of their facing of the law.
“Unfortunately, and painfully indeed, in the face of the apparent helplessness of our security agencies, where do we go from here?”
It is at the wake of this manifest frustration of our people that our people have found it unavoidable, even though reluctantly to resort to alternative measures to safeguard their lives and property… Today, it is not merely infraction in the course of doing business, but blatant and criminal violation of the constitutional right to life and liberty of innocent citizens of Yoruba land. A few publicly known instances will suffice.
Certain individuals were kidnapped along Erio-Aromoko Road, Ekiti State. They were tortured and exposed to danger in the forest for upward of two weeks.
These victims included the Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikole Branch, Adeola Adebayo, whose decomposing body was eventually found after a ransom price of four million Naira had been paid.
Two officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps, both Yoruba, were picked up along Ilesa-Akure highway. In the process of this kidnap, an unnamed individual died.
Musibau Adetumbi, a legal practitioner based in Ibadan, was going to attend an Appeal Court session in Akure when he was kidnapped along Ilesa-Akure highway. Professor Adegbehingbe, a surgeon at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife was abducted along Ibadan-Ile-Ife highway. Dr. Muslim Omoleke, the Administrative Secretary of the National Electoral Commission was kidnapped around Ilesa, Osun State.
Mr Ayo Oladele, an employee of Guinness Nigeria, and an Old Student of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, was abducted and taken away and lately, Dayo Adewole, son of a member of your 2015-2019 executive council and Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole was kidnapped on his farm at Iroko, a village along Ibadan-Oyo Road…
As ugly as the picture above seems to be, the people of Yoruba land have remained generally peaceful and have resisted concerted efforts to push them into civil disobedience or adopting self-help mechanisms to protect themselves…
I am therefore writing to you, as a concerned stakeholder in your administration, to alert you and demonstrate to you, the urgency of the need to quickly respond to these and other issues concerning Yoruba land….
There is a general impression among opposition group that you are not known to take decisive and proactive steps in many matters of national interest and that you are not usually too disturbed about the gale of insecurity in Yoruba land…
As no major arrest of Fulani pseudo herdsmen has been made till date in Yoruba land, suspects cannot be paraded, let alone arraigned…
I am aware that members of the Odua People’s Congress scattered all over the world are already being mobilized to stand in the defence of their land and are ready, willing and able to raise an army of volunteers as was done in 1968 by the Agbekoya…”
These are pearly words of wisdom and advice from a monarch who is practically deified in Yoruba land. The President has been stridently admonished and strongly advised in forceful, resounding and vibrating language which is reverberating all over the polity. Effectively, Alaafin Adeyemi is saying that enough is enough and that things will get pretty unpleasant and nasty, pretty soon, unless the President wakes up from his deep, almost comatose, slumber and does the needful by a wholesale revamp and reshaping of our security architecture and thereby protect his fellow Nigerian citizens. The President swore to uphold our Constitution, it is about time that he started upholding that oath by acting like a patriotic Nigerian and safeguarding all his people and preserving their property.
On a similar note, I have been watching the videos of a militant Yoruba man, named Sunday Igboho, from Oyo State and what I see is raw determination to unleash mayhem, if need be, to protect his kinsmen from the brigands and mosstroopers trampling on them and their rights. The views Igboho expresses are symptomatic and reflective of the views of most of Yoruba land. He is the latest Yoruba hero for his fearlessness.
I hope and pray that President Buhari would appreciate this authentic security briefing from The Alaafin, one of Africa’s most important custodians of tradition and culture and resist the temptation of sending his trigger-happy military against the people of Oyo State. They are obviously ready for a full-scale showdown and battle in order to redeem their manhood against the rampaging kidnappers, rapists, raiders and corsairs. I foresee a civil war and bloodbath if action is not taken soon.
May this cup pass over us…
Your lamentations over Gov. Umahi’s defection is becoming childish, Eze tells PDP
Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and erstwhile National Publicity Secretary of the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) Chief Eze Chumwuemeka, has expressed discomfort at the continued lamentations of the People’s Democratic Party over the recent movement of Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State from the badly perforated umbrella that has lost the strength and capacity to maintain its relevance and shield members from the rains, to the progressives family.
In a statement made available to media houses, the party Chief restated that it remains within the exclusive preserve of every member of a political party to pitch tent with another political association where his genuine grievances, especially those affecting public interests are not properly addressed, noting that the unnecessary blabbing of the opposition party on the issue is a gross display of deliberate iconoclasm.
Excerpts from the statement read “I have watched with utter disbelief and nostalgia the naked and macabre dance by some PDP bigwigs since Engr. Dave Nwaze Umahi, the Executive Governor of Ebonyi State and South East Chairman of Governors Forum decided to join forces with the ruling party at the centre, the All Progressives Congress, (APC) in order to give political direction to Ndi Igbo”.
“By his defection to the APC, Governor Umahi, has proven that he is politically ahead of his peers and especially, considering his developmental strides in turning Ebonyi State, a once neglected and underdeveloped State in Nigeria into the most developed State in the country”
The APC chieftain averred that the infrastructural revolution ignited by his administration in Ebonyi state is a very critical tool and determinant factor in governance and justifies his defection from the crippling and sinking People Democratic Party to the progressives family. He said Umahi’s movement has suddenly ignited the daily babbling of misguided leaders of the PDP who have now resorted to acts of ill will in a bid to distract the performing Governor from his determination to make the difference in governance.
Chief Eze said Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State kick-started the attacks on the erstwhile exceptional leader of PDP in the South East for defecting to APC and after shouting himself hoarse, the embattled and soon to be sacked National Chairman of PDP, Chief Uche Secondus followed suit with the wrong perception that calling Governor Umahi unprintable names will will win him favour to sustain his office.
Furthermore, Kola Ologbondiyan, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the ensuing efforts to disparage Umahi launched a similar attack, although he got lost on what to say.
The party stalwart said every true progressive and Nigerian patriot will derive pleasure to learn what vacuum the defection of Governor Umahi has created in the opposition PDP, stressing that with the excruciating pain suffered by the PDP following his exit, the battered umbrella political organization seems to have lost relevance and direction.
The latest and most laughable of all the lamentations is the one that came from one funny but irrelevant fellow who claims to be the Publicity Secretary of the collapsed PDP in Ebonyi State, Mr. Silas Onu, who in an effort to justify the monthly peanuts he gets, attempted to disparage the image of Governor Umahi, but only succeeded in making a fool out of himself.
In his futile effort, he stated that the PDP is threatening to write US, UK governments alleging that Umahi is plotting to kill some of the PDP bigwigs in the State.
Addressing a press conference on Abuja the Publicity Secretary of the chapter, Silas Onu, raised alarm that the present holiday season may be the bloodiest in the state’s history in view of the stockpiling of arms in the state.
“The British High Commission, Canadian High Commissioner and the Ambassador of the United States of America are called upon to take a special interest in Ebonyi State as the government have continually resorted to uncivilized methods for political engagements.
“Our petitions will be sent to all High Commissions and Embassies to draw attention towards this inhumane leadership style that cares less about human lives.
While also noting that the lives of the opponents of the governor are being threatened, he said the arms stockpile discovered in Abakaliki market should be properly investigated, noting: “The location of the interception is not a coincidence as no other authority have access into that market apart from the State government.
Taking the laughable lamentation of the PDP higher, the Acting National Vice Chairman of PDP, South-east Zone, Chief Ali Odefa alleged that it has uncovered plans by the State Government to assassinate members of the party that will include the former President of the Senate, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, former Governor of the State, Senator Sam Egwu, Senator Obinna Ogba amongst others
Eze condemned Mr. Fred Udogu, PDP Ebonyi Chairman for all the futile efforts to portray the Governor in bad light few who days ago petitioned the new Commissioner of Police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies in the state just because he is asked to return the vehicle given to him by the State Government as a onetime functionary of the State Government is uncalled for.
Clearing the issue of the assumed threat on the life of the PDP State Chairman, Chief Emegha the commissioner for internal security stated that the vehicle which Mr. Udeogu is asked to return was allotted to him as the chairman of the capital territory Board. Now when he is relieved from his duties, did he supposed to go with the official vehicle meant for the commission?”
Eze asked does this issue amounts to threat to life and call for the unwarranted noise been peddled about by this mischievous fellow aimed at tarnishing the image of a God fearing Governor, Eze queried. He pleaded that, “we should try to play politics with morality and fear of God if we are to be taken serious as leaders”.
Eze described all of the allegations as destitute of reality, merely intended to distract the efforts of the Governor to provide leadership to the people of his State as Governor Umahi had no intention of harming any son or daughter of Ebonyi and as God will have it Ebonyi stands as the safest State during the yuletide period in the entire country.
He called on the leaders of the PDP to go back to the drawing board and review the architectural design of the party to spot the defects and find ways of fixing and repositioning the dwindling fortunes of the party and desist from politics of smear campaign and spurious allegations, stressing that such carriages will yield them no results.
If they think that the only solution to their litany of problems is to continue to raise unsubstantiated allegations against an Apostle of God who detests campaign of calumny and all forms of actions that contradict acceptable standard of human behavior, then their efforts must be exercises in futility.
While sympathizing with the PDP and its leadership for losing such a great asset and high ranking political leader like Umahi, Eze admonished the party to come to terms and accept the reality of the fact that the departure of Umahi from the PDP signifies an imminent collapse of the party in the South East.
Chief Eze said the PDP has failed abysmally in providing answers to the genuine concerns that prompted Umahi’s exit from the party which among others include the total neglect of the South East during her sixteen years of misrule in Nigeria, stressing that the administration of President Buhari has achieved so much not just for Ebonyi State but the entire South East region including the Second Niger Bridge, the Enugu International Airport, Onitsha to Enugu, Port Harcourt to Enugu and several other federal projects littered across the region.
Eze applauded Umahi for his bold step which has earned him the Poster Boy of the politics of South East and one of the revelations of the current political dispensation.
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