Nigerian activist, Aisha Yesufu has stirred up a debate on Twitter after sharing her opinion that the Igbo apprenticeship system have contributed to why many people from other tribes resent Igbos.
It is given that the age long Igbo apprenticeship system has produced a lot of multimillionaires of Igbo extraction to the wonder of many from other tribes.
The Igbo apprenticeship system allows a businessman take a young person to learn about his business and eventually get settled (given start-up capital) after an agreed period of time, which usually lasts between 5 to 7 years. During the service period, the younger person (servant) serves the businessman (master) while learning the business.
The Igbos have used the system to build themselves and relatives into renowned business men and women even where apprentices have little, or no formal education.
A Twitter user had said: “The Igbo’s apprenticeship program is the only ‘MBA’ class in the world that teaches the real intricacies of running a business, the practical application of SWOT and PESTEL analysis. And when you graduate, they’ll give you seed capital to start the business. A system that works.”
In replying the tweet, Aisha Yesufu pointed out that “The Igbo apprenticeship is an amazing system and the reason Igbos are great in business.”
However, she went on to say that “Everything has it’s advantage and disadvantage and that same system has also portrayed Igbos as clannish people who only employ their own people and never assimilate”
Her tweets opened up a debate as she went on to state that the apprenticeship system have contributed to Igbos been resented the same way Jews are resented.
She went on; “These are my opinions and thoughts over the years and I might be completely wrong but this is how I see it
“There is a need to take a deliberate look at the Igbo apprenticeship system & begin to look at ways of inclusion. It can start with 5% inclusion of others. When you always go to your village to bring those that will work for you how do you expect the people where you are to feel?
“Just like the Jews, Igbos are resented & I have always wondered why? Is it because they are successful and can achieve anything from nothing? Is it the resilience? I concluded it is because it seems no matter how long they stay with you or you with them you are never one in biz
“A situation where as a business person you only employ your people via the apprenticeship model & no matter how long you stay in a place you never employ the indigenes there except to load and off load. there will be resentment. More if it is not one off experience but the norm
“The Jews too have that trait. Family businesses. Helping each other grow in business and capacity to gang up(if na one naira na one naira) on business issues are common traits shared by both Igbos and Jews. The others feel like outsiders not allowed to share in the goodness
“Systems are to be looked at and upgraded from time to time. It is also important to look at how things are perceived by others. You don’t have to change but just know this is how this action is seen by others
“In all the riots I witnessed as a child, I always say it is more economical than religion. Host community usually think it is the others that kept them impoverished. They feel those monies would have been theirs if these people weren’t there. People don’t blame their lazy selves.
Chevron Nigeria Limited has said it will slash its workforce by 25 per cent as it is reviewing its manpower requirements in the light of the changing business environment.
CNL disclosed this on Friday in a statement entitled ‘Chevron Nigeria Limited reviews workforce in accordance with business exigencies’.
The oil major said it would continue to evaluate opportunities to improve capital efficiency and reduce operating costs.
CNL’s General Manager Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Esimaje Brikinn, said, “The aim is to have a business that is competitive and have an appropriately sized organisation with improved processes.
“This will increase efficiency and effectiveness, retain value, reduce cost, and generate more revenue for the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
According to him, the new organisational structures will, unfortunately, require approximately 25 per cent reduction in the work force across the various levels of the organisation.
“It is important to note that all our employees will retain their employment until the reorganisation process is completed,” Brikinn said.
He said there were no plans to migrate Nigerian jobs outside the country.
He said, “We have prospects for our company in Nigeria; however, we must make the necessary adjustments in light of the prevailing business climate; and we need everyone’s support to get through these tough times stronger, more efficient and more profitable, in order to sustain the business.
“We are actively engaging our workforce to ensure they understand why this is being done. We will continue to consistently engage all relevant stakeholders, including the leadership of the employee unions as we continue this process of business optimisation.” (Punch)
Nigerian boy Omar Farouq has been sentenced to 10 years for blasphemy by a Sharia court. Now the head of the Auschwitz Memorial is offering to serve part of the sentence, slamming it as “disgraceful” for humanity.
The head of the Auschwitz Memorial in Poland has urged Nigeria’s president to pardon a 13-year-old boy who was jailed on blasphemy charges — even volunteering to serve part of the prison term himself.
Piotr Cywinski urged Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the case of Omar Farouq. The teenager was accused of making blasphemous statements about Allah in an argument with a friend and was sentenced last month by a Sharia court in northwestern Kano state to 10 years in prison.
Cywinski said that if the president couldn’t grant Farouq clemency, then 120 adult volunteers, “myself personally among them,” should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison in the boy’s place.
As the director of the Auschwitz Memorial at the site of the German Nazi extermination camp, “where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity,” Cywinski said in the letter, which was posted to the memorial’s Twitter account.
The director of @AuschwitzMuseum wrote the President of Nigeria and asked him to pardon 13-year old Omar Farouq sentenced for 10 years imprisonment.
He declares he is ready to share part of the sentence.
Nigeria, with its population of 206 million, is deeply divided along religious lines. The majority of Nigerian Muslims live in the north while the Christians are concentrated in the south.
Blasphemy against Islam carries a death penalty in the 12 Nigerian states that apply Sharia law, although executions are rarely carried out. Some offenders have had their limbs amputated under the religious law.
The Auschwitz Memorial commemorates the victims of Germany’s Nazi forces at the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than a million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at the site during World War II.
I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record.
Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse. We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.
On Africa Day, May 2019, organised by the Union Bank of Africa, I similarly seized an opening to direct the attention of this government to warnings by the Otta farmer over the self-destruct turn that the nation had taken, urged the wisdom of heeding the message, even while remaining chary of the messenger. That advice appears to have fallen on deaf ears. In place of reasoned response and openness to some serious dialogue, what this nation has been obliged to endure has been insolent distractions from garrulous and coarsened functionaries, apologists and sectarian opportunists.
The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari – does that claim belong in the realms of speculation?
Does anyone deny that it was this president who went to sleep while communities were consistently ravaged by cattle marauders, were raped and displaced in their thousands and turned into beggars all over the landscape?
Was it a different president who, on being finally persuaded to visit a scene of carnage, had nothing more authoritative to offer than to advice the traumatised victims to learn to live peacefully with their violators?
And what happened to the Police Chief who had defied orders from his Commander-in-Chief to relocate fully to the trouble spot – he came, saw, and bolted, leaving the ‘natives’ to their own devices. Any disciplinary action taken against ‘countryman’?
Was it a spokesman for some ghost president who chortled in those early, yet controllable stages of now systematised mayhem, gleefully dismissed the mass burial of victims in Benue State as a “staged show” for international entertainment? Did the other half of the presidential megaphone system not follow up – or was it, precede? – with the wisdom that they, the brutalized citizenry, should learn to bow under the yoke and negotiate, since “only the living” can enjoy the dividends of legal rights?
To reel off any achievements of a government – genuine or fantasised, trivial or monumental – is thus to dodge the issue, to ignore the real core concerns. No government, however inept, fails to record some form of achievement – this was why it were elected, and it takes real genius to succeed in spending four years actually doing nothing. What it fails to do, or what it does wrongly, deceitfully or prejudicially is what concerns the citizenry.
Across this nation, there is profound distrust, indeed abandonment of hope in this government as one that is genuinely committed to the survival of the nation as one, or indeed understands the minimal requirements for positioning it as a modern, functional space of productive occupancy.
Donald Trump is not without a governance pass mark here or there – indeed, he has been touted for the Nobel Peace prize in some quarters, backed, predictably, by the quota Nigerian columnist – yet who dares deny, outside Republican diehard circles – that the great United States of American is brutally divided, and is even unraveling under the Trumpian phenomenon!
Back to our own yaws however: Are pensioners still considered human, deserving the rewards of labour without further labour? Many collapse from that extended labour of recovering routine entitlements. Even routine access to that basic human requirement – food – is now under question, as farmers are chased off their farms in large numbers. Instead of timely action – urged stridently by beleaguered governors and of course by ‘professional agitators’ — appeasement of the violent food saboteurs was the preferred route to food security – operating under fancy names like RUGA.
So how do you persuade graduates and young school leavers to try their hands at farming instead of flooding urban centres looking for non-existent white-collar positions? To get killed and dismembered?
And what is the score within those much-coveted urban precincts? Lop-sided appointments to crucial positions in Civil Service and parastatals! Consider the prime economic cash cow – petroleum – exposed a few months ago as a reeking cesspit of nepotism. Who is the Minister of Petroleum under whose watch such an unprecedented contempt for geographical parity – uncontroverted till today — became entrenched? That happens to be none other than the nation’s president – and he did make a show of astonishment at the gross disparities, promised to subject the anomaly to immediate enquiry.
May one ask what action has been taken to rectify that presumably “nation-unifying” compilation? It all casts a long, unedifying shadow backwards to those days of agitation by Tai Solarin and the mercuric engineer, Awojobi when the same Buhari took forceful charge of that ministry, promised to get to the root of the flying charges – anyone still recall the saga of the missing millions?
He made a beeline for the home of a prominent political leader and carted away loads of files in his illegal possession. In vain the nation awaited enlightenment – Nothing!
National divisiveness? Just where does culpability lie? Does centralist usurpation divide or bind?
The answer is obvious in daily effects. We have even heard the charge laid at the feet of governors. When the constitutive units of this nation take steps to rescue themselves into the ‘unifying’ quagmire into which they have been plunged by a creaking, clearly unworkable centralised system, guess who squawk, gnash their teeth and threaten to call down thunder even where such remedies are backed by constitutional provisions! Alas, the dare of ignorance! And after being confronted by the legitimate right of states to at least salvage their existence and protect their citizens, guess who trundles out constrictive parameters, and attempts to dictate to governors how such state prerogatives should be exercised! Come under the umbrella of a failed Inspectorate Usurper – ordered the Garbled megaphone. Just on whose authority?
We do know – let this be stated for the umpteenth time! – that the rains did not just begin to beat us yesterday in this nation. We know when the clouds began to gather, where the deluge began and turned to severe pounding. We can pinpoint the first trickle of the torrent of appeasement, of illegal extortions and concessions.
Past leaders will not be permitted to forget or gloss over own self-centred interests and nation corrosive lapses that brought us to this parlous present.
But we do endure in this here and now, in the immediacy of current governance, so let no uppity flunkey attempt to divert attention from current realities, realities that now clearly pronounce this nation of once promising prospects a basket case of abject penury and insecurity, where hordes of trained minds and sturdy limbs roam the streets as beggars, as haphazard vendors of the products of other peoples, other lands!
Inequity reigns, and solutions are trivialised. Again and again voices are raised to urge the dismantling of a crude, militarised centralist contraption – repeatedly exposed in illegalities — and substitute a more efficient governance system, decentralised, providing broader access to opportunities.
All such efforts are turned into opportunities for legislative junketing and budget padding. Legislators watch with indifference in this day of human advance, as individuals are sentenced to hang for expressing their views on the relative apprehension of religious avatars, not a squeak emerge from such lawgivers. Pedophiles and cross-border sex traffickers are honoured in the act, granted immunity on cooked-up alibis of religion. Is this nation a theocracy?
Nigeria is a suppurating slaughter slab, and it boggles the mind that supposedly wise and lettered men, sheltering under any religious mandate, would go into a solemn huddle to ‘legitimately’ augment the toll of mindless killings that now plague the land.
Presumably, the ongoing ‘national security’ persecution of Obadiah Mailafia is a sign of national unity? I invite our marionettes to read deeply into history. Oh, excuse me, history has been banned from learning structures, so look not for history books! However, straightforward, first-hand testimonies abound, exposing structural flaws, deceits and conspiracies against this presumptive national edifice.
They are perpetrated by highly placed servants of the state, some of whom have since risen to even higher national positions. I draw attention, for instance, to detailed revelations of plots against the nation, plots that resonate in the present. Such is the two-year old interview of a former ambassador to the Sudan, Bola Dada – The Punch Newspapers. Archives remain ever obliging. They avail us vivid material to decide whether or not a sinister script is being acted out today with copious libations from Nigerian blood.
I think, in public interest, The Punch should re-run that interview, most especially in view of recent claims by a columnist in The Nation – Femi Abbas Sept. 4 — regarding how and by whom Nigeria was corralled into the OIC. When you abolish History in institutions, you open the gates wide for rampaging revisionism while the same gates are shut against a grasp, however tenuous, of why, for instance, a Mailafia becomes a target of serial interrogations and harassment, rather than those boldly named in his revelations. Is it he who constitutes a danger to the nation, or the indicted fanatics of unlimited impunity and callous disregard for humanity? Why the ostentatious pretence of investigative zeal? The man has told you where to look. Well, look in that direction and report back to us! In the meantime however, ensure that he meets with no accident!
Still on security: any tear that is shed for the arch-bandit and multiple murderer Akwaza, known as Gana, is an obscenity. However, tears of trepidation are falling fast and furious over the conduct of an army that eliminates a captive in cold blood, side-tracking the rationality of professional investigations and legitimate pursuit of felons and other enemies of society. The issue here is not one of the appropriateness of a policy of Amnesty – that constitutes a larger debate in its place. The issue here – and a critical one — is that a Wanted Man, on his way to surrender, has been killed in cold blood. I read yesterday that the Army has followed this up with a demand for the bounty earlier placed by the Benue State governor on the head of the WANTED man. However, all reports so far indicate that he was on his way to surrender? And so, is this bounty demand a joke? An end then to such gallows humour! And certainly not now, not while the nation is freshly reeling from the latest horror of the targeting of unarmed Road Safety officials, gunned down in cold blood in their commuter bus, and the mass kidnapping of survivors.
Shall we presume that the surviving casualties of routine duty rosters are also nation-dividers if they scream out for protection and deplore a breakdown in the entire security architecture of the nation?
We must however concede one remedial initiative to this government. Perhaps it was a belated awareness that the roof of the national edifice was on fire that instigated the effort to appropriate all available water resources in the nation — a desperate move to put out the flames with one hefty splash!
Presumably, even the rains that fall on earth will belong to the Exclusive List? We shall have to learn to gather such rain before it strikes the earth, or else queue for a licence to tap it later for domestic use. Get ready to pay stiff fines when we get rain soaked for lack of public transportation. Distractions upon distractions, but dangerous distractions! Provocative moves that deeply erode any lingering faith in the even-handed claims of governance, of respect for the rights of independent peoples that were brought together to form a nation, and the justice of equality of access to the land’s resources.
But the fault is not one-sided. Let governors also wake up to their constitutional rights and duties. There are vast areas of those rights that have been trampled upon, usurped for far too long.
Forget legislative jamborees of constitution reviews – we have had our fill of them – all the files are gathering dust. It is time for Reparations! Dust up those files and head for the courts. Prepare for name-calling, just as long as such names embody – Dividers-in-law!
Only then shall we uncover who are the real Dividers-in-Chief? If individual voices rankle, then perhaps it is time to convoke a Nation Survival Conference. Let all sections and group interests place their cards on the table and starkly articulate what we all know and endure on a daily basis, and proffer solutions, debate moves towards a collective – rational and sincere — undertaking of nation formation.
The ongoing governance posture of aggressive evasion spells only one end: collective suicide.
(Wole SOYINKA, Nobel Laureate, wrote today, September 15, from A.R.I. Idi-Aba, Abeokuta,)
Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs (Reinhardt) to Secretary of State Kissinger
Washington, August 18, 1975
Nigeria After the Coup of July 28
This memorandum is presented in response to your request of August 14. It is concerned with the nature of the new government, its prospects, and continuing American interests.
The New Leadership
The leader of the coup against General Yakubu Gowon is an erratic, vainglorious, impetuous, corrupt, vindictive, intelligent, articulate, daring Hausa. Brigadier Murtala Muhammed was a prime force in the Nigerian coup of July, 1966, which brought Gowon to power, and is one of the two principal plotters against Gowon for the past two years. He commanded a division during the Nigerian civil war, was involved in the only documented cases of genocide, won one important battle, and thereafter coasted for upwards of two years until Gowon finally removed him from command and placed him in charge of Army signals, a position which he held until last month, though he combined his military role with the civilian position of Commissioner (Minister) of Communications from July, 1973, until the coup.
Muhammed inherits from Gowon vast petroleum resources (potentially 3–3.5 million BPD, based on known reserves), considerable but neglected agricultural wealth, tremendous but untapped natural gas reserves, other minerals (coal, tin, columbite, uranium), by African standards an excellently trained civil service, and the dubious asset of eighty million people.
To match his assets, Muhammed also inherits—and has contributed to—a tradition of corrupt civilian and military officials, urban problems second only to those of Calcutta, drift and inepitude in development, insoluble but containable ethnic problems, and a national temperament which combines pride, aggressiveness, arrogance and patriotism into a brand of xenophobia best labeled Nigerianism.
Prospects for Survival
Almost six years after the civil war, Muhammed is probably ushering in a period of coups. As a corrupt Hausa, he automatically attracts Ibo and Yoruba enmity, which he knows and has attempted to reduce by early appointments. As a Northerner and a Muslem, he will be expected to consolidate once and for all the leadership role which his fifty million brothers are certain is theirs. Muhammed will agree, of course, but will seem to the Hausas to vacillate as he sings “One Nigeria.”
While there is no reason to believe that he can approach Gowon’s success in accommodating ethnic rivalries, there is also no reason to think that he will be any more successful in rapidly developing the country, and rapidity is the great need if he is to avoid Gowon’s political problems stemming from stymied development. Money is obviously plentiful, but absorptive capacity is low (corruption, unrealistic planning, confused priorities, and a demonstrated reluctance to turn to the outside).
Finally, Muhammed and his co-plotter and now deputy, Brigadier Olusegun Obasanjo, are the most militant of Nigerian military leaders on the Southern African question. Gowon and his principal lieutenants burned with the rage of all Africans when considering this issue, but they were realistic. Muhammed and Obasanjo are advocates of a NATO-type military command within the OAU having the avowed objective of strengthening liberation movements. More responsibility may bring more realism. On the other hand, formidable ethnic and developmental problems could convince the new leadership that they should deal repressively with the domestic scene while joining militant [Page 3]Arabs and Africans in organizing a Pan African jihad for liberation. (A large Libyan delegation visited Lagos last week.) Muhammed and Obasanjo are unlikely to bring any more inspiration to this enterprise than Nkrumah and Amin. At any rate they do not enhance their prospects for survival by any launchings on this uncharted course. Yorubas and Ibos, at least, will be disinclined to travel with them.
Nature of American Interests
An early but undocumented and probably inaccurate assessment is that certainly Muhammed and perhaps Obasanjo are anti-American. I believe that this initial reaction is based on no more than an unfortunate U.S. visa restriction entered in Muhammed’s passport and Obasanjo’s impulsive move to evict our Embassy from prime Lagos property. Nigerian leadership is far more pro-Nigerian than anti-any cause or country, which is the essence of Nigerianism.
Still, we can probably do little or no political business with the new regime, which of course does not distinguish it from the old. We are simply too far apart on the political issues which they exalt, mainly Southern Africa and the whole range of UN controversies. (The Communist countries have no better political opportunities, unless they foment and become involved in the jihad scheme, which I believe to be as imprudent for them as for us.)
It is in the economic-commercial area that the USG will have greatest opportunities. Even in this area it is the private sector, motivated by the USG, which is in the best position to advance our interests. And it is in this area that Muhammed has demonstrated some responsiveness.
When the corrupt Muhammed succeeded the more corrupt J. S. Tarka as Commissioner of Communications, he immediately perceived that at least the telephones must operate properly if his fate were to be any different from Tarka’s. American businessmen, in extended conversations with me, described Muhammed as being un-Nigerian in his acceptance of their proposals. Specifically GTE and ITT were close to multi-million dollar contracts when [Page 4]Muhammed turned from communications to plotting. (These deals have all the earmarks of Ashland and Mobil Oil arrangements, which is another problem. The point is that they are deals in a country where Americans have not enjoyed much success outside the petroleum sector.)
Muhammed is intelligent enough to realize that he cannot survive unless he can convert oil revenues into tangible development. Among his considerable faults is not Idi Arminian stupidity. His questionable maneuverings as Commissioner reveal a respect for American technology and a realization that capital markets do not begin and end in London. (British and Canadian communications interests have absorbed Nigerian revenues for years without producing a workable system. Other fields point up similar examples, as USG policy has deferred to a British sphere of influence.)
What we badly need, to put it bluntly, is focused American investment and economic penetration of Nigeria. The planes between New York and Lagos are filled with American businessmen, most of whom return frustrated because their proposals are a part of no plan other than their own. Our AID program, even when it received substantial appropriations, demonstrated the same shortcoming.
It ought not be beyond USG ingenuity to organize appropriate sectors of American private industry to spend Nigerian money to gain perceptible development in response to Nigeria’s economic and Muhammed’s political (survival) needs. Emphasis is on the U.S. private sector: (1) USG foreign assistance funds cannot be appropriated and are not needed; (2) USG political closeness to the Muhammed regime is probably unobtainable and undesirable.
1. Determine critical Nigerian development areas in which American private industry can make unique and mutually advantageous contributions. Organize a high level economic-commercial mission with demonstrated technological skills in these areas, and send this mission to Nigeria, after proper advance preparations here and there.
2. Avoid even semblances of close political ties to the incumbent Nigerian leadership, until and unless it proves more durable than now seems likely.
3. Gradually phase small AID mission into Embassy Economic Section, which should be staffed with carefully selected State/AID personnel competent to foster and continue objective of Recommendation 1.
4. Maintain discreet, friendly State ties with Gowon, though avoiding commitments. After another coup or two, probably bloody, Gowon may seem more and more to be the indispensable military leader, or at least the only acceptable one.
Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 202, Geopolitical Files, Nigeria, January-August 75. Secret. Drafted by Reinhardt without clearances↩
Reinhardt evaluated Nigeria’s new leader, Murtala Muhammed, following a July 28 coup. He recommended avoiding close ties to the new regime but sending an economic/commercial mission to Nigeria.↩
One of the greatest fallacies in Nigerian history is that only northerners slaughtered the Igbo. This is false. We ALL did.
It was not the northern leaders that told the world that “starvation was a legitimate weapon of war” and that commiting the greatest genocide in African history against innocent women and children was acceptable in an armed conflict, it was South Western and Mid- Western leaders that did that.
It was not a northerner that travelled to the United Nations during the war and tried to defend and justify our heinous and barbaric war crimes, it was a great son of the Mid-West that did that.
The blame for what was done to the civilians of Biafra and the attempt to rationalise and defend it goes to us all.
We must ALL ask God for forgiveness for what we did and we must all take our fair share of the blame for what was done to the Biafran civilians during that war.
History is an intellectual exercise and there can be no room for subjectivity or emotions in it. Historical facts are sacred and historical opinion is cheap. Again history is not for the unduly emotional because it is not a respecter of persons. We must always strive to speak the truth and bring to the fore all the facts when we are discussing it. Nothing ought to be hidden.
In our history there are no angels. Every single one of our notable leaders, both military and civilian, during the course of our civil war has innocent blood on their hands and we cannot shy away from it. We must accept our fair share of the blame for what was done to those innocent women and children and to those defenceless civilians.
Until this is done and there is true repentance and reconciliation I do not believe Nigeria can make any meaningful progress or move forward.
Until this is done the cycle of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, terrorism, violence and divine retribution that we have witnessed all over our country over the last 50 years and even more so over the last five years, will not stop.
This is because the innocent blood that we collectively shed during the civil war is calling to the God of Heaven for the blood of our own innocents in revenge.
Is it by accident that the two most deadly terrorist organisations in the world today, Boko Haram and the Herdsmen, together with ISWA are now freely operating in Nigeria killing hundreds of thousands of innocent Nigerians over the last few years?
Why have we been afflicted with this evil and why has it not affected our neighbouring countries in a similar manner? The answer is obvious and it is essentially a spiritual affliction.
It is time for us to come clean, own up to our faults, confess our sins, make the necessary reparations and thereby put a stop to this evil cycle of fratricidal butchery, bloodshed and violence.
Where we get it wrong and when we have joined hands with others to commit crimes against humanity we must be courageous and gracious enough to accept it, take responsibility for it and own it and we must be ready to display a reasonable level of remorse and compassion and do justice to those that were our victims. As they say, where there is no justice there can be no peace.
What we did to the Biafran civilian population between 1967 and 1970 cannot be swept under the carpet or forgotten. We can ignore it for as long as we like and pretend that it doesn’t matter but as long as we do so the ghosts of the 1 million children and 2 million innocent civilans that we butchered and slaughtered in the most cruel and heartless manner will continue to plague and haunt our nation for many more years to come.
By July 10 this year, Nigeria may lose 24 local councils, by way of ceding, to a new country to be known as United Nations Organisation (UNO) State of Cameroon at its borders with la Republique du Cameroun.
The Guardian learnt that the withdrawal of his country’s soldiers by President Paul Biya from the southern part of the planned UNO State of Cameroon has set the stage for the creation of the new state being spearheaded by the UN.
The withdrawal of troops by Biya was formally demanded by the former President of the United Nations General Assembly, Ali A. Treki on May 20, 2020. This was disclosed in a May 26, 2020 letter of the UNO State of Cameroon to Prof. Martins Chia Ateh, the United Nations-appointed workshops coordinator in Cameroon and Nigeria.
Ateh said in the letter: “Greetings and thank you very much for the attached list of those who were detained in the Nkambe prison of Cameroon in August 2008.
“It is only now that the soldiers of la Republique du Cameroun are being withdrawn from the southern part of UNO State of Cameroon.” He said it was a good thing Treki kept the records straight.
On UN’s creation of a new country in Africa, Ateh said: “I should be getting back to you once the United Nations finishes with an official announcement on the existence of UNO State of Cameroon to the international community.”
While conceiving the new state, the former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan invited former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Biya of Cameroon to sign documents respecting their countries’ international boundaries.
It was learnt that Obasanjo and Biya signed the documents in March 2003 to cede their twin territories (Northern and Southern Cameroons) to the proposed UNO new country in West and Central Africa.
The UN, according to recent reports, pledged to actualize a new State of Cameroon on July 10, 2020.
Residents of Southern Cameroon were excited over the merger of their land with Northern Cameroon in Nigeria, comprising 24 local government areas in Borno (five), Adamawa (12) and Taraba (seven) states.
The Guardian learnt that the Southern Cameroon residents have since last year during their agitations to separate tagged the UNO State of Cameroon as “Ambazonia.”
In Nigeria, the new country’s landmass extends from Bakassi Peninsula in Cross River State to Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State in the Lake Chad region.
While responding to ceding five local government areas from Borno State, an aide to Governor Babagana Zulum said: “We’ll study the recent unfolding developments on ceding Bama, Gwoza, Dikwa, Kala/Balge and Ngala councils to the UNO State of Cameroon.
“The state government will also be liaising with federal agencies on how to cede the affected local government areas as Obasanjo and Biya had signed documents with the UN to respect their international boundaries.”
According to the UN workshop coordinator and chairman, steering committee, Ateh, the councils to be ceded to UNO State of Cameroon, include Bama, Gwoza, Ngala, Kala/Balge, Dikwa. Others include Madagali, Michika, Mubi North, Mubi South, Mayo/Belwa, Toungo, Ganye, Serti, Hong, Jada, Maiha and Jada councils.
It was learnt that before the announcement of the new state, the UN had kept Northern and Southern Cameroons under watch since Obasanjo and Biya signed the documents under the UN treaty.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of UN, Antonio Guterres has commenced the process of sensitization towards the July 10 date of creating the new state for the Anglophone separatists in Cameroon.
According to reports, Guterres has continuously reached out to the UNrepresentative in charge of the territories, Ateh to constantly organize sensitisation workshops on the brief history of the UNO State of Cameroon.
The UN is determined and constantly fingered as an interested party in the arrangement to actualize the new state.
The Nigerian government has been urged to carry out an investigation to establish the facts surrounding the ceding of 24 local government areas to create a new country.
According to Google Map, Nigeria, particularly in the Northeast region with a decade-long Boko Haram insurgency is sandwiched between its territory and Cameroon Republics, with Bakassi Peninsula and Lake Chad located south and northeast of the UNO State of Cameroon.
The new state will have a total landmass of 28, 214 square km with an estimated population of 20 million people. Last year’s 72-hour ultimatum given by the United States (U.S.) to Cameroon to withdraw its troops from la Republique du Cameroons was heeded by President Paul Biya last month.
Before the pullout, neither the U.S nor Cameroon had responded to the expiration date until Treki asked Biya to withdraw his troops.
The Speaker of the Cameroonian National Assembly, Cavage Yeguie Djibrilhad also asked the Cameroonian government to fully implement the new law on decentralization that seeks to grant greater power to local councils and regions.
Consequently, Biya signed the law on the promotion of official language in Cameroon, settlement law of the Republic of Cameroon for 2020 financial year, last December.
The bill addresses the creation of assemblies of chiefs, regional assemblies and councils with each of the two territories having elected presidents, vice president, secretaries and public affairs management controllers. (Guardian)
Nigeria’s lady of songs, activist journalist, Onyeka Onwenu has said the Igbo people will make no apologies for going to war with Nigeria, as according to her, the Biafra was a war brought on them and they had to fight in self defence.
Onwenu who spoke on Monday in Lagos at the ‘Never Again Conference’ organised by Nzuko Umunna, an Igbo sociocultural group, to mark 50 years since the end of the Biafra war in 1970, also recalled how her widowed mother’s property was seized in Port Harcourt, Rivers State after the war.
She said the Biafra is a very sensitive and painful matter that ought to be addressed.
“This is a subject matter that is very close to our hearts,” she said. “It’s very personal to very many of us, very sensitive matter; very painful matter indeed. And yes, some of us have lived with some bitterness. And we make no apologies about that. We were a people in war, led into war, not by our own wishes or design, but in self defence. No apologies Nigeria, no apologies to the world.
“But here we are. I was born and raised in Port Harcourt. My father, Dike Onwenu was the first Arondizuogu man in the federal house, and he was representing Port Harcourt constituency. He was the principal of Enitonna High School. He was a brilliant man. But he died too early. I’m from Abia State since I’m an Aro daughter. I’m from Imo State, Arondizuogu and I’m also from Anambra where my mother comes from. I can go there and live and nobody can stop me.
“I’m also from Lagos State. I married a Yoruba man. I have two Yoruba children.”
Onwenu said she fought the Biafra war and recalled many children and aged people dying in her care. She regretted that the war has not yet ended, and warned those still fighting the Igbo to be careful.
“I fought the war as a young girl between 14 and 17 years, and I lost many relatives. I carried babies who died in my arms. I treated old people who took days to die. People were dying of hunger, even our soldiers were dying out of hunger. But thank God we survived.
“When my father died at 40, he was a politician and also a principal. But he didn’t have much money. In those days, you had to keep your day job, even if you were a member of the House of Representatives. Yes, my mother, an Anambra woman, was a trader. She was richer than my dad, so my dad would borrow money from her to buy land and he never paid back. You know how it is with husband and wife.
“At the end of the war, I couldn’t go back to Port Harcourt. My home was abandoned property. Those of you who come from Port Harcourt know the story. The home that a widow, my father had only laid the foundation when he died in an accident; the building that a widow built was seized as an abandoned property.
“And living just adjacent to us on Hospital Road were the Ikokus. In fact, I thought we were related because every family in Port Harcourt was together. You didn’t care were anyone came from or who they were, whether you were from Port Harcourt or not. Every parent had the right to reprimand a child he/she saw misbehaving. Port Harcourt was a beautiful town, but we couldn’t get back to it.
“So, for me, the civil war never ended, it is still going on. My poor mother went back to Port Harcourt to claim her property and she was beaten into a coma by people whom she had helped all her life; people she had helped to send to school, because she is an Igbo woman and now Port Harcourt belonged to another group of people.
“They forgot the sacrifices that the Igbo made. It is still going on, no apologies have ever been made about that. The road that is now referred to as Harold Wilson Road used to be Dike Onwenu Road. That’s on account of the sacrifices that the Onwenus, the Ikokus, and the rest, made in building up Port Harcourt.
“Here I am. I travelled outside, thanks to my sister who was at Harvard at the time. But we all came back to develop Nigeria. I have tried with the little talent that God has given me, to use it to the betterment of my society and my country. But if I were a Yoruba or a Hausa woman, I would probably have had more patronage, more help and more support than I have got by my self-help effort to raise this country up.
“But I’m not asking anybody for anything. I put myself through school, my widowed mother did her best. I was working two jobs in America to put myself through school. I didn’t want to take the Nigerian scholarship because they were giving it to everybody, those who deserved it and those who didn’t. And many of them were not even in school.
“I’m angry at Nigeria, I’m angry at this government which seems to be letting us down. I’m angry at us as a people, I’m angry at my people, Ndigbo. Because he who is rejected doesn’t reject himself. Stop complaining and do it yourself. We have always been able to do that. How did we build Imo Airport? Nobody built for us. We spent many years raising money. I was travelling all over the country to do free concerts to raise money for Imo Airport. That’s who we have been. And I remember that in those days, if the Igbo State Union decides, that’s it, everybody follows the line and gets it done.
When on March 15, the Secretary of the Benin Traditional Council, Mr. Frank Irabor, announced that “the leopard is ill in the Savannah bush”, we knew exactly what had happened to the Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo Erediauwa (CFR), the 38th Oba of Benin, who was born on June 22, 1923 and ascended the throne on March 23, 1979.
Well, to an average Benin man or woman, such an announcement is well-understood. The Benin people value tradition and culture. And they are proud of it. I am from Ufosu in the Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State that shares border with Edo State, so I should know.
The Oba of Benin is the traditional ruler of the Edo people and head of the historic Eweka dynasty of the Benin Empire.
The services of Oba Erediauwa are well-valued and will not be forgotten. Before becoming an Oba, as Prince Samuel Aiseokhuoba Igbinoghodua Akenzua, he was an outstanding civil servant. He, in fact, rose to become the Federal Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health before he retired in 1973.
Along with others, he attended the Aburi meeting held at the Peduase Lodge where the conflict of Nigeria was discussed between January 4 and January 5, 1967. Aburi is a town in Ghana and a 45-minute drive from Accra, the capital of Ghana.
Those who attended the meeting were Lt. Col. Yakubu Gowon, Col. Robert Adebayo, Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Lt. Col. David Ejoor, Lt. Col. David Hassan Katsina, Commodore J.E.A. Wey, Major Mobolaji Johnson, Alhaji Kam Selem and Mr. J. Omo-Bare. Others were Prince S.I.A. Akenzua (Permanent Under-Secretary, Federal Cabinet Office.), Mr. P.T. Odumosu (Secretary to the Military Government, West.), Mr. N.U. Akpan (Secretary to the Military Government, East.), Mr. D.P. Lawani (Under-Secretary, Military Governor’s Office, Mid-West) and Alhaji Ali Akilu (Secretary to the Military Government, North.) The Chairman of the Ghana National Liberation Council, Lt. Gen. J.A. Ankrah, declared the meeting open in his capacity as then the head of state of Ghana.
The following was agreed upon: “That Army to be governed by the Supreme Military Council under a Chairman to be known as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Head of the Federal Military Government; Establishment of a Military Headquarters comprising equal representation from the regions and headed by a Chief of Staff; Creation of Area commands corresponding to existing regions and under the charge of Area commanders, matters of policy, including appointments and promotion to top executive posts in the Armed Forces and the Police to be dealt with by the Supreme Military Council. During the period of the Military Government, military governors will have control over area commands for internal security; Creation of a Lagos Garrison including Ikeja Barracks. In connection with the re-organisation of the Army, the council discussed the distribution of military personnel with particular reference to the present recruitment drive. The view was held that general recruitment throughout the country in the present situation would cause great imbalance in the distribution of soldiers. After a lengthy discussion of the subjects, the council agreed to set up a military committee on which each region will be represented, to prepare statistics which will show: Present strength of Nigeria Army; Deficiency in each sector of each unit; the size appropriate for the country and each area command; additional requirement for the country and each area command.
The committee is to meet and report to council within two weeks from the date of receipt of instructions. The council agreed that pending completion of the exercise in connection with re-organisation of the army, further recruitment of soldiers should cease. The implementation of the agreement reached on August 9, 1966, it was agreed, after a lengthy discussion, that it was necessary for the agreement reached on August 9 by the delegates of the Regional Governments to be fully implemented. In particular, it was accepted in principle that army personnel of Northern origin should return to the North from the West. It was therefore felt that a crash programme of recruitment and training, the details of which would be further examined after the committee to look into the strength and distribution of army personnel had reported, would be necessary to constitute indigenous army personnel in the West to a majority there quickly.
As far as the regions were concerned, it was decided that all the powers vested by the Nigerian Constitution in the regions and which they exercised prior to January 15, 1966, should be restored to the regions. To this end, the Supreme Military Council decided that all decrees passed since the military take-over, and which tended to detract from the previous powers of the regions, should be repealed by January 21, after the Law Officers should have met on January 14 to list out all such decrees.”
The decisions at Aburi amounted to, in terms of political and military control of Nigeria, that the country should be governed as a confederation.
Suffice it to say that the vocal military officers like Lt. Col. Murtala Muhammed, Major Martin Adamu and Major Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma did not attend the Aburi meeting. Prince Akenzua along with top permanent secretaries including Alhaji Yusuf Gobir, Phillip Asiodu, Eme Ebong, B.N. Okagbue and Allison Ayida deconstructed in Lagos, all that was agreed in Aburi.
On arrival in Lagos, Prince Akenzua discussed with Gowon and raised objections to what was agreed in Aburi. Gowon asked him to raise a memo which he did. I am sure a copy of the memo is with Gowon today while a copy is in the archives in the Presidency. Civil servants are to be seen and not to be heard and that is why Akenzua never released a copy of the memo to the world.
The memo dated January 8, 1967 began with: “Your Excellency, in view of my discussion with you last night, I am raising this memo in the interest our fatherland, Nigeria”. Akenzua traced the long hard road that Nigeria had travelled and stressed on the need to keep a United Nigeria.
He said in the memo that Gowon had given too much away in Aburi and that it would lead to the destruction of the country. He further added that Gowon had “legalised” total regionalism which “will make the centre very weak.” Akenzua alluded in his memo that a weak centre would lead to confederation and total disintegration of the country. It was the memo that prompted Gowon to summon a meeting of the secretaries to the military governments and other officials which was held in Benin City between February 16 and 18, 1967. If you look at the minutes of the Benin meeting presided over by Mr. H. A. Ejueyitchie, Secretary to the Federal Military Government, you will discover that it was a total rejection of what was agreed upon in Aburi. The Benin meeting interpreted in its own way the agreement reached in Aburi.
Till today, both sides (Gowon and Ojukwu till he died), interpreted what was agreed upon in Aburi in their own ways. One of the problems at Aburi was that a portion of the meeting was not recorded. The military excused the civilians at a certain stage during the meeting and it was alleged that during this informal chat that Gowon made certain commitments to Ojukwu especially on full regionalism.
Even till today, judging by the decisions reached at the last National Conference, we are still arguing on confederation or federalism.
As long as Nigeria remains one under federalism, the memo of Akenzua which was a wake-up call on Gowon and his efforts later will continue to be appreciated in no small measure.
The nation remembers and the nation appreciates.
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Founder of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Oke-Afa, Ejigbo Lagos, Primate Babatunde Elijah Ayodele, has released prophecies for year 2020.
Ayodele made the revelations public during Christmas at his annual fest gathering.
The cleric gave prophecies on Nigeria, prominent citizens including President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, government agencies, the international community, among others.
“NIGERIA: Nigeria in the Diaspora will witness more troubles. I foresee incessant killings in the country as rioting will be on the increase. Nigeria 2020 needs to pray so well because I foresee so many things happening in the country. The country will face serious economy challenges.
I foresee that Budget 2020 will not drive the need of the people. The country needs prayers for guidance and God’s divine protection. Government should look for ways of working things out.
Let us pray against unexpected bomb explosion in Nigeria.
Let us pray against the death of a professor, a judge, a onetime civilian governor, a military officer, a minister and a business tycoon.
Let us pray against the death of a prominent banker.
The government should take steps to tackle the level of crime. The prices of gas will increase as there will be new electric stove.
“There will be issues and clashes between Yoruba and Hausa, Igbo and Hausa.
I foresee deportation of Nigerians in some countries and some Nigerians will be deported within Nigeria. Government will caution people that try to criticize their policy.
People will not be able to express their desire.
Democracy will cause a lot of problems and will break Nigeria. I foresee future referendum coming. A lot of things will happen in Nigeria. I foresee protest and counter protest against the government. Let the country pray against confusion. Nigeria will face a lot of challenges as they will embark on certain steps to normalize and checkmate its security challenges.
“Despite all this, there will still be security challenges in major parts of the country.
Let’s pray for God to protect Federal Ministries that their office will not be involved in any fire incident.
The following states: Enugu, Kogi, Lagos, Ondo, Ekiti should be careful of erosion and flood and some parts of the north that have not experienced it before.
There will be too much population in the country. Nigeria is still sitting on a time bomb that may explode. The country should pray for peace and unity in the nation. I foresee a new flag in the world i.e. another country will emerge.
Some country will come out of another country.
“Let us pray to rebuke the death of a present and former Minister, former governor, and Former president in Nigeria.
The government of President Buhari will expose some former governors who are corrupt.
The government will make lots of efforts to move the country. APC will rise up against the government. Some government agencies will be scrapped due to internal inefficiencies. Lagos (EKO) Electric Distribution Company will face problems and also in Rivers, Kwara, Edo, Ebonyi, Kano and Cross Rivers.
I foresee that the 2023 election will pose serious tension as the Northern part will want to continue to be in power at all cost. They will do so many things so as to ensure they remain in power. The Yoruba clamouring to become the next president of the country should seek the face of God before they embark on any journey.
“The Igbo will not be recognized in 2023. The 2023 election will be so tough and challenging. The geo-political zones who have sold their right are still going to regret it because anybody that talks will be arrested or oppose what the government are doing will face so many threats. I foresee some people will oppose the decision of the government.
The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) should be committed into prayers and they will introduce a new tax system into the country.
Let us pray against calamity in the country.
There will be environmental pollution. Stock Exchange will experience changes in its leadership position. Some company license will be seized.
“I foresee unexpected explosions and fire outbreak in Nigeria.
Some Federal Ministers must be careful because some will face unexpected challenges in discharging their duties properly.
Let us pray against troubles in our security system.
Baby factories will be detected. The government will embark on new methods of sanctifying the state in order to make it free and cool the security of the country. Pensioners will demonstrate. Some state will not be able to pay their pensioners. Pensioners will go on strike.
Fraud will be detected in the Pension Board. Ghost workers will be detected by the Federal government.
“Let us watch against unexpected explosion and killings in Abuja. Herdsmen will come in various dimensions. Some state will work on cattle rearers which will not work as expected.
There will be attack on herdsmen. The president must pray to rebuke troubles. Nigeria will be concerned about the security challenges confronting the country. Nigeria will make security dominant in the country. Let us pray so that curfew will not be declared in some states and local government and let’s rebuke cases of emergencies in any of the sectors in the country.
I foresee the Villa being changed from its present location in the nearest future. I also foresee a new Presidential Villa being built.
“Let us pray to rebuke death and cases of fire in the Villa. Let us also be careful and watchful because of so many things that will be happening in the villa. Let us pray against attack and threat on the Villa. Let’s pray so that none of the presidential convoy will be attacked.
The government should be vigilant. President Buhari should take a rest in the month of April, May, August and September 2020 and he should watch his policies. I foresee drama in the Villa.
Let us pray for our governments so that none of them will be attacked. Some Ministers will be queried by the President. Some of the hidden agendas of the Ministers will be exposed. Apart from this, Nigeria will experience what they have not being experiencing before. I foresee earthquake, landslide and earth tremor in Nigeria.
“Farmers will be assisted and encouraged by borrowing them money but the money will not be accounted for. Government will distribute fertilizers to the farmers so as to enhance their farm crops and fake fertilizers will be given also. I foresee the South-West will start producing food.
“Let us pray to rebuke attack in some neighbouring countries. Government will raise tax on tricycle riders in Lagos. The license method of C of O will be changed.
Tinubu will be betrayed. Osinbajo and Buhari will have problems as there will be moves to remove him from office even as I foresee the cabals working against Tinubu’s plan and they will be threat to question Tinubu.
Osinbajo must be prayerful because he will face counter challenges before the end of his tenure. Malabo oil scam will still rise. Some present and past politicians will be accused. The country needs lots of prayers as the Lord has blessed the country so much.
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