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TranscriptCNN International interview with Nigeria'sPresident Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu onDemocracyand Security Issues

On the Prof. Chinua Achebe project,log on to www.Achebebooks.com••CLASSmagazine'the Ebonymagazine for Africans in north America'


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Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston,USAfricaonline.com,CLASSmagazine, and TheBlack Business Journal


Nigeria's 2007 elections: progress withfamiliar problems, violence....
By ChidoNwangwu (Founder and Publisher, USAfricaonline.com)

Nigeria's latest march into another transition is making progressbut beset with familiar problems in some constituencies. Hence, theINEC extended voting hours against the harsh realities of latestarts, missing votersregisters and ballot boxes.

Moreso, incidents of armed men attacking police stations andpartisan violence have all combined to raise immediate issuesaffecting the conduct and handling of Nigeria's April 14 elections;especially in the south, southwest; and in the north where 2 votingbooths and an INEC office were burnt. As at 2pm Nigerian time, thespate of violence had left at least 17 dead in Nigeria's south asNigerians go to the polls to choose state governors for 36 states andmembers of state houses of assembly in the first of two elections.Next voting is next Saturday April21, 2007 for office of the president and members ofthe National Assembly, comprising 109 senators and 360 members of theHouse of Representatives.

Overall, USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine reporters insideNigeria are reporting that the elections are progressing withthousands if not more disenfranchised due to INEC's logisticalproblems, the actual acts of partisan political violence and threatsof violence. USAfrica reporters note too that voting has not takenplace in parts of Anambra, Kwara, Adamawa, Bauchi, Kano, Bayelsa,Rivers and Ondo states. The killing in a mosque of a radical Islamiccleric has left some tension around the voting and politics.

Nigeria's Senate President Ken Nnamani, a member of the ruling PDPin his home state of Enugu for the elections said on television that"Many of us have not voted and we have no chance of voting...Anyperson being declared a winner as far as Enugu is concerned has nomandate of anybody. People believe that the result has already beingpredetermined." He is Nigeria's number 3 person in order ofsuccession. He has fallen out recently with Nigeria's presidentOlusegun Obasanjo particularly on the controversial Petroleum TaxDevelopment Fund (PTDF) on which issue a properly constituted Senatecommittee indicted Obasanjo and his embattled deputy Atiku Abubakar over wrong-doings in the management of the fund.

The committee has also recommended that both of them should bereferred to the Code of Conduct Bureau for further action. Nnamanihas been at loggerheads with his state Governor, Chimaroke Nnamani(they are not related). The latter is a strong supporter ofObasanjo's third term agenda and other projects.

In many areas, voting have been done with large contingents ofsoldiers and policemen taking orders from the Obasanjo presidency. OnFriday April 13, 2007, one such order was the "picking up" of atroubling young 'god-father' and key player in Anambra's contentiouspolitics Chris 'Esele' Uba from his residence in Enugu to Abuja forrestrictions (until the elections are over). But some cynics thinkthe Uba issue is a diversion or at best, nemesis for thecontroversial godfather who alleges his older brother who isPresident Obasanjo's confidante and PDP governorship candidate AndyUba is behind his problems. Andy has the support of the former VicePresident of Nigeria, Alex Ekwueme.

The Imo State PDP candidate (endorsed by various legal orders,having won the primaries and also affirmed by the Supreme Court)Ifeanyi Ararume was restrained by the Police ahead of this election.Hence, one result is in for the 2007 elections. The ruling PDPpreferring anyone but Ararume in Imo State decided not to field anycandidate if not Obasanjo's pick and backer of Obasanjo's failedunconstittional 3rd term bid, the businessman Charles Ugwu. The PDPsuspend Ararume, depriving him a platform since he could not run asan independent. The undemocratic decision gave APGA's Martin Agbasoan edge. By Monday or Tuesday, the numbers will be in -- with thecertainty that the PDP is one Governor less into 2007.


INTERVIEW: INECchairman Prof. Maurice Iwu spoke exclusively in his Abujaoffice to USAfrica's Publisher Chido Nwangwu on the logistics,planning of the April2007 elections,his relationship with Obasanjo, Uba, the sequence of announcing theresults....

The use of the Nigerian police force and its leadership in thepartisan matters in Anambra, Lagos, Adamawa, State and other parts ofNigeria have left their credibility, again, soiled. The police, likethe INEC have been accused, as in the past, of doing the bidding ofthe ruling party, the PDP. The opposition Action Congress led byNigeria's VP Atiku Abubakar and former PDP chieftains complain aboutthe "kangaroo disqualification of the VP, a very strong contendet andcounter-weight to Obasanjo. The AC say Obasanjo's men have detainedthousands of supporters and used the EFCC to hound and disqualifycandidates who can defeat the PDP's machine.

Such issues and actions-- especially in his home state of Anambracompelled the world acclaimed author of ThingsApart and several other books, Professor Chinua Achebe to note thatNigeria's President retired General Olusegun Obasanjo, has since 1999taken Nigeria "as low as she has ever gone." Achebe recalls that"Perhaps the strangest of these events took place in my own state,Anambra, where a governor was kidnapped by a criminal gang whoclaimed that they had 'fixed' the election and earned the right toreceive the state budgetary allocation."

"Whatever the merit of this bizarre story thegovernor refused to turn over the allocation to these thieves andbegan to spend it on building roads and bridges which nobody had donein decades. He began to pay pension to retired civil servants who hadnot been paid in years. Anambra State was transformed overnight. Nowhere else in Nigeria had such a change happened. Governor Ngigebecame the people's governor."

In a statement, titled "The clouds aregathering,", Achebe added that this assessment "will surprise foreign'friends' of Nigeria who may believe the myth that Obasanjo has beenfighting to end corruptionin the country and to bring democracy to its citizens. Nigerians knowbetter." "President Obasanjo has had the opportunity to rule Nigeriafor three years (1976-79) as an unelected military dictator and laterfor two terms of eight years as a retired general/civilian(1999-2007). People don't exactly remember what Obasanjo did in hisfirst civilian incarnation. His second coming, however, was adifferent matter. Heunfolded a gigantic scheme for staying in power beyond histenure. He set up agencies with longtitles like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, theEconomic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent NationalElectoral Commission. It soon became clear, however, that thesedevices were not intended to curb the crimes they enumerated but togo after people who disagree with the President, especially onhisdesire to extend his tenure."

While Nigerians and the international community await the votecounts, Obasanjo's assertions about putting in place a credibletransition and voting arrangement in place especially the high hopesand actual planning and execution by INECare already taking their first harsh test on the dynamic power-playand violent terrain of Nigeria's politics; it is a terrian whichusually and typically defies most development and political logic andtextbook planning.

In Nigeria, we exepect the unexpected!

Any how, it seems fit that as a street-level prologue to Nigeria'sdemocracy Nigerian-style, its own president Obasanjo, himself aretired army General and former dictatorial ruler of Nigeria(1976-1979) proudly said a few weeks ago that for him and his party(the PDP), the April 2007 elections and campaign call for atavisticbrutishness requiring in his words the methods of "a do or dieaffair." It's afterall a political jungle out there. We're keepingthe tally of the "do" and the "die". Nigeria we hail thee....


The author, ChidoNwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award(1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (firstAfrican-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published onthe internet), USAfrica The Newspaper,CLASS magazineand TheBlack Business Journal. He has served as an adviserto the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) andappears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC newsaffiliates. In 2006, he established the global e-groupsIgboEventsand AnglicanAfrican.This report was written and first posted April 14, 2007

Nigeria's President Obasanjofingered by his VP Atiku in loss of $500m OilMoney. Vice President AtikuAbubakar has alleged that over $500 million of the money realisedduring the 2002/2003 oil licensing bids cannot be accounted for bythe current authorities of Nigeria's government led by retired Gen.Olusegun Obasanjo. He raised the question: "About $700m wasrealised during the 2002/2003 bidding rounds but only the sum ofabout $145m was released to the PTDF. At this point, the pertinentquestion to ask is: where is the balance and who used it and underwhat law or which appropriation sub-head."
DEMOCRACYWATCH: What Bush Should TellObasanjo.... By ChidoNwangwu (Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com): March 29,2006, at the White House, where Bush also met a few days earlier withLiberia's Sirleaf, new face of Africa; welcomed Nigeria's PresidentretiredGeneral Olusegun Obasanjo, an old face of Africa, to thank him forregional support of the U.S.,discuss "strengthening democraticinstitutions, and the need to bring Charles Taylor to justice." (Bothpresidents are seen in this 2004 USAfrica news archive picture). Thevisit comes against the current background of the outrageous nonsenseparroted by hangers-on and political idol worshippers, thephilistines of Nigeria's politics who have since become the domesticand international canvassers of the indecent baloney that: Nigeria'sconstitution must be amended for one man, retired General OlusegunObasanjo, to govern for a 3rd 4-year term (12 years!). This they, shamelessly, claim is for Nigeria's survival. Worse, they addthat without Obasanjo, there will be no progress, criminality of thepolitical economy will abound and the polity will collapse. Goodheavens! Thesheer hubris that Nigeria can only move forward only by the "divine"and eternal governance of a 74-year former dictator Obasanjo issimply stupefying and immoral, to say the veryleast.  Hence, the enabled executors and conductors of thisfolly on behalf of Obasanjo only remind me of the infamous words ofthe 17th century  French monarch, Louis X1V (1638-1715) whoreportedly said "L'État, c'est moi"  meaning  "I amthe State." If only Obasanjo could drive us back to the 17th century;only there was no Nigeria, at the time.

In comparison, while Liberia's Madam President Sirleaf representsthe manifestation of the triumph of popular constitutional methodsand emerging institutional democratic values in Africa, retiredGeneral Obasanjo's imperious, know-it-all, emerging project for asit-tight  presidency in Nigeria remind us all of the 1970sold Africa where constitution-tweaking soldiers (his colleagues) andpower drunks  funnily believed their country's sun rose andshone at their hideous and idiosyncratic say-so. We won't go backthere; no; not now that we  have the great Nelson Mandelaas our icon, historical benchmark and reference point. Obasanjo makesit difficult for Obasanjo to be a statesman; no doubt, he's aregional leader.

As a specialist on US. and Africa public policy and culturalissues, here are things I'll suggest President Bush tell PresidentObasanjo, in a short, sweet but realistic summary: Fullcommentary here



VIEWPOINT
"Obasanjohas ruined this country...." Anopen letter to Nigeria's President Obasanjo.ByProf. NiyiOsundare:
Dear President, millions of Nigerians see you as thesource of their problems. Millions curse you under their breadth.Millions more loudly pronounce their imprecations at the slightestopportunity. You rule over a degraded country, Mr. President; yourevery act has consistently contributed to that degradation. Inthe reckoning of most Nigerians, you are the most arrogant, mostinsensitive, most callous, and most self-righteous and hypocriticalruler that this unfortunate country has ever been saddled with in itshapless saga of misrule.Your words, behaviour, disposition, andgeneral track record seem to justify these negativeimpressions.

Consider these facts: in two years, you have hiked the price ofpetroleum products two times. You met a litre of petrol selling for21 naira; it now goes for a whooping 42 naira in a few places andtwice as much in many others. As if this were not enough, you toppedit all with a N1.50 levy misnamed "fuel tax". You started by flayingus with whips; now you fleece us with scorpions. What good youthought would come out of these hikes, you alone in your unfathomablewisdom will ever know; you and the Mephistophelean PPPRA and yourhorde of "Special advisers." Osundare, Professor of English at theUniversity of Ibadan (Nigeria), poet and prolific essayist, is thewinner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for 1986, and the 1991 NomaAward for Publishing in Africa. His essays and reviews have appearedpreviously on USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper.Clickhere for FULL commentary


DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)

 


Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu

How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By USAfricaonline.com contributor Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
LITERATURE:

Why
CHINUA ACHEBE, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
POLITICS and POLICY
African Union: Old wine in new skin?
Why Nigeria and Africa's leaders are leading us to nowhere. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe and a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics.
NEWS INVESTIGATION: The Marc Rich Oil Deals in Nigeria
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Obasanjo's Biafra and anti-Igbo battles running past 33 years. By Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, author of the highly-acclaimed African Literature in Defence of History: An Essay on Chinua Achebe
Obasanjo's obsession with Biafra versus facts of history. By Prof. Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No

Lindhs' Mandela comparison is foolish and scandalous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide.
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie
Obasanjo's own challenge is to imbibe "democratic spirit and practice," By Prof. Ibiyinka Solarin
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfrica The Newspaper editorial board member, attorney Ken Okorie. This commentary appears courtesy of our related web site, NigeriaCentral.com
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie

Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."



TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.



Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu


Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam
DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on CNN. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

Tragedy of Ige's murder is its déjà vu for the Yoruba southwest and rest of Nigeria. By Ken Okorie
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS


Lifestyle
Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.
22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.
CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson



Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?
110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game 
It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa


Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
Steve Jobs extends
digital magic

USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.