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Biafra restoration and the social contract restructuring

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By Omoshola Deji

The most embraced notion on the evolution of the state is the social-contract thought promulgated by Thomas Hobbes in the “Leviathan”, published in 1651. Hobbes posits that the state is a product of the society; each individual submits a portion of their rights to a consented authority in interchange for an assured protection of their other rights. The consented authority presides over the equitable distribution of resources, justice, fairness and the rule of law. Uncomplicated, the consented authority in this case is the Nigerian government and Hobbes’ social-contract theory is employed to unmask the factors provoking the disintegration of Nigeria.

There is a national consensus that the over 250 ethnic groups inhabiting the Northern and Southern protectorates did not assent to be amalgamated into a nation called Nigeria in 1914. For that reason, one may contend that Hobbes’ social-contract theory does not appropriately rationalize the evolution of the Nigerian state. Inside out, one may also backtrack to the pre-colonial era and contend that the social contract principle had already been endorsed in the amalgamated protectorates before the advent of colonialism. Virtually every ethnic group had a monarch and a traditional mode of worship before the Islamic and Christian missionaries cajoled and compelled us to shift faith.

Our progenitors submitted their right of choice to the oracle whom they believe is in the best position to select the right ruler for them. Everyone wholly obey whoever the oracle selects based on the conviction that he is the representative of the gods on earth. Like a wisp of smoke, this conviction is fast fading due to the emergence of alternative and modern forms of governance, civilization and political impositions. To aptly ground the theoretical position of this piece, a bit of flashback is essential to justify the subsistence of Nigeria as a social contract.

Colonialism is the aftermath of the resolutions reached at the Berlin 1884 scramble and partition for Africa conference organized by Otto Von Bismark, the then Chancellor of Germany. Out of sheer meanness to dominate and exploit Africa’s resources, the European nations partitioned Africa into colonies without considering her ethno-religious and socio-cultural diversities. Inconsiderately, the African rulers were not invited to the 1884 conference that sealed the political-economic fate of Africa. In point of fact, our existence as a nation kicked off when Britain gained possession of the territories amalgamated to institute Nigeria. Lord Lugard only named and formalized it in 1914.

Observingly, it rarely surfaced in the history books that the amalgamated ethnic groups protested against the 1914 amalgamation. To be fair, Lugard’s amalgamation may not have been protested due to the fear of the colonial master’s brutality. Fast-forward to after four decades, during the struggle for independence, the Nigerian nationalists, from every region, teamed up to demand the independence of the Nigerian state as structured by Lord Lugard. After Nigeria’s independence on 1 October 1960, the nationalists virtually made no attempt to dissolve the amalgamation. This ultimately infers that the foremost nationalists, tacitly or explicitly, resolved that we all shall cohabit together as one Nigeria. The social-contract principle naturally takes effect under such circumstance. If the nationalists, from every region, abstain from disbanding Nigeria, then it’s not right for anyone to proclaim that we Nigerians never agreed to live together. Not for long, our diversity crushed the unity sooner than expected.

Ethnic rivalry and power struggle impelled the late Odumegwu Ojukwu to declare the secession of Biafra from Nigeria on 30 May, 1967. The decision to secede was apparently due to the wanton inter-ethnic killings and tension that brewed from the alleged Igbo coup of January 1966 and the alleged Hausa counter-coup of July 1966. The 1967 Biafra secession activated a civil war between the Biafran forces and the Hausa-Fulani largely populated Nigerian army. After 30 months of intense battle and the loss of over a million lives, Biafra surrendered to ‘go on with one Nigeria’ – Gowon. Unambiguously, the defeated forces upon surrendering Biafra were covertly or overtly re-entering into a social contract with Nigeria on the basis of political, economic and social equity.

The Biafra secession quest recently resurrected and gathered momentum due to President Muhammadu Buhari’s earlier disregard for a court order granting Nnamdi Kanu bail after he was accused and arraigned for treason. The prolonged detention of Kanu earned him an unprecedented sympathy from the people of Igbo extraction who picture Buhari as anti-Igbo. Unfortunately, Buhari’s oration that the North’s 97% and Southeast’s 5% voting pattern would influence government’s conduct and the subsequent conspicuous marginalization of the Igbos rained fuel in the burning fire.

The more Buhari ring-fence himself with people from the northern extraction, the more the other southern regions, especially the southeast would become suspicious and continue to play the last card of secession. An overview of the top political offices and vital appointments reveals that the North is overpoweringly favored against the South thus:

President – North; Senate President – North; Speaker of the House of Representatives – North; Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) – North; Acting Secretary to the Government of the Federation – North; Army – North; National Security Adviser – North; Department Of Petroleum Resources (DPR) – North; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – North; Air Force – North; Police – North; Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) – North; Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) – North; Department of State Security (DSS) – North; Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) – North; Fire Service – North; National Insurance Commission – North; National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) – North; Customs – North; State Chief of Protocol – North; Accountant General of the Federation – North; Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) – North; Chief of Staff to the President – North; Aide de Camp to the President – North; …the list continues.

It is bewildering that Buhari, a former Head-of-State, who is conversant with ethno-religious sensitivity of Nigeria could commit the sacrilege of being sectional and nepotistic. Ask no further, Biafra is a reaction to the marginalization the Igbo’s are getting from their social-contract with Nigeria.

Recall the lopsidedness in the Department of State Security (DSS) recruitment exercise. More individuals were recruited from Katsina state (51) than the entire Southeast states (44). Katsina is the home state of Buhari and Lawal Daura, the Director General of the DSS. The geographic details of the enrolment exposed that out of 474 recruited cadet officers, 331 were from the North while 143 were from the South. Justifying the lopsidedness, the DSS and the federal government claimed that the recruitment imbalance was purposely done to rectify the disproportion in previous enrolments. This excuse holds no water for a government that came to power on the mantra of change. Where is the change promised, if previous leaders were sectional and Buhari is also sectional? Apparently, no Nigerian democratically elected president has vigorously displayed sectionalism like Buhari. Cast no doubt, protests and hate speeches would have popped up from the North if an Igbo president ever emerges and decides to impose an ethno-religious, sectional and nepotistic institutional arrangement.

Contravening section 21(2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, Buhari removed a southeastern woman, Chinelo Anohu-Amazuan as the Director General of National Pension Commission, PenCom, and replaced her with Aliyu Abdulrahman Dikko, a northerner. Section 21(2) of the PenCom act stipulates that if the Director General of the commission is sacked before the expiration of his/her tenure, the president shall appoint a replacement from the same geopolitical zone.

Buhari’s parochialism, insularism, nepotism and sectionalism fertilized the Igbo’s consciousness to revive Biafra. Any intention to crush Biafra without addressing the basic issue of inequality is to be sheepishly applying force without focus. The much-needed first step to national unity is to reassign the political appointments to reflect the pluralism of Nigeria. In power, but limited in power, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo cannot effect the essential adjustments; he is tactically acting Mr. Nice Guy in order not to appear disloyal, power-centric and desperate.

Quite ignoble, top government functionaries are pretending not to know the meaning of restructuring. To get them educated, the restructuring of Nigeria means effecting three basic things: the devolution of powers to reflect true federalism; ratifying the states to control their resources and; rectifying the lopsidedness of crucial government appointments to reflect regional equity and fairness.

If truth be told, the Igbo disaffection and the right to self-determination doesn’t mean Nnamdi Kanu’s approach is right. He lacks the strategy of attainment and the essential qualities of a credible leader. His orations are uncouth, obtuse, provocative and indeed treasonable. Kanu should be enlightened that his ranting, hate speeches, confrontations and threats of war cannot bring forth Biafra; persuasion and dialogue is key.

Deficient in intelligence, Kanu fails to reason that his disciples cannot withstand the viciousness of a police acting on a court or presidential orders. Kanu fails to reason that his admirers shouting “oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah Nnamdi Kanu is another savior” cannot influence his release if the court orders him back to prison. His admirers would quickly forget him like he has allegedly forgotten the other Biafran agitators that were refused bail.

Kanu’s episode might end in tragedy if he doesn’t change strategy. The Judas in his disciples or the southeastern political bigwigs feeling outshined by his growing popularity might decimate him.

Why always unfortunate? Nigeria recorded virtually no progress under the sixteen year rule of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose chiefs ruthlessly looted the commonwealth. Disheartening, the All Progressives Congress (APC) change mantra is manifesting as a political gimmick and deceit. APC promised change, but virtually nothing has changed positively.

Without further ado, Buhari needs to review or order the review of his kith-kin-and-kindred, extremely lopsided, political appointments to reflect regional equity. Appointing prominent and competent Igbos into crucial positions would pacify frayed nerves, promote national unity and the quest for Biafra will naturally fade.

The solution to Nigeria’s disintegration is hidden in the federal government’s readiness to abide by Hobbes’ social-contract principle of ensuring the equitable distribution of resources, political offices, justice, fairness and the rule of law. Only political and regional parity can sustain a sovereign Nigeria’s unity for another fifty-seven years multiply by fifty-seven.

*Omoshola Deji is a political and public affairs analyst. He wrote in via oshdeji@yahoo.com

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Opinion

The internet and social media: Benefits and chalenges, By Rotimi Onadipe

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The internet and social media are great tools that are very useful to our daily lives. We can use them to enrich our lives in several ways and this is one of the most important reasons why the 21st century is regarded as the best century.

In today’s technology age, the internet and social media have exposed the entire world and changed the way we do many things.

In as much as the internet and social media have brought a lot of conveniences to the human life, these great tools have also exposed the whole world to many dangers.

However, we must be mindful of both the benefits and challenges of internet and social media.

Benefits of Internet and Social Media:

  1. Fast and easy communication.

  2. Fast business transaction.

  3. Easy learning of languages.

  4. Easy dissemination of breaking news.

  5. Research can easily be conducted.

  6. Quick investigation of crime.

  7. Online education.

  8. Easy access.

  9. Easy learning of different skills.

  10. Online advertisement.

Challenges of Internet and Social Media:

  1. Moral decadence.

  2. Addiction

  3. Increase of crime rate in the society.

  4. Negative impacts on children.

  5. Online flirting.

  6. Cyber bullying.

  7. Broken relationship.

  8. Viruses can easily destroy devices.

  9. Negative impacts on the health of users.

  10. Negative impacts on the academic performance of students.

*Rotimi Onadipe is the CEO of Onadipe Technologies, National Coordinator- Internet Abuse Awareness & Prevention Project, Nigeria. Email: onatechconsult@gmail.com

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Opinion

Politics of Kwara State’s Chief of Staff

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In the last one week, the kwara political space has witnessed various news of appointments of chief of staff with no confirmation or denial from the government, names such as Prince Mahee Abdulkadir, Prince Sunday Fagbemi, Yinka Aluko have been announced.

Prince mahee Abdulkadir who is in his early 70s like the late COS , is an ally of mallam Isiaka Abdulrazaq, the immediate younger brother of the governor. Mallam Isiaka Abdulrazaq who also produced the current deputy governor in person of Mr Kayode Alabi is said to have also recommended many other political appointees currently in government.

Alhaji Maher Abdulkadir was retired from the kwara state civil service by the Bukola Saraki’s administration, as a PS following many alleged wrong doings , such as trying to receive salaries from two departments of Governments, one as a PS and as a Clark of the HA.

Pros in his favor is that He is the son of late Emir Abdulkadir, it is believe that the rush to announce him was to try to force the hand of the governor. He is also said to have the support of the president COS.

Also announced on social media is Prince Sunday fagbemi from Ekiti, a very close political ally of the governor and a lawyer by profession, Prince fagbemi was the head of a faction that challenged chief Iyiola Oyedepo in the PDP days before Ootoge revolution brought every faction together to send the dynasty packing. He was a lot the governor’s deputy in CPC during the 2011 election.

Two weeks ago, Yinka Aluko popularly called homeboy was equally touted as the candidate for the position of chief of staff as he is said to have the ears of the governor on many state issues and a very close confidant of the governor. He holds two masters degrees and about concluding his PhD in Security and strategic development.

Another name is that of Arc. Kale Belgore who like Yinka Aluko is in his mid 50s and a member of the Governor’s cabinet. He however doesn’t enjoy the support of many of the people around the governor because of some of his actions very early in government that they believed painted the government in very bad light.

For exigency and right political calculation the race is clearly between Yinka Aluko and Fagbemi says many political pundits.

That is if the post of COS is not eventually scraped by the governor as political observers are now asking what the relevance of the position is considering the existing position of PPS and who seems to have a very good working relationship with the governor.

The coming days will definitely be an interesting one in the kwara state politics of COS.

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Opinion

How the mighty have fallen, By Fani-Kayode

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Abba Kyari
Insults mean nothing to me. They only fuel my resolve and strengthen my determination. They are like water off a duck’s back and neither can they deter me from speaking my mind on any pressing or burning issue no matter how unpopular my position may be.

Those that do not have the prescence of mind or the discipline to read beyond three lines or that are so filled with hate and blighted by ignorance that it has beclouded their better judgement should not bother attempting to read this contribution.

For those that are interested in knowing the truth and in actually learning something about a man that was as maligned, misrepresented and misunderstood as I have been over the years should please go ahead and do me the honor of reading it. Whichever way it takes absolutely nothing from me.

Yesterday I paid tribute to my friend and brother Mallam Abba Kyari, the former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, who passed on after being diagnosed with Covid 19 on Friday 17th April 2020.

The tweet reads as follows: “I lost a friend of 40 years. We were at Cambridge together. We worked in my fathers law firm together. We remained close throughout right up until the end even though we disagreed politically. ABBA was a good man. A man of honor and a loyal friend. May his soul rest in peace”.

Sadly it appears that some have a problem with my tribute and have lost all sense of decency and humanity.

Someone DIED and you are now suggesting that it is wrong for those of us that knew him better than you to say a good word about him? This is an accomplished man who was a lawyer, a banker, a journalist, a businessman and a loyal friend to many many years before he even joined Government in 2015. This is a man with children, a wife, an extended family and many dependants that he left behind.

This is a man that has been a blessing to his community and that has been housing, feeding and paying for the education of thousands of students at Maiduguri University and offering scholarships to so many young people since 2001.

All this yet you say that those of us that knew him must not mourn him. Some even went as far as to ask how dare I say he was a “good man” forgetting that if he had been anything less I would have been the first to expose and attack him.

I forgive those that have attacked me for their ignorance and I stand by my words. If they do not like those words they can simply go and jump in the lagoon. They like me when I attack Government but they hate me when I say one good thing about a Government official who I have known for over forty years? What a joke!

Yet the truth is that I do not care one way or the other and neither do I seek anyone’s approval or validation. I will attack anoyone that I believe has done wrong, whether in the ranks of the Government or the opposition, and I will commend those that I believe have done their best in either of the two.

The truth is that when it comes to the gathering of information and acquisition of knowledge and what is really going on behind closed doors in this country I know far more than virtually all of my traducers because I have access to people and places that most of them can only dream about.

Yet even if I didn’t, common decency alone should constrain them to at least let those of us that have a certain degree of decency and humanity left in our persona to express our condolences in peace and not choose our words for us or be subjected to vulgar abuse, intolerable rantings and long and uncontrollable diatribes from a clearly diseased mind.

To you I say the following. If you don’t like my views about Kyari you can simply go to hell. I do not give a fig. I would however advise you to fear God and know that even He does not take pleasure in the death of those He created and only He can judge each and every one of us.

Yet for the record let us look at a few of the facts.

A former Head of State would have been put under house arrest in 2018, a former Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence would have been arrested in 2018, a former National Security Advisor and a well known online publisher would have still been in detention today and many MORE people would have been detained and killed had it not been for the efforts and moderating influence of this man whose untimely death some irresponsible people are celebrating today.

I know all this and about each case because I was involved. Once that man gave his word on any issue he always honored it to the point that even the reactionaries and hardliners in the Government he served wanted to discredit him, implicate him, get rid of him and even kill him.

Let me give you two examples. He promised the Governors of the East that he would get adequate funding for Enugu Airport and he did.

He also promised to ensure that good progress would be made on the second Niger bridge and it was. I can tell you that had it not been for his efforts and the efforts of particularly Governor Umahi of Ebonyi and the Governor Ugwanyi of Enugu it would have been next to impossible to get adequate funding for the two.

I can also tell you that when the police, with elements of the military, attacked and killed IPOB youths and literally burnt down half of Orifite in Anambra state, the hometown of my friend and IPOB lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Abba, in collaboration with Umahi and Ugwanyi, was instrumental in putting a stop to it.

I know because I was involved and I asked them all to intervene. On that occassion they saved lives and I can bear witness to that. So can Ejiofor.

There is so much more that I could add but I will go no further for now because it was not Abba’s desire or intention to be praised or publicly acknowledged for his good deeds. He neither craved public validation or acclaim.

People forget that the buck for the things the Federal Government does not stop at the desk of the President’s Chief of Staff but at the desk of the President. He takes full credit for the good things and he must also take the full blame for the bad .

Abba was merely an official albeit a very senior and influential one: he was not the leader of the cabal or the de facto President that many claimed that he was.

Despite that he was quite happy to be labelled as this Government’s “Dark Angel” and “fall guy”, even though both tags were totally inaccurate and inappropriate 0 He was also quite prepared to take the blame for every evil under the sun simply because he was deeply loyal to the President.

Nevermind that much of the time he was fighting off those in the Government who hated his guts and who saw him as a stumbling block to gaining unmerited favour with the President or to their thieving ways.
I know every single one of them and at the appropriate time I will expose them for what they are. Abba was far better than them: far more wholesome and far more decent. He was a gentleman who though, in my view, was on the wrong side of the political divide, remained a gentleman nevertheless.

I found it inexplicable and difficult to accept that a man that was as sophisticated, cosmopolitan, enlightened and intelligent as ABBA was could work for a Government and be Chief of Staff in a Presidency that was the most sectional and religiously biased in the history of Nigeria and I often told him this. We had many heated discussions and lively debates on this and other issues.

His defence was that he believed in Buhari and that he chose to be loyal to him and I respected that. He often reminded me of the days in which I was at the Villa when I stood by President Olusegun Obasanjo no matter what.

He said that even though he was with Buhari throughout that time and was opposed to Obasano we still remained friends and that we ought to remain friends now that the tables had turned and that he and his principal were in power.

This was sound logic and it made sense. Only a fool does not appreciate the fact that true friendship transcends politics and that you take your friends warts and all even when, in your view, they may have made the wrong political choices.

He felt I that I made the wrong choice and chose the wrong path just as I felt that he did but we never for one moment felt that our friendship should or would end because of that. After all we were not just friends but we were brothers.

I have been in the frontline of the opposition and resistance since 2015 and no-one has fought or risked as much against this Government as I have done. I have been detained, maligned, insulted, subjected to psychological torture, misrepresented, falsely and wrongly accused, financially crippled and worse of all I have lost some members of my family and friends because of them.

They have taken literally everything from me and have destroyed the country that I have always loved and seen as my own. All of this I have suffered without ever complaining or lamenting leaving my fate and that of my family and loved ones to God.

I have nothing to gain and no reason to sugar-coat anyone in the Buhari administration but let me tell you loudly and clearly that now that the man you all loved to hate and malign has gone you will see the true meaning of tyranny and a totalitarian government because we will no longer have a moderate to run to when innocent men and women are being incarcerated, killed or tormented.

We will no longer have anyone to complain to about the excesses and sheer brutality of some of the security and intelligence officials. We will no longer have someone to run to when terrible things are being done that even the President is not aware of.

Continue to celebrate his death because you are ignorant and uninformed. When the real monster arrives and rises up that is when your eyes will clear and you will wish that the one you hate was still alive and in power.

Permit me to conclude this contribution with the following. Canelo Gypsy King, one of my numerous young friends on Facebook wrote the following to me after watching my interview on AIT about ABBA.

He was obviously very upset by my generous and charitable words about a man who he perceived as being pure evil and who he believed ought to have been categorised as an enemy of humanity and the tormentor-in chief of the Nigerian people. He wrote, “When Boko Haram members were killing men and children in thousands, raping women in large proportions. Killing and shooting Biafra citizens, Shiites members and those who oppose his Government, did Abba Kyari speak up?

Did he call for the service chiefs to resign? Did he visit those who died? When Buhari deliberately and intentionally borrowed predatory loans from the Foreign nations to further plunge Nigerian into insurmountable debts? Did Abba speak up? How about the billions of Naira that were allocated to upgrade Aso rock Clinic that went Missing, did he speak up?
When Buhari failed to address the Nation every month for years, Did Abba speak up? Did he ever speak up when the nation was financially pillaged by these evil Government officials?

Do you know how many thousands of Nigerians are dying every month due to the wicked and heartless intentions of these beasts and Frankenstein monsters? Even, if he did not speak up, did he resign? Truth to be told whatever a man sows he shall reap”.

My response to him was as follows.

“If only you knew how many lives he saved. If only you knew how he at least attempted to build bridges between Christians and Muslims and between northerners and southerners behind closed doors.

If only you knew how hard he fought to ensure that the war against terror was properly waged. If only you knew the forces that opposed his moderate stand from within.

If only you knew how much he was hated by some very key members of the Buhari administration who envied him and who felt that had it not been for him they could have pillaged the treasury far more than they were already doing and created even more enemies for the President than he already had.

If only you knew that most of the rubbish being written in the media about him was being sponsored and spread to a gullible public by key members of the Buhari administrstion who were trying to discredit him and get the Presideht to fire him.

Simply put had it not been for him many more lives would have been lost in the war against terror and many more people would have been killed by Boko Haram and the Fulani herdsmen.

Some say he was the leader of the cabal. This is a cabal in which seasoned and skillful old war horses and elderly and ancient northern political veterans and warriors like Mamman Daura, Zangon Daura, Mahmoud Tukur, Ismaila Isa Funtua, Lawal Daura, Baba Gana Kingibe and many others that were far older and more experienced than him are members of?

A cabal that has been in existence and in power since the 1980’s when he was still at University? This does not make sense. He was a powerful Chief of Staff but he was far from being head of the cabal or being de facto President. That much I can assure you.

If it had been any different many of those that were still in office at the time of his death would not have been there anymore because he would have fired them long ago.

God alone sees the heart and knows who is who. Let Him be the judge and let Him call each and every one of us to account for our deeds and misdeeds.

It is not for me or anyone else to judge Kyari and it is not for anyone else to judge me or to judge you. The only thing that is certain is the following: for our good deeds we shall be rewarded in the afterlife and for our bad ones we shall suffer. That applies to us all and as the Bible says, ‘let he that is free of sin throw the first stone’ “.

For my friend and adversary Abba I only have this to say, “Tell it not in Gath, proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon, lest the daughters of the Philistines be glad, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised rejoice…..How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! How are the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished!” (2 Samuel 1 20:24).

You served your nation and your principal to the best of your ability and I am proud of the dignity and nobility you displayed throughout your life.

Rest in peace my brother and pray for Nigeria and those of us you left behind.

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