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USAfrica: After 57 years, Nigeria continues to flounder, fumble and stumble



USAfrica: After 57 years, Nigeria continues to flounder, fumble and stumble.

By Dr. C.K Ekeke

Special to  @USAfricaLive

On October 1, 2017, Nigeria turned fifty-seven years old since its political independence.  Despite attaining such mature age, Nigeria continues to gyrate in a vicious circle. In spite of its size, estimated population of 150 million and endowed natural resources, Nigeria continues to flounder, fumble and stumble like a baby still learning to walk. The nation and her citizens have never enjoyed any genuine freedom or political peace or national prosperity because of tribalism, ethnic hatred and clashes, marginalization, political instability and poor leadership, bribery and government corruption, injustice, indiscipline and political irresponsibility, religious ignorance, intolerance and violence, war and moral degradation.  These and other vices continue to mar the nation’s prospect for development and progress until today.

Since Nigeria gained its independence from her colonial master – Great Britain on October 1, 1960, this humongous nation, an amalgamation of nearly 350 variant ethnic groups with distinct language, religion, culture, social norms, etc., formed for the political and economic hegemony of Britain in Africa has not worked and may never work – unless a new kind of political structure and leadership style are invented to govern Nigeria.

Those entrusted with the affairs of governance are undisciplined, irresponsible and have been a dismal disappointment.  In fact, one of the reasons, Nigeria has not yet moved beyond its failing statehood and foolishness is because of the kinds of people selected, elected or imposed to lead the country.  Nigerians have never elected a true leader.  Nigeria has never elected a bright, smart, intelligent, capable and de-tribalized citizen to lead the country.  Sadly, men and women who have the right qualifications and moral fortitude to lead were either denied access to office or never ventured into politics at all because of the crude, incivility and political muddle in the country.

Nigeria has had various systems of government – unitary, parliamentary, military and democratic presidential system. But since the return to presidential democratic government in 1999, Nigeria has not yet maximized its potential to the fullest, but wallowed in religious and sectarian violence, political leadership failure, corrupt courts and judges, security challenges and human right abuses.  Despite the many economic reforms that the nation has embarked upon; yet nothing much has been accomplished to uplift her citizens.

The nation is also rapidly falling apart and disintegrating and the rulers care less about it. The truth is that Nigeria is faced with serious challenges of nationhood and most politicians in power don’t want to hear it.

Nigeria is popularly labeled as the “Giant” of Africa only in terms of population because all other indicators of a prosperous and healthy nation do not exist in Nigeria.  In fact, according to Global Peace Index, Nigeria ranked top among the most corrupt and most dangerous countries to live in Africa. It is also rated as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

In terms of prosperity, economic dominance, life expectancy and so on, Nigeria does not even make the list among the top ten in Africa.  Nigeria is also ranked highest among the top terrorist countries because of Boko haram (3rd deadly) and Fulani herdsmen (4th deadly) terrorist organizations in the world according to Global Terrorism Index – all operating and resident in the Northern Nigeria.

Nigeria has also the lowest primary school completion rates in the continent and the largest percentage of the 100 million children, mostly girls; who are out of school worldwide.  An the annual meeting of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2005, the following conditions — good governance, democratization, economic and political reforms, reduction of poverty, population explosion, fight against poverty and hunger, pandemic diseases, terrorism, conflict and wars and domestic peace, security, prosperity, and the rules of law were listed as key important challenges facing Nigerian and most of the African nations.

Nigeria is a nation that murders her intellectuals, freedom fighters and true leaders. Nigeria continues to exile her brightest minds, scholars, engineers, doctors, educationists, scientists, poets, writers and media professional, philosophers, social thinkers, human rights activist, pro-democracy activists, and its young citizens.

A nation that continues to fail to educate her young generation, but instead murders them, a nation with institutionalized bias and hatred against its own people, discriminating against the potential segment of its own people, and goes on rampage killing unarmed young citizens.

A nation that does not maintain its infrastructures or build new ones but prefers to embezzle and launder public money overseas, money destined for Federal projects, State programs, community and rural development.  This is a nation that has disregarded education which is the foundation, pillar and engine of economic growth and prosperity.

A ranking of top universities in Africa, showed no Nigerian university made the top 10 Africa universities, yet we pride ourselves as the giant of Africa.  South Africa, Ghana, Egypt, and other less populated nations dominated the ranking.  The University of Ibadan is the only leading university in Nigeria that showed up in that survey and yet did not make the top 10 in Africa.

That survey clearly shows how Nigeria has degenerated as a society.  I weep when I see the dilapidated condition many schools in Nigeria are in. The condition of some of the primary schools will make any sincere person shade tears.  Yet, these are the young ones we are preparing to lead the country and guide the future of the nation. Quality education is the pillar and engine for societal development and progress and any nation that ignores educating her young people properly is destined for failure and doom.

And so, Nigeria has serious issues.  The challenges and problems facing Nigeria are also convoluted.   Apart from the social and economic problems confronting the nation, new kinds of challenges are surfacing daily — intractable problems and challenges such the question of its foundation and nation building — namely ethnic strife, bias, hatred and clashes, religious conflicts, terrorism, political instability, poor governance and corruption, lack of infrastructure, public healthcare crisis, poverty and unemployment, crime, violence, lawlessness, injustice, political thuggery, looting of public treasury, money laundering and debilitating political corruption, massive corruption, parasitic attitude, incompetence, impunity, rascality, callousness,  lawlessness, absurdity, stupidity, foolishness, poverty and terrorism, military brutality and human right abuses, and many other challenges.

In this section, I am reproducing a brief portion of Nigeria’s military and political leadership history, which was published in book I wrote in 2010 titled: “Nigeria’s Leadership Liability: A Clarion Call to Courageous, Compassionate and Wise Leadership – Selected Writings to Commemorate Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary.”

A review of the succession of civilian and military regimes of Nigeria clearly revealed how the Hausa-Fulani Caliphate, Yoruba Oligarchy and corrupt political elitist sect reduced and rubbished Nigeria as a nation.

So, let us fast forward with the exclusion of British colonial rule from 1914 and through Nigeria’s struggle for independence, the parliamentary system of Government of the 1950’s, and the political crisis that led to the military eras of Aguiyi–Ironsi, Nigeria-Biafra civil war, Yakubu Gowon, Murtlala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, and then the first second republic presidential system that led to Alhaji Shehu Shagari presidency in 1979.

On December 1983, a palace coup takes place and Muhammad Buhari, a military general and a radical Islamic leader from the North ousts the incompetent Shehu Shagari, a school teacher also from the North of the Sokoto Caliphate.  Buhari takes over the helm of affairs, accusing Shagari’s government of corruption and economic mismanagement, putting him only in house arrest, while Vice President Alex Ekwueme was put in prison, and other Southerners were exiled or executed.

On August, 1985,another palace  coup took place, this time, Ibrahim Babangida, also another Northerner and Buhari’s chief of army staff , overthrows his boss and accused  Buhari of being insensitive to the feelings of the Nigerian masses especially his ‘War against Indiscipline’ which was excessive  and targeted to those who opposed him.  Buhari was not even arrested.

Ibrahim Babangida began his reign with a Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) and market reforms that eventually destroyed the Nigerian currency and economy.  During IBB 8-year regime, there were two attempted coups – Mamma Vasta in April 1986 and Gideon Orkar on April 1990.  Both coups failed and IBB managed to survive those two coups.  He executed the coup plotters and imprisoned most of his critics.

In 1990, IBB began a process to return to civilian rule.  In June1993, a presidential election was held in which Moshood Abiola, a business mogul, friend and a trusted confidant of IBB, overwhelmingly won.  But surprisingly in June 12, 1993, IBB annulled the election and declared that the election result was fraudulent, an election that was perceived to be the first fair election in the history of Nigeria.  The cancellation led to civil disobedience by several human right activists, pro-democracy activists, media and thousands of demonstrators.  When the pressure mounted, on August 27, 1993, IBB resigned and appointed a lame-duck civilian from the Southwest region, Ernest Shonekan, as head of an interim government.

Within three months into Shonekan’s government, on November 17, 1993, another military general,  Sani Abacha, also from the North and defense minister of IBB, booted out the transitional government of Ernest Shonekan in yet another palace coup and took over the government.  Sani Abacha did not also touch IBB.

Sani Abacha was practically visionless and did not have any economic plan but a political agenda to entrench himself as a life president.  He disbanded SAP programme and introduced a monetary policy that began the official pegging of the Naira against dollar and other nations’ currencies.  During Abacha’s era, the official rate of Naira rose to nearly 200 Naira for a dollar.  He destroyed the currency and basically rubbished the nation’s economy, which actually elevated greed, bribery, and corruption and enthroned most of the crooks, cronies and pathetic personalities we have today as political leaders in the nation.  He looted the national treasury and left the Nigerian economy with a horrendous national debt.

During his regime, most of the institutions collapsed. Sani Abacha persecuted, arrested and imprisoned many notable Nigerians including Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, music icon Beko Ransome-Kuti and many others.   He arrested and jailed those who criticized him and charged  notable Nigerians like Poet Wole Soyinka, the 1986 Nobel Prize winner in Literature  and Ken Saro Wiwa,  leader of the Movement for Salvation of the Ogoni People (MOSOP),  for treason and punishable by death for criticizing his government.  Sani Abacha carried out ethnic cleansing in Ogni, Okirika, and Adoni – oil rich Delta regions of River State.

On October 31, 1995, Abacha’s civil disturbances tribunal found the writer and environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other MOSOP leaders guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging.  Despite appeal for mercy from the human rights organizations, statesmen, religious leaders, international governments and world leaders including the Commonwealth and Nelson Mandela, on November 10, 1995, all 9 MOSOP leaders and activist were hung.

Ken Saro-Wiwa, a writer, playwright and environmentalist scholar was hung because he called the government attention to the oil spillage and environmental pollution and degradation in his hometown, Ogni.  The military despot, Sani Abacha and his cohorts were so ignorant and visionless, that they refused to listen to the world renowned environmentalist.

Weeks after that barbaric killings and massacre of Ogni people, the United Nations (UN) confirmed of massive oil pollution in Niger Delta.  The report from the United Nations Environment Program, the first of its kind in Nigeria, was based on two years of in-depth scientific research. It found that oil contamination is widespread and severe, and that people in the Niger Delta have been exposed for decades – the report said.

The report provided irrefutable evidence of the devastating impact of oil pollution on people’s lives in the Delta – one of Africa’s most bio-diverse regions. It examined the damage to agriculture and fisheries, which has destroyed livelihoods and food sources of the Niger Delta region and its environs.   One of the most serious facts to come to light is the scale of contamination of drinking water, which has exposed communities to serious health risks. Amnesty International Global Issues Director, Audrey Gaughran, who has researched the human rights impacts of pollution in the Delta Region, said, “That report proved Shell has had a terrible impact in Nigeria, but got away with denying it for decades, falsely claiming they work according to international standards.”

The UN and Federal Government of Nigeria reported that it will take about a $1 billion and up to 30 years to clean.  But we know it may take as much as 50 years to cleanup and restore normalcy to the area devastated with oil pollution and ongoing oil spillage till today.

The Niger Delta oil pollution is much worse than the 2010 British Petroleum (BP) oil leak in the Gulf Coast, which affected the ecosystem and fishing businesses of those that live around the coastline of Louisiana State, USA.  The business owners and citizens fumed and when it is all said done, BP paid out nearly $750 million to compensate businesses, fix the leak and cleans their mess.  Until today, BP is still faced with litigation, lawsuits, reparation and compensation for oil spillage in the Louisiana coastline.  Oil pollution has been going on in the South-south and some Southeast communities for years.

The BP oil spill was rated the worst oil spill in US history even though it was just about 7 month’s oil leak.  The Niger Delta region oil pollution is been going on for over 50 years.

Let us continue with the nation’s vicious circle.  Sani Abacha also imprisoned Olusegun Obasanjo and other critics of his government.  He accused MKO Abiola of treason for declaring himself president and in 1996, placed him in solitary confinement.  This was when they were cooking the plan to murder him.  After the 1994 arrest, one of Abiola’s wives, Kudirat Abiola, launched a campaign for democracy and human rights. She held pro-democracy rallies, defied the military decree banning political associations, presented victims of military repression to international fact-finding missions, inspired many other people, especially women, and won the “Woman of the Year” awards in both 1994 and 1995. However, on June 4, 1996, she was assassinated in cold blood, and it is believed that this was ordered by Al Mustapha, CSO to the military dictator, Sani Abacha.

On December 21, 1997, an attempted coup against Sani Abacha by Oladipo Diya foiled.  In 1998, Diya and others believed to be co-coup plotters were sentenced to death.

Like IBB, Abacha set in motion agenda to return to civilian rule on October 1, 1998. However, in April 1998, Abacha became the only nominated candidate for the presidency. Even though many political prostitutes and vision-less Nigerians supported him in his unbridled quest, many opposed him. Demonstrations and riots broke out, and many innocent Nigerians were killed.  On June 8, 1998 Abacha surprisingly and mysteriously died of a heart attack.

After Abacha died, Abdulsalami Abubakar, another Northerner took his place, and set up a transition program that would lead the country back to democracy by 1999.  After a series of political wrangling and meetings with imminent Nigerians, statesmen and international leaders to release M.K.O. Abiola and restore his mandate, mysteriously MKO Abiola died in prison.  Abdulsalami Abubakar government said, it was heart attack, but most Nigerians knew that was not the truth.

Abiola’s demise in prison provoked more riots and pro-democracy activism and the return to democracy was non-negotiable.  And so, on May 29, 1999, the nation returned to a presidential democratic system of government with the win, surprisingly, a prisoner of Sani Abacha and former military ruler, Olusegun Obasanjo from Southwest and same state with MKO Abiola.  Many have written that Obasanjo’s civilian presidency 1999-2007 was compensation for Abiola’s mysterious death and denial of his rightful mandate.

During the 8-year presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo, corruption, political thuggery, godfatherism,   political assassinations, Niger Delta militancy, armed robbery,  kidnapping, religious intolerance, radical Islamic fundamentalism and lawlessness reached its zenith.  Boko haram officially surfaced in 2009 during the watch of Olusegun Obasanjo and he was unable to tame the murderous sect.  It was rumored that he allowed Sharia when it reared up its ugly head in order to pacify the north for allowing and voting for him to be president.  Also during the Obansjo era, Sharia was launched in many Northern States.  Before he completed his two-term reign, he began to campaign for Alhaji Yar’adua, the then governor of Katsina State, and surprisingly handed the presidency to a sick man, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, another Northerner to be the president of Nigeria.

This is the same weak and coward leadership that has been destroying Nigeria.

President Yar’Adua took office in May 29, 2007 and in his inauguration messianic speech like sermon on the Mount, he admitted that Nigerians were going through hell and promised to create 40 million jobs within 10 years, lower interest rates, reduce inflation and achieve realistic exchange rate for Naira, yet he did not want to support CBN monetary policy which was the second phase of PDP economic agenda.  He reversed most of the economic reforms and most laws of his predecessor and re-deployed Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the anti-corruption czar to the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, Plateau State, Nigeria.

During Yar’Adua’s watch, Nigeria entered into a state of hopelessness until his demise in May 2010.  Unlike Obasanjo that authorized the massacre of Odi people in the predominantly Ijaw town in Bayelsa State by the military forces, Yar-Adua was able to dialogue and reach some settlement with the so-called Niger Delta Militants in Bayelsa.  Yar-Auda would have made good on his promises despite ill health and bad cabals that surrounded him.  His demise on May 2010, threw Nigeria into political wrangling and turmoil.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, his VP and a civilian from oil rich South-south managed to finish the first term as President after much political fight over rotational arrangement for power to remain in the north.  On April 16, 2011, he overwhelmingly won the presidential election, which has been adjudged to be the freest and fairest election in the nation’s history.

Immediately after his inauguration on April 29, 2011, the country was besieged with radical Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism known as Boko haram.  Thousands of innocent citizens were killed and millions displaced in several Northern states.  Also on April 2014, nearly 300 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria – the so-called Chibok girls (#BringBackOurGirls) campaign became a world-wide phenomenon that even the former First Lady of the United States of America – Mrs. Michelle Obama and other American personalities got involved.  Today, millions of dollars continue to pour into the country to support FG to rehabilitate the released Chibok girls and military hardware to vanquish Boko haram – which is now used by Buhari and military forces to crush Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and pro Biafran youths.

President Jonathan rather than focus on the security challenges, the economy and other social problems confronting the nation, to provide solution to alleviating the suffering most Nigerians were going through by maximizing the technocrats he appointed in his cabinet like Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Prof. Barth Nnaji and others, he embarked on constitutional amendment with a concocted six-year single tenure for the president and governors.

Public opinion fumed against such insensitivity and within weeks, the National Assembly tossed out that part of the bill, saying it is untimely and suspicious.  However, there were items in the Constitutional Amendment such as true federalism that should be vigorously pursued.

As we know, Jonathan’s presidency was accidental.  President Obasanjo was clearly the godfather of Nigeria politics then and still today.  He could not find a reputable candidature to be VP.  The Rivers State Governor, Peter Odili was so embroiled in corruption.  In fact with the exception of few like Donald Duke of Cross Rivers State and Goodluck Jonathan of Bayselsa, most of the governors during Obansjo’s two–term were either embroiled in money laundering and state embezzlement and were clearly in the net of EFCC.

So, Jonathan was preferred and trusted to be loyal to the Caliphate. He was not only accidental but was also weak and incompetent.  His weakness and incompetency lead to the imposition of Mohammadu Buhari, an ex-military dictator upon Nigeria by former British Prime Minister, David Cameron and ex-President of the U.S., Barack Obama as well as internal supporters like Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi and Others.

Sadly, since President Muhammadu Buhari came into office in May 2015, his misguided leadership, unguarded comments, nepotism, hypocrisy and unwise actions have led to deepen the divide between the various ethnic groups in Nigeria.

There is now deep divide, rancor, and enmity between the major ethic groups especially between Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo/Ijaw.  Buhari has further deepened the division of Nigeria due to his ethnic, tribal, imperialistic and fascistic leadership style.

1.         Who will forget the brutal massacres of unarmed Biafran youths are who are rightly seeking freedom from a nation that has denied them their life and destiny.   Biafran youths, who are rightly are seeking self-determination and freedom from a system that is destroying their talents, potentials and destinies are being massacred and our politicians, elders, and even religious leaders are afraid to speak-out against such heinous massacres and crime against humanity.  These are the youths they are entrusted to protect and care for.

2.         The continued unlawful detention of Indigenous People of Biafra leaders and the recent illegal and barbaric invasion of the family home of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. What an atrocity and abomination!

I have read and heard all kinds of insults, blame and criticism being leveled against Kanu.  It is even pitiful when I read such criticism from the Clergy – Christian church leaders.  I want to let them and others know that if Jesus was here with us today, he’ll be doing exactly what Nnamdi Kanu is doing now.  This is not to equate Kanu with Jesus in any way.  But we must understand that Jesus operated as a mere human being.  He divested his divine powers in order to fulfill his divine purposes for which His Father sent him to do.

Jesus used harsher words than Kanu is using today.  Just read the Gospels to see how he addressed the Pharisees, Sadducees and other religious and political hypocrites of his day.

As we know, Jesus was born in a world under the brutal domination of Rome. It was a period of horrific political oppression of conquered territories, of moral crisis, social unrest and disorder, economic exploitation, heavy taxation of the poor, extreme poverty, disease, injustice and harsh repression of dissidents fighting for liberation and freedom from Rome. Instead of the Jewish political and religious leaders to support their people, they aligned with Rome to massacre their own people.

More than any other factor, it was the massacres, the betrayal of the people by the religious and political elite and off-course Roman colonial occupation of Israel that created the setting for the formative years of Jesus as a moral leader and activist. It was in that turmoil and tumultuous time that Jesus was born, which prepared him to become the world’s greatest spiritual leader, political activist and liberator of all time.

Gandhi, MLK Jr., Mandela and other great freedom fighters all studied Jesus and used his methodology. Nigeria may kill Nnamdi Kanu but they will never kill the spirit of Biafra.  Biafra is a nation.  And so, to tag a nation of 70 million Indigenous people as terrorists is ridiculous and laughable.

Under Buhari, other atrocities and impunities are still being carried out upon innocent citizens:

3.         The brutal massacre of Shiite Muslims and continued unlawful detention of the leader of Nigerian Islamic Movement, Alhaji Zakyzaky and his wife.

4.         The genocide of the people of Southern Kaduna Christians orchestrated by Kaduna State governor, El Rufia.

5.         The destruction of farm lands, raping of girls, women and massacre of unarmed villagers by Fulani herdsmen.

6.         The continued unlawful detention of Retired Col. Sambo Dasuki, threat and torture of other political opponents.

7.  The granting of freedom to Boko haram jihadists, recruiting them into the Nigerian military and unleashing to carry mayhem in SE and SS regions.

8.         The continued harassment, torture and shooting of harmless citizens without cause – latest being the invasion of the family compound of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu recently.

9.         The illegal and ridiculous proscription and unconstitutional tagging of IPOB as a terrorist group.

10.       The inability of the Federal Government to arrest Arewa Youths who issued a hateful and treasonous declaration threatening Igbos living in the North region to vacate the region and threatened to massacre them and destroy their businesses.  As I write, many Igbos are beginning to return home in fear of what might happen on October 1, 2017, which is Nigeria’s Independence Day.  Some have had their houses and businesses destroyed already.

11.       The president’s hate speeches – December 2015 National broadcast, 2017 National broadcast after his return from medical leave and recently the U.N speech.  Buhari speeches have not only been hateful but insulting on the collective intelligence of Nigerians.

12.       The attacks on the U.S, UN, EU, UK and other international organizations that have condemned the federal government for proscribing IPOB and tagging the group as a terrorist organization.  How ridiculous can this government can be?

13.       The threat to dismember from almost 90 international organizations including ICC, where Buhari and the Nigeria military forces have so many cases against them for their human right abuses, and extrajudicial killings of the people of Biafra.

14.       And many other atrocities, executives lawless, impunity and corruption.

Since Mohammadu Buhari came into power, defenseless and innocent citizens have been tortured, imprisoned, and out rightly massacred around the country by a combined Northern military and terrorist groups namely: Army, Police, DSS, Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen

Meanwhile, Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen continue to carry out their mayhem on innocent and harmless citizens across the country with impunity.  And the FG is not doing anything nothing to stop these illiterate almajiris – a group that have been rated by global watch terrorist group as the 4th deadly terrorist organization on the planet.

In the meantime, Boko haram, 3rd deadly terrorist sect in the world is still having a field day killing and massacring innocent citizens including the vulnerable citizens in IDP camps.  And no one is doing anything to stop the jihadist group that is fighting for an Islamic State.  Boko haram is still firmly in control of four to five local government areas in Borno and Yobe States.  They openly display their flags, currency, and even conduct military parades.

APC Govt led by Buhari has not unleashed the military to crush Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen but instead unleashed Boko haram in army uniform to massacre unarmed Biafra youths and IPOB that Buhari wants to crush. In addition to the ongoing arrests, torture, and killings, a systemic economic strangulation of Igbo businesses and entrepreneurial activities are being destroyed in the North and SW.

Buhari/APC government have been torturing, arresting, killing and massacring any opposition, critical voice and dissenting views.  Is this democracy that Nigeria opted for?

In spite of these glaring atrocities and impunity being displayed by Fulani herdsmen, some selfish and foolish Nigerians especially from the East continue to insult the leader of IPOB – Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his operation to liberate Biafran people from bondage, slavery and coming islamization that Buhari and Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba co-conspirators are gradually carrying out before our very eyes.

Buhari’s oppressive regime has touched virtually every facet of life in Eastern Nigeria—the increased military presence in the country especially in the former Eastern region and the unleashing of military killer squad made of DSS, Army, Police, Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen in the East is condemnable and will not help resolve the challenges facing Nigeria currently – which is the quest for restoration of Biafra.

One of the beauties of true democracy is the ability to dialogue to resolve conflicts and dissenting views.  In democracy, dialogue and proper reasoning are used to achieve fairness, equity, and justice.   But that has not been the case in Nigeria.  Only force is used to quench dissenting views and opposition, which will never achieve expected result. Fifty years later, we are still talking about Biafra.  If Biafra is not restored this time, fifty years from now, Nigeria will still be dealing with Biafra.

Democracy is dead in Nigeria under Buhari fascist regime and those who represent us in the National Assembly and Senate are not saying or doing anything. Buhari’s political puppets, political prostitutes and military mafia – DSS, Army, and Police are busy arresting, torturing political opponents and killing unarmed Biafra youths, while Boko haram and Fulani herdsmen are busy killing and destroying innocent citizens and occupying their farms and communities.

What we have today is a government of lies, deceit with a relentless and almost pathological undertone to undermine the truth.  Today, we read from government and presidential spokespersons, who concoct lies, deceits and speak with dispassion and systematic distortion and manipulation of facts to deceive and confuse public opinion.  We have not seen such dispassion and manipulation of public opinion since the return to democratic government in 1999.

In any civilized and sound democratic government, the president would have been impeached for many of his violations of the constitution, not to mention his many atrocities and hopelessness that have pervaded the Nigerian society. I think it’s time for Buhari to bow out of this presidency before he completely destroys Nigeria and its democratic institutions.

Nigeria is a failed state and its disintegration was forecasted by the U.S. intelligence to occur in 2015.  In fact, it is the political elite and corrupt public officials who are delaying Nigeria’s disintegration. It looks like they want it to happen violently – another civil war perhaps.

The truth is that Nigeria is not working and may never work.  Nigeria is now a decadent, corrupt, lawless and failed state. Nigeria’s amalgamation has expired and needs to be re-negotiated now.  Nigeria is rotten and the only viable solution is to return Nigeria to its original state before amalgamation or peacefully divide her into several nations. If not, Nigeria is headed to a violent disintegration. The nation cannot continue in the current lawlessness, stupidity, foolishness, irresponsibility and impunity.

The Nigerian state is surely chronically ill, ethically and morally decadent and surely suffering from a serious and severe foundational arrangement, in which the corrupt political elitist sect are determined to keep Nigeria and her citizens in perpetual bondage and slavery.

Since, the 1930’s, Igbos have been massacred all over Nigeria without any arrest or punishment of the perpetrators of such heinous and barbaric massacres.  The Eastern region have had enough of systemic marginalization, economic exploitation, political oppression, extreme poverty, senseless massacres, and most importantly the satanic agenda to make Nigeria an Islamic State by Sokoto Caliphate sponsored by Saudi Arabia and other radical Islamic Arab nations.

It is time the United Nations and global powers end Nigeria forced amalgamation and false unity. Nigeria will never be one. Nigeria does not have shared value system, patriotic principles, religious and political ideologies to be one country. Nigeria will never genuinely develop and proposer as a nation without peaceful division of the country. The systemic injustice, economic strangulation, political oppression, religious intolerance, ethnic hatred and envy against Igbos and Biafran people are unacceptable, intolerable, unbearable, and insufferable.

An independent State of Biafra may be the only suitable solution to fix Nigeria’s corrupt political system, lawlessness and failed institutions. Biafrans want to be freed from subjugation, oppression, marginalization, mediocrity, incompetence, jihadism, tyranny, poverty, disease, and hopelessness of Nigeria. Biafrans are tired of living in bondage, slavery and servitude. It is time for Biafran people to live in freedom, liberty, justice, pursuit of happiness and prosperity like other civilized peoples and nations. Freedom for Biafran people will be freedom for other indigenous populations and freedom for millions of young Biafrans from unemployment, poverty, disease, and hopelessness.

France and especially Americans have a holy hatred for tyrants, dictatorship and destroyers of the human freedom. Every July, the U.S., Canada, France, etc. celebrate their Independence Day and reflect on their fight for freedom and battle for liberty. It is time global powers support to liberate Biafra from bondage, slavery, Islamic radicalism and jihad in Nigeria.

Once again, I call on the United Nations, African Union, United States of America, European Union, United Kingdom, and other concerned nations to intervene. It is time the International Community and Global Powers intervene to give the Indigenous People of Biafra – a nation of seventy million people, a State of their own. It is time to dismantle Nigeria and free unarmed Biafran people from looming civil war that will have devastating consequences on sub-Sahara Africa and global economy. It is time to end the bondage and slavery of Biafrans in Nigeria and free her to compete like other indigenous people of the world. It is time to liberate and free Biafran people from pathological hatred, ethnic cleansing, systemic injustice, economic strangulation, political oppression, religious violence, and radical Islamic political ideology of the Nigerian State.

Enough is enough.  ‘One’ Nigeria and ‘Unity’ cannot be by force. One-Nigeria is a myth and a sham.  It does not exist in practice but only by mouth. Let us stop deceiving ourselves in order to save the lives of our children and young people. Let us not allow greed and selfishness to destroy us all.

•Rev. Dr. C. K. Ekeke, contributing columnist for, is a theologian, author, consultant and lecturer.  He is the President of Leadership Wisdom Institute.

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Nigerian democracy and June 12: case for Abiola presidency



By Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa

Special to USAfrica [Houston] and


For a nation that seemed to be in denial for 25 years, monumental history was made in Nigeria this week of June 12, 2018, as the country’s leadership awakened to face the truth of its recent struggles for democracy.

On June 12, 1993, Nigerians went to the polls to elect a civilian democratic President. The election was generally adjudged to be peaceful, free and fair but the official result was not released. The military President, Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida [IBB] cancelled the elections using all kinds of subterfuge or so it seemed. A motley group of cash & carry politicians led by then irrepressible but now silent Arthur Nzeribe, connived with an equally cash & carry judiciary to give IBB an alibi to cancel the elections. The nation, especially, Southern Nigeria rose up in protest against IBB and his henchmen. I fully remember late Dr Beko-Ransome Kuti, Barrister Femi Falana and the trade unionist Frank Kokori leading protests which many of us joined on Ikorodu Road and Airport Road marching to Alausa in Lagos.There were bon fires all over Lagos and other parts of the South West and for the real first time in modern Nigerian history since the women riots, a full blown civil disobedience was in full swing dragging economic activities to a halt for weeks. Many Nigerians panicked, afraid that another civil war was imminent causing many to relocate( Oso Abiola).

The Peoples ‘pressure’ compelled IBB to step aside, enthroning  Chief Shonekan’s interim National Government (ING). Nigerians were not sure whether to support Shonekan or not despite the very spirited efforts which his government made to reset the nation for a new phase of economic development. The empaneling of the Vision 2010 committee was one of such Strategic initiatives by Shonekan. Sensing that Nigerians were ambivalent regarding the interim National government and perhaps more in keeping with written secret scripts held between IBB and his man Friday, Sani Abacha, Shonekan was forced to resign and with it his government came crashing. Abacha, the ultimate dictator assumed office. It is on record that Chief MKO Abiola the then presumed winner, but now confirmed( by PMB)of the June 12 1993 election was one of the earliest persons to pay a courtesy call on Abacha.

Why he did so? Only historians will tell. But some of us suspected that Abacha played a fast one on him. Perhaps he naively believed Abacha was going to’ restore the kingdom to Israel ‘. Rather, Abacha locked up MKO as the man made efforts to claim his victory. Abacha latter died after he had seized and put Nigeria in his pocket but God delivered Nigeria. Soon after Abacha’s death, hope was raised that MKO would be sworn in as President.

But that was not to be.

The nation woke up one day,to hear that MKO Abiola had been despatched to his ancestors. I thought the Nation was going to burn. Only a tepid response perhaps similar to the one David made when his son born out of adulterous relationship with Uriah’s wife died. While the Child was sick, David was in visible agony,refusing to eat or bath. So when the child eventually died, his aides thought he was going to kill himself. But the guy thought otherwise. No need to cry over split milk. He shaved, had his bath and ordered a sumptuous meal. Nigerians moved on with the fast transition to civil rule plan of Abdulsalami Abubakar or so it seemed.

Former military ruler, Gen.  Olusegun Obasanjo was thrust on the Nation by the Northern military establishment led by the irrepressible IBB himself.

Against all odds including sidelining those who midwifed the new democracy and who prepared to assume the Presidency, people like late Dr Alex Ekwueme and Chief Olu Falae, OBJ, past military head of State returned as a civilian democratic President of Nigeria. It was said that the North gave the presidency to the West to appease them for denying Abiola the presidency. But was the West appeased? It did not look so, as the West at first,essentially, did not seem to have supported OBJ. In the 1999 elections, it was predominantly the North,the Middle belt and  the East that gave OBJ victory. The initial hostility of the West led by Bola Tinubu’s Alliance for Democracy(AD) continued almost through OBJ’s 8-year tenure. Whether this was the main reason OBJ never paid any attention to Abiola and the June 12 movement, one may never know. But through out his tenure OBJ hardly brought Abiola or June 12 into any discussion and one could conclude he wanted the issue buried and forgotten .

President Umaru Yardua’s health did not give him enough time to pay attention to several critical national issues and so it is difficult to say if he would have had a different view about Abiola and June 12, even though the national honor he gave to Gani( which Gani eventually rejected) showed a softness to human right activists. Jonathan,who was in my view the first and perhaps till date the only true democrat in this 4th Republic to rule Nigeria showed more understanding to the June 12 issues. It is on record that he decided to Honour the memory of MKO by naming an important national institution after him- University of Lagos.Again the AD now turned ACN political movement of the South West Nigeria mobilized very strongly to oppose that honour. The democratic Jonathan retreated and perhaps that laid to rest any other plans that he may have had.

Then enter President Muhammadu Buhari( PMB) under the political amalgam called APC as arranged between Tinubu’s Southwest dominated ACN , Buhari’s Northern dominated CPC and the Bugaje/ Amaechi/ Saraki minority belt-led nPDP. This party paraded democratic principles at formation but as at now has become a Democratic Party with very few true democrats if any at all. Much of the promises it made during the campaigns, including those in its manifesto have been largely ignored or denied. Majorly, it promised to restructure Nigeria but came to power and became the major obstacle to restructuring Nigeria. Because of the apparent poor performance of PMB, in its chosen key Result areas- Security, anti-corruption and the Economy, it has lost some of its most ardent supporters. Prominent among these are the leading lights of Nigeria’s Military establishment – IBB, TY and OBJ. In addition, the Country seems to be slowly descending into a dictatorship with the unfolding erosion of the powers and relevance of the Legislature and a patently evident repression and intimidation of the main opposition Party- PDP. As last week closed OBJ issued a statement claiming that his freedom and life were in danger essentially because of his criticism of PMB’s lackluster governance performance. As I read that statement, my mind went back to the Abacha days and I asked my self: are we seeing the reincarnation of Abacha?

It is in this charged political milieu where we were wondering how we got here that PMB sprung the greatest surprise of his tenure. In a twinkle of an eye, he rewrote history and did what Napoleon could not do. According to the media reports,he acknowledged for the first time that Chief MKO Abiola of blessed memory actually won the June 12, 1993 elections. To demonstrate this, he awarded MKO the highest National Honour of the Nation- GCFR , reserved for only Heads of State of Nigeria. Abiola’s Vice-Presidential candidate Babagana Kingibe was awarded GCON- the Honour for Vice Heads of State or Vice-Presiedents as the case may be. He also gave similar Honour to Gani Fawhenmi, the late  human rights crusader and democratic icon. To cap it up, he changed the date for the observance of Nigeria’s democracy day from May 29 to June 12. These are issues which the June 12 movement, other pro-democracy groups and Abiola’s family have consistently canvassed over these many years.

Since this surprise was sprung, there have been several comments in the media. The consensus is that this is a good move but done with a motive to score political points( cheap or costly).And then I ask, what is wrong with that? My wish is that PMB would score many more of such political points. How wonderful it will be for us to wake up tomorrow to hear that a man from the South East has been made the Inspector-General of Police for example!( please this not to say that I have joined the Senate to fight IGP Idris and I pray that this my humble suggestion is not mischievously transmitted to him). Or how will it be wrong to hear tomorrow that he has accepted the recommendations of the 2014 political conference and ordered immediate implementation or agreed to drastically restructure Nigeria using the six -geopolitical zones as federating units for example. Let him score all the political points( cheaply or costly).For one thing, they will help write off his current political deficits and perhaps place him on the positive. Won’t that be a good thing for Nigeria?

Additionally I have heard suggestions that he should do more than what he has done. People have suggested that Abiola and Kingibe should be paid arrears of their salaries as President and Vice President. This is only fair. Others have suggested that Kudirat Abiola who died in the struggle for her husband’s mandate should be equally honoured and I agree. Others are requesting that Government should help rebuild Abiola’s businesses that have failed. I demure on that. Indeed I am hoping that other heroes of June 12 like Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Tony Enahoro, Balarabe Musa, Ndubuisi Kanu, Yinka Odumakin and comrade Kokori should also be honored. In similar manner, Nigeria must not forget the sacrifices of Leaders like General Thomas Aguiyi- Ironsi, Col Adekunle Fajuyi, Shehu Musa Yardua,Alfred Rewane, Dele Giwa and many others who have died in the bid to bring peace and unity to Nigeria. They and their families and businesses need recognition, honour, resuscitation and restitution. What is good for the goose must also be good for the gander!

But for me really, to bring this June 12 matter to a full and final closure, I suggest we should go the whole hog and inaugurate an Abiola Presidency. Since Babagana Kingibe survived MKO as VP, he should by the enforcement or re-enactment of the doctrine of necessity by the Senate be inaugurated as the President and he can choose a VP, perhaps the Chairman of SDP in 1993 or his Vice, if the chairman is indisposed . Alternatively, MKO’s first son can become the VP. If this my ‘revolutionary’  idea is acceptable to the good people of Nigeria, we can inaugurate this government on June 12 next year. In which case we will not need to go through the pain, torture and expense of holding presidential elections next year, which if care is not taken and we continue the way we are going as today may run into painful hitches. Can some one please stand to support this motion?                                                                        •Ohuabunwa, recipient of Nigeria’s national award, OFR, is a leading public policy analyst who contributes commentaries to USAfrica. His email is

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USAfrica: Trump warns Buhari on “christians are being murdered, killed in Nigeria… we can’t allow that to happen”



Trump warns Buhari on “christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria… we can’t allow that to happen.”


U.S President Donald J. Trump, this afternoon Monday April 30, 2018 at the White House, told visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari that his government is not only monitoring but outraged by  “very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria.”

The transcription of Trump’s statement by reads:

“We’ve had very serious problems with christians who are being murdered, killed in Nigeria. We’re going to be working on that problem; and working on that problem very, very hard… because we can’t allow that to happen.”

Buhari, a retired army General and dictator/ruler (1984-1986), attempted to minimize those issues when he claimed, contrary to video evidence and eyewitness accounts, that the “farmers and herdsmen” only carry stick and machete; not AK-47s and other deadly weapons. Across the social media, Nigerians share pictures/videos of them brandishing weapons.

Obama administration and Buhari’s started a deal for Nigeria to purchase up to 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft with sophisticated targeting gear for almost $600 million.

By Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica [Houston], and author of the 2018 book titled MLK, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Power, Leadership & Identity

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



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

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • • @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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USAfrica: Martin Luther King’s message and Trump presidency. By Chido Nwangwu



By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica, Houston.                                                                            •Follow


Today, April 4, 2018, as we mournfully mark 50 years since the killing of the foremost exponent of a global reality of social justice and the equality of the races, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr., it is important to bear witness to history and assess the present.

On July 15, 1994, I visited the Martin Luther King Jr.  Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first time as a member of a committee of a few African ambassadors, African-American professionals and a handful of continental Africans assembled by the Rev. Leon Sullivan, longtime advocate for equal rights for South African and American Blacks, to plan aspects of the 1995 African and African-American summit in Dakar, Senegal.

As I walked the premises with the late Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, my mind’s eye recalled Dr. King’s vision, his unique poetic cadence, the flowing timbre of his voice, the inimitable rhyme and rhythm that punctuated his manner of speaking.  Amid those memories, I recalled the shattering staccato of angry exchanges between many members of Jewish and African-American communities in far away New York, Chicago and Massachusetts, carrying on in ways that would have made Dr. King recoil.  At least, he would have spoken with the calming ointment of mutual respect and Solomonic wisdom.

Into 2018, what do we see along the trajectory of what I’ll simply characterize as The Power and Permanence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jnr.?

First, the U.S President Donald J. Trump’s inflammatory stoking of bigotry and mainstreaming of the offsprings of the messengers of hate constitute,  substantially, an existential moral threat to the works and legacy of the truth-teller and prophet.

Trump should take an iron-clad stand (not made-for-tv retakes) against the assorted confederacy of skinheads and neo-Nazi thugs in Europe and corners of the United States. As well as against the radical jihadist merchants of death in Nigeria called Boko Haram and other transporters of hate, mayhem and bigotry.

Second, for all it’s worth, these times and the 21st century truly require leaders with a King-size vision, temper and courage. For example, South Africa’s late president Nelson Mandela towered beyond bitterness to live and work with his repentant apartheid jailers. His response to hatred from his apartheid oppressors mirrors King’s timeless example: be forgiving, remain noble, foster racial harmony and be fair-minded. I witnessed part of the King-Mandela sense of grace, first-hand, at the Robben island. I was part of the U.S media team with President Bill Clinton during the closing days of March 1998 when he visited Southern Africa.  I highlighted the spirit of forgiveness of Mandela in my forthcoming 2018 book  MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent.

Third, 50 years since his assassination, I believe that the global alliances of family, faith, character and social justice,  representing the rich tapestry of our ethnic/racial origins as Indians, Caucasians, Blacks, Jews, Asians, and a multitude of other backgrounds have advanced Dr. King’s vision.

Fourth, on the critical issue of race, racial identity and politics, in the course of political fights in Washington DC and locally, we have listened to the impassioned partisan drivel that Dr. King fought for a “color-blind society.” From my researching King’s view on this issue and having discussed the same question with one of his sons, the claim that the late but revered King worked and died for the emergence of a “color-blind society” amounts to nothing more than grandiose distortion and arrant nonsense.

It is sociological misleading since multi-ethnic and multi-racial societies will have their “color” components.  Therefore, the ideologically misleading mantra pretending to establish a “color-blind society” merely serves as a wedge issue and fund-raising code for contortionists of King’s vision and work which fundamentally and specifically sought the recognition of our backgrounds and even our racial origins.  He specifically demanded that we neither be judged nor discriminated against because of the color of our skin.  He underscored that we rather be judged by the content of our character.

Fifth, as a continental African in America, a recent immigrant and citizen of the United States of America who has been blessed by the graciousness, business opportunities, global breadth and hospitality of other Americans, I have cause to be thankful for benefiting from the vision, personal sacrifice and peaceful soldiering of the late but great Martin Luther King,Jnr. I salute this prophet for enabling a moral and social justice compass which fosters harmony, fair scales of opportunity and acceptance of all our unique talents and racial origins.

Sixth, 50 years since the killing of the evangelist of character first, we should do more by utilizing technological tools, networking our strengths, building family, exercising personal discipline, empowering religious and community organizations to fight all forms of discrimination and intolerance.

Seventh, the believers in King’s goals must deal with an increasing challenge, specifically: the hordes of unemployed (soon unemployable in the robotic computer market) inner-city youths who, frankly, do not care so much about whose holiday is celebrated, when and by whom. They prefer to connect with the “hustle”; but there has been an increase in the high school, first degree numbers and the numbers of healthcare professionals.

Dr. King saw the inequities of his time, but it did not stop him from rising to the challenge of the day and charting a moral, visionary road map for tomorrow.

50 years ago, the King was killed!

USAfrica Publisher Chido Nwangwu, pix Jan11 2014

50 years after, long lives the King!!

50 years ahead, long shall the king live!!!


•Dr. Chido Nwangwu is Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet;  and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards. He has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. He worked previously for the Nigerian Television Authority, Platform magazine, and the Daily Times of Nigeria; and has served as adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Brown. USAfrica, CLASSmagazine and are assessed by the CNN and The New York Times as the largest and arguably the most influential African-owned, U.S-based multimedia networks. USAfrica established May 1992.


2018 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author 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, 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.

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USAfrica: Mandelas say Winnie sacrificed her life for the freedom of South Africa



WINNIE MANDELA, the anti-apartheid activist and former wife of Nelson Mandela, died a few hours ago, today April 2, 2018 — following a long illness especially an infection of her kidney. She was 81 years old.

The following is the full text of the statement by the Mandela family on the death on Monday April 2, 2018 of Winnie Mandela.


Special to USAfrica [Houston] • • @Chido247 •  @USAfricaLive

It is with profound sadness that we inform the public that Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela passed away at the Netcare Milpark Hospital‚ Johannesburg‚ South Africa, on Monday April 2 2018.

She died after a long illness‚ for which she had been in and out of hospital since the start of the year. She succumbed peacefully in the early hours of Monday afternoon surrounded by her family and loved ones.

Mrs. Madikizela-Mandela was one of the greatest icons of the struggle against apartheid. She fought valiantly against the apartheid state and sacrificed her life for the freedom of the country. Her activism and resistance to apartheid landed her in jail on numerous occasions‚ eventually causing her banishment to the small town of Brandfort in the then Orange Free State.

She kept the memory of her imprisoned husband Nelson Mandela alive during his years on Robben Island and helped give the struggle for justice in South Africa one its most recognisable faces. She dedicated most of her adult life to the cause of the people and for this was known far and wide as the Mother of the Nation.

The Mandela family are deeply grateful for the gift of her life and even as our hearts break at her passing‚ we urge all those who loved her to celebrate this most remarkable woman.

The family will release details of the memorial and funeral services once these have been finalised.



—  2018 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrsand friendship hold lessons for humanity and Africans, the author 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, 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.

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USAfrica: Danjuma’s genocidal past, hypocrisy and insecurity in Nigeria. By Jude Ndukwe



Danjuma’s genocidal past, hypocrisy and insecurity in Nigeria 

By Jude Ndukwe

Special to USAfrica [Houston] and • @USAfricaLive

When on Saturday, March 24, 2018, retired Gen T.Y. Danjuma sent out a shrill cry to Nigerians using the exalted pedestal of the Taraba State University’s convocation ceremony as a medium to send out his message, one could see nothing but desperation, frustration and hopelessness all over him. Evidently, a result of the incessant killings of Nigerians of diverse nationalities by the marauding Fulani herdsmen terrorists. Such emotions are expected of a man whose kith and kin are directly in the line of fire. 

There is no doubt that Danjuma’s call for Nigerians to rise and defend themselves in the face of the immutable failure of security agencies to come to their rescue is germane, it is however too late, too little and too feeble. This is in addition to the fact that Danjuma has since lost his exalted place in the scheme of morality before the ordinary Nigerian.

An unrepentant war-monger, Danjuma is not different to the criminal behavior of those he is castigating. In fact, it is the tribal antics of narrow-minded people like the former minister of defence that brought us all to this unfortunate saga.

No one may like the content of this piece, but I am not writing to be liked, have never written to be liked and does not wish to write to be liked but to always be as truthful and, if possible, brutally truthful and hurtful to those averse to truth! This is all I owe my conscience and my God.

Just like the Fulani herdsmen terrorists of today, Danjuma also led a gang of armed bandits in uniform to Ibadan to murder the then Head-of-State, Gen JTU Aguiyi Ironsi, execution style. He then went further to actively participate in the near annihilation of the Igbo during the civil war where three million Biafrans were randomly and wantonly wasted, clearly against the rules of engagement.

The Asaba massacre is one example of the mindless nature of people like Theophilus Danjuma.

On that morning of October 7, 1967, the good people of Asaba had thronged out in their numbers to show solidarity to the Nigerian troops who had earlier pushed the Biafran soldiers further back from Ore to the Niger. The solidarity by Asaba indgenes became necessary as a way of abating the continued and unwarranted massacre of their people by the federal troops who accused them of being “sympathizers of Biafra”.

They thought that expressing such solidarity in an all-white attire signifying peace and surrender would appease the federal troops. But that was their greatest undoing!

It is recorded that about 1,000 of them including some as young as 12 were murdered in cold blood during the massacre. Federal troops separated the men from the women in the solidarity march at the square and randomly opened fire on all of them: innocent, defenceless, armless, harmless and helpless civilians.

The gory story of the civil war has been told time and time again. Both sides have their faults, no doubt, but the deployment of “extra-war” strategies to prosecute the war against Biafra would remain the sour point in the history of that war.

The most heart wrenching of them all are the images of infants and children who were starved to death as Danjuma and his cohorts deployed starvation as an instrumentality of war. In that circumstance, innocent Igbo children who should have been spared the consequences of the war having been too young to have contributed to the causes were seen dying slowly and painfully on the streets, in the bushes and everywhere. Some of them had their severely malnourished bodies feasted upon by vultures even while still alive. Not even their mothers whose breasts had shrunk back into their chests due to deprivation could provide milk to save their infants from starvation.

Today, the reasons the late Emeka Ojukwu declared secession have come back to haunt Danjuma who thought he was doing humanity a great service by siding with the Fulani who, today, have turned the sword against him and his people under the auspices of herdsmen terrorists. What they could not see while standing on an Iroko tree, Ojukwu had since seen even while sitting on ute uche ya (his mat of wisdom).

Today, the chicken has come home to roost. While the southeast remains one of the most advanced and peaceful regions in the country, there is mayhem, fire and brimstone visited upon Danjuma’s home by the same people he freely fell into infamy for in the years of the 1967-1970 Nigeria-Biafra war.

Let us even assume without accepting that all those events happened as a result of war, it is more sickening that Danjuma has since carried on like an unassailable veteran whose evil deeds would automatically turn to good simply because he fought on the side of federal troops.

It would be good at this point to remind Danjuma that Igbo blood is sacred. All those who participated in the massacres and starvation of even children in the 1967 – 1970 imbroglio would pay for them, not because Ndigbo would wage another war but because the God of justice hears the cry of the blood of the innocent and would set our traducers one against another unless such participants humble themselves, apologise and make genuine efforts at reconciliation, even if it is on individual basis, with the Igbo nation and all those who constituted the former Eastern Region.

The blood of those malnourished, innocent and extremely weak children whose condition were the result of a deliberate policy of starvation the Danjumas deployed during the war, and who looked on helplessly while their bodies were picked by birds of prey, rodents and reptiles, still speaks till tomorrow. No matter how far Danjuma and his gang run, the unmitigated divine law of vengeance would catch up with them.

In an interview with The Guardian [newspaper based in Lagos] in February of 2008, Danjuma insolently referred to Aguiyi Ironsi as a “useless”, “desk-clerk” Head-of-State. That was 40 years after the war.

As recently as April of 2015, during a private visit of former president Goodluck Jonathan to his residence shortly after Jonathan lost the election, Danjuma ridiculously said if Ojukwu had conceded defeat early during the civil war, one year of bloodshed would have been avoided.

It is instructive to note that at no time did any matter relating to Ojukwu or the Biafra war came up during Jonathan’s visit to Danjuma. He was just showing how obsessed he was and still is with the Igbo, spitting on our people at every opportunity. Fifty years after the war, Danjuma would not let sleeping dogs lie.

Instead of making efforts at healing wounds, Danjuma has continued to open healed wounds with misplaced pride. He does not need to look too far to know that Ndigbo have since arisen from the ashes of that war to become one of the fastest developing regions in Nigeria in spite of the deprivations suffered during and after the war; deprivations that have continued till tomorrow.

So when one saw him on TV the other day calling on Nigerians to defend themselves against armed bandits who he said the military is colluding with and giving cover, one can only laugh and remind him that what goes around comes around. It was exactly how he colluded with men in uniform to commit the worst atrocities against humanity. He should stop lamenting but start reflecting.

A more reasonable man, instead of continuing to ridicule the Igbo at every given opportunity, lamenting and making lame calls, would have visited the Obi of Onitsha, for example, with the leader of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, present, to say “Your Majesty, we all made mistakes during the civil war. It should never have happened but it did. All sides made mistakes but I am here in your palace in my personal capacity to express my apologies for parts of my role during the war which caused the Igbo great grief. I am here to appeal that we should all let bygones be bygones, forgive one another, close ranks and live in peace. God has given me the grace to live up to this moment and I want to make the best use of it reconciling with all those who I might have offended in the cause of carrying out my duties as a soldier of the federal republic. I acknowledge we went too far in some cases. I want to meet my creator in peace whenever He decides to call me, hence, my decision to do this”.

He has the opportunity to do this especially now that the wife of late JTU Aguiyi Ironsi is still alive and around.

But Danjuma would rather live on like an eternal colossus lacking empathy except when the people of Taraba State are under attack.

Ndigbo have had their rights as major stakeholders in the scheme of things constantly denied and are deliberately deprived; they are marginalized in all areas of the nation’s life and have continued to suffer humiliation from a system deliberately skewed against them as punishment from the civil war. However, they have endured all and should be commended for their steadfastness and revival owing to God’s grace and the people’s determination and hardwork.

I am totally against the killings by Fulani herdsmen terrorists particularly as it is happening in the north right now. It is an act of gross incompetence and wickedness for terrorists to be allowed to run roughshod over our nation without any visible concrete action by government and security agents to stem the tide. It is total failure on the part of government especially one that came to power on the promise of ensuring the safety of Nigerians.

I’ll conclude by noting that Danjuma’s hands are too stained with blood of innocent children from the East to be able to stir the people to self-defence. Let him seek peace and forgiveness from necessary quarters and he shall know peace!                                           •Ndukwe, a commentator on public policy issue, has the Twitter handle @stjudendukwe

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USAfrica: Danjuma’s amnesia and toxic advocacy for anarchy. By Chidi Amuta



Danjuma’s amnesia and toxic advocacy for anarchy.

By Dr. Chidi Amuta

Special to

Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, retired army General and former minister of defense, stands out in glowing notoriety on the scale of anti-heroes produced by Nigeria’s history of violent disruptions.

Endlessly rewarded by all regimes since after his 1966 bloody emergence as military supremo and poster coupist, he has also emerged as easily one of Nigeria’s wealthiest men, mostly for reasons other than his industry, corporate ingenuity or even plain hard work. On account of his long-standing presence in power circles, Danjuma has managed to anticipate some audience whenever Nigerians are pressed by bad governance to desperately seek an alarmist town crier. We are clearly at one such moment once again.

Therefore, Danjuma’s latest outburst on the sad security situation in the nation falls into a familiar pattern. For a veteran coup maker, the exploitation of public disaffection to align with the general drift of public opinion is a familiar gimmick. But this time, while Danjuma’s outburst on the epidemic of killer gangs virtually all over the country may be in tune with our collective pain and anger, it ricochets with loud echoes of Thomas Hobbes’s picture of anarchy when the state is absent.

Nigerians are united in their concern about the rampaging impunity and uncontrolled audacity of murderous Killer gangs and herdsmen all over the country. We are all worried that a band of armed bandits under the guise of either cattle herding or sectarian zealotry have been allowed to terrorize the entire nation and in the process make nonsense of an overstretched and disorganized security apparatus.

Those with any sense of history cannot but sleep with one eye open as tragic insecurity engulfs the northern half of the country with unfamiliar trends: cattle rustling, kidnapping for ransom, Janjaweed like scorched earth attacks that raze whole towns and villages with industrial scale casualty figures.

Ordinarily, President Buhari is not my kettle of tea. Characteristically, the President has displayed a less than keen interest in ending the menace of these killer gangs while in the process allowing all manner of tales to spiral around the crisis. Similarly, both the military and the police have repeatedly proved impotent on the matter of containing killer herdsmen and other casual killer squads, again tempting all manner of unsavoury conclusions. This situation has not been made any better by the uneducated utterances of high government officials like Buhari’s Defence and Information Ministers and even the chief of police, respectively.

There is, of course, no justification for the apparent tacit support, which all manner of killer gangs seem to be enjoying under President Buhari. This conclusion is above the politics of the moment. No definition of partisanship can outsource these killings to an opposition party. The failure to take absolute responsibility for the security of the lives of every Nigerian can only be ascribed to one factor: crass incompetence and lack of executive decisiveness. No previous administration has presided over such a massive decimation of Nigerians in peacetime.

While these concessions remain valid, Mr. Danjuma’s choice of venue to cry out about the Taraba chapter of the new national killing sport – a university in his home state- does not quite fit into his erstwhile branding as a national elder statesman. The industrial scale sporadic killings of innocent citizens that has become the identity badge of the Buhari presidency is not localized to Taraba or Danjuma’s Jukun ethnicity. Nor are they geopolitically skewed in any way. Anambra, Abia, Delta, Ekiti, Benue, Nasarawa , Plateau, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kano states have all been theatres in an ever expanding national killing field featuring killer herdsmen and other migrants and vagrants .

If indeed Mr. Danjuma is concerned about the abuse of the military and its use to aid and abet violations of people’s rights, why is he just waking up now? If Mr. Danjuma wanted to atone for his murky past and acquire a national voice, where was he when the same military over which he had previously presided repeatedly (according to Amnesty International and most local observer groups) committed the mass killings of unarmed IPOB and MASSOB sympathizers in Onitsha and other parts of the South East?

Maybe it is also part of the attributes of men of immense power and wealth to develop amnesia even on matters that they themselves presided over. Maybe I was the Defence Minister under whose watch the little town of Odi in Bayelsa state was reduced to rubble. I was probably the Minister of Defence when Zaki Biam in Benue State was similarly flattened by tanks and armoured vehicles.

Danjuma is a privileged citizen who has full unfettered access to the president. I have lost count of how many presidential advisory committees he is chairing under the Buhari presidency. There is no indication that Mr. Danjuma has tried and failed to get a presidential audience to air his views to Mr. Buhari on these and other matters. I guess it is easier and more convenient to seek audience to canvass yet another oil bloc than to proffer suggestions on how to improve the state of our national security. Since Danjuma was playing to the gallery, he could have gone the whole hog by openly canvassing suggestions on which the public can engage the government in search of ways to improve a bad situation.

While the idealism and fire of youth can tempt those angry with government to scream at high pitch, the wisdom of age dictates that elders do not rouse the rabble or pull down the homestead. Danjuma’s statement may fit into his definition of freedom of speech. But it steps overboard into the realm of irresponsible utterance and even treasonable incitement.

The full implication of Danjuma’s call for self help in matters of self-defense by citizens goes beyond his immediate constituency. It is a toxic epistle on political philosophy of a most decadent variety. This dangerous epistle is addressed to all Nigerians who today feel increasingly exposed and vulnerable to these marauding killer gangs. It is simply a call to arms against fellow Nigerians and a tacit defiance of the state and its security apparatus. It announces and inaugurates the onset of a state of nature, a land of everyman to himself and God for all of us.

If we were to revert to a state of nature, the armed masses in defiance of the state would be out in the streets machetes, Dane guns, bows and arrows, clubs, cudgels and all. Even a dysfunctional state with the weakest semblance of law and order and a monopoly of the instruments of violence is still our best guarantee for the protection and defense of our residual freedoms, holdings and rights. Our challenge is to make the state work through the periodic regime changes that democracy guarantees.

But in the nightmare universe of Danjuma’s toxic advocacy, the strong will kill the weak except the weak come together in mutinous gangs and arm themselves for self-defense since the state, according to him, has failed.

For Danjuma, the state is failing, Nigerians should go back to a state of nature;  similar to what Thomas Hobbes described,

Chidi Amuta

a place where anarchy reigns and life is short, nasty and brutish. It was the fear of this descent into anarchy that prompted Thomas Hobbes to argue for the necessity of order under a sovereign authority: a leviathan.

Danjuma who owes his emergence, prominence, fame and fortune to anarchic decapitation of a sovereign wants a nation of anarchists.                                                                   •Dr. Amuta is Executive Editor of the USAfrica multimedia networks [since 1993] and He is based in Lagos, and is the author of several books.

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USAfrica: Zuma’s failed presidency of corruption, what next? By Paul Hoffman




Zuma’s presidency of corruption, what next?       By PAUL HOFFMAN

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Authority needs to box smart – there is no better way to clear the air than swiftly to charge Jacob Zuma for the corrupt manner in which he relieved Mxolisi Nxasana of his post as the head of the NPA. This crime is far more serious, far more recent and far more relevant to the future of the rule of law and constitutionalism in South Africa [SA].

The 18 criminal charges against former President Jacob Zuma, reinstated by the Supreme Court of Appeal on 13 October 2017 in the culmination of a judicial review initiated by the DA in April 2009, must stand. Zuma’s unpublished but bulky representations aimed at their withdrawal have failed, as was announced by current National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shaun Abrahams, in an 11-minute press briefing on 16 March 2018.

Four serious crimes are identified in the 18 charges: corruption, fraud, money laundering and racketeering. All of the charges flow from 783 transactions between Zuma and his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, or companies controlled by the latter or in which he had a major interest.

Shaik and his companies were convicted in the High Court on various counts of corruption and fraud in June 2005. The state alleged and proved to the satisfaction of that court (and both higher courts to which appeals were directed) that over a period of nearly seven years, they made some 238 payments either directly to, or for the benefit of, Jacob Zuma, at all material times a prominent politician. The payments had been made between October 1995 and September 2002 as an inducement to Zuma to use his name and political influence for the benefit of Shaik’s businesses or as an ongoing reward totalling R1,340,078 for having done so.

The Shaik trial lasted more than six months, generated huge media interest and attracted a great deal of public attention. More than 40 witnesses testified. The record comprises more than 12,000 pages with oral testimony constituting more than 6,000 pages.

When the Shaik matter reached the Constitutional Court on appeal relating to the forfeiture of the fruits of the crimes, Acting Deputy Chief Justice O’Regan, writing for a unanimous court, observed that:

“It is clear that corruption is a serious crime which is potentially harmful to our most important constitutional values. Moreover, it is clear that both our Parliament and the international community recognise the close links between corruption and organised crime.”

The prosecution has, for the purposes of the now pending case against Zuma, expanded the number of transactions from 238 to 783 and it intends to call over 200 witnesses in the matter, including forensic experts.

Given the length of the Shaik trial, it is clear that the Zuma trial will be considerably longer and a very expensive undertaking, particularly so if the hitherto consistent “Stalingrad strategy” of the Zuma legal team is persisted with during the trial. There is no reason to doubt that the strategy will not be abandoned.

It seems, from what little was revealed during President Ramaphosa’s first parliamentary question session, that the taxpayer will foot the bill for the defence of Zuma and will only be able to seek to recover costs if a conviction is secured at the end of the trial and the appeals which routinely form part of the Stalingrad strategy. This arrangement (flowing from an agreement with then President Mbeki) is both wrong and outrageous; the validity of the agreement ought to be impugned as Zuma does not hold any political office now and was not put in office to commit crimes.

It is also a racing certainty that, for the purpose of delaying the matter, the decision announced on 16 March 2018 will be taken on review, and if necessary on appeal, by Zuma. He may also apply for a permanent stay of prosecution which will also hold up the commencement of the trial.

A rather misguided stab at a permanent stay has already been launched by an obscure NGO in the Western Cape High Court. Both the NGO’s standing to sue and the jurisdiction of that court to hear the matter will doubtless feature prominently in the application. While it is pending, the application will delay the commencement of the criminal trial. The Judge President in Cape Town is a known Zuma sympathiser with a Stalingrad strategy of his own in relation to long-outstanding disciplinary proceedings against him.

The National Prosecuting Authority needs to box smart in the circumstances sketched above. After the review and stay applications are dispensed with (probably on appeal) a long, complex and expensive trial about 783 smallish transactions that mostly took place in a previous century is required.

This trial is not the only option for bringing Zuma to book.

Far more relevant and topical is Zuma’s role in the attempted capture of the state, some State-owned Enterprises and in particular the criminal justice administration itself.

A trial soon, over one transaction which took place as recently as the autumn of 2015 that impacts on the NPA’s overall credibility directly, would involve evidence on a single invalid and corrupt payment, admittedly made, of over R17-million and will, if successfully prosecuted, set the tone of the post-Zuma era. This prosecution is a possibility the management of the NPA ought to consider. Only one prosecution witness need be called and all of the limited quantity of documentation relating to the matter tends to support his version of the corrupt transaction at the heart of the case. Only two charges are needed, one of corruption and one of defeating the ends of justice.

A criminal complaint in relation to the matter has been under investigation by the Hawks since July 2015, when, fortified by a favourable opinion of two senior counsel, and armed with an affidavit and draft charge sheet, Accountability Now laid the two charges concerning the manner in which former NDPP Mxolisi Nxasana was relieved of his duties.

Related civil proceedings, brought by FUL, Corruption Watch and CASAC, have already reached the Constitutional Court on appeal, and judgment in the matter is imminent. The validity of the appointment of the current NDPP, Abrahams, is a live issue in the appeal. It was common cause in argument that the transaction complained of is illegal and invalid. Its criminality was not in issue in the civil case nor was the available evidence of Nxasana, which would be adduced in the criminal trial, before the court, having been excluded from the record because it was presented late. The High Court nevertheless rejected the version put forward on oath by Zuma. During argument in both courts, counsel did describe the payment of Nxasana’s golden handshake to agree to leave office as a bribe.

This low hanging fruit is available for plucking by the NPA, if it chooses to “box smart”. In the Shaik trial a sentence of 15 years was imposed on the corruptor of Jacob Zuma. This is the minimum sentence laid down in the applicable legislation. Zuma, now 75 years old, will surely not get a lesser sentence if convicted for bribing Nxasana to leave office after a short, sharp and well directed trial. There is no special dispensation for pensioners in SA, unlike the Italian criminal law which has been exploited by Silvio Berlusconi after his conviction.

What Zuma did to the country and the NPA by easing out Nxasana is a far more serious matter than his corrupt relationship with Shaik. It goes to the overall administration of criminal justice, not to 783 petty corrupt payments intended to oil the fortunes of the Shaik business empire.

The NPA top management ought to be able to muster the moral fortitude to discern the need to clear the air around its widely perceived lack of constitutionally required independence in its leadership; the dark cloud of suspicions that Abrahams was previously willing to align the NPA with Zuma’s interests rather than the interests of the administration of justice and the general feeling that the NPA “ain’t what it used to be”.

If it is so able, there is no better way to clear the air than swiftly to charge Zuma for the corrupt manner in which he relieved Nxasana of his post as the head of the NPA. This crime is far more serious, far more recent and far more relevant to the future of the rule of law and constitutionalism in SA.

The Constitution itself enjoins the entire public administration to use resources in an effective, efficient and economical way. If the objective of a “winnable case” for the prosecution is the appropriate conviction and punishment of the accused, let’s get there sooner rather than later.

It is time for the NPA to recall the words of the unanimous Constitutional Court quoted above and also to bear in mind that on 17 March 2011 our highest court’s concerns about corruption were expressed in the following words of Moseneke DCJ and Cameron J in the second Glenister case concerning the unconstitutionality of the Hawks:

There can be no gainsaying that corruption threatens to fell at the knees virtually everything we hold dear and precious in our hard-won constitutional order. It blatantly undermines the democratic ethos, the institutions of democracy, the rule of law and the foundational values of our nascent constitutional project. It fuels maladministration and public fraudulence and imperils the capacity of the State to fulfil its obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil all the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. When corruption and organised crime flourish, sustainable development and economic growth are stunted. And in turn, the stability and security of society is put at risk.”

When the relatively trivial “small time crook” nature of the corruption between Shaik and Zuma is contrasted with the serious harm done to the overall administration of justice and the trajectory of constitutionalism in SA by the “dis-appointment” of Nxasana, then it ought to be a no-brainer that the latter matter deserves priority on the roll for hearing in the criminal sessions of the High Court.

It is up to the NPA to do the right thing, not because the DA’s successful review and a change of president points it in that direction, but out of inner conviction, unswerving independent-mindedness and to preserve its own integrity.

If Jacob Zuma ever considers doing the right thing he could consider negotiating a plea bargain by pleading guilty to common law crimes (those that don’t have minimum sentences, a la the travelgate fraudsters) in both matters and confess to all other wrongdoing on his part so as to shop those he threatened to shop when first charged concerning his cosy relationship with Shaik. Zuma’s little black book of “Where the ‘smallanyana’ skeletons are buried” could be usefully handed to the NPA as part of the plea bargain.

Urban legend has it that when told by Mbeki (whom he later threatened to force into the witness box in the long arms deals related trial now in prospect) that he was being fired as deputy president because of Shaik’s conviction for corrupting him, Zuma looked around the room full of assembled Cabinet ministers and said: “But, But, but I am the poorest cadre in the room!”                                                                                                                      •Hoffman is a director of Accountability Now.

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USAfrica: Cows, snakes, rats and reality of Nigeria as an animal kingdom. By Arthur Nwankwo




Cows, snakes, rats and reality of Nigeria as an animal kingdom.

By Dr. ARTHUR AGWUNCHA NWANKWO, Chancellor of the Eastern Mandate Union and editorial opinion contributor to USAfrica (Houston) and since 1998.


How else can you describe Nigeria as an animal kingdom? A country where rats chase away its President from the effective use of his office is an animal kingdom. A country where a snake, reportedly, swallows N36million and monkeys jump on tree tops with as much as N70million is an animal kingdom. A country where cows take over airport runways, classrooms and public institutions is an animal kingdom. A country that values the lives of cows more than the lives of its citizens is an animal kingdom. All these happen in Nigeria. Simply put, Nigeria is, indeed, an Animal Kingdom.


There is no doubt that Aristotle belongs to the pantheon of the greatest thinkers the world has ever known. Students of philosophy will agree with me that it was Plato who taught Aristotle. Plato himself was taught by Socrates. Aristotle on his own part was reputed to have taught Alexander the Great who was perhaps the greatest military genius and world conqueror that used world conquest to spread Western civilization to the four corners of the earth. Apart from Aristotle’s other works, his voluminous scientific study titled, History of Animals stands out.

In this fascinating work, Aristotle made this rather provocative passage on the nature of certain animals and implies that these zoological observations have connections to certain aspects of human nature: “Some creatures, he said, are peculiarly salacious, as the partridge, the barn-door cock and their congeners; others are inclined to chastity, as the whole tribe of crows, for birds of this kind indulge but rarely in sexual intercourse…Animals also differ from one another in regard to character in the following respects.

“Some are good-tempered, sluggish, and little prone to ferocity, as the ox; others are quick-tempered, ferocious and unteachable, as the wild boar; some are intelligent and timid, as the stag and the hare; others are mean and treacherous, as the snake; others are noble and courageous and high-bred, as the lion; others are thorough-bred and wild and treacherous, as the wolf: for, by the way, an animal is high bred if it comes from a noble stock, and an animal is thorough-bred if it does not deflect from its racial characteristics. Further, some are crafty and mischievous, as the fox; some are spirited and affectionate and fawning, as the dog; others are easy-tempered and easily domesticated, as the elephant; others are cautious and watchful, as the goose; others are jealous and self-conceited, as the peacock. But of all animals, man alone is capable of deliberation”.

It is actually this capacity and power for deliberation that, in the opinion of Aristotle, distinguishes man from other animals, for indeed man is biologically an animal. Though man is biologically considered to be an animal, God has wired him in such a way that he stands at the summit of creation. Man is the only biological animal that was created by the Trinity. God had said in Genesis Chapter One verse 26 “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth”.

And God said “Let there be Light”, and there was light. And from this light, God created life upon earth; and man was given dominion over all things upon the earth. But men took dominion over other men and from that point freedom was gone from the world. The weak were made to serve the strong; and the conquered were made to serve the conqueror. And so have the lives of our people been made bitter with hard bondage in Nigeria.

Sociability in animals and the nature of animal kingdom are considered by Aristotle in his writings on Politics and the State, in relation with the development of human civilization. However, in his writings on human society, Aristotle is essentially concerned with the civilizational leaps made throughout history i.e. from the domestication of animals, which demonstrated an advance from primitive to civilized life, to the growth and development in the wealth and power of the tribe through the rise of the Greek city-states. As a measure of wealth and power, Aristotle denotes that wealthy men can be described by the number of horses which they kept, for they cannot afford to keep them unless they were rich.

However, legend and history are replete with narratives of the faithfulness and allegiance of animals regarding their human masters, and of the mutual attention and affection which men bestow upon them. However, driven as it is by their purposes for economic or other functions, the taming of animals to adapt to human use will often include violent or cruel abuse. The utility, or even the mistreatment, of animals by man appears to be justified by the servile estate of the savage beast compared to the rational nature. As plants exist for the sake of animals and man, so also animals, according to Aristotle, “exist for the sake of man, the tame for use and food, the wild, if not all, at least the greater part of them, for food, and for the provision of clothing and various instruments.” Similarly, Aristotle’s notion of the natural slave, discussed at length in his work on Politics, and alluded to in his History of Animals, uses the actual domesticated animals as a kind of paradigm for the management of human beings as slaves, tools or implements.

But there are many scriptures in the Bible where animals are used as metaphors to teach mankind spiritual, political and even economic lessons. For example, King Solomon, who is reputed to be history’s wisest king, shows a profound level of understanding of the animal world when he wrote in Proverbs 6:6-8 thus: “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest”.

Honestly, if Nigerian leaders had but those three verses of the Bible and were collectively compelled to follow this aphorism as a universal rule of law, perhaps it would be impossible to have the bestial society that Nigeria has become. If only Nigerian leaders had followed this Solomon’s Ant paradigm, there would be no need for all that is happening today in the country because people would act in accordance with their nature so that they would work hard for their daily bread basically because starvation, deprivation, internal slavery and ethnic cleansing as well as displacement are very cruel and pitiable teachers indeed.

Yet today’s Nigeria appears to externalize all the negative and primitive instincts, which rational men would frown at as awful and barbaric. For instance, the lower animals think of nothing but to eat. Take the fowl for example. It wakes up before anyone of us. Form the point of its waking up; it scavenges for food till sunset. This is not how God has wired man. In God’s political economy, man should eat to live and not necessarily live to eat. This is the fundamental lesson in Solomon’s Ant paradigm.

But in Nigeria, our leaders behave like the lower animals. For them, the philosophy is to steal, steal and steal as much as possible from the commonwealth without minding what would become of the country tomorrow. Once he acquires any public position, the Nigerian elite goes on to loot billions of money to be able to buy mansions abroad, send their children overseas and frequently travels abroad to receive medical attention. Yet under his nose, his people are dying of preventable diseases, children are out of school and dying of hunger even as the elite display their ill-gotten wealth with reckless abandon.

In developing the concept of social contract, Thomas Hobbes also alluded to the base instinct of man in society where he likened the state of nature as being brutish, nasty and short. Eminent Igbo songwriter, singer and instrumentalist, Mike Ejeagha captured this scenario in his Akuko-na-Egwu with the story of “Aneke-Oturukpo”, which depicted the animal kingdom as a race of survival for the fittest. In other words, animal kingdoms are commonly denominated by the instinct of “survival of the fittest”.

Nigeria is not different from this instinct of animal kingdom. Having bled the country dry, the governing elite and their accomplices have hit on the expediency of the absurd as a means of correcting the social ills besetting Nigeria. Because of massive corruption in Nigeria as exemplified by the present Buhari administration and past administrations, our hospitals have become glorified mortuaries; our roads have become death traps, our schools have become breeding grounds for cultists and social miscreants, industries and small scale businesses have collapsed due to lack of power, universities and colleges have been shut down due to labour disputes, militancy and terrorism have blossomed and people now take suicidal dives into the lagoon. This is a classical scenario of dog-eat-eat dog. Since 1999, when Nigeria returned to civil rule till date, it is estimated that looted funds attributed to ex and sitting governors, ministers, legislators, public servants, bankers and business men and women  run as high as N3.35 trillion.

As pointed out by Professor Itse Sagay, if we bring home the opportunity cost of such mind-boggling stealing, you will discover that just one-third of the stolen funds could have provided 835.18 kilometers of roads, “36 ultra-modern hospitals per state, 183 schools, educated 5,974 children from primary to tertiary level at 25.24million per child and built, 20,062 units of 2-bedroom houses. This clearly epitomizes a dog-eat-dog characteristic. Little wonder there is devastation in all spheres of human activity in Nigeria and the future of our youths has certainly been eaten by this scourge.

A close examination of social animals will also reveal another astonishing characteristic which bears on Nigerian society. For territorial animals like the lion, even though has described it as noble and courageous, if it wants to join another pack of lions, it demonstrates a high level of ferocity anchored on the base instinct of survival of the fittest. For instance, it must eliminate the cubs sired by the leader of that pack and then populate the pack with its own offspring. For such lion, only its offspring must survive.

This tendency is not different from what is happening in Nigeria presently. Consider the scenario playing out in this country today. The Nigerian elite has initiated a cremating earth-scorch policy that has made Nigeria too hot for her youths to live in. As a response, thousands of Nigerian youths now prefer to go and die in the Sahara Desert, Libya and the Mediterranean Sea; whilst the children of the elite enjoy life in the USA, Europe, and Asia- attending the best schools. The Nigerian elites love their children but do not care a wink about the rest of our children. This is why the President would not empathize with the families of those whose children have been mowed down by Fulani herdsmen in Nimbo, Benue and other parts of Nigeria but would immediately rush his son to the best hospital in Germany after a power-bike accident.

Itse Sagay described this scenario with the pedestrian cliché of “Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. In the animal kingdom, for example, if a cheetah or leopard makes a kill, before it can settle down to feed, lions or hyenas will chase it away or kill it if it is stubborn and refuses to give the quarry. They will then devour the kill to the pain and frustration of the poor, weaker animal. In this country, the hard working people do back-breaking jobs to create our wealth. Then few members of the greedy elite consume that wealth. If this is not monkey dey work and baboon dey chop, I don’t know what it can be.

I recall that during President Buhari’s long absence from the country on account of ill-health, Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central in the National Assembly alluded to Nigeria being an animal kingdom. According to the Senator, “Prayers for the absent Lion King has waned; until he is back then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple. Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispered tones; still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not. Now the Lion King is asleep and no other dare to confirm if he will wake up or not. It’s the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wakes up or comes back so that they can be kings. It’s the prayers of the weak animals that the Lion King comes back to save the kingdom from the hyenas, the wolves and other predators”.

Responding, Aisha Buhari had remarked thus, “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom. We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals. Long live the weaker animals, long live Nigeria”. Do you now blame those who characterize Nigeria as a zoo country? For me, they are justified.

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USAfrica: Time for Nigeria to turn away from analog leadership in digital age. By Donald Duke



Time for Nigeria to turn away from analog leadership in digital age. By Donald Duke

Special to USAfrica (Houston) and @USAfricaLIVE

One thing we all can agree on, regardless of our diverse backgrounds, privileges or circumstances, is that we could do a lot better than we currently are accomplishing. We need no soothsayer to tell us that our nonchalance, selfishness and greed are eclipsing our collective future and thereby threatening our very own survival to an extent we can hardly fathom.

Expectedly, the launch of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement, shortly after former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, has elicited diverse commentaries. There is the excitement that something is, at last, happening in the polity that reverses the bore and replacing that with hope. There was also confusion and, of course, condemnation by a critical few.

Good enough, still on another side of the divide, there are also those who proffer no ideas or solutions, but seemingly have the answers to all that should be right and wrong in our country.

I am, therefore, not writing this piece to convince anyone about the merits or otherwise of the coalition, it’s aims, objectives or its founders. No, my primary concern is about the urgency of Now!

There are pessimists in our midst who endlessly criticize, yet do nothing, perhaps condemning us collectively to the point of irredeemability; yet there are others who hold the optimism and hope that somewhere, somehow, someone would rise up to lift the despair and desperate situation that Nigeria is deeply in today. That hope and optimism are what is propelling a tiny few who are ready to pick up the gauntlet and literally take the bull by the horns knowing that there must be a resolution, either in favour of him or the bull.

First, a caveat. I am not here to either burnish or attest to anyone’s character least of all that of Obasanjo. He is too well known and such a unique being that whatever one may say is perhaps a shade, indeed a slight shade of the man. There are those and there are many, including my humble self, that believe he ought to take a back seat in the polity and be the statesman that he rightly is; at least until things get awry, then we would appeal to his wisdom to marshal our collective complaints and speak on our behalf. Like many others, I also have personal axe too to grind. So for now, all this talk of Obasanjo’s involvement is diversionary. The kernel of our discourse is our collective existence.

The discourse today centres around women and youth participation in our politics. After all, their demographics easily account for 70% of the population. Have we, the so-called ruling class earnestly considered handing over the baton of leadership in the near future? Let us consider the recent Nigeria PDP primaries, the same old guards dominated the scene. The average age of the aspirants was not less than 60 years going on to 70. Have we considered that a child born at the return to civil democratic rule in 1999 is a voter today and the one that was ten years old then is likely a parent and now saddled with concerns of the future of his or her offspring? The answer is an emphatic No, we haven’t.

At its last convention, the PDP lost an incredible opportunity to redefine itself. The party could have headhunted a breed of younger, urbane and forward-looking and aspiring leaders of both genders at a parity and accordingly rebranded itself as the new PDP. If it did that, it would have borrowed a leaf from the United Kingdom’s Labour Party of the 90s that was out of power for about 15years. What it did was that it rebranded itself as the new Labour, with a centrist manifesto and showcased new breed politicians by positioning the then dashing duo of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The optics was great. But for the PDP, no way. The dinosaurs, which are unable to breed, and also refusing to quit, extinguish the entire land. The APC [Nigeria’s ruling] fares no better. Hardly has it showed nor displayed any room nor scope of throwing up a fresh breathe of fresh air by injecting new blood to replace the gerontocrats.

Before we get carried away with women and the youths, let me proudly proclaim that I too was once branded a youth and seen as a member of the vanguard of a new generation. At 30, I was already a state commissioner, at 34, a member of the National Economic Intelligence Committee and concurrently a member of the National Economic Council and at 37, state governor [of Nigeria’s Cross River]. At 45, I was done and pensionable.

The point is, there is nothing unique here, except that I was fortunate to be mentored; whereas, the bulk of our current young people are not consciously being politically mentored, thereby creating a huge lacuna in the leadership structure going forward. Without digressing too far, let me remind us that unmentored youth could be a lethal weapon. The bulk of the folks who orchestrated the 1966 pogrom were in their mid to late twenties. At that age, you are full of unbridled zeal and idealism, yet bereft of any institutional breeding or knowledge of history. The result was a fatal civil war. Catastrophically, we still deny ourselves the knowledge of history, so we seemingly are on the verge of repeating it.

Over the past couple of months, I have met with and spoken to dozens of young people about the importance of their participation in politics. The level of apathy and disenchantment is frightening. For every hundred urban youth, not more than 20% possess a voter’s card coupled with their alarming indifference that it doesn’t matter. Whereas European societies with older population are witnessing a surge in youth participation who go on to elect younger persons to office. But in Nigeria, the reverse is the case and indeed all of Africa harbouring a younger population. Until the recent forceful retirement of Mugabe, the average leadership age on the continent was about 75; it may have dropped to 65 with his departure and the coming on stage of Gambia’s Adama Barrow and Liberia’s George Weah. But then, are we not depriving ourselves of virility?
Muhammadu Buhari himself has admitted that age is a constraint to his performance in office; I needn’t say more.

But my message to young Nigerians is this: political power is never handed over as an inheritance. You plot and seek it as an entitlement. Our forebears in the First Republic did it to secure our freedom from the British. It’s not a moral obligation to handover and or step aside, you have to go for it or aggressively seek it. Between 1996 and 1999 when we assumed authority in Cross River State, we plotted with like minds to overthrow the status quo and they fought back; but with our numbers, careful and strategic calculations, we prevailed. Above all, we sought office for the right reasons.

The society like many other things is dynamic and moves with the times. Today we can rightly distinguish one from the other simply by acknowledging which one is analog and the other digital. The ways our fathers operated certainly cannot be the way we should, that would be stagnation and retrogression.

Every four years or so, there is so much vibes made of youth participation in politics, it’s an attractive sound bite; the difference this time, however, is that there is no longer time on our hands. Young people urgently need to get a grasp of the issues and appreciate that it is their future that is at stake. Participation from the ward to the federal levels is imperative. A young 27-year-old man has impressed me in this regard. His name is Bukunyi Olateru Olagbegi. Olagbegi is certainly not accepting the status quo of his peer group, so he goes about setting up a political party called the Modern Democratic Party (MDP) to create political space for himself and his cohorts. That is consciousness and activism and should be encouraged. We need more of his type in the political sphere to an extent that they can no longer be ignored.

Back to the Coalition for Nigeria Movement; if all it achieves is to rekindle and galvanize the entire strata of the population to becoming politically active, it would, in my opinion, be a huge success. In that quest, all hands ought to be on deck, the good and not so good, for the weight is great. I would be glad to see Presidents Buhari, Goodluck Jonathan, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami Abubakar and as far back to Yakubu Gowon join the movement. Let Obasanjo alone not enjoy the limelight of assuming the position of an all-knowing individual. More than anything else, their experiences ought to be brought to bear.

It is apathy that encourages the governing class to govern with contempt, with the belief that the electorate is too docile and disenchanted to scrutinize or have oversight of their performance. And this is largely true. That it takes someone who is over 80 years old to awaken us to the foibles of governance, perhaps through the experience of his own shortcomings, for me, regardless of his personal reasons, clearly shows that there is a vacuum somewhere that he wittingly fills. Should we on account of that begrudge him the role he is playing? For me, that is a firm no. Rather, let us fill the gap that he recurringly exploits so expertly and adroitly by ensuring that the leadership no longer takes governance for granted, knowing there is an intolerant electorate out there. Then attention will be paid to job creation and not foreign exchange affordability, neither will herdsmen and farmers clash nor retaliating communities dare ransack land, maim, kill, and destroy property with reckless abandon without fear of repercussion from authorities.

Empathy and compassion will be the yardstick for governance and not crass display of insensitivity, hard-heartedness and high handedness. In the same vein, appointments to offices will reflect the diversity of the nation and IDP camps would not be the new horror chamber. Budgets will be presented and passed on time and there would be consequences for failure to perform in government.

We crave a new lease of life in a country where we will cease to live in fear of our personal safety and rather look out for the wellbeing of each other. There is no doubt that ours is a broken society and this is no time to sit back and criticize, no matter how self-satisfying and alluring it may be. Let us save that energy for things that are more vital and urgent.
Obasanjo is transient; Nigeria is certainly here for the long haul.
There is clearly an urgency of Now!                                                                                          •Duke, born 30 September 1961 in Calabar, is a lawyer who was elected and served as the Governor of Cross River State, Nigeria from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007. He has been featured here at, USAfrica magazine and CLASSmagazine for championing eco-tourism.

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