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Nigeria’s refusal to respect Aburi accord forced Ojukwu to lead Biafra. By Chike Momah

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Nigeria’s refusal to respect Aburi accord forced Ojukwu to lead Biafra.

By Chike Momah

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  the USAfrica-powered e-groups of  Nigeria360IgboEventsUNNalumni,  and CLASSmagazine Houston. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

 

USAfrica: Throughout North America and around the world, NdiIgbo are coming together in their organizations to celebrate the life and November 2011 passing of the Ikemba Nnewi, Eze-Igbo-Gburugburu, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. Emeka Ojukwu. He was, indisputably, one of the two or three most renowned and significant Igbo sons.

He was the scion of a wealthy Nnewi family and, as many commentators have already written and said, he could have lived out his life in luxury and opulent laziness. But his Chi – that divine spark that is in all of us, and which shapes our
destiny – led him, first into the Nigerian administrative services and later, into the Nigerian army. The rest, as they say, is history.

His name will, for ever, be linked to Biafra. The civil war that rent the heart of
Nigeria was fought, not because Emeka Ojukwu – in an excess of ambition – led
his Eastern Nigeria into the ill-fated attempt to secede from Nigeria. All objective
assessments of the events that led to that fratricidal war have cleared Ojukwu of
the stigma of an egomaniacal ambition. Even the Encyclopaedia Britannica – and
Britain was no friend of Biafra – exonerates Ojukwu on this issue, and recognized
that only popular pressure from his fellow Eastern Nigerians compelled him to
declare Biafra’s secession from Nigeria. All he wanted, and proposed to the all-
party meeting in Aburi, Ghana, was the loosening of the excessively rigid umbilical
cords that held the Nigerian hotchpotch together, so that Nigeria could evolve
into a weak federation-type government that would allow the major ethnicities
some autonomy.

As it turned out, the Aburi agreement was not worth the paper on which it was printed. The Federal government of General Gowon unexpectedly backed away from the terms agreed, which inevitably led to the civil war. Nigeria, with vastly superior weaponry, invaded Biafra, fired the first salvoes, and was strongly supported by the United Kingdom and the communist Soviet Union, in an unholy alliance that eventually snuffed out the fledgling Biafran nation. An impious alliance that did not hesitate to use starvation as a weapon of war against Biafra’s children!
I am indebted to Chris Ukachukwu for his two internet postings of January 5 and 6, 2011. The January 5 posting was Ojukwu’s speech to the South-East Elders and Leaders on March 5, 2010, in Owerri. The other was a selection of Ojukwu’s quotes.

I was struck by Ojukwu’s reference to Nigeria as “OUR GOD-GIVEN COUNTRY”. Of all the likely descriptions of Nigeria by, especially, an Emeka Ojukwu, I would have least expected him to use those words. My reaction might well be because I (as insignificant a Biafran as you are likely to meet) would
have indignantly shrunk from giving Nigeria that divinely worded accolade. But of course Ojukwu used that description of Nigeria to upbraid the Igbo for our timidity in asserting ourselves and our rights in a country that we – more than every other ethnicity – have helped to build, and in which we should “act as the adhesive force holding the Nigerian fabric together”.

Chike-Momah-feb2012-Dallas_USAfricaphoto_DSC_0519_by_Chido-Nwangwu

It is matter for regret that Ojukwu did not live long enough to bring to fruition
the publication of his book that he had hoped would tell the unvarnished story
of Biafra and of the civil war. A story that he hoped would have shown that
NdiIgbo “are nation-builders and not nation-wreckers”!

Ojukwu’s reflections on his Igbo people ring with fierce pride in our abilities as
a people, and regret that, as a people, we Igbo seem to have resigned ourselves
to the role of playing second fiddle in the life of Nigeria. In his address to the
assembled Igbo leaders and elders in Owerri, not quite two years ago, Ojukwu
expressed his ardent desire and hope that NdiIgbo “shall regain their political
relevance in Nigeria, without violence, in MY LIFETIME”. He urged the nurturing
and strengthening of internal unity and cohesion in the Igbo nation, and – in his
own words – “the re-establishment and strengthening of the authority structures
and sanction mechanisms in Igboland”. I believe this to be a direct reference to
the Ohaneze NdiIgbo, the successor organization to the Igbo State Union,
which was a potent force for advancing Igbo interests.

My family and I lived in far-away Europe during the entire duration of the Biafra-
Nigeria civil war, and for a little over a year before it started. We had our three square meals every day, and only suffered vicariously because we felt deep,
heart-wrenching anguish for the Biafrans, especially the children, who were being
starved to death by the superior military strength of Nigeria – a situation in which
the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union were criminally complicit.

We Biafrans, resident in Switzerland, and indeed elsewhere in Europe, felt fierce
pride in Biafra. Pride in the intrepidity of her soldiers against overwhelming odds!
Pride in the remarkable ingenuity of the Biafran scientists and technologists who,
from scratch, produced the deadly OGBUNIGWE (otherwise known as SHORE-
BATTERY) that, at least partially gave the “vandals” a taste –however minimally –
of the havoc they wrecked on our Biafran soldiers and hapless civilians! Pride in
the Biafran scientists and technologists who found ways to refine our petroleum
– an example and an achievement that a wiser Nigeria should have embraced and
taken further, to reduce our shameful dependence today on imported refined oil!

We held our heads high as we walked the streets and boulevards of Europe, and
grabbed every opportunity to introduce ourselves as Biafrans. And almost always
our interlocutors reacted with what sounded like genuinely warm praise for Biafra
and Emeka Ojukwu. They would pump our hands enthusiastically. When, as soon
became inevitable, the end came, there was a very audible sigh of anguish from a
thousand Biafran and sympathetic European throats around Europe.

It might have been Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s manifest destiny to try to
lead the Igbo nation and their immediate neighbors out of a Nigeria that was and
– as of this writing – still remains at best an artificial agglomeration of ethnicities.
A Nigeria where the Igbo have been, and still are, subjected to cruel martyrdom,
for the sole reason that we are Igbo and Christian!

If it was indeed his CHI that predetermined the course his life would take, I join
everyone else in saying to Dim Emeka Ojukwu: “You were divinely ordained to
be our man of destiny and, but for the obscenely insurmountable odds stacked
against you, you would have fulfilled that destiny. But your work may not
necessarily have come to a full stop with your passing. You have lit a flame which
seems temporarily to have been extinguished. But the idea and notion of Biafra lives on. And, sooner or later, the world – the United Nations Organization – will
sit up, and do for the Igbo what it has done for Southern Sudan. And when that
happens, you – our EzeIgbo Gburugburu – would finally have a memorial befitting
your unparalleled work and strivings for your people.”

We will probably never see his like in our lifetime, and then some. He bestrode
the Nigerian firmament like the colossus that he was. May his soul rest in perfect peace!!
•Nnabuenyi Chike Momah, one of the late 1940s graduate of the Government College Umuahia, is an author of several novels and retired international agencies staff currently residing in Arlington, Texas. His book review-exclusive interview with USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwu will be published here on USAfricaonline.com and across the platforms of USAfrica e-groups on March 7, 2012.

The greatest Igbo ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s great farewell in AbaBy Chido Nwangwu   http://usafricaonline.com/2012/02/28/the-greatest-igbo-odumegwu-ojukwu-farewell-in-aba-by-chido-nwangwu

USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).

I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.

To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.

We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood….

Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.

• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

News: At Ojukwu memorial in Dallas Texas, USAfrica’s Chido Nwangwu challenges the Igbo nation to say never again like Jews.

Ojukwu trouble and Ikemba titles. By Chido Nwangwu

WHY I CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORKS OF NELSON MANDELA. By Chido Nwangwu  http://usafricaonline.com/2010/07/15/mandela-why-i-celebrate-his-life-works-by-chido-nwangwu/

For racist Soccer actions, Liverpool’s player Suarez should be suspended.  By Chido Nwangwu. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247

Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, USAfricaonline.com and the Nigeria360 e-group. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/ : IF any of the Nigerian President’s 100 advisers has the polite courage for the extraordinary task of reminding His Excellency of his foremost, sworn, constitutional obligation to the national interest about security and safety of Nigerians and all who sojourn in Nigeria, please whisper clearly to Mr. President that I said, respectfully: Nigerians, at home and abroad, are still concerned and afraid for living in what I call Nigeria’s Federal Republic of Insecurity. FULL text of commentary at USAfricaonline.com http://usafricaonline.com/2011/12/17/nigeria-federal-republic-of-insecurity-by-chido-nwangwu/

Related insight: USAfrica’s October 17, 2001 special report/alert: Nigeria’s bin-Laden cheerleaders could ignite religious war, destabilize Africa. By USAfrica’s Publisher Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/chido.binladennigeria.html

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=USAfrica+Chido+Nwangwu+al-qaeda+terrrorism+nigeria&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

http://usafricaonline.com/tag/al-qaeda/

310 killed by Nigeria’s ‘talibans’ in Bauchi, Yobe n Maiduguri; crises escalate. USAfricaonline.com  on  July 28, 2009. www.usafricaonline.com/chido.ngrtalibans09.html

http://www.groundreport.com/World/310-killed-by-Nigerias-talibans-in-Bauchi-Yobe-n-M/2904584

Related and prior reporting on the Jos crises on USAfrica, click here: http://usafricaonline.com/2011/08/16/10-killed-in-renewed-violence-near-jos/

News archives related to Jos, here http://usafricaonline.com/?s=jos

USAfrica: As Egypt’s corrupter-in-chief Mubarak slides into history’s dustbin.  By Chido Nwangwuhttp://usafricaonline.com/2011/01/30/chido-nwangwu-as-egypt-corrupter-in-chief-mubarak-slides-into-historys-dustbin-egyptians-not-waiting-for-obama-and-united-nations/

Tunisia, Egypt . . . Is Nigeria next? By Prof. Rosaire Ifedi           http://usafricaonline.com/2011/02/13/tunisia-egypt-is-nigeria-next-by-prof-rosaire-ifedi/

 

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World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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