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#USAfrica COUNTERPOINT: Against new #Biafra agitation; #Buhari does not disdain the Igbo. By Dozie Ikem Ezeife

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USAfrica COUNTERPOINT:                                                                                                            Against new Biafra agitation and Buhari does not disdain the Igbo. 

By Dr. Dozie Ikem Ezeife, contributing editor and columnist for USAfrica since 1995.

While I have a lot of admiration for the man’s enormous contributions to the literary world as well as in politics, I do, however, take issues with some of the basic assumptions of Dr. Arthur Nwankwo’s January 11, 2016 commentary titled: ‘Biafra agitation, history and Nigeria President Buhari’s disdain for the Igbo’– published here on USAfrica and USAfricaonline.com  http://usafricaonline.com/2016/01/11/usafrica-biafra-agitation-history-and-nigeria-president-buharis-disdain-for-the-igbo-by-arthur-nwankwo/

I believe that his commentary has become an intellectual rallying point of sorts for the new agitators of Biafra.

No one can argue that the political and corporate structure of Nigeria is fair and balanced with respect to her constituent ethnicities. Not even this writer. I concede also that at some point, using the instrumentality of agreed upon constitutional process, a genuine and good faith effort can and should be made to address this imbalance. I hasten to add that it will be foolhardy of anyone to take it for granted that you can always have a perfect union. It is not practicable. The United States are still operating an imperfect union even after over two centuries. But a genuine effort must be made to address some of the more egregious imbalances. With that as a premise, I now address some of the misconceptions and/or wrong assumptions that underpin Agwuncha’s position.

The structural and political imbalance in Nigeria was not created by Muhammadu Buhari. His political appointments, contrary to what Agwuncha will have you believe, did not exacerbate it either. Buhari’s appointments mirrored that time-honoured practice of “winner-takes-all” with the “losers standing small”. The spoils of political battle go to those who fought on the side of the victorious party. Ndigbo gambled with Jonathan and lost and should lick their wounds and plan for the next one. Buhari fulfilled his constitutional mandate to appoint people from all 36 states of the federation into his executive council.

This unfolding strategy of ethnic shakedown must be checkmated before it becomes part of our political ethos.

I refuse to subscribe to the notion that it is okay for ethnic groups in Nigeria who feel, real or imagined, political marginalization in a particular election cycle, to threaten the very corporate existence of the country as a means of extracting political concession. We saw this play out in the Niger Delta, in the Southwest, in the Northeast and now people are attempting to deploy it in the Southeast in the name of Biafra. Enough is enough. The reason we have elections every 4 years is to give those who lost out in the last one a pause to collect themselves, review what transpired, strategize on the way forward and to forge new alignments and build strategic partnerships.

The Igbo cannot win the hearts and minds of Nigerians to support the Biafran cause through insults and condescension by some activists. Some of those activists insult, pillory and belittle Northerners in our bid to promote our perceived superiority. They blame the Yorubas for duplicity before and during the Nigeria-Biafra war (1967-1970) while casting themselves as sole victims of the imperfections of the Nigerian state. You win hearts and minds through rational, fact-based and evidence-laded argument as to why your cause should be supported. Peddling salacious attacks in the name of Biafra cannot cut it.Dozie_Ezeife

Whatever the merits of Biafra may be, the timing is suspect and the modus operandi of its promoters inauspicious. The recently “sainted martyr” of some Igbos, Nigeria’s immediate past President Goodluck “Ebele” Jonathan, had the opportunity to embark on a genuine effort to address some of these imbalances but he chose to parlay it to benefit his re-election bid. He set up a last minute, doomed charade to placate his constituents and appointed his handpicked choir men and women to populate a body that was supposed to decide the fate of “all” Nigerians. And he made no real effort to implement the eventual “report” of the Committee.

I addressed the issue of viability or lack thereof, of a Biafran nation in an earlier post and I feel the need to restate my points here, albeit briefly:

The creation of a Biafran state is besieged by a myriad of problems, both logistical and practical. Who is a Biafran and where exactly are the boundaries? Does it include the Delta “Igbos” and the Ikwerre “Igbos”. Are we sure the Onitsha people are onboard? What about the people that calls our borders with Kogi state home? Can we count on them? Assuming, without conceding, that all of the present day Southeast is Biafran territory, what is the economic viability of such a landlocked nation? Our people are predominantly nomadic traders and business people. We have millions of Igbo men and women plying their trade and professions in practically every town and village in Nigeria. We have real estate in every urban and rural community in Nigeria. If we split, what becomes of these Igbo men and women? And what about their real properties, businesses and factories in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Benin, to name just a few? We are still smarting from the “abandoned property” saga flowing from our last experiment. Are we prepared for another “abandoned property,” this time on steroids? Where are we going to accommodate the millions of returning Igbos? What market will absorb them in Igboland? Where are the tertiary, secondary and primary schools to absorb millions of Igbo children that will accompany their returning parents? What about Igbos in federal service and in public service of various states of Nigeria? If Nigeria disconnects Biafra from its electric grid, how do we survive until we build ours? One can go on and on.

Some people including Dr. Okenwa Nwosu have tried to get around these huge obstacles by making a disingenuous attempt to coopt the minority ethnic groups of the Niger Delta into this separationist movement. The peoples of the Niger Delta have not forgotten the reason they did not fully subscribe to the earlier Biafran experiment. Those that today express token sympathy for Biafra do so as a means of renting concession from the Buhari administration and not because of any genuine belief in Biafra or what it purports to stand for.

The last issue I want to address is Dr. Nwankwo’s assertion that Muhammad Buhari has a pathological hatred for Ndigbo. Heavy as his accusation was, it lacked any supporting evidence or fact. He advanced the argument that because Buhari was successful in the ferocious battles he fought as a Nigerian military commander during the Civil war that was evidence of his hatred for Igbos. He also canvassed the unsupported claim that Buhari still resents Ndigbo. I doubt if Arthur Nwankwo knows Buhari personally. He probably never met the man. It is therefore surprising that he will attempt a mental diagnosis of Buhari’s feelings towards Igbos.

Returning to the issue of Buhari’s success against Biafran soldiers during the war. A war commander is expected to win battles. We in Biafra expected our military commanders to defeat the Nigerian troops. Why then is a Nigerian military commander’s success an indictment? That is rather ironical. The truth is that Buhari has no hatred for the Igbo. The fact is that one of his best child-hood friends is retired Colonel Robert Akonobi [incidentally from Nwankwo’s Anambra State].

The current clamour for Biafra is nothing but a ruse by outmaneuvered political elites in Igboland, using misguided, uninformed and impressionable Igbo youths in an attempt to extract political concessions from the present Administration.

What we are witnessing now, in the name of Biafra, has been shown worldwide as an ill-wind that leads to no good. Examples abound.  Look at Syria, South Sudan and Ukraine to name but a few. The violence that has engulfed those nations started as “peaceful” agitations and “demonstrations”. Only a fool fails to learn from the experiences of others. Nigeria is not a nation of fools, so we must be proactive to avoid the same fate.

My advice to Igbo politicians who feel hard done by the Buhari win and their perceived exclusion from the lucre and accoutrements of power is, to go back to the political drawing board and do some soul searching and home work.

Nigerians cannot always threaten secession whenever we do not get our way like a sulking child. The Igbo must learn to strategize and build strategic alliances across all zones of the country. We cannot be trusted by our brother tribes when we continue to denigrate, insult and pillory them or blame them for all our failings and shortcomings. We must humble ourselves and learn to take responsibility for our own wrong choices and failed political gambles. The point is that being outmaneuvered in the game of politics is no reason to call for Biafra. There is always a political solution to all real and imagined wrongs. It is called dialogue and political horse-trading. Why can’t our Igbo political elite and intellectuals explore that with our brothers and sisters from both the North and Southwest?

Before we start blaming leaders from other ethnic tribes for our lack of infrastructural development and social progress in Igboland, we must first hold our local Governors, Legislators and Local Councils accountable for the hundreds of billions of Naira in revenue allocation that have been sent to the 5 Southeastern states in the past 16 years.

What is clear is that the vast majority of those pushing this recent Biafra Agenda are teenagers and young men and women who were born long after the Nigerian Civil War. They did not experience the horrors of the last Biafran experiment and they are therefore sheltered from a reasoned consideration of the risks they are exposing themselves and their families to by pushing this agenda. Adding fodder to this reckless agenda are some pseudo intellectuals in diaspora, who feel emboldened from the comforts of their host nations, to urge the gullible few at home to persevere in this suicidal mission, safe in the knowledge that the eventual conflagration will not touch them overseas. These people are oblivious of the fact that although they are safely ensconced in their safe havens abroad, their relatives back home will be in the middle of the fray, when the shooting starts.

The Biafra protagonists’ needs to understand that unlike Syria, there is no easy sea route to Europe and our neighbouring countries possess neither the resources nor the capacity to handle large scale refugee crisis. With the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe and further exacerbated by the recent Paris terror attacks, the world is fast losing empathy for refugees.

————– 

@Chido247 


Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015

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VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCESECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans.   E-MAIL: Chido247@Gmail.com

 

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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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