Archive for November 2018

Still on Igbo survival in Nigeria

November 28, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

My piece last week entitled, “Igbo survival in 2019 and politics of 2023”, evokeda lot of mixed reactions, especially from the Igbo. Some called and engaged me for hours on phone. Some others sent messages through different platforms. It goes to show the seriousness the Igbo attach to the issue of their survival in Nigeria on one hand, and having a president of Igbo extraction on the other. It also shows the republican nature of Ndigbo. They never agree on any issue and would want you to toe their own line of thought.

This same issue of Igbo survival also took the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and some South-East governors to Aso Rock last week to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari. The delegation, which included Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State, Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State,denied going to Aso Rock to campaign for Buhari. According to them, they demanded 50 per cent release of the contract sum to Julius Berger that is handling the Second Niger Bridge and another 50 per cent committed to bond. This was to ensure speedy completion of the project. The Federal Government had reportedly released N7bn mobilization fund to the contractor, which is less than 15 percent of the total cost. According to Umahi, they also discussed appointment of a service chief from the South-East.

It behoves the current rulers of Nigeria to give the Igbo a sense of belonging.

Please read some of the reactions below:

Thank you for your write-up, “Igbo survival in 2019 and politics of 2023.” For me, whether we have a Yoruba or Igbo president in 2023 is immaterial. What matters most for me, is that this country should be restructured along the line of our Republican Constitution of 1963. This is very important, because it will re-enthrone equity and fair play in our polity. The 1963 constitution took into consideration, the plural nature of this country.

Idon’t think and I am saying this with all sense of responsibility, that Igbowill produce the president of Nigeria in 2023. My reasons are three fold.First, we as Igbo have never agreed on anything among ourselves and this attitude will definitely throw a spanner on the Igbo presidency project so to speak. Secondly, there is this conspiratorial attitude of other Nigerians especially those I will refer to as G2, the Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba, apology to Njemanze Ego Alowe, a Sun columnist. Before the civil war, Nigeria was on apolitical tripod i.e. the Hausa/ Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo referred to as G3. Please, no disrespect meant to other ethnic groups. However, since after the civil war, the political power equation changed, with Igbo relegated to the background on account of the defeat they suffered during the civil war. Since the end of the war, the G2 have been in control of the political and economic life of this country. It follows therefore that for an Igbo presidency to materialize, the G2 must agree.

Going by Saraki’s earlier revelation that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is angling for the office of the president in 2023, which seems to tally with Fashola’s admonition to his Yoruba kinsmen in his town hall meeting, even though he did not mention any name, it will be an uphill task for Igbo to produce the president in 2023.The Hausa /Fulani arm of G2 may prefer a Yoruba presidency to an Igbo presidency,for the reason of the deep seated political animosity between them. The other problem that will militate against an Igbo presidency is the issue of IPOB. The rest of Nigeria will see it as a paradox, that an ethnic group whose youth, are calling for the disintegration of the country, will at the same time want to produce the president of Nigeria. However, if wise counsel prevails, an Igbo presidency is possible in 2023.

Anonymous, +2348033119751

May I comment on your article in Daily Sun where you posited that voting Buhari by the Igbo people means return of South West in 2023. I believe that if the Igbo support Buhari, they would rather have a bargaining power in 2023 that will force the South-West to bow to a superior argument in terms of who should present a presidential candidate going by the fact that they have had their turn. 

But if the Igbo people decide to work with Atiku, it is clear his working government has no plans to run only for a term. You don’t need to be convinced that he will like to do a second tenure. So I wonder what your calculation is for insinuating that the Igbo man’s best bet is to vote for a man who has constitutional right to do eight years. I don’t know about you but I believe that any arrangement that will scuttle Igbo presidency in 2023 is not in the best interest of the Igbo man; their status would have been demeaned and respect lost till end of this century. Make no mistake about this, the Igbo man has a chance in changing the original plan of APC if they vote massively for Buhari. This will change the status quo in APC and consequently launch the Igbo into the political orbit once more. 

Atiku and Obi ticket will not fly because Obi has no electoral value in Igbo land. He did not carry the PDP in the South East along with respect to the process that produced him against the backdrop of aftermath of the primaries.

Recall that we have been VP in the past and produced four Senate Presidents. We are done with deputizing; we don’t also need to be under anybody’s tutelage. The next option is to produce a President or nothing. Any postulation that okays Atiku whom we know will never ever do one term thus prolonging northern leadership is a misnomer. 

Kierian Umeayo, kierianu@yahoo.com

Re: Igbo survival in 2019… Well crafted piece. Two pertinent posers for Ndigbo:1. Will any Python Dance be sent to Plateau state to dislodge the well-known motley gang of murderers who, according  to the report received by the state government from a Committee last week, killed thousands and then took over their communities for, of all things, grazing of cows? Conversely, we all know what happens to Ndigbo anytime lPOB boys sneeze or breathe. 

Sonde Abbah, +2348032159249

Why do we Ndigbo always forget things so soon? In 2015 general elections, we put all our eggs in one basket because of one person; after the election, what was the result? Now, we have started again to endorse candidate where we have so many presidential candidates eyeing Aso Rock. Ndigbo must be wise in endorsing candidates as we are approaching general elections to avoid past mistake of 2015 general elections where we put all our eggs in one basket. It is time we play politics with maturity and forget about money politics.

Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

Prof. Ben Nwabueze is too old and almost senile to steer the affairs of the Igbo. Olisa Agbakoba, the kid Biafran soldier, is now Obj’s failure weapon of the kabukabu coalition. Casmir, you as a writer are even confused. I don’t know if it is the sickness of your forefathers of always being politically naive.

Anonymous, +2348033171359

Igbo destiny does not lie in the hands of any human being or political party, and if Igbo should put their hope or aspiration in any political party at all, that party should not be APC because APC is an anti Igbo party. Why will anyone in his right sense believe that APC has anything to offer to the Igbo, including sincerely working for Igbo presidency and handing over power to the Igbo in 2023; to me that will only be a mere fallacy. For close to its four years in power, what has the APC as a ruling party done for the Igbo other than to pretend to be partnering with them to facilitate and support their presidential ambition in 2023? If they did not deem it fit to accommodate Igbo in their juicy and important appointments other than the statutory ministerial slots by virtue of federal character principle, they should stop deceiving themselves that they have Igbo interest at heart. It is the Igbo elite in the APC that are campaigning that the Igbo presidency fate lies in the APC, an average Igbo person knows that they are only fighting for their self interest.The truth of the matter is that the APC will never succeed in deceiving the Igbo into believing that their sudden love for the Igbo is real but mere make-believe.

Festus Okeke

They have used and deceived us through our deceptive elderly ones. Enough is enough but once they flaunt few naira notes some will sell their birthright again and again,let us be watchful before they relocate us elsewhere and exchange our glaring destiny.

Ifeoma Nwosu Chukwuma Eke.

First published in The Sun of Monday, November 26, 2018.

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Igbo survival in 2019 and politics of 2023

November 20, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

The year 2023 is special. The interest in it threatens to eclipse 2019, which is Nigeria’s special election year. In 2023, some Ndigbo believe it is their turn to produce the president of Nigeria. It is also a year that some Yoruba believe the presidency should return to the South-West. Amid this 2023 cacophony lies a big threat to the survival of Igbo nation in 2019 and beyond.

Let us examine some scenarios here. Most Igbo people who support President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, do so because of 2023, not because he has done wonderfully well. The assumption is that after his second tenure, the presidency will automatically move to the South-East.  

For this group, supporting any other presidential candidate, especially the standard-bearer of the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will scuttle this 2023 ambition. According to this group, a new president outside Buhari will want to go for a second term in 2023.

A few months ago, some South-East leaders visited Aso Rock. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, boosted this hope when he advised the leaders to support Buhari’s re-election so as to facilitate power moving to the region in 2023.

The question is, how are we sure that after Buhari, the Igbo will automatically clinch the presidency? Recall that Buhari told the United States Institute for Peace in July 2015 that he could not treat the constituents that gave him 97 per cent at the same level with those that gave him 5 per cent. Will the President commit himself fully to the Igbo 2023 project? Will the Yoruba, especially the former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, just fold their arms and allow the Igbo take it on a platter?

The recent inadvertent revelation by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, is instructive. At a special Town Hall meeting on infrastructure organised by the Ministry of Information and Culture and National Orientation Agency, Fashola reportedly urged the people of South-West to vote for Buhari in the 2019 election to guarantee a return of power to the region in 2023.

Fashola, who spoke in Yoruba language had noted, “Did you know that power is rotating to the South-West after the completion of Buhari’s tenure if you vote for him in 2019? Your child cannot surrender her waist for edifying beads and you will use the bead to decorate another child’s waist. A vote for Buhari in 2019 means a return of power to the South-West in 2023.”

This is not an isolated statement. Three months ago, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, alleged that Tinubu’s support for Buhari’s re-election was simply because of his ambition to succeed the President in 2023.

Saraki had noted, “The point of disagreement between me and him was that while I expressed my worry that there was nothing on the ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years in a manner that would enable us to deliver the positive changes we promised to our people, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion that he would rather ‘support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-West.”

This revelation had drawn the ire of many South-East leaders. They feel that for moral and justice sake, the Igbo should be allowed to assume the presidency of Nigeria in 2023. Unfortunately, morality has nothing to do with power. You struggle for it; you negotiate for it and take it.

This is where the summit held in Enugu last Wednesday becomes imperative. At the summit aptly tagged “Ndigbo 2019 and beyond”, Igbo leaders unanimously endorsed the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, and his running mate, Peter Obi, for the 2019 presidential election. The leaders from such groups as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo Leaders of Thought, the political elite, the intelligentsia, women groups, religious leaders among others, hinged their support for Atiku and Obi on their promise to restructure Nigeria.

In other words, what the Igbo need most now is restructuring. That is what will guarantee their survival in 2019, 2023 and beyond. Without restructuring, 2023 may turn out to be a mirage.

In the communiqué issued after the Enugu summit, the Igbo leaders lamented the division in the country today. They identified with Atiku/Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as had been reiterated by the four zones of the country, namely South-South, South-West, North-Central and South-East. They believe the centre will continue to be weak as long as the federating units remain weak.

I pity the South-East. What some of them are doing now is playing politics of survival. Or how else do we describe the trip to Aso Rock by Chekwas Okorie and his United Progressive Party (UPP). They went to Buhari in the name of Igbo leaders and pledged their loyalty and support to him. In the meeting with these ‘Igbo leaders’ last Friday, Buhari reportedly revealed that many well-meaning Igbo leaders asked him to ignore the endorsement of Atiku by Ohanaeze; that the action was all gas, lacking substance.

The truth is that the recent Enugu summit chaired by Prof. Ben Nwabueze was not just about Ohanaeze. The Igbo socio-cultural group was only part of the many groups that pledged support for Atiku.

I’m not sure how many ‘leaders’ accompanied Okorie to Aso Rock. But the roll call of the Enugu summit will tell you where the Igbo interests lie most. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) was there. Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, was there also. Senator Ben Obi, Prof. ABC Nwosu, Ambassador George Obiozor, Prof. Anya O. Anya, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, Archbishop Maxwell Anikwenwa to mention just a few were all there. Thus, between Chekwas Okorie’s Aso Villa leaders and Ben Nwabueze’s Enugu leaders, Ndigbo know who their true and authentic leaders are.

Nevertheless, Buhari spoke of the golden opportunities Nigeria lost during 16 years of the PDP and vowed to report the party to Nigerians. Don’t worry Mr. President. We already knew that PDP messed up when it was in power. That was why Nigerians voted you in to right the wrongs of the party. But you and your party have derailed. 

Even the Igbo people supporting you know that you have failed them. It is as if they are still being punished for engaging the rest of Nigeria in a civil war.

They face marginalisation in different facets of Nigerian life. The second Niger Bridge, for instance, has become an instrument of undue politicking. Every year, we hear billions of naira earmarked for the completion of the bridge, yet it has all been motion without movement.

Last year, soldiers came with their python dance. For the few months it lasted, these pythons brutalised and swallowed many Igbo youths. Now, they are planning another dance when it is the Boko Haram zone that needs it the more.

Thank God the presidential campaign has started. Nigerians will have another golden opportunity to hear your progress report since you assumed power three years ago. We shall be waiting to see the magic you will claim to have performed in the area of economy, security and anti-corruption. I particularly want to be convinced that things are now better than what the PDP government left behind in 2015.

On his part, Atiku will kick-start his campaign through an address to Nigerians on Facebook today, November 19, 2018. He is also billed to launch his policy document which will encompass his vision for Nigeria and his action plan to achieve it. The policy document reportedly focuses on creating jobs, ensuring security, growing business, developing power and water infrastructure, agriculture and education and how to empower women. We shall hold him to account when the time comes.

As for Ndigbo, what they need to do now is to stop playing selfish politics. They should collaborate with others to achieve their aim. They need to form credible allies that will better their lot in 2019.  

Until then, let us focus less on 2023 and enjoy the 2019 campaign drama that will most likely ensue in the coming days.

Re: APGA’s disgraceful race to extinction

On APGA going into extinction, you have hit the nail on the head. After the 2019 elections, APGA will become history. We know the reasons for their recent romance with the ruling party but they will be disappointed at last

Eddy Idigo, Aguleri, +2348033038099

It is very unfortunate and painful that founding people of APGA were denied tickets to run for elective positions because of money. This character will not augur well in our democratic process; they should allow level playing ground for all aspirants. Democracy is a game of numbers. After all power comes from God. Whoever God has destined to rule, it must surely come to pass.

Gordon Chika Nnorom,Umukabia, +2348062887535

First published in The Sun of Monday, November 19, 2018.

APGA’s Disgraceful Race To Extinction

November 12, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Prince Ifeanyi Ezeabasili’s confidence was infectious. His ambition was to represent Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency II, Lagos, in the House of Representatives. He went on road shows and did some other things to mobilise his constituents to get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). To him, no party would beat the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in that constituency in the 2019 election. His calculation was based on the fact that the area is populated mainly by the Igbo.

However, the primaries in Lagos developed some hiccups. Ezeabasili believed he won and the state party chairman reportedly agreed with him. But when it got to Abuja, the story changed. The national body gave the party ticket to another fellow. Since then, Ezeabasili has been counting his losses and naming them one by one. And it has surprised him what the party has done.

Miraculously, Dr. Okey Okoye escaped a similar experience. He had won the APGA primaries for Aguata 2 state constituency in Anambra State and had got certificate of return to that effect. But surprisingly, another candidate emerged with same certificate of return some days after. Dr. Okoye battled his nemesis and eventually got back his mandate.

The experience of Bianca Ojukwu, the widow of the revered Igbo leader, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, was particularly interesting. Bianca wanted to represent Anambra South in the Senate. Ifeanyi Uba and Nicholas Ukachukwu also had the same ambition. And so, they came for primaries at Ekwulobia in Aguata Local Government Area. Firstly, the party disqualified Uba who joined not long ago from the PDP for not obtaining a waiver to contest the election.

Secondly, gunmen invaded the Ekwulobia Township Stadium, venue of the primaries. People ran helter-skelter as sounds of gunshots boomed. Bianca also ran. Hardly had she got back to Awka when the news filtered in that Ukachukwu had won the primaries.

Ojukwu’s widow thundered, “As a member of this party’s Board of Trustees, I am deeply concerned that mercenaries appear to have hijacked the operations of our party machinery. APGA is today facing an existential threat and the overall image of our party is in tatters.”

Sorry madam! You may take solace in the fact that in Imo State, about 15 aspirants emerged with one tall ambition: to oust Governor Rochas Okorocha and his in-laws from government house, Owerri. But from nowhere, the party granted waiver to Ifeanyi Araraume who just joined the party and he miraculously became its standard-bearer for the 2019 governorship election in Imo. I’m not too sure why the party granted this waiver to Araraume but denied same to Ifeanyi Uba.

Nevertheless, APGA has always stood on the pedestal of Igbo nationalism. The mantra is, “Nkea bu nke anyi”, meaning this one is our own. The great performance of the party in the last governorship election in Anambra State is a testament.

Unfortunately, the party has greatly derailed. And greed is part of the problem. According to a former governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim, the travesty in APGA shows that what the party leadership was doing all along “was a ponzi scheme, a scam of the highest order, to defraud fellow Igbo men and women of their hard earned money…APGA which had less than N5 million in its account before primaries, now hires private jet for the use of the National Chairman.”

Ohakim accused the leadership of APGA of demanding and collecting various sums of money from members, delegates and aspirants which ran into billions of naira. This is in addition to the abhorrent “abuse of many female aspirants in our own hotels and yet denied the tickets.”

He said betrayal had always been part and parcel of APGA, and described both Governors Willie Obiano of Anambra State and Rochas Okorocha who rode to power on the back of APGA as agents of monumental betrayal of Ndigbo. As he put it, APGA has failed and must die.

But did Obiano actually betray or intend to betray APGA as alleged? Two months ago, about eight governors accompanied President Buhari to China. All, except Obiano, are members of the APC. Last Friday, he again accompanied Buhari together with two other APC governors – Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State and Aminu Masari of Katsina – to Paris, France, for a peace forum. Could this just be a mere coincidence? Or is it that the President has found in Obiano a son in whom he is well pleased? Only the Anambra Governor, who is the national leader of APGA, can answer this.

In any case, the shenanigan in APGA is not peculiar to it. Other parties, especially the two dominant ones, have their fair share of the perfidy called party politics in Nigeria.

For instance, the ruling party, APC, is still reeling from the recent primaries held across the country. In Ogun, Imo, Zamfara and many other states, it is crisis galore. Currently, Governors Okorocha and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State are at loggerheads with the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole. They want him removed.

As for APGA, the die is cast. I hear a certain Major General John Gbor (retd) is the presidential candidate of the party. APGA National Chairman, Victor Oye, had boasted that the party would produce eight governors in the 2019 elections and that the party would soon take over from the APC and the PDP.

“APGA is well repositioned to spring surprises in the future elections,” Oye spewed.

I laugh. Of course, part of the surprises is what we are seeing with the party now. So far, the best Oye has done to pacify his aggrieved members is to offer a tepid apology. But mere apology will not suffice here. The anger is deep. The national chairman in consultation with the national leader of the party should compensate people who spent so much for the party’s abracadabra called primaries. Otherwise, nkea aburozikwa nke anyi o (this one is no more our own o!)

___________________________________________

Re: Celebrating presidential WAEC result

Empty vessel makes the most noise. PMB and his APC are cheat. They lied to Nigerians that they would bring change. Because Nigerians assumed the change would be positive they believed them. Today, it’s clear that PMB & his APC are tissue of lies, myopic, insensitive, corporate & national looters, pretenders & power drunk. So Casmir, when PMB & APC have no milestones to celebrate, why wouldn’t the WAEC certificate be celebrated? Only God will deliver us from this evil.

  • Pharm. Okwy Njike, +2348038854922

 

Just finished reading your column: Celebrating presidential ….(wahala) I commend your views. Keep it up.

  • Anonymous, +2348174379875

 

Please Sir, can you find out from one Prof. Tam Sokari David-West, an avid outspoken friend of Buhari, what he (Prof.) feels, thinks about this his most incorruptible Buhari. He, David-West, described a known genuine professor as “kwekwe”. Now this rubbish! What’s integrity, where is integrity, who is the integrity now?

  • Anonymous, +2347035390254

 

Mr. lgbokwe, good day. Your piece is not issue based and you appear to have taken your column to denigrate the president and all he represents. When will you ever take a deep and unbiased analysis of the 16 years debilitating, massive looting of national patrimony and corruption that obviously rendered the economy prostrate? When will you do this and that is a hallmark of a balanced journalism. Thanks.

  • Anonymous, 08037075590

 

If an army of lions/Nigerians is commanded by a goat/o’ level, it will not move. Results cancelled all insults.

  • Kande, PH, +2348069038640

 

Read Bible (JEREMIAH 1:14) Then the Lord said unto me, “Out of the North an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.” Certainly, APC is that evil from Northern Nigeria; killing people and distributing poverty all over the country. Please, don’t vote for APC again in 2019 elections.

  • Mr. Opeyemi, +2348144697765

 

Casmir, the President’s WAEC result is not being celebrated but it reveals the mindset of those PDP depraved citizens who vandalized & cannibalized the economy. They chase shadows to divert attention from the consequences of their pillage & plunder. OBJ withdrew 10 billion dollars for power & delivered total darkness. Diezani stole 20 billion & when CBN Gov Sanusi blew the whistle he was suspended. The worst crime committed by the PDP is that when Boko Haram was on the march from Islamic Maghreb into Nigeria capturing and destroying villages, PDP gave NSA Dasuki 2.8 billion dollars to purchase weapons to fend them off. They shared this money to themselves. The blood of the tens of thousands of Nigerians who were slaughtered then is on their hands. Allowing PDP back to power will mean going back to Pharaoh’s Egypt.

  • Chike Nwigbo Awka, +2348037090360

 

Certificate Saga! This is shameful; Ghana WAEC in 20l5 could not trace Buhari certificate as exam was conducted by them. So, Buhari bribed to get fake certificate. He should be tried and sent to jail.

  • Anonymous, +2348066546306

 

Opposition parties leave issues they would use to campaign to win election come 2019 to talk about WAEC results; but now WAEC has put everything to rest by issuing the result, what next? Opposition parties should tell Nigerians what they have in stock if elected during their campaign so we know where we can cast our votes, so Nigeria can move forward.

  • Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

 

What is the presidency celebrating? Celebrating impunity, just WASC. May God save us. It’s a disdain for WAEC to join the presidency in perpetrating impunity. May God save us.

  • Anonymous, +2348039495555

 

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, November 12, 2018.

Celebrating Presidential WAEC Result

November 5, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Since last Friday, the Presidential Villa, Abuja, has been in celebratory mood. The West African Examination Council (WAEC) had presented our President, Muhammadu Buhari, with a brand new certificate. They officially called it confirmation and attestation of his results. The powerful WAEC delegation was led by its registrar, Dr. Iyi Uwadiae. And it was an elated Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who announced the heart-warming news to the whole world. Now that Buhari has scored this major goal, Adesina wondered what naysayers or wailers would say next.

The mood in the Villa is understandable. Buhari’s WAEC certificate has been a thorny issue. The President claimed to have attended secondary school. But since 2003 when he started gunning for the Presidency of Nigeria, he never presented any certificate to back up his claim.

Opposition parties had used it to campaign against him. Some had even put modalities in motion for legal fireworks to stop him on account of this non-presentation of the certificate. Even now that WAEC has presented this attestation of result, they are still not satisfied.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national publicity secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, put it succinctly: “If Mr. President has a certificate, why did he not use it in the 2015 election? Why is the certificate suddenly coming out few months to the election? And have you checked the photograph that was attached to the certificate? In 1961, was it the requirement of WAEC to have a passport attached to school certificate?”

The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, captured the scenario vividly.

He wrote, “This is a god-sent, with WAEC being a non-political entity. This should put to rest the absurd allegations by the PDP brought up again and again, that he did not attend a secondary school … In 2014-2015, when they raked up the issue, I remember that it took the courage of the then college principal to issue a statement of results from available records. In doing so, he defied the ruling PDP government in the state, which asked him not to.”

According to Shehu, Buhari met the eligibility for the contest in 2015 as he “presented the WAEC results and the other degree and non-degree-related results. He went through the verification process in the party, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the court. He ran and won against the PDP.”

Many questions are begging for answers here. One, if Buhari had presented WAEC results and other degree and non-degree-related results as Shehu claimed, why didn’t he submit same for the election? Why did he swear affidavit that his credentials were with the military?

Or how does one even explain that the WAEC headquarters in Ghana reportedly noted in 2015 that it had no results of Buhari in its records. Also, the military had in 2015 said none of the President’s original copy, Certified True Copy, or statement of result was in its archive? The Army Records office in Lokoja had claimed it didn’t have any records of General Buhari as a military officer.

The Presidential spokesman wondered why “a dead issue” should get the type of attention given it by the media. To him, there are many matters of serious concern to the citizens such as internal security, diversification of the economy, more reforms, better governance, poverty alleviation, job creation, ending corruption and so on.

To some extent, I agree with Mallam Shehu. More people have continued to commit suicide as a result of hardship occasioned by poor economy. More people have died because of serious internal insecurity. Many more people are disillusioned by the rampant display of nepotism and corruption that has festered over the years. So, he is right that we should devote more time to such issues.

But he is not totally correct to wish that we dismiss the certificate controversies surrounding our President. It should be a matter for serious scrutiny. If not, the Presidency wouldn’t have erupted in jubilation when WAEC people came calling with a brand new result duplicate or attestation, as the case may be.

Incidentally, it is even the ecstasy in the Villa that has surprised many Nigerians. Immediately the news broke last Friday, a friend of mine, Emeka Okpala, quipped, “Is this country, Nigeria, cursed? People are celebrating that the President of the most populous country in Africa has gotten O’level certificate to govern his nation in this 21st century! It’s a shame!”

Another friend sent me a bromide of the two circulating certificates, the one allegedly issued in 2015 by the then principal and the second one issued by WAEC and noted: “Same certificate, different results and same person, same school. Fraudsters.” WAEC has explained the seeming discrepancy though. Mathematics and Woodwork were omitted in the attestation because Buhari got F9 in the two subjects.

The opposition political parties under the aegis of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) saw the presentation of the results as suspicious, laughable, and unbelievable. As far as the opposition parties are concerned, the result may have been hurriedly released to stall the commencement of the suit seeking to disqualify the President from contesting the 2019 presidential election.

The coalition added, “Let Nigerians be reminded that, few days ago, the opposition raised the alarm that there was ongoing move to tamper with the records of WAEC and pressure the leadership into manufacturing a result for President Buhari.

“Today’s (Friday) action of WAEC has vindicated our earlier fears and confirmed our stand that WAEC is now competing with Oluwole Market in manufacturing documents.

“WAEC should either present the original 1961 ledger and booklet containing the names of the 1961 candidates who sat the exam from the school in Katsina to backup their confirmation of result issued to President Buhari or apologise to Nigerians for attempting to mislead them with the booklet and destroy the credibility of the once-respected examination body.”

It is pertinent to note that Buhari’s qualification to run for the office of the president is not the main issue. For me, the cardinal issue is integrity, which the President is presumed to have in abundance. That perception of integrity is seriously waning. For one, the anti-corruption war is feeble and insincere. Recently, a national newspaper published a report indicating that at least eight of the politicians working for the re-election of Buhari have pending corruption cases worth N232 billion.

And now, we have this certificate saga. If the President claimed to have a secondary school certificate, but it later turns out to be false, then there is a serious problem. Since he claimed to have attended the Katsina Provincial Secondary School, the onus is on the Presidency to clear all doubts about the issue. Resorting to name-calling and abuse of those fishing for answers to the certificate conundrum will not help the situation.

I want to join the Presidency and some others to celebrate the discovery of this long-lost certificate. But I can only do that if I am fully convinced that there is no attempt to deceive the people.

_____________________________________

Re: Nigeria must go?

Dear Igbokwe, “Nigeria must go” refers. When Nigeria, as our home, is in tatters and the head of the house is busy pursuing rats instead of gathering the pieces for re-construction, what do you expect our neighbours to do to us? Become sympathetic? Please, use your tongue to count your teeth.

– Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731

 

Sir, thanks indeed for your Buhari wahala. Don’t be surprised if you read his “media carpenters” in the Presidency and APC coming with insulting empty words glorifying and twisting facts.

– Anonymous, +2347035390254

 

Well, it is very unfortunate and sad that our leaders are not living up to expectations in governance to stop Nigerians from travelling out of this country for greener pastures, when we have resources to make Nigeria a better place for all. Our leaders should do something about good governance to stop Nigerians from travelling out because what they went through here is very unbearable.

– Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +2348062887535

 

Dear Igbokwe, your article of Monday, October 29, 2018, page 46 of Daily Sun is good but your problem is that sometimes you allow sentiment to becloud your good intentions. First, if any Nigerian feels that he has another country other than Nigeria, is it wrong to ask such a Nigerian to go to that country, instead of causing confusion in Nigeria? I want to remind you that one is not legally annoyed because one is aggrieved.

– Chief (Hon.) Urom A. Collins, +2348080276172

  • First published in The Sun of Monday, November 5, 2018.

Nigeria must go?

November 4, 2018

Casmir Igbokwe

Ghanaians want Nigerians to go. South Africans say Nigerians must go. Libyans had since kicked many Nigerians out of their country. Unfortunately, even Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, also asked his countrymen who want to go to go.

In 1983, under President Shehu Shagari, Nigerians felt that Ghanaians were bugs in their bed. They asked them to go. The refrain then was, ‘Ghana must go’.

Today, the reverse is the case. The Ghanaian Parliament had reportedly passed a legislation to make the business environment hostile to foreigners. Hence, the Nigerian business community in Ghana live in a state of fear, uncertainty and insecurity. Part of the problem is an eviction order dated July 27, 2018, which demanded that Nigerians must have a minimum of $1m as foreign investment capital to do business in Ghana.

Many Nigerians who have not been able to do that have reportedly been shut out of their business premises. This affected over 400 of them and sparked protests by the owners of those businesses.

In many other countries, Nigerians are being hunted, hounded and sometimes, killed. The other day in South Africa, our countrymen lost more than nine shops to arsonists in Hillbrow, Central Johannesburg. The adherents of xenophobia looted the shops before setting them ablaze. Since 1998, our people have suffered different attacks in South Africa. Between 2016 and 2018, over 184 Nigerians reportedly lost their lives to such attacks.

In situations like this, citizens expect their leaders to fight for them, to inspire them with soothing words. You dare not touch an American citizen or interests without facing unpleasant consequences. Currently, the United States and China are entangled in a trade war. Both countries want comparative advantage over the other. And they don’t want to compromise on that. While President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, the Chinese government retaliated with new taxes on $60 billion of American imports.

Conversely, Nigerian leaders usually feel unperturbed whenever Nigerians face hostile environment both at home and abroad. This is partly what drives the agitation in some quarters for an independent state. To many people, Nigeria is just a geographical expression. There is no strong patriotic attachment to her.

But rather than restructure the country and make it attractive to the citizens, successive leaders worsen the situation with bad policies and selfish inclinations. The incumbent government of President Buhari promised change. But Nigerians are still waiting for that change. Frustrated and sad, many of them try to migrate to other countries through legal and illegal means.

Our President is unhappy about this situation. In August this year, for instance, he met with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Abuja. At a joint press conference, Buhari warned that Nigerians who migrated to other countries through illegal routes were on their own and that they made such trips at their own risk.

To some extent, I agree with the President. Many of those who defy the desert and the Mediterranean die along the way. Though a toad does not run in the day time for nothing, such risky trips are unnecessary.

But this does not in any way justify our President publicly denouncing his citizens before foreigners or making certain statements which depict him as uncaring and insensitive. Recently in London, he said Nigerian youths were lazy.

Last week, Buhari addressed a delegation of Kwara State APC members who visited him in Abuja. He repeated what he had said in 1984; that those who felt they had another country outside Nigeria might choose to go.

Go where, Mr. President? Two years ago, you made a similar statement while addressing a delegation from the Niger Delta at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. You also noted that peace, security, investment and prosperity were linked together, adding that “if we give peace a chance, investors will come here and invest. Nobody will invest in an insecure environment.”

This is the point, Mr President. Just the other day, many portfolio investors pulled out of Nigeria as the 2019 election approaches. They pulled out because of insecurity and uncertainty of tomorrow. Many Nigerians have pulled out and many others wish to pull out because of insecurity, hardship and uncertainty of the future.

When you came on board in 2015, you promised to salvage Nigeria. Over three years down the line, there is no glimmer of hope. Instead, things have worsened. So what do you expect Nigerians to do?

Survival is the first instinct of nature. Any man threatened by either insecurity or hunger will not wait to die like a chicken. He will make moves to find solutions to his problems.

Also remember, Mr President, that a father does not throw away his baby with the bath water. You are the father of every Nigerian. You do not tell your sons and daughters who are aggrieved over certain hostile conditions in the house to go to hell. You call them privately, upbraid them and tell them to sin no more. You also make conscious efforts to address their legitimate concerns.

When the Niger Delta militants waged war against Nigeria over perceived marginalisation, the late Umaru Yar’Adua government did not ask them to go. It instituted the amnesty programme and rehabilitated most of the militants. That action calmed the nerves in the Niger Delta.

If successive leaders in Nigeria had played their part well, Nigerians will not agitate to leave their country. What I expect the President to do is to institute policies that will make Nigeria attractive and irresistible. To do this effectively, he must shun nepotism and other negative sentiments hindering the progress of the country.

As he seeks to return for a second term, he should tell Nigerians what concrete things he will do to salvage this drifting nation. Above all, if other countries are asking Nigerians to go, our President should not also join the queue.

 

Toast to Winco Foam chairman and Engineer Chike Madueke

Penultimate Saturday in Accra, Ghana, the European American University conferred an honorary doctorate degree of Science in Business Management and Corporate Governance on the Chairman and Group Managing Director of Winco Group of Companies, Chief Godwin Okafor.

In a citation read at the conferment ceremony, Okafor was described as a consummate industrialist and philanthropist. Born at Isuofia in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Chief Okafor also known as Anyanwu Ora, had a humble beginning. As a young man, he grew up learning the tenets of humility, hard work, perseverance and honesty.

He commenced foam business in the seventies on a small scale. Endowed with organisational and administrative abilities, Chief Okafor steered his company to a first-class mattress manufacturing company which now ranks among the top five foam manufacturing industries in Nigeria. About 1000 people are under his employ.

He is a philanthropist of no mean repute and a recipient of numerous awards at local, national and international levels.

Also, last Saturday in Uturu, Abia State, Gregory University conferred an honorary doctorate degree on Engineer Chike Madueke at the third convocation ceremony of the institution. Madueke, who is also known as Agbalanze, is a native of Inyi in Enugu State.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ibadan and Masters in Metallurgy from the University of Manchester and was trained in Production Engineering at SMC, Hammamatsu, Japan. He also did Post Graduate Studies in Strategic Management at the University of Lagos. He was also at Harvard University Boston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Grand Canyon University Phoenix for doctoral studies in Leadership.

Engr. Madueke, who has been the Chief Executive of Indev Group, is well known for his contributions to the development of industries, enterprise and technology. He has a Merit Award from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO and the National Productivity Order of Merit –NPOM from the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He headed the National Integrated Power Project Monitoring Unit in The Presidency. He is a member of the Board of Directors of up to 10 organisations and sits in the governing board of two universities in Nigeria.
All I can say to these two illustrious sons of Nigeria is, congratulations.

Re: Whither art thou David Umahi?

It’s unfortunate that a David that should be relied upon against the APC Goliath has only a nuisance value. On the other hand, this particular fake David should know that God still has men. Jesus is Lord.

Bassey Akang, Calabar, +2348108532520

Gov Umahi’s reaction to the appointment of Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate is just a tip of his devilish, selfish, narrow-minded nature. I am an Ebonyian and if we tell how much we have suffered under him because of his parochial reasoning, his selfish disposition to governance and his wicked state policies, you will understand that Ebonyi residents have been in bondage since May 2015. I am happy that in spite of his hypocritical pretences the general public has started to see the real devil behind the mask. Your write-up on him is rather a kind assessment of the juggernaut.

Steve, Ebonyi State, +2347030269130

Dear Igbokwe, please ask David Umahi and Co. the State Obasanjo, Shonekon, Osibanjo and Oladipo Diya come from. Did other Yorubas fight each other because they are from one state? Raise up your hand for Atikulate/Obility.

Japh de Wazobia, 08036228542

Atiku/Peter Obi ticket is the best thing that has happened to this country. Both have made history in their field of engagement and same will be re-enacted in our economy.

Chief Afam Ibekwe, +2348189126545