Where are the Yoruba leaders? Using Stomach Infrastructure weapons against low information voters to win elections and beat democracy to dust. The emergence of Tinubu should have been a lesson that Yoruba are playing with fire when they claimed that firebrand leaders are needed to counteract “outside” fires. This is not being naïve, fire fighters amongst the Yoruba has never occupied pinnacle of leadership. They are sent to war. Learn from old Ilorin disaster.
The carbon copy of Tinubu has emerged in Ekiti State and if Osun is not careful, another noted thug whose hands are still bloody from the death of Bola Ige will rule. Well, it is a difficult time in the history of the Country, they say. Everybody is spitting fire and if you do not want fire to burn you, call on Tinubu, Fayose or Omisore. All we have to do if we want to be reminded by history is to compare Afonja to the bearer of those dignified names and their usurpers today.
In Yoruba, actually African culture, anyone that brings disrepute to our names is disowned. The Country has changed, the end justifies the means. No matter how you make your money, there are people waiting to sing your praises. It is so glaring, almost everyone seeking political office has to go through the ritual of accumulation in order to loot more when they get into office.
There used to be a time when a rogue cannot get married in town because no reasonable or decent family would offer the daughter. Today, they get the best lady in town. The same value they bring to marriage buys them influence in political arena, National Award, Looters’ Club and access to money by foreign contract, local contracts for “minors”. The cronies that have made it are the exemplary children look up to. When they grow up, some want to be like them.
The Cement infrastructure is for show with foreign contracts while the Stomach Infrastructure is an instant gratification before elections. Bags of rice may last low information voters about a month. Either way politicians make it to foreign banks like bandits awash with hard currencies to launder. When we say we are not stupid, it doesn’t mean we are not hungry. A hungry man is an angry man but during election: boli, guguru with groundnuts as political photo-op do well.
They starve communities of expensive stable food in our markets but invite foreigners to bring in technologies available in their own universities, so that most of it can be exported for foreign and hard currencies. Then wait until elections to flood market with imported rice, discouraging domestic brand. If you have been starving for ages and food is available for a week or a month in the middle of election with promises of more to come, you’re happily likely to vote for them.
Tinubu is well known for throwing money at Area Boys. They scramble and fight for it as they sing his praises. No well-born or bred would fall for such quick gimmick but they are the closest bouncers that cause mayhem and intimidate voters just as MOPOL would scare hell out of you. Area Boys are the stuffers and snatchers of ballot boxes. Harass the low information voters and silent majority to make obsequious stomach infrastructure choice based on instant gratification.
What has baffled most is how so many Yoruba with all their pride about the first in this and that; laid low and let these vagabonds rise amongst them. If these were National elections, Yoruba could have made a case against other ethnic dictators. Ndi-Yoruba Ronu, how did Tinubu win in Lagos, Fayose in Ekiti and Omisore on his way in Osun? Tinubu won twice before Jonathan O!
But why in Ekiti that claimed to be the most educated and most informed Yoruba. There has to be more. Cattles did not vote. If people were not motivated to come out to protect, exercise their civic and democratic rights, do not blame your opponents. Most seek and enjoy instant gratification and may even regret it after the fact. Fayose bragged that twice, he had defeated incumbent governors. No matter what a character, he appealed to our instant gratifying need.
Yoruba leaders are not different from other Nigerian leaders but you would think that Yoruba that claim some complex without low information voters would reject Tinubu and Fayose. Well, Nigerian leaders know how to starve and feed their voters before election. Those in power have also mastered conspicuous display of Cement and Stomach Infrastructure. They only build to make sure it involves foreign contracts so they can inflate outrageously to get lion share cuts.
YORUBA RONU has been translated into stomach infrastructure. Well, it takes more than that. These leaders do not see themselves as Yoruba, Nigerian or African. The only ambition of those making their 1st jackpot is how to launder even more to pursue dream houses, foreign gadgets, cars and imported Susie. Americans or Europeans can distinguish Nigerians coming from home to those in Diaspora. One is called a miser, unless he fell on money; the other is a big spender.
It will be disrespectful to say that majority of the people across the Country are not decent, law abiding and industrious. The way hard work and decent reputation are being thrown out and displaced by dubious characters; we are in for a bleak future. Others disagree, claiming the Country will be saved the way the children of Israel did. We love to fool ourselves so that we can buy time for another day, another year, in the future. As usual: Only God Can Save Nigeria!
Instead of creating enabling environment even in local areas for roads so that people can build their own houses under government basic infrastructure and regulations, they inflate cost on conspicuous main roads and build houses only their colleagues and cronies can buy, within whom their loot is circulated. By building home for those that can afford to build for themselves, they crowd out business and private contractors. Excuse: no low cost cement for working class.
Others are left to build their own houses, roads, buy generators and dig boreholes for water. Yoruba leaders compete and crowd out businesses that should be paying taxes; instead create tax free zones for themselves and sell themselves government and poor people’s land.
Yoruba leaders need to form a new party or build up Labor Party to express their community values and create enviable environment for other Nigerians like Awo did.
“MAKURDI—the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro has declared ahead of the forthcoming general elections that there would be no vacancy in Aso Rock come 2015. Moro urged all those aspiring for the position of president to jettison the idea and allow President Goodluck Jonathan to compete all the good works he started for the country.” NEWS STORY
Mr Moro was informing us predictably and true to type. It is a Nigerian, and also a very African syndrome that officeholders never want to make their seats vacant, despite the fact that those “seats” are transient and not permanent. Africans regard occupying official positions as a right, as a worth to die for or die in; as their own personal success or achievement in life, and hence must not be relinquished to anybody else.
The Nigerian/African officeholder has a monopoly of wisdom, of knowledge, of ability and wherewithal to rule, govern or to carry out that specific job or task. He considers himself the only person qualified or competent to do this onerous task. Ironically and inevitably, they, most of the time always fail at doing the right thing, at doing the job competently or honestly or sincerely or selflessly. Look at our history – almost all of those who have been ruling us since Independence, military or democratic, have had to be forced out. African political history is replete with sit-tight leaders. Those who have unwillingly relinquished their seats always nurse ambitions of comebacks or prefer to hover on the peripheral of power, snapping at crumbs from their inferiors, till they become a nuisance and embarrassment to themselves and their families.
“African leaders have this mentality that they are the saviour and they have the monopoly of ideas, they all steal money for their great-grand-children instead of instituting policies that would effectively take care of their citizens at retirement (instead of pensioners standing on a queue for 5 hours to collect an equivalent of $5 monthly pension). I actually think many of them are staying in power for two reasons, first so that they can hold on to power and the benefits that come with it and secondly, because they need to keep on to the money they have stolen without the fear of prosecution”. Femi Awodele, NigeriaWorld.com, Tuesday, February 7, 2006
Our rulers, federal, states or local, once they get to power by hook or crook, never allow, and in fact, never create vacancies, even after their terms/tenures have expired. They resent succession by some other people or other parties. They abhor true democracy; it does not serve their selfish needs. And hence, if they can’t retain their seats, they will always attempt to influence or replace themselves with their chosen ones, who will cover their iniquities and corruptions. That is their idea of sequential democracy.
This “There is no vacancy in Aso Rock” statement by this Minister, who, while corruptly creating vacancies in the Immigration recruitment tragedy that killed hundreds of our young ones just recently, is as unfortunate, as it is arrogant and typical of political jobbers whose main interest and loyalty is to the person who appointed them and hence, let them have a taste of power. Such taste become permanent to the mouth and becomes difficult to let go.
It is yet another proof that that those in power in Nigeria who like to parade themselves as politicians and democrats know not what true democracy is. In a democracy, there is always a vacancy for any electable position simply because those positions are not permanent; they are to be contested for. That we have turned democracy on its head in Nigeria is no longer news or surprising. We are not cut for it, or if we are, we are not ready for it. There are many factor towards that, and have been exhaustively discussed in many papers and articles.
There is nothing wrong in canvassing for votes to retain your position in a democracy; indeed, it is a very credible and laudable part of the workings of a vibrant democratic system. But when supposed democrats come out and start uttering inanities and arrogant un-democratic statements like this, it makes you wonder that the seats of power are made for these people, and how they come to occupy such lofty and responsible positions in a country as large and informed as this.
This statement, and other similar, if not exact ones, that will be variously and severally made in the states and local governments in the next few months in the run up to the General Elections in 2015, again exposes the lack of decorum, insensitivity and charlatan-ship of our politicians. Some of them will claim to be veterans, but do they really know what politics and democracy are about? We see it in their daily actions, that their own understanding of politics and democracy is mostly warped, uninformed and infused with unbelievable ignorance of what is reality. Their understanding ends with untruths, half-truths, outright lies, propaganda, threats and cheating.
A cursory Wikipedia definition of Politics (from Greek: πολιτικός politikos, meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens") is “the practice and theory of influencing other people on a global, civic or individual level. More narrowly, it refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance — organized control over a human community, particularly a state. Furthermore, politics is the study or practice of the distribution of power and resources within a given community (a hierarchically organized population) as well as the interrelationship(s) between communities”
It is hardly necessary here to define democracy again as everybody in the world is conversant with its definition, but then, like earlier stated, it is not surprising to have such statements, and indeed, actions, coming from mediocre, charlatans, political jobbers and opportunists, as it is obvious that we are not practicing the politics or democracy we all yearn, crave and work for.
A charlatan is a person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud. We live in an era of charlatans and mediocrity. Lots of people claiming special knowledge and acumen about how our governance, politics and democracy should be, offer us solutions to our problems or desires. There is really nothing new about charlatanism, and the technology and e-media of today offer seemingly endless new opportunities for charlatans to ply their trade and hence cause confusion.
Some of the characteristics of political charlatans are to demonize their or their principals’ opponents, by making it clear that those who disagree with them are not just mistaken, they are dangerous, ignorant and/or evil or both and that these opponents of their have an agenda that actively seeks to destroy the goodness they offer.
Then a charlatan is a propagandist; they publicize how hateful and evil their opponents are for so grossly and unfairly attacking their principals—but insist that their principals will stand up to their relentless attacks in the name of the greater good.
What these charlatans and mediocre fail to get into their heads is that no position is permanent in life. There will always be a vacancy in any position, be it political or otherwise. In a true democracy, unlike our insane demo-crazy, when the people decide that a vacancy exists as a result of unsatisfactory performance and poor governance of the incumbent, that person must start packing his/her bags and create a vacancy for the next, and hopefully, a better candidate.
However, I can be a little bit sympathetic with this charlatans and propagandists. In most African countries, state houses, like Aso Rock in Abuja, Nigeria, are built like fortresses; mostly designed to keep the ruler away from the ruled, or to protect the (mostly) bad rulers from the anger of their people. Those fortresses are designed and built to intimidate and oppress the ruled/followers, and to empower the rulers and their cohorts and cabals in corruption and misrule and to make them invincible (and perhaps, even invisible).
So the denizens of these fortresses, by the time they spend a few years, start having a sense that it all belongs to them; they alone can rule the country and the world; their acolytes acquire the same mental state of invincibility and power and would not want their principals to ever leave, because if he leaves, they also leave too, leaving all the perks and trappings of power behind them for others to enjoy. They cannot bear to be out of power.
African leaders have this mentality that they are the savior and they have the monopoly of ideas, they all steal money for their great-grand-children instead of instituting policies that would effectively take care of their citizens at retirement (instead of pensioners standing on a queue for 5 hours to collect an equivalent of $5 monthly pension). I actually think many of them are staying in power for two reasons, first so that they can hold on to power and the benefits that come with it and secondly, because they need to keep on to the money they have stolen without the fear of prosecution.
Whether Mr President or Mr Governor wins the next election or not, or because there is no vacancy in his fortress, this much is clear.... Our people need to learn more about the best practices of democracy. The education system should be looking at ways and means of preparing future generations of Nigerians to make electoral choices based on what the nation needs in the long term. For example, the soon to be ex-governor of Ekiti State, Fayemi and others of his ilk should not be stigmatised for being knowledgeable. He and his party were outmanoeuvred by a very sleek, mean and powerful cabal who were bent on acquiring power by all means necessary and available. What we need is for the electorate to understand what the real deal is for all of us.
It will be a holistic endeavour to study the Obama campaign organisation's template of targeting the youths across the divides, turning them to active participants and stakeholders and channelling their frustrated energy to positive national driver of the wind of change.
Let the Truth be said always!!!
Akintokunbo A Adejumo
As I sit here writing this, it seems like the words never really can come together, I haven't written a post since because I have been thinking of the right ways to put this. In any case, I have decided to write it the way it has been flowing through my head.
My post today is about setting the captive in your mind free, because I have realized that we all hold various grudges in mind or resentment for one another but truth is because we are human, we are infallible, and therefore must hurt at some point, which brings me to my starting point.
To forgive is to set the prisoner free, and the prisoner is YOU! Yes!! YOU!!! Once you can forgive that wrong or grudge against the other and can wipe it from your mind where possible, a wight can be lifted from your shoulders and you will allow yourself experience your inner joy because the truth is every one of us carries an expression of joy we only decide to show it or not, we are all created to be emotional, it's the way we are wired, when the heart gets involved with our decisions we bunch things up.
Moving on, to what my bible tells me according to the Lord's Prayer where it says "Forgive me my trespasses as I forgive THOSE who trespass against me so there lies the requirements for Gods forgiveness. It's okay to ask for His forgiveness but you need to forgive others too, it's never in your place to judge anyone, as no one is perfect including you- take for example the adulterous woman who was to be stoned to death. This doesn't say that we cannot correct one another in love, off course in fact the holy book encourages us to do so, but do not hold anything in for anyone, if it is possible after you must have forgiven that person, let the person know that they hurt you but you have forgiven him or her and leave that person to it.
Yes, you might have been raped, beaten, cheated or hurt in any other kind of way not mentioned, but I am telling you it's time to let it go and set yourself free.
If you do not let yourself go, you allow yourself be tied down to that person and you cannot genuinely get past that hurt. The test to show how strong you are as a person lies in your ability to tell yourself to let go, truth is it is easy to hold unto pain, hurt and anger than it is to let go.
I cannot describe the inherent strength that lies within facing your hurt and letting them off you. I need to let you experience this by yourself. I promise that you will not regret setting yourself free and moving forward, I can tell you it's a difficult road but it's equally a road to strengthen who you are and who you are going to become.
People carry lots of baggage and problems from their respective homes and life situations and look for the nearest dumping ground, they also look for ways to force their superiority against others, once you can get this I tell you what, dealing with people would become easier.
I write this straight from the heart this Tuesday morning and I would conclude and say don't rub yourself of happiness and peace, the onus remains on you.
Have a lovely day.
I am also on Twitter @elaela284, Instagram @elarosefashions/izabeli12
Check my website out http://thelmaheir.wix.com/elarosefashion and also feel free to leave your comments.
Love and Fashion,
It is a truism that Ike Nwachukwu has a perpetual moral and ethical dilemma with the Igbo nation. So, may I know what portion of this assertion that Ndigbo resident in Nigeria don’t understand.
The Jews of European extraction care for what happens in Israel in a like manner Ndigbo of Western extraction care for what happens in Igbo land. Hence, my concern for the Igbo people of Nigeria.
The demand for reparation for the losses suffered by the Ndigbo on account of the killings that preceded the war and thereafter, is a scheme designed by Nwachukwu and his henchmen (Ohaneze Social Club) in their attempt to enhance their relevance and credibility.
From a conflict resolution perspective, reparation is premature and untimely, rather the president should set a reconciliation commission. This commission should address the questions of what happened, when it happened and why it happened and means of avoiding future reoccurrence.
For the Hausas and Fulanis have been extra judiciously killing the Ndigb since 1908 (Kaura Namoda Railway Line Construction) and there are no prospects of these killings coming to an end.
Also, contrary to popular opinion, privileged information in the West reveals the January 1966 Military Coup, which caused the civil war was not the brain child of an Igbo man. Therefore, in the context of reconciliation then reparation can be meaningfully discussed.
From a professional perspective neither Ike Nwamuo nor Ohaneze has Cost estimation or valuation skillset or expertise. So, why are they throwing reparation numbers at Jonathan? What are the derivatives of the reparation?
What methodology was used in arriving at the number and what authorities support the use of this approach for estimating or quantifying losses? Where in the world has this approach been used? Is the amount of the reparation based on historical or replacement cost?
Did it take into consideration human lives and what actuarial tables were used to determine life expectancies of the Ndigbo who lost their lives? Does the approach consider the time value of money?
For one dollar in 1966 when these incidents took place is greater than one dollar of today. So were inflationary factors taken into consideration in the model used for arriving at the reparation amount? Does the bogus amount demanded by Ike Nwamuo and his Ohaneze include the amount of Chief Ikokwu of Oba or Obazu Mbieri Businessmen or Nkwerri Businessmen Investment Holdings in Port Harcourt?
The demand for reparation in itself is fraudulent and the estimation or computation of the cost or value of the losses is fraudulently designed to further marginalize the interest of Ndigbo. Neither Ike Nwanuo nor his Ohaneze are Chartered Accountants, Economists, Actuaries or Statisticians, hence the demand for reparation is ill-conceived, and its monetary value is grievously and grossly underestimated.
Dr. Peter Ejirika, CPA
Department of Econometrics of Higher Education
University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Texas
The voiceless survivals and silent majority could care less about longevity of oil politics. They discuss the voices of MEND followed by those of OPC, MASSOB and Boko Haram demanding contracts and compensation. Some at National Conference want theirs written in constitution. Even the Afenifere went to Abuja claiming marginalization while Ohanaeze want reparations from civil war. Watch out for Arewa demand. Poor Nigeria with her loyal voiceless citizens!
Militias plant anger into everyone so that we can scatter helter-skelter; it will not prevent war. Violence: either unites or breaks a country into Somalian pieces. If you want oil income, trade or negotiate with 99 year safe access lease to your land. The focus of Boko Haram like MEND is on spoils of war they want to create. It worked for Usman dan Fodio to capture our Hausa bothers, but not work for Maitatsine or for Moroccan Army of 1591 that wanted Songhai gold.
The North and South need to join forces and use that anger to defeat these malignant cancers in our land. If they can kidnap their own children, sisters, mothers and fathers within reach, we must not give in to them so that they can get more. If a region needs oil resources from Niger Delta, they must work hard in exchange. Yes, land is also a viable legal exchange, even on 99 years lease, as long as peace and security are guaranteed in any region as practiced in the West.
No peaceful existence, trade or safe access to land, no oil money. We must barter our resources to sustain our future. Ijaw nation within Urhobo, Itsekiri, Anang, Ibiobio and others can’t unite, a wishful thinking, to fight invading Army. The oil income will never last or be useful forever, we need a country not only in times of prosperity but also during hard time to fight every fanatic. If oil ran dry today, common folks would rely on one another. It is the meaning of commonwealth.
We have leaders from both North and South whose only contribution is oil politics and how to get more into their pockets. This oil income pursuit has become the major problem and some would argue led to the civil war. Just as Niger Delta wanted out of Biafra; Ijaw cannot lure Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ibibio and others into a nation since they are not the only ethnic group in Delta.
We have been through a war before and most of those that fought and saw wars never wish it on Nigerians or anyone in general. What is different about Nigeria compared to all other civil wars is that until oil became a promising commodity, we have got along relatively well but still with a few regional fights far in time and periods. After the declaration of war as No Victor No Vanquished, spontaneously “soldiers from both warring sides embrace in tears after the war”.
Nigerians have never, will never stop loving. Stories of people hiding those they consider enemy from soldiers and hostilities started coming out. Mind you, just as much as story of inhumanity. But it was surprising that people on both sides of the war could hide and feed “enemies” inside their homes at the risk of their own lives knowing what could happen to them if they got caught.
In spite of a few misgivings, inter-ethnic marriages survived on both sides. The war period was a trying time for this types of marriages because some people believe oppressors do not mind taking the oppressed as wives. Unknown to them, were discreet powerful women that took husbands from the oppressed. If anything, these marriages solidified both the oppressed and the oppressors. After the war, we heard so many trying stories and also kindness on both sides.
Ojukwu’s grand return after 13 years to Lagos was just spectacular. The whole City stopped. If this guy was a rebel, it was a good day to admire and be one. He toured the whole Country visiting those he missed for those 13 years and reacquainted with colleagues and friends inside and outside the Army. Every party wanted him to join them but he was wisely counseled and begged not to join any of them and remain neutral. He could have easily played the kingmaker.
Despite the war and more unfriendly religious fanatics in the North; many of the initiations and propagation of business enterprises at home and abroad still sought Nigerians from North and South in particular, and Africans to collaborate with since most of their customers are Nigerians and Africans. We learned population gives us a wide potential customer base as an advantage.
Despite denial of basic life, Nigerians will still rely on one another. It is not that we do not have some people that actually hate one another but most Nigerians are at worst polite and at best kind to other ethnic groups. The hatred created by sub ethnic group related to another is more violent in neighboring communities than amongst separate and far ethnic groups. In fact some of these detachments are so wide; the same ethnic group may refuse to marry one another.
Case in point was this lady that raised her daughter almost alone abroad because the father was estranged. During graduation, we were all looking forward to see the mother and daughter. It was a shock when our niece told us her friend’s mother would not be coming because she did not approve the boyfriend of her daughter from a neighboring community. Any other Nigerian could have asked for her daughter in marriage but that one, from the same ethnic group.
Interethnic marriage is a given. In the first place, the new generation learns but does not inherit their parents’ prejudice. They will marry anyone including any African. Some children here or abroad will even marry outside of their race. There was this mother warning the son not to fool around certain blacks because they were trouble makers. He quizzed: Mum, all of them?
Yet, some children that have never seen war, were not old enough during the war or were not born during the war are beating their chest calling for one. The scary part of it is that, all regions of Nigerian are now fed up, calling for separation while their young militias are calling for war. They have never seen or fought one, so they want their own war.
Those from the West claimed they have never been part of Nigeria and have never formed alliance at the center. Ijaw claim that they can survive as a nation with their oil income. The North claimed they were ready to stand alone before Azikiwe and Awolowo begged them into the Country. The East does not want anything to do with all these because they should have let them go as Biafra when they seceded. But they relish their new friendship with Ijaw.
However, the amount of technical expertise and equipment needed to safely extract oil and turn it to marketable gas and petrol is beyond local control. Nevertheless, when international companies are involved, the real exploiter, local communities need their sovereignty as a country for an agreement. If Niger Delta can achieve that, Nigeria will not be needed to dictate term and conditions of what percentage of the income the Niger Delta community gets.
I just love our Somali brothers and sisters.
On Tuesday, South Africa’s National Defence Force Intelligence Division offered what has been described as a “blunt” assessment of the security risks facing Africa to visiting Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan.
The report ended up in the hands of the French news agency AFP, and so now we all know.
Some of what it said is to be expected: The Boko Haram militants could bring Nigeria to its knees; the Central African Republic is diving deeper into hell; and Al-Shabaab is likely to be more dangerous when the international arms embargo on Somalia is partially lifted in the near future.
No prizes for guessing why. There is a lot of “leakage” from official Somali weapons stocks to the Shabaab arsenals because of corruption.
My favourite, though, is when the South Africans talk about piracy.
They note that there has been a rise in piracy in West Africa’s Gulf of Guinea, which has corresponded with a decline off the coast of Somalia. “[Pirate] attacks [are] launched primarily from Nigeria, with the aim of stealing from vessels,” the intelligence report said.
Then, in one of the juiciest bits, the report claimed that “levels of violence [are] higher as [West African] pirates are less concerned with maintaining the well-being of hostages than their Somali counterparts.”
It is like the story of the California gold rush of the 19th century, that the people who really made money were not the ones who went to mine the gold. It was those that went in to mine the miners - selling them work clothes, booze, housing, horses, and so on.
The West African pirates go in for the merchandise, the Somali ones for the ships and their crews. To them, then, the hostages are their meal ticket.
Piracy is a terrible thing, yes, but why are the Somali bandits the smarter ones here? To begin with, ship and cargo owners do take out insurance, so having their goods stolen is not a business-ending affair. They can therefore more easily absorb a hit on the cargo.
Human beings are different. You can take out insurance against your crew being injured, falling sick, but you can’t take out an insurance that allows you to write them off when they are taken hostage by pirates.
Because of this, it means you will always negotiate and cut a deal, if possible, with the pirate who has taken hostages. You don’t always have to do that with the ones who steal your crude oil. Once you have to negotiate with a pirate, it means he has the possibility to set his price for the release of hostages and ship.
The West African pirate, meanwhile, will be selling the cases of whiskey he stole from a ship at below market price in order to get rid of it quickly. That has its problems, because it means he makes enemies of other traders by undercutting them.
The Somalis, on the other hand, because they don’t offload stolen goods, don’t eat into the margins of the local traders, thus keeping in the good graces of their communities. In short, the Somali pirate is better than the West African one. It’s a strange world.
Charles Onyango-Obbo is editor of Mail & Guardian Africa (mgafrica.com). Twitter:@cobbo3
When Boko Haram first encountered Nigerian Army, their obvious question was: “Na only you waka come?” Unfortunately, the Nigerian Army did not include one of world Most Badass Elite Fighting Units from all countries. This has major implications for Nigerians because they cannot understand why an Army that got laurels all over the world for their participations in World War I & II, peace missions and greeted as saviors in Liberia could not perform bravely at home.
Our fathers and grandfathers that were known as Burma (now Myanmar) Boys told us many stories about the honors and conquests they made on their return to Africa. African countries produce some of the “badass or badest” elite fighting units since World I and II. The same is true of world peace-keeping missions. In individual African countries, our national armies’ reputations are less than stellar. They are well known for coups and abuse of their civilians.
The first coming of Rawlings in Ghana was widely received because he questioned the wisdom of those in a coup d'état on 24th February 1966 that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah while on a peace mission to Hanoi Vietnam via Peking, now Beijing in China. Since then, no African leader has commanded such respect or taken so seriously with such an honor outside the Continent.
Rawlings was a Lieutenant when he took over in Ghana. Sergeant Doe was able to stage a coup in Liberia and got away with it. We shook our heads each time because we knew both of these officers could not have taken over power in Nigeria. Those that tried saw their power usurped by more senior officers. The junior officers are left to administer jungle justice as they see fit to Police, those of us they call “bloody” civilians; sent to invade and impede the Press in June 2014.
There were three famous Army leaders that still command visceral reactions in Nigeria today. Abacha will be remembered among other exploits, for leading an end to the religious fanatics, Maitatsine. Ezeogwu led abortive coup against corruption that plunge the Country into civil war and Adekunle the Black Scorpion for his mercilessness against the rebellion during the civil war. The irony is Nigerians wish they have Abacha today leading the fight against Boko Haram.
Our Army is supposed to protect us from external aggression. It is only in dire circumstances, when Police can no longer contain a situation, do we require the assistance of the Army. It is usually said there is no bad soldiers but bad commanders. Obviously the Military Police has not been effective against its own. If those commanders cannot contain soldiers in their care, it becomes the responsibility of their Generals to rein them in.
Therefore, Nigerian Army has concentrated its grip against “bloody civilians” at home. There is hardly a month without brutality against civilians and sometimes against Police. Each time this occurs, a committee is set up and by the following month another incident would overshadow the previous month. Since the end of military rule, the incursions of these soldiers into civilians’ lives remain traumatic and people’s cry to end it has fallen on deaf ears.
In cities as chaotic as Lagos where too many people occupy tiny space and crazy traffic, so many fatal accidents are just unacceptable. Certainly, more need to be done to reduce these fatalities. Recently, another fatality occurred when Lagos State Rapid Transit System knocked a soldier down cold. As usual, soldiers came out from their barracks to beat up people and set some buses ablaze. Nobody could justify the death of anyone, but rapacious arson is unacceptable.
We have soldiers terrorizing their own civilians and Police when they could be fighting terrorism in Sambisa evil forest. There, soldiers and a General took to their hills. But can burn buses in the city; next, move on to burn houses. May be we have to turn to Boko Haram to scare them away from the cities. Even Defense Minister of State was called a “small boy” and a “bloody civilian”.
It does not take much to get these soldiers out of their barracks. One or two of them can go back to the barracks to complain that they have been mistreated at a bus stop. The rest of them will troop out and cause mayhem at any pointed location regardless of who is at fault. So if one soldier is unhappy, you have breached the wrath of all of them. The lack of respect for human lives and total disregard for the rule of law where needed, is confounding to say the least.
Though the Police has also taken advantage of the same civilians they are supposed to protect, the roadside checks abolished by the Chief of Police has reduced fatal encounters and constant bribes and harassment. When broke, greedy police still surreptitiously mount check points.
Despite this inexcusable relationship with civilians, you will pity them when the soldiers unleash their jungle justice on uniformed police officers. During these periods, police officers with the tasks of keeping order on the streets remove their uniforms and disappear into thin air. Some of the soldiers would go as far as the Police Station looking for officers to beat up because they think they are above the law. In order to avoid trouble, police ignore soldiers’ public infractions.
We have to implement discipline in our Armed Forces against their attacks on civilians and on one another. Internal discipline must be swift and exemplary. Our Police and Army reflect who we are as a country. A nation where lawlessness is perpetrated with impunity sends message to others to behave the same way. Discipline within the Armed Forces should not require special panel or committee for enforcement of discipline. Is it because we do not have to import that?
It is an insult to say we have no solution to the problems that plaque us when we know how to apply discipline; without importing it. It does not have to be at the time of Buhari/ Idiagbon or watered down EEFC after Ribadu glorious days. A country that knows what ails it and refuses to apply solutions it has within will always suffer and disintegrate as a fish that rots from the head.
The abducted Christian school girls aged between 13 and 18 must have been raped 1500 times by 1500 different Islamic Jihadists in the name of Allah since the 90 days they have been in abduction. Going by the testimony of one of the escapees from their camp currently receiving emotional therapy from groups of Christian Counsellor the abduction are raped 15 times daily. A Christian councellor by name Oladimeji Thomas had told the press that one of the escaped abductees said she was raped 15 times daily by 15 different men daily.
Therefore, Chibok is not in the list of development priorities of successive Borno State Governments because of their Christian heritage , dating back to over eighty years, which they refused to surrender. Why Boko Haram chose to humiliate Chibok is still a puzzle to be unravelled soon. The Chairman of Northern Christian Elders Forum, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, addressing ministers of the gospel in Kaduna recently wondered "why Boko Haram single out Chibok of all the local governments in Borno State for abduction, it is because they are a christian minority".
Two weeks ago, Chibok residents disappointed that the over eight hundred thousand personnel of the Nigerian Armed Forces could not deliver their precious daughters from the hands of the Jihadist rapists despite empty promises, resorted to prayers to intercede for God to save their children. Boko Haram would have none of their prayers, they attacked them in their churches and by the time the violence was over, nine churches were burnt down and eighty worshipers killed, including some relations of the abducted girls.
Chibok is literally dead, the town is deserted, residents are hiding inside the bush, parents of the abducted girls are dying one by one, as at last count, nine have died while the rest are walking corpses. The rest of the nation sees the Chibok issue as stale news, politicians are looting treasury, including funds meant to fight the insurgents, and political spokespersons are throwing tantrums at each other. Each passing day , these girls are raped 15 times and the Islamic leaders in Nigeria are still playing politics, instead of going after their brothers perpetrating atrocities in the name of Allah. In the next ten days, if these girls are not rescued, they would have stayed in the Jihadist den for 100 days, and would have been raped 1500 times, and yet an insensitive Federal Government is amassing trillions of naira from various oil deals and distributing such for 2015 elections.
Truly Nigeria is a nation where wickedness thrives, ruled by wicked people and controlled by wicked religious leaders who prefer religious sentiments to fairness, equity and justice. The die is cast, it is discernible in the spirit, the blood of these Chibok girls will bring calamity untold to this nation and these religious leaders and politicians who played politics with Boko Haram will be pursued with strange calamities , incurable diseases and will be the first partakers of the curses hanging upon the nation for abandoning these little girls in the hands of Jihadists of the penis, manhood and rape to be sexually molested to the tune of 1500 times.
It was John F. Kennedy who contended that when “power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations……….When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” But this has failed in Tinubu’s case because despite the number of lettered men around him “poetry” has failed to “cleanse” him of his arrogance. Thus in giving this statement a very critical assessment, one has not been able to fathom the reason for such an open ignominy on the part of Tinubu. Why Tinubu would openly disrespect our traditional fathers in that unspeakable manner seems to elude me. What was he thinking? What could have caused this? Is Mark Twain’s diagnosis on point here? That what Tinubu did was a manifestation of the abhorrent confidence that his riches imbued him with? Is Tinubu’s newfound riches a progenitor of his continuous display of his toxic “Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance and tyranny?” Is Tinubu’s perennial tendency to be tyrannical also traceable to his riches too? Is his unwarranted attack on our History and heritage a function of his arrogance borne out of his riches? Is he going to be the first one to be rich in Yoruba land? Is he going to be the first one to be a political juggernaut in Yoruba land?
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it.” - John F. Kennedy