Nigeria: Registration of Voters, Elections and A Season of Assassinations

By Adeola Aderounmu

This year 2011 Nigerians will go to the polls. At they have always done since 1959 Nigerians will be unprepared for these elections. There are a lot of optimists urging people to go out and register. In a sane country there is no harm for such a call. It is genuine and noble. In Nigeria, in my own opinion, and as I have argued times without number, the call is dubious, unnecessary and stupid. Votes will be counted in manners that will not portray respect for human dignity. Since 1959 Nigerians have wasted their time and energy on votes and elections that have been rigged and doctored. This year will not be different.

As recent as 2007 Mr. Obasanjo urged Nigerians to participate in a do-or-die election. That election ushered in the illegal regime of late Mr. Yar Adua and the beneficiary today is one Goodluck Jonathan whose political career has been steered more by his name than his vision because he doesn’t seem to have any vision in any case. He is now the candidate to be presented by the PDP- the party- that has given corruption his deepest foundation in the history of Nigeria. PDP was founded by crooks and nurtured by well-known corrupt ex-military and ex-civilian gangsters.

In the recent primaries PDP voters sold their souls for porridge and gave the votes to Jonathan. He paid the most with monies stolen from the Nigerian treasury. Nigerian politicians have not seen anything wrong with stealing and looting. And they always get away because it is accepted in Nigeria to be a thief slash politician. The primaries done by most of other political parties are laughable. One useless party has even co-adopted Goodluck as its flag bearer. Nonsense and ingredients!

I continue to advocate for a corrupt-free Nigeria. I will shout to the top of the roof for a government of merit. National character has destroyed the essence of Nigeria. People are called into government for the purpose of looting and cutting of the national cake as they used to joke. But it is not a joke; these fundamental issues must be addressed. Our politics is rubbish.

The charade been prosecuted by INEC is not turning out to be funny at all. In previous essays I have mentioned that the job and machines are not for INEC but for the National Population Commission. We don’t need these useless registration processes. What we need is a genuine population monitoring process. The implication is that we should be receiving voter’s cards by post or at collection centres at home and abroad. This process of registration is more than 2 000 years old, is archaic, irresponsible and absolutely dehumanizing. It reduces humans to animals.

Among millions of dehumanizing examples, one man left his job and for more than 2 days he was unable to register! Some people get lucky after 12 hours on a queue. There are complains across the nation. In some states DDC machines are in homes of politicians and crooks. In Anambra State, some machines were found in the forest or some sort of shrine. When you apply a system that is more than 2 00 years ago and you think it is modern because you use computers to re-enact the same process, you really need to do a reality check on your mentality. I argued that Nigerians are modern in several aspects of their lives but when you tell them to address these issues of elections once and for all, they tell you that they will get there some day. When?

Electoral processes in Nigeria are tragic occurrences. They present us as a people with extremely low intellectual capacity and defective IQs. With the rulers we have, these are no near surprises. I condemn the registration process just the same way I condemn in advance all the malpractices that will come with it.

There is turmoil in Tunisia and it has spread to Egypt. A serious wind of change is blowing across Africa. Ivory Coast is on the brink whether foreign influence or not.. Africans are wondering what is wrong and the world is amazed. The truth is Africa lacks the sort of leadership that is trustworthy and sincere. Those who considered themselves superpowers gave support to oppressive regimes in some parts of Africa. Those regimes will continue to fall as pan-Africanism continues to find its strength. One day Africa will be where it really belongs to as I argue in a previous post.

The real struggle for the emancipation of Africa is gaining momentum. Nigeria will not be left out. Never!

The wind of change will blow and this can be interpreted in different ways depending on who is making the point and from what perspective. People are talking about Register, Select, Vote and Preserve. This could make a lot of sense if it will happen in Nigeria. But serious minded people will tell you that you can’t sow maize and reap cassava. Wishful thinking has taken away the minds of people from the reality of the lives that they lead. If you live in Nigeria, you know how things are done. The parameters for successful elections and sound democracy are missing.

But those who make peaceful change impossible in Tunisia and Egypt are getting a feel of another type of change. I’m so certain that change will come to Nigeria. What I am not certain of is the preservation of the entity called Nigeria.

Indeed there are serious flashpoints as we approach the 2011 elections in Nigeria. Jos and Maiduguri have now overtaken the Niger Delta as potentially fatal and fragile hotspots. From time to time pockets of riots and violence leave hundreds and sometimes scores of people dead. It will be foolishness to ignore the growth and spread of terrorism in Nigeria. Even Abuja can feel the heat.

As this threat grows our politicians continue to improve their personal securities while targeting self-preservation and perpetuation in offices. No one has been formally charged for all the terrorist acts in Nigeria. Boko Haram looks set to take over Northern Nigeria.

No one has yet claimed to be responsible for the killing of a leading governorship candidate in Borno State. Modu Fannami Gubio was gunned downed along with 6 other persons by gunmen on motorbikes. The unfortunate incident took place outside of his home.

As usual when the evils deeds are done security patrols stormed the streets. The Nigerian government has not made adequate provisions for the prevention of these types of assassinations. Over the decades many Nigerians and politicians have been killed because they are in the opposition party, or they are opposed to tyranny or just aspiring for political offices. Usually no arrests are made. On rare occasions the police make false arrests and then we don’t hear anything again.

This political assassination is unfortunate. It is not the first. It adds up to the pile of unsolved murder cases. It’s a sad situation to belong to a helpless system where the focus is on politics and stealing from government.

The rest of us, in all that we do, we must ensure that our actions, comments and body languages are unified in condemning the type of government in present day Nigeria. A government borne of illegality has no moral standard to steer the course of West Africa or Africa. On what moral pedestal is Jonathan championing the military action in Ivory Coast? Who voted for Mr. Jonathan? Do Nigerians have short memories? Or they just chose to ignore the fact that in 2007 Iwu and Obasanjo messed Nigeria and Africa up? Time does not heal illegality. Being sworn in by a corrupt system or a Chief Justice does not translate that votes have been counted. Let us not mix these issues up.

Let us be clear. Those who live in glass houses cannot afford the cost of stone throwing. If you want to make me a dress, I have the right to view the one you are putting on. Nigeria is not fit to lead Africa based on the glories that predate 1960.

We must put our house in order. We still have the time and the opportunity for adjustments. The early signs for the 2011 elections are catastrophic. The price-winner takes it all- remains a recipe for dissent and violent outcomes.
In a country where the rule of men is far above the rule of law, where social justice remains a mirage and where corruption runs side-a-side a generally disorganized electoral process, it will be sheer recklessness to underestimate the consequences of the forthcoming [likely-to-be-fraudulent] elections in Nigeria in April 2011.

The outcome of this year’s elections may bring changes.

One of the greatest fears is, not knowing how the wind of change will blow. From Liberia, to Tunisia, to Egypt-the wind of change has blown and is still blowing across Africa. The forthcoming elections in Nigeria may serve as a whirlwind or catalyst for the needed or even unnecessary changes in Nigeria. Imagine a change influenced or prescribed by Boko Haram and the terrorists from Northern Nigeria. They are on the loose and the helpless government is applying medicine after each death, if you know what I mean.

It will appear that the resiliency of Nigerians is a momentum gathering phase that has lasted for ever. But like a snow ball rolling down a steep slope it must have gathered loads of additional masses on its way. The impacts will definitely be shattering.

We should never wish for a war. But we must support the types of demonstrations that will lead to the fall of fake and illegal governments that have dominated Nigeria since 1999. We must support all voices of reasoning that will ensure that the stolen loots are returned, to the last kobo. We must support all forms of actions that we ensure that all the houses that Nigerian politicians and public servants have abroad are sold and the proceeds returned to people of Nigeria.

We must attempt to reclaim and rebuild Nigeria. Nigeria is the greatest potential of a superpower from Africa but the foreign influences have ensured that we remain subdued and that our heroes never emerged. It is possible to emerge and it is not impossible to reestablish the greatness of the African mind even if we returned to our tents. [Fear of change is the greatest obstacle to our real freedom-Adeola Aderounmu]

aderounmu@gmail.com

Why I oppose INEC and Nigeria’s Primitive Electoral Style

By Adeola Aderounmu

I remain firm in my opposition to the way Nigeria and Nigerians continue to accept and live with the manner of our electoral processes.

Nigerians have the latest cars in the world. They have the latest music and art collections. Nigerians are probably the best dressed people in Africa. Nigerians build state of the art types of houses. When these things are done by Nigerian politicians it is most certainly with monies that are stolen from the treasuries across the nation. No doubt.

Mention any new invention in mobile and telecommunication industry or any other field of human endeavors, you will find it among Nigerians. Just name it!

The only things that are not modern in Nigeria are the Bankole-Daniel types of Bridges, our federal, state and local government roads, government schools and other public infrastructure. An addition to the list is Nigeria’s fraudulent electoral machinery.

When you propose an argument that our elections must be done using modern approaches and acceptable conditions, a typical Nigerian will argue that Rome was not built in a day.

I remain puzzled by the average Nigerian mentality.

In other things mentioned above, Rome was built in a day.

For things related to stupidity of public services, unacceptable electoral mechanisms, corruption as a way of life and impunity as a vice that must be crushed, Nigerians will come forward saying Rome was not built in a day. O Americans got her independence so so so years ago….we can’t be like them.

These are the types of arguments that those who destroyed Nigeria or who are in the process of plundering the treasuries put ahead of their misdemeanors. Their aims are clear; to confuse the people and to ensure that corruption that enriches a few and enslave the rest of us remains the norm.

In extremely worrying situations religious organizations and bodies encourage Nigerians to pray about problems that require actions and doings. I’m worried.

What INEC is doing with regards to the registration of voters is actually wrong. In previous essays I have argued that it is the responsibility of the National Population Commission to undertake an appropriate census of Nigerians and the people living in Nigeria.

The NPC can easily pass the available figures and statistics to INEC and INEC can send out registration cards by post to our homes.

We have serious problems in Nigeria because as a people we are used to fraud and lies. The foundation of Nigeria as a country is built on deceit. Therefore there is no easy way forward for Nigeria. Still we must be very firm and committed when we undertake certain ventures like counting Nigerians.

One day, as we continue to hope against hope, this country called Nigerian may end up in the hands of the right people-committed people who have brains, who can use their intelligence to deliver the rest of us. It’s a hard call because all those who have been there since 1960 collectively, have failed. Loads of intelligence has gone down the drains. It’s an extremely sad situation.

In Nigerian census, goats and cows are counted so that people from a certain region-mostly the North-can have more people registered than other areas. If we follow the proportionality of the false census from the past, one may conclude that if 13 million people live in Kano then there are probably 30 million people in Lagos. But the corrupt Nigerian government agreed that there are more people in Kano than Lagos. In the world, you will find no greater fallacy!

The reasons for these manipulations of census figures are because Nigerian politicians are crooks. They allocate money to states based on these fake figures and they loot the money. During elections they use these fake figures to rig election results.

These are the vices that are blocking progress in Nigeria. Nigerian politicians lie, steal, murder, loot, cart away and even get away with everything. There are inadequacies in the Nigerian judicial systems that allow crooks and criminals to rule over the rest of us.

Sadly too, we have this resiliency that has been used to our detriment. We allow all kinds of rubbish and say “God dey”. Then we move on to the next stupid phase of our national life. For more than 50 years this country continues to rot away. The third of generation of Nigerians are wasting away and all we can say is “Rome was not built in a day”. Absolute nonsense, baba n’la rubbish!

As I was trying to say, the task of voters’ registration under a given period of time is over 2 000 years old. If Nigerians can apply technology in other aspects of their lives, why not in census figures? Why not to carry out successful elections?

We didn’t have to buy all the so called DDC machines we bought just for the purpose of elections in 2011. The machines have even disappeared into private hands. So somewhere there are falsifications of voters’ list in Nigeria.
Mark my words, 4 years from now, if Nigeria is still in existence, another government will order new machines for new voters registration.

For how long shall we continue to live like this as a country?

NPC must at all times have records of the people living in Nigeria. This is as simple as having a database for the registration of all Nigerians. Here are excerpts from what I wrote in 2007:

[This is the 21st century and it is now possible to count how many people live within a defined geographical region anywhere in the world without much hullabaloo.

To count Nigerians is not a 5-day project. It is not even a 50-day project. Counting in every country should be a routine work revealing how many people live in that country at a particular point in time. It should also involve close monitoring of the number of births or deaths that are recorded daily or periodically.

Taken simply in the Nigerian context, what we need in terms of knowing the population of Nigerians is a long term plan. It is a process that will start gradually, remain focused and eventually reach a stabile. Nigeria needs a system where her citizens are recognized by social security numbers (SSN) or what in other places is known as personal numbers (PN). This number which should be imprinted on our national IDs and passports is a tag that should not be changeable whatever happens! Everything that affects you (good or bad) should always be recorded against this SSN or PN on a computer database.

These SSNs should be with all public institutions under strict conditions of confidentiality and trust regarding the personnel that work in such offices. Some private institutions may have special access too depending on the nature of their assignments. It should not be possible for a person to have double SSNs because fingerprints will go along with them. However, that does not rule out that identities cannot be stolen but if the law catches up with such people, they should face the music directly. An individual’s SSN should be connected to records at the Hospitals, Tax offices, unemployment offices, Insurance companies, Motor Vehicle Licensing offices, Bank records, Statistics bureau, and so on and so forth.

Where do we start from in Nigeria? The problem in Nigeria is that counting is not done with sincerity of purpose. Politicians meddle with everything that is of National interest for selfish gains and personal reasons. This is the debacle that must be removed. A public institution like the NPC has to be re-engineered to catch up with modern realities. The way we count ourselves must change.

Nigeria needs to focus on the task of her census with long term considerations. A 5-10 year plan to count all Nigerians coupled with daily observations of changes from the start will be a good approach. This will make good planning possible. We should monitor daily population growth and periodic influx or out-flux. Where you reside in the country should not be a factor, the point is that we should know that you exist and live within a certain region in the country. If you leave the country, it should be possible to detect that. We should also be aware when you return as long as you have taken the legal approaches to do these things. In crime situations, people can beat some of the checks or controls mechanisms but the essence of knowing the estimated number of people will remain.

It is not ideal to count people in Nigeria using a deadline. This will leave room for panic and people will be rushing or running around aimlessly because they want to be counted in their homelands. There is no need to create chaos just because you want to meet a deadline. It is not necessary to count Nigerians in a hurry. It is also not a matter of life and death that a particular administration should be saddled with the task. Knowing the population is not a job for a particular regime, it is the reason that the NPC is in existence. This Commission, in the future and after good planning, should be able to send out population figures at a click! Nigeria must look into the future; make concrete plans for things that work forever, not temporarily.

What about the NPC registering every Nigerian at its local offices, giving out SSN and taking fingerprints? All the local offices should be connected to a central computer network at the headquarters. State of the art technology must be in place to detect multiple fingerprints.

This is the stage that the world has reached. A person need to be identified with his name, SSN, address, fingerprints, photograph, occupation, marital status, children (or not) and so on. A change of address should be immediately reported so that the state or local government knows who has moved in or out. People moved for many reasons; to be with family, change of job and so on.

Having a lengthy time to take care of population figures will be more than enough to let people know how population flow is observed and what is expected of everyone concerning their registration on the database. When a child is born for example, the hospital should have the means (either by the computer network) or otherwise to inform the local NPC of a delivery. Obviously, the families of newborns know that they are obliged to get SSNs for their children. Representatives of the local authorities would only need to see the baby and the information that they have received from the hospital about the sex, weight at birth, date of delivery and so on. The connection between the local authorities or local governments and the NPC should be paramount as the number of people in the locality should correlates with financial/economic implications.

In essence, taking care of population figures or census is not supposed to be a big deal. It should become a way of life. With time, all Nigerians will be registered. The operations of the NPC must be completely computerized with appropriate backups. The number of foreigners living among us should also be noted. They should also have SSNs that can be coded so that once they appear on the system, it becomes obvious that they are foreigners and the exact country they come from appears. The nature of their businesses in Nigeria should also be revealed by the same SSN.

It is unnecessary and a waste of time and resources to count people before, during and after elections. We should be able to click on the NPC database in the next 10 years and say there are maybe 150 million people in Nigeria. We should be able to say things like, 2 000 foreigners live in Ikeja and that 30 000 Nigerians have migrated to Europe in the last 2 years for example. The Nigerian embassies all over the world should have the responsibilities of the NPC in their various locations.

One hopes that in 2017, NPC will find it easy to look into its database system and tell us how many we are as Nigerians. One of their statisticians should be able to have a cup of coffee or tea by his side and still make a first click to find out the latest entry on the database network and a second click to give the total number of people that are Nigerians. By then it should be possible to stop counting cows, goats, chickens and sheep as humans. If Nigeria is also truly the heartbeat of Africa, then we need to set the pace not only in population or census aspects but in other areas that affect the quality of our lives.

The 2006 census should be the last time we count ourselves using paper and biro. It should also be the last time the government sent people to our homes for the purpose of census. We deserve our privacy! ]

(Original post: How to count Nigerians )

Since I wrote this piece on the Nigeria Village Square in 2007 nothing has changed. If the Nigerian government had been sincere, by now all we need to be doing is sending voters’ cards to our homes, not sending Nigerians out into the sun and rain thereby stressing life out of a people that are already hopeless. But no, we have a system of government that thrives on primitive ideas and massive corruption.

By now INEC should be concentrating on election matters and not registration of voters. Nigeria has been registering voters since 1959, when is that rubbish going to end? It’s funny when we call ourselves the giant of Africa. Nigeria by not being able to send out voters cards to our homes is simple a dwarf of Africa.

If our system of governance and the corruption in our system do not allow us to fashion our electoral processes according to the state of art technology, I repeat that Nigeria is the dwarf of Africa. Or how else shall we be an example to the rest of Africa? And please don’t start that argument about Rome?

If you still want to deepen the primitiveness of Nigerian electoral processes you should listen to Goodluck Jonathan on NTA News. He reiterated that Nigerians should register near their homes because movement will be restricted on the day of election.

When I hear such comments I think about the biblical Herod and the events of more than 2000 years ago.
Why should we restrict movement on the day of election? Why can’t I vote and go where I want to go? Why should our fundamental rights be taken away from us because of elections? There is even no guarantee that the votes will be counted.

The votes can be counted and manipulated because we don’t have a unified and acceptable census figures. Is it not amazing that in the recent Delta elections, ballot boxes were snatched and riggings were reported? The people who voted in the water areas were more than the people who voted on mainland delta.

All of these anomalies are what will be impossible once we get the population figures right. Ballot box snatching will be meaningless if the results of forgery do not tally with the people residing in the voting area. It will make the jobs of the electoral tribunal easy to carry out.

INEC’s DDC machines are not working in some places. The machines needed to be updated. Apart from that the problem of electricity means that the machines have limited time to operate.

Nigerian schools are closed because of voters registration, you will never find a more primitive society that the one that the Nigerian government has created.

If the National Population Commission is given the mandate as I suggested in previous essays there will be no interruption of the education of our children. Updating of the Nigerian population can be done weekly, monthly or annually. These are not impossible tasks. Sincerity of purpose will avail much.

The quality of education is already at an all-time low, yet we manage to close the schools either due to voters’ registration or more correctly due to threats of bombs here and there.

I must conclude. I have several reservations for the forthcoming elections in Nigeria. In 2003 and 2007, across Nigeria, the PDP master minded massive rigging of elections to keep up with a known tradition. In secret locations guarded by men with guns and machetes, men and women sweated as they thumb-printed their way to fake electoral results.

From a very reliable source I learnt that PDP chairmen across the nation supervised these rigging processes. Men and women who became ministers and ambassadors for Nigeria supervised and participated in the useless elections of 2003 and 2007. Goodluck Jonathan is a biggest beneficiary of that shameful process.

If anyone thinks that GEJ is ready to give up that process that brought him this far, that person needs to rethink about what we have on ground and that to this day-that there are no mechanisms to sustain the R.S.V.P campaign.

How do you protect a vote when the numbers of voters are not known? How do you protect a vote when some people will vote several times and results will be forged? This is not about INEC or Jega. This is about a system that is not ready for the mischievousness of the Nigerian mind. To me, what INEC is doing now doesn’t make sense?

Finally, what I see is a bunch of 140m people beating about the bush. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. The charade of the 2011 will be revealed before our very eyes, soon!

I’ll continue to hope against hope that by 2015 we would have built our Rome.

Stupid, It’s ECOWAS..!

By Adeola Aderounmu

My pain in writing this essay is the little knowledge I have on the exact nature of the political crises in Ivory Coast. By that I mean why Gbagbo is really sitting tight and why the country’s Electoral bodies would falsify election results in favour of either Gbagbo or Quattara who are both claming to be presidents of the same country. I’m also not sure why Quattara enjoys foreign support and Gbagbo national support.

I should ask my friends including Kola Afolabi to tell me more about Ivory Coast. It seems that those who understood French language have a better understanding of the situation in Ivory Coast than the rest of us. One day I hope to become a student of political science.

Any day now ECOWAS may use force and military actions to unseat Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast. Brothers will kill brothers and sisters will murder sisters. Africans don’t realize that they are one big family. The disorientations created by goods and slave trade, imported religions, colonialism, and decades of unsuccessful self-governance are some of the reasons that Africans continue to misunderstand their common ancestry.

But where was this useless organization called ECOWAS in 1993?
In 1993 Africa was presented with a golden opportunity that could probably have led to the liberation of the continent for all time.

At that time ECOWAS was probably sleeping and OAU was in coma.

In 1993 one tropical gangster called Ibrahim Babangida committed treason in Nigeria. That was not his first time but it was more serious in 1993.

On June 12 1993, millions of Nigerians voted in the best election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria, or perhaps Africa. The Nigerian people voted and the results were rolling in more to the favour of MKO Abiola. When it became evident that Abiola would win, Bashir Tofa (the opponent) was said to have sent him congratulatory messages.

Records have it that as the results were been announced, the prices of goods and services were dropping. There was a tailor who refused to be paid for the services he had rendered. He was so overjoyed that “at last” hope has come to the people. Some private bus operators were offering free services. Happiness and gladness was spreading on June 12 1993.

People were elated. Everyone was smiling and things were looking up and good despite the fact that Abiola has not been declared the winner.

That was the spirit and mood until Nigerians received a rude shock from the nonentity called Babangida. This useless man cancelled or annulled the best election in our history. There were many theories to this annulment including that Abiola was a creditor of the government, or that a few idiots would not like to see him become president of Nigeria. Some people said it was because of what he did when he was in NPN that he betrayed Awolowo.

As far as democratic principles are concerned those arguments are classified as animal talk.

The fundamental thing about June 12 was that an election held and Abiola won. The crime about it was that some cabal headed by Babangida secretly plotted against Abiola and eternally denied him of the mandate that the Nigerian masses gave to him. He was asked by the people to give them hope, but a few hopeless and selfish persons, some of whom unfortunately are still around the corridors of power decided otherwise.

We were denied the wonderful opportunity of knowing what the next 4 years with Abiola would have meant. Shivers are running down my spine as I write this. Tears are close because we were denied the chance to see “what would have happened with 4 years of Abiola”? One day with potentially Abiola-led government, June 12 1993-was one of the best days of my life! On June 12 1993 my prospective future was finally stolen away from me. No one will understand this but I never regained it!

Many people died in the struggle to actualize that mandate popularly called JUNE 12. Where was ECOWAS when Babangida rolled out the tanks and murdered Nigerians who were protesting the annulment of the June 12 1993 elections?
Where was ECOWAS in 2003 and 2007 especially, when Iwu and Obasanjo arranged a charade for 140m people?

To me ECOWAS is a useless body and this new songs of war must definitely have some undertones. That brings us to the circumstances surrounding the murder of MKO Abiola.

I don’t like to be misquoted. I am not a fan of Abiola. I will never be a fan of any politician whether they perform or not. I curse the day I behold people because of their positions or statuses the same way I have cursed the day I decide to steal public funds. My comments are essentially on public services and how such services must be executed-primarily for the good of all. To understand my opinions, you must read between the lines.

I’m wondering what Wikileaks will come up with concerning the murder of MKO Abiola. I am still wondering why he was murdered while a delegate from the United States was visiting him. How did a cup of tea become a poison? Does Bill Clinton have anything to do with the murder of Abiola? What was in for the US that Abiola was murdered?

We have been warned as Africans to be wary of the roles of the so called “faceless” International community in Africa. It is not a new call. For example you can wonder why there is a lot of international pressure on Gbagbo whereas Babangida suffered no personal loss or any form of pressure when he committed treason in Nigeria, more than once. Where were the French, the UK and the US in 1993 when the will of the people was thrown to the wind in Nigeria?

Stupid ECOWAS, Stupid International community! The world will never know peace because of social injustice and inequality of this nature.

Africans have a long way to travel. They are light years behind the developed nations. Africans must unite and speak in one voice. Africa must find a way to reclaim her position as the citadel of technology. Many elements of human development emanated from Africa. It therefore remains a mystery how Africans allowed the rest of the world to overtake her as she stood still.

Africa must rise again. She must overcome.

The leadership question in Africa leaves a lot to be desired. It is a leadership without the required orientations. It lacks focus, it has no plans and it is built on extreme egocentrism. It leaves no room for tribal integration and collective goals aimed at development and progress. African leadership problem is a major issue affecting the development of the continent.

Africa must retrace her steps to where she started getting it all wrong.

In Yoruba folk tradition we say that if the wall is not opened the lizard has no place therein. This was the case with colonial rule, imported religions and neo-colonization. It may also be the case with imperialism and the underdevelopment in Africa.

The people and rulers of Africa must realize that they are the walls and the International community is the lizard. The meaning of that expression is beyond the scope of this essay. It is an extensive area of discuss. If Africans unite, our true heroes will emerge-without the fear of being killed by national or international killer squads-and we will be free.

It’s a long thing brethren. We must encourage and protect our heroes. Some of us must give up our “freedom” for the rest of us to have it, for now and ever more.

The manipulations of the African continent from within and without must end, if Africa ever dream of catching up with the rest of the world or even to claim her rightful place.

Millions of us are living in poverty as a result of the bad governments across the continent. The situation will not change soon. We have not paid the price for the mistakes of the past and present stupid rulers.

If ECOWAS is a defender of justice and freedom I challenge the Jonathan-led ECOWAS to arrest Babangida for crimes against humanity and for his roles in the murder of Nigerians protesting the annulment of the June 12 1993 elections.
After all charity should always begin at home.

I know Jonathan cannot dare because he doesn’t seem to be the one propagating the war songs. It is obvious he is a tool in the hands of bigger factors. In addition, people who have skeletons in their cupboards will never be part of the true African revolution. Instead they will be brushed aside as we see now in Tunisia.

…Tomorrow will always belong to the people who prepared for it today (Malcolm X).

But we must learn about the truth. It is our passport to freedom. It is the best gift we can give our children, born and unborn. For their sake we must give our today. At any cost, we must!

This post is adapted from my views about June 12

War Brewing in West Africa

By Adeola Aderounmu

Abidjan
In Ivory Coast war is brewing. The two presidents are not yielding grounds. There have been reports of violence, attacks and deaths in Ivory Coast.

I am not an expert on Ivory Coast but I’m not impressed with the experiment that the International community will be carrying out in Ivory Coast if a war breaks out. They will be selling weapons to both sides of the conflicts and my brothers and sisters will be killing one another.

Africa, I beg you. Learn from your past mistakes, lay down your arms and talk some sense.

It doesn’t make sense for two brothers to go to war while a foreigner doubles as both the umpire and the coach.

Wake up Ivory Coast. Where is Drogba and the boys. Go to Ivory Coast now and stop the war. You can do this by negotiation and intervention. Do it anyway you like.

Jos: War can become full blown..!

The recent images of Jos that I saw show that the state may be on the brink of a full scale religious war.

The people of Jos do not trust one another anymore and the situation has seriously deteriorated. Nigerian media houses are not doing enough to report the current situation and the nature of the problems-the complex religious-political volatile mix.

The war is almost certainly going to continue because of the elections coming up this year.

I don’t see how the governor of Plateau state-one clown called Jang-can prevent the forthcoming devastations.

It is a known fact that the military men that are supposed to see to the peace of Jos have been involved in the killing of the citizens of Jos.

Instead of dealing with the war that can eventually destroy the entity called Nigeria, the useless PDP in Nigeria is busy holding primary convention in Abuja.

On several occasions I have mentioned that Jonathan needs to go to Jos and spend 2 weeks or more to dwell among the people of Jos. The solution must be found and for all time.

The war in Jos is still on a small scale. The governor has failed and the Nigerian authorities are treating the war like violence or uprisings. This is a very serious mistake.

A wise man holds the fish by the head.

Lagos Traffic, Lagos Roads and other matters

Adeola Aderounmu

Many Lagosians and residents of Lagos have one thing in common-that is they know that Mr. Fashola has been doing a lot to improve the traffic situation in Lagos. There is no doubt about that. I saw that myself.

There is a network of road that is now being constructed from orile that will lead to badagry. It’s going to be about 10 lanes including rail network. I say bravo to the plan.

Lagos Road

Lagos Road

One sad thing about the situation in Lagos is the bureaucratic problems imposed by the Federal Government. The useless Federal Government has been hindering progress in Lagos. Sometimes the argument is about whether the Lagos State government has the jurisdiction to execute certain projects or not.

You will never understand the madness of Nigerian politics. The useless Federal Ministry of Road and Transport or is it Ministry of Works and Housing has refused to develop or expand Lagos roads. Altogether they have refused to maintain the roads. And then a certain Fashola decided not to follow the way of the ineptitudes before him only for these Federal gangsters to come and stand in the way.

I am hoping that these bottlenecks have been addressed and removed otherwise the Jonathan government should continue to see itself as a disgrace.

The other problem that people are downplaying but which I think has affected the development of Lagos is the Tinubu factor. I have no praises for Tinubu for supporting the candidature of Fashola then and now. I don’t care about his opinions on Fashola. I don’t want people getting my opinions wrong. I have no single word of praise for any Nigerian politician.

Politicians are public servants and they must serve. It is just the Nigerian factor that has distorted people’s minds and opinions about the meaning of public services. Politicians must serve the people and ensure that the society is running smoothly. They are not there to be praised or worship. But the way things have happened in Nigeria has affected the way we look at politicians. Hence it is very easy for people to praise Fashola. They compare him to the idle minds before him.

I have no word for Tinubu except to tell him to go and sit down. Let him stop disturbing the peace and progress of Lagos. Indeed Nigerian politics is such that gives room, space and power to godfatherism, hence the grip of Tinubu on Lagos to this day. Few years from now, he will be history. All the people who think they are important yesterday, where are they today? Nigerian politicians do not learn from history.

But the greatest source of problem regarding Lagos (traffic, roads and other issues) is the people of Lagos. Majority of Lagos drivers have no clues about driving rules and regulations. They drive like idiots. It’s a racing game for them. First to reach, first to go. They don’t know the rules at junctions; they don’t know the rules on the expressway. You will hardly find a Lagos driver giving you way when you have indicated with you blinking light that you want to turn right or left or that you want to change lanes. They call it blocking.

Lagos drivers don’t know the meaning of lane driving. In some places, the government has repaired the roads, drawn lanes and all that. Where there are 3 lanes, Lagos drivers will ignore the lanes and change it to 5 or 6 lanes. Somewhere ahead they will all meet and the traffic will become jammed!

Many of the traffic situations in Lagos are not only as a result of over population but also because of extremely bad driving. If Lagos drivers use their lanes appropriately and follow driving rules, they will prevent up to 70% of the unnecessary traffic jams in Lagos. It is sad because they are ignorant and they don’t know the rules. Therefore they don’t understand why they have such traffic situations.

A journey of 20 minuets in Lagos can take 4 hours. Once I drove from Festac to Iyana Ipaja and it took 3hours and 45 minutes. In other countries that journey will take me just 20 or 25 minutes.

But it is worth mentioning that some roads are still very bad and they have also contributed to the menace of driving in Lagos. Iyana Ipaja by Abesan Housing Estate is the worst place in Lagos. One day we drove about 50metres in a time of 45 minutes!!! This is not an exaggeration. Residents say it could take one hour to just get through Abesan Gate!!!

It’s a region of about 10-15metres only. But the motorists approaching could be thousands and that causes serious problems sometimes. You only need to be trapped at that gate to understand the nature of the problem. Cars are still for minutes and hours. The road is bad and the people drive like mad people. But if they maintain like 2 lanes only for every road approaching that junction, the problem will be less even with the bad road network. But when more than 10 lanes meet at the same point, tell me, who goes first?

Abesan Gate, Iyana Ipaja

Abesan Gate, Iyana Ipaja

Abesan Gate, Iyana Ipaja

Abesan Gate, Iyana Ipaja

At berger area on Apapa Oshodi Express Way, it is simply a death trap. I won’t say more.

Berger Area Apapa Oshodi ExpressWay

Berger Area Apapa Oshodi ExpressWay

Berger Area Apapa Oshodi ExpressWay

Berger Area Apapa Oshodi ExpressWay

There are many bad roads in Lagos but the people are optimistic that given another 4 years and at his rate of achievements, the government of Fashola can achieve more and alleviate the sufferings of Lagosians.

But Nigerians must know that there is a need to provide jobs and incentives in other parts of Nigeria. The gradual decongesting of Lagos will be a needed avenue to ensure that the infrastructures are not over stretched.

21 Road Festac Town

21 Road Festac Town

With or Beyond Fashola future governments in Lagos must have long term goals to take care of the problems in Lagos in terms of roads, housing, schools and water. Obviously there are other things that must be done to ensure that Nigerians in general can live a good and happy life.

Bad Road By Daniel and Bankole's Bridge

Bad Road By Daniel and Bankole's Bridge

One day Nigerian roads will be like this one below

Malmo-Copenhagen Bridge

Malmo-Copenhagen Bridge

Nigeria May Never Get Better

By Adeola Aderounmu

The just concluded fraudulent elections in Delta State confirmed my fears and argument that Nigeria is not ready for new elections. Change is not coming soon. In a previous article posted on my blog and on NVS I have stated that there are several fundamental issues that needed to be addressed before conducting new or rerun elections in Nigeria.

Until those issues are addressed Nigerians will never know what it means to have a free and fair electoral process. It will never happen in our life time unless the fundamental issues are addressed. As far as I am concerned Nigeria and Nigerians will never have free and fair elections in 2011 and not even in 2012. We are not just ready! We can’t keep expecting positive results or outcomes for things we are ill prepared for. It will not happen.

It is so sad because it appears that the third generations of Nigerians are already wasting away. We don’t seem to realise the seriousness of the issues at stake. When it comes to governance and our perception of politics Nigeria is a nation stuck in prehistoric time. We are so backward it is almost impossible to know where we belong to in the time machine.

The rerun election in Delta state, if used as an indicator of human intelligence, showed that majority of Nigerians are disorientated. The thing is people are counting on Jega. Jega is one man and he has no control over the stupidity of the general populace. Jega is a person and not an institution. INEC as an institution lacks the foundation and the majority of the Nigerian people are completely disorientated and malformed in their mentalities. So this gives you a tragedy that is convoluted. Nigeria is a rolling dilemma.

Several institutions are programmed to fail to suit the status quo of the useless and senseless Nigerian political class. The ignorance of the people doesn’t help in any way. Check out the celebration, parties and the drums beating all night in Delta State. Some millions of dollars that should have been used to develop the state and to provide essential services were wasted in one night for parties and stupid celebrations. The next day the people return to their lives of hopelessness and extreme poverty and penury.

A few beneficiaries of the controversial mandate will return to the state treasury and continue the looting process. Every four years different types of fools and sometimes the same incumbent nonentities return to power and keep the status quo. In general the states remain underdeveloped and the country at large gets closer to disintegration.

I am not afraid of disintegration. This country has never been united. A group of tropical gangsters have kept this country together for their own selfish gains. It pains that the rest of us have not been able to fathom how to break the chain of events. A few among us went in and joined the wagon. They promised to change things but they soon get mixed up in the entire dirty game.

Hope may be lost now because it appears that the rest of us are just waiting for our own opportunities to get crunches of the national cake. Nigerian young men who are in their 20s and 30s and even early 40s who have managed to become something in politics have not had any impact on the polity. What I know and heard is that they are also looting the treasuries wherever they find themselves. They do little and steal so much.

So the problems in Nigeria today are not only due to old and bad leadership. It has infected everything and everyone. Make I no chop my own? If na you you no go chop? Abeg I go support the man o, maybe something fit drop for me? We have all kinds of slogans and national disorientation that has left this country as a complete jungle where anything and everything is possible.

Nigeria is a completely lawless society where political thieves and looters get away. They live among us and they are our brothers and sisters. They are our uncles and aunts. It is Nigerians who destroyed Nigeria. We don’t question those who get rich overnight because “he don hit”. If we do, they say “you be bad belle”.

In general people live anyhow and do anything. The government does not function as the regulator of things. The government and the people are entirely disconnected. It is what I saw and something I’ve always known.

Anyone who is expressing disappointment about the rerun election in Delta State is either a fool or an idiot. And if anyone expects that the other elections in 2011 will get better, that person needs to go for a quick medical examination. Delta State is one state, Nigeria is 36 states plus Abuja, the scale of violence and rigging will be unimaginable when the time comes. Sporadic shootings will turn to massive shootings and bombings. The signs are ripe and too obvious to disregard.

The Nigerian government has closed all schools because of voters’ registration. Every time this type of anomaly occurs, my mind races to the intelligent question. Seriously you can’t get to the bottom of the abnormal mentalities of Nigerian rulers. What has the nearly extinct public schools and the [rich-parents, privileged-children private schools] got to do with registration of voters? Have they looked at all the options and that is the best solution? But don’t forget that the children of these useless politicians are not in Nigeria. They are abroad getting the best of education that they denied you and me.

I stand firm on my argument that Nigerians do not need any elections in 2011. We have been a laughing stock among comity of nations. We are the country that doesn’t know how to count and add numbers. It’s so tragic. Nigerians can’t line up to be counted on a simple electoral queue. And we know why. It is partly because the winner takes it all, as in the loot and the money to be stolen from government.

Until the fundamental issue of census is taken care of, we are wasting our time. They say Kano residents are more than Lagos residents and one of my best friends concluded that by implication, Lagos residents are probably about 30m. Seriously you get confused in this fooling game.

Forensic and computing technologies must be up and running before any successful elections can hold in Nigeria. These are among the suggestions I made in previous essays that are available on the Nigeria Village square. (How to count Nigerians and Nigerians don’t need elections in 2011).

There are more voters in riverine delta than urban delta in Nigeria. This simple but crazy deduction by INEC would have been checked by proper census and forensic evidence. Let’s go on with our foolishness as a country and we will always return to square one. Nonsense!

Let us not also forget that proper election is one thing, accountability and seriously sending looters to jail is another thing that can be used to check the nonsense called Nigerian politics. It’s hard to find a starting or turning point since all the key players in Nigerian politics have been and remain thieves and looters. Start from the presidency and take it down, in a normal country these people will be answering for crimes against humanity because of their involvement in politics that has destroyed Nigeria and Nigerian lives.

Again, it’s always hard to discuss Nigeria and I never know where and how to cut the arguments. Nigerian children are at home because of election matters; this is what the incompetent Jonathan administration wants people to believe. But we know that Jos is boiling and in fact boiling over, -a revelation of Nigeria as a failed country and a society on the brink of collapse.

Foreign influences are now in control in Nigeria. Since we couldn’t get our acts together, we have allowed terror groups and counter groups to find niches in our territory. We ordered the mayhem and it has been given to us in dozen-folds. One day they will tell us the truth-that our children are at home, not because of electoral matters but because of the massive bomb threats across the nation.

This is where public looting, useless elections, useless anticorruption agencies, useless government, extremely bad rulership, senseless followership, corruption itself and useless national character has landed us.

What a failed country..!

Who will save our souls?

Why Nigerians Should Not Vote Atiku or Jonathan or Ribadu

Adeola Aderounmu

Nigerians are too gullible no doubt. They are in the habit of settling for less. They adopt and accept bad people as their rulers. When you argue with a typical Nigerian he says that one bad person is better than another bad person. It baffles me.

Some argue that Jonathan is better than Atiku and some argue that before Ribadu no one prosecuted any thief or looter among the Nigerian corrupt politicians. These arguments to me are senseless. In the end they say, ok, who do you want as the president? In very thoughtless situations some people say, if na you, you no go chop?

When I think about these things and the Nigerian way of thinking, I’m close to tears. Sometimes I still cry. Millions of Nigerians have no idea about the meaning of public service. Obviously it is not based on self-morality but on basic guiding principles that public service involves the selfless service of a few men and women for the enhancement of the society or state or nation.

Public service in Nigeria is part of the biggest tragedies of the 21st century. It is an indescribable monumental disaster. Public service in Nigeria is an insult to common sense. It is devoid of value and lacks sense of purpose. In Nigeria public service is an insult to the existence of man.

Everytime I watch or monitor political events in Nigeria I always conclude that Nigerians are living in the dark ages. Some acts are so unbelievable you begin to imagine, how do Nigerians think? The way they show support to one political group or the other leaves me devastated. When Nigerians begin to talk about the reasons why one governor or politician should be elected or given a second chance, I’m so touched I weep for the extreme level of ignorance and stupidity.

I don’t know all the political parties in Nigeria and I don’t know all the presidential candidates but I know that people like Atiku, Jonathan and Ribadu are extremely bad elements that the Nigerian people should start to look for ways to immediately get them out of the political terrain. Delay is dangerous.

Nigerians should start to look at politicians from their track records, score sheets and sincerity of purpose. The more we continue to settle for less, the more poverty, misery and hopelessness will spread in Nigeria. One day we must leave this attitude of settling for lesser evil. We must settle for characters we can trust. We must settle for men of honour and integrity. They live among us. What we need to do is to create the enabling political environment that will lead to their emergence.

ON ATIKU

Here is an excerpt of what my views about Atiku (written 6th Jan 2008)
No amount of press secretaries or press officers can cover our eyes with veil such that we do not see how Atiku in his days in public service and in the PDP contributed to the spread of poverty and penury in Nigeria. For 8 years, Atiku paraded himself as the vice-president of Nigerian under the Obasanjo regime. Together, through their corrupt acts and insincerity, they left office with more problems for Nigerian than what was on ground in 1999. The expectation of the poverty-stricken people of Nigeria was far from being met when Atiku was the vice president of Nigeria.

Atiku’s press office may be quite efficient in refuting allegations of corruption against him. I am not perturbed about what they have to say to defend their boss and their own daily bread. They are doing a dirty job for which they get paid even from looted tax payers’ money! Nothing can take away the truth that in Nigeria, Atiku has gone done in history as one of the looters of our common treasury.

In 1999 and 2003, Atiku helped the PDP to power under the leadership of a very cruel master named Olusegun Obasanjo. Atiku fought a bitter public battle with Obasanjo as a result of the latter’s intention to perpetuate himself in office for life.

[New note: In 2007, Atiku warned Nigeria never to vote for the PDP. He said PDP will turn Nigeria to a one party state and that we will be making the biggest mistake of our lives if we vote for the PDP. He ran on the platform of the ACN] and his promises included:
• Employment generation and wealth creation,
• Security and war against corruption,
• Energy and infrastructural development,
• Education and social services
• The Niger Delta Development.

Atiku promised to pursue programs that would ensure that Nigeria’s wealth must be for all Nigerians.

So, what program was he pursuing or supporting before this time? Nigerian politicians and their ridiculous claims!

Nigerians should be grateful for the hand of fate that cause the katakata between Obasanjo and Atiku because that single event that brought governance to a halt for over a year in Nigeria gave us a deep insight into how Atiku participated in the looting to dryness of the Nigerian treasury. Let us imagine for once that everything went smoothly between Obasanjo and Atiku, then, all the allegations and counter allegations of corruption between him and Obasanjo would not have seen the light of the day. At the peak of their roforofo fight (in Fela’s words) Nigerians became tired of both Atiku and Obasanjo and the urge was to see the exit of both of them in 2007.

The implication of not having such a disagreement and subsequent roforofo fight is that power would have been transferred to Atiku and he would have continued to put up the face of an innocent man while stealing behind closed doors.

In Nigerian politics, corruption is the keyword and that was why despite all the allegations of corruption here and there Obasanjo and Atiku still had followers. In civilized societies, both of them would have been under interrogation and possible prosecution and imprisonment. Immunity in Nigerian governance is a license to steal and loot. What a shame?

So, it happened that the PDP automatically became Obasanjo and Obasanjo became PDP; and the two became one. He threw Atiku out of PDP and deprived him of a platform to pursue or realize his ambitions.

Atiku won case after case in the law court and eventually opted for the AC as the platform for his ambition. During his declaration, Atiku who was the architect of PDP’s rigged victories in 1999 and 2003 had this to say “There is no great country without free and fair elections. We must mobilize all Nigerians to ensure that we have free and fair and credible polls. Let them come out to vote and protect their votes. They must not allow those who want who want to subvert democracy to alter the outcome,” he stated. Notable persons at the event included Chiefs Solomon Lar, Audu Ogbeh, Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Alhaji Lam Adesina, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Chief Segun Osoba and Alhaji Lawal Kaita among others.

What a wish and what a bunch of political gladiators! This is what the other parties and the people of Nigeria hoped and cried for in 1999 and 2003, but the likes of Atiku and his PDP cohorts smiled away with stolen mandates with Obasanjo as the lead beneficiary.

The rest of what happened in 2007 (selection) is history. As a serious embarrassment to all Nigerians dead and alive, Obasanjo installed Umaru in the most shameful and worthless selection process since the evolution or creation of man. In Nigeria, rigging and manipulation of election result are acceptable ways of life.

The EFCC accused Atiku of diverting $125m into personal business interests. The report of his involvement in corrupt practices is quite voluminous.

No doubts, Atiku suffered humiliation as he championed the anti-third term struggle against a dictator like Obasanjo. Even a non-performer like Fani-Kayode could afford to spit his saliva on Atiku. He was the person loud enough to tell us such nonsense that the presidential wing of the Airport is only meant for the President, “not to the Vice President or any other member of the public. It was the magnanimity of Mr. President that allows 20 members of family/staff of Atiku. Indeed politics in Nigeria has continued to bring out the animals in men.

But one thing that continues to trail Atiku to this day is the international dimension of the allegations of corruption against him. They
are popular scandals that had taken a substantial part of the World Wide Web. This is as a result of the involvement of the FBI in the case against him. It could have been cheap counter blackmail to say that EFCC was used by Obasanjo to sniff him dry, but I don’t know if Obasanjo induced the FBI to carry out a raid on Atiku’s US home

The real thing is that both Obasanjo and Atiku exposed each other’s corrupt acts and nothing can change that! No amount of haba! or ngbati-ngbati can take those revelations away. Who does not know that reddened eyes cannot light a cigarette?
Atiku, just like his former boss Obasanjo and several other corrupt Nigerian politicians are examples of people who have not given any account of their stewardships in offices to the Nigerian people. Probity and accountability remain alien to the Nigerian society and several attempts to make it a lifestyle have been crushed by the cabal, both seen and unseen.

To this day in Nigeria, there is a class of citizens that are the untouchables because no matter how much we know about their corrupt attitudes and the evils that they perpetrated, they have never been called upon to answer for their deeds or they always find ways to evade being under the searchlights.

For the suffering masses and the downtrodden, hope is not near!

ON RIBADU

Some Nigerians take this man as their hero. In today’s Nigeria I’m still looking for my hero. I know he is there. My hero is that man of purpose who has been choked by the useless Nigerian political climate.

If I have the opportunity to vote, it will definitely not be for Ribadu and anyone like him with double characters. Millions of Nigerians are suffering because of people who speak from both sides of their mouth and Ribadu is one of those double-talkers.

This was my take on Ribadu written on Jan 2 2008.

…Certain things are too obvious to miss. To continue to deny the obvious things or to continue to polish fallacies to make them acceptable or conventional is crime in itself. Any reasonable person in Nigeria who followed Obasanjo’s intentions knew that he wanted to have a third term as the civilian president.

His greatest tool was the use of Nuhu Ribadu as EFCC chairman to torment ALL voices of opposition or perceived antagonism. Ribadu executed the herculean task with precision. He went after Obasanjo’s enemies and spared the friends. The common thing between the friends and enemies of Obasanjo and Obasanjo himself remains the fact that they are all corrupt. They are all looters!

When the rubbishing game started as Obasanjo’s plot thickened, Ribadu had a choice to resign as the EFCC chairman but he didn’t. He openly and happily executed Obasanjo’s grand design but in the end, both Obasanjo and Ribadu failed. The opposition to the third term bid was too strong to smash.

The ordinary masses who are victims of corruption spoke out loud and clear and the National Assembly had no way around it. They could not amend the constitution.

Ribadu had the opportunity to be a good person but he screwed it up. When he was supposed to nail Andy Uba, he didn’t. The extremely corrupt guy had used Obasanjo’s jet to ferry dollars AND possibly prostitutes across the world. We all knew that was a golden moment for him to cast out the doubts that some of us had about his anticorruption crusade and the mechanisms. He flopped big time!

Ribadu boasted about what he would do to all the corrupt governors in Nigeria after May 29 2007. What he did in the end was to commit very serious crimes against the people of Nigerian and the nation. Plea bargaining of the EFCC under the leadership of Ribadu is equally as serious as the charges of corruption against the governors/politicians themselves. Such a process made Ribadu an accessory to crime.

A thief is a thief and should not be encouraged in anyway no matter the circumstances. Plea bargaining was a tool that encouraged looting and the further spread of hopelessness in Nigeria. The people are suffering and dying in the process. Mass poverty continues to spread like a wild fire.

Corruption is organized in Nigeria. Truly, it is not a job for one man to fight. More so, since nobody would resign in Nigeria even if they are asked to bow to Okija a hundred times over to do a dirty job, there is still a little room to hail Ribadu.
I will not engage in the argument of whether Ribadu should have been retained or sacked. In Nigeria, things are not always the way they seem. Under an illegitimate Yar Adua, joining words with people parading stolen mandates is not wise. What is certain though is that the real fight against corruption in Nigeria is yet to begin.

When it starts, possibly when 140m takes to the street on the same day, the likes Of Obasanjo, Babangida, Atiku, Anenih, Igbinedion, Adedibu (RIP), Odili, Etteh and David Mark would know where they belong. The list would grow to encompass those who demeaned Nigeria from 1960 to 2007. They would land in court or end in jail and the real turning point in Nigeria would begin. Even Yar Adua and Iwu would not be spared in a real fight against corruption. The likes of the Ubas and Aondoakaa at that time when we start to fight corruption will understand the real meaning of the rule of law.

ON JONATHAN

I have not really done an independent piece on Jonathan. But I know that the morning shows the day. Jonathan probably has no good records to show for his time in Bayelsa State. He has not boasted of anything he did as the deputy governor or governor. The man before him in Bayelsa is an international crook and the man after him gave a very nasty report in his first week in office.

The manner of his arrival on the national scene was a disaster to Nigerian politics and he joined Yar Adua in claiming a mandate that was never given. Seriously I don’t like thieves or people claiming what is not theirs in the name of their gods.

In Nigeria, they say it’s God’s work. Since when did God become the father of fraudsters? What was God’s role in Iwu and Obasanjo disenfranchising 140m Nigerians? How did God participate in Yar Adua and Jonathan stealing the people’s mandates?

In a recent blog I have warned Nigerians to leave God out of all these evils that men and women do in Nigeria.
Those who steal or claim false mandates are crooks and they will never play any positive role in the development of Nigeria.

Since the demise of Yar Adua, what has Jonathan done for Nigerians?

Mrs Jonathan’s bad image is even enough for Nigerians to ask Jonathan to step down from his position.
Nigeria must (I repeat-MUST) start to ask politicians and public servants to vacate their positions when serious allegations are made against them or members of their immediate family. Mrs. Jonathan has been involved in criminal activities and therefore that is enough single reason for Jonathan to return to Bayelsa. Nigerians don’t need individuals or families that steal!!!

Unfortunately Ribadu in recent weeks have been talking from the other sides of his mouth. Because of his presidential ambitions he has taken on the whole armour of a Nigerian politician, speaking lies in the process. What a shame! This young man is already treading the paths of the people who destroyed our lives and stole our future.

This piece below (Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman) was written by Sonala Olumhense for the Nigerian Guardian on Sunday 28th October 2007

ON September 11, 2006, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seized $13.5 million dollars (US) from Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the wife of then Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.

The International Herald Tribune quoted the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwajah, as saying that the seizure was made after Mrs. Jonathan had allegedly laundered the money through an associate.

It was the second time in one month Mrs. Jonathan was hitting the scandal headlines. In August, the EFCC had obtained a court order to temporarily freeze N104 million she had allegedly tried to launder through one Mrs. Nancy Ebere Nwosu. The EFCC said it had reason to believe the seized funds belonged to the public. In a sworn statement, Mrs. Nwosu implicated Patience Jonathan, the EFCC said.

But remember, her husband was the Bayelsa State Governor at the time. And Mr. Jonathan’s government dashed to the defence of the First Lady of Bayelsa, alleging that the reports were part of a “plot to destabilize” the state. Government spokesmen were falling over each other to speak for Mrs. Jonathan. The Governor’s spokesman, Dennis Sami, described the allegations as a “charade,” the target of which was the Governor.

“We are aware that the said Nancy Ebere Nwosu is a very remote relation of Her Excellency who has lived abroad for several years,” Mr. Sami said. “She is a successful businesswoman of no little means whose business concerns do not involve Mrs. Jonathan.”
Mrs. Jonathan’s spokesman, Kenneth Ekpelu, fired an e-mail to Vanguard newspaper in which she spoke of “her husband’s opponents who strangely perceive her as the soft spot in his political armour and won’t stop hammering away at her until their decisions to oust him from office are met.”

It is funny how these canned money-laundering defenses sound alike. Didn’t former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s United States lawyer, Mr. Kunle Fagbenle, say last November that Andy Uba – who used part of some funds laundered by means of the executive jet (allegedly without Obasanjo’s permission) to shop for Obasanjo’s farms – could not be accused of money-laundering because Mr. Uba was “already a rich man”? And did not Obasanjo say the Uba scandal was only a “calculated attempt” to ruin his name?

Anyhow, despite the massive protestations of Governor Jonathan, the EFCC pressed ahead. On August 22, 2006, Justice Anwuli Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja authorized the freezing of the N104 million “pending the conclusion of the investigation of the activities of the said persons in connection with their involvement in the acts of money laundering and other economic and financial crimes related offences.”

And then, barely three weeks later, Mrs. Jonathan was in the news again, reportedly being separated from an astounding $13.5 million in US dollars. She must have been one angry woman. But all that was one year ago.

Since then, the Jonathans have moved up in the world. They have left the relative squalor and poverty of a mere state governorship for the Vice-President’s estate. They have left the petty limitations of Bayelsa for the limitless expanse of Abuja. Only one man now speaks before Mr. Jonathan does.

Yes, Mr. Jonathan is the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the second most powerful man in the country. He is also the man President Yar’Adua is trusting with the challenge of the Niger Delta, where billions of dollars are expected to be spent over the next few years.

He has also been talking about democracy, corruption, the rule of law, and development. Just over a week ago, at the All-Delta Peoples Conference in the United States, Mr. Jonathan disclosed that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had authorised the release of all funds due the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). In addition, “Special funds will be provided for special projects in line with the master plan,” he said.

And Mrs. Jonathan has been speaking, too, telling Nigerian women how they can become more fulfilled citizens. Up in the rarefied air of federal authority, you can preach any sermon, even while you have around your neck diamonds and jewels of $13.5 million, and gold bracelets of N104 million.

This is all quite ironic. The Jonathans are living in a dream state. They moved into the governorship in Bayelsa when Diepreye Alamieyeseigha was consumed in a corruption blaze, and into the vice-presidency when the PDP sought someone to balance Umaru Yar’Adua on the PDP presidential ticket.

But they take quite a few scandals with them. Mr. Jonathan left Bayelsa State in a thick cloud of suspicion. Many Bayelsans believed his government had fleeced the treasury. While Mr. Jonathan said upon assumption of office he had inherited a state treasury N25 billion thick, he refused to say what was left there as he vacated office. Bayelsans alleged he had swept the commonwealth clean, and that most public projects were left uncompleted.

Two months after he assumed the vice-presidency, Mr. Jonathan came under severe national pressure to follow the lead of his boss and make his assets declaration public. It took several nerve-wracking weeks of trying to dodge the responsibility, but he finally released the document, which showed the former university lecturer was worth an absolutely unbelievable N295 million. He had only been the Governor for 17 months, and this means he had been growing richer at the rate of close to N17 million per month. Naturally, wink-wink, he did not include his wife in his declaration.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Jonathan…

In its report of last April’s election, the New York based Council on Foreign Relations observed that Patience Jonathan was generally regarded as the “greediest person in Bayelsa State” and a woman of great cruelty. Last June, the Niger Development Monitoring and Corporate Watch (NIDDEMCOW), a local non-governmental organization, asked the EFCC to publish its report on Mrs. Jonathan.
The EFCC has not. This is not particularly strange; the Commission is not in the habit of issuing such reports. But nothing has been heard from the Commission since the flurry of activities of August and September last year. That coincides with the period before Mr. Jonathan emerged Yar’Adua’s running mate.

Apparently, even scandals of that magnitude are no obstacle in Nigeria. Mr. Jonathan got the vice-presidency, and the only man he is answerable to is about to put into his hands, theoretically for the Niger Delta, all the diamonds and gold a man could want.
And his wife? Patience Jonathan apparently hates that kind of snail-pace to fortune. Indicted by the EFCC in only eight months as First Lady on a charge of laundering a few Naira bills, she moved to dollar bills in the millions the following month. That same month, the EFCC report to the Senate called her by name.

Again, this does not seem to matter in Nigeria: weeks later, in October, the Owu Kingdom, President Obasanjo’s people, honoured the Jonathans with chieftaincy titles. In that culture, Obasanjo is the Balogun of Owu; Mr. Jonathan became the Obateru.
If Mrs. Jonathan was thrilled on that day, she must be over the moon today. An EFCC indictment, and yet she can get on any of our presidential jets at any time and drink champagne at State functions.

And how much taller she must be, these days as she stands on the authority of the vice-presidency! From such heights, not only do you dwarf an EFCC, but you also are invincible. What a country!

What I really fail to understand is: If Mrs. Jonathan can so effectively laugh at the so-called war on corruption, does that not make
her the First Lady? On what basis does she perform her functions – the recommendations of the EFCC? Why has Mrs. Jonathan assumed the status of untouchable, or is she truly the nation’s most powerful woman?

sonala.olumhense@gmail.com

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The essays above and that of Sonala Olumhense are collections of essays available online under the following titles:

The untouchables (3): Atiku Abubakar and a swinging fate By Adeola Aderounmu

What Manner of The Man of the Year? By Adeola Aderounmu

Patience Jonathan: Nigeria’s Most Powerful Woman By Sonala Olumhense