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Nigeria’s Political System Unfair, Unsustainable, Says Nwodo (Ohanaeze PG)

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Ohanaeze Ndigbo

Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja

The President General of the Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, has said the current Nigeria’s political structure  is unfair, exploitative and unsustainable.

Nwodo said Nigeria’s future was bleak and could only be salvaged by sincere deliberations among the people.

The Ohanaeze leader made the comment at a national discourse to mark the 90th birthday of the Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, in Abuja on Thursday.

He stated, “Our political system is jaundiced, unfair, exploitative and unsustainable. Since attainment of independence, the civilians have not been able to agree on a political structure. Our present constitution and the previous 1979 constitution were impositions of the military – an unrepresentative and dictatorial corps whose decrees were seriously influenced by the lop-sidedness of their composition.

“The economic and development data from Nigeria is not encouraging in many sectors. Our law and order system including the police, the court system and the penal system have been characterised by impunity, incompetence and indiscipline.”

Nwodo said bad leadership, corruption, law and order, resource control and true federalism deserved a timely attention and should even be more worrisome to the younger ones who must realise that the next 50 years could be more challenging.

He believed the best way to manage the structure of the country rest on dialogue.

“We have, for too long, allowed the bitterness of the war and its lingering feelings to dictate our political relationships. The coalition that fought the war is still in control of Nigeria, engaging in rhetorics that fuelled the war in managing renascent Nigeria. The young men and women who were not part of the war are frustrated by this impasse.

“The future is bleak unless Nigerians come to the table to discuss Nigeria truthfully,” Nwodo stated.

In his contribution, the National Publicity Secretary of Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said opponents of restructuring of the country were only out to continue reaping where they did not sow.

He explained that the constituent parts had the opportunity of embarking on mass education, creating more employment opportunities, exploit the opportunity of the vast land available to them to create wealth rather than the dependence on the Federal Government.

“Those who oppose restructuring want to continue to reap where they did not sow; educate your population, employ and task them to make more money, cultivate the landmass you have to get more money rather than running to Abuja. If we restructure, Nigeria has the potential to be a N60tn economy,” he added.

A former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, who presented the main paper, said the call for restructuring was in consonance with the terms of the negotiation of independence.  (Punchng.com)

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Igbo Will Fight Anyone Who Wants To Divide Nigeria, Says Iwuanyanwu

 

Chief-Emmanuel-Iwuanyanwu

Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu

Omotayo Yusuf

– Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu called on the government to stop the marginaliation against Igbos

– He said they have invested a lot in the country than Yorubas and Hausas

– The businessman said the region would fight anyone who wants to divide the country

Prominent Igbo politician, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, has declared that the Igbos were not interested in leaving Nigeria and would fight anyone who wants to do so.

The Punch reports that Iwuanyanwu spoke at the National Unity summit organised by Arewa Ambassadors Congress of Nigeria in partnership with Youth Assembly of Nigeria.

The businessman said Igbos were major stakeholders in Nigeria and would therefore fight anyone who wants to divide the country including the Arewa and Oduduwa people.

He also spoke about the detention of Nnamdi Kanu describing it as unnecessary as he had not done anything wrong.

“He (Kanu) only expressed his view. No arm was found in his possession. We are Biafrans and we are not ashamed to say it. Igbo have invested more in Nigeria than Arewa and Oduduwa. We want to be one Nigeria in fairness.”

He said Igbo youths were only rebelling against the injustice happening against them in the country and not about leaving the country.

“Biafra is not about secession. It is a name of a particular people in Nigeria from the South East. Therefore, it is not an offense to say that I am a Biafran. There was no victor, no vanquished after the civil war.

I am impressed with Yakubu Gowon because he implemented all the agreements reached at the end of the Civil War. Igbo were not deprived at the end of the civil war.”

He called on Nigerian youths to “work for the growth of the country and shun tribal and religious sentiments” as “the country had the capacity to become one of the best countries in the world in the years to come.”

Iwuanyanwu accused the federal government of marginalising the Igbos because they voted for the Peoples Democratic Party during the last election.  (Naij.com)

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BIAFRA DAY: BIM/MASSOB Protest Goes Into Its Second Day In Onitsha

Biafra Day: BIM/MASSOB protest continues in Onitsha

The peaceful protest embarked upon on Monday by members of Chief Ralph Uwazuruike-led Biafra In­dependence Movement/ Movement for the Actuali­sation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, as part of a seven-day activities for the commemoration of their 17th year anniversary of the re-declaration of Sovereignty State of Biafra, continued unabated yes­terday in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, the strong base of MASSOB.
The BIM/MASSOB members had on Monday grounded business activi­ties in the commercial city, and continued the protest yesterday along the major streets of Onitsha under the watchful eyes of securi­ty agencies who, however, did not open fire on the protesters as before.
The group, as early as 8 am, converged on Obosi in Idemili North Local Gov­ernment Area from where they matched in a convoy of over one hundred Keke Napep and Buses, bran­dishing the Biafran Flag and fliers along Obosi, Nk­por road through the Lim­ca road to upper Iweka and Bridge Head, chanting and dancing to Biafra songs.
The Divisional police officer (DPO) in charge of Onitsha central police station, SP Ikechukwu Egbochukwu who led the monitoring team, con­firmed the protest match but said the police patrol was on the ground to ensure it was peaceful.
He, however, referred newsmen to the Anambra Police Public Relations Of­ficer ASP Nkiru Nwode for confirmation and brief­ing on any further devel­opment.
When contacted, the PPRO said that Anambra did not witness any MAS­SOB protest since Monday claiming that Anambra was peaceful and calm and therefore no person was arrested except for the gang of kidnappers smashed by the police at Urum in Awka North LGA.
She said the police also rescued the kidnap victim and recovered the gang’s rifles.
Meanwhile, MASSOB/BIM Director of Public­ity, Mazi Chris Mocha said although the celebration was for seven days, they had no activity slated for yesterday but since it was a peaceful exercise there was no cause for alarm.  (Authority)

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Reasons North Is Uncomfortable With Restructuring Of The Federal System

By Adamu Abuh (Abuja), Charles Coffie Gyamfi (Abeokuta) and Tunji Omofoye (Osogbo)   

• Agenda is to hurt our region, Yakassai insists
• It’s the way out, say Onadipe, Akande,

The controversy over whether or not to restructure the country continued at the weekend with two elder statesmen, Malam Tanko Yakassai and Chief Bisi Akande as well as former Nigerian Ambassador to China, Olusola Onadipe expressing divergent positions on the matter.

The persistence of the calls for restructuring requires a decisive move by all the citizens to resolve the issue amicably instead of allowing it to breed ethnic suspicion and hostility.

In an interview with The Guardian, Yakassai said the north was uncomfortable with the idea of restructuring the country.

“We are suspicious that the motive is to deprive the north in two important areas – representation at the National Assembly which is on the basis of population, and because there are more states in the north than in the south, when it comes to revenue allocation on the basis of equality of states and local governments, the north is bound to benefit more.“The idea behind the agitation for restructuring is to demolish those two advantages that are naturally due to the north in terms of representation and revenue sharing. What is disturbing is that those behind it are unable to come out with a blueprint on what restructuring means to Nigeria. Anybody who is hiding his motive on an issue that would affect Nigerians has something bad up his sleeves.

“Nobody has told us the benefit we would derive from it. What we are saying is that it is not that the north is afraid, but why should people be inconsistent? This is the reason northerners who know what they are doing and who know the background of the agitation are not comfortable with the call for the restructuring of Nigeria,” the politician said.

Yakassai, who is a founding member of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), shed light on why the north is also uncomfortable with those agitating for restructuring.

“Those of us who were privileged to see through the transformation of Nigeria from a colonial territory to an independent nation, and who are aware of the history of the political development of the country, are surprised at the inconsistency on the part of those who are agitating for the restructuring because the agitation for the creation of more states in Nigeria was by and large supported by some political figures from the South West.

“The Action Group (AG) as a party representing substantial number of people from the South West supported the agitation for the creation of Middle Belt in the north and the creation of the COWA state movement (Calabar – Ogoja – Rivers State movement) and they, at the same time, opposed the agitation for the creation of the Mid-West State which was at the time part of western Nigeria. The leaders of the south-west at the time were supporting the dismemberment of the north and the east, but were opposed to the creation of a state from their own area of control.

“So people started to wonder why they were supporting splitting of other areas and you are not prepared for the split of your own area. That was the beginning of the suspicion. They campaigned and argued that the north was too big to be allowed to continue as it were because it was made up of two-thirds of the land mass in Nigeria and more than 50 per cent of the population and therefore people could see the justification of the argument for the creation of states from the north,” Yakassai said.

But Ambassador Onadipe challenged leaders across the six geo-political zones to summon courage and accept the reality that restructuring is the way out of the socio-economic challenges and others confronting the nation.

Onadipe was of the view that the federal system of government currently being practised in the country would continue to hold it and the people down economically unless power is devolved to the states and then to the local governments, “the sources of economic activities.”

“What is the business of federal and state governments in primary school education? We have been giving the Federal Government so many responsibilities and at the end of the day, nothing to show for it. There is too much power at the centre, power of appointments and others,” he said.

The former envoy, who is a member of the Ijebu Professional Excellence Foundation (IPEF), spoke at the weekend during the 2017 Annual Merit Award ceremony of the group.

Onadipe suggested “leadership with foresight” as another ingredient the country needs to overcome her sundry challenges, particularly in the area of the economy.

According to him, leaders are supposed to break grounds, think for the masses, educate them and understand the fabrics of the economy, the political situation and forge ways to make life meaningful to the people.

He lamented that citizens and residents of some countries, less endowed than Nigeria enjoy better social services from their respective governments.

His words: “If there is no restructuring, this country is not moving anywhere, but some people are saying over their dead bodies would there be restructuring.

“I don’t understand that kind of talk. Are we making progress now, how many years after independent? It is unfortunate.”
Similarly, Akande, a former interim chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), attributed the current national woes to deficiency in the constitution.

The APC leader spoke at the weekend at the 2017 Distinguished Role Model Award of The Wings Schools in Iwo, Osun State in honour of the late Ben Adisa Akinola, an educationist cum administrator.

Akande who was the chairman of the event noted the inadequacies in the 1999 Constitution and said the document had created unwarranted challenges not only to the country but its federating components. “The constitution that can move Nigeria forward is the one that recognises the culture of the people in relation to their occupation.”

The former governor of Osun State noted that no nation is practising federalism in which all or larger percentage of existing power is concentrated on a single hand .

He noted that until the constitution is reviewed to conform to the nation’s needs, the country would remain stagnant.

According to him, power must be properly distributed and devolved from the central to the federating units as being practised in other countries.

Akande said: “ The Nigeria’s constitution (1999) now constitutes a major obstacle to peace. Those who wrote the constitution did not realise that political domination and subjugation breed revolts, community disharmony and national insecurity. The bad constitution of 1999 has now begun to stimulate demand for ethnic self-determination and economic security otherwise being called ‘resource control’ or ‘restructuring.’ Whatever name you call it, community disharmony is a burden on national security and it is dangerous for economic development and peace.“What we are saying, for instance, is that the constitution which (according to 1999 census) gave Lagos State (with 5,725,153 population) 20 local governments, also gave Kano State (with 5,810,494 population) 44 local governments. The same constitution, which gave Anambra (with 2, 796,510 population) 21 local governments, also gave Jigawa (with 2, 875,559 population) 27 local governments.

“Such constitutional provisions seem unjust to some federating components, especially in terms of equal opportunity to access the national revenue allocations. Such agitations may not be healthy for community harmony and national security to influence the change for the better,” he stated.    (The Guardian)

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BREAKING: PDP Crisis: Supreme Court Rules In Favour Of Makarfi Faction

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Ahmed Makarfi and Ali-Modu Sheriff

The Supreme Court has dismissed an application filled by a factional leader of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali-Modu Sheriff, asking the court not to hear a motion by his challenger, Ahmed Makarfi.

Mr. Sheriff had asked the court to refuse hearing on the application filed by Mr. Makarfi, challenging the February 17 judgement of the Appeal Court in Port Harcourt which made Mr. Sheriff leader of the PDP.

At the opening of the hearing on Monday, Mr. Sheriff’s lawyer, Akin Olujimi, said the application was an abuse of court process because Mr. Makarfi ought to have requested the leave of court before making the application.

Mr. Olujimi prayed the court to dismiss the application.

Responding, Mr. Makarfi’s lawyer, Wole Olanikpekun, prayed the court to disregard the argument of Mr. Olujimi, describing them as baseless.

In a short ruling on the application, a five-member panel led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, said the application by Mr. Makarfi was considered valid since it complied with the rules of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Onnoghen said according to the Supreme Court rules, an application challenging a decision of a lower court ought to have come within three months after the ruling of the lower court.

He said the apex court had taken note of the fact that the case was decided at the lower court in February, while the motion at the Supreme Court was filed less than three months after the ruling by the lower court.

He therefore gave a unanimous ruling in favour of the Makarfi faction, and awarded an unstated cost against the faction led by Mr. Sheriff.   (Primium Times)

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PDP: Anxiety As Supreme Court Case Commences Today |The Republican News

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From Ndubuisi Orji,  Abuja

There is anxiety within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the Supreme Court  commences hearing  on the party’s leaderships tussle today.

The apex court is adjudicating over an appeal filed by the PDP Caretaker Committee challenging the Appeal Court, Port Harcourt judgment,  which affirmed Senator  Ali Modu Sheriff as the national chairman of the party.

The Appeal Court in its judgment also declared the PDP May 21, 2016 National Convention,  where the caretaker committee was appointed after the dissolution of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) led by Sheriff , as null and void.

Sheriff, through his counsel, Akinlolu Olujinmi (SAN), had filed a motion challenging the competence of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led Caretaker Committee to file the appeal in the name of the PDP. 

The Supreme Court,  it was gathered, would be taking the motion alongside the substantive suit.

Recently, activities at the National Headquarter of the PDP, Wadata House, where Sheriff operates from have grounded to a halt.

Apart from the presence of security officials and party officials who breeze into the secretariat once in a while,  the PDP headquarter is more or less a dead zone.

Party sources said this is because of apprehension over where the Supreme Court judgment would swing to.

Daily Sun gathered that the Sheriff group has put on hold some of its planned programme,  pending the ruling of the Supreme Court on its motion challenging the locus of the caretaker committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP,  without the permission of the national chairman.

Also, activities in the temporary secretariat of the caretaker committee located in Wuse, in the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT),  Abuja has also died down completely.

However, both Sheriff and Makarfi camps told Daily Sun yesterday, in separate telephone interviews, that it is not true that they are apprehensive over the Supreme Court  case.

According to Sheriff’s deputy,  Cairo Ojoughoh, they are on the side of the law,  so there is no need to be afraid.

“Why would we be apprehensive when we are on the side of the law. We are sure that the Supreme Court will do what is right,” Ojoughoh stated.

On his part,  the legal adviser of the caretaker committee,  Dave Iorhemba, said the committee has a good case.

He said: “We are not apprehensive. Our case is good. We want the Supreme Court to make a prouncement on the place of party convention in the affairs of political party, not just the PDP.  We have a good case before the court.”

This is coming as the Minority Leader,  House of Representatives, Hon Leo Ogor,  has called on the Supreme Court to expedite on the PDP leaderships tussle.

Ogor,  who said they are awaiting on the verdict of the apex,  told Daily Sun in an interview that the earlier the Supreme Court gives its judgment on the party dispute,  the better for the PDP.

The minority leader said the outcome of the Supreme Court case would determine their next action,  noting that he is convinced that the caretaker committee did not get a fair judgment from the Appeal Court.

“For us,  we wait on the Supreme Court. And like I have always said,  justice delayed is justice denied. The Supreme Court will do us a major favour by coming out with a clear position as soon as possible,  because various elections are taking place at the moment.

“And it is important that this matter is taken care of for once and for all.

“I am convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we didn’t get fair judgment from the Court of Appeal,  that is why we have ran to the Supreme Court. Whatever decision that comes out from the Supreme Court,  we will take our next step from there.

“We know we are at the final bus stop, whatever comes out from there,  the next step will be taken,” Ogor stated.


… ‘Why apex court can’t hear Makarfi group’s appeal’ –Shefiff, Ladipo

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

As the Supreme Court resumes sitting today over the leadership crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party led by Ali Modu Sheriff (as Chairman), Prof. Wale Oladipo (as Secretary) said the Makarfi Committee, having been declared illegal by the February 17, 2017  judgment of the Court of Appeal, Port Harcourt, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The sacked National Caretaker Committee of the party led by Ahmed Makarfi in  an appeal marked: SC/133/2017 before the Supreme Court is challenging the judgement of the court of Appeal, Port Harcourt Division which declared the Senator Sheriff-led National Executive Committee as the authentic leadership of the party.

But in a written arguments in support of an application filed on March 21, 2017 seeking the striking out of the appeal, the Senator Sheriff-led NEC of the party said having been sacked by the Court of Appeal, the Makarfi Committee, lacked the powers to take decisions for the party, including  initiating court proceedings in its name.

The written addresss was filed on May 10 in compliance with the Supreme Court’s directive on May 4, 2017. The PDP leadership is contending that the Makarfi Committee did not obtain the necessary authorisation of the PDP to appeal in its name and on its behalf, because the PDP under the current leadership, was comfortable with the Appeal Court  judgment and did not intent to challenge it.

It further contented, in the address written by a group of lawyers led by Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), that since the Court of Appeal, in its February 17 judgment, declared that Sheriff-led NEC as the authentic leadership organ of the PDP, the Makarfi-led Committee could no longer pursue an appeal in the name of the party.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership argued that the decision of the Makarfi committee to file an appeal in the name of the PDP without its (the party’s) authorisation was not only illegal butviolated the party’s constitution.

Relying on the provisions of Chapter 5, Articles 35(1), 36(1) and 42(1) of the PDP constitution, it argued that the party, with a corporate personality, could only act through the principal national officer, whose powers and functions are stated in the constitution.

It referred to a May 18, 2016 judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital territory (FCT) in suit No: FCT/HC/CV/1443/2016, ordering a return to status quo as at May 18, 2016 and the subsequent judgment of the Federal High Court in suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/464/2016, to the effect that only the Sheriff NEC could instruct lawyers for the party, and urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal.

The Sheriff-led PDP leadership noted that it has not by its argument said the Makarfi Committee cannot appeal the May 17 judgment of the Appeal Court, having been parties in the case from the trial court, it (the Makarfi Committee) or its members could only appeal as interested parties after first, obtaining the court’s leave to so appeal.

In a counter argument, the Makarfi Committee, represented by a group of lawyers led by Wole Olanipekun (SAN), wants the court to discountenance the Sheriff NEC’s arguments and proceed to hear its appeal, in which it among others, urged the Supreme Court to set aside the Appeal Court judgment of February 17.

In its reply argument dated May 15, 2017, the Makarfi Committee queried the legitimacy of the application filed by the Sheriff-led NEC and argued that it was not only strange, but intended to frustrate the hearing of the main appeal.

It argued that it was wrong for Sheriff and others, who had briefed Akin Olujinmi (SAN) to represent them in the substantive appeal and had filed a respondents’ brief, in which they also made similar arguments in relation to the competence of the appeal, cannot again, brief Fagbemi to ask the court not to hear the appeal but to strike it out.

Relying on Order 8 Rule 6 (1), (2) and (4) of the Supreme Court’s Rules, the Makarfi Committee faulted the March 15, 2017 letter of the Sheriff-led NEC applying to withdraw the appeal and the subsequent application for its strike out. It argued that since the appeal was not filed by Sheriff and others, they lacked the right to apply to withdraw it.

The Makarfi-Committee argued that it was still a valid body with the power to file the appeal despite the Appeal Court judgment of February 17, 2017, because it was a creation of PDP’s highest decision making body, the National Convention, which disbanded the Sheriff-led NEC and preplaced it with the national Caretaker Committee.

In a response on point of law, filed by Fagbemi on May 18, the Sheriff-led NEC faulted all legal arguments by the Makarfi Committee, urged the court to discountenance its contention and hold that it lacked the locus standi to file an appeal in the name of the PDP, having been sacked by a subsisting judgment.

Meanwhile it was learnt yesterday that the Supreme Court has rescheduled the hearing of the appeal relating to the PDP leadership dispute for today (May 22).

The court had, on the last date, May 4, 2017 ordered the filing of the written briefs and adjourned to May 25 for hearing. It could not be ascertained yesterday what informed the court’s decision to bring the date forward.         (The Sun)

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The Language Of Slaves, By Femi Fani-Kayode |The Republican News

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The most difficult challenge that Nigerians face is not the hegemony of the Hausa Fulani ruling class but the ignorance and slavish mentality of some of those from the Middle Belt and the south that they have conquered.

Ignorance, cowardice and delusion is the language and practice of slaves. And it is typical of a slave to despise and hate those that seek to liberate him from his slave masters and his chronic bondage.

This is because the liberator or, if you like, the deliverer, reminds them of their slavish and pitiful condition and continuosly urges them to try and break out of it and rise up.

The slave either accepts, rises up and follows this counsel with joy, pride and hope believing that God has finally answered his prayer and made a way for him and his loved ones or he violently rejects it and pours venom and contempt upon the one who offfers it.

The question the latter asks in their hearts is “who made you our deliverer?”

Or “are you any better than we are?”

Or “we know you very well and you are not fit to be our deliverer or to liberate us”.

They cap it all by saying, “who the hell do you think you are anyway?”

They forget that the Holy Bible says “God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wisdom of the wise”.

God always uses those that humans view as the most unworthy as his weapon and tool for deliverance.

The Bible is replete with such examples from Jeptha and Samson to Paul and Jehu.

If the Lord chooses to so do He can use a madman, a village idiot, a comedian or even a monkey or a donkey to liberate His people.

The vessel or individual He chooses to use, no matter how unfit that person may appear to be to the human mind, is His choice and He alone knows why He made that choice.

Maybe He did so because He alone sees the heart of that person as was the case with David, who was an adulteter and a murderer or Moses, who was a killer and fugitive.

They both committed the most heinous crimes yet the Lord, who is perfect in all His ways, still chose and used them to deliver His people.

That is God’s way and it is marvellous in our sight.

They say that the most difficult slave to liberate is the one that has been so stripped of his dignity and sense of self-worth and that has been so subjugated and broken that he does not even know that he is a slave anymore.

Instead he erroneously and honestly believes that his pitiful condition is somehow deserved and that it is his lot and due in life.

He has been subjected to the most damaging and destructive form of mind-control and consequently he virtually lives for, and ONLY for, his master and to serve that master’s interest and do his bidding.

Such people are suffering from a broken spirit. They have lost their souls and have been blinded by their ignorance.

This is tragic but sadly it is the bitter truth. These are the type of people that would willingly fight and die for their slave masters in a war of liberation rather than to fight for their own freedom or on the side of those that are trying to liberate and free them.

They are the type of people that would support and vote for those who seek to continue to enslave them in an election rather than for those who seek to deliver and free them from bondage.

And sadly a few Nigerians from the south and Middle Belt suffer from that terrible mindset and affliction.

The greatest source of opppsition that the liberator and deliverer gets is not from the Hausa Fulani slave masters of the core north but from such people.

I have never heard of a core northerner who has fought for or sided with a southerner that wishes to dominate and enslave him and his people but I know many southerners and Middle Belters that have supported, voted and fought for core northerners who seek to enslave them and their people and keep them in bondage forever.

It is a pitiful thing: a great evil under the sun and it is left to the rest of us to try and open their eyes and enlighten them. Freedom is not a curse: it is a precious gift from God. And ALL of God’s children are worthy of it.

May the Lord help us.

(Femi-Fani-Kayode is a former minister of aviation, and a Cambridge University trained lawyer)

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