IGALABASSA RELIEF & DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
“Foremost, I congratulate the organizers of this all-important and momentous event and I pray that the outcome here wouldn’t go the way of several others.
I have been asked to speak on the role of the elites in all that has happened, all that is happening and all that may ensue going forward.
Before then, let me draw our attention to a report from Bloomberg Business on Saturday, March 27, 2021 wherein Nigeria was said to have emerged as the nation with the highest unemployment rate on Earth; at over 33%.
Recall that Nigeria had previously been nicknamed the “poverty capital of the world”. Now if you match this against the relative lack of economic activities in Kogi East, you begin to desire a new nomenclature.
Now that’s the ecosystem within which the elites operate and that is the model that defines their perspectives, viewpoints and attributes.
For lack of time, I shall try to capture all the nuances in the following story copiously gleaned from a true life story (by John George Itodo) but tweak to fit the Igala circumstance and context:
I sent my car for service in preparation for a trip to Omala. The vehicle was not returned until the next day.
Naturally, I was very angry that the mechanic delayed my planned trip but was also glad that he brought the car back for me to leave that morning.
So I decided to drive around Okula, Ogbagebe and Ejule to be sure the car was in good condition for the trip. I stopped to exchange pleasantries and when I returned, I tried starting it and it won’t start, so I parked, called the mechanic, who told me he was home already but will see if he can make it back to me.
So I decided to start the car once more and Bang! The car burst into flames… I ran out of the car in shock and confusion. The next episode of this mishap is the reason for my narrative.
From the moving traffic, I saw men and boys park their cars and were rushing to my burning car with fire extinguishers, some were struggling to open the bonnet.
From a building around, I heard women screaming and passing buckets of water, bags of detergents. I saw a guy remove his t-shirt, soaked it in water and was trying to open the bonnet with fire covering his hands.
In all these, I was just standing by a tree, with my eyes staring into space, till I saw the flames go out eventually and I heard someone ask… where is the owner of the car?
It was then and only then that I stepped forward and found myself being hugged and consoled by strangers, Igala people from Idah, Ibaji, Igalamela, Ofu, Dekina, Ankpa, Omala, Olamaboro and brethren from Bassa, Muslims, Christians, traditionalist and may be atheist.
All of them joined to wish me well and they turned to their cars,
Motorcycles and bicycles
or homes one after the other. The last being the guy who suffered a deep cut on his leg where he was helping out.
As soon as he left, I turned to see what was left of the car and I counted 13 fire extinguishers that were used, other items that were used and also the charred remains of someone’s t-shirt that was used.
Just when tears started forming in my eyes, I noticed I was not still alone, there were two policemen who helped to salvage the burning car and have chosen to remain with me till I get family and friends to come take me away.
At that moment, my belief that a United Igala Is possible was renewed and I was proud to be an Igala man.
The elites have such a role to play and until we realize that we are individual giants but collectively
failures, we may not make a headway.
Finally to achieve a headway, buck-passing, name calling, the me-myself-and-I syndrome and the crab mentality must end.”
You can join THE CONVERSATION later today on our Facebook Page (ARISE IGALA Magazine).
Meanwhile, see EXCLUSIVE PICTURES from the PARLEY. Click here: https://www.facebook.com/343038926216/posts/10159101881416217/
SPECIAL KUDOS to Yunus Uztaz Usman, SAN, Arc. Bob Achanya, Dr. Rekiya Momoh Abaji, Barr. Sekpe, Abdulmajeed, Dr. Jerome Agi, Sadiq et al.
Cardinal James Omolara Odumbaku; His Words Against His Actions.
There is a video in the public space where Very Important Personalities eulogised the JAGABAN of Borgu; Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and they spoke we’ll about his qualities and how he has raised men of thin and caliber in the society and he has brought a lot of men and women from grass to grace not only in lagos but across the length and breadth of the globe.
Governors Sanwoolu, Dapo Abiodun, Rotimi Akeredolu, former Governor Babatunde Fashola, Former Deputy Governor Femi Pedro and a host of others spoke brilliantly about Asiwaju and his sterling qualities.
The GAC member Cardinal Odumbaku was also interviewed and he also aired his view about Asiwaju; here are his words; (video attached)
“”Okay, can you tell me, is there any other man who can just beat his chest and say yes i have done this, I have raised Councilors, Supervisory councilor,Chairmen, Senators, House of Reps, Governors.
While it is well appreciated that Cardinal Odumbaku recognises the sterling qualities of Asiwaju of how he has made men who are in top places today and how Asiwaju has refused to field any of his family members nor his children in those positions either as councillor, supervisory councillor, chairman, house of assembly member, commissioner, SA, SSA, Governor, House of Reps. Member or senators; can we equally say such about Baba Eto? The answer is no.
We want to state unequivocally in this piece that for every slot and opportunities Baba Eto have gotten in the past to field people in positions, he has always given it to either his brother, sister or his biological children. Presently, Baba Eto is fielding and backing his son; Segun Odumbaku who’s an aspirant as the chairman in the forthcoming local elections in OJODU LCDA.
His son whom he is fielding is the current SLG of the LCDA who was once the SLG in IKEJA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA. It is glaring that Baba Eto is not following the foot steps of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who Baba Eto himself described as a selfless leader who has never appointed any of his biological children in any position in lagos state and in nigeria at large.
CARDINAL JAMES OMOLAJA ODUMBAKU; HIS WORDS AGAINST HIS ACTIONS. pic.twitter.com/1IMeHFYMIM
— THE OBSERVERS TIMES (@ObserversTimes1) April 16, 2021
We want to advise Cardinal Odumbaku to put a stop to the obnoxious act of slavery which he is used to; the people cannot continue to serve a family in ojodu LCDA and we say enough is enough. Baba Eto should give chance to the people of OJODU LCDA to also rise politically and stop fielding only his children. We cannot serve the father and the children.
Enough is Enough!!!
My Igbo Brothers, Before It Is Too Late, by Hassan Gimba
The Igbo are a resilient lot, an egalitarian and industrious people. Defined as a meta-ethnicity native and one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa, they are predominant in South Eastern and mid-western Nigeria.
I have known the Igbo since I opened my eyes, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for them.
As a student, I had some of them also in the same class in both my primary and secondary schools. Frank Nweke Jnr, a former minister, was my classmate in primary school. Brilliant chap, he was.
At Government College, Maiduguri, among others, Michael Onyia, Christopher Ononogbu, Boniface Edeh, Joseph Anumudu, Felix Udeh and Peter Achukwu were among my classmates. Michael Onyia, now a PhD and lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was always ahead of the set academically. Peter Achukwu is now a Professor in Medical Laboratory Sciences, specialising in Histopathology/Histochemistry with an LLB, BL to boot. He is also a lecturer at UNN.
People will understand, therefore, when I say I have nothing but respect and admiration for them. The Igbo, on average, can be generous and will do all it takes to build someone into becoming someone responsible. They have the best apprenticeship mentoring system in the world, where the mentor sets up the apprentice after a period of training.
I nearly married one, Uzoamaka, in 1990, but that should be a story for another day. However, I offered my junior sister—same parents—to an Igbo secondary school classmate when I realised he wanted to marry a northerner. He ended up marrying someone from abroad, though.
In the 70s, the civil war was fresh, understandably, but by 1979 and through the 1980s up to 2015, the Igbo had been fully integrated into Nigeria and were (still are) major players.
From 1979 to 1983, they occupied the slot of vice president. Ebitu Ukiwe was President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s deputy before Augustus Aikhomu displaced him. They have had chiefs of staff, especially that of the army, Senate presidents, Senate deputy presidents, deputy Speakers in the House of Representatives, and many more positions. There is no position in Nigeria that the Igbo has not held, including the presidency if Goodluck Ebele Jonathan can be regarded as an Igbo by default.
Therefore, when the Igbo man cries “marginalisation!” I wonder if I knew its meaning.
The North East has not tasted power at the apex since Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, yet they have not cried of being “marginalised” by their North Western brothers who will tell them “One North” but when all come “home”, they always take the larger portion of the cake.
In 1979, the North West knew the North East’s Malam Adamu Ciroma was head and shoulders above all the presidential aspirants of the party that won the presidency that year, but they connived to deny him the ticket. Same with 1992. When they realised he would defeat Umaru Shinkafi at the National Republican Convention’s staggered primary elections, they again conspired to scuttle his journey. After doing him in, they went on and truncated another North Easterner, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe’s presidential drive, denying him victory even as a vice-presidential candidate. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar too has suffered the same fate.
Yet the North East did not lament. They did not threaten to break away. The temptation to blame others for their “woes” did not cross their minds. Cries of marginalisation did not sweep over them. No. They will sit down and re-strategise, then make their brothers an offer they cannot refuse: They will present their best who will hopefully best their best. This is politics. It is what democracy is all about. The business of give-and-take. No hairsplitting or inviting the god of thunder or threatening Armageddon.
Again, if people are backward, unable to witness any development in their areas, as the Igbos cry, they should go to the source and address it. Would it be fair for an Anambra man, for instance, to accuse a Hausa man of under-development in his state? Methinks it will not look nice. Members of the state house of assembly are all Igbos, same for cabinet members and all local government officials. Those representing the state at the national level are all Igbos and the governor who got elected into office by his fellow Igbo is also one of them. Their full allocation comes to them, as well. So, where did someone from another area cause the problem? How did he do them in?
It is too late for Nigeria now to divide into only God knows how many components. Perhaps 1966 was the best time. Yes, maybe. Perchance by now, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now? No way, sir! We are all safer in a united Nigeria. None of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. Bandits, insurgents, militants, megalomaniacs, charlatans and all would overwhelm us. Even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left to the whims, arrogance and demagoguery of its self-anointed secessionist leader who Yoweri Museveni will look like a saint when compared to.
But many intelligent Igbo know this. The problem is there is a herd movement towards something that the gullible, used cannon fodder do not even know what it is. To them, it is “freedom”. Sure? Freedom from what? From where? From who? If it happens, which is doubtful, it is then they will recall Nigeria with nostalgia and rue over a Nigerian slang “one chance”. They would realise its real meaning, albeit late in the day. This is assuming various warlords have not emerged to deny everyone peace. And freedom. And therefore I sympathise with my good friends, my brothers across the Niger.
A herd movement like the IPOB has its driving spirit and being populated mainly by society’s dregs with nothing to lose, a certain force with a promise of violence pushes it. The level-headed can easily get intimidated and blackmailed into sheepish silence.
There is nothing the good and visionary can do when demagogues opiate the minds and souls of the gullible herd. Or so it seems. But we should also keep in mind Edmund Burke’s letter to Thomas Mercer, a 19th century Judge. A summary of the letter is: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
But sometimes one gets disappointed in how the situation was left to deteriorate to this level. Of course, we know that once there is no fairness or justice in a land, agitations take over. In 1966 when life was snuffed out of some leading northern military and political leaders, the chant in the North was for “Araba” (separation) because the North felt the military regime then was not fair and just to it.
The only way we can slow down and perhaps reverse the impending doom is for all to feel included and carried along in affairs despite scarce resources. We have a lot to learn from how Quebec and Ireland are being handled by the Canadian and British governments, respectively.
Nnamdi Kanu, who Aisha Yesufu described as a ‘made-in-China Shekau’ and his IPOB and ESM always deny what everyone knows were perpetrated by them. This is unlike the Boko Haram insurgents who are eager to own what they did and didn’t do as long as it was sinister. This means there is still hope that they could be persuaded to return from their fatal journey, a journey that will only cause untold pains to all on both sides. We need not go through what we had gone through before. Even animals learn from experience, sometimes referred to as history.
We that are in Nigeria should not heed the calls of those safely ensconced in the safety and comfort of the lands of the Whiteman to put our house ablaze. Let anyone who loves us and wants to fight for us remain within us, as Gandhi and Mandela did for their people. We shouldn’t put our lives and those of our loved ones, our relationships, properties and years of labour and sweat on the line for one brigand in disguise, a charlatan living off our sweat in comfort abroad.
APC Zoning Arrangement, A Knot Too Tough To Untie By Bala Mohammed
Yesterday, Wednesday 14/04/21, the social media was awash with a breaking news about a new zoning arrangement for the ruling APC, come 2023.
According to the disowned list, the presidential ticket is zoned to the South, Vice President – North, Senate President – South, Deputy Senate President – North, while the Speaker – North and Deputy Speaker – South.
For the National Working Committee zoning, the list showed that the north will produce the National Chairman, National Secretary – South, National Treasurer – South, Financial Secretary – North, Legal Officer – North and Welfare Officer – South.
Whether true or false, the disowned arrangement is a reflection of the political pulse of the country, and the APC would find it as a knot too tough to untie.
Since the annulment of the June 12 election of 1993, the election that was adjudged to be Nigeria’s freest and fairest, and one that was cancelled by the then President of the day, Gen.Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Nigeria has been struggling with stress, in search of solution out of the precarious and politically entrapped position it found itself.
The predicament had resulted in many political experiments, with the then acceptable, even though not the best, being the idea of power rotation, between the geographical north and the geographical south.
Following the death of General Sani Abacha in 1998, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, began the transition process, which led to Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999. The ban on political activities was lifted, and political parties were formed in accordance with the constitution, which was styled after the pattern of the second republic of 1979.
Cashing in on the sentiments that followed the June 12 annulment, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, founded in 1998, by members of numerous groups and organizations, including the G-18 and G-34, moved to the north, and in it’s first presidential primary election held in Jos, nominated former military leader Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who had just been released from prison, and who happens to be from the same state with late MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 election, as the presidential candidate in the elections of February 1999.
Obasanjo, in consultation with the party’s strategists, quickly picked Atiku Abubakar (then Governor-elect of Adamawa State) and a former leading member of the Social Democratic Party, SDP, as his running mate. They won the presidential election easily, and were inaugurated on the 29th of May 1999.
Using the same sentiment of power shift, the PDP held sway for 16 years, until the 28th of March 2015, when the party was defeated by the opposition APC, and Muhammadu Buhari became the President.
But still, the political problems continued, mostly rotating around the same pendulum of power shift, with restructuring as a recurring weapon of threat.
The argument of the advocates for the power shift and the clamourers for political zoning is that, for the practice of liberal democracy to be peaceful and successful, the mechanism for power-sharing must not only oscillate between north and south, but be seen to be ethno-regionally balanced.
Short of calling for the introduction of the policy of one country two systems, many political pundits believe the power shift arrangement, which, although seen as an elites’ strategy to negotiate continued participation in the political process and access to the national wealth, is the only panacea for maintaining peaceful political order in Nigeria today.
So for the ruling APC, it is a knot too tough to untie now.
Some adventurists are of the believe that, by virtue of it’s numerical strength, the north can retain power, through a negotiated alliance, but methinks that too is too tough to try.
Many APC stake holders, including Governors like Mallam Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna state, Aminu Masari of Katsina state and Professor Babagana Zulum of Borno state, are openly in support of power shift to the south.
According to Governor Aminu Masari, the Southern region of the country should produce the next President, arguing that a non-northerner should succeed President Buhari in 2023, in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice.
Masari’s position trailed the views of other APC chieftains, who have maintained that there is an agreement on zoning, amongst whom is the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume. Senator Ndume said the retention of the presidency in the North in 2023 would amount to a third term.
As for the Borno State governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, it would be ungentlemanly for power to remain in the north, so the APC must heed the advice and keep to previous agreements made to shift power to the southern part of the country in the next administration.
Even non politicians, like the respectable former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, have joined the clamour for such power shift. Gen. Gowon is calling for both zoning and rotational presidency among the six geo-political zones. He said, rotating the office is key to peace, tranquillity and development, suggesting that Nigeria should henceforth, have two vice presidents, saying that one of them should come from the zone producing the President and the other elected into power during the presidential election.
Yes, the APC can disown the statement on paper, but in the real sense of things, it is a reflection of the political pulse of the country, and a knot too tough to untie, I think.
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