Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016 01:58

You Cannot Lie Your Way to the White House

One advantage of the long US electoral process is that it gives the public a chance to see and scrutinize the candidates. The process allows time for lies to be uncovered especially since there are opposing candidates digging into one’s past and a vigilant press checking and rechecking everything aided by an educated populace. And an independent judiciary.

One candidate trying to lie his way to the White House in this election circle is Mr. Ted Cruz (TRUST-ED). His logo is Trust_ED which he coined because he has been looking forward to clashing with Mrs. Clinton who he believes has “Trust” challenges. It is turning out that the entire Cruz campaign is based on lies, lies, and more lies.

  1. He lied about his qualification to be a US president. The constitution has it that to be a president one must be US born. Mr. Cruz was born in Canada by a US woman. Canada we are told is close to US both in political orientation and geographically but IS NOT USA. They do not vote in each other’s elections; or in any way pretend to be the same country. This matter is now in the court system and would eventually reach the Supreme Court. It is unfortunate that Mr. Anthony Scalia is not there but other strict constitutional interpreters will read what the words say and would tell him “it ain’t so.”
  2. He lied about Nigeria and Nigerians and how Nigerians come into this country as criminals, prompting scattering demonstrations by Nigerians over his use of a broad brush to paint the peaceful, hardworking Nigerians as criminals. Yes a few Nigerian opportunists met with him but the vast population were appalled. He never really apologized.
  3. He lied that his rival presidential candidate, Ben Carson has dropped out of the race just before the voting in IOWA and started after Mr. Carson’s votes which he got. After the voting he apologized to Carson but kept the votes. Do whatever you have to do to win seems to be the goal; if you have to lie here and there so be it. That is not the way to the White House. No one can lie his way to the public housing in District of Columbia.
  4. He lied about Marco Rubio as soon as he found out that his rival is gaining ground. He challenged his faith and implied that Mr. Rubio does not trust the Bible completely. His office even showed a video with Mr. Rubio’s hand on the Bible. The “small” missing point is that the video was doctored. It quickly became evident and you guessed it, he apologized to Rubio just as he did to Carson and pretended to have done to Nigerians.

The list is endless. This why no member of the US senate of which he is a member has endorsed him and nobody in any leadership position in GOP has cast his/her net with him. It would not have mattered this much if he is not promoting himself as Mr. TRUST (Trust-ED) himself. It has been my experience that those who are trying to hide somethings often go out of their way to show that they are what they are not. Many white folks who appear to be the most racist turn out to have black kids and many anti-gay people turn out to gays. Just as those who most preach monogamous living have mistresses or masters.

All the candidates in this race from both parties have accused Mr. Cruz of possessing a penchant to lie. Mr. Trump in his bombastic way says that he “has not seen anybody that lies like this man.” This may be politics but sufficient evidence is emerging to support the claims.

It is possible that this latest lie about Mr. Rubio might be the final stroke that broke the proverbial “Carmel’s Back.”

You cannot lie your way to the White House.

 

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 23, 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:20

Fashola-Buhari 2016 Works Budget is Same-O Same-O

A government of change must approach its policies, its budget, and its pronouncement, from a new angle. It should start from thinking outside the box. The 2016 Ministry of Works just announced is a mere new wine in old wine bottles. It is not thinking outside the box.

All the roads improvements that will take up to 95% of the budget are roads existing now and those roads are zonal roads. It is why they are perceived as favoring the SW and that perception is fully justified. Take Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It links states in the SW and stops. A comparable express way would be Port Harcourt-Owerri express way. Why is one OK to rehabilitate one and not the other? They are both coast to inland roads. Mr. Kassim's effort to justify the vote for this road by citing that Lagos has up to 20% non-Yoruba residents merely affirms that this is a FG gift to the Yoruba. Which is why Easterners are crying wolf.

What will thinking outside the box look like?

In several past essays I had shown what such thinking will look like. Suppose Fashola's works budget begins with the statement that the construction this year would be for four inter zonal roads: a pair of East/West roads and a pair of South/North roads. They will all be new roads. One will start from Calabar to Ibadan and the other will start from Jebba or a place further west to somewhere in Adamawa state. The South/North pair would be one from PH to Maiduguri and another one from Kano to Badagry. A proposal such as these would be seen as Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and- what-have-you proposal. It will be hailed by all. Number one federal road networks ought to be linking zones not the ones linking states. The state to state networks will be trunk "B" roads when the former are Trunk "A" roads

Trunk "B" roads will be the responsibility of state governments such that Lagos state will build part of the Lagos-Ibadan road up to its borders and Oyo state will build the rest. Trunk "C" roads will be roads built by LGA to connect cities and towns in the state. To me this is how a three-tier government should function. But what we have is a FG that assumes the State role and a State that assumes the LG role and LG that sits on their hands doing nothing. And a FG that cannot see the big picture. I had thought that Mr. Fashola was a man with big vision.

I now know that Mr. Fashola is "Same-O Same-O."

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 17, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari is the custodian of Nigeria’s democracy. He may also be the greatest threat facing that nascent democracy. The pillars of democracy are individual freedoms, rule of law, people’s involvement in the decision making process either directly such as in referendums, or petitions or indirectly through their elected representatives.

Any other form of governing that is not built on these pillars is not democracy. I am afraid that this administration is moving away from these fundamental principles.

Take the case of Nnamdi Kanu. All the principles have been violated. The leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was arrested and charged to court. The court with jurisdiction ruled that he be immediately released. The Department of State Securities (DSS) that arrested him held on to him, thereby violating the principle of the Rule of Law. An appeal court reached the same verdict but nothing came from it. The alleged villain has since declared that he has no confidence in obtaining justice in Nigerian courts. Who can blame him? The government has since been shopping for a friendly judge and searching for criminal activities to bring against him. In other climes you observe that a crime has been committed, then you conduct an investigation to identify the culprit and arrest him/her and then you charge him/her to court. Under PMB the opposite is done: get a culprit, charge him to court and then conduct any investigation to find what crimes may have been committed.

This is too complicated.

May be a simpler case is that of firing Vice Chancellors. It takes about 40 years to become a president of a university from birth to primary schools, to high schools to undergraduate and graduate schools to post doctorate education and writing and publishing. University president are highly skilled personnel and recruiting one takes a minimum of 18 months search. And when found, they are valued and given tenure which is assurance that they would not be relieved of their duties on flimsy excuses. The purpose of tenure is to assure that they can speak freely and write freely. Their loyalty is to the institution that hired them and to the pursuit of learning, even heretical learning. I am not aware of any place or time when an entire class of university presidents were retrenched. And just in the same breath another batch were conscripted and put in place. We are not making a car on an assembly line. We should be looking for “fitness for a particular purpose.” That is reason it takes 18 months to find a match. A Mr. Aluko may be good at Otueke but not for Ibadan or Nsukka even though they are all universities in Nigeria.

In the case of VC’s we have also the abuse of laws and contracts. And humane touch. I do not know the details of the contracts of these VC’s but I expect that during their performance evaluations there would be indications that their contracts would not be renewed because of poor performance. But given the surprise they display and the protest from their unions, one gets the impression that this process was not followed. If the sacking was reckless the replacement is even more reckless. It is not sufficient to check the academic degrees of an individual the fitness for a particular purpose must be taken into account.

The case of VC’s too is getting too complicated.

Consider the case of Directors Generals of government corporations. At one fell swoop 25 of them were asked to clear their offices. DG’s case and VC’s case and Nnamdi Kanu’s case all have one thing in common. You get the person/people and then start searching for the crimes they might have committed. We get the information that these senior officers have been relieved of their job and sometime in the future we will hear why. In the interim rumors, gossips, speculations, and innuendos will be used to ruin their reputations. These would make it difficult for them to resume their previous jobs or find new ones. Except for those who had been entrenched in their past positions, others would be asked the inevitable question: why did you leave your latest position. They would probably reply that their contracts ended to which the interviewer would add “and it was not renewed?” This rejoinder is a code.

The implications of these PMB moves are grave for the individuals involved and perhaps worse for Nigeria.

  1. The potential replacements for the “sacked” officers will realize that their fate is tied to the success of this administration as strong possibilities exist that any incoming administration would follow PMB’s footstep. With this understanding they will do whatever is necessary to keep the administration going for ever. Not just those immediately impacted but those who managed to escape the ax this time. Election rigging cannot be a stretch. One can see why some political leaders do not give up the presidency in many African nations. The consequences are too grave for them and all who served under them. It is possible that GEJ might be regretting getting out without a fight. His people are paying huge prices for having worked for him. They may feel betrayed.
  2. People who are truly qualified and secure in their current posts would be less eager to accept offers to come home and serve. Dr. Kenneth Dike was the head of the Institute of African Studies at Harvard, a very prestigious and secure position when he left it to become the president of Anambra State University of Technology (now ESUT + Unizik) under Governor Jim Nwobodo. If this condition existed then he would have chosen to retire from Harvard and stay in Cambridge while Nigeria suffers. There are many Dike’s around the world now who cannot be attracted back to PMB’s Nigeria. In which case only those who are desperate would apply. Brain drain continues.
  3. A good servant must be bold to tell the king that the king has no clothes on. But if he thinks that he might pay a huge price for his honesty he might chose to go along to get along. This is the risk PMB is running. Loyalty to him might supersede loyalty to the country. It was rumored that after the 2015 election that some of the GEJ’s ministers including Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala advised GEJ to concede to PMB. Under the present environment PMB may not get such advice and Nigeria would be the worse for it.
  4. As for the direct victims of power gone amok, they should chock it up as another experience. Those who are not too traumatized should consider the experience still useful: their motherland called and they answered. That is the highest level of patriotism.

Nigeria most go forward. If there are some who have PMB’s ears they should caution him on absolute powers and its corruptive tendencies; that riding roughshod over the constitution is never a good thing; that temporal powers are just that: temporal. There will be other presidents in the future and that he should try to not set a bad example for there is measure for measure; and that man’s inhumanity to man is a dead end.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 16, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari is roaming the world capitals cap-in-hand begging for loans to help fight Boko Haram and to fight corruption. And every once in a while he would mention boost the economy. In these rare occasions where he accepts that the Nigerian economy is in danger, his main focus has been on the two pronged wars he is determined to fight and win. One of the reasons for this posture is that they are what the developed nations want to hear.

But are they what Nigeria needs and wants?

At what prices?

To answer the last question first, the price of borrowing is usually very, very steep. On paper both the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are classified as low cost lenders. Nothing can be further from the truth. Yes their interest rates may be lower than the commercial banks’ rates but consider all the other non-financial costs of the loan. For most loans the borrower country gives up its sovereignty to get the loan. The banks will give directions to the borrower country on the country’s fiscal and monetary policies, on where to invest and where not to, on the salary structure of the civil servants including what benefits can be given to workers, they will dictate health policies and everything in between. If in doubt check back to how EU dealt with and are still dealing with Greece. The Greek people actually rejected the terms, but did it matter? Germany eventually had its way. WB, IMF, and foreign lenders had always had/have their ways. We should not forget what happened during SAP in the 80’s.

 We should be happy that Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala got us out of the trap and should be very, very leery about getting back in. Our freedom should be dear to us: Give me freedom or give me death is a popular saying in New England.

 What are Nigerian needs and wants?

 The wars on BH and corruption are not winnable wars especially by an administration that is still fighting the conventional war against Biafra. BH is not Biafra It has no bases, no barracks, no massed troops, or clearly defined territories. They do not even have uniforms or ammunition dumps that could be bombed out. They fight on their own terms and choses where and when to fight. There are no established rules of engagement. The same with the war on corruption. But above all else wars mean destruction of resources. Wars do not lead to economic development, guerilla wars do not even result in the development of military industrial complex for they are fought with crude weapons. A government that has no parallel policies on negotiation and attacking the heart of the rebellion cannot make much progress in the battle field.

 Successful wars are fought with carrots and sticks. PMB has only sticks.

What Nigeria needs and wants are:

 1.   To secure the independence that Azikiwe and his compatriots won the hard way. This includes the ability to make her own decisions on her own terms without the overbearing whips foreign nations and foreign institutions. Nigeria should never give up her sovereignty for any material things no matter how tempting or circumstances

2.   Nigeria needs to look to itself for solutions to her problems. This will include self-imposed belt tightening, self-imposed investment on areas that have strategic benefits such as agriculture, education and industries. The dwindling foreign exchange ought to refocus our attention to domestic products and producers. Nigeria is capable of refining all the oils it need. One only needs to go to the creeks in Rivers and Bayelsa states where crude oil is refined illegally. Or to Biafra where military and civilian vehicle were fueled by locally refined fuels. Ditto for everything from food processing to house building materials to manufacturing of bicycles, cars and other things beyond. These products could be crude now but with time and experience these industries would improve and reach world standards. A joint effort between industry and universities is a tried and proved way out.

3.   Nigerians need a talking, negotiating, and listening president and administration. PMB will not talk to BH; will not talk to IPOB, MASSOB, MENDS, PDP, GEJ administration, etc. He will not get too far by force of character and military guns. These weapons have their limits too. Jaw jaw, jaw is better than war, war, war. All wars eventually end on an oak table.

4.   Nigeria needs openness and transparency like fish needs water. It will start from the top to bottom from now to the past and protrude to the future. It appears that the major efforts are for looking at the past. One cannot go far by going backwards (onweghi ebe eji azu eje). Nigeria must focus on the future. Accountability must start from now and going forward with occasional glance backwards.

5.   Nigeria needs democracy. Democracy does not begin and end with elections. It means strengthening democratic infrastructures, The legislative, the judicial, the civil services, police, the parastatals, states, local government, civil liberties, NGO’s, town unions, labor unions, educational institutions, industries, etc. Each of these has its areas of influence that must be recognized and appreciated. A one man government is called dictatorship and Nigeria does not need it. And if it rears its ugly head should be uprooted and cast into the fire.

6.   Nigeria needs citizens who participate in their governing. Sometimes I feel that the leadership is there but the followership is not there. The leadership ought to get clear messages from the followers as the followers needs and wants so that the leadership can lead to the desired out comes. Followers ought to hold the leadership accountable and the best place to start is from the local leaders. If the locals cannot ask the chairman of the LGC where the allocation from the FG is spent; why the teachers of their kids have not been paid; where he got the money to buy three houses in Abuja or Lagos; etc. how can they ask PMB about his unlimited number of horses? Or why he has many, times more jet planes than the Saudi Prince?

 Above all Nigerian needs the backbone to reject easy solutions like borrowing from WB and IMF or other foreign countries or institutions. Nigeria needs to look for internally generated funds at all levels of government, LGA should look into the communities for funds, states should look into its geography for money and stop looking to Abuja for every nickel and dime, and the mighty FG should be mighty indeed and create situations to collect all revenues due and available.

 If Nigeria looks at the mirror she would find the savior.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 14, 2016

Tuesday, 09 February 2016 22:43

WAEC Results and Its Message

There is no good news in 2015 WAEC examination results. There are no silver linings. The trend from 2013 to 2014 to 2015 showed decline in the percentage of passes or number of candidates or both.

2015 WAEC examination results have attracted commentaries from those who want to divert attention from it for whatever reasons, and those who want to prove the superiority of one ethnic group over others, and from others who are history challenged. Diversionary tactics deployed include publication of one school renovation by a group of alumni in a state where success in the exam was one of the lowest (18%); what a revised curriculum would look like; etc.; as if these were the reasons for the poor performance or what the way forward should look like. Gloating tactics included “my stuff is better than yours”, or I am drinking to this, etc. And history deprivation is exhibited by most who even though they took “Cambridge” and London University GCE exams in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s forgot what the standards were and where bragging rights were established.

In an earlier commentary I mentioned some high schools in Eastern Nigeria that consistently scored 80-100% over decades and where anything below 80% was cause for shame. Similar schools existed in the Western Nigerian and in the North. These history depraved commentators ignored the fact that Osun state in Western Region of Nigeria is among the bottom 10 even though Osun is part of Western Nigeria, the region where education was first taken most seriously, with free education at the primary level, and a state that probably has more serious academicians than most other states. They did not explore this aberration. Is there any field of human endeavor where 60% success rate is applauded? Would you see a physician that loses 40% of his patients, an engineer that builds houses that only 60% stand after a storm? I will not, not even when they are the only engineers or physicians in town.

With my anger laid to rest let us objectively look at the message that the results conveyed and the way forward. I will ask three questions

  1. Where are the missing children? Those who did not take the exam
  2. What is the reason for the failure of the entire Nigerian education system?
  3. Which way forward for Nigerian education?

A. The story of the missing children. In 2014 1,692,435 students took the exam but in 2015 the number was 1,590,284. Where are the rest? The population has grown through births. Are they all Chibok girls? Kano with a population of 9.4 million could only field 62,511 candidates while Edo with a third of the population 3.2 million had 68,000 students. Where are the missing kids? Most of the “high performing” states have also more students per capita taking the exam. Abia, Anambra, etc. with very low populations fielded more candidates. Lagos with comparable population to Kano had over a hundred thousand sit for this WAEC examinations.

The policy implication is horrifying. The missing kids will show up very soon in unemployment/underemployment figures. Those bent on mischief such as Boko Haram, would have ready and able recruits. In 4 or 5 years those who go to colleges would graduate and ceteris paribus would present themselves for employment. If Abia alone presents 52,000 candidates and they are hired, is anybody deaf enough not to hear Igbo domination? And if they are not hired will we not hear Igbo marginalization and shrill cries for Biafra? Below is a cross section summary of statistics:

State

Population

# of WAEC Students

% POP

5 credits

Success rate

Kano

9,383,682

         62,511

0.7%

15,903

25.4%

 

Lagos

9,013,534

141,963

1.6%

68,173

48.0%

 

Oyo

5,591,589

78,896

1.4%

16,588

21.0%

 

Anambra

4,182,032

46,385

1.1%

28,379

61.2%

 

Bornu

4,151,193

21,695

0.5%

5,347

24.6%

 

Ogun

3,728,098

75,994

2.0%

25,006

32.9%

 

Osun

3,423,535

48,818

1.4%

8,801

18.0%

 

Edo

3,218,332

68,137

2.1%

38,052

55.8%

 

Abia

2,833,999

52,801

1.9%

33,762

63.9%

 

Ekiti

2,384,212

21,333

0.9%

8,954

42.0%

 

Yobe

2,321,591

14,784

0.6%

646

4.4%

 

 And here is the trend report:

Year

Nig. Pop

# of Candidates

success rate

5 credits

Rate

2015

      140,003,542

  1,590,284

1.14%

562,413

35.37%

2014

      140,003,542

  1,692,435

1.21%

639,334

39.95%

2013

      140,003,542

  1,543,683

1.10%

529,425

34.30%

 

B. What is the reason for the failure of the entire Nigerian education system? There cannot be any doubt that the system has collapsed especially when you look back. Cambridge exam was a worldwide exam conducted by University of Cambridge. As mentioned earlier DMGS, CIC, etc. would send their pupils and they (100% of them) would pass. And when they show up at Ibadan, Cambridge, Harvard, LSE, etc. they will march all other students from all over the world. My first thought was that the failure has to do with the quality of school teachers, equipment, infrastructure etc. But upon further examination by trying to pick up schools that would be comparable in terms of teachers, equipment, etc., I still find unexplained differences. Federal Government high schools would be where all things ought to be equal. Yet you have this sorry example:

Meanwhile, the federal Government Girl’s College, Benin outshined the others with 230 of its 232 candidates meeting the University requirements in the performance register for the 104 Federal Government colleges in the same examination.

From the statistics, it was observed that of the 74 candidates that sat for the examination at the FGGC, Bajoga, no one got the basic admission requirement. It was the scenario at the FGGC, Bauchi and Gboko. Whereas 143 candidates sat for the examination in the Bauchi school, 144 females did the same at the FGGC, Gboko. For the FSTC, Kafanchan, of the 40 candidates, comprising 29 males and 11 females that sat for the examination, no one also obtained the minimum entry requirements to the university.

Not one person qualified in for admission in 8 Federal High Schools. What a waste! Consider how much was spent over four years and not one child could qualify. And this:

Of the 26 Unity schools occupying the bottom positions on the performance chart, 22 of them are located in the North. The other four colleges are the FGGC, Ikot Obio Itong, Ukam at 89th position; FGGC, Calabar (92nd); FSTC, Uyo (93rd) and the FGC, Idoani, Ondo State occupying the 96th position

My conclusion is that the would have been high performing students are those that are missing from the section above. If those hundreds of thousands of missing kids I asked for before, were in schools the performance would have been different.

The policy implications are obvious. Nigeria is losing the crème de la crème of our kids to the streets as beggars, to BH recruiters and mischief makers.

The war against BH must be waged by denying BH recruits especially the high performing kids missing in our schools. The good war should be searching for the kids and bringing them into classes. That is the more important war. As for the beggars, the solution is a bit simpler. They beg because they are hungry and MUST eat. This makes the case for investment in agriculture as opposed to chasing thieves (corruption) that have escaped. Let us hunker down and bring these kids in, feed them, and put them to work in the classrooms in Nigeria.

C.Which way forward for Nigerian education? Policy wonks will talk about curriculums and other esoteric subjects that are ultimately important for a good education, but here is a short “to do list”:

1. Gather the wheat and the chaff (all kids) to school

2. Feed them while at school (school lunch) at no cost

3. Find teachers (even unqualified teachers) to give them some kind of education even if it is mere babysitting.

4. Provide some form of structure and preach the beauty of education

With time improve on the quality of teachers and curriculum and infrastructure and equipment. None of these will be important if there are no students. The failure in FG schools that could not graduate any students is because they had not recruited all possible candidates that could benefit from a high school education. Passing WAEC starts from kindergarten not from Form 1.

This is not a northern manifesto. All schools from Calabar to Kano and from Lagos to Maiduguri are failing. There are no exceptions and no silver lining except that more girls are in schools than boys and the girls are doing better than boys, confirming the trend worldwide. But even this raises serious issues which we will leave for another essay.

The current Buhari Administration is spending trillions of naira fighting BH, and another trillions fighting corruption. As important as they may seem, they should take a back seat. Give us food, give us education and all other things would be added unto us.

 

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 8, 2016

http://dailypost.ng/2016/02/05/south-eastern-states-lead-as-wassce-releases-2015-mayjune-results/

For months His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been shopping for a judge who would do his bidding. He has found one to his liking (See the “The Will Newspaper report below”). Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday refused to grant bail to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and founder of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and his co-accused.

The Justice’s reason:

  1. While rejecting the bail application of the accused persons, the judge held that they were not entitled to bail as they failed to show that they would not continue to commit the alleged crime for which they were being prosecuted.
  2. He also upheld the argument of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Mohammed Diri, who had opposed the bail application on the ground that the accused were likely to interfere with and intimidate prosecuting witnesses. Justice Tsoho maintained that contrary to the argument of the defence lawyers, the charges preferred against the accused were not trumped up

 

Can anyone not predict what would happen when the trial begins? Can anyone not hear Mr. Kanu testifying that he would not receive justice from Justice John Tsoho?

Without any trial the justice wanted proof that the accused need to show that they will not continue to commit the alleged crime for which they are being prosecuted. In other words he has found them guilty. If the accused are guilty what is the need for trial?

The Learned Justice maintained that contrary to the argument of the defense lawyers the charges preferred against the accused were not trumped up. Neither side has presented any evidence or called any witnesses.

Is anybody ready to argue that this case has not been decided?

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

January 29, 2016

===============================================

Court Denies IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, Two Others Bail

January 29, 2016

BEVERLY HILLS, January 29, (THEWILL) – ‎Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday refused to grant bail to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and founder of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and his co-accused.

Kanu and two others (David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu) are being prosecuted on six counts of treasonable felony and unlawful possession of firearms preferred against them by the Federal Government.

While rejecting the bail application of the accused persons, the judge held that they were not entitled to bail as they failed to show that they would not continue to commit the alleged crime for which they were being prosecuted.

He also upheld the argument of the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Mohammed Diri, who had opposed the bail application on the ground that the accused were likely to interfere with and intimidate prosecuting witnesses. Justice Tsoho maintained that contrary to the argument of the defence lawyers, the charges preferred against the accused were not trumped up

He observed that rather than contradict the allegations leveled against the accused persons in the counter-affidavit filed by the prosecution, the defendants only claimed that their agitation for creation of the Republic of Biafra was within their right.

The judge, who also noted that Kanu’s admission that he was a dual citizen of Nigeria and Britain further heightened the possibility of him jumping bail, preferred to order an accelerated hearing of the case with the possibility of hearing it on daily basis.

He then ordered that the accused persons should remain in Kuje prison throughout their trial and adjourned trial in the case until February 9, 10, 11 and 12.

I believe that Boko Haram (BH) is now actually defeated. I know I made fun of the announcement when it was made around December 31st 2015. It was President Muhammadu Buhari's (PMB) deadline for defeating BH. But here it is. We no longer get daily announcements of BH's destruction of lives and property. PMB has redirected his focus to Biafran agitators and threatens to annihilate any uprisings in the Delta Region. His attention is now focused southwards.

The defeat of BH calls for more questions. Who defeated BH? How was the defeat accomplished? Is Nigeria now at peace?

Who defeated Boko Haram? Some would say that former President Jonathan defeated Boko Haram. This school of taught would argue that there were clearly documented "wars" against BH under the command of the GEJ's retired military officers. They engaged the terrorists and routed them from key strongholds and from which they never recovered.

This line of thinking would be bolstered by the fact that since PMB's administration there has not been a direct confrontation between the Nigerian military and BH; that there has not been any noticeable inflow of arms and ammunition; that there has not been any significant policy changes that would imply Nigerian forces had overwhelmed BH. In other words that PMB did not defeat BH; that there should not be any promotions for the men and women in combat for their gallantry in the war against terrorists under PMB.

Some other people, including this scribe, would argue that BH has been "defeated" by the current PMB Administration and the forces under his command. That he gave a deadline of December 31st and his officers accomplished the mission. The question of how this miracle was accomplished without an open engagement by his forces against the enemies will be discussed in the following paragraphs.

But first let us look at how Nigeria's previous conflicts ended.

The Nigeria/Biafra war was waged from 1967-1970. Nigerian forces under the command General Yakubu Gowon overwhelmed Biafran forces under General Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and aided by diplomatic actions of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe resulted in the suspension of hostilities (Obi Nwakanma). Many of us alive at the time can still remember the time of the day in January 1970 when General Philip Effiong met with General Obasanjo and signed cessation of hostilities documents. This war was a traditional war engaged in by two massed forces over defined geographies. There was a battle line which those of us in Special Services crossed frequently at great risks to our lives. But with the end of hostilities nothing was ever heard of Biafran again. Until PMB's second coming.

The other conflict in Nigeria was the insurgency led by MENDS. It was a guerrilla war not unlike what BH is now waging. The only difference is that BH terrorism is larger in geographical sense, than either Nigeria/Biafra war or the MENDS rebellion. BH terrorism is/was spread from Maiduguri to Kano to Benue and lower Benue. It was all over Northern Nigerian zones NW, NE and NC. And has resulted in more human and property destruction than MENDS rebellion.

Mr. Obasanjo started this war as he had approached the Nigeria/Biafran war. He invaded villages killing large swath of citizens and set lands on fire. Despite heavy handedness he was never able to defeat the rebels. Then came President Yar' Adua. Who changed tactics and sued for a peaceful conference at which the Nigerian government agreed to meet some of the demands of the rebels in return for peace. The documents were signed and the compensation began. All through Yar' Adua's administration, short live though it was, we did not hear of MENDS and all through the administration of Jonathan's. NOTHING. Maybe until recently, under PMB's second coming.

Please note that both Biafra and MENDS wars ended with signed agreements.

Now that it is accepted that BH insurgency has ended, people are asking where are the cessation of hostilities signed documents? What are the terms and conditions of cessation of hostilities?

The answer lies in how the terrorism of BH started. It will be recalled that while there were rebellion rumblings in parts of the north under Obasanjo's administration, it got worse after the defeat of GMB at the polls by Yar' Adua. GMB swore then that blood would flow. Right away blood started to flow and aided by Yar' Adua's mistake that allowed death of the leader of BH Yousef, at the hands of Nigerian security forces, blood drips became blood flows. GMB was accused of giving impetus to the movement which he denied at the time. Then followed by another defeat at the polls by President Jonathan, GMB could no longer hide his contempt for Nigerian politics. He avowed the Nigeria would be ungovernable. BH insurgency picked up. No city in northern Nigeria was safe anymore. UN offices were bombed; large territories were taken over by BH; churches and mosques were bombed and worshippers killed; etc. Nigeria was unsafe and warnings by foreign countries to their citizens that travel to Nigeria was unsafe emanated and one could hear what sounded like the 18th and 19th century warnings about the Bights of Benin and Biafra: "where many go in and few come out."

Many people believed that GMB has succeeded in implementing his threat. Nigeria became ungovernable. Following the fears within and without the country the sing-song became that GEJ was weak. Nigeria needed a strong leader. It was not surprising that PMB won the 2015 elections on the basis of resolving security concerns and within 3 months in office he promised that there would not be any more talks of BH problems by December 31st 2015. And on December 31st he declared the end of BH. Some of us doubted at first but events since then has proved that BH has indeed been defeated. It ended without any know battles, no known peace meetings. Just ended.

No confrontations, no overwhelming forces and no surrender and signing of cessation of hostilities documents as was the case with Biafra. No peace treaty and signed papers between former enemies now friends. BH disappeared just like it had appeared.

It is a miracle!

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

January 24, 2016

The internet is so vast that it circles the world from east to west and from north to south. Many people do not know how big the internet is. It is beyond “all human understanding.”

Apart from its vastness, the internet provides the users and abusers with cover and anonymity, which partly accounts for why users say things that they may not say in other mediums and in other physical places. There are no geographical boundaries or political spheres which make regulations almost impossible to implement or even to legislate. But the world is gradually coming to terms with an unregulated and uncontrolled cyber space. Eventually there would be at least internet protocols for users.

But meanwhile I see that the profiles of Nigerian users of internet fall under several categories and reflect the ethnic, religious, rivalries, and political beliefs etc., of each group. When Nigerian gather in this World Wide Web they bring to the table the attitudes one would expect in such a gathering with the exception that these attributes are exaggerated by the anonymity that the internet provides even when writers use their real names.

  1. Profile 1. These are users who love Nigeria and who want to use the internet to bring for discussion, issues they consider important to Nigeria. They want to educate; to convince; to influence, other users to their point of view. They welcome intellectual debate without being condescending, cavalier, haughty, or disdainful to the views of others even when they disagree. This group is approachable and humble but firm in stating their positions. But defend the points of view with vigor and with verifiable facts. They are usually well educated and to a large extent objective and not overly ethnocentric. Most often they write under their real names.
  2. Profile 2. This group of users see the internet as place to spend some time to relax just as one would do after a hard day at the office. To this group this is an after work bar. They spend a good amount in this bar for joking (ima njakiri as the Igbo would say). They make fun of other users and have even spread a few rumors, believing that every other user can tell njakiri (joke) from the truth. They make caricatures of one ethnic group over another. Like most comediennes they sometimes speak the truth which is like a grain of wheat in a bushel of chaff which one would search for a long time before one finds it.
  3. Profile 3. This group is hard to define. My best effort would be to say that this group represents resentful people who use the internet to bring out the venom in their hearts. They spew hatred and abuse in their writings. They blame the society for every short comings in their life or blame other ethnic groups for whatever they conceive is wrong with Nigeria. Their angst is poured first among the Igbo followed by the Yoruba and then on other ethnic groups. I say first against the Igbo because some Igbo join in the slaughter (verbal) of the Igbo. This group is the least educated among the warriors. Please note that by education I do not mean paper qualifications for I believe that among Nigerian internet users 90% have at least a bachelor’s degree, many have graduate education and quite a significant percentage have terminal degrees. Educated here means:

The main ingredients include "the capacity for independent thought, a sense of relationship between different questions, a sense of history, respect for evidence and a sense of how to define and approach important questions."  .(Hanna H Gray President University of Chicago)

 Profile 4.These are cheerleaders or what the Igbo call “oti nkpu” and Fella Ransom Kuti called follow-follow people. They echo any words from the paymaster dead or alive. Some of the paymasters include Awo, Zik, Ojukwu, Bello, GEJ and now Buhari. This group is not capable of discerning truth from fiction and have no principles whatsoever. They think they are serving their master well by allowing him to parade himself naked in the public square. They tell the president that it is OK to disobey court orders; that his exclusive appointments are defensible; that peaceful demonstrations by unarmed civilians and so on, should be stopped by combined armed forces shooting at sight.

Profile 5. These men and women are the job seekers. They are very close to profile 4 people except that when they come to accept that there is no job for them from the administration they turn against the administration. They become the strongest critics of government in power often in contradiction to the positions they once took. Membership in this group often include the highly educated among Diasporas who have reached the end of the road in their careers abroad but are still too young to retire. There is not much strong desire to serve the motherland but to get their share of the “national cake.” Those lucky to be hired will usually adopt the same chop-chop ideology they vigorously opposed from their ivy desks in foreign countries.

Do you know anyone who qualifies in any of these categories? Where are you?

Being aware of these “types” is supposed to make you enjoy what you read. I enjoy the entertainers because they help me laugh which is their motivation. I read the writings of those who bring issues to the table for discussion. For reading them maketh me a full man; conferencing (debating) with them a ready man; and writing and challenging them an exact man (Sir Francis Bacon, amplified).

It takes all of us to be a country.

 

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts,

January 14, 2016

  1. I am delighted that it happened at all. Press conferences are the way leaders answer to the people. The fourth estate is the voice of the people and by sitting down and taking questions from the people PMB demonstrates acceptance that he is the servant and not the master.
  2. The setting was a little disappointing. The President should have been standing and answering questions instead of sitting. By sitting he gave the appearance of a king on his/her throne which the president is not. I doubt that the president's age (72) is the reason after all he looks young and has no weight problems. This is a minor point.
  3. Some of the questions are pointed with strong follow-up questions. Kudos to those who "grilled" the president on some national issues. That is as it should be.
  4. The president's answers are credible in some areas and amazingly ridiculous in other areas, such as on Mr. Kanu and Dasuki where he either does not understand the constitution or chose to forget what it says.
  5. I am disappointed that he chose a handful of outlets to represent the media. I hope that in the future he should allow all the accredited Aso Rock Pressmen/women to attend. That way he would face both the ruly and unruly press. For those who do not behave they could be bared in the future for bad behavior.
  6. The press from the snippets that I saw behaved nicely; neither overly patronizing nor intimidated. But then a "newspaper man" who can be intimidated is not a journalist to begin with.
  7. I wish that this becomes a regular feature of PMB's administration. He will learn from practice that it actually helps his administration when he can answer question in the open arena with Nigerians watching. The give and take is a major part of democracy.
  8. The president was rattled on occasions and was vividly angry with some questions. PMB should review some of Obama's press conference to learn how to handle "difficult" pressmen/women. He should do what coaches do on Monday after each game, watch the tapes! He should also rehearse, have his staff to ask him difficult questions which could come up so that he is not too surprised.
  9. A press conference is called for after each major incident as a way of filing and incident report. One was needed when Shiites were butchered in Zaria; when young Biafran matters were slaughtered in Onitsha and PH; after BH massacres; after each foreign trip to report the reason for the trip and what was accomplished. After all he travelled on our behalf with our money to spend. Each occasion would have been an opportunity to express national sympathy for the victims. As it stands now, one is left with the impression that PMB does not care about the lives of Nigerians. He ought to show that all lives matter.
  10. For the most part PMB was relaxed and as usual properly attired. During next conferences he should wear real Yoruba agbada, Ishiagu outfit and other Nigerian cultural costumes for he is now Nigeria.

 

After all said and done, this clerk feels that 2016 will be a better year for Nigeria than 2015. Whether it is, will depend for the most part, on PMB's behavior.

Happy New Year everybody.

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

January 1, 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari’s explanations of why he is holding Messrs. Kanu and Dasuki despite court rulings exposes PMB for who he is as opposed to who he wants the world to believe. It brought out the forgotten fact that he is innately a dictator; that he is ill prepared for the office he holds; and that he is ignorant of the constitution he swore to defend and uphold. His explanations show that he is either ignorant or is a liar. You take your pick. I have below the extract of his explanations as published by the Daily Sun. After you read the explanations, I have the basis for levelling the points I made above. And I want you to be the judge.

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday explained why his administration is still holding the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (retd) and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kalu despite being granted bail by relevant courts. He said the security agencies are still holding the duo because their offences are serious and they could jump bail,… said the law would take its course with regards to both of them. He regretted that the IPOB leader who had both Nigerian and British passports entered the country and could broadcast against his nation. His words: “The one they are calling Kanu, do you know he has two passports? One Nigerian, one British and he came to this country without tendering any? He came into this country with sophisticated equipment and he was broadcasting against his country. “The group says they are marginalsing Biafrans but they have not defined the extent of marginalisation and those who are marginalising them”. The President dismissed insinuations that his administration has marginalised the South-East and explained that his actions are usually guided by the Constitution. He observed that some of the critical positions in his government including the Ministry of State for Petroleum, Ministries of Science and Technology, Labour and Employment, CBN governor, among others are being occupied by the Igbo and wondered why some say he is marginalising them. On Dasuki, he regretted that the former NSA could be involved in frittering away monumental resources belonging to the country when so many Nigerians are dying in the Internally Displaced (IDP) camps in various parts of the country.  By Iheanacho Nwosu, Willy Eya, Ndubuisi Orji and Chinelo Obogo   Daily Sun http://sunnewsonline.com/new/ 

The critical points PMB made are underlined and I proceed to show that the President is either under-informed or is stingy with the truth.

  1. the security agencies are still holding the duo because their offences are serious and they could jump bail, said the law would take its coursewith regards to both of them. Has the law not taken its course? Two courts have ruled on their cases, one a lower court and the other a higher court. Is the president not aware of the rulings or is he fudging the facts? Who determines the seriousness of a case: the prosecutor, the defendant or the judge? The judges looked at the cases and ORDERED immediate release of Mr. Kanu and granted bail to Mr. Dasuki. From where did the president get the authority to override the courts?
    1. could broadcast against his nation. PMB was speaking of Kanu. Here is what the constitution says about free speech.1. Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. (2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) of this section, every person shall be entitled to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions: Chapter IV section 39(1)(2). According to this section Mr. Kanu has the right to the equipment he brought to the country and to broadcast to the people of his country. That is the constitution which the president swore to uphold but is violating. Is the president properly informed or is he again fudging the facts?
    2. The one they are calling Kanu, do you know he has two passports? Is this the way a Head of State describes his constituent? Is this the way a father addresses his errant son? What is even more amazing is how visibly upset PMB was when he was addressing the matter of Mr. Kanu. There is what President Kennedy described as Grace Under Pressure. PMB lacked it at this juncture. He felt irritated at the questioner as if to say “who are you to be questioning my actions? He was rattled. What does he mean by “the one they are calling Kanu?” Is he not Nnamdi Kanu? What else could they be calling him, a trash perhaps? In case PMB does not know the gentleman’s name is Nnamdi Kanu.
    3. and he came to this country without tendering any (passport)? This is a mystery. How did he get in? Do we have entry points and rules or did he sneak in through Benin, Cameroon, Chad or Niger republics?
    4. On Dasuki, he regretted that the former NSA could be involved in frittering away monumental resources belonging to the country. This might as well be true but it is left for the courts to determine. The courts have agreed to hear the case against him and granted him bell. Why is he still being held?
    5. his actions are usually guided by the Constitution. PMB is speaking of himself here. And this is will be laughable if these matters are not so serious. Does PMB take himself seriously when he utters this sentiment? Here is the violator-of-court-orders-in-chief saying that he is guided by the constitution. Who is he fooling?

Nigerian constitution envisions a governance by the rule of law. In this government there will be a trinity: coequal and coeternal and consubstantial. The members are the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. The legislative makes the law, the executive executes the law and when there is conflict the judiciary interprets the law. If a law is found unworkable or not serving the intended purpose, then the legislative arm amends the law. The executive has no hands whatsoever in making the law on in its interpretation. Yet PMB is both making and interpreting the law. Where there is this combination in one person, it is called dictatorship. PMB was once a dictator and this inclination is showing up once more. And he ought to be stopped. 

Some of my friends have called or emailed me to back off from PMB’s administration if I still want to come to Nigeria or face any consequences. I told them that I am in full compliance with the laws and that I will keep coming and going as I please; that I have a home in Enugu and a country home in the village built from my own sweat. I added that what I write is consistent with my view of the rights of man and that I wrote the same way under Jonathan’s administration when it detained both Emeka Ugwuonye and Okey Ndibe. That people should not fear their governments; that governments are there to be serve the nation. I still believe in the fundamental human rights be it for Dasuki or for Kanu. If one of us is in jail for trying to express him/herself then we all are in jail. 

As we enter 2016, may God help our government to recognize that sovereignty is with the people and not with the nation’s governors?

 

Happy New Year to everyone. 

May God save and protect Nigeria.

 

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

December 31, 2015