Wednesday, 18 October 2017


The Wopsters are officially a union. Gucci Mane and Keyshia Ka'oir finally tied the knot and it's been a long journey to get to this point.

The couple's lavish $1.7 million wedding, which aired live on BET today (Oct. 17), was held in Miami at the Four Seasons Hotel, and marks the premiere of The Mane Event reality series. The special day was filled with friends, family and, of course, diamonds. Big names including Diddy, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Lil Yachty, Ralo, Monica, Big Sean, Jhené Aiko and many more showed up to support the bride and groom.

The beginning of the anticipated special saw Karrueche Tran and Kendall Kyndall hosting the white carpet, greeting celebrity friends and family as they arrived for the big day.

First to arrive was Lil Yachty, who rolled through with his mother as his date. As guests continued to show up, viewers were given a look back at Guwop and Keyshia's history as a couple. From meeting on the set of Gucci's music video seven years ago to the Atlanta rapper's stint in prison for two years, Guwop came out as a changed man, ready to make Keyshia his wife.

With family and friends making their way to the ceremony, Keyshia introduced her bridal party, which includes her best friend Erica, rapper Trina, her close friends Amina and Shekinah Anderson.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Kim Zolciak was next up to hit the white carpet, bringing her daughter Brielle as her date. They both shared well wishes and words of wisdom for the newlyweds.

While a glimpse at the bridal party glamming up for the big day occurred, 2 Chainz came through with his wife, Kesha Ward, and gave some advice about how to have long-lasting marriage. "As long as you trust each other, that creates longevity," Chainz explained.

Moments later, Keyshia made her grand entrance, donning an extravagant white dress, complete with a diamond headpiece. As she made her way down the aisle to Patti LaBelle's "If Only You Knew," Guwop appeared to be stunned as he watched his wife-to-be make her way to the altar.

The couple listened to an opening sermon from the pastor, who spoke on their authentic union and dedication to one another. They then exchanged vows by repeating after the pastor, pledging their honesty, loyalty, support and care for each other for the rest of their lives. The pair then placed custom-made diamond rings on each other's fingers as they made their vows official. After, Gucci Mane and Keyshia shared their first kiss as a married couple.

The pastor finally presented Mr. and Mrs. Radric Davis for the very first time, and the two walked down the aisle, enjoying their first moments of marriage bliss.

See some of the recap photos from the ceremony below.



A 93-Year Old lawyer from Ogoni land, Senator Cyrus Nunieh ties the knot with his 28-year old fiancee, Rosemary Ijeoma in Rivers State.
Very Sad! NYSC Corps Member Shot Dead in Imo State For Refusing To Surrender His Phone

A 23-year-old Ekene Uwaoma Martins was on Monday killed by some unknown gunmen around 8.30pm at Ama-wire Junction, in Owerri, Imo State, when he was returning to his residence alongside a friend, MacDonald.

He was a 2016 graduate of History and International Studies from the Imo State University, Owerri, and was undertaking his one year National Youths Service Corps programme in Ogun State.

He was said to have come to the state to see his mother, Mrs. Mary Uwaoma, when he was murdered. The gunmen were said to have waylaid them and demanded their mobile phones.

It was gathered that four boys bearing arms stopped and asked them to surrender their phones. MacDonald quickly obeyed, but Ekene refused to surrender his.

They started struggling and hey shot him on the chest and ran away. The gunmen didn’t go with his phone. He was rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri, where he was confirmed dead.

The state Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, said the command had swung into action to apprehend the fleeing murderers.

God Forbid, I Will Never Return To PDP - Says Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said God forbid that he returns to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, saying if he does so, it is like the proverbial dog returning to its vomit.

Obasanjo said during a visit by a delegation led by chairman of the PDP, Ahmed Makarfi, at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun state, on Tuesday.

He said he was once a member of the PDP but God forbid that he returns to the party.

“I was in PDP, but now. God forbid! Say when a dog vomits, it goes back to eat its vomit again. No! I have said no partisan politics for me again. “

The former president, however, said for democracy to thrive in Nigeria, there is the need for a strong party in government and a strong party in opposition so that the party in government will not get away with impunity.

“For our democracy to thrive and continue to be strong, we need the strong party in government and strong party in opposition. It has to be that way, otherwise, the party in government will get away with impunity and that is not good for democracy,” he said.

It will be recalled that Obasanjo spent two terms as a democratic president under the same PDP but he tore his membership card publicly during the 2015 election.
President Buhari To Attend D-8 Summit In Turkey

President Muhammadu Buhari will Wednesday depart for Istanbul, Turkey to participate in the ninth Summit of the Developing 8 (D-8) on Friday, October 20, 2017.

Prior to the D-8 Summit, President Buhari, at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, would participate in an official working visit to Ankara, the capital city.

This was contained in a statement signed on Tuesday by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

The statement read: “In Ankara, the President will have a tete-a-tete with his Turkish counterpart while delegations from both countries will hold discussions in various fields including defence cooperation, security, educational and migration issues. The Nigerian leader will also visit the Grand National Assembly of the Republic of Turkey in Ankara where he will meet with the Speaker, Ismail Kahraman.

“While in Istanbul, the Turkish commercial centre, President Buhari will use the occasion of the D-8 Summit to bolster warm and growing ties across a broad range of areas of cooperation with leaders of the D8-member countries, namely Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan and Turkey.”

The D-8 Summit with the theme, “Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation”, will among other things, focus on cooperation in the areas of agriculture, trade, transport, energy and increased private sector participation among member-countries.

During the summit which will also mark the 20th anniversary of the organisation established to improve the developing countries’ positions in the world economy, President Buhari would highlight the significant show of confidence in Nigeria’s business environment and economy.

According to his spokesman, he would also affirm the nation’s resolve to work with D-8 member-countries on many key areas such as economy, trade, as well as peace and security.

At the end of the summit, the Heads of State and Government would adopt a communiqué, also known as the ‘Istanbul Declaration’.

President Buhari would be accompanied on the trip by some ministers and top government officials, including the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Okorocha and Jacob Zuma’s Statue By Reuben Abati

What is it about South African President Jacob Zuma and statues? Two statues in one month- generating controversy from the streets of Pretoria to the streets of Owerri in Nigeria. In the first week of October, a 30-feet monument was unveiled in honour of President Zuma in the North West region of his country. South Africans had opposed the idea of the statue since it was first proposed in February 2017. When it was eventually unveiled, and labeled a monument, the attendant outrage was bitter and loud because it was actually a glorification of Zuma, disguised as a tourist project to preserve the site where Zuma and 45 others were arrested by the apartheid police as they travelled out of the country for military training in 1963.

The Premier, Supra Mahumapelo who commissioned the statue was accused of bad governance and insensitivity. The Zuma statue at Groot Marico has a borehole attached to it, whereas there is no potable water in the city in which it is located. Aggrieved South Africans recommended that the Statue should be pulled down, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the Democratic Alliance (DA) offering to take the lead. Jacob Zuma is not one of Africa’s most loved leaders despite his having won election twice and leading one of Africa’s most historic political parties; the African National Congress. His Presidency has been scandal-ridden, from allegations of abuse of office to a personal life characterized by much burlesque. The biggest threat to state reconstruction in Africa has been the ego and misconduct of African leaders. Compared to those he succeeded as South African President, it is hard at this point to imagine Jacob Zuma’s eventual place in South African history.

This is the same man that Rochas Anayo Okorocha, the Governor of Imo State in Nigeria has chosen to honour. In the course of a just concluded two-day visit to Imo state, Nigeria, Zuma received the state’s highest honour, a traditional chieftaincy title- Ochiaga (Great Warrior), a street named Jacob Zuma Road, and wait for it- a life-sized statue! Governor Okorocha may not be able to convince anyone that he is not aware of the controversy over the Zuma statue in North West South Africa, and yet another piece of art that showed Zuma scantily-clad. The Premier of North West South Africa, actually wanted a life-size statue of Zuma in bronze, but public objection compelled him to rename the project a monument, but it remains a statue because the only man it celebrates is Zuma, whose obelisk is projected skywards over 6 metres.

Okorocha probably decided to embark on his own project in Nigeria to tell the anti-Zuma South African crowd that if they do not appreciate Zuma, he would be celebrated abroad; after all a prophet has no honour in his own home. The monument in Groot Marico is reportedly a R1.8m bronze structure; the one in Owerri, Nigeria is a N520 million bronze statue, both standing at over 25 metres! President Zuma could not get exactly what he wanted in South Africa, a sculptural piece that was meant to show him in his full height and majesty. He now has it in Nigeria, even if the imbecilic artist did a bad job. Standing in front of that towering Owerri statue, Jacob Zuma must have indeed felt like a giant. In his mind, he must have like Ozymandias said to himself: “I am a god! Go and tell them on the streets of South Africa!”

But his compatriots back in South Africa are not impressed, except may be the compromised South African Presidency which enthusiastically celebrated the deification of Jacob Zuma in a corner of Nigeria. Nigerians and the people of Imo State are unimpressed too. The Owerri statue has only achieved the effect of focusing attention afresh on the shortcomings of the two men at the centre of the drama: President Zuma and Governor Okorocha. “Instead of a statue”, wrote one South African, “Nigeria can keep the real thing”. Well, we don’t need your President. We have our own and nobody has erected a giant statue of his. Another South African wrote: “It’s only fair that Nigeria built a statue of Zuma. After all, under his leadership, we took in a million of their citizens”.

Point of correction, sir: Governor Okorocha, not Nigeria, built the statue with public funds. You “took in a million Nigerians?” Or South Africans killed hundreds of Nigerians due to xenophobia? Your statement is actually part of the reason Nigerians are angry: why honour a man under whose watch South Africans are killing Nigerians in South Africa? If you must know, like your Premier of the North West, Governor Okorocha has been accused of wasting public funds on a statue of the South African President when Imo state teachers and pensioners are being owed salaries and arrears for months.

To worsen matters, Governor Okorocha is setting up in Owerri, the equivalent of a political Jurassic park. Alongside Zuma’s statue are other statues, draped in national colours of Nigeria and other African countries. My personal worry is that when those other statues are unveiled, we may just discover that Governor Okorocha has included in this emerging park, statues of himself and his wife! African leaders who erect statues are ever so tempted to erect one or two of their own. Okorocha may even one of these days have a brain wave and erect a bronze statue of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe on Nigerian soil. You have your Zuma. We have our Okorocha.

He has tried to justify the present gaffe but his explanations sound hollow and false: “We in Imo State have chosen to identify with this great leader who meant well for his people…” We? Which we is Okorocha referring to, please? Did the state House of Assembly deliberate over the decision to establish a political Jurassic Park in Owerri? And who discussed and approved the honour’s list? We? Is Mr. Okorocha referring to his own sycophantic State Executive Council or the local government staff called traditional rulers who gave Zuma the title of Ochiaga? Many Nigerians in fact believe that Nelson Mandela’s statue would have been preferable, especially as Governor Okorocha praised President Zuma as “a great leader who meant well for his people, who had to toil, struggle and fight for the liberation of his people, not minding the consequences thereafter. This to me is courage. This to me is strength of character…” Who are the brainless speech-writers penning these cliches? Nelson Mandela is the one whom these words best describe. President Zuma is the one the South African system is accusing of Constitutional violations, 783 corruption allegations and wanton abuse of the people.

The Governor in the long run pretended that there was something positive out of the entire show. In a press statement, we are told: “President of South Africa, Mr. Jacob Zuma has said that a South African must not kill a Nigerian and a Nigerian must not kill a South African, adding that the relationship between Nigeria and South Africa should be stronger than any other part, for the sake of the continent of Africa.” Nobody should kill anybody, Nigerian or South African, in the first place. Murder is inexcusable. Xenophobia defeats the goals of African integration. President Zuma is very adept at telling people what they want to hear. What did he do while South Africans killed Nigerians under his watch? How many South Africans have been convicted for promoting xenophobia and taking the laws into their hands? What has President Zuma done in concrete terms to promote bilateral relations and people-to-people diplomacy between our two countries? Governor Okorocha may have been trying to be a good host but to import a bronze statue of President Zuma, which South Africans rejected, and then physically implant him on Nigerian soil is an insult and overkill!

Mr. Okorocha is of course, a master of the overkill. He does everything, good and bad, with the same level of enthusiasm. When he followed President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States in 2015, and got a sideline chance to shake the hands of President Barrack Obama, it became what seemed like the biggest event of his life. Billboards of him and the two Presidents suddenly started popping up all over the state capital with the inscription – “Behold the new faces of change”. How? Please, how does a mere handshake with Obama translate into change in Nigeria? In a particular billboard showing Okorocha and President Obama, he is described as “a true Igbo leader”. The same Okorocha who cannot even say a kind word about his own brothers who are asking for equity and justice for all Igbos? He was also once accused of naming a government building after his own daughter, that daughter’s husband is reportedly a member of the Imo State cabinet. When the Governor turned 55 recently, 27 women representing the 27 local governments in Imo State serenaded him with 27 cakes as gifts. Okorocha obviously has enough cake to last him till he leaves office, but he should be careful because too much sugar is not good for anybody’s health.

This same Okorocha -when journalists asked him to publicly account for the state’s revenue and expenditure since 2011 when he assumed office, he threatened to deal ruthlessly with the journalists and chase them out of Imo State. President Zuma and Governor Okorocha obviously have a lot in common. They both love entertainment. They both think they are smart. They both don’t like criticism. They consider themselves very good politicians. They both like to be celebrated too. On this latter score in an official citation, Okorocha is described hyperbolically as a “Professor of Philanthropy!”

But I must pause a little, here, to say this. I don’t have any personal axe to grind with either President Zuma or Governor Okorocha. I am in fact aware that Okorocha has been described by Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana – “Grand Counsellor of Imo State” – as “a gift to humanity”. Of him President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of the Rochas Foundation, has also said: “Rochas does not only love education, he has passion for the education of the underprivileged… I doff my hat for him for his great strides in education.” President Obasanjo made this statement at the 10th graduation ceremony of the Rochas Foundation Colleges. In 1998, Okorocha established the Rochas Foundation to provide free education to the children of the “poorest of the poor”. President Jacob Zuma has a similar Foundation known as The Zuma Foundation. This is what brought the two men together in the first place. President Zuma visited Nigeria to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the Zuma Foundation and the Rochas Foundation. He spoke about the need to support the African Child.

Between 2011 and now, the Rochas Foundation has established a total of five colleges – 2 in Imo state, one in Ibadan, one in Jos, and one in Kano. Tagged Project #55555, this free education programme, targeting orphans and the displaced, has reached about 15, 000 children from 55 African countries. The students’ population at the Rochas College in Kano alone is over 500. In the course of his visit to Nigeria, President Zuma interacted with Rochas Foundation students. Both men claim that they are determined to give to the African child, the same privileges and opportunities that they could not have, in the belief that it is better to use one’s achievements to raise the underprivileged. Zuma is a man of little education. Okorocha used to sell second-hand clothes while his mates attended school. He got to where he is by practically hustling through life. On the surface of it, both men can be said to mean well.

But the tragedy of their recent meeting in Nigeria is that nobody believes the nice statements they both made. Africans no longer trust their leaders even when they openly profess good faith. They have learnt to suspect every move that they make. Across Nigeria, it is not surprising that the question is being asked: what is Okorocha’s next game? In South Africa, the same question is being asked of President Zuma. The people are no longer as stupid as African politicians assume. They are tired of being used as stepping-stones. I put myself in their shoes and I share their pain. Let Zuma and Okorocha stay away from funny billboards, the casting of bronze statues and castles of personal glorification. When in doubt, let them read Percy Shelley’s sonnet – Ozymandias. Statues will crumble, brought down by the opposition or ruined by the vagaries of weather and the ravages of time. But good deeds will endure and history will speak.

Buhari Being In-Charge of The Ministry of Petroleum Resources is illegal - Olisa Agbakoba SAN

A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Olisa Agbakoba, has challenged the constitutionality of President Muhammadu Buhari to hold office as the Minister for Petroleum Resources.

The Commander-in-Chief had in September, 2015 chosen Cabinet Ministers, after which their names were forwarded to the Senate for confirmation. He, however, named himself in charge of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources.

But in his originating summons, a copy of which was made available to Channels Television in Lagos on Monday, Mr Agbakoba listed the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami as defendant before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The lawyer argued that the President was not fit to occupy his position as Petroleum Minister, while still being the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in view of Sections 138 and 147(2) of the constitution.

“By virtue of Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which disqualifies the President of Nigeria from holding any other executive office or paid employment, can the Nigerian President simultaneously serve as Minister of Petroleum Resources, which is an executive office?

“By virtue of Section147 (2) of the 1999 Constitution, if the President is not disqualified, can the President hold the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, without confirmation by the Senate of the National Assembly,” he questioned.

Although no date has yet been fixed for hearing, the lawyer is hopeful that the court of competent jurisdiction would seek a declaration that Section 138 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria disqualifies the President from holding the office of Minister of Petroleum Resources, which is an executive office.

Mr Agbakoba, who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, wants the court upon hearing of his application, to order the President to vacate the office as the Minister of Petroleum Resources.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Why Are Black Women So Willing To Date Men Who Don’t Meet Their Requirements? The Truth May Sting A Little

The fact of the matter is, that for some of us, the man we choose to date or marry won’t match the picture of ‘Prince Charming’ we had in our heads. Though a necessary realization of our wants, as well as our needs, our “requirements” tend to keep us from getting exactly what we want from a relationship.

What exactly are those requirements you ask? Well, they differ from woman to woman, but typically include things such as education level, job status, financial ranking, asset acquirement, or simply the basics of wanting someone who is loyal, honest, funny, etc.

Maybe the reason is due to the fact that Black women have been told time and time again, that we are “unmarriageable” or that Black women outnumber men not just in the boardroom, but also on the campuses of colleges and universities, is the reason Black women typically have to “date down” for men who don’t meet these requirements. Are we simply settling because our options are limited, and quite frankly we’d rather take what we can get?

And that’s partly because the facts don’t lie: Just 49% of college-educated Black women marry a well-educated man (i.e., with at least some post-secondary education), compared to 84% of college-educated white women, according to an analysis of PSID data by Yale sociologist Vida Maralani.

But can we honestly lead a happy life if we’re with someone who doesn’t meet these requirements? Some may realize in as short as a month, and others after years that the person we are with just simply doesn’t measure up to what we deserve, or even truly want.

There's almost a triple dimension of issues [Black women] have to deal with," said Kris Marsh, an associate professor of sociology and demography at the University of Maryland told The Atlantic. "One, they have a low, and I quote this, 'out-marriage' rate. And two, if they do marry a Black man, they're more likely to marry someone less educated than themselves. And the other thing that's interesting is that [Black women] "... are much more likely to not marry at all."

And the onus of these factors is not on black women. Time and time again we are bombarded by negative and oftentimes distorted images and facts of how black women are the largest single population in America, we’re too independent, or not “submissive” enough. We see these images so often that when we see our brothers jumping at the chance to be with us, we look past the fact that they aren’t want we need, but simply what we want in the moment so that we don’t have to deal with the reality of singleness.

What can black women do? According to Dr. Keisha Downey, marriage therapist and expert on VH1’s Couples Therapy, this will depend on if the woman actually perceives this as a problem. “Often times this is conditioned early on and can be difficult to break free from,” she says. “With the help of understanding 'self', understanding what expectations or requirements are wanted and important in order to have a healthy functioning relationship, and seeking to truly understand the men they date...this can help to reveal and prevent dysfunctional relationships and help to find men that do meet our (a woman's) requirements.”

Culled From Essence
Nollywood Actress Omotola Jalade's Husband Grabbing Things As They Play In The Swimming Pool

Nollywood Actress Omotola Jalade's Husband grabs her behind as they play in the swimming pool.
Man Who Killed A Father-of-Two And Attempted Fleeing To Nigeria, Jailed For 18 Years In U.K

A Nigerian man who stabbed a father-of-two to death on a busy high street has been jailed for 18 years.

Abraham Omotoso, 27, of Tudor Gardens, Harrow, plunged a knife into the chest of 34-year-old Mohamed Al-Zufairi in High Street, Wealdstone in February this year.

Mr Al-Zufairi had been waiting outside Poundland for his eight-year-old daughter when he was attacked. She did not witness her father being stabbed.

Omotoso was found guilty of manslaughter at the Old Bailey and will serve 18 years behind bars for his crime. Investigating officer detective inspector Jon Meager said: “Omotoso has shown no remorse for his actions on that day.

I hope his conviction gives Mohamed’s family a measure of closure and comfort.” CCTV footage of the incident showed Omotoso walking in a “purposeful” manner before approaching Mr Al-Zufairi.

Witnesses reported a short argument between the pair before Omotoso stabbed his victim and fled the scene. He was arrested at Gatwick Airport the next day having just bought a one-way ticket to Nigeria with cash.

Police believe the motive for the killing was an ongoing feud between the victim’s brothers and Omotoso’s brothers and friends.

Presidency Blames PDP for Restructuring Agitations

The presidency has blamed the growing clamour for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation on those opposed to the Muhammadu Buhari administration, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), despite the fact that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is not antagonistic to restructuring.

The Special Adviser to the President, Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina made this known at the weekend while speaking on the theme, “Disintegration or Restructuring,” at the 8th Annual Lecture series of a civil society group, The Change We Need Nigeria Initiative, held in Abuja. 
But he was faulted by the Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, spokesman of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin and the lead discussant at the lecture series, Dr. Cosmas Ilechukwu who all protested the labeling of proponents of restructuring as opponents of the government.

Adesina, who said restructuring has always been part of Nigeria’s political and historical evolution, noted that the recent spate of agitations from various quarters were being instigated by the opposition.
In particular, he blamed the opposition PDP for prompting the calls for restructuring, saying: “I begin to be suspicious at times that this call for restructuring is another form of opposition politics.
“When you find people who had been in power for 16 years are now the champions of restructuring, so restructuring has become another form of opposition.”

The federal government, according to him, was not opposed to the restructuring of the country, but will not allow anything that will lead to its disintegration, as the Buhari administration will do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria remains one united people and nation.
“This government is not antagonistic towards restructuring but the government will not brook any form of restructuring that would destabilise the country,” he said, adding that the principle of power devolution contained in the APC manifesto was a form of restructuring.

He said: “Don’t forget that the All Progressives Congress government has set up a committee to aggregate views on what restructuring actually is and that committee is moving around the country. If it did not believe in restructuring, why waste time on it?
“And the president himself has said there are genuine grievances in different parts of the country, which can be discussed. But it does not mean that the country must disintegrate because of the genuine grievances that we have.”
Ikpeazu, however, countered Adesina’s position by saying that it was not true to say that restructuring was being promoted by the opposition.

Represented by Hon. Godwin Adindu, the governor said restructuring is pertinent to the future of the country, as there is no issue that deserves more mentioning now than the restructuring of Nigeria.
He said: “Uncertainty and hopelessness have pervaded Nigeria’s political landscape in recent times, making it necessary for all the ethnic nationalities to come together to renegotiate the future of the country,” adding that issues of power devolution to the states, fiscal federalism, state policing and regional economic diversification should be on the front burner.

He, however, condemned and denounced those calling for the disintegration of Nigeria through hate speeches, by bearing arms and ethnic strife.
He said all hands must be on deck to ensure an indivisible entity through self-sacrifice and patriotism.
Odumakin also disagreed with Adesina, arguing that there have always been calls for restructuring since the forceful amalgamation of the country in 1914, stressing that the unity of Nigeria has always being negotiated.
“So to say that the unity of Nigeria is not negotiable is a fallacy,” he said.

He accused the APC-led government of insincerity on the issue of restructuring, stressing that the party boycotted the 2014 National Conference contrary to the “misinformation” propagated by the president’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity Mallam Garba Shehu recently.
Odumakin advised that those who speak on behalf of government or the presidency to acquaint themselves with the facts before they speak.
“The rise of the nationalist movement that agitated for Nigeria’s independence and all the constitutional conferences that led to independence were nothing but negotiations. There were major milestones in these negotiations.

“It is therefore my consideration that the whole idea of non-negotiability of Nigeria’s unity only developed on the strength of keeping the rent from oil from the Niger Delta and proceeds from VAT generated by Lagos. It has nothing to do with the love of the union beyond reaping without sowing,” he said.
Odumakin added that the country has the option of restructuring or disintegrating, warning that if the country failed to restructure now, it may end up being defunct like the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia which refused to restructure and today are no more on the world map.

Dr. Ilechukwu, on his part, canvassed for the restructuring of the country along regional lines, saying: “The six regional structure that seemed to have gained reasonable mileage among a large segment of our population should be constitutionalised.”
He added: “I will support the call for a six regional arrangement with some minor readjustments. The goal of restructuring is political stability and economic development and it devolves certain responsibilities from the central government limiting its area of influence to such issues as fiscal policies, military/defence, foreign policy, immigration and national elections.
“This will make the federating units the main drivers of our economy and catalysts of national development and transformation. Nigerians are today crying and pointing to restructuring because in it lies their comfort and security.”
Other discussants were a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Nkoyo Toyo and the Director General, Institute for National Transformation, Prof. Vincent Anigbogu.

The presidency yesterday also denied reports that $25 billion in oil contracts were awarded by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The statement by the presidency was yet another response to a memo by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to the president in which he accused the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of awarding contracts valued at $25 billion without recourse to the corporation’s board.
Kachikwu has since denied alleging a contract scandal or corruption, maintaining that he only complained about the absence of governance in contract awards in NNPC.

Speaking on the issue yesterday, the vice-president’s spokesman, Laolu Akande said a closer look at each of the reported projects showed that none of them was a procurement contract.
“What is more important is that when you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract,” Akande said while speaking to reporters in Abuja.
“When I tweeted on Thursday morning last week, I had indicated that the vice president, while acting as president approved the joint venture financing arrangements.
“But for some curious reasons, a few media reports used that tweet to report that I said the then acting president approved N640 billion worth of oil contracts. Such reporting is both false and misleading.
“Take both the crude term contract and the direct sale, direct purchase (DSDP) agreements for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds.
“Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process,” he said.

Akande said attaching monetary values to the said transactions was arbitrary, adding that “whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the federation account and not to any company”.
“In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the TSA has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity,” he added.
He further said there had been adverts seeking expressions of interest in compiling the shortlist for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms.

On the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipeline contract, Akande said it is a “contractor-financed contract which has not yet been finalised or awarded” and as such, “still making its way to the Federal Executive Council”.

He said: “There were also three presidential approvals given on joint venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations. One of these was okayed by the president in 2015, and two by the then acting president in 2017.”

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Nigerians react to Buhari’s pro-North request from World Bank

On Thursday, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said that the bank had concentrated its efforts on the northern region of the country in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request. While speaking at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Washington D.C., United States, Kim disclosed that in his very first meeting with President Buhari, the latter specifically asked him to shift the bank’s focus to the north, which he said the bank had done. Since Buhari’s pro-north request from the World Bank became public knowledge, it had been attracting several condemnations from Nigerians. Some prominent Nigerians also reacted to the issue in their interviews with Saturday PUNCH

Development should be evenly distributed

2015 presidential candidate, KOWA Party, Prof. Remi Sonaiya

No doubt, the north, especially the Northeast, needs intervention because it lacks certain indices of development. However, the North or Northeast is not the only place lagging behind in development. Look at the oil spillage in the South-South. Attention could have also been diverted there for cleaning the region. Every other region in the country needs specific interventions which the President could have shown interest in addressing. If perhaps the World Bank’s focus on the north has been in terms of loans, that means every other region will be paying for them later in the future. I guess if the President had requested that the World Bank focus on education, environment and health care, it would not have attracted much outrage. Lastly, development should be evenly distributed. It should not tilt to one region.

Buhari is parochial and clannish

Former presidential candidate, Chief Martin Onovo

It was wrong for the President to ask the World Bank to focus attention on the north because he is from that region. It becomes clear that he is being parochial. The appropriate thing is to seek World Bank programmes on needs’ basis. If a World Bank programme is on infant mortality, for instance, then we should look for which region has the highest infant mortality.

If it is an ecological problem, then we should look for which region has the most serious ecological problem in the country. If it is on infrastructure, we know that the Northeast has severe infrastructure gap because of the damage done by Boko Haram. The same Northeast has the highest level of poverty in Nigeria.

The President’s comment is a continuation of the 95 per cent versus five per cent comment which he made after he won the election. The President is being clannish — looking at his projects’ allocation and appointments in a country that is very diverse.

The media has not played its role properly as the fourth arm of the estate. It has not held the government accountable as much as it should. If the media have continuously questioned the President on the things he says which are against his oath of office, he would have controlled himself.

Nepotism is a form of corruption

Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr. Debo Adeniran

Every part of the country is the President’s constituency, but if he requested that a particular region deserved more attention, I think it’s because of some reasons. Personally, I also think it’s due to the devastation the Northeast has experienced that Buhari wanted some special attention on it. However, nepotism is not good for the country because it’s a form of corruption. Almost every person in the country wants the President to emerge from their region. Why? So that there could be more attention on their area. Nepotism is as bad as corruption and that’s why it has to stop. There should be even distribution of wealth.

If made without context, Buhari’s demand totally unpresidential

Festus Keyamo, Senior Advocate of Nigeria

It depends on the context in which the President made that comment. We just heard the sentence but we don’t know the context. Was it in the context of rebuilding the Northeast that was ravaged by war? If he spoke in that context, then it would be normal. If he did not make it in any context at all, but in an ordinary discussion that there should be a lopsided development, then it would be completely wrong and totally unpresidential.

In terms of allotting percentages of development to areas that have been ravaged by war and people who have become Internally Displaced Persons and need to be resettled, if the President spoke in that context, then we may not have quarrel with him.

Every part of Nigeria has challenges to be addressed

Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni

The problem in the Northeast is known to everybody, the devastation caused by Boko Haram insurgents for close to six years. I believe if other parts of the country had experienced similar devastations and the President had asked for focus on those areas, there wouldn’t be outrage from people from those places. The only issue I have is if the World Bank is lending support to the north in terms of loans. If that is the case, the money shouldn’t go into funding development in the north alone. It should cut across every region. Stakeholders from every region should be called for a meeting to identify the specific challenges to be addressed.

President has refused to be ‘national’

Lawyer and Public Affairs Analyst, Liborous Oshoma

Ordinarily, a comment like this should not have been a controversy, considering the fact that the Northeast has been ravaged by insurgency. For a region destroyed by Boko Haram’s activities, rehabilitating and rebuilding the area should ordinarily have been a priority for the Federal Government.

However, because the President has refused to be national in his leadership style, any step taken by him that is pro-north is viewed from that prism of parochialism.

There is problem everywhere in the country. It would have been better if the government had come to say that because the north has more problems, we would dedicate a particular percentage of development efforts to rebuilding the place. Consistently, people have called on the President to be national and not lean towards the north to the detriment of other parts of the country. But his character continues to put a suspicion on his actions.
Buhari asked us to focus on northern Nigeria — World Bank President

The President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, said on Thursday that the bank had concentrated on the northern region of Nigeria in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s request.

Kim and the Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, who spoke at separate press conferences in Washington DC, United States, also advised Buhari to invest in things that would enhance economic growth.

Kim said, “You know, in my very first meeting with President Buhari he said specifically that he would like us to shift our focus to the northern region of Nigeria and we’ve done that. Now, it has been very difficult. The work there has been very difficult.

“I think Nigeria, of course, has suffered from the dropping oil prices. I think things are just now getting better. But the conversation we need to have with Nigeria, I think, is in many ways related to the theme that I brought to the table just this past week, which is investment in human capital. The percentage of the Gross Domestic Product that Nigeria spends on healthcare is less than one percent.”

He added, “Despite that, there is so much turbulence in the northern part of the country, and there is the hit that was taken from the drop in the oil prices. Nigeria has to think ahead and invest in its people. Investing in the things that will allow Nigeria to be a thriving, rapidly growing economy in the future is what the country has to focus on right now.”

Kim also said, “Focusing on the northern part of Nigeria, we hope that as commodity prices stabilise and oil prices come back up, the economy will grow a bit more. But very, very much important is the need to focus on what the drivers of growth in the future will be.”

According to the World Bank boss, the bank will invest in human capital in other parts of Africa in order to prepare the continent for the next phase of growth.

Lagarde, in her remarks, said Sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria, had posted suboptimal growth in recent times.

The growth figures, she said, were far too small considering the huge demographic potential of Nigeria and other countries in the region.

As a result, she said the IMF would be engaging ministers of finance and central bank governors from the region attending the annual World Bank and IMF meetings on how they could boost and stabilise economic growth.

Lagarde said, “The Sub-Saharan Africa is one region of the world where growth is suboptimal. Those countries grow at an average growth of 2.5 per cent. That is too low for the demographic expansion of the region.”

The IMF managing director said emerging and developing economies must invest more in their economies through infrastructural spending, strengthening safety nets, allowing women more access to the labour market and carrying structural reforms.

Credit: Punchng/Worldbank
Igbo Leaders Storm Presidential Villa, Allege Marginalisation of South-east

Igbo leaders, led by Deputy Senate President, Dr. Ike Ekweremadu and the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Igbo socio-cultural group, John Nnia Nwodo, yesterday met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock and alleged perpetual marginalisation of the South-east region.

The delegation comprising governors and deputy governors from five states of the zone, National Assembly leaders and ministers from the South-east, urged the President to address their plight, during the meeting held behind closed door.

Answering questions from newsmen after the meeting, Nwodo who said the group had a blunt and fruitful discussion with the President, said successive governments had abandoned infrastructural developments in the region, resulting in what he described as infrastructure deficit.

According to him, the emergence of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) which has been campaigning for the secession of the South-east from Nigeria was a product of the region’s marginalisation.

He said the situation had continued to make their youths restive.

Nwodo listed issues they tabled before the President to include cases of abandoned major roads such as Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Ikot Ekpene roads, in the region, which he said were no longer motorable.

He also said the delegation called the President’s attention to infrastructure decay in the main airport in South-east, Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu as well as the need to dredge the River Niger, reticulate gas pipelines in South-east and devolve powers to the states.

He said the President in his response, requested for time to comprehensively examine their complaints, pointing out that he was frank in his expressions and they had no reason to doubt him.

“We had a frank and robust exchange. We discussed problems of the South-east and as Head of State, he is the final repository of an appeal for the resolutions of those problems. We went into great details about each of those problems and l have confidence that they will give it the attention they deserve.

“We dealt with problems of development in the South-east, basic capital projects which have for a very long time been neglected not just from this government but for a very long time, major arteries of federal highways in the South-east have been in complete state of disrepair. Enugu-Onitsha, Enugu-Port Harcourt, Aba-Ikoti Ekpene roads are virtually impassable.

“We talked about the inland waterways and the dredging of the River Niger. We talked about the reticulation of gas pipeline on the South-east. We export gas from the South-east to other parts of the country, but there is no reticulation of the pipeline and industrial clusters in the south east.

“We talked about the only international airport we have in the South-east which has very bad infrastructure in terms of the buildings. We got assurance from the President that he will deal with each of those problems.

“Like I have said, these problems have been there overtime and we have had several presidents. It didn’t just happen in the last two years. But we expressed the desire that he should be able to address them.

“We came here for the issues of developments in our place. We talked about IPOB as a symptomatic consequence of the continuous marginalisation of the South-east over a long period of time. Understandably, our children are restive and we want to make sure that the federal government is responsive to the issues that have cumulated in the quintessence of these agitations.

“We did talk about the issue of devolution of powers, the constitution, the paucity of the states and local governments in our place and the President has asked that he be given time to look at this more holistically. There is no reason for me to doubt them because this is the first time I have had this interaction with him. I have the feeling that he spoke to us very frankly,” Nwodo submitted.

A statement issued later by the president’s chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, over the meeting, added that the President told the delegation that he came to government with clear conscience, pledging that a substantial part of counterpart funding from the Chinese government would be deployed to fund infrastructural deficit in the region. 

On allegation of under-representation of the Igbo in his government, Adesina said the President told the delegation: “I gave South-east four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour. Seven states in the North got ministers of state and of the two ministries headed by your sons. I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

He said the president promised the leaders that he would visit the states in the zone soon.

Present at the meeting besides Ekweremadu and Nwodo were: Chairman of the South-east caucus in the National Assembly, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Governors of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, his Abia and Ebonyi States counterparts, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and Dave Umahi while the governors of Imo and Anambra States, Rochas Okorocha and Willie Obiano, were represented by their respective deputies, Eze Madumere and Dr. Ikem Okeke.

Others were Ministers of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu, Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geofrrey Onyema.
The Rise and Fall of Nnamdi Kanu By Shaka Momodu

I watched some videos of Nnamdi Kanu inspecting a guard of honour formed by his Biafran Security Service and the Biafran National Guard in military uniform recently. It gave me the chills. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he hoisted the Biafran flag, flaunted a Biafran passport and a coat of arms, etc. There is a video of him openly soliciting for money at the World Igbo Congress in Los Angeles in the U.S. to buy arms to fight Nigeria in 2015 before his arrest. Effectively, Kanu had created a sovereign state within a sovereign state.

I don’t know any country in the world that would accept or condone this frontal challenge to its security and sovereignty. Certainly not the United States of America, not the United Kingdom or France. Did the Brits and the Yanks expect the Nigerian state to sit idly by as a spectator and just watch Kanu’s ultra ethnic/religious thumb-in-your-eye activities which were already precipitating the country into a major conflagration? Haven’t you seen what is happening in Catalonia in Spain, or what happened in Southern Cameroun recently? No country will allow what Kanu did to go unchecked.

Out on bail, he upped the ante by declaring Aba as the spiritual capital of Biafra on August 27, 2017, where he stated inter alia: “Where we are is Biafraland. Aba is the spiritual capital of Biafraland. We started in Aba in 2015 at CKC. That day, heaven authenticated our move that IPOB will restore Biafra and that’s what we have come to do. We died in Aba at National High School. They shot and killed us in other places in Biafraland where they were protesting for my release. As our people rest in the grave, we’ll never rest until Biafra is restored. I don’t care what they say in Abuja. I don’t give a damn what they say in Lagos. I’m a Biafran and we are going to crumble the zoo.

“Some idiots who are not educated said that they’ll arrest me, and I ask them to come, I’m in Biafra. If any of them leaves Biafraland alive, know that this is not IPOB. Tell them what I said. Tell Buhari that I am in Aba and any person who comes to arrest Nnamdi Kanu in Biafraland will die here. I’ll never go on exile I assure you. Some people talk about restructuring, are we doing the restructuring of Nigeria now? Are we doing fiscal federalism? Are we doing devolution? What we want is Biafra! Forget all the nonsense they write about us. We are not slowing down and no man born of a woman can stop us…”

Until recently, I didn’t pay much attention to him. All that changed when the deadly implications of his activities and actions started to unfold in a more direct way just a few weeks ago; his overarching modus operandi had raised fears of a general ethnic/religious conflagration in the country. Everyone could feel the tension in the country a few weeks back. It was really unnerving and frightening.

Again, I watched the video of some women spreading their wrappers on the ground for Kanu to walk on. I saw yet another video of a man prostrating to kiss his feet. Many men and women, both young and old showered praises on him and even worshipped him. Yes, I am not kidding, they idolised and worshipped him. There is another video of a man describing Kanu as god-like to him and that anything he commands him to do, he would gladly do.

Some of us know what such deification of a man can do to a person’s mind. He begins to see himself as an all-powerful demigod. His followers/victims lose their ability for independent rational reasoning just like the man who said anything Kanu commanded him to do, he would gladly obey him. That is a classic example of brainwashing. The more the victim surrenders control of himself, the more powerful his captor becomes. History is replete with leaders whose actions caused the needless deaths of millions of people across the world: Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, etc.

We see this time and again from fake religious/cult leaders who lead their followers to commit mass suicide. Remember The Guyana Tragedy? On November 18, 1978, more than 900 followers of the Rev. Jim Jones participated in a mass suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, ordered by Jim Jones. Only a few members came out alive to tell the horrific tales of abuses that went on in that temple. There have been others after Jim Jones.

There are so many disturbing videos and audio recordings of Kanu crossing the line on the internet. This guy’s manner was reprehensible, his utterances uncouth, vulgar and delusional. His methods were extremely reckless and dangerous. As if that wasn’t enough, his ethno-religious bombast was chilling, provocative and appeared deliberately designed to provoke a wider ethnic/religious conflagration in the country. And not surprisingly, he made no pretension about his mission and actually took concrete actions to achieve it. He seemed obsessed with the realisation of Biafra at all costs as if that was the solution to the problems in the South-east. But for the quick intervention of the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike with his statewide broadcast to reassure all citizens of their safety and the timely action by the South-east governors, perhaps we would have been talking of a bloody ethno/religious conflagration across the country. Whose interest would that have served?

Flaunting his misguided power and influence, he boasted that the coming Anambra governorship election would not hold, and then expanded his threat to the entire South-east in the 2019 elections. He called for a sit-at-home protest to demonstrate his new-found powers. He boasted that he controlled the people of the South-east 100 per cent. Kanu threatened that if his bail was revoked and the federal government re-arrested him, he had already left instructions with his IPOB members to burn down Nigeria.

I shudder to think what this man would have become if he succeeded with Biafra. Kanu lacked the temperament of a leader. He was already drunk with the adulation showered on him. Power in the hands of a man like Kanu would have amounted to a dangerous mix of cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. He demonstrably drew disturbing similarities with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un who routinely executes his people on the flimsiest of excuses.

For all my frustrations and doubts about Nigeria, and despite the imperfections of how it was created, I don’t want a break-up of our fatherland and I believe so many other people share this with me. I believe we can make this country better. I am against the marginalisation of any section of this country like President Muhammadu Buhari is doing to the entire South, especially the South-east. And for the umpteenth time, I state that those who brought Buhari to power put a knife to the fragile things that hold us together.

I am wholeheartedly and unreservedly in support of the restructuring of Nigeria to make it work for us all, and not for the current few. Whether this was Kanu’s ultimate game plan, I have no idea, but I have my doubts. The question to ask Kanu is: Was secession the answer to marginalisation? What made him think that a sovereign Biafra state would end poverty and corruption in the South-east as we have in other parts of the country? Who appointed him leader of the Igbo to lead the charge for Biafra? Did he even think through the full ramifications of Biafra on Igbo people across the country?

Would a Biafra have ceased to produce jesters and clowns like Rochas Okorocha if it had succeeded in breaking away? Most of the people shouting Biafra were acting more out of emotion rather than reason. The truth is the South-east has had a succession of bad leaders just like the rest of the country. The region is still so backward despite its potential, precisely because of a lack of innovative and creative leadership to unleash a tidal wave of opportunities for its people.

However, I must state without equivocation that Buhari’s ethnic agenda to right the perceived wrongs done to the North and his brazen implementation of that agenda despite protestations, is what is fueling the likes of Kanu and the massive agitations in the country even though I found Kanu’s methods and tactics abhorrent. Again, the president’s feeble response to the mindless atrocities, killings and destruction of properties by the Fulani herdsmen, is another case in point. At a time he should have shown leadership, he opted for partisanship.

To save Nigeria, this country has to be restructured. Restructuring is not a call to arms, but a call for equity and justice so that everybody will have a sense of belonging in this potentially great country.

Still on Kanu, I must confess that I was amazed by the physical metamorphosis of this young fellow: from a clean-shaven jeans and shirt-wearing romantic fine boy on the streets of London to this fiery, incendiary hate-spewing, war-mongering, grey-bearded secessionist megalomaniac.

His sudden transformation to Mazi Kanu in traditional Isi-agwu (head of lion) jumper, complemented by a Rabbi’s cap, his latter-day slow gait, slightly hunched back and his gold-plated walking stick to create the image of an elder of pre-eminent distinction from the army of jobless folks who thronged his father’s house to practically worship him in his new role as the new uncrowned leader of the Igbo race testified to my suspicion about this man’s sense of delusional grandeur. He used to walk normally like you and I, even as recently as his release from prison on bail. Where did all these theatrics come from so suddenly? Is this what perceived power does to a man? What was a young man in his forties with no trace of ill health, or visible handicap to his ability to walk doing with a walking stick?

Again, why was he displaying the photograph of Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America alongside his, when announcing the activities of IPOB? Did Trump subscribe to his activities? Was that action alone not a classical case of “419”, using Trump’s picture to hoodwink and fool his gullible support base to create the impression that Trump supported the Biafra cause? Wetin concern Trump with Biafra? Did this not also tell us that this was a disturbed young man? That he even chose a world-reject like Trump to market his Biafra cause said a lot about his mental state. What was wrong with Kanu?

Kanu in my estimation failed the one important quality of leadership: selflessness. Kanu was arrested and imprisoned alongside Onwudiwe Chidiebere, Banjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi. They were arraigned by the federal government last year on an 11-count charge for terrorism, treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms, among others. He alone was granted bail ostensibly on health grounds. That to me was somewhat political. Contrary to the expectations of some, he accepted the bail and left other apparent accomplices in prison. Once he got out, he never spoke publicly about the other guys rotting away in prison. I never once heard him fight for their release. I had expected him to refuse his bail until others were equally granted bail. But no, he took the bail and forgot his co-accused. To me, that did not look good for his leadership credentials. What kind of freedom fighter abandons his followers in prison while he enjoys freedom? With Kanu almost certainly now a fugitive from justice, God only knows when his co-accused will smell freedom. He has put those who signed his bail surety in trouble with the law as Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe admitted recently; another failure of leadership. These people staked their reputations and credibility built over several decades to surety someone they barely knew. Now, they are going to suffer the short end of the stick. However, I can hardly sympathise with them because they wanted to earn some political gain from Kanu’s then-rising profile.

The irony is that Kanu was not the only one who abandoned his co-accused. Ohanaeze leaders and the South-east intelligentsia were uninterested in their plight. Charles Soludo was not interested in their freedom, the former Minister of Aviation, Osita Chidoka, was not interested in their release either. Instead, the inconvenient truth is that they gave subtle nudging to Kanu and his activities.

Some have argued that Kanu and his IPOB members were not armed and that their pro-Biafra protests were peaceful. But anyone who was honest enough would have seen a clear direction towards violence. For God’s sake, Kanu was soliciting for money to buy guns, bullets, etc., to wage a war of secession against Nigeria. He created a uniformed army, a national guard, etc. Danger, they say, comes in many forms. Did Nigeria need to wait for him to be armed before taking action? From his statement declaring Aba the spiritual capital, he sounded like someone armed and ready for a duel.

We were witnessing a quiet replay of what the Northern elders, the Borno Elders Forum (by the way, where are they now?) and the entire Northern intelligentsia did with Boko Haram. They nudged the deadly sect on until it became too late. I can recall how even the Sultan of Sokoto denied that it was not Boko Haram that was carrying out the mindless atrocities, killings and bombings. The Northern intelligentsia rationalised all the inexcusable behaviour of members of the terror group all because they wanted power at all costs.

They never condemned the bestial terrorists. Instead for every attack by the terrorists, they condemned the Jonathan government “for allowing the attack”. Even Buhari, the hero of “Change”, supported Boko Haram all in an effort to undermine the then government. He emerged the biggest beneficiary of the activities of that evil sect. Lest we forget, the terror group went as far as nominating him as its chief negotiator with the Jonathan government.

His party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) latched on to every opportunity to benefit from the activities of the terror group. Nothing was abhorrent to it as long as it could gain from the mindless destruction of lives; a pursuit rooted in the philosophy of the end justifying the means. At the height of the Boko Haram saga, the party’s governors went to Maiduguri, Borno State, the heartland of the terror group, on a purported solidarity visit to pose for photographs on the streets of the city and then circulated them widely in the press the next day as if that was enough to solve the problem. Note that the governors didn’t proffer solutions to deal with the terror group. They were more interested in the photo opportunity. Have the APC governors visited Maiduguri again on a solidarity tour? No!

The party of “rogues and come-and-chop politicians” got what it desperately wanted, but today it is a miserable failure in governance. The propaganda it used to win power has so far failed it on all fronts. Can you beat that? Today the terror group it supported to win power is still out of control. If you sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.

The leaders of the South-east were repeating the same mistake. We’ve been witness to this tendency in the recent past. When the Odua People’s Congress (OPC) and other such violent groups in the South-west were breaking the law, leaders of the South-west were usually silent, they did not condemn the groups. The same thing happens in Niger Delta, the elders give subtle encouragement to criminality of some people masquerading as freedom fighters but who in actual fact are fighting for their personal pockets.

Kanu seemed to enjoy pushing fate. He needed the danger that came with it to promote himself and looked tough. For a brief period, he said anything, did anything and got away with it. And like all high-risk gamblers, he saw himself as the ace in the pack to actualise Biafra. But after boasting for weeks of his invincibility, Kanu again failed the leadership test as he fled at the sound of a gunshot, leaving his poor gullible followers to die needlessly.