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‘So many myths are being bandied around’

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‘So many myths are being bandied around’

Emir of Kano great speech at the Muson Centre during the launching of the book of Sir Olaniwun Ajayi.

“Let me start by saying that I am Fulani (laughter). My grandfather was an Emir also fulani my uncle and guardian was also the immediate late Emir of kano Alhaji Ado Bayero and therefore I represent all that has been talked about this afternoon. Sir Ajayi has written a book. And like all Nigerians of his generation, he has written in the language of his generation.

“My grandfather was a Northerner, I am a Nigerian. The problem with this country is that in 2009, we speak in the language of 1953. Sir Olaniwun can be forgiven for the way he spoke, but I cannot forgive people of my generation speaking in that language.

“Let us go into this issue because there are so many myths that are being bandied around. Before colonialism, there was nothing like Northern Nigeria, Before the Sokoto Jihad, there was nothing like the Sokoto caliphate. The man from Kano regard himself as bakane. The man from Zaria was bazazzage. The man from Katsina was bakatsine. The kingdoms were at war with each other. They were Hausas, they were Muslims, they were killing each other.

“The Yoruba were Ijebu, Owo, Ijesha, Akoko, Egba. When did they become one? When did the North become one? You have the Sokoto Caliphate that brought every person from Adamawa to Sokoto and said it is one kingdom. They now
said it was a Muslim North.

“The Colonialists came, put that together and said it is now called the Northern Nigeria. Do you know what happened? Our grand fathers were able to transform to being Northerners. We have not been able to transform to being Nigerians. The fault is ours.

Tell me, how many governors has South West produced after Awolowo that are role models of leadership? How many governors has the East produced like Nnamdi Azikiwe that can be role models of leadership? How Many governors in the Niger Delta are role models of leadership? Tell me. There is no evidence statistically that any part of this country has produced good leaders.

You talk about Babangida and the problems of our economy. Who were the people in charge of the economy during Babangida era? Olu Falae, Kalu Idika Kalu. What state are they from in the North?

“We started the banking reform; the first thing I heard was that in Urobo land, there will be a curse of the ancestors. I said they (ancestors) would not answer. They said why? I said how many factories did Ibru build in Urobo land? So, why will the ancestors of the Urobo people support her?

“We talk ethnicity when it pleases us. It is hypocrisy. You said elections were rigged in 1959, Obasanjo and Maurice Iwu rigged election in 2007. Was it a Southern thing? It was not. “The problem is: everywhere in this country, there is one Hausa, Ibo, Yoruba and Itshekiri man whose concern is how to get his hands on the pile and how much he can steal.

Whether it is in the military or in the civilian government, they sit down, they eat together. In fact, the constitution says there must be a minister from every state.

“So, anybody that is still preaching that the problem of Nigeria is Yoruba or Hausa or Fulani, he does not love Nigeria . The problem with Nigeria is that a group of people from each and every ethnic tribe is very selfish. The poverty that is found in Maiduguri is even worse than any poverty that you find in any part of the South.

The British came for 60 years and Sir Ajayi talked about few numbers of graduates in the North (two as at independence) . What he did not say was that there was a documented policy of the British when they came that the Northerner should not be educated. It was documented. It was British colonial policy. I have the document. I have published articles on it. That if you educate the Northerner you will produce progressive Muslim intellectuals of the type we have in Egypt and India. So, do not educate them. It was documented. And you say they love us (North) more than the south.

“I have spent the better part of my life to fight and Dr. (Reuben) Abati knows it. Yes, my grandfather was an Emir. Why was I in the pro-democracy movement fighting for June 12? Is (Moshood) Abiola from Kano ? Why am I a founding director of the Kudirat Initiative for Nigerian Development (KIND)?

“There are good Yoruba people, good Igbo people, good Fulani people, good Nigerians and there are bad people everywhere. That is the truth. “Stop talking about dividing Nigeria because we are not the most populous country
in the world. We have all the resources that make it easy to make one united great Nigeria . It is better if we are united than to divide it.

“Every time you talk about division, when you restructure, do you know what will happen? In Delta Area, the people in Warri will say Agbor, you don’t have oil. When was the Niger Delta constructed as a political entity? Ten years ago, the Itshekiris were fighting the Urobos. Isn’t that what was happening? Now they have become Niger Delta because they have found oil. After, it will be, if you do not have oil in your village then you cannot share our resources.

“There is no country in the world where resources are found in everybody’s hamlet. But people have leaders and they said if you have this geography and if we are one state, then we have a responsibility for making sure that the people who belong to this country have a good nature.

“So, why don’t you talk about; we don’t have infrastructure, we don’t have education, we don’t have health. We are still talking about Fulani. Is it the Fulani cattle rearer or is anybody saying there is no poverty among the Fulani?”, he said.

This is a great message to our generation.

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Opinion

Zamfara: Buhari Got It Right

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Zamfara: Buhari Got It Right

By Emameh Gabriel

The recent ban on gold mining in Zamfara by the Federal Government is one of the best decisions taken by the Government in recent times. Declaring the state a no-fly zone afterward, was again an icing on the cake.

We can’t continue this way- allowing organised criminals to keep plundering the country’s mineral resources, fueling crises, while innocent citizens pay the price with their lives, is in itself a sad indictment of the system.

State governments, particularly in conflct-ridden areas like some parts of today’s North, have clearly failed the people who elected them into office. Consequently, they have allowed criminals to exploit the vulnerability of the citizens, who couldn’t withstand the effects of the hostile environment in which they find themselves.

80% of mining in the Zamfara and other parts of the North is carried out illegally. Sadly, they are sponsored by foreign smugglers, who will do anything to keep themselves in the business, even if it means burning down the country.

Like drug lords, they operate under a powerful network with officials in the government as local mob bosses, and NGOs as alibi.

Oil companies operating in the Niger Delta and their local collaborators in government have done this in the past. Sponsored violence by oil companies has succeeded in dragging the region more than 50 years backwards.

It is a common practice in mining communities. Foreigners register Coys, hire criminals to register humanitarian bodies and secured backing from local collaborators within government circles.

Take for instance, in 2018, Maiduguri alone had at least 150 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in humanitarian work. Among these NGOs, more than half were operating without legal registration.

Who are they working for and to what purpose?

A situation where staff employed by several of these organisations have to secure rental housing contracts for five years and beyond, leaves one with the impression that they already knew that these crises would persist for as long as they want and so, they settled in.

This is one among many other ruse designed to create crises and open more corridors for smuggling and stealing from the people’s common patrimony.

This whole thing boils down to one thing- failed leadership.

Maurice Ogbonnaya’s peice, Illegal Mining Drives Nigeria’s Rural Nanditry And Local Conflicts, succinctly captures the underlying factors and motives by foreigners.

The piece highlights numerous fundamental social, institutional and structural problems in Nigeria’s governance system.

He posits that the crisis reveals the prevailing socio-economic problems in the region, especially the inadequate responses to poverty and poor service delivery by the state. The youth in particular have limited income-generating opportunities, and this is where the sponsors of illegal mining recruit their labour force.

And then, foreign corporations’ involvement in illegal mining depicts the weakness and failure of regulatory oversight and gross inadequacies in the enforcement of regulatory compliance by respective governmental agencies.

The ban, though came rather a little too late, yet it is not too late to correct the mistakes. Government must be sincere in its efforts to get rid of all dissident groups in the country. There must be delibrate efforts to develop rapid, responsive system to deal with criminals, both local and foreign. I do hope this will not end up as one of those gragra.

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Opinion

What Has Niger Delta Done to Buhari’s Administration?

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What Has Niger Delta Done to Buhari’s Administration?


The Niger Delta Coalition of Justice and Equity (NDCJE), a pro-democracy, pressure group and civil society organization, made up of professionals from different endeavours basically set up for the emancipation of the Niger Delta/South-South people and to accelerate the fight for equity and justice for the region in particular; especially as it concerns government appointments into positions, remunerations and justice for the Niger Delta people as a region that has singularly been responsible for the rich oil and gas deposit, on which Nigeria as a nation, sits on today and parades itself as the giant of Africa.

The NDCJE has, for long, kept aloof, because of the precarious security situation of the country and the divisive tendencies thrown overboard by people in authority, who, look the other way, for their selfish interest, not minding where their actions take the nation to, even if it is in a retrogressive motion.

As partners that believe in the course of Nigeria as a dear nation; as well as believe in putting square pegs in square holes, and uplifting merit than mediocrity in all ramifications, we are hereby compelled to critically and objectively analyze the current letter from the President to the National Assembly, presenting someone for confirmation as Acting Director-General; someone that has not even acted for a day, not to talk about acting in any capacity whatsoever, but has consistently let Nigerians know that he will surely (come rain or shine) ascend the mantle of leadership of NASRDA. Our investigation has revealed that his confidence is based on the presumption that having been connected to the present Chief of Staff to the President as a cousin, he will have a smooth sail, based on these antecedents:

• That Dr Halidu Shaba Ahmad has never ever acted in any capacity before now, not to talk about that of Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA); and that he is even number eight in the hierarchy of the nominal roll of the agency since Mr Jonathan Angulu left as the Acting Director-General of the agency. We wish to recall that Mr Angulu handed over the mantle of leadership to the most senior management staff in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, a renowned research fellow with 21 years of service at NASRDA, who has been in charge of the organization till date, and the first Vice Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, a position bestowed on him based on the recommendation of the African Group Task Force on Space Science and Technology, based in Vienna, Austria.

• That precisely, nine months ago, the South-South Renaissance Group (SSRG) called on the Chief of Staff of the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, to prevail on Dr Halidu Shaba to stop parading himself as the Acting Director-General of the agency; the call which was captured under the headline, “Curtail Dr Halidu Shaba’s Inconsistencies, Bragging Rights at Nigerian Space Agency.” This was informed by the fact that Halidu was unduly parading himself (which action made him to be safely referred to as an imposter) as Acting Director-General, which he is not in any capacity and has never acted as such till date, until his recommendation few hours ago to the National Assembly by the President/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic.

• That Mr Halidu brags in the corridors of power that he and his cabal/cohorts own the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari; that they decide whatever happens to any position; as well as decide who occupies which position as far as Muhammadu Buhari remains the president. Going by this impunity, our organization vehemently resists this injustice meted out to Dr Chizea Dubem, and any other qualified and legitimate candidate for that matter. This is based on the fact that all qualified Nigerians have alienable right to aspire to any position of authority as long as they remain Nigerians. In view of the above, therefore, we are asking these vital questions: What has the Niger Delta done to the Nigerian nation to deserve this barbaric treatment? Where did the Niger Delta go wrong, in such a way that it will warrant the dropping of the most senior and adequately qualified Acting Director General from the region, who has all the prerequisite qualifications; and the sending of the name of the number eight position in hierarchy on the nominal roll? How long will it take for Dr Francis Chizea Dubem to be confirmed as the Director-General of the agency?

• It will also be recalled that there was a candid instruction from the President that the National Council in charge of the board of NARSDA must meet to ratify Dr Chizea’s ascension, but that meeting did not hold. Today, the name of one who does not deserve to be recommended, Mr Halildu, has been smuggled through the window/back door and sent to the National Assembly for confirmation. If this is confirmed, it will affirm his bragging rights for the past two years that he would be made Director-General of the agency.

• Luckily, at the agency, since inception, this is the turn of the Niger-Delta/South South to assume the position of authority as the Director-General, having acted for over one year, within which period the agency has grown in leaps and bound, conforming to international best practice and good governance, entrenched in all ramifications. The Acting Director-General still remains Dr Francis Chizea Dubem, who has been acting since Mr Jonathan Angulu left the agency. We pray that due diligence be carried out to ascertain the veracity of this statement to know the fact of the matter. But one would ponder, where has Mr Halidu been all this while, that Dr Chizea Dubem has been sacrificing tooth and nail to keep the agency afloat, especially during this Covid-19 Pandemic? Who is misleading the President to act contrary on the issue he had already directed the National Council to meet to rectify Dr Francis Chizea Dubem? The Acting Director-General is Dr Francis Chizea Dubem and not Halidu. It is a concoction from the pit of hell, which, we suggest, must be verified by the security agencies and right thinking Nigerians. Would somebody tell us what is happening in this country? Again, at what stage, did Halidu rise to become the authentic Acting Director-General, when, indeed, there is a substantive Acting Director-General in person of Dr Francis Chizea Dubem?

• Our coalition has it on good authority that the only reason why Halidu is to be named as Acting Director-General, according to him, is because he is a relation to the Chief of Staff to the President. Due to the foregoing, he continuously brags that whether he merits it or not, he would be confirmed the Director-General of the agency. If this is confirmed, it will be viewed as man’s inhumanity to man; and very unpatriotic action to the collective growth of the Nigerian nation; as against natural justice, equity and good conscience. Consequently, justice must be seen to have been served on this vexed issue, if the present Acting Director-General, Dr Chizea Dubem is confirmed and left to continue, instead of bringing Mr Halidu Shaba from the back door to assume leadership, to reap where he did not sow. It is, indeed, an act of nepotism, inhumanity, and, indeed, a slap on our collective conscience and psyche as a people of the region in particular and Nigeria in general, for accepting mediocrity in place of merit.

• We have watched, with keen interest, the retirement of the Commandant-General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Muhammadu Gana Abdullahi, where a South-Easterner, Hilary Madu, was made an acting Commandant-General and immediately, a petition came that he was out for ethnic cleansing; and within three weeks, he was dropped and replaced with a North-easterner, while the Inspector-General of Police’s tenure ended but is still there serving, calling shots, because he is from a particular region and ethnic tribe. What a country, indeed!

• It is our candid advice that the President, should, as a matter of national interest, revert to status quo, and set aside the letter sent to the National Assembly and do the right thing, by confirming Dr Chizea, who is far more capable than Mr Halidu.

• The NDCJE appropriately urges Niger Deltans, South-South indigenes, and, indeed, Nigerians to rise up and condemn this injustice in all its form meted out to a fellow Nigerian. However, if there is any doubt about our status as Nigerians, we should be made to understand and President Buhari should do the rightful and make this very important decision by appointing Dr Chizea as the substantive DG of NARSDA. By the way, Dr Chizea is a foundation staff and it is even on record that the office property that NARSDA first used was his father’s personal property. And, apart from being a scientist and researcher of international repute, he is a patriot and when NARSDA was not recognized, he was able to convince his father to let his property to NARSDA for use. If we must ask: is this the price he has to pay for been patriotic? Where is the reward for excellence? Where is the reward for hard work?

• The entire Niger Delta/South-South geopolitical regions, and Nigerians at large, are eager to know the reasons behind this act. It is also our candid advice that constructive investigations should be carried out to ascertain who is the authentic Acting-Director General of NARSDA, before they bring in any one from the backdoor to a position he does not even merit in the first instance; for which he did not work for. Why must Nigeria take itself backwards by clamouring for mediocrity in place of meritocracy?

Signed:

Alaowe Preye Dokubo Comrade Olisa Ode Osundi
National Coordinator National Secretary

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Opinion

That failed kidnap attempt on Sunday Igboho

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That failed kidnap attempt on Sunday Igboho

By Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, OFR, FCIArb, LL.M, Ph. D, LL.D

The act of a combined team of soldiers, DSS and Police, numbering about 40 attempted to arrest and detain Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo Igboho was too much in the form of a kidnap attempt. Igboho was said to have been waylaid along Ibadan/Lagos Expressway whilst on his way to see Pa Ayo Adebanjo in Lagos. It was totally and absolutely unnecessary. A government exists to protect its citizens, not to terrorise them. If the government believed that Sunday Igboho had committed an offence, the best route would have been to simply send him an invitation to report to a Police station for interrogation.
If the security agents felt there were any internal security issues or breach of the law, they should have invited him to the DSS or Police office. It became therefore totally absurd that a whole security armada like soldiers, the Police and the DSS will waylay an innocent Nigerian citizen in a commando-like manner and attempt to abduct him. At least, Nigerians have not been told he has committed an offence, or what offence, if any.
What if Sunday Igboho and his handlers had felt they were being kidnapped and responded with a shootout? There would have been unnecessary mayhem and loss of lives because of the indecent and incongruous manner and way the attempted arrest was carried out.
What the government does not still seem to understand is that because it has failed to give security and welfare to the Nigerian people as provided for in Section 14 of the 1999 Constitution, ethnic nationalism is fast rising in a way that ethnic groups and the various nationalities in the Nigerian contraption have begun to feel that they need to go the extra mile to protect themselves from ravaging insecurity. That is why I always ask, who is advising this government?

The present ravaging insecurity is what led to the emergence of Amotekun, in the South West and the Eastern Security Network in the South East. There have also mushroomed various local policing militias across the country. It is the failure of the government to provide security that is at the root cause of these defensive measures.
Someone needs to drum it to the ears of this government that the young man with a tattooed face that proudly displays his tribal marks is no longer an ordinary “small boy” representing himself alone. He has become a metaphor for the Yoruba struggle for self-determination. At least, if you are not giving us self-determination, do not kill us in our homes and farms, the young man seems to be yearning on behalf of the Yoruba race.
Sunday Igboho is no longer ordinary. He is the equivalent of IPOB’s Nnamdi Kanu for the Igbos. He came out from nowhere to become the voice of the voiceless. He wears the new face of the Yoruba struggle for emancipation. The earlier this government understands this, the better for everybody.
Sunday Igboho from Igboho town recently came to national limelight when he stormed Igangan on January 15, 2021, and gave a quit notice to Fulani herders terrorizing his people in the Southwest through kidnappings and killings. Igboho was said to have earlier risen to fame during the Ife-Modakeke fratricidal war in which he played a major role between 1997 and 1998. Born in Igboho of Oke-Ogun area of Oyo state on October 10, 1972, he had relocated to Modakeke in Osun state. He started life as a roadside motorcycle mechanic and later ventured into car sales. Upon return to Ibadan, he met former Oyo state Governor, Lam Adesina, and also worked with Rashidi Adedoja. The Akoni Oodua of Yoruba land is the new face of the Yoruba struggle for emancipation, self-determination and racial respect. Does the federal government realize this? Igboho is believed by his teeming admires to possess magical powers that lift him beyond mere mortals like you and I. So famed was he that, a 2017 Yoruba Movie (Parts 1-4) by the same name “Sunday Igboho” was cast after his personality. Does this government appreciate these peoples’ sentiments?

WAY FORWARD
Sunday Igboho can approach a court of law under the Fundamental Rights Enforcement (Procedure) Rules and seek protection from being killed, arrested, being waylaid, being detained and having his humanity degraded. He can go to court to seek his fundamental rights that he is entitled to freedom of movement, freedom of association and the right to move about and across Nigeria to any part that he wishes, without let or hindrance. See sections 32, 33, 35, 40 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
A court of law will readily grant him that protection because it has not been shown that he has committed any offence; and none is alleged against him. If any has been alleged against him, then they could invite him over to make a statement. We are operating a constitutional democracy where things are done by the rule of law; not rule of the thumb.
This government is too jerky. It embraces too much fire brigade approach to issues. That is the danger in it. The government must know that if they had killed Sunday Igboho yesterday, may be with a stray bullet, or by mistake, or deliberately, I don’t think Nigeria would have been having a nice weekend today.
The government should understand this. Let them understand that there is anger, despondency. There is fear across the country; fear of death, fear of fear. So, they (the DSS and the Police) should never attempt to do what they did yesterday (Friday) so as not to trigger unnecessary national hoopla, national insurrection, national commotion, national brouhaha. I have said my own.

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