The Terrorist Of Trollhättan

We teach kids that the pen is mightier than the sword.

We also teach värdegrund-basic values so that love-(and not religion or race or skin colour) will be the universal basis of our existence.

The Terrorist Of Trollhätttan

By Adeola Aderounmu

On Thursday the 22nd of October, Sweden experienced what has now gone down in history as the worst terrorist attack on her soil in over 75 years. Everybody seems to agree on that postulation.

Anton Ludin-Petersson

Anton Ludin-Petersson

Truly, there are definitely other tragedies that occur in trickles in the last 75 years that we have chosen not to discuss. The media controls us, in no small measure.

Still, the terror attack in Trollhättan, west of Sweden must be stated clearly as it was.

Children attending a grade 1-9 school left home that fateful morning. They hugged their parents and guardians goodbye as they have always done. They went to a safe place where their co-actors-the teachers and staff meet them daily, Monday to Friday.

The teachers, the staff, the resource persons and all the other people that are working together to make sure that the future is secured and better were on ground. They were playing their roles in building Sweden.

Teachers everywhere in the world are working hard not only to teach science and social studies but also what we call värdegrund-basic values so that love-(and not religion or race or skin colour) will be the universal basis of our existence.

It is at school that we-the teachers also teach about democracy and freedom. We teach children how to find happiness by choosing wisely among the options that life provides and to always remember that outside the four walls of the educational institutions, there are laws to follow and there are principles to guide them. We do our best, everyday.

It was in one of such schools, the one called KRONAN in Trollhättan that a young terrorist posed as a halloween celebrant and unleashed mayhem and terror that have now destroyed some lives forever.

A young man actually gave his life so that others might live. He was a young student assistant. His name was Lavin Eskandar. He died of the wounds from a sword attack. Yes, a sword!

The terror attack happened in the environment where we taught kids that the pen will always be mightier than the sword.

A student identified as Ahmed was also racially targeted and murdered by the terrorist of Trollhättan. May they (Ahmed and Lavin) rest in peace and may their families find the fortitude (and love from all of us) to bear the loss.

Let me be clearer, the Swedish media will call the terrorist gärningsman which means the perpetrator. That tag will not be substituted for terrorist in the major media that is controlled by those who tell us what they think we want or deserve to hear.

Incredibly a resistant group of activists and people with liberal minds have helped the Swedish media to correct that nonsense impression by rightly referring to the man who killed 2 people and seriously injured 2 others as a terrorist for that is what he was.

Incidentally as l was putting this story together, l got a message that a formal protest will take place against the Swedish Television in the coming days.

Sadly too there will be a lot of mis-information and propaganda from the mainstream media on how the late 21-year old terrorist had been a loner, a misfit, a psychopath and all kinds of forged tags that can be used to rationalise his crimes. Again, as we now know the guy was simply a terrorist.

The crimes committed and not where the criminal comes from must be the basis of the classification of criminals.

Meanwhile 24 hours hours after the attack, l had continue with my job and definitely with my life full of concealed anger. l am a professional, one of those in the category of the targets of this dead terrorist. l have to pretend that everything is alright when l am at workplace.

Who said teachers can’t be good actors? Isn’t that what we do everyday? Everyday we lay down our lives-to some extent that is-so some young children and even adults can have their dreams come true.

Tragically the terrorist was shot dead by the police. He was dressed in black and wearing a mask at the time. With a sword in hand he was clearly a danger to the lives of the police who arrived at the school to end the massacre that was in progress. The police said they acted in self-defense.

Anton posing with some students at the crime scene

Anton posing with some students at the crime scene

Obviously Anton Ludin-Petterson’s death is a sad loss to his friends and families and to all those who knew him. He was born a free man but chose to die a terrorist.

In my view as a social critic and as a public commentator, no amount of sugar-coating or media-misrepresention should be allowed to justify any act of terror no matter who the perpetrator is/was.

Anton was a young man who had his whole life ahead of him. But on this sad day in October he died a terrorist after taking the lives of 2 innocent people he knew nothing about except that they had foreign backgrounds. He wounded 2 others whose lives remain in danger.

At 21 a free man in any lawful society is accountable and liable for his actions. Anton is not available to defend his actions. The task of defending him will be valueless. Yet, care must be taken.

However, as we take different stands, we must never forget that the justification of terror attacks by looking for excuses and reasons to do so have had only one effect in history and that is the repetition of similar unfortunate events by copycats.

Unfortunately the Swedish media is trying to find a connection between the terror attack and a previous report about safety and security concerns at the school. Even the national school inspectors were quick to jump on the bandwagon. They bought the bait and this is so unfortunate and actually very sad.

Nobody in their right mind should do such a connection. It will provide an avenue for haters, copycats or terrorists to look for more schools where security concerns have been expressed and where people of mostly foreign backgrounds get their education in Sweden. Such schools will become easy targets if we allow our reasons to be marred by sentiments.

In my opinion Anton was wrong to chose the school-KRONAN irrespective of whether there are security concerns there or not. No one will be justified in terrorizing other people based on any factor at all.

I work with children everyday. I have been doing that since 1990. I see children and l see hope, laughter, dreams and aspirations. Then one day one man walked into a certain school and decided to end the hope, dreams, laughter and aspirations of the young children. I will never subscribe to his reasons or motivations. I condemn all acts of terrors no matter the cowards who did them.

The terrorist of Trollhättan has reminded Sweden that her status as a free society is under fire. It has been under fire for decades and the cover ups have been massive.

Here is a surprising fact people are hiding from in Sweden: the rise of extremism is massive at the same time that public outcry against racism and injustice has been rife.

The racist party is slowing and gradually rising to power. This means that there is something that does not add up beneath the surface. Who can explain this? What is now obvious is that we live in a society full of racists, haters and pretenders.

What happened to all the värdegrund (basic values) that we have been teaching at our schools in Sweden? Oh, they are gone with the wind..!

In recent weeks, months and years, a lot has happened that showed the deepening hatred and threats in the Swedish society. We-the foreigners-have our different battles that we confront daily. But commonly the burning of asylum and refugee residences is the latest and ongoing onslaught on openness and freedom.

These problems can no longer be swept under the carpets because the consequences will explode soon, right before our eyes.

The days of pretense are over.

The time is now for Sweden to show the political will to correct these anomalies.

aderounmu@gmail.com

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Hate Crimes in Sweden: Why It May Get Worse

Hate Crimes in Sweden: Why It May Get Worse

By Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

(A letter written By Salimonu Kadiri to Adeola Aderounmu before the recent terrorist attack by a Swede in the town of Tröllhatan).

Nigerians belong to the black race and with the resurrection of Nazism in Europe and upsurge of neo-third Reich politicians who are not only represented in Parliaments but are in coalition government in some countries, the personal security of Nigerians like any Black person in Europe is constantly threatened. From the Swedish perspective, there is no day the persecution of the Blacks are not discussed both in the social and print media. The persecutions are based, mainly, on the colour of the skin.

After rolling out drums on October first to celebrate 55 years of political and economic backwardness of Nigeria that have culminated in self-styled Diaspora Nigerian in Sweden, let me acquaint you with the threat post to our collective wellbeing and security by neo-third Reich politically oriented sect called Nazis.

In the Swedish Metro Newspaper of Tuesday, 10 February 2015, a regular columnist, Göran Greider, observed to his dismay, on page six, that in the existing racial-ranking order, Black Africans are rated lowest. Then on Monday, 14 September 2015, the Aftonbladet newspaper under the subtitle– Top –S polititician: It is my right to say the ‘n-word’ revealed that the chairman of Lidköping municipal council, Kjell Hedvall was furious against those he called academic blockheads and politically correct maffians who criticized him for calling chocolate-ball negro-ball. According to him negro-ball is not an insult because “for hell sake, we have never had slaves in Sweden.”

The word negro originated from Spanish or Portuguese and it means black. The word *NEGER*  is not Swedish in origin but an adopted and corrupt version of the American word, *NIGGER* commonly used to denigrate  a Black person in America.

In addition the corresponding word for *Black* in Swedish language is *SVART* and not *NEGER.* If Kjell Hedvall had called his granulated cacao formed into ball negro-ball one would have understood him as utilizing the Spanish/Portuguese word to name his delicacy even if to the people of Latin countries, it would sound absurd for anyone to eat Negro testicle.

Well, some may say a negative nickname can only cause psychological and not physical wound, therefore, why bother about being called *NIGGER* or *NEGER.*

However, the front page of the ‘Svenka Dagbladet’ of  Monday, 21 September 2015, had this headline: HATE CRIMES AGAINST AFROSWEDES INCREASE. It confirmed that Afro-Swedes, to a higher extence are affected by violence than other minority groups, 20 years after the murder of a young Ivorian in Klippan. Under the sub-title, on page 10, “AFROPHOBIC HATE CRIMES HAVE INCREASED SUBSTATIALLY,” a senior lecturer at Karlstad University, Tobias Hübinette, said that ‘Reports of Afrophobic hate crimes have increased by about 41 per cent between 2008 and 2014.

The phenomenon is the same in other European countries. Hate crimes often take place in public places, have often element of threat or pure physical violence and the perpetrator is seldom acquainted with the victim.’ To the question, what do you think about why Afro-Swedes are more vulnerable?, Tobias Hübinette replied, “It is awful to say but mostly black men are easy prey.” From the foregoing, Black people are usually persecuted not because they have committed any wrong-doing but because of the colour of their skin. Relative to Nigerians, let me narrate a relevant case out of many incidents.

On Wednesday, 23 April 2014, Swedish Television Channel 1 announced through the electronic and print media that its special program, ‘Scrutinizing Assignment’, in the evening of that day would feature cases of crimes committed by neo-Nazi groups in Sweden without judicial and legal sanctions.

Later in the evening, Scrutinizing Assignment revealed that in the early morning of 7 December 2013, a Nigerian visitor to Sweden was stabbed in the lower abdomen by a gang of four young boys said to belong to a Nazi sect called Swedish Resistant Movement. The Nigerian named, Fidelis Ogu, was on exit from the underground train station, Hokarängen, in the Southern suburb of Stockholm, and while on his way to his temporary place of abode he was stabbed.

He was rushed to Karolinska University Hospital where Doctors battled successfully to save his life. Although this incident happened on December 7, 2013, neither the Swedish public nor resident Nigerians in Sweden was aware of Mr. Fidelis Ogu’s encounter with the Nazi until when he appeared in the Scrutinizing Assignment TV programm where he showed the scar after the stab in his lower abdomen by the Nazi. In spite of the fact that the attackers of Fidelis Ogu were captured by the public surveillance camera, the police declined to investigate the case against the assailants of Fidelis Ogu on the ground that it would not be possible to prove who amongst the four stabbed him.

Due to the video film from the public surveillance camera shown in the TV program, Scrutinizing Assignment, one of the attackers went to the police to narrate that he was only acquainted with one of the attackers and that although he was with them that morning, he was not a member of Swedish Resistant Movement.

He also told the Police who among the four stabbed Fidelis Ogu. Premised on the insider’s evidence, the Police conducted new investigation and the prosecutor charged the three Nazi boys to court for heinous assault and attempted murder on Fidelis Ogu on September 30, 2014.

On October 24, 2014, a magistrate court in the south of Stockholm discharged and acquitted the stabbers of Fidelis Ogu. The court motivated its decision on p. 36-39 which I hereby summarize. Through the films from the public surveillance cameras in Hökarängen’s center, it is established that the accused had been in the vicinity where Fidelis Ogu had been stabbed.

They have namely passed by surveillance cameras both in the time immediate before and after the time when stabbing must have taken place. It can be established that the weapon which was used in the action has not been found. There is no technical evidence either which connects any of the accused to the deed.

The information which two witnesses have given only confirm that the accused were at the scene of the crime; that they have had access to knife and they have quarrelled with another dark- coloured man who they also chased the same morning.

Concerning information given by Fidelis Ogu in police interrogation, its value, the court says, is limited due to the fact that he has not been heard before the court. Moreover, it should be added that the police interrogations of Fidelis Ogu were conducted in English without a translator; at the time of interrogations, Fidelis Ogu was undergoing treatment for his injury whereby at the first two interrogations, at least, he had received morphine and beside had been under the influence of alcohol; and from the police interrogations, the court concluded that Fidelis Ogu had not been able to identify the person that stabbed him.

The only thing in the investigation which directly associated the accused with the crime was the witness account given by a companion (an Insider) of one of the three accused persons. The court said that the ‘insider’ had made credible impression on it. Since the consequence of witnessing against the accused was enormous, the court believed that the insider would not have given those information if they were not true.

Nevertheless, the court rejected the insider’s evidence on the ground that he did not contact the police until after he had seen the picture of himself, together with the three accused persons, culled from the public surveillance camera film and shown on Channel one TV program, Scrutinizing Assignment. His contact with the police, the court believed, could have been a ploy to protect himself.

His witness was not given under oath. The court reasoned that even if it was proved that the accused had access to knife in addition to their Nazi political convictions, those do not constitute any direct support to the claim that they stabbed Fidelis Ogu. In the court’s opinion, the investigation did not give a clear and unambiguous picture of whom or who had taken part in the deed and how. Against this background, the court does not believe that it could be considered as having been proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the three accused persons were guilty of the crime the prosecutor wanted them to be convicted of.

To dispute the decision of the court, some facts should be highlighted. When Fidelis Ogu was stabbed in the lower part of his abdomen on 7 December 2013, the police had immediate access to the video film from the public surveillance camera where an identifiable person was seen holding a knife and saying, ‘I got that devil.’ Not only that, two other persons with the knife holding man were known by the police to belong to a Swedish Nazi sect called Swedish Resistant Movement.

Yet, no attempt was made to invite the identified Nazi men for questioning, not to talk of searching their homes for the knife used against Fidel Ogu. If the police, from the beginning, had considered the stabbing of Fidelis Ogu as a serious crime, the interrogation of the victim would not have been conducted in English, by the usually experienced Swedish police, without a translator.

The interrogation was informal because the police had already made up their mind not to take the case to court. This view was corroborated in the Scrutinizing Assignment, relayed by the Swedish TV, Channel 1 on Wednesday, 23 April 2014, as the police told the reporter that investigation on the stabbing of Fidelis Ogu had been discontinued because the prosecutor would not be able to prove who among the three suspects stabbed him.

Since Fidelis was a temporary visitor in Sweden, did the police ask him of his temporary/contact address in Sweden and his permanent address outside Sweden? In the Scrutinizing Assignment program, Fidel Ogu was seen showing the scar after the stab in his stomach. How did the Swedish Television, channel 1 get Fidelis to participate in the program?

The prosecutor claimed that all efforts to get Fidelis Ogu to be present in the court for the trial was futile. What did prosecutor’s efforts entail? Why did the prosecutor open the case in court in the absence of the plaintiff, Fidel Ogu? The Swedish State, granted Fidelis Ogu a lawyer to represent his interest, was the lawyer a specialist in criminal law? Why did the lawyer, allocated to F. Ogu, allow the trial to continue in the absence of his client? How could a lawyer in a criminal court case, represent the interest of a client he/she has never met or talk to?

The court had discharged and acquitted the stabbers of Fidelis Ogu on the ground that it was not proved who among the suspects stabbed him even when one of his attackers was seen holding a knife in camera and saying ‘I got the devil’ at the scene of the crime. This extreme burden of proof proclaimed by the court is not in consonance with the Swedish Criminal Code, BrB 1962:700, Chapter 23 paragraph 4, reviewed in Law 1994: 458, dealing with co-perpetrators of crime. Co-perpetrator in crime is illustrated in legal case file NJA 1980, page 606, with an example.

It states that three men had each armed themselves with wooden rods and with these as weapons attacked some other men who were inflicted with various kinds of injuries. One of the attacked men had lost sight on an eye. All the three attackers were convicted for assault. All the three men were regarded as perpetrators of the crime despite the fact that it could not be ascertained what injuries each of the accused had inflicted on each victim. It was considered that the accused persons, after joint deliberation, had agreed to arm themselves with rods and collectively had made use of them. Each and everyone of the accused persons, of course, fulfilled condition for criminal intention.

Another case where the burden of proof of what an individual has done in a collective crime was the murder of two police men. On May 28, 1999, three Bank robbers, Jackie Arklov, Tony Olsson and Andreas Axelsson, robbed Ostgota Enskilda Bank in Kisa of the sum of 2.6 million Kronor. The robbers were chased by some police patrol vehicles and at a village called Malexander, the robbers opened fire and killed two of the police men chasing them.

Even though there was no clear cut evidence of who amongst the three robbers fired the bullets that killed the two policemen, all the three robbers were sentenced to life imprisonment for murder because of their presence at the scene of crime and their collective criminal intention. Similarly, the three Nazis fulfilled the condition for criminal intention when Fidelis Ogu was stabbed and there was no need to prove who among them stabbed him to find them guilty.

Following the decision of the court, many Swedish Newspapers on Saturday, 25 October 2014, reacted against the discharge and acquitance of Fidelis Ogu’s Stabbers. Reading through page 26 and 27 of the Aftonbladet of that Saturday,  Oisin Cantwell wrote, “IT WAS, I MUST SAY, VERY GENEROUS OF THE MAGISTRATE COURT TO CONCEDE THE RIGHT OF SELF-DEFENCE SITUATION TO THE ACCUSED. AND IT IS REMARKABLE THAT, IN MOTIVATING ITS JUDGMENT, THE COURT DID NOT EVEN MENTION THAT ONE OF THE ACCUSED DNA HAD BEEN MIXED WITH OGU’S BLOOD.”

The practical implication of detecting the DNA of one of the accused in the blood of Fidelis Ogu must be that the accused had physical contact with him through stabbing. Yet, the court concluded that there was no technical evidence linking any of the accused persons to his stabbing with knife.

However, questions that should cause nightmare for every Nigerian (may be every African) in Sweden are: What happened to Fidelis Ogu after his appearance in the Swedish TV 1 program, Scrutinizing Assignment, on Wednesday, 23 April 2014? Was he murdered after his appearance in the TV, which was why the prosecutor could not find him to appear in court in a case that he was a plaintiff?

We don’t know how many cases like that of Fidelis Ogu happen in Sweden everyday and it is only affected individual who knows and until it is your turn you may feel unconcerned. My purpose of writing this is to alert and remind you that the time is ripe for all Nigerians in Sweden to speak with one voice to the authorities in Sweden and Nigeria about our collective security to life and happiness.

It is around this that we as Nigerians and Africans should forget our differences and stop being petty.

S. Kadiri

Nigeria’s Independence, The Military Coups And the Origin of Corruption Nigeria

Since becoming millionaires in Nigeria do not correlate to owning factories but nearness to the centre of federal, state or local government where national patrimonies are looted, it means that Nigerian millionaires are manufacturers of massive poverty and miseries for Nigerians.

Nigeria’s Independence, The Civil War And The Origin Of Corruption In Nigeria

By Salimonu Kadiri (Guest Writer On Thy Glory O’ Nigeria..!)

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Fifty-five years ago, Nigeria obtained sovereignty from Britain. Consequently, Chinua Achebe recorded thus, literally all government ministries, public and privately held firms, corporations, organizations, and schools saw the majority of their expatriate staff (mostly British) leave.

While this quiet transition was happening a number of internal jobs, especially the senior management positions, began to open up for Nigerians, particularly for those with a university education.

It was into these positions vacated by the British that a number of people like myself were placed …. This ‘bequest’ was much greater than just stepping into jobs left behind by the British. Members of my generation also moved into homes in the former British quarters previously occupied by members of the European senior civil service.

These homes often came with servants – chauffeurs, maids, cooks, gardeners, stewards – whom the British had organized meticulously to ‘ease their colonial sojourn.’

Now following the departure of the Europeans, many domestic staff (Nigerians or black Africans) stayed in the same positions and were only too grateful to continue their designated salaried roles in post-independence Nigeria. Their masters were no longer Europeans but their own brothers and sisters.

This bequest continued in the form of new club memberships and access to previously all-white areas of town, restaurants, and theatres (see p. 48 – 49, There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe).”

It is very important to note that Nigerians who stepped in to fill the jobs left by Europeans and inherited their rates of pay and privileges also played the role of the colonialists. The offices occupied by Nigerians after Independence were designed and meant to serve the interest of Great Britain and they remain so till date.

However, within six years of independence Chinua Achebe asserted that, Nigeria was a cesspool of corruption and misrule” where public servants helped themselves freely to the nation’s wealth (p.51, There Was a Country).”

As Nigerian public servants and politicians preened themselves in the perfection of the white man’s life, they became extravagant and flamboyant while being conspicuous and spectacular in consumption of imported materials. At that stage, the inherited rates of pay and privileges were no longer enough for Nigerian public servants, employed or politically appointed. That was the origin of corruption in Nigeria.

Exactly five years, three months and fourteen days after Nigeria had obtained sovereignty from Britain and at 12:30 P.M., on January 15, 1966, Major Patrick Chukwuma Nzeogwu, announced in a broadcast from Radio Kaduna that the Supreme Council of the Revolution of the Nigerian Armed Forces had taken over power in the North.

Our enemies, Nzeogwu said, are the political profiteers, the swindlers, men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand ten per cent. Declaring a martial law, he listed embezzlement, bribery and corruption among offences that carried death sentences.

Unfortunately for Nigeria and Major Nzeogwu, his comrades in the South had been infiltrated by tribal chauvinists. One of the coup plotters explained that Major Don Okafor and Captain Ogbo Oji had taken a stand against any step that might embody the killing of Ironsi.

Therefore, while the would-be assassins were pointedly making for his (Ironsi) residence he was at the same time heading towards Ikeja (2nd Infantry Battalion) to enlist support to quell the rebellion of the Majors. Major John Obienu who was to come to Lagos from Abeokuta with armoured cars in support of the Majors’ rebellion renegged and linked up instead with Major General Ironsi at Ikeja (see p. 125 – 126, NIGERIA’S FIVE MAJORS; COUP D’ÉTAT OF 15TH JANUARY 1966, FIRST INSIDE ACCOUNT BY BEN GBULIE).

It is noteworthy that Captain Ben Gbulie fought on the side of Biafra during the Civil War. In Enugu Major Chude Sokei and Lieutenant Jerome Oguchi of the 1st Infantry Battallion were assigned the role of killing the Premier of the Eastern and Mid-western Regions, Dr. Michael Ihenokura Okpara and Denis Osadebey respectively, but the would-be assassins had turned pacificists that did not like to see bloodshed (see p.136 of Gbulie’s book).

Two hours after Nzeogwu broadcast in Kaduna, Major General Johnson Thompson Umunakwe Aguiyi Ironsi caused Radio Lagos to broadcast at 14:30 P.M., that in the early hours of this morning, 15th January 1966, a dissident section of the Nigerian Army kidnapped the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance and took them to an unknown destination.

The General Officer Commanding (Ironsi) and the vast majority of the army remained loyal to the Federal Government and are already taking appropriate measures to bring the ill-advised mutiny to an end. On Sunday, 16th January 1966, when General Ironsi announced his taking over of power in Nigeria at 23:50 P.M., fifteen casualities of the Majors’ coup included the Prime Minister of the Federation, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa; Finance Minister, Chief Festus Okotie Eboh; the Premier of Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello; the Premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola; Brigadier Zakariya Maimalari; Brigadier Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun; Colonel Kuru Mohammed; Colonel R. A. Shodeinde; Lieutenant Colonel Abogo Largema; Lietenant-Colonel Yakubu Pam and Lietenant-Colonel Arthur Chinyelu Unegbe. Just as Ironsi did not take over power to fight corruption in Nigeria, so were those who overthrew him towards the end of July 1966.

Since 1985, and especially in the last 16 years, corruption as observed by Major Nzeogwu in January 1966 had grown from 10% to 200%. Political elites in government and civil servants, including the judiciary are accustomed to using their offices to share power and the resources of Nigeria among themselves.

Money budgeted for road constructions, hospitals, education, power supply, potable water, housing, turn around maintenance of oil refineries and even pensions have been looted by political elites, civil servants in the ministries, departments, parastatals and judiciary.

The main core of the Nigerian economy, oil which in the constitution of Nigeria is the property of all Nigerians have been appropriated by the elites to themselves through the issuance of oil blocks to one another.

Since becoming millionaires in Nigeria do not correlate to owning factories but nearness to the centre of federal, state or local government where national patrimonies are looted, it means that Nigerian millionaires are manufacturers of massive poverty and miseries for Nigerians.

The treasury looters in Nigeria give birth to unemployment, armed robbers, kidnappers, drug traffickers (even to countries where the penalty is death sentence), ethnic insurgents and Boko Haram while they force others to look for means of livelihood in exile.

(to be continued)

Oyinlola: How One Man’s Greed Destroyed The Centre For Black Culture

“The entire continent of Africa continues to be deprived of the services of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding because of the greed of just one man”

Oyinlola: How One Man’s Greed Destroyed The Centre For Black Culture

By Adeola Aderounmu

There are so many things happening in Nigeria that have contributed to the underdevelopment and retrogression in the land.

That we sometimes talk about these things without necessarily following them to logical conclusions means that Nigeria has an overwhelming loads of atrocities to drag along with her daily.

Since the atrocities are many and varied, it is too convenient to let go or forget some of them despite their grave implications either in deeping the crises that Nigeria faces as a country or in setting more precedents that give way to even more atrocities and crimes across Nigeria.

These crimes are profound among Nigerian politicians.

The story of how a greedy and corrupt Nigerian politician, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, grounded all the activities at the Centre For Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU) in Osogbo Osun State is a very sad one.

Oyinlola, Corrupt and Greedy

Oyinlola, Corrupt and Greedy

The CBCIU was established in 2007 during the tenure of Olagunsoye Oyinlola as the governor of Osun State. The establishment of the centre was under the cooperation agreement with the UNESCO Paris and in collaboration with acclaimed cultural experts Ulli and Georgina Beier, the government of Osun State and curiously the Olusegun Obasanjo Library.

Seriously, what has Olusegun Obasanjo Library got to do with the centre? Was it a clandestime plan to falsely acquire what belongs to others and a way to divert public funds to Mr. Obasanjo? It was not a surprise that Professor Wole Soyinka was vehemently opposed to the inclusion of the Olusegun Obasanjo Library as part of the partners setting up the centre.

The Osun State government paid 700 000 USD for the acquisition of the precious archives of the Beiers which would form the nucleus of the collections at the centre. The collections include documentation of various aspects of the Yoruba culture and tradition. The entire collection that should come from the Beiers are actually unknown but it is reported as being massive.

Apart from serving as a centre where records/archives are stored, the CBCIU was also expected to serve several other functions. CBCIU should have been the nerve centre of various cultural activities locally and internationally. The CBCIU was supposed to receive cultural troops from various parts of Africa and the rest of the world.

If it had been functional the CBCIU would have had conferences, seminars, lectures and syposia for all kinds of performing artists in Nigeria and from around the world.

It was such a prospect that made the federal government of Nigeria under whose laws the centre was established to pledge 400 million naira as annual allocation to the centre.

It must be restated that Oyinlola was the governor of Osun State and chairman of CBCIU when it was established in 2007.

In 2008 Oyinlola formally signed a law establishing the CBCIU.

According to that law, Oyinlola (stupidly) made himself the lifetime chairman of the CBCIU.

Unless one is arguing with a mad man, it is easy to see that this law is self-serving and deserves to land Oyinlola in jail. Only a criminal will convert a public institution into a personal or family business venture.

During his tenure as the governor of Osun State and doubling as the chairman of CBCIU, Oyinlola collected 400 million naira annually on behalf of the centre. When he was bundled out of office by the court in 2010, he became the National Secretary of the PDP, a position that was still strong enough to ensure that the 400 million naira landed safely on his table.

With a new government in Osun State under the governorship of Rauf Aregbesola,  the opportunity arose to end the reign of Oyinlola as the lifetime chairman of CBCIU. The board constituted by Oyinlola was dissolved.

The Osun State legislators enacted an ammendment in 2012 that allows a serving governor to be chairman of the board of CBCIU. The governor may also appoint anyone for this purpose.

Governor Aregbesola appointed Professor Wole Soyinka as the chairman of the center and Dr. Wale Adeniran became the Executive Director.

Dr. Wale Adeniran knows the history of the centre because in 2007 Oyinlola had asked him to write a letter of approval for the establishment of the centre. At that time Dr. Wale Adeniran was the director of the lnstitute of Cultural Studies at Obafemi Awolowo University.

Since this means of siphoning public funds for private use had been taken away from Olagunsoye Oyinlola, he continues to fight back. He has gone as far as protesting to UNESCO in Paris on a number of occasions. Is this the meaning of a fool’s mission?

Until this day, Oyinlola has continued to parade himself around the world as the chairman of the CBCIU.

There are allegations that the materials which may have included valuable art works and artifact that should be displayed at the centre were also carted away to Oyinlola’s private residence.

When his reign as the chairman of CBCIU was cut short in 2012 by the law enacted by the Osun State legislators, Oyinlola carted away all the files from the centre including all the financial records. These are clearly some of the traits of a criminal. In essence, Oyinlola and his team of tropical gangsters made sure that it was not possible to take over from them.

Today the CBCIU lies in ruin, covered with weeds and grasses and totally non-fucntional. It is noteworthy that Oyinlola did not act alone. With 400 million naira, it was easy for him to find staff, move them around or tell them what to do at all times, all just to make sure that he remains the chairman of the board.

The nucleus of the centre was to be the archive that was purchased from Beier family. Today the digitalisation of the archive continues in Germany. If Oyinlola hadn’t run the CBCIU as a private or family enterprise, the delivery of what was purchased or ordered would have been completed and all the functions of CBCIU, some of which are stated earlier would have been up and running.

It is also of interest that the Osun state government has refused to deliver the allocation of the centre to the present board that is supposed to be running the CBCIU. There are reports that the allocation appears on the budget of the Osun State government annually. So what happens to the money? Why is it not released?

It is ridiculous that the Osun State government under Ogbeni Aregbesola expects Professor Wole Soyinka and Dr. Wale Adeniran to give financial acount of the centre when in fact funds have never been released to them. Where is the funding for the CBCIU since 2012?

On Monday the 12th of October this case (yes it is now in court) will continue at the High Court in Osun State. Oyinlola and his lawyers will argue in favour of allowing Nigerian politicians to use their positions to acquire public properties and converting tax payers monies into family hereditary funds.

They will argue that Oyinlola does not have to explain what he did with 400 million naira that was given to him between 2007 and 2011. But really what did he do with the money? Is this the same Oyinlola that some people are speculating will appear on the ministerial list? Well, that won’t be a shock. Buhari has wasted 3 months only to assemble the same old corrupt people we know.

But seriously, there should be a public outcry against Oyinlola and he should be covering his head in shame at this time. Western Nigeria, Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa continue to be deprived of the services of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding because of his greediness. It’s shocking!

aderounmu@gmail.com

References

CBCIU: For Culture or Penkelemes? By Wole Soyinka. Chairman Centre For Black Culture and International Understanding, Oshogbo, Osun State, Nigeria.

CBCIU and the Lilliputians of Culture by Wale Adeniran, Executive Director, Centre For Black Culture and International Understanding, Oshogbo, Osun State, Nigeria.

STOP PRESS

Professor Soyinka resigned from his post as the chairman on saturday 10th of october 2015.

Dr. Wale Adeniran also resigned as the Executive director of the centre.

The primary reason for their resignations is because of the way the Nigerian press/media presented the story even until this moment. The media made it sound as if the problem is between Wole Soyinka and Oyinlola whereas the problem is actually between Osun State and Oyinlola.

Nigerian media sometimes does not show common sense when reporting issues. How can they fail to crucify Oyinlola for making himself the life time chairman of a public institution?

CBCIU: for CULTURE? Or ‘PENKELEMES’?

By Wole Soyinka

TEXT of Professor WOLE SOYINKA’S ADDRESS to the NIGERIAN MEDIA on the  “CENTRE FOR BLACK CULTURE AND INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING,” Oshogbo, on September 1, 2015 at Freedom Park, Broad Street, LAGOS.

CBCIU: for CULTURE?  Or  ‘PENKELEMES’?

Gentlemen of the Press,

One way to summarize the situation of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU) at this moment requires no deep elaboration. It goes thus: There is Law, and there is Ethics. Wherever these two arbiters of public conduct appear to clash, even Ethics must bow to Law.  On the other hand, it is useful to remember also that the sinews that bind civilized society together are strengthened when both – Law and  Ethics – converge, and are harmonized in a public cause.

To come down to the specifics of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, I require no convincing that this ideal harmonization was manifested when the lawmakers of Osun State enacted, in 2012, an amendment to the original CBCIU law that had been signed into law by Governor Oyinlola on 29th December 2008. That origjnal law, in my view, was profoundly unethical.  The Amendment, by the succeeding House of Assembly, signed into law on the 31st day of July, 2012, was clearly designed to inject an ethical corrective into the original law.

I am not qualified to comment on the legal intricacies of the provisions in either, if any – this must be left to “our learned friends” of the legal profession. They have however advised that the July 2012 amendment supersedes the original, and that this Amendment constitutes the current law within under which the CBCIU obtains its validity, until overturned under a new Law enacted by a chamber of equal or superior jurisdiction. For direct public enlightenment, the heading of the Document of Assent goes thus:

STATE OF OSUN, NIGERIA

OSUN STATE CENTRE FOR BLACK CULTURE AND

INTERNATIONAL UNDERSTANDING

(AMENDMENT) LAW, 2012

Assented to by the Governor of Osun State on the 31st of July 2012

No court judgment exists that voids a single provision of this law – including the setting up of a new board – or its entirety.

It is important that this nation, and the entire world of culture and ethical pursuit understand this. Contrary to whatever has been propagated so assiduously by some parties of interest in various quarters, NO court order exists that prevents the Board that was established under the 2012 Amendment from exercising its rights and responsibilities. NO court order exists that compels the Governor or House of Assembly to reinstate the former Board Chairman of 2008.

NO relief has been granted to the ex-governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, that authorizes him to present himself to the nation and the world as the substantive chairman of the CBCIU (or ‘Emeritus Chairman’ – among other titles that he has since accorded himself.) This is the legal position – as the Board remains advised by Osun State government’s legal department.

If these experts are proven wrong, then the current board will bow out without one second’s delay, led by its current chairman. It will most gladly hand over all CBCIU effects in its possession and even tender a public apology to the ex-governor, his ‘Board Members’, his campaign team and indeed any other interested parties.

From the corporate, we move to the individual. Here, I wish to outline the  section of the Amendment by the Osun House of Assembly that remains of primary interest to me, personally. It is that portion which articulates, in accessible language, that much desired convergence of Law and Ethics which, as earlier proposed, offers society a basis for civilized existence. I quote:

“Section 8 of the Principal Law is hereby amended by substituting

thereof the following provisions:

(a) The Board shall consist of the following members:

(i)  The Chairman of the Board who shall be the Governor or anyone appointed by him for this purpose…..

For emphasis, I call attention to that section again which states: “who shall be the governor….

In contrast, the parallel provision in the original, now ineffectual law, signed by Prince Oyinlola, states –  “who shall be Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola”.  Oyinlola to Oyinlola, and Oyinlola for ever and ever – Oyinlola!

What the Amendment legislates is that the CBCIU is public property, established and maintained with state funds, funded by the state, housed by the state, instituted by elected representatives of the people. It is not private, hereditary property, not even of the most elevated royalty.

To my ears, this is ethical music.

It should be of interest to reveal that I had a private meeting on this issue with the Director-General of UNESCO, Madam Irina Bokova, when she and I attended an event nearly exactly two years ago in Kazakhstan. I had learnt, not too surprisingly, that the former governor of Osun State, Prince Oyinlola, had made forays into UNESCO headquarters, Paris, to protest his removal from a position he had created for himself while governor – and in perpetuity.  Invited to that meeting, once I raised the issue, was Hans d’Orville, one of Madame Bokova’s most senior aides. I asked her how UNESCO proposed to handle what was gearing up to become quite a penkelemes  (courtesy Adelabu) for all parties in this unseemly development.

Hans d’Orville confirmed that the Prince had indeed written protest letters to UNESCO and also shown up a number of times in his own person, sometimes with a delegation.  Hans d’Orville informed his Director-General and I that he had already responded to Oyinlola’s written appeals, and that, on each personal visit, he repeated exactly what he had written to the prince, namely, that CBCIU was set up under the laws of the host country – that is, of Osun State, Nigeria – thus, UNESCO could not interfere in a situation that would contradict the provisions of such laws.

UNESCO’s Director-General nodded in agreement, saying: “That is exactly my understanding.”

Then she, in turn, wanted to know what was the real story behind the development. I warned her that the issue had a very long history. We were all rather pressed for time, needed to catch flights in different directions. So I proposed that, instead of rehashing the tortuous details, I would pose a hypothetical question to her. I said:

“Let me ask you a simple question. If you decided to leave UNESCO tomorrow, would you use UNESCO funds to set up an entity, any kind of institution, use your position to channel an annual disbursement from UNESCO’s coffers, receive and dispense funds, and make yourself, in your personal capacity, head of that organization – and for life?”

She recoiled in horror. “No-o! That would be highly unethical. Such a thing is not possible”.

I added: “That about sums it up. The incoming governor of Osun State took exactly such a position, embarked on steps to dissolve the board and constitute a new one. The erstwhile, self-appointed Life Chairman has gone to court to contest that position. My advice is that you keep UNESCO away from the ensuing splatter while we clean up our own mess internally – we are quite used to it.”

That was in September 2013. As a member of UNESCO’s High Panel for Peace, I have interacted with Madame Bokova at a number of events since then, as well as with Hans d’Orville before his departure from UNESCO. I was made aware – from numerous sources – that Oyinlola, aided by the  former Nigerian representative to UNESCO, Dr. Omolewa, continued to wear out carpets leading to the Africa desk, to numerous offices and national delegations to UNESCO.

However, I studiously refrained from raising my concerns with the Director-General or indeed any other serving UNESCO official, right up to this press conference – which shall be copied to UNESCO.  Moreover, the Prince continued to make overtures to Governor Arigbesola, and myself, and to leaders in his new political party, pleading that they intervene so that he could be reinstated on the board in any capacity, however subordinate.

I left that plea to the governor entirely – since it remains his prerogative. I did assure him however that I would not stand in the way. I shall reveal here that I went even further – albeit against the grain – but in order to save the nation from international embarrassment through an obsession that I could not yet fully understand – I accommodated Mr. Oyinlola so far as to propose to the governor a Special Board Membership, tasked with responsibility for traditional royal cultures.

Simultaneously however, as was certainly within his fundamental rights, Mr. Oyinlola pursued his legal challenges, having first made off, even till today, with all the files – including every scrap of financial records – of the Centre. While the courts tried to address the conundrum of a life appointee being dispossessed while still very much alive, Mr. Oyinlola chose to pre-empt the courts’ decision. Aided, and even physically accompanied by Nigeria’s former representative to UNESCO, Dr. Omolewa, who was familiar with the interstices of that institution, Oyinlola commenced a campaign, both internally and externally, to disseminate a fraudulent version of the court proceeding. The prince has claimed – and still does! – that the courts had indeed found for him, and that he is back in office as chairman of CBCIU.

Our legal advice is that no basis for such a claim exists! What we do know – and this is clear from the actual court records, not the disseminated, bowdlerized versions, even for the “unlearned” – is that the Court has not even touched the substance of Prince Oyinlola’s appeal for reinstatement!  The only effective law, we are firmly advised, remains the July 2012 Law enacted by Osun State House of Assembly.

That leaves us – at least for now – with what primarily interests me, as a citizen dedicated, not only to the Rule of Law – but to the ethics of governance.  Without incurring the wrath of the courts for “contempt”, I believe we are entitled to indulge in a transformative debate on the ethics that underlie the provisions of both laws, taken together and in contrast.  That debate, the genesis of much of a continent’s post-colonial woes of devastating dimensions, is sometimes described as the “sit-tight syndrome”. It consists of the corrupt privatization of  public entities – including nations – with all their assets, even the intangibles! My ever growing conviction that this is a long overdue discourse, limitless in scope and ramifications, to be pursued as a continent-wide undertaking

My immediate contribution to that debate shall be phrased along the same terms as I addressed Madame Bokova in Kazakhstan, only, this time, it is addressed to this nation’s president, General Buhari, who has unusually elevated the anti-corruption struggle to the very top of his governance agenda. I must warn General Buhari – in the absence of a Foreign Minister – that, as a consequence of activities of this “CBCIU” double, the nation is being dragged into a sleazy situation through the attempted co-option of its foreign missions into logistical support for their global enterprises.

And so to the question:  “When you leave office, General Buhari, will you also carve out a privatized entity  – cultural, educational, political, religious, socio-economic, perhaps even a military unit or whatever – for yourself from public funds, provide it an annuity from the nation’s treasury, empower it to receive funds from internal and external sources, and make yourself, in your own individual person – that is, as Muhammadu Buhari – its Executive Chairman, and for life?”

Wole SOYINKA

Chairman, Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU)

Oshogbo, Osun State, NIGERIA.

 

DISTRIBUTION LIST:

Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, Governor, Osun State

Director-General, UNESCO, Paris

CHAIRMAN, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission

Chairman, The Presidential Advisory Commission on Corruption

The Nigerian Ambassador to Brazil.

The Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abuja

IPEAFRO, Brazil

The Director, Iwalewa-Haus, Bayreuth University, Germany

Status Quo: The Way Things Were

On the status quo of Nigeria, things have not changed at all.

Status Quo: The Way Things Were

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Last week l lamented the crawling nature of Nigeria as an independent country at 55. It was a mixed reaction on the social media. Many Nigerians celebrated the day as if Nigeria is the most developed country in the world. I can understand that where there is life, there is hope.

One man was bitter about the nature of Nigerian prisons. He nearly wept openly in his video post that went spiral among some users of the social media. His lamentations are genuine as Nigerian prisons remain a place where the guilty and the innocent are blended under life threatening circumstances.

However for those who painted the picture of a Nigerian paradise, they must know that refraining from telling the true nature of things is part of the hindrance to national or state development.

A general picture that all is well will continue to make the rulers celebrate in their enclaves while the real life situation shows (for example) that more than about 500 people may die due to road accidents only in the next 24 hours.

We are told that N70 million was spent to celebrate a failed country-Nigeria. No problem! Jonathan the prodigal son was alleged to have spent several billions annually. He has since denied the allegations, quite swiftly too. So in the era of the APC mandate N70 million is a chicken change. As far as no one is giving a breakdown of how the N70m went down, it is still part of the organised crime perpetrated by the government of Nigeria.

Meanwhile, as security remains a critical issue in Nigeria, several innocent lives continued to be wiped away due to terrorism. In the days of Jonathan, a man we knew as weak and incompetent, the condemnation was rife and totally in place. In the days of Buhari, a lot of people have been quiet and pretentious.

Don’t be silly Nigerians! Even if we supported a change of government, it should never stop us from demanding that Buhari must be held accountable for all that happens under his watch. Why the sudden state of timidity? Who cares if Buhari thinks that the press is too inquisitive? Does he want to suppress our freedom of expression again? The resilience of the internet warriors will shock him into convulsion.

How can it be right to criticize Jonathan for deaths in the hands of Boko Haram while we now lack the balls to criticize Buhari who could not spare a few minutes to visit the hospitals where victims and corpses have been deposited? Buhari will soon be sending his kitchen servants to watch and analyse the capital market and make reports on the economy.

It will not be an easy task to adjust all the errors that have brought Nigeria to her knees, crawling after 55 years of independence. Certainly one way not to proceed is to continue feeding Nigerians with lies and propaganda.

The APC mandate and the Buhari government whilst trying to fix Nigeria must be seen to be honest, sincere and trustworthy. No government will be perfect, just as no individual exists without faults.

Again, the Buhari government needs to come out clean, sincere and move Nigeria ahead while accepting when it has done wrong and making amends to avoid repetition of same errors and the errors of the previous government. Nigeria cannot afford another government driven by lies and propaganda.

In New York this past week, it was a show of shame for the Buhari government. It goes a long way to show that Buhari has a very weak team in charge of his itinerary and logistics. A couple of meetings were missed or screwed up. And the government lied!

In these days where ignorance is a disease and not an excuse, it would have been wiser for Buhari to stay in Abuja and call in sick rather than flying to the view of the world to show incompetences, lack of decorum, and lack of knowledge about global affairs.

As l see it now, the change of government was necessary but the parade of ineptitude that l have seen in recent days are very avoidable. This is where Nigerians should be concerned about what we have always written about.

It is time to build a functional political structure so that the competence of the institutions and the know-how of a competent workforce can always see Nigeria through, even when the ruler or leader has some shortcomings. Right now the shortcomings of Buhari are massive and the more he is exposed the more the shame and lies his government will have to cover.

For the future Nigeria has a lot to prove. In the past graduates like Yar Adua did not last while Jonathan was a huge joke. But by consistently asking for what is right and rejecting what is bad and evil, one day, say in 2019, the upcoming generation of Nigerians can enthrone an all-rounder citizen to lead her affairs at the center. The idea that the regions should be autonomous and running should not be relegated. It will raise Nigerian from her knees and make her a giant again.

My persistent call for the arrest and trial of all corrupt people in Nigeria will not dwindle in the face of the Diezani trial that may commence in London. Nigerian rulers and sadly Nigerian insitutions are still entrapped in slave mentality.

Why does it have to take the audacity of the British to arrest a thief like Diezani? How much money did Nigeria lose to the British after the Ibori trial? How much of Nigeria’s stolen oil money will be left in the British treasury when Diezani’s trial is over?

Is the Nigerian judiciary going to wait for the British to arrest all Nigerian criminal politicians? Is Buhari waiting for the British and the Americans to arrest all the Halliburton criminals? They will arrest them or their children in due time because they can confiscate the monies stolen and pay a token to the Nigerian government. Who’s the loser here?

This is a sad situation, l mean the slave mentality of the Nigerian government is very shameful.

On the status quo of Nigeria, things have not changed at all. The ministerial list flying across Nigeria contains familiar names. There are names of governors for example who have not given due accounts of their stewardships in offices. Is this the list that took 3 months to compile? Seriously?

Why all the lies? Why all the deceits from Buhari? This list could have emerged 24 hours after the APC mandate came into effect.

A lot of people were expecting new names and fresh hands of people who can never be suspected of corruption or looting. Buhari took the familiar path-ministerial positions are the rewards for campaigns, sponsorships, godfatherism and loyalty to political parties.

As we see clearly now, there were no saints working behind the scenes afterall. It’s largely the same old corrupt bunch being recycled by Mr. Buhari and the APC.

When he came back on, Buhari made it sound as if it will be different. His handlers need to tell him that lies are bad and too many lies and not facing reality was the beginning of the downfall of the Jonathan government. Oh! that government has no iota of morality, it was looting on a free fall.

We have a status quo, a hard to change country. What is different (but yet to be proven) is that it may be slightly more difficult to steal like the days of Obasanjo and Jonathan where the goats and the animated yams interlocked.

There is no better time to strengthen the institutions of government than now. Nigeria cannot continue to rely on Britain and the US to arrest or prosecute her political and public office criminals.

That would look like a Tom And Jerry game: they let Nigerian criminal politicians transfer money to their domains, arrest them and confiscate the money. If the arrest and trials are done in Nigeria the conditions will change to the benefits of Nigeria.

If that happens, there will be less corruption and the future can be hopeful. This hope will depend largely on an independent and fortified judiciary amongst other institutions (like the police with a vigour) that will be bold to take this struggle against corruption to the desired level.

When the problem of corruption is faced head-on and minimized, other things including the diversification of the economy will fall in line. Then Buhari will take his eyes off the petroleum sector because there may be a more lucrative groundnut pyramid to give attention to, in a world where the campaign is less dependency on crude oil. Renewable energies are coming, please tell Buhari so. The price of oil may dwindle more.

Nigerians need social justice and a sane environment. Without them, the dreams we have of a better country and a place where freedom, peace and justice reign will remain a mirage.

Buhari and APC should leave the status quo, stop telling lies and let go of propaganda. For a second let them think of the Nigeria where they want their children and grandchildren to live and be happy.

aderounmu@gmail.com