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Slavery’s Bitter Roots: US Marks 400th Anniversary Of Arrival Of First African Slaves |The Republican News

By Chris Simkins, Carol Guensburg

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA – In late August 1619, an English pirate ship named the White Lion sailed into the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and anchored at Point Comfort. It deposited, according to handwritten records, “20 and odd” Africans seized from a Portuguese slave ship headed to what is now Mexico. 

Those captives from Angola — sold in exchange for food and other supplies — were the first known Africans to set foot in colonial Virginia. Their arrival 400 years ago marked the beginning of slavery in English-speaking America, an institution that persisted for more than two centuries.   

“This is ground zero. This is the beginning of the African imprint on America,” said Calvin Pearson, head of the local history group Project 1619, as he surveyed the former Point Comfort waterfront on a breezy spring day. 

From 1525 to 1866, some 12.5 million captive Africans were put on ships bound for the Americas and Caribbean, according to Emory University’s Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database.  Of those, 10.7 million men, women and children survived the treacherous voyages, chained and crowded below decks with little water or food. The great majority were taken to Brazil or the Caribbean but close to 400,000 arrived in what is now the United States. 

“Those first Africans who landed here were destined for a life of servitude,” Pearson said, noting they were sold or traded to wealthy plantation owners in Hampton or sent to a settlement on the James River. “They had to work the crops — the corn fields, the tobacco fields. It was a life they had to endure knowing they would probably never be free.”

Africans had no official status in the American colonies — not as indentured servants nor as slaves — until Massachusetts became the first to legalize slavery in 1641. Virginia made it a hereditary condition, passing a law in 1662 saying any child born to an enslaved black woman faced the prospect of servitude for life.  Eventually, the number of American slaves swelled to almost 4 million. 

The Triangular Trade 

Slavery came to the Americas as part of the Triangular Trade.

Ships from Europe carried manufactured goods such as cloth, guns and metal pans to Africa, selling or exchanging these items for captives picked up at ports along the continent’s western coast. These people would be delivered into bondage in the Caribbean and Americas. Many were forced into backbreaking work growing sugar, rice, cotton and tobacco — raw materials that were shipped back to Europe on the third leg of the triangle.

Though most slaves from the African continent were taken from Ghana and Senegal, more than 5 million who landed in the Western Hemisphere came from Angola. Colonized by the Portuguese, who dominated the slave trade for centuries, Angola accounted for roughly a quarter of the nearly 400,000 Africans sent to the North American mainland. 

While some tribal chiefs sold captives to European slavers, other leaders tried to protect their people. One was Njinga Mbande, queen of the Ndongo and Mataba kingdoms in the 17th century. A warrior and diplomat, she fended off Portuguese and Dutch slavers throughout her 40-year reign. 

“She was the greatest protector of Angolan sovereignty, and it was 40 years of fighting,” historian Isilda Hurst said from a boat cruising the Kwanza River. Njinga, she said, would hide in the river’s floating islands of tall grass, so her adversaries “could never tell where she was. … She always resisted, and she always won.”

A statue of warrior queen Njinga Mbande stands outside Angola’s National Museum of Military History in Luanda. (B. Ayoub/VOA)
A statue of warrior queen Njinga Mbande stands outside Angola’s National Museum of Military History in Luanda. (B. Ayoub/VOA)

But the Portuguese slavers ultimately prevailed. 

The Kwanza, which empties into the Atlantic just south of the capital city of Luanda, was an important trade route. People who lived near its banks got swept up in the slave trade.

“It was by the river where most of the slaves were captured,” with Africans serving as middle men in the sordid deals, Hurst said.   

The captives were taken to port communities, locked in holding areas, or barracoons, until they could be sold and shipped off.

Bracing the U.S. economy

Slave labor helped build the American colonies and, after they won independence from the British in 1783, the new nation.

“Slavery was so big and so important to the American economy that it was valued at more than all of America’s (other) industries combined,” said Cassandra Newby Alexander, a historian and dean of Norfolk State University’s College of Liberal Arts. “It really is symptomatic of the importance that people had to preserving and expanding slavery.”

By 1860, just before the Civil War, “the nearly 4 million American slaves were worth some $3.5 billion, making them the largest single financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth more than all manufacturing and railroads combined,” the writer Ta-Nehisi Coates quoted historian James McPherson in a 2014 essay in The Atlantic.  

Individual states could determine whether to permit slavery. While those in the South held more slaves to tend labor-intensive crops, many whites in the more industrialized, urban North kept slaves as domestic servants or skilled laborers. And though Northern states abolished slavery — some of them gradually — they still profited from the institution. 

For example, merchants in the tiny northeastern state of Rhode Island paid for ships to bring more than 100,000 captives to the New World, said Keith Stokes of Newport, who lectures on the history of Africans in America.

“Between 1705 and 1805, there are at least 900 documented slave ships that begin their voyage in Rhode Island and eventually go from West Africa through the West Indies and back to Rhode Island,” he said.

James DeWolf, who represented Rhode Island in the U.S. Senate in the 1820s, was among those who made a fortune at slaves’ expense. He invested in slave ships, in banks and insurance firms that did business with slaveholders, and in textile mills that turned cotton into garments, fueling America’s industrial revolution. After Rhode Island outlawed the shipment of slaves to North America in 1787 — and the U.S. Congress followed suit in 1807 — DeWolf’s nephew continued the slave trade illegally.
 
DeWolf and his extended family “engaged in slave trading on such an epic level,” said great-grandson James DeWolf Perry. He estimates they brought more than 12,000 enslaved Africans to the New World and are “probably responsible for about half a million people (who) are alive today in the Americas.”

Perry and his cousin, filmmaker Katrina Browne, are confronting the family history that shames them. They collaborated on an Emmy-nominated documentary, “Traces of the Trade” (2008), about slavery and its lingering effects. Then they co-founded the Tracing Center, a Boston-area nonprofit promoting awareness of the slave trade and its legacies affecting all Americans.   

“It’s incumbent upon me to speak out about what our family did and to help other people draw the connections to the ways in which their families are connected to slavery,” Perry said. “If we bury the dark parts of a family history, we will start to assume things like that didn’t happen, and that will greatly distort our understanding of how we got here today.”

Roles of religion 

Faith groups were not without sin.

The Episcopal Church, particularly in Rhode Island during the late 1600s and early 1700s, “profited directly … because donations from our members were proceeds of the slave trade,” said Nicholas Knisely, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island.

Even the clergy enslaved people.

“We had slaves who were owned by the missionary organizations that were creating the Anglican churches here in the United States,” Knisely added. “We have records of slaves who were branded with the letters SPG — Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.”

Unitarian minister William Ellery Channing had an enslaved cook for his household in Newport and praised her industriousness, said Stokes, the Newport historian. Born in 1753 in West Africa, Charity “Duchess” Quamino became known as “the pastry queen of Rhode Island,” using the proceeds from her cake sales to buy freedom for herself and her children.
    
Quamino had a better outcome than many other African-born slaves. 

While awaiting slave ships in Angola, African captives were forced by their Portuguese handlers to convert to Catholicism. Baptisms, conducted in big groups, stripped the captives of their African identity. Those who were detained in Angola would be given Christian names. Those herded onto ships often would be renamed if and when they reached a distant shore.

Religious conversion helped the Africans “embrace the gospel,” said the Rev. Paulino Koteka, a parish priest in the coastal city of Benguela. But, he acknowledged, “it destroyed their identity and their culture. Many of them suffered because of this evangelization.”

In 1985, Pope John Paul II asked Africans to forgive white Christians for their involvement in the slave trade. 

Slavery’s legacy 

 At Angola’s National Museum of Slavery in Luanda, director Vlademiro Fortuna said nearly four centuries of involvement in the slave trade have taken a lasting toll on the country. Today, though Angola has the third-largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, at least a third of its 30 million people live in poverty.

“This country was harmed in every single aspect. The social fabric was destroyed,” he said, pointing out that Angola wasn’t the only affected place.

“The slave trade destabilized African societies. … It wasn’t possible during the times of slavery and colonization for African societies to reorganize their political and labor systems. … Sometimes, people try to forget this part of the country’s history.”

That’s why the museum exists, he added.  

In the United States, a bill backed by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives proposes setting up a committee to examine and remedy the “lingering negative effects” of slavery and discrimination.  

At a June 19 hearing, proponents brought up the possibility of reparations or an apology, or both, for slavery and subsequent laws and policies that discriminated against blacks. They say those measures — affecting civil rights, education, housing, finance and more — contribute to ongoing disadvantages, including a racial wealth gap. 

The average black family’s net worth is less than 15% of a white family’s, the Federal Reserve reported in 2017. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opposes compensation.

“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea,” he said the day before the hearing.

Hampton’s historic perspective 

Slavery in Britain’s American colonies began in Virginia. It was also in Hampton, at the former Port Comfort site, where the system began to unravel. 

In May 1861, a month after the start of the U.S. Civil War pitting 11 slave-dependent Southern states against the North, three Virginia slaves working for the Confederate Army fled to Fort Monroe. The federal stronghold had been built decades earlier near the site where the first Africans landed two centuries earlier.

The slaves sought refuge with Union troops who’d volunteered to suppress what was characterized as the Southern rebellion. Their commander, Maj. Gen. Benjamin Franklin Butler, declared the slaves “contraband of war,” a seemingly dehumanizing decision but one that meant they could legally be allowed to remain and support the Union cause. 

Butler’s decision lent protection to thousands of blacks who escaped to the fort during the four-year war, and, says Project 1619 co-founder Bill Wiggins, laid the groundwork for historic measures. 

Wiggins said the decision “forced” President Abraham Lincoln, in early 1863, to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” in Confederate states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

That “led to the 13th Amendment, ending enslavement, and paved the way for the 14th Amendment, which provided citizenship (for the formerly enslaved) in 1866,” Wiggins said.

The fort was decommissioned as a military installation in September 2011. Two months later, President Barack Obama — son of a black African father and white American mother — designated Fort Monroe as a national monument.

At a small cemetery in Hampton, Brenda Tucker stood among graves where her forebears — including William Tucker, believed to be the first child born to Africans in the American colonies — have been laid to rest. 

Packed into slave ships from Angola, “so many did not survive. But the ones that did survive were the healthy ones, our ancestors,” Tucker said. Looking around the site, she added, “There is no way we can pass it or walk through it without thinking of an ancestor to whom we owe gratitude.”

Chris Simkins reported from Virginia and Rhode Island, with Mayra de Lasalette contributing from Angola and Carol Guensburg from Washington.To commemorate the first African landing at Point Comfort 400 years ago, a series of events, exhibits and tours are scheduled in and near Hampton, Virginia.

Source: Voice of America

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BREAKING NEWS: Pastor Wilson In Viral Sex Video Responds To His Critics, Says He Likes P…y (VIDEO)

Pastor David Wilson responds to his critics over the viral sex video about him with a black lady

by Ike A. Offor

Texan Pastor Wilson, who is involved in the viral sex video that has hit the entire social media has responded to his critics using some unusual language not easily used by the so-called men of God.

His response which is all contained in the video above truly portrays how real the man is to critics calling him out on his private life.

The pastor blasted his critics and said that he likes pussy and criticised his critics for being hypocrites.

It has finally been revealed the lady involved in the video with the pastor is the one who made it public and her name is identified as Corinthia Edwards. Her reason for making personal video public is yet unknown.

The lady in the video and who filmed the sex scene with the Pastor, identified as Corinthia Edwards

It appears that judging from the position of the lady and the pastor that, she was the one who filmed the scene with her smartphone, while she is been sucked by the pastor in question.

Pastor David Wilson, who is the senior pastor of The Bible Way Minsitry and World Outreach Inc, which is in Texas, said that he likes pussy and he is proud of it and said fuck all his critics.

Senior Pastor at The Bible Way Minsitry and World Outreach Inc, Pastor David Wilson

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Mamman Daura Placed Buhari On Monthly Salary After He Was Released From Prison, Says Ibrahim Ali Gombe |RN

**Don’t embark on a battle you cannot win” – Buhari supporter, Ibrahim Ali Gombe pens long open letter to Aisha Buhari

My Advice to Hajjia Ashia

My dear First Lady,

Be careful! Don’t embark on a battle you cannot win. Some battles are not worth fighting. It is better not to fight, at all, than to fight and lose. Losing such a battle would have unravelled your invincibility. Those feminism, buharists, you think that are standing or whispering all you want to hear about About ur extended family are doing all this all because of their selfish intrest of what they want to gain from you not certainly because of you or your children.

Mamman Daura is your husband’s closest uncle, Fatima Mamman, no matter how young she is, she remains your child . They are your in-laws. Show some respect. They are your husband’s family. They are an integral part of your family. They are not strangers.

Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari (Chief of Staff) are two personalities you cannot push away from President Buhari, your husband. Fine, you’re his wife; however, what these two have contributed in the life of your husband is inestimable and unquantifiable. Buhari is Abba Kyari. Abba Kyari is Mamman Daura. Mamman Daura is Buhari. They are inseparable.

When IBB, overthrew your husband as Head of State, locked him up in the prison for not less than 3 years, it was Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari were there for your husband in the prison. When he eventually regained his freedom without no benefits as a previous head of state. Mamman Daura placed your husband on salary through his companies payroll, so that your husband can still stand as a man in terms of fulfilling his responsibility as a family man without begging friends and relations for financial help. They staked everything for the success of your husband. Your husband knows and appreciates their contributions. No matter what anyone says, Buhari will not leave them.

I don’t know of any individual who has contributed, financially, morally, spiritually and physically to the success of your husband and family more than them. The journey among the trio of Buhari, Mamman Daura and Abba Kyari is a journey of more than 40 years, even before you came in as a wife. After all, you just came in 1996. Cool down enjoy your marriage and also enjoy your post as the First Lady of this country.

That your children were oppurtuned to be educated in good foreign universities are one of the numerous courtsey of Alhaji Mamman Daura and Abba kyari. Have you also forgotten, when they will sponsor your trips to Overseas for vacation, just to make sure that there is a big smile on the lips of their young admirable wife. My dear First Lady, how many Nigerian women are oppurtuned to have such in-laws, the answer is 99.9% women are not oppurtuned to have such in-laws, this shows how blessed you are.

In 2003, 2007, 2011 presidential campaigns, Abba Kyari was your husband’s chief financier. They risked everything for your husband. They believed in the man Buhari, even when he kept on failing his elections. It is the outcome of that risk they took that you are enjoying today, as the First lady. Indeed, God has used them for you also.

That your husband wants them around him is a sign of gratefulness. My dear First lady, have you also forgotten that before your husband became the president, that Muhammadu Buhari spent most of his evenings in the house of his best friend and uncle Mamman in Daura. It is on record that anyone that wants to see old General, once it is 4pm goes straight to Mamman’s house, because it is already a known tradition that baba Buhari must be there as far as he is in Daura. That Buhari wants him around him in the villa is a clear manifestation that Buhari is not an ingrate. He appreciates favour. Thus, he will not pay favour with ingratitude. One thing is certain, the Buhari we all know will not trade his trusted allies for anything or anyone. This also shows that your husband Muhammadu Buhari can never trade you for another woman unlike most men in power and Generals always do. This also shows how blessed you are.

Aso Villa is a temporary residence. In the next four years, you will pack out. Life in the Presidential Villa is transient, ephemeral and short-lived. Don’t be overwhelmingly obsessed with it. The Villa is not a family house and it’s not your husband’s house. Soldier go, soldier come. I was a bit emotional few days ago when Goodluck Jonathan visited Buhari in the Villa. Many changes have been effected. Buhari was the one showing Jonathan the way. Imagine. A place Jonathan just left in 2015.

Hajjia Aisha, if anything is wrong, which you don’t feel comfortable with; amicable resolution is the way out. You need not fight anyone or take anyone as a foe. Show love. Show respect. Show tolerance. Mamman Daura’s children are your children. Show no discrimination or animosity. What goes around comes around. No one knows tomorrow. Those we meet in the course of climbing the ladder of life are the same people we will while coming down. Once again, remember your root and where you started.

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BREAKING NEWS: Buhari Approves N10bn For Akanu Ibiam International Airport Rehabilitation |RN

Muhammadu Buhari approves N10bn for Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu rehabilitation

The president disclosed this via his twitter account. He said; “I have approved the sum of 10 billion Naira for an Intervention fund for the upgrade of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.”

There might be light at the end of the tunnel for the repair of Akanu Ibiam International airport, Enugu as president has approved for the release of N10bn for the  airport 56 days after it was shutdown.

He went on to say that the Minister of Aviation has assured him of the speedy completion of the project.

“I have the assurance of the Minister of Aviation that the work will be done speedily and to the highest standards.”

The president, however, maintained that despite the lean resources available to the government, they will continue to prioritize the fixing of infrastructure.

“Even as we have many items competing for our limited resources, we will continue to prioritize infrastructure investments in every part of the country.

“It is our responsibility to ensure Nigeria’s infrastructure is fixed; we will keep doing this.”

Recall that Governors from the south East had decided to meet with the President on Thursday (today) after their meeting on Monday to discuss the state of infrastructure in the zone.

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AUDIO: How Aisha Buhari Attacked Us In Aso Villa, Fatima, Mamman Daura’s Daughter Speaks Up, Confirms Viral Video

Below is the audio of Fatima’s interview in Hausa

Fatima, daughter of Mamman Daura, President Muhammadu Buhari’s nephew, has accused the wife of the president of attacking her inside the presidential villa in Abuja.

Commenting on a video where the first lady was seen complaining about being denied access to her apartment, Fatima said she least expected Buhari’s wife to act in a violent manner.

In the video which trended on Friday while the rumour mill was agog that the president was getting married to Sadiya Umaru Farouq, minister of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, the president’s wife was seen speaking in anger.

In a BBC Hausa interview monitored by TheCable, Fatima said she recorded the video as a proof that Buhari’s wife confronted her violently.

The incident happened in 2017.

“My name is Fatima. I am a daughter to Malam Mamman Daura… if one reasons well, he or she will understand that it is not possible to say that the wife of the president is denied access to her apartment but let me give a context,” she said.

“The apartment in question is called the Glass House. You know that there are several houses and apartments in the villa. When the president got into office, he gave the Glass House to our father, Mamman Daura.

“You all know that they are friends and are related, more so, they grew up together like twins. When he became president, he gave the Glasshouse to our dad and said he should stay there. Our dad stayed there for three years now until when the president’s son, Yusuf, had an accident and went to Germany for treatment.

“When he returned, the president told our dad to move out of that apartment to an even bigger one in the villa, that Yusuf is going to stay and be treated in the Glass House. The Glass House is closer to the main presidential apartment and that will make easier access to him by his mother. It is not in her apartment which is in the main apartment.”

Fatima narrated what led to the incident that was captured in the video, saying she recorded it to use as evidence against the first lady.

“(On that day) My mom and dad were not around. So, my dad instructed me and my elder sister, both of us are working and we go to work every morning, that we should come on a Saturday and move our belongings to the new apartment the president instructed,” she said.

“We planned to park out then and have even concluded moving all the things. All of a sudden, in the afternoon as we were busy on that errand of packing our belongings when we heard noise from outside. I was in an inner room in the house while my sister was in an outer one close to the main gate of the apartment. So my sister went out before I could come out.

“On getting there, it was the wife of the president. When she came, the door was locked and she picked a metal chair and broke the door. I have sent the picture to you. My sister that went out was almost hit by the chair. She threw the chair which broke through the door and almost hit my sister.

“I was so shocked and afraid of getting there because she was shouting and reigning abuses words and saying we should move out of that apartment. That she has never seen this kind of thing before. I then went back and picked my phone because if one is to say that she acted that way, no one would believe it without a proof. She has already been saying a lot of things depicting that she is being suppressed.

“So I recorded it to show our parents and the security, so that they will know the truth should anything happen. Because the way she was raging and shouting, I was thinking that she would pick something and hit us with it or something like that. That was why we recorded it. Had it been we wanted to release the video, we would have done it earlier. But you know if a video clip enters one or two hands, you can’t control where it will get to.

“There are even other clips that have not been released, I will send them to you to see how she was insulting the security and how she drove them away saying who are they protecting and calling them bloody idiots. Its all on the video clip. That was what happened.”

TheCable was unable to reach Suleiman Haruna, spokesman of the first lady, as he neither responded to calls nor replied a text message sent as of the time this report was filed. (The Cable)

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SCAM: EFCC Arraigns American, Ramirez For Defrauding 5 Nigerians |The Republican News

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned an American, Marco Ramirez, in an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly defrauding five Nigerians in a Green Card scam.

Ramirez,  alleged by the EFCC to be a serial fraudster,  was previously arraigned on 22 June, 2017, before Justice Josephine Oyefeso, on 16-counts charge of conspiracy and obtaining under false pretences.

He was alleged to have defrauded three Nigerians- Amb. Godson Echejue, Mr. Abubakar Umar and Mr. Olukayode Sodimu of 545,000 dollars from February 2013 to August 2013 in Lagos.

He had pleaded not guilty to the alleged offences and was admitted to bail in the sum of $250,000.

However, midway to the defendant’s trial, the case file was transferred from Justice Oyefeso’s court to Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court for a speedy conclusion of the case.

On June 20, he was re-arraigned before Justice Mojisola Dada on an amended 12-count charge of conspiracy and obtaining under false pretences, by defrauding Echejue, Umar and Sodimu of $1.2million.

He is standing trial in all the criminal suits alongside his companies – U.S.A Now LLC, Eagle Ford Instalodge Group LP, and U.S.A Now Capital Group.

Ramirez and his companies were arraigned on Monday by the EFCC on a fresh nine-count charge of obtaining money by false pretences.

He allegedly defrauded two more Nigerians – Gabriel Edeoghon and Oludare Talabi of 388,838 dollars.

According to Mrs. Vera Aigboje, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Ramirez committed the alleged offences in 2013 and 2014 in Lagos.

“From May 22 to July 26, 2013, Ramirez on three occasions received a total of 291,290 dollars from Edeoghon.

“From Feb. 28, 2014, to April 17, 2014, Ramirez on six occasions received $97,549 from Talabi.

“He falsely represented to the defendants that the funds were investments into his companies in the Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) United States of America Investor Programme.

“Ramirez also falsely informed the complainants that their investments will qualify them to be eligible for a USA Green Card.

“The offences contravenes Section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act,” Aigboje said.

Following the arraignment, the defence counsel, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, requested that the American enjoy the bail he had been granted by Justice Josephine Oyefeso in 2017.

“He has been on administrative bail in the earlier matter since 2017 on conditions which we feel are enough to guarantee his presence before this honourable court.

“The condition given by Justice Oyefeso is that he be admitted to bail in the sum of 250,000 dollars which was complied with and he was never absent in court,” Oyewole said.

Justice Dada obliged the SAN’s request and ordered that Certified True Copy (CTC) of Justice Oyefeso’s bail ruling be properly presented before the court.

She adjourned the case until Oct. 10 for trial.

Immediately after the arraignment, the EFCC’s “sister case” against Ramirez for defrauding three Nigerians commenced.

Mr. Usman Aliyu, an EFCC investigator testified as to the first prosecution witness.

Usman an investigator with the Economic Governance Unit of the anti-graft agency, while being led in evidence by Mr. M.F. Owele, the prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, described how Ramirez defrauded the complainants.

He said that in November 2015 while he was working at the Intelligence and Special Operations Section (ISOS) of the EFCC, the anti-graft agency received a petition from the law chambers of Festus Keyamo, SAN, about Ramirez’s alleged fraudulent activities.

“The petition was written on behalf of Echejue, Umar and Sodimu. It was alleged that sometime in 2013, the first defendant (Ramirez) organized a seminar in Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.

“At the seminar, he made a representation that whoever is desirous to have an American green card should invest 500,000 dollars and a 45,000 dollars processing fee into the American economy in a programme known as the EB-5 programme.

“My Lord the EB-5 programme is a US citizenship and immigration service.

“It that states that any eligible immigrant that wants to invest in the American economy in areas that have low employment rate will be entitled to a two-year stay after which a green card is provided,” he said.

Aliyu stated that as part of the EFCC’s investigation into the scam, the complainants were contacted and they provided documents and evidence of payment of the funds they were scammed of.

The EFCC investigator noted that frantic efforts were also made to apprehend Ramirez by the anti-graft agency and that the American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) revealed to the EFCC that Ramirez was a serial conman.

“After frantic efforts to locate the first defendant, he was eventually arrested at the Transcorp Hotel in Abuja.

“An FBI agent was invited, he came, discussed with the team and he informed us that the first defendant and his companies are facing similar cases in the United States of America,” Aliyu said.

The prosecution tendered 36 documents including Ramirez’s statement, statements of the complainants, proof of payment from the complainants, documents from the FBI and EFCC as exhibits.

Justice Dada adjourned the case until Oct. 8 and Oct. 10 for the continuation of trial.

PM News

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Ambazonia, Cameroon Separatists Celebrate ‘Independence’ As Biya Calls For Dialogue |The Republican News

By Moki Edwin Kindzeka

KUMBA, CAMEROON – English-speaking Cameroonians came out in huge numbers on Oct. 1 to celebrate what they call their independence day, declared by separatist leaders in 2017.

“We are celebrating our independence,” said Godlove Azeng, 31, “and at the same time asking the president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, to remove his military from our territory and asking him to free our leader [Julius] Ayuk Tabe who is jailed in his country.”

Separatist leader Ayuk Tabe was arrested in Nigeria with 47 of his supporters and extradited to Cameroon in January 2018. In August, he was given a life sentence by a military tribunal in Yaounde that found him guilty of crimes including secession and hostilities against the state.

The Oct. 1 celebrations marked the second anniversary since separatists in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest regions proclaimed an independent state they call Ambazonia.

During the gatherings, nine people were reported killed in gun battles with the military in Kumbo, the Northwest villages of Kikaikom and Mbveh, and the Southwest towns of Kumba and Mamfe.

Deben Tchoffo, governor of the English-speaking Northwest region, says government troops are deployed to protect citizens and Cameroon’s territorial integrity.

“Most of those areas have been secured by our security forces,” Tchoffo said. “Cameroon is ruled by laws and regulations and we are going to take our responsibility to secure the villages and while waiting, I am asking the population of the Northwest region to remobilize themselves [against those who want separation].”

The U.N. reports that the separatist war has forced more than 530,000 people to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in late 2017. It says at least 2,000 civilians and 300 defense and security forces have lost their lives in the war.

National dialogue 

A government-run dialogue ordered by Biya and aimed at resolving the separatist crisis is under way in Yaounde.

Cardinal Christian Wiyghan Tumi, left, talks with Cameroonian veteran opposition leader John Fru Ndi at the Congress Palace during the opening session of the National Dialogue called by President Biya, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Sept. 30, 2019.
FILE – People gather at the Congress Palace during the opening session of the National Dialogue called by President Paul Biya, in Yaounde, Cameroon, Sept. 30, 2019.

Separatist backers who live outside Cameroon refused to attend, demanding the government first release Ayuk Tabe and accept negotiations led by the Swiss government.

On social media, they say no talks can start until Biya withdraws troops from English-speaking regions of Cameroon as a sign he has accepted their independence.

Political analyst and U.S.-based Cameroonian Humphrey Nsonka, who is taking part in the national dialogue, says it is unfortunate Cameroon is not doing enough to quell the anger of English-speakers in the country, where French is the majority language.

He says the best option for Cameroon is a federal state, a concept the government rejects in favor of decentralization.

“The huge numbers of people that came out in almost all the villages and towns is an indication of how much English-speaking Cameroonians are disgruntled with the domineering attitude of the French majority,” Nsonka said. “I think Cameroon should consider [a] federal state with the Anglophones on one part and French speakers on the other.”

Source: VOA

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Sowore Dug Hole He’s In Now, Romanced Buhari, Told Deliberate Lies, But Should Be Freed —Reno Omokri

Reno Omokri, Omoyele Sowore

If you say Omoyele Sowore is a liar, I will agree. He tells deliberate lies to destroy the reputation of those he‘s against, using his Sahara Reporters website. He did it to me personally and my boss, GOODLUCK JONATHAN. Ironically neither Jonathan, nor I ever contemplated his arrest.

I sympathise with Sowore, but that’s not my point here. I can’t help but feel that his travails are self inflicted. I know his nature. He will come out of jail, read this, and use Sahara Reporters to try to savage my reputation. If you have followed the Buhari wave, you know the role Sowore and his Sahara Reporters played to create the Frankenstein monster named Buhari.

What is happening between Sowore and  Buhari is just a romance gone sour. Sowore is not some innocent activist that General Buhari is persecuting. He was an ally of Buhari. He sold Buhari to Nigeria. We must not rewrite history or we will repeat it.

Using saharareporters, Sowore dishonestly “DEMARKETED” President Jonathan as a “DRUNKARD,” _a “SLOW POKE,_” “CLUELESS…” and MARKETED Buhari as “INCORRUPTIBLE.” He marketed Buhari as a man who would not only “CRUSH” Jonathan, but the “messiah” who would “SOLVE” all of Nigeria’s problems.

In 2014, when Jonathan said “I am the most INSULTED president in the world but when I leave office, you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed”, he was referring to Sowore and saharareporters.

Nigerians mistook his TOLERANCE AND ZEAL FOR HUMAN RIGHTS FOR WEAKNESS.

Today, General Buhari is trying Sowore, his former partner in propaganda, for insulting him. If insulting a President is a crime, both Buhari and Sowore are guilty due to what they did to ex-President Jonathan. But it is NOT a crime.

Sowore should be freed!

Yet, Sowore is not the victim here. The victim, who refused to be a victim, is former President Jonathan, who Sowore accused of thievery, yet ALL his children schooled in Nigeria while he was President. 5 years after leaving office, no one has found GEJ wanting.

It is possible that people around Jonathan made money, just as people around General Buhari are making money and people around Obasanjo and YarAdua made money. _It is the sad reality of a corruption plagued country that we must all aspire to fix._ But Jonathan was NOT the THIEF, DRUNKARD or WEAKLING Sowore painted him to be. He is God fearing. To fear God is weakness to men like Sowore.

Then President Jonathan is MEEK. MEEKNESS is not WEAKNESS. MEEKNESS means you have POWER, but you RESTRAIN yourself from ABUSING it because you want to BUILD, not DESTROY. Moses was MEEK. Nigerians don’t deserve a MEEK leader. We deserve a General Buhari!

On 4 occasions, Sowore visited Nigeria while Jonathan was President. We knew his whereabouts. He met then CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, and was in contact with Buhari and El-rufai. But Jonathan NEVER ARRESTED him because _he believed in PRESS FREEDOM._

Sowore marketed Jonathan as corrupt and weak. GEJ would never make a man indicted by the army for theft, as reported by PremiumTimesng, a minister. GEJ deported South Africans in retaliation when SA deported Nigerians. It is Buhari who is WEAK & CORRUPT.

The problem with the average Nigerian, is that we CRY over CONSEQUENCES, and _LAUGH over ACTIONS,_ not realising that _CONSEQUENCE follows ACTIONS_ as DAY follows NIGHT. Sowore and Saharareporters are the ACTION. Buhari is the CONSEQUENCE.        

I look at those shedding tears for Sowore and I remember when Jonathan’s son was crying after his classmates laughed at him *because they read on saharareporters that his father is a drunkard. Even children believe the lies they read on saharareporters!

I am not stretching facts if I say that without Sowore, General Buhari wont be President. It‘s an indisputable FACT. He and Saharareporters poisoned the mind of Nigerians against then President Jonathan. As Christ said “offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” – Luke 17:1

It is a different matter if Sowore and saharareporters used the TRUTH to turn Nigerians against then President Jonathan, but they used LIES. Deliberate and malignant LIES. You cannot DESTROY another man and expect Providence to BUILD you up!

_Ko le work!_

What Gen Buhari has done to Sowore is a common Northern tactic. I lived in the North. I know. Abacha used it on Abiola. He used Abiola to destroy Shonekan. After Abiola destroyed Shonekan’s government, he was of no use to Abacha anymore, so Abacha threw him in jail.

General Buhari and Elrufai know what they used Sowore to achieve in destroying Jonathan. They are not fools. These guys are more politically sophisticated *than even Sowore/Tinubu know. It is brinksmanship. They won’t sit and watch them do the same to Buhari.

All of you were FOOLED when General Buhari rubbed mentholatum on his handkerchief and used it to induce crocodile tears. You are now seeing the genuine Buhari now? *Who is crying now? _Buhari or you? When we told you did you listen?_ Enjoy Buhari!

Gen Buhari used Sowore & saharareporters against Jonathan and he will NEVER let them be used against him. Sowore should have known that the first person a feudal king kills is the kingmaker that got him the throne. So he can’t remove him from the same throne.

What an irony! Sowore cannot use the same saharareporters to remove himself from jail.
Don’t dig your enemy’s hole too deep so that when you fall into it, you can also escape.

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DSS Arrests Chido Onumah For Wearing T-Shirt With Inscription “We All Are Biafrans” At Abuja Airport |RN

Chido Onumah

The news of the Arrest Of Journalist , Chido Onumah, by men of the Department of State Service (DSS) on Sunday unsettled the media space and Vanguard can now confirm the real reason the author of the book, We Are All Biafrans was arrested and released after hours.

Upon arrival at Abuja airport 4pm on Sunday, Onumah spent sometime clearing his luggage and was expected to have dinner with a friend. He was waiting to confirm the venue of his appointment when a DSS official walked up to him, flashed his ID card and told him he was to be questioned in connection with a planned protest.

Onumah, who was wearing a T-shirt with the inscription, WE ARE ALL BIAFRANS, which happened to be the title of his new book, was led to the DSS office at Central Abuja.
During interrogation, he was asked why he was holding a Nigerian passport and he confidently replied that “I am Nigerian.”

The DSS officials queried why he was putting on the vest with the inscription, which he answered by telling them that was the titled of his new book. Onumah further told the DSS officials that he had more vests in his bag with the same inscription and won’t hesitate to wear either of them after leaving.

According to source, while at the DSS office, Onumah was reading a book while the officials ran a check on his profile. “That was when they discovered that he was more Nigerian as anyone can be.

“They (DSS) now told him (Onumah) that there was an intel they got about some people who were trying to cause unrest and he was picked because of the inscription on his shirt. They told him his shirt’s inscription could trigger an unrest and after much dilly daily, He Was Allowed To Take His Leave ,” the source said.

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Nigerians Are In Bondage, Many Of Them Are Working To Escape — Prof. Pat Utomi |The Republican News

Prof. Pat Utomi
  • ‘Nigeria has had very bad politicians one generation after another’

A political economist and former presidential candidate, Prof Pat Utomi, who also contested the governorship primary of his party in the last election, shares his thoughts about the state of the nation in this interview with TUNDE AJAJA

Nigeria will be 59 in two days and many Nigerians are grossly disappointed with the country’s level of development. How would you assess the country’s progress so far?

Part of my personal burden is that I have been around for all of those 59 years and so I have seen those 59 years from the eyes of a young person, a teenager, a middle-aged person and someone now entering into the twilight of his time of being. I think one sentence sums it up; excruciating and painful witness to a country’s failure to live its dream. Most of my adult life has been focused on two things; social justice and economic development. In both areas, Nigeria has been a remarkable failure. I still remember as a young academic interested in development issues the days people used to say to Indonesia that ‘if you organise yourselves well, maybe you can be like Nigeria.’ And now I’m living through a time people are saying to Nigeria; maybe you can be like Indonesia. Isn’t that a great irony? In fact, a friend of mine, an American professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins, Peter Lewis, reflected that in a book, titled ‘Growing Apart’, which was a comparison of Nigeria and Indonesia. As Nigeria went south, Indonesia moved up the ladder. If Indonesia is painful to compare Nigeria with, you just try to compare it with Singapore. If I compare what has happened over the years in Singapore and Nigeria, sometimes, I literally break down in the night and begin to sob. I just love Singapore.

What’s the attraction?

Well, it’s the story of a country that was literally nothing. I saw it grow from a fishing village to what it is now. Its Prime Minister once broke down and wept because they thought they could not survive without Malaysia when the Malaya Federation got rid of them. But it became the hub of development. Everything happened before my eyes. Something happened when I went to Singapore this summer, and the story is very real. I was in my hotel room; reflecting and I found myself literally going into private conversations with Chinua Achebe and Nelson Mandela. In many ways, some of their expressions reminded me very deeply, painfully and sorrowfully the failure of Nigeria as a country. I was just lost in conversation with these men and I actually plan to put down a book of those conversations of which I got no reply from these men. Somebody interviewed me in 1990 and I was shocked when the person said there is a topic you would turn to that would animate me any day, which is Nigeria. I have always been pan-Nigeria in all my views, but Nigeria has been a depressing ride; its youths are leaving and they are unsure about the future.

Where do you think the country is getting it wrong?

One of the things that the Nigerian elite have never gotten around is understanding what it means to govern. So we have one generation after the other of very bad politicians. Government has gone from bad to worse; you think it’s going to get better and the next one is just worse than the one before it. It’s depressing when you think they would learn from the mistakes of others but it never happens. Associated with this is the fact that governing Nigeria is expensive; politicians are on ego trips, which must be manifested in motorcades and how they steal the commonwealth in the name of taking care of themselves because they are government officials. In many countries, public officials are some of the least paid persons. Here, they are probably not as well paid but we know how much of our resources they have plunged. The budget of the country comes to less than six per cent of our Gross Domestic Product and what it takes to run the government is extracted mainly from revenues from crude oil and taxation, and about all of it going into the budget. And this budget maintains less than two million of us who are either civil servants or politicians and they don’t even feel accountable enough to ensure that the rest of us have a decent life. They actually think who are we to be talking to them and asking to be governed well. So, between the civil servants and the politicians, we have a new colonisation of the Nigerian people. Femi Falana said the other day that Nigeria is governed like we are a conquered people and I disagreed with him. I told him we are not governed like we are a conquered people; we are a conquered people. Only a conquered people can be governed the way we are governed. We are in captivity and that is why a lot of people are trying to escape as if they are trying to break out of captivity. It’s a run for freedom. We cannot continue that way; it’s not possible.

Would you have an idea of how the country got to this level if Indonesia once admired us?

Yes, it wasn’t this way from the beginning. I remember the late Prof Emmanuel Elebute saying that when he was appointed a professor of medicine in the 60’s, his pay was higher than that of the Prime Minister of Nigeria. Can you imagine anybody in the National Assembly allowing a professor of medicine to earn more than them? That’s impossible in today’s system. We know how long it took him (Elebute) to get there, but we don’t know how long it took to get to the National Assembly. In some cases, all it takes is to steal a few ballot boxes, even if you are coming from the gutter. A collapse of culture happened somewhere along the way. When there is a collapse of culture, nothing dear exists anymore. Value shapes human progress and it determines what any society becomes, but there has been a collapse of culture in Nigeria and there are no values guiding anything anymore. Anything goes and you can get away with murder, literally. You can steal the maze today and the next day you would be the custodian of the maze. That’s a society that has lost everything.

If Nigeria continues on this route, where do you think the country is headed?

For three decades, I have been trying to get the Nigerian middle class to realise that they are the problem. I recently wrote a book, titled ‘Why Not’, where I talked about the complicit middle. I think I played some role in waking up that middle in 1993 after the annulment of the election. I wrote an article, ‘We must say never again.’ Professionals got up and said truly we couldn’t continue, but everybody went back to sleep and the conquest continued. Fully conquered by the political class, the Nigerian people are wondering who they are and what would happen to them next. But, you see the thing about situations like this is that they are not sustainable; it’s just for a period of time. About 25 years ago, I began using a phrase that Nigeria would witness the revenge of the poor. My friend, Rev Fr George Ehusani, seems to have popularised the phase. It’s happening as we speak. Let the rich travel from Abuja to Kaduna in their flashy cars and see what happens. And it’s just starting. Unfortunately, the poor and middle class are also caught up by it. We could have avoided all of these and build a prosperous and just society for all. When there is no justice, peace is hard to find. Nigeria built an unjust society and today it is searching for peace. It was all avoidable. I can go back to look at all my writings for the last 40 years and I can show where I predicted where we are today. I am tired this time and it’s time to retire.

There are people who believe that the discovery of oil is part of our problem, do you agree with that?

Nigeria has suffered a major problem that led to the collapse of culture, and it’s what I like to call the dangerous alchemy of the convergence of soldiers and oil. Military rule, which brought an authoritarian structure, met with oil, which brought free money. The people in power, who were soldiers, did not need the people because they had enough money coming from oil exploration to do as they pleased. So, people were very happy that they (military) left them alone. Then, they also stopped paying taxes and they stopped asking what they (leaders) were doing with our (oil) money. That drove the emergence of state capture. The people who had power and money basically captured the Nigerian state. I often talked about those who own Nigeria as their property. For nearly 60 years, we have had a group of people who have captured the country and owned it. In many ways, groups negotiate with them entry into sharing some of what they own. I have a very remarkable relationship with former President Olusegun Obasanjo and I love him. There are two sides of him. There is a side of him that is with that rapacious group of captors and a side of him that represents a certain social will for good of all. He’s a very complex man caught in the middle of this and people don’t understand him. There are things about him that you may not like but there are things about him that you can’t but respect. But, there are others in that group that are not given to his pang of conscience. It’s a rapacious parasitic group.

There is also the belief that the Nigerian citizenry went to bed after the return to democracy in 1999, was that truly the case?

While the state capture lasted, they woke up in 1999 and we all fought the system until they (military) decided to let go. After that, we – and I charge myself as the first accused – decided we had done our bit, which was the ultimate mistake, in my view. It opened the doors to a bunch of charlatans and once those traditional politicians moved in, that was it. People who came with the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Michael Opara and Ahmadu Bello, who grew up in the understanding of social conscience, thought the military was not serious about going. Then a bunch of bandits stepped in and Nigeria has not recovered since then.

Do you think it is possible to recover?

It is possible to recover. You see, why I think any nation caught in this kind of mess can recover is Brazil. If Brazil can come back, why not (Nigeria)? But my fear is that if we are not careful, instead of taking the Brazil option, we might do Argentina or worst still, we may do our natural ally and soulmate, Venezuela. Do we learn from our mistakes? Nigerian civil war was the worst genocide of the 20th century outside Hitler’s attempt at exterminating the Jews, even though we tried to cover up that history. Rwanda went through genocide and recovered brilliantly in the way President Paul Kagame has tried to rebuild the country. Nigeria has not had a good fortune of learning from the error of the Nigerian genocide in the way Kagame had. So, where do we find hope? I think there is still a group of people committed to the dignity of the human race, who are middle class persons and are still driven by a bigger good. I remember that one of the things I had written while reflecting on my thoughts about Achebe and Mandela was what I titled 1,100 years of servitude. My fear is for Nigeria as a nation not to plunge its people into 1,000 years of servitude. When I talk to many Nigerians, people are so short-termed and instant gratification-driven and it increases my pain. To have elite that are not sensitive to the pains of Nigerians is one of the reasons my time of being has been a depressing one.

Your party, the All Progressives Congress, on assuming power in 2015 lamented what it called PDP’s 16 years of misrule and people felt the APC would do things differently. Do you think anything has changed since your party took over?

Let me tell you my own history with that adventure. I think about seven or eight years ago, I was asked to give the annual lecture of the Leadership newspaper and the subject was ‘political parties’. I remember vividly and I remember that in that room were almost all the people who became the bigwigs of the opposition, sitting on the high table. I took the pain to analyse what political parties are; what their role is in building up ideas for social transformation and progress. But there was something interesting after I finished speaking in that hall. Paul Unongo (former Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum) running to the podium saying to me that he felt like locking the doors and preventing all of us from leaving the place so we could sit down and discuss how Nigeria would move forward. That lecture was to get the opposition to realise that the redemption of Nigeria was all these people getting together, crafting ideas about how Nigeria should travel and using the platform of a political party, based on ideals of social democracy, with the people’s capitalism embedded in it, to organise a better society. The first thing I would say about the trouble with Nigeria and my party, as you called it, is that we didn’t form a political party.

How do you mean?

We created something called the APC, but it’s not a political party. Political parties in Nigeria unfortunately remains essentially machines for winning elections; a classic example of machine for elections. Machine politics does not save a nation, rather it produces political actors, whereas Nigeria needs to be saved. Once we did not manage to form a political party out of the APC, the game was lost. The first game that was lost was that the APC had no machine for internal conversation. So, once the machine produced officers, it was the end of the game; we could not even talk internally about what we should be doing as a party. People who can testify are still alive. I kept going back to talk to Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, who was the chairman of the party, about the need for us to sit down, develop ideas and coach all the people elected on the party’s platform about what we stand for and where our country should be. He said we truly needed such but that there was no money, and I told him we didn’t need money. I said he should invite them and leave the rest to me. I told him I would bring my friends free of charge to orient them. So, I went through that with him, but when you can’t find a platform to speak inside your own party, what do you do? Maybe once in a while journalists would harass you (laughs) and you would say one or two things and that is the end. I’m not surprised that we are where we are now. But, it’s a tragedy for our country. And there is this big misconception that we are a rich country; but we are not. We are a bankrupt country. If we are a company, we would have gone like Thomas Cook (a British global travel group that folded up a few days ago).

Have you tried having that conversation with the new leadership of the party?

Remember I said I’m retired (laughs). Since I have no pension, maybe I would first go to an American campus and speak English for two years, perhaps I would earn enough that could sustain me in my village (laughs). It’s a big pity, because this country has so much potential. A professor at Harvard years ago said the central conservative truth is that it is not politics but culture and its values that are responsible for the progress of the society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change the culture and save it from itself. In effect, what he was saying was interpreted very nicely by Samuel P. Huntington (jnr) who gave an example of that. Lee Kuan Yew in many ways represents that central liberal truth. He was a man who used politics to change the culture of his people and in doing that effectively, he took that country from the third world to the first. Unless there is a change in culture and values in Nigeria, the result would be the same. For example, our youth bulge should be producing demographic dividends for us, but, right now our youth bulge is producing the road to Somalia. Robert Kaplan told us 20 years ago that we would likely descend into anarchy, with ethnic, religious and economic cleavages. Instead of us to work assiduously at preventing that from happening, we just kept on behaving every day to get to the destination we were warned against. If lives were not involved, Nigeria would be a serious comedy, but the lives of millions of people are involved.

You participated in the presidential campaigns of your party prior to the 2015 election, and as an economist, some people expected that you would be in the President’s team to bring your experience to bear. Would you know why you didn’t get an appointment or were you offered and you declined?

One thing I know about God is that He loves me and He doesn’t let me go to where it’s not in my best interest. So, whatever happened was absolutely what God loved to happen, and it has been for my own good.

You took part in the primary election of your party for the governorship election in Delta State in the last election. Even when you wrote to your party to postpone the primary because the list of delegates was not available, you said you got no response. How did you feel about it?

I believe in process. The rule said if you would use the indirect primary you must provide all the aspirants with the list of delegates so they could pitch their ideas to those people, but the list never came. To be on the record, one week to the exercise the list didn’t come, so I wrote to the state and national offices. Even on the day of the exercise, we didn’t see the list. What is tragic about our situation is that we have used social media to confuse many things. I have seen on the social media on how some people said I didn’t know where the primary was taking place and that I went to another place. It was all nonsense. But they planted it in the media to suggest that I was somehow confused. But there was no such thing. 70 per cent of the things I see in the social media with my name don’t emanate from me, but what do you do.

What happened on the day of the primary?

You see, based on what I just said, there was no reason for me to show up; when I didn’t get the list and there was no response to my letters. On the day of the election, which was supposed to start at 9pm, they called for a meeting at noon and the delegation from Abuja was there. The then Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Ibe Kachikuwu), who is also from the state was there, including the other aspirants. Every single person, except one, said it didn’t make sense and that we should postpone it. The chairman of the panel said, ‘Prof, you know the way things are in Nigeria’ and I asked if I could see the list but he still didn’t bring it out. He said he saw it yesterday in Abuja and I said okay, can we see it? He said ‘Prof, you know we are brothers, let’s just go to the field.’ I was looking at the man and I asked myself how this country came down so low. He even said, ‘Prof this is not classroom’ (laughs). At that point I didn’t know whether to be amused or not. I knew it was clear what they came to do, so there was no point. The problem is that people who violate laws don’t go to prison, so it would be done again in the next election. In a normal country, all those involved in that process should be in prison by now. I am watching for the third time in my life, grand treason against the Nigerian people. What has happened in Nigeria unfortunately is that it has become a way of life. It has become a racket. So, rights are denied Nigerians normally. Several times I have told the Nigerian Bar Association that they have a duty to be activists for the rule of law.

At the point that the process didn’t go as planned, did you make any attempt to reach out to the authorities at the national level?

Which authorities, when they were the ones doing it? Whatever it was, there was deliberate collusion from the upper echelons of the party. They (electoral committee) can’t just do that kind of a thing among themselves.

The man who won the primary lost the election, were you surprised?

I expected that to happen. That was why the whole thing was like a no-brainer and I wonder why they didn’t understand that was how it would play out. The general politics of the place was such that anything other than someone like me emerging was baptising the incumbent.

Do you think you would have won if you had emerged as the winner?

Clearly, I would have. People were looking for something new and different. I didn’t wake up to say I wanted to run for any office, but they harassed me in my house. Those concerned persons disrupted my peace. Nobody around me, family and friends, wanted me to contest, but the people who came to me were not even my kinsmen. They were mainly from the central part of the state, which was what impressed me.

What was the position of your wife?

My wife, more than anybody else, was the one going quietly behind me to beg my friends to tell me not to go ahead. But, I also ask myself how history would remember me if there was a chance to mount the stage and effect a change and I walked away. One thing I can never be accused of in this country is not having made the effort to change anything I have ever criticised. I criticised how we treat widows and then I created a centre to support widows and it has been on for nearly 30 years. I observed that we didn’t have a public conversation, so I created Patito’s gang to aid public conversations. I know what it has cost me, beyond what it costs to air and produce the television show for 20 years. But I have been happy to live with all those things as part of my own sacrifice for nation building.

Are you still a proud member of the APC?

Political parties are an aggregation of groups in a direction, if it was really a party. The Conservative Party have the back-benchers, so consider me a very serious back-bencher in the APC.

You once contested to be President and then you later contested to be governor, some people would see that as a descent. Did you see it like that initially?

No, I don’t even think of those things like that. Many people thought that way but I don’t think in those terms. That is where pride really is, and the example I gave in my book, ‘’Why Not’ on that subject was that when I was a graduate student in the United States in the 70s, the Governor of California, a gentleman called Jerry Brown did something similar. After he left being the governor, he went to be a local government councillor. Over 30 years after, he ran for governor again. I had a good fortune of becoming friendly with a one-time Prime Minister of France. Just before he died, he was the Mayor of Lyon, after being the Prime Minister. So, I don’t think like that. In fact, if you tell me that what would change Nigeria is if I become a local government councillor, not even chairman, I will. My interest is not in the title but the impact.

After those attempts, do you still have plans to contest any office?

I told you that I’m making the moves to go to my village, you’re talking about an election (laughs). In fact, if not that I’m not buoyant enough to retire, because I don’t have a pension, I won’t be here (laughs). I also believe that impact is not a function of title. I wish people didn’t have to have a title to make a difference. I’m not looking for a job and I’m not looking for a title. What title did Mahatma Gandhi hold in India? You mention India and the first name anybody thinks of is Gandhi. I ran into Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu sometime and she looked at me and shook her head. She said ‘you know I have been watching and following you; I see these people trying to stop you to block you out the way they blocked my father.’ I was struck. As she walked away, I turned to the person next to me and I said I wish they would succeed. If I could go to my grave in the stature of her father, I would rather that than any title in Nigeria.

Now that you want to retire, what do you do at your leisure?

I talk to people like you (laughs). Of course, I read a lot, and that one is a habit. If I have 10 minutes to myself and I didn’t read, something would be wrong because I would always have a book in my hand. (Punch)

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