Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation

Looking at the composition of government between 29 May 1999 and 29 May 2015, persons from all ethnic groups have participated in running down Nigeria financially and economically.

Corruption, Biafra And The Untrue Claim Of Igbo Marginalisation

By Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

Mr Salimonu Kadiri

In Nigeria up to January 15, 1966, where the name of the President was Nnamdi Azikiwe and the name of the President of the Senate was Nwafor Orizu, it must be the most uninteligent propaganda to assert that the Igbo were marginalised in Nigeria since independence.

After the civil war Igbo soldiers and civil servants who were in the service of the Federal government before the war were re-absorbed and those due for pension received it. Even Ojukwu who led the rebellion applied for and received pension as a Lieutenant Colonel the rank he held in the Nigerian Army before the war.

From 1979 to 1983 when civilians ruled Nigeria, the Vice President was Alex Ekwueme and the Speaker of the House of Representatives was Edwin Ume Ezeoke. During the military rule of Ibrahim Babangida from 1985 to 1993 Ohaneze Ndigbo was so pleased with him that he was honoured with Igbo traditional title of ‘Ogugua Ndigbo’ meaning ‘the Comforter of Igbo People.’ It is noteworthy that Babangida’s Minister of Finance and National Development was Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu.

In the eight years of Obasanjo’s Presidency, Igbo played prominent roles in his government. After the exit of Theophilous Danjuma as Minister of Defence in 2004, Obasanjo appointed Thomas I. Aguiyi Ironsi the son of General Ironsi as Minister of Defence. Between 1999 and 2007, there were not less than four Igbo Senate Presidents.

When the Senate President, Evan(s) Enwerem, was impeached for fraudulent change of name and certificate forgery he was replaced with Chuba Okadigbo who in turn was impeached for breaching financial regulations by granting anticipatory approval for street light contracts. He was suceeded by Adolphus Wabara who also was impeached for collecting bribes to pass budgets and was replaced by Anyim Pius Anyim.

While Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was Obasanjo’s Minister of Finance, Charles Chukwuma Solhdo was Governor of Central Bank and Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke was Director General of Nigerian Security Exchange Commission. Special Adviser to Obasanjo on Political Matters was Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife and no one could see Obasanjo without first passing through Andy Nnamdi Uba. Up to 29 May 2015, the only position in Nigeria a person of Igbo ethnic group did not occupy since the return of civilian rule in 1999 is just the Presidency.

In the last four years of the government of Goodluck Jonathan, persons of Igbo ethnic group featured prominently in very strategic positions.

Here follows some examples:

  • Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was Anyim Pius Anyim
  • Chief Economic Adviser to President Jonathan was Professor Nwanze Okeidigbe
  • irector Budget Office of the Federation was Bright Okogwu
  • Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement was Emeka Eze
  • Director General Bureau of Public Enterprise was Benjamin Ezra Dikki
  • Director General, Security Exchange Commission was Arunma Oteh
  • Director General Nigerian Security Exchange was Oscar Onyema
  • Managing Director AMCON was Chike Obi
  • Governor of Central Bank after Sanusi was removed was Godwin Emefiele
  • Managing Director of Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund was Uche Orji
  • Director General, Housing Fund was Sunday Iroha
  • Managing Director, Bank of Industry was Evelyn Oputa
  • Director General of PENCOM was Chinelu Onuoha
  • Director General, Debt Management Office was Dr. Abraham Nwankwo
  • Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for Economy was Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Permanent Secretary to the Minister of Finance was Anastasia Nwokobia
  • When Professor Bert Nnaji was removed as Minister of Power, he was replaced with Professor Chinedu Ostadinma Ndubuisi Nebo
  • Minister of Health was Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu
  • Minister of Labour and Productivity was Emeka Wogu.
  • When the late Ashiru was removed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2013, he was replaced by Viola Onwuleri
  • Nigeria’s Permanent Representative at the United Nations and up till date is Professor Mrs. Joy Ogwu
  • When Stella Adaeze Oduah was removed as Minister of Aviation in 2013, she was replaced with Osita Chidoka.

The list can be made longer in exposing persons of Igbo ethnic group that held strategic positions in Jonathan’s government but permit me to reflect on the removal of Stella Adaeze Oduah as Minister of Aviation.

In 2011, the budget for fuel subsidy was N245 billion but by December 2011 the sum of

N1.7 trillion had been paid out by the Ministry of Finance without supplementary budget.

After January 2012 uproar over Jonathan’s plan to remove fuel subsidy, subsequent enquiry showed that billions of naira were paid for unsupplied fuel and that the government was subsidizing thieves.

Among the subsidized thieves was the Minister of Aviation, Stella Adaeze Oduah, who parallel to her ministerial post was also Director General of a company, called Sea Petroleum and Gas (SPG). She owned 99% share of the Company while the rest 1% was shared between those identified as Elisabeth Stewart, Josephine Oduah and Erotomi Buwa.

The Presidential Committee on Verification and Reconciliation of Fuel Subsidy Payments discovered in September 2012, that SPG collected one billion, nineteen million, five-hundred and seventy-one thousand six-hundred and nine naira as fuel subsidy without supplying any fuel. She was not alone in oil subsidy thievery under Jonathan that was not punished in that era of impunity (na me dey there, who fit catch me).

In what appeared to be power passed position, Stella Adaeze Oduah was found to have exceeded her internal budget approval limit of N100 million by approving N643 million for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the purchase of 54 vehicles including two bullet-proof cars at $1.6 million in 2013. When the transaction was exposed, it turned out that the Minister of Aviation, Stella Adaeze Oduah was Igbo, the then Acting Director General of the NCAA who authorised the purchase of the armoured cars, Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam was Igbo, Director of finance at NCAA who carried out the order of the DG, Mr. S.Ozizi was Igbo, The Minister of Finance that granted a waiver (no import tax) for the purchase of the armoured vehicles, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was Igbo, the Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement who issued the Certificate of no Objection, Emeka Eze was Igbo; the Chairman Senate Committee on Aviation, Hope Uzodinma was Igbo; the Chairman House Committee on Aviation Nkeiruka Onyejeocha was Igbo; and the car dealer who sold the armoured cars, Cosmas Maduka was Igbo.

Yet some people have the gut to say Igbo were marginalised in the governance of Nigeria. That is completely untrue.

The second perceived injustice that necessitates demand for Biafra is the creation of only five states in the Southeast geopolitical zone as compared with other zones that have six or more states. The primary purpose of creating state is to bring governance closer to the people and the larger the landmass, the more there is need for State creation.

The five states of Southeast: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo–have a landmass of 29, 388 Square Kilometres and a population of 16, 431, 555, according to 2006 census.

Compared to the six South-south states comprising of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross-River, Delta, Edo and Rivers which have 94,924 Sq. Km., landmass and a population of 21, 044, 081, according to 2006 census, it will be unjust to have the same number of states in the Southeast as in the South-south with a landmass that is approximately five times bigger in size.

Although the Southeast is densely populated, it possesses the smallest landmass among the six geo-political zones and it should not have been more than three States in view of its landmass. In his Pirate Radio Broadcast, Nnamdi Kanu had talked about Igbo superiority, Hausa/Fulani parasitism and Yoruba cowardice.

He wants a Republic of Igbo land for Igbo alone but at the same time considers Asaba, Agbor, Ikot-Ekpene, Uyo, Eket, Ogoja, Calabar, Annang, Yenogoa, Warri, Ahoada, Ughelli, Degema and Port-Harcourt as part of Biafra’s 25 provinces. Apart from the Nka Igbo of Asaba and Agbor the South-south is composed of the Ijaw, Urhobo, Edo (Benin, Esan, Iromi, Auchi, Agenebode, Sabogida Ora) Itsekiri, Isoko, Ibibio, Annang, Oron, Efik, Ogoni and Ikwere.

Going by what happened during the civil war I don’t believe that the South-south will be willing to be integrated into Kanu’s Biafra. Victims of past tragedies should be less gung-ho about future ones. At moment we have three rival groups fighting for the secession of Biafra. These are IPOB, MASSOB and BIM.

A faction of MASSOB led by Uchenna Madu supports KANU’s led IPOB while Ralph Uwazuruike’s faction has formed Biafra Independent Movement, (BIM). Uwazuruike’s group has accused IPOB and Madu’s led MASSOB of perpetrating mayhem in the Southeast and South-south recently and blamed them for destruction of property and loss of lives during protests.

Biafra is not yet achieved and there is sharp disunity among the leaders. What then do we expect if the secession of Biafra is accomplished? South Sudan became independent from Sudan but soon after that the leaders of South Sudan, President Salva Kiir from Dinka ethnic group and Vice President Riek Machar from Nuer ethnic group, began to fight among themselves which culminated into a civil war that is still going on.

So far, the Igbo in other parts of Nigeria have not abided by the directive of Uchenna Madu’s faction of MASSOB, to return home to Igboland. Abiding by that directive, would have been the most peaceful way of achieving Biafra but many Igbo wisely consider MASOB’s directive as asking whales to leave the ocean to come and swim in a pond of water as a directive to embark on self-extinction.

Looking at the composition of government between 29 May 1999 and 29 May 2015, persons from all ethnic groups have participated in running down Nigeria financially and economically.

Therefore, there are as many, if not more, illegitimate ethnic Igbo millionaires/billionaires as there are in other ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Nigerian millionaires do not own factories and do not manufacture anything but poverty by stealing appropriated funds for national development.

President Buhari has promised not only to stop the looting of our collective patrimony by privileged few but to give investigative institutions free hands to arrest looters from the immediate past government, for the purpose of recovering looted funds.

It should be a unique opportunity for all Nigerians to support Buhari to sanitize Nigeria from thieving officials, but instead he is not only confronted with the menace of Boko Haram but Biafran secessionists.

If the resources of Nigeria are properly managed and the results are justly distributed among the citizens, the country would be a paradise for all of us. At the moment Nigerians are sleeping at the petrol stations to get fuel into their vehicles. Yet, Nigeria exports crude oil after reserving 445,000 barrels a day to be refined at the four refineries in the country for domestic consumption.

A barrel is equal to 159 litres which make 445,000 barrels to be 70,775,000 litres crude oil per day. If the over 70 million litres are refined, Nigerian oil refineries will be producing not less than 50 million litres of petrol per day apart from other derivatives such as diesel, bitumen, kerosine and some other chemicals.

Since the daily consumption of petrol is approximated to 40,000,000 litres, it means Nigeria would not need to import petrol and pump price would not be more than 30 naira.

But Nigeria’s four oil refineries have been plunged into comatose in order to pave way for massive and lucrative import of refined petroleum products while at the same time, the managers and directors of the comatose refineries are receiving full pay and allowances for producing nothing.

So in the coming year, I wish that we Nigerians may speak with one voice to the government of Nigeria. I wish God to punish those who have looted or are still looting Nigeria. I wish for God vengeance on members of the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislature that have been or are still part of the looting.

I wish that the lives of those whose harmful designs of cannibalistic theft have denied majority of Nigerians quality healthcare, infrastructural development, clean and potable water, good housing and functional education, be cut off in gruesome manner as God did to Ananias and Sapphira in the Acts of Apostles Chapter Five.

CONCLUDED

Ogunlakaiye@hotmail.com

 

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