Ribadu’s exit and Kenya’s abracadabra

Adeola Aderounmu

Africa, my Africa….what is your plan for tomorrow?

In Kenya, it was Odinga who was leading as the votes were being counted. Something happened, there were delays and before you could say ABC, Kibaki had won. In politics, this is called the power of the Incumbent.  

Africa my Africa! What a shameful way to end 2007!  

My dear Kenyans, please take it easy and don’t spill blood in your cities or in the slumps. Don’t go about killing brothers or sisters. But you can do all you can to salvage your future. It lies in your hands.  

NIGERIA!

Oh my wonderful funny country! 

Yar Adua, the illegal president of Nigeria has done it again. He has literarily sacked Nuhu Ribadu the chairman of EFCC.

Now, all looters of the treasury in Nigeria can have good parties and merry with stolen wealth.  

Yar Adua came to power illegally and he is NOT the president of Nigeria as per the people’s votes. He is the president of PDPP-People Destroying People Party. In the History of election in Nigeria, votes have never been counted!!!

So, you may understand a little bit about the magic going on in Kenya if you need an example from the wicked sleeping giant called Nigeria.

Yar Adua was helped into position by Obasanjo the ex-convict ex-president and Ibori, also an ex-convict ex-thieving governor and one icon of evil called Iwu.

That is Nigeria for you, the country of VERY USELESS LEADERSHIP where the job of the attorney general is to assist the looting of the treasuty. 

Now, with this new development of removal of Ribadu who was on the heels of corrupt government officials, we’ll just wait and see how the fight against corruption proceeds in Nigeria.

For those who do not know, Nigerian is an oil-rich country but the wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few popularly called the CABAL. This is malicious because more than 90% of Nigerians live in ABSOLUTE POVERTY AND PENURY.

What now for Nigerians? My sympathy as 2007 ends of another sad note…  

Happy New year Nigerians!

As the year ends…Lagos on my mind

Adeola Aderounmu

I thought I’d written all I have to write for 2007. Who would not like a break to spend his Christmas and New Year holiday around his family, friends and loved ones? Can anyone solve global problems by writing too much?

I have spent the last couple of days reflecting on my childhood which was loaded with extreme challenges. I thought about the Christmas season and the joy that came with it annually in spite of all the challenges. It is difficult not to reflect on those times that I spent with my immediate family members, the good times and the bad times. Above all, those days that will never come back but which will continue to mean a lot to me. They will continue to shape the rest of my life by making me a better and a more loving person with each passing day. That, I hope.

This has been a quiet Christmas for me as well. In a manner of personal reflections and thoughts of an approaching new year, I have spent more time alone than I have done at any other time of my life. It may be a sign of growing old to take stock and reflect as others eat and merry away. Along the side, I have spent a little time to be with my nuclear family here in Sweden and tasting all the traditional foods at Christmas. It has been worthwhile. But Lagos is still on my mind! Lagos has been on my mind despite the fact that I boasted that
I preferred a white Christmas. There is never going to be a place like home no matter the amount of face saving that we put up elsewhere.

Indeed, I missed my family and friends in Nigeria especially at this time of the year. The feeling is so strong that I can’t take my mind off the things that I imagine are going on back home in Nigeria. With all the hustling and bustling in Lagos especially, I still feel like I am an incomplete man spending my Christmas away from my Nigerian family. But this is a feeling that I would live with because it was my decision to stay put in the cold winter of Sweden in the first place.

However, one of the news emanating from Lagos the day after Christmas is very disheartening. There is no need to recount all the negative things that one would have to adapt with in Lagos but one very bad thing happened last Christmas (2006) which has also repeated itself this year (2007). When I saw this – pipeline explosion news on BBC I was shocked because I thought I was still living in 2006 or that I just woke up from a dream that had lasted 365 days. How possible? I asked myself. I have just finished seeing the movie- Kate and Leopold one more time not so long ago. If you have seen this movie then you will understand why I started to wonder if I was living in the past or in the future.

If one is not careful, what is happening in Nigeria as a way of life can drive one crazy instantly. In 2006, I was in Lagos when the pipeline explosion happened but I didn’t know there had been an explosion anyway because there was no light and it was impossible to follow the news. It was a phone call from Sweden to find out about my well-being that made me know then that hundreds of people have died in Lagos where I was holidaying. Lagos na wa

Exactly, one year later the same thing has happened. Why don’t Nigerians ever learn from past mistakes? There have been several explosions like that in the past. The people (especially women and children) who scoop fuel are aware of the inherent risk-that it could cost them their lives! Why do people always think that they cannot encounter misfortune when they do stuffs like that? Yes, there is poverty in the land and some people cannot afford even a single meal a day but scooping fuel is not worth dying for. Should it be?

Really, I don’t want to start retracing the cycle of idiocy that has led to this unfortunate incident but I hope that the day would come when people will not have to scoop fuel even if the leakage was an accident or something done by some illegal bunkering.

This is supposed to be a season for joy and happiness but some families have been thrown into mourning. It appears the government has failed the people again in 2007 and the people continue to seek desperate measures to live each day. It is very hard or almost impossible to justify the desperate measure of scooping fuel and it is also very sad that governance in Nigeria does not prioritize the welfare of the people. In this case, head or tail, the people suffer. What a disappointing way to end another (wasted) year!

Still, Lagos is on my mind. I wish all honest and sincere hardworking Nigerians a wonderful new year-2008. May the joy of this season never depart from you. Let’s keep all our dreams and hopes alive and in all that we do, let us seek the common good of all.

All the best!

So long and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and compliments of the season, Nigeria!

Adeola Aderounmu

I wish all Nigerians a very good time wherever they are and whatever they are doing. 2007 is closing down soon but I pray that your dreams are not shut down in the process!
Keep firing, keep all dreams and hopes alive!

To family, friends, acquaintances and love ones, I wish you a happy celebration and a prosperous 2008.

In a country where it is difficult to get the best out of life, I hope you will not loose courage as a human trait design for survival and perseverance.

It’s been a long road and it is still unwinding….

I hope we’ll all find light at the end of the tunnel

Happy celebration

Drive safely and travel safe.

Be watchful!

Very Bloody Roads and Highways!

By Adeola Aderounmu

20 killed in Nigeria as Truck rams into a crowd!
9 feared dead in road accidents
81 persons died in road accidents Gombe in 2005
21 die in motor accidents in Umuahia
7 feared dead in Lagos, Ogun road accidents

     

Road accidents are not peculiar to Nigeria. An accident on the road is a worldwide phenomenon and there are possibilities that worse statistics exist in some other countries. However, this is an example of what we need to remind ourselves on the need for an improvement regarding safety on the roads. Those headlines above are really very scary and to imagine that it is a daily occurrence is disheartening. Can one day pass in Nigeria without a road accident? I am asking if we can really celebrate an accident free day in Nigeria.

Between 1988 and 2005, no fewer than 123, 933 lives were lost to road accidents in Nigeria. That means that for 17 consecutive years, an average of 7 290 lives were lost annually in Nigeria as a result of road accidents only.

The statistics that emerged afterwards left one in confusion. How can 4, 944 Nigerians died in road accidents in 2006whilst an estimated 400 lives are reported to be lost daily on Nigerian roads? It is therefore not clear to me if only 13 lives are lost daily on Nigerian roads in 2006 and then 146 000 Nigerians died in 2007!

Why do we have high rates of accident in Nigeria? Why do the accidents usually come with deadly consequences? Here are few examples of the reasons:

  • Ignorance
  • Illiteracy
  • human factors such as driver error, over loading, over speeding, lack of proper driving experience, non-adherence to road signs and regulations, traffic officials, non or improper use of vehicle lights, alcohol and impatience among others.
    Source: Adrian Egonu, a road safety expert

Still there are more reasons why road accidents do occur.

  • Broken down vehicles on the road that are not removed have caused serious accidents in daylight and more devastating accidents at night.
  • Bad tyres have also caused serious accidents which bring the issue of vehicle control into serious credibility doubts.
  • Lack of first aid knowledge which means that even when sympathizers arrive at the scene of an accident, the only thing they do is scream and shout. Here is a very painful personal experience of a Nigerian mother who lost her son probably due to lack of first aid in an accident where 7 other people were reported dead.
  • Very bad roads, very narrow roads and roads without road marks or lanes are also reasons why accidents do occur. There are several instances where drivers try to avoid pot holes (death traps) only to collide at high speed with oncoming vehicles.
  • Darkness on the road made complicated by non-road worthy vehicles lacking driving lights could also be a factor. There was a story of an undergraduate student in Ilorin who was killed instantly when he mistook a car driving with one headlamp for an okada motorcycle!

How can we get out of this menace of road accidents and the subsequent calamities? Efforts of the Federal Road Safety Commission undoubtedly are inadequate. In a country where everything looks disorganized and where reliance on governance does not give an assurance for proper conducts, the resultants entanglements of which the menace of road accidents is a by-product will definitely take more than wishful thinking to elucidate.

Still, if we can identify a problem, we must also continue to proffer possible solutions. The approach will be multi-dimensional and directed as follows:

  • To the drivers
    Imagine how beautiful life would be if all the drivers on our roads were educated enough to attend the mandatory driving schools! Imagine if they could pass the basic driving tests in theory and practice. Imagine if they are made to do practical driving in a simulated rain condition! To a very appreciable extent, lack of education and non-attendance at a driving school are taking their tolls on human lives.
    The human errors would have been limited also in the absence of drunk driving. Who can stop our molue and danfo drivers from drinking ogogoro and segbe or what do they call that intoxicating drink?
    Driving on Nigerian roads has been reduced to speed racing! Generally, Nigerian drivers are reckless. It has reached a point where psychiatric test should be extended not only to the politicians but anyone who takes to the wheel as well. It is that serious!
  • To the vehicles used on the roads
    The age of a vehicle is not the issue here but the road-ability of the vehicle. In an extremely strict manner, vehicles that are not road worthy should be sent to the recyclers ASAP. No vehicle should be on the road without driving lights, working signals, driving mirrors and other basic things. If a vehicle cannot be started by using a car key, it has no business being on the road in the first place. It can break down at anytime and cause an obstruction and accidents subsequently. Summarily, any car that does not fit should be thrashed. It shouldn’t be a matter of life and death to have a car on the road.
  • To the roads
    Can we have local, state and federal governments that will use tax payers’ money to build good and durable roads? Can we have a system where such roads will then be maintained regularly? Canyons and gullies on our roads have helped to send our friends, families and acquaintances to early graves. Sunday Awoniyi, a Nigerian politician had an accident recently and eventually died in an hospital. Maybe he could have lived longer, just maybe! All over the world, the rich also cry you know.
    Do we have zebra crossings or safe zones on our roads? Would a normal Nigerian driver observe the zebra crossings? To my knowledge, I have not seen a Nigerian driver waiting to let people cross at this sign unless a uniform man flags him down.
    Do we have adequate road signs? Entry sign? Exit sign? Parking /garage? Speed limits sign? Danger sign? I imagine that danger signs should be at every 20m of road stretch in Nigeria. Kids at play? Men on road work? Police station? Airport? Public toilets? Hotels? Residential area? Congested area? Shopping centres ? Industrial area? Water reserved area? Slopes? Sharp bent? Advanced lane signs? Merging lanes? Roundabouts? Distance to next gas station? City centre?
  • To all road users
    It is not only drivers mentioned above that are road users, even pedestrians walking along the road, passengers in the vehicle and anyone outside of his home is a road user. Hawkers on our roads endanger themselves through their trading activities. Some have shops on the roads or simply too close to the road. The notorious aspects reveal young men and women and several underage children of diverse nationalities running after vehicles with things to sell.
    While drivers are being urged to be careful, the other road users should not constitute themselves into deliberate dangers.
  • To road safety agencies
    What is the Ministry of Transport doing to ensure safety on our roads? What measure have they enacted to make our roads motorable especially with tax payers’ money at their disposal? How can the Road Safety Commissioner (FRSC) be a better body? Is anyone looking into their operations with a view to promote their efficiency? Compare to state commissions like the bullying but now tired LASTMA, the FRSC appears to still enjoy better public support and confidence. It would therefore be in order to work for a better service.
    What about highlighting the importance of the knowledge of First Aid to all and sundry so that we stop screaming at the scene of accidents and render help instead before the ambulance come?
  • To the police
    To discuss about the police may result in a rejoinder by their new PR man who seems to have all the venom for critics. But can the police do something drastic to change their image from a body that request 20naira as a proof of life to one that the public can trust? Where the drivers have failed, road safety as I have come to know in European countries, rest on the police. Imagine if I am overspeeding and I get caught by the police in Sweden. There are 2 possibilities. It is either I forfeit my license if I was overspeeding in a residential area or I get a heavy fine if it was in another location. On a very bad day, it could be both fine and lose of license at anywhere sef!
    What do the Police do about stubborn drivers who don’t wear seat belts? Come to think of it, even okada bike racers are finding it difficult to comply with the directive to wear helmets and their passengers too don’t care! Who will cure who?
    Do people lose their driver’s license in Nigeria? I’ve never heard of that even with many of my friends possessing Nigerian drivers license delivered to them at home (by proxy) at that time when we don’t even know what a gear was!
    We have a complex situation on our hands and with the prevailing socio-economic reality in Nigeria, my essay may be as useless as I can imagine. Who is reading sef? I always ask myself; who have we been talking to/ writing to in Nigeria? Waste of keyboard punches!
  • To the government specifically
    How many ambulances have been budgeted for the 140 million people in Nigeria? Do we have 911 numbers working 24-7 and not all those 0805, 0802, 0802 ten digits numbers? Apart from crying on locations where we have bad roads, what other efforts is the new Minister of Transportation taking to improve our highways? Will new roads be constructed? Will the ones with gullies be repaired once and for all and maintained forever and forever? Will they put road signs and other road safety measures on our roads? Is it realistic to ensure that all drivers are educated one way or the other even if they cannot read and write?

 
In a manner of digression, for the past 10 years, Sweden is trying hard to achieve a zero-accident situation each year. But since accidents would always happen, they also have a parallel vision of no deaths in the case of accidents. This is based on the assumption that everyone would follow traffic regulations and that all road users will continue to show more considerations to one another. Hence, disappointments have been expressed again in 2007 because almost 500 people have died this year in road accidents in Sweden. Talk of human error or human nature…

But what measures are being taken by the government of Nigeria to ensure that 10 or 100 or 400 people do not die on the road tomorrow? Is anyone planning to avoid the deaths of 150 000 Nigerians on the roads and highways in 2008 only? Are there long term agenda or plans? Does a Nigerian life mean anything to the administrators of policies and politics in Nigeria or is it just a case of who cares about how many people die! Afterall, what difference does it make in a country already overpopulated with over 140 million people?

Reference: The Guardian Newspaper, Yahoo news, This Day Newspaper and Vanguard Nigeria.

aderounmu@gmail.com

Nigerian Untouchables (2): Bola Ahmed Tinubu

By Adeola Aderounmu

Bola Ahmed Tinubu, just like Orji Uzor Kalu, has a moral burden. If he is innocent, he should be suing Ribadu’s ass too up to hell. Early in 2007, Ribadu the EFCC boss said the commission was investigating Tinubu in a case that had an international dimension. The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) also accused Tinubu of operating some 16 foreign accounts in the names of his wife and children, as against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution which bars serving public officials from operating accounts outside the shores of Nigeria.

Tinubu had challenged the EFCC, the ICPC and the other anticorruption agencies to provide evidence of his wrong doings or go rot in hell. However, this kind of allegation is not something that someone should deny on the pages of a newspaper, it behooves on the person being accused or indicted to seek redress using the judiciary in this case.

From another angle, it appears that the EFCC may have given the glory to the looters. I have predicted that it may take 9 years to bring all the corrupt 35 governors to justice if the operations of the EFCC continue at the current rate. It is not still clear what has happened all of a sudden to the May 29 deadline that Ribadu was chorusing. There was a lot of anxiety created by the media hype concerning the destiny that awaited the likes of Tinubu.

But was Tinubu actually corrupt? This is left for Ribadu and the other agencies that rang the bell to prove in the court of law. Until that time that Tinubu would be in the same shoes as we now have Ibori and Fayose, let me continue to describe him profusely as an untouchable.

Digression

Tinubu became the governor or Lagos in 1999 and vacated the seat after 8 years as the number one man in Lagos. For 8 long years, Lagosians were steered and directed by Tinubu. What can a person achieve in 8 years? I know 8 years is long enough to earn 3 academic degrees or a dozen of it if we follow our illiterate politicians to the online approach. In 8 years, a medical student should have become a medical practitioner if he or she is successful. A child born in 1999 would be in primary 3 or 4 in 2007.

To some people 8 years means nothing! It seemed like yesterday to them and therefore they don’t expect any meaningful progress in governance in 8 years. Some people don’t think 8 years is long enough to touch positively on all aspects of our lives. Clearly, Babangida used 8 years to destroy Nigeria, Obasanjo did the same in his smuggled 2nd and 3rd terms in office as a politician and virtually all the governors and local government chairmen followed the trend of spending 8 years or less to confine over 90% of Nigerian permanently below the poverty level! Tragic!

People who live in Lagos will have to counter the opinion of some of us who are no longer permanent resident of Lagos that Tinubu was a failure (overall) as the governor of Lagos. I lived in Lagos when Tinubu became the governor. I knew when some roads in Surulere area were repaired and there was one particular road close to Ojuelegba area that was even done twice to my amazement. Either there were complains on how the job was done or it was re-surfaced to please Obasanjo as a visitor, I wouldn’t know. There may have been other pluses for Tinubu here and there but when I returned to Lagos after 5 years of sojourn abroad, I saw a government that has failed the ordinary people. I am almost convinced that it will take more than an average intelligence to fix the transport wahala in Lagos. So, you can imagine the deadlock with unintelligent minds rotating offices and looting just like that!

In fairness though, the uneven development of Nigeria and economic prowess of Lagos that continue to aid the mad rush to Lagos from all over Nigeria and Africa are taking negative (rather than positive) tolls on Lagos. Who can solve the problems of Lagos? This state definitely needs better managers. Would it take an unborn genius to know that the transportation problem in Lagos is an everlasting pain in the absence of a metro/Tram system? Bus lanes and LASTMA are mediocrity in approaches. A means to oppress, suppress and cause unnecessary hardship I would say if you probe me further.

Aside transportation, there are other serious problems in Lagos. Housing, water, environmental sanitation, extremely bad road, dilapidated schools, rage of armed robbery (which is a nationwide phenomenon anyway) and lawlessness are parts and parcel of Lagos. Power supply is bad in Nigeria; the situation is extreme in Lagos. Perhaps this may not be unconnected with haphazard existence of everything. Urban planning is sort of relegated in many parts of Lagos. In my own observation, after 8 years of Tinubu, Lagos was nothing to write home about. Maybe Alausa is beautiful, but what Chidi Anyaeche gave us in this graphic reporting sum up Tinubu’s Lagos. The dreadful revelations in this report are simply indefensible by any standard. Earlier, in how dangerous is Lagos I have challenged the new selected governor of Lagos and the Oba of Lagos on the embarrassing status of their common domain.

It may appear easy though to blame some of the shortcomings of Ahmed on the nonsense perpetrated by Obasanjo when he disobeyed a court ruling and deprived Lagos of Local government funds for 18 months. The wicked man probably withheld more than 200 billion naira from Lagos State under Ahmed. Yet Ahmed Tinubu couldn’t stop boasting of his fulfillment in his administration internally-generated revenue (IGR) which he said rose to about N5 billion monthly from the N600 million that was the case in 1999. He said most capital projects in the state are being financed with the IGR. The question is, in what ways have these projects impacted on the people’s life. Tinubu should take a tour of Lagos as a private citizen and tell us his observations after the tour de Lagos. This is the same Tinubu that chastised the federal government macro-economics in increasing foreign reserves and spreading poverty at the same time. How was his performance better at the state level? With all the bad roads, death traps, dilapidated schools and the gimmicks of commissioning new ones, what was the rationale for giving 2.5 million to The Church as an outgoing governor? Was that part of the capital project that the IGR was meant for? To what end? 

Digression ends

Back to the charges of corruption against Tinubu. Is Tinubu, their Asiwaju innocent? Is that why he is still untouchable? An innocent man cannot be touched unless trumped-up charges are made in the first place. Tinubu has challenged the EFCC on a number of occasions, even when EFCC stated that it had facts against the former governor. In June 2007, in what appeared like paying evil with good, Tinubu advocated for the sustenance of the EFCC. Hear him, “EFCC is like a deterrent to mismanagement and fraud, but should not be used to settle scores. We all unanimously agreed to fight fraud collectively. I did not see any charge sheet of fraud, mismanagement or irregularity presented to me by EFCC”. See here. However, in what then appears like a funny drama of our time, earlier in February, Tinubu was one of those who went to court to stop the EFCC from arresting or prosecuting him. Later in May, Tinubu had a faceoff with EFCC

As stated earlier, Tinubu has been accused of owning 16 foreign accounts with some reportedly operated with the names of his children and relatives. Tinubu charged the EFCC to publish the date the said foreign accounts were last operated. “Shame on them that they even joined my children in the fight I put up with them against tyranny and oppression; I teach my children how to live happily; how to be prudent and how to save the little gifts given to them by the people and my friends. They would be fast to publish anything against me, but they cannot publish the accounts they run for their concubines all over the world. I say shame on them for not having the courage to publish those ones,” he said.

Asking that the EFCC should state when the accounts were last operated is a dubious deviation. It is not the same as saying the accounts didn’t exist. Anyway, it doesn’t confirm that the accounts are dubious either. But does it mean the accounts were operated before and had been emptied and inactivated once the purpose of money laundering had been accomplished? That would be a typical 419 concept of offshore siphoning. Again, teaching one children’s to be prudent does not mean one cannot be a thief or looter. It is not implied or inferred in anyway.

Guessing and assumptions will not help much. Hence, the EFCC must take up this challenge in earnest if it had not. We don’t want to read it from other places on the internet. We want to hear it in a press conference that the EFCC has completed their investigations and are now ready to go ahead with the prosecution of the man-Tinubu. The EFCC should give us the details directly. We want to see all the 16 accounts released by the EFCC? We want to know whether all the rantings about Tinubu were mere public gimmicks or true stories. Stop fooling around, ok? But if Ribadu has wrongly accused Tinubu in the name of the opposition to the yeye plus useless third term of Obasanjo, then he should tender a public apology to Tinubu. There is no harm in apologizing.

Before we forget though, Tinubu’s campaign in 1999 and 2003 were based on the same promises having failed in the first term to deliver. He cajoled the people twice. Anyway, do the votes really count? He boasted on how he out-smarted the PDP in Lagos during his time. He is also known to be a big donor to AC . Anyone who can boast of single-handedly funding the bulk of the money needed to run a political party needs to be scrutinized intensively.

In addition, why did Tinubu forced Fasola on Lagosians after previously swearing that he would not interfere with the process through which a governorship candidate would emerge? Was it one of those their smart political moves of CYA-cover your ass. Tinubu invariably singlehandedly installed Fasola in what would appear like you are my boy, you will see evil but you will not talk about it and I am your maker! In the words of a big liar “ “I am a democrat and I have no intention to impose any candidate on the party . Now that Umaru has released all the funds withheld by the mean and stubborn Obasanjo, who knows how much is Tinubu’s cut? All those local government chairmen, what do they even do sef? They are closest to the people just to share allocations/money and to remind the people of their extreme impoverishment. What a scandalous country?

Nigerians in the diaspora are not helping the political madness in Nigeria at all. Imagine that Tinubu received an award in London for his contributions to the development of Lagos! Which Lagos? The one that I know? How much did he pay the yeye organizers of the awards? How many people died as a result of the resultant financial recklessness or negligence in Lagos? It is 100% wrong to say that a governor or any public servant tried when passing remarks on jobs well done or not. Whatever good things anyone does in public office is not a favor; it is an obligation which the office or position demands. If a public servant or governor is not willing to serve, he or she should not vie or force his/her into position in the first place. Therefore in my own reckoning, no one had tried; anyone who did a little or all of what he should do is upholding the dignity of his office and deserves no reward on that basis per se. But on the other hand if anyone in public service stole even 1 naira, such is a thief. It’s crystal clear!

On the face value, Tinubu pretends to be smart. His utterances in favour of justice, fairness and the unity of the country cannot be ignored. His travails as part of the NADECO crew and subsequent exile were largely rewarded when he became the governor of Lagos. The custodians of history will be in a better position to elaborate on his exploits in NADECO as a mainstream actor or an opportunist in the wings.

Fasola has presented his budget to the delight of whom else but Tinubu? The point is that of continuity and that Lagosians will see improvements in their lives. For 8 years under Tinubu, in how many ways did Lagos improve? We’ll see what 403 billion naira will do in 2008 only. We are watching very closely.

Where is Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC? Is Tinubu only just about the foreign accounts? Anything else in Nigerian being covered up? Nigerians are interested in knowing those things that have made Ahmed Tinubu one of the untouchables. To this moment, Tinubu is right. He said he sympathizes with Ribadu but now I think we are all sympathizers to the empty threats and boasts of Ribadu. If anything at all, he promised to pick up Tinubu, Kalu and Shekarau at the same time. This is the end of 2007 and Tinubu remains at large-highly untouchable!

Almost everything in life is a function of time. It will tell!

References: The Nigerian Guardian Newspaper, The Punch Newspaper, EFCC Online.

I’ll be back with The Untouchables 3.

Nigerian Untouchables? (1) Orji Uzor Kalu

Adeola Aderounmu

The EFCC gave us some tips in the heat of the 2007 selections. They told us that only one man named Umar was a little corrupt compared to the other 35 governors we have in Nigeria. It was to justify his choice as the anointed one. It is therefore still very surprising that this man became their president in a criminalized fashion that had since rendered the American Rambo and our own Shina Rambo as toddlers in the hall of fame of criminals. More than 6 months after the charade and shameful parade, you can count on your fingers the number of governors that have seen the wrath of the law. Many of them are enjoying their loots after plea bargaining and some have not even been answerable at all for crimes against humanity. That Fayose and Ibori are been investigated and detained at this moment is a far cry from the expectations of millions of Nigeria. But you can say half bread is better than none.

What is good for the goose is also good for the gander; more than 100 million Nigerians will feel good if Kalu, Tinubu, Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku, Odili and the rest of the corrupt pack can also spend their Christmas and New Year behind bars. Ibori is down, let’s stop hitting him below the belt, that hurts! Let us also stop being bias as to who will choose to punch so hard and who will spare as no-go-area. A thief is a thief!

Orji Uzor Kalu is a man whom some people can support to any extent possible. Take a quick rundown of certain comments on the web and then you’ll know that Judas is a saint. It is appalling! Sometimes, I wondered if the heat would have been off Ibori’s head if he had established an additional newsprint called The Moon or if he could cough some dough to some whiz kid to run online news at rainforestreporters.com . At least, the heat would have had a divergent effect. He was so busy buying all the perishable things of life that he refused to learn from the best. No one should look further for the traits of an ex-convict.

Kalu became the governor of Abia State in 1999 at the age of 39. His antecedents as a successful business man and his alleged achievements as a governor were treated in details here . However, controversies surrounding his academic qualifications and performance as a governor made serious headlines too. On one occasion, Uche Nworah (ABU) had this to explain on the performance of the governor . And on Wikipedia, which is not my favorite place for information, questions about his PhD and BSc were treated. I am not in a position to determine the authenticity of the information .

During the third term bid of Obasanjo, Kalu, a man who was later accused of stealing more money than any other civilian governor in the history of Nigeria was very outspoken and he was daring to confront Obasanjo. In Kalu words, “There is massive fraud in the Presidency and nobody is talking about it." . At that time, EFCC had become a tool in the hands of Obasanjo and the agency was used to torment the opponents of the third term bid. In the course of written and unwritten history, this erroneous decision by Obasanjo as a tyrant will never be forgiven. The reason being that until that time, Nigerians were unanimously happy that the EFCC is a much needed organ to scrutinize thieves and ex-convicts aka politicians in Nigeria. That error has brought k-leg into the activities of the EFCC and till this moment, EFCC has never been the same again! The consequences cannot be treated in details here.

All the same, the error of the EFCC or the misdemeanor of Obasanjo or not, the EFCC told us that they have evidence to prosecute Orji Uzor Kalu and his likes. They named Tinubu along with him. Hence, on the 10th of October 2006, the EFCC undertook what easily went as its single largest crackdown on corruption in Abia State" . The crackdown even involved Kalu’s mother!

Ribadu told the then Senate that Kalu’s Abia State topped the list on the corruption table, not just because the name is first in alphabetical order, but indeed. He alleged that corruption in Abia State spanned three generations of the governor, including the former governor’s mother and daughter. To elaborate, On Abia State, he said: "Abia is number one not because it is number one alphabetically but because we have one of the biggest established cases of stealing, money laundering, diversion of funds against Governor Kalu," adding that the governor used his mother, daughter, wife and brother to divert N35 billion to build his business empire, including Slok Airlines, Slok Pharmaceuticals, and a newspaper house. This is a very strong statement coming from Nuhu. It is not an ordinary allegation and Kalu has every moral justification to clear his name and that of his family. In the end, if Kalu turns out to be innocent, he should be suing Nuhu’s ass up to hell. Whichever way you look at it, these are issues that span beyond Obasanjo’s third term imbroglio or a mere attempt to tarnish Kalu’s political ambitions.

The arrest of Kalu on the 11th of July 2007 did not come as a surprise to anyone keen on the realizations of the threats that Ribadu had dished out times without number. Those of us in this category of Nigerians expected 35 governors to be in custody on May 30 2007. If the slowness accompanying this illegal regime is rubbing on EFCC, then we are in for one of the longest (marathon of) prosecuting acts in human history. Two governors in jail in 6 months imply that 4 will go to jail in one year. Therefore it will take the next 9 years to finally finish putting all the governors in jail. Can Nigerians afford the wait for this kind of slow poison regime? When then will all the former presidents, head of states and other corrupt public officers and politicians finally land in jail?

Kalu as we are made to believe is out on bail and the AGF took over the case in a manner that is subtly violent . It seems the case file continues to dangle back and forth between the office of the AGF and the EFCC. Anyhow, honest Nigerians are happy that Ibori and Fayose are not examples of sacred cows any longer. Where is Dariye? We hope that the law is allowed to take its full course and if these men are willing to speak, let it be. Let them tell us what they gave to Obasanjo and Yar Adua or how they simply connived to spread hunger, poverty and penury on a large scale. If there are other complications, they have the right not to remain silent; Nigerians want to know the truth. We want to learn from history. Let them pay for the crimes that they have committed and let the others who are in similar situations begin to brace up for the challenges of the days ahead. We don’t want to be disappointed with another round of plea bargaining! It was Ibori yesterday and Fayose today. Who says tomorrow cannot belong to Kalu or Tinubu?


Next on the list is Tinubu. Like Dariye, Ibori and Fayose, Tinubu also challenged Nuhu Ribadu and his EFCC. We know where some have ended up today. How will the EFCC brace up to the Tinubu’s challenge?

Watch out for The Untouchables (2) with Bola Ahmed Tinubu.


References: The Guardian Newspaper, Wikipedia, the Nigerian Village Square and Orji Kalu dot com.

Let every man who hopes to remain free continue to be a slave to the law!

China and the Resurgent Global Quest to Plunge Africa.

Adeola Aderounmu.

With a looming AFRICOM in view and the unprecedented grip of an emerging China, the stage seems set for the mad struggle and final conquest of Africa. Who will control the influx of dangerous drugs and toys to Africa? Europe even created a new slogan of equal partners as the renewed face of an old cheat that had stolen directly and indirectly from Africa over the centuries. Africa is in a serious dilemma!

Indeed, China has made giant strides in economic growth such that the other parts of the world tremble. China is a force to reckon with globally and no one can take that away from them. On the other hand most parts of Africa (especially the popular sub-Saharan Africa) have remained in comatosed stagnation. Some African countries have not made real progress since their self-determination.

Surely, the negative impacts of the colonial rule cannot be ruled out for the apparent lack of progress in a number of African countries. However, to continue to lay the blame for retrogression of African countries on the doors of these former intruders is absolute fallacy. Ethiopians always boast that they were not colonized yet the poorest people in Africa probably live in Ethiopia. Leadership in Africa as exemplified by many false democratic institutions, dictators and tyrants is pure failure. Many African countries are perishing for lack of missions and visions. Civil war, absolutely unnecessary frictions and political instability have been additional woes to the several stumbling blocks in the way of the needed progress in Africa.

The lack of will and the absence of quality leadership in Africa therefore continue to expose Africa to neo-colonialism and imperialism. Africa remains a dumping ground for all sorts of wasteful European, American and Asian experiments. With the prevailing economic and political woes resulting from tasteless and rubbish leadership in Africa, the continent has found the romance with China somewhat irresistible.

Arguments are rife on the gains and pains that may result from this rapidly expanding romance between china and Africa. China has been doing some great deals in Africa and here are a few of them.

What is the China approach really that makes her to continue to win more friends in Africa? Does anyone know the good cards that China had played and the evil ones that are being hidden? Is it all about the energy sector and the oil talk? I think that China’s invasion of Africa may have effects on several aspects of the African life. May I point out a few problems that China will bring along or transfer to Africa?

Pollution

I know that China has a serious pollution problem and she may have overtaken the US as the number one contributor to greenhouse emissions. There has always been a need for industrial growth to be matched with waste management but China like many other countries has not been successful in this regard and there are anxieties already over the marathon races and cycling that would take place at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. In the end, China may pull through the hosting successfully but how the problem would be solved on the long run remains a dilemma for the country. With 1 000 cars registered daily across China and with industrial pollution that even hit Russia, how will China rescue Africa from such a scenario if we come to that point when she has not rescued herself? The problems of global pollution and the role of China are more complex than I have briefly stated here. The US however is the number one foot dragger on recommendations to solve climatic problems. I was not taken by surprise at the near deadlock at the just concluded climate meeting in Bali

Fake products

China is not only using fake products in her own domain, she is also sending them out big time to other places. Nigeria has been a safe haven for fake drugs in the past and many lives by been lost by swallowing ordinary dusts or powders for drugs. Specifically China is the main source of fake medical supplies in Nigeria. The others are Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and India. NAFDAC Boss, Dora Akinyuli has been working hard to eradicate this menace in Nigeria. With China as a major African partner, Dora or her successors and their counterparts in other Africa countries may get their hands fuller in the years ahead.

China makes fake of everything including fake toys that are injurious to children’s health. If they are to control growth in Africa and HIV AIDS is not doing it, sending toys and drugs from China to Africa may be “the African solution”. I mean Chinese doctors kills Chinese patients using fake drugs. This is not to imply that similar problems do not occur in other places or other countries but China and most of Asia rely on cheap exports and to expect such things to cease under her partnership with Africa is more worrisome than an optical mirage. Who will control the influx of dangerous drugs and toys to Africa?

Economic Violence

The prices of food will rise globally in a few years. Rising global temperatures as well as growing food consumption in rapidly developing countries such as China and India are pressuring the world food system meaning that food prices will rise in the foreseeable future, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

The crux of the matter is that the Chinese will not support the Black (African) business over theirs. They have more mouths to feed and their antecedent in many issues including global business indicates that they will pursue their own interests at ALL or ANY cost! This singular reason of economic violence carries a lot of weight and implications on its own. It can overrun whatever benefits African are hoping for in their alliance with China.

Back to Europe

Europe is not necessarily a better evil compared to China. Europe is suddenly seeking partnership of equality with Africa. That is the new slogan from the old face of a cheat that had stolen directly and indirectly from Africa over the centuries. Europe in 2007 approaching 2008 wants to tackle common global challenges with Africa. What kind of challenges do they have in mind? In all, there is lack of sincerity in the deals that Europe have for Africa

Though it is an African tragedy that our useless leaders have lodge away billions of dollars in European Banks, still it is a European silliness to play ignorance to the effect that this political recklessness is having on Africa economy. Imagine since when people have been asked to continue to donate money to Ethiopian Funds. In the request, the soliciting agency described Ethiopia as the poorest people on earth! Would it not be better for example if EU Ministers dig out the European banks where African leaders have lodged away billions upon billions of dollars and put that money back into Africa? If Europe sends back all of Africa’s looted monies, many of the problems requiring financial inputs on the continent would be solved. The signal would have been clear enough that no stolen money can leave Africa and if they do, they are not acceptable in Europe. They should also return money stolen maliciously through unfair trade before requesting for equal partnership just because they want to beat China in the game of evil plots

Digression

In my opinion, I think that Africans should start looking for long term solutions to their man-made problems instead of seeking aids like beggars. Afterall there are no serious natural disasters in Africa or they are simply infrequent. The earlier we realized that help will not come from outside, the better for us. The sooner we realize that external help is receiving 10 dollars with the right hand through the front door and losing 50 dollars with the left hand through the back door, the better for our own good and that of our children. Africans should sit down and think positively. The world has moved into the 21st century and we need to hasten and meet up. We need a critical examination of our situations and clear cut approaches to our everlasting goals. Africa with the help of needed right thinking leaders and intellectuals must move away from too much talk to non-stop actions until we reach the goals and further.

Great Nations used their best brains to achieve greatness to the good of all. That is why real elections are a fundamental part of most developed countries. The masses use that democratic opportunity and their voting power to entrust their welfare and that of the state generally into the hands of the people that can deliver. African leaders should stop depending on the International community. The continent of Africa can be great on her own, but not in isolation from the rest of the world. What about aligning the system of governance to promote fairness and the emergence of issues instead of personal ego, character assassinations and violent physical assaults? What about promoting fair trade for our commodities? What about the oil rich countries in Africa using their oil resources and agriculture to boost their economy and standard of living? What about putting all the potential mineral deposits in Africa into positive use and not as weapons of war? What about putting a stop to looting and then coughing out all stolen wealth and dedicate that to development reforms? Can Africa leaders stop enriching the developed countries while spreading poverty and pain on the continent?

The abundance of minerals in Africa cannot be matched by any other continent in the world. How many of these natural deposits have been used for the optimum purpose? Instead African leaders are behind the concept of blood diamond, an evil act that is corroborated by the same international community and G-8 that they are running to. Are they too blind to see or too daft to reason? The only reason Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s Nobel laureate ran into a brick wall in the US congress (while protesting the criminalized election in Nigeria) was because the US is more concerned about the oil in the Niger Delta than the progress of Nigerians or our funny elections.

Has anyone been following the bad leadership examples of Zimbabwe and Nigeria? Zimbabwe is a delicate issue and it seems the problem is made complicated by the influence of the British. The issue of Land Ownership and the fallouts of all the power play is a tragic occurrence in Zimbabwe. The sympathy is to the ordinary people of Zimbabwe, they are trapped between the devil and the Dead Sea. All over Africa including countries recuperating from the devastations of war and those eternally plagued with internal strife and bitter struggles, we should all wake up. We need one another as citizens of the same country and as Africans generally.

Our leaders should stop thinking that we cannot develop without the help of the developed countries. We need them as much as they need us to buy our goods and services on a fair trade level. We need them and other developing countries too in respect of the concept of the benefits of international trades, for multilateral co-operations and so on. At the same time, African people must be bold to seek justice and fairness from those who misrule the continent. This is an imperative ingredient to growth and development. There may probably be no need for begging when we do our homework and stop our leaders from looting our treasuries. We may not need some famous musicians to sing into the ears of the so called G-8. Together, we can make Africa G50+ and make ourselves the envy of the world in no time if we define our purpose of existence with the concept of common good.

The development and the future of Africa depend on what we decide and what we allow our leaders to do or not to do. What we must not allow them to do is to continue to play into the deceitful and invisible hands of the international community. Our greater hope surely lies within!

Digression ends

China’s intense quest for Africa has raised eyebrows and concerns in America and Europe. Some people say to Europe and America “serves them right”. With a looming AFRICOM from the America side, what I see is the scramble to destroy Africa by plunging deeper than ever before. It is so unbelievable the kinds of puppet leadership that continue to prevail in Africa. Sometimes I wonder where African intellectuals are spending their lifelong sabbatical such that constant idiocy is a norm on the Dark Continent. Africa is so bad that much of it is even dark from a space view! Before the determination or the end of the eventual tilt of the mad struggle for the new acquisition or re-destruction of Africa, one hopes that Africa wakes up and does her negotiations and businesses with open eyes, a sound brain and with the overriding interests of poverty stricken African people in mind.