Sunday, September 27, 2009

Obama My Brother The President Again!

Obama My Brother The President, Again!
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

“Lifting As We Climb” the mantra and credo which was coined by, National Association of Colored Women, NACW, and which guided Ms. Ida B Wells and her African American women contemporaries, is my preferred worldview.

But is President Obama doing the opposite for continental Africans and peoples of African descent? Or, is it just me, who is splitting hairs, too particular and overanalyzing our brother president? I took strong exceptions to our president’s speeches in July, 2009 speeches which I surmised were lopsided in comparison with his stated willingness to have unconditional polite, diplomatic and productive conversations with, even, “known-enemies” of America and members of President Bush’s Axis of Evil!
President Obama’s White House declaratively announced the other day, that the vitriolic stridency of his unreasoned attackers were not motivated by the fact that President Obama is biracial and so, the White House effectively, “pretended” to be capable of debunking the palpable racism his attackers who claim to care for America more than Obama and the rest of us. President Obama cannot be faulted for wanting to appear presidential, above the fray and thereby occupy the moral high ground, as president of all Americans. But the reaction from the White House cannot fool President Carter, President Bill Clinton and many others who sees Obama’s vociferous and conceptually violent attackers, for what they are, racists!
President Carter and President Clinton see, understands what the rest of us already called out, what we are seeing in the matters of race. No one can call President Carter and President Clinton, are the racial racketeers. They have been president of the United States and they are experienced and older than President Obama who continues to insist on the absence of racism in America. President Obama is understandably conciliatory in the face of virulent attacks by those whose belligerence, were motivated by the color of their skins!
Race remains a major factor in how life is lived in the United States, sadly and unfortunately, race remains so, a factor, worldwide. This can be readily observed. Let me be clear, race remains how life is lived in America and the entire the world. It affects trade-commerce, diplomacy, foreign aid, possession of nuclear weapons and all other facets of life, both strategic and even the mundane. Race remains a factor, and as you can clearly see, it is almost irrelevant whether you are a professor at Harvard University, such as Professor Louis Gates or whether you are even Harvard Law educated and president of the United States! President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Jefferson Clinton agree with these assessments.
Therefore, it is clearly and assuredly, up to our brother President Obama, whether he is willing to stake his political laurels or political capital to redress this. Such as he attempted with the Beer with Professor Gates and Sergeant Crowley, and before that, such as he did with his major speech on race during the elections in November 2008 which saw Obama elected as president of the United States. It will be recalled that, that fateful speech on race was received well and applauded by all. There is choice here. A choice to become precise or clear about race, even if there are known associated costs or Obama can maintain “strategic ambiguity”, apologies to Israel’s famous nuclear weapons unstated non-policy. The act of saying “no”, “yes” and “nothing” simultaneously! This has worked well for Israel, and for decades.

President Obama can, chose to remain aloof, color-blind in the alternate or parallel universe of “post-racial” America, with an eye on re-election for a second term. If past is prologue, what happened to Mayor David N. Dinkins in New York City, would happen to President Obama regarding re-election for a second term… Mayor Dinkins was too polite and deferred to the “owners’ of the land. Mayor Dinkins assiduously worked harder than most, in order not to ruffle feathers. He was and still is, a superb gentleman and consummate peace maker. He tried to please ever of his opponents. He did not want to squander his political capital (deft-calculating-naïve)? He did not get re-elected. Mr. Dinkins is a mathematician, a lawyer, a US Marine and an extraordinarily experienced, exquisitely equipped New York City politician, no matter; all these did not help in Mayor Dinkins’ re-election bid.

President Obama and the Democratic Party are understandably under tremendous pressure, to win elections this November 2009 and the midterm elections next year. Immediately, Democrats have to win elections in a few states this November 2009 in states such as Virginia, New Jersey and New York respectively and in all these states, despite, and perhaps, in-spite of President Obama, these elections are unusually close. President Obama even though very popular in January 2009, making everybody believe that a cat could win elections on his coattails, is having right now to sorts of, prove his mettle, with winnings in governorship races this November and next.

The Democrats and the president, keenly aware of all these, are quietly nervous or even in panic! What else could explain that unnecessary gaffes and goofs have followed presidential seal on these matters? President Obama came to the state of New York’s neighboring state of New Jersey, to campaign and fundraiser for Governor Jon Corzine for a second term. Governor Corzine had been lagging in the polls, in a state that was solidly in Obama’s corner only in November 2008. A factor in this was the arrest and subsequent resignations of several public officials or functionaries of state of New Jersey government, some accused of corruption, while others were in egregiously heinous activities such as sale and or trafficking in human body parts! There were swirls of repercussions and endless controversies, negative publicity which were no favors to the Democrats, particularly the poor Governor Corzine who had to delicately handle these unsavory and underserved baggage or political liabilities!

Regardless of all these and their possible ramifications, President Obama jetted to New Jersey through New York, to effusively demonstrate his support for a fellow Democrat and party man, Governor Corzine, who, for mostly not fault of his, is contending with a poor economy, high rate of unemployment in a depressed economy, and worse, the controversies of booming criminal enterprise by some New Jersey politicians in the same party as Corzine! President apprised and abreast of all these, determined that showing support publicly for Corzine was worth the political capital invested or squandered in the process. Fine!

Governor Elliot Spitzer was a brilliant politico with all the savvy anyone could ask of him. He is, in my view, a public official with extraordinary foresight. He is a public policy juggernaut. He is a visionary. He saw corporate frauds in America from 10,000 miles away! He literarily saw that the economic meltdown which we are now enmeshed, years before it was foisted upon all of us. He saw it coming and told us, of the danger of corporate wrongdoings. But he had a moral slip and he fell from political power and the lieutenant governor or deputy, who Governor Spitzer wisely chose, now became the defacto Governor David Patterson of the great state of New York. Governor Patterson is a lawyer, with great personal story and antecedents, he also lives with impaired vision; he is, legally blind or with disability.

Governor Patterson is a person of African descent. He is the first African American to be governor of our great state. Even though he was not directly elected, his political ascension to the governorship of national epochal importance. I will have to assume that President Obama agrees with these assessments? At this moment, there is high rate of unemployment in New York City and state of New York; after all, everyone knows that New York is the financial capital of the United States and the entire world. New York City and state of New York is understandably hardest hit with the after effect of the debacles on Wall Street and the entire financial district of the metropolis. The economic contraction and deep recession is rather obvious even to the most oblivious of things. No one has to be a financial market guru to understand this. Translation of this is that political leaders are catching the ire of the public for what are essentially beyond their control and for which they were not responsible in inflicting on any of us. Then added to all these, is the fact of Governor Patterson’s race and disability etc

I am appalled by President Obama's apparent usurpation of Governor Patterson.
I thought President Obama conduct was not presidential. He sought openly to undermine Governor Patterson... Obama is heeding bad counsel regarding our governor... and Obama campaigned for Governor Corzine of New Jersey recently... Governor Patterson still has more than a year ahead to turn the polls around... and even if he does not, it is not Obama duty schedule to nail Patterson's coffin with his presidential hammer of disapproval! I am straining to make this point again and again, but, most seem not to discern these concerns. Why would our brilliantly incandescent and savvy brother president allow himself to be associated with idea of kicking a guy who is already down? What common good or greater good does such public humiliation of Governor Patterson serve? There is this incredible public pressure on Governor Patterson. There seem to be a concerted attempt to hijack the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in the state of New York, from New Yorkers, the electorate, whose say is paramount in all of these. Governor Patterson and we New Yorkers deserve better, whatever the "savvy" calculations are or maybe, in the eyes of Washington!

There are as many as 15 months between now and the gubernatorial elections in the state of New York. And as even, every political neophyte knows, 15 months is more than two lifetimes in politics… in effect, an eternity remains, and so much can change in favor of Governor Patterson during this large expanse of breathing space, span and gestation period and time. Again, Mr. Obama is not dumb by any measure, so, this is cold calculations on his part or on the parts of his counselors? But should our brother president not “just-know” these things? He should or ought to know Governor Patterson’s burdens and carefully weigh and consider them. President Obama dropped the ball, for appearing to lead the chorus of those who are too quick to write off Governor Patterson’s re-election chances. Elections in New York are about 15 months away, and besides, President Obama did not even have to do anything now or appear to endorse anyone now. Neutrality, may have served Obama well at this juncture and in this instance. Instead of this apparent double standards in the treatment of New York’s Patterson and Corzine’s New Jersey. Or the focus is just Chris Christie, the Republican Party candidate, which explains to rescue efforts for Corzine?

There are certainly those, who think and act as though Governor Patterson does not belong on the governor’s seat in Albany, and as a consequence, have sought to blames the governor for rainfall, snow fall and high humidity levels since he assumed office after Mr. Spitzer’s fall. There are others who are “dying” to occupy that same seat, but, let the time come and let the best win. No one should preempt a fair fight! And even if everyone did, it should not be our biracial brother president and no reason is good enough to humiliate Governor Patterson or seek to deny him his due, than drive him out of town! The state of New York electoral has the final say regarding which among our politicians is expendable. Voters in New York must not allow the skittish expediencies of others determine our fates!

Governor Patterson of the state of New York just like his counterpart, Governor Corzine of the state of New Jersey are unpopular, not by a dint of any infractions on their parts, but, the happenstances and vagaries of the economy of America and the entire world, as it is, currently. Some politicians, Democrats in Governor Corzine’s New Jersey, though no faults of Corzine, engaged in scandalous and criminal enterprise. Yet, Mr. Obama thoughtfully resolved to spend-squander his political fortunes in attempt to rescue Mr. Corzine! Governor Patterson’s Democrats in New York are not embroiled in scandalous criminal misconduct similar to what now obtains in New Jersey, the new Chicago mafia politics practitioners of the Northeast! And yet, Governor Patterson is the one being shunned and denied public support by our brother president?

After careful consideration of all the above, it is easy to see, why it is so easy to be an unpopular governor in New York and New Jersey and pretty much in any state in the United States right about now! Why then, did President Obama give Corzine public embrace, fundraiser and ringing endorsements and not so for Patterson? Governor Patterson is a trailblazer like Obama Patterson is in fact more so, in more ways than one! African American governor, an American with disability, who is the first to hold a statewide office in our state of 18 million outstanding citizens, who should be allowed and given a fair chance to decide Patterson’s fate, in a fair manner, not through a stampede by anyone in our state, or carpetbaggers from the Washington D.C.!

In view of what have transpired so far, and more precisely, despite what have transpired it is befittingly charitable on our parts, to still as a matter of sheer indulgence, to think that President Obama could not and cannot mean to humiliate Governor Patterson publicly. President Obama could not and cannot mean to undermine Governor Patterson and Patterson’s chances of re-election in November 2010? But some shenanigans have leaked out, some public demeanors stated and unstated, have led some, including even some notable Republican Party members such as former state of New York Governor George Pataki, to admonish all those, who are bent on dictating to us, free citizens of the great state of New York, who among the numerous would be contenders in November 2010, could be our governor!

As I muse over the election prospects of Governor Patterson, I am having, to wonder aloud, whether President Obama is demonstrating a pattern? In many of his actions and public pronouncements so far, particularly, during the preceding nine months, our brother president, have seemingly reserved harsh and rather hostile treatments for continental Africans and peoples of African descent. Obama’s published statements in Accra Ghana in an address to the parliament there and his speech to NAACP in New York City, both speeches given in July 2009, and as well as President Obama’s attitude toward Governor Paterson, point to an unsettling pattern of beating-down persons from what Obama ought see as his core constituency. Even Republicans such as state of New York former Governor George Pataki have had to describe Obama’s seeming rejection of Governor Patterson as candidate for governor, this way "I just think it's wrong," Pataki said. "To weaken and undermine the governor beyond the weakness that already exists ... to me just doesn't serve the interests of the state, doesn't serve the interests of our country."

Many tongues are wagging over Obama’s public non-embrace of Governor Patterson. Some opponents of Governor Patterson are said to be gloating giddily now, in satisfaction and complacence, as a direction consequence of their interpretation of Obama’s signal or repudiation of Patterson’s gubernatorial candidacy in 2010. How soon can Obama seem to forget his own candidature, dismissed routinely and offhand by those who thought the then first term US senator from Illinois a nonstarter and a would be also ran? How soon can Obama forget that he too inherited three wars, one in Afghanistan, another war in Iraq, and the third one, being the catastrophic and mammoth mess, which is also known as the domestic economic meltdown in America and globally? The state of New York and New York City, are the fulcrum of America as the financial capital of the world, and Governor Patterson has therefore, taken a direct hit, from the economic cataclysm and seismic shift, none the fault of Governor Patterson!

President Obama is personally and intimately aware of the challenges our people particularly face. He is also aware of the challenges facing America and the state of New York in particular. It is therefore disingenuous to ascribe current abysmal and dismal economic atmosphere to Obama and or Patterson. Neither Obama nor Patterson is responsible for our national and state economic conditions. President Obama is not president for Africans and peoples of African descent alone, that much I understand. But it is and will be unacceptable for continental Africans and peoples of African descent to possibly fare worse during President Obama’s watch! We will prefer Obama’s impact on our people to be positive symbolism, and even beyond symbolism. President Obama should consciously engage in “Lifting Our People As He Climbs”! in words and actions.

Nigeria Is Almost 50: A Re-Examination of Duties and Obligations of Citizenship

Nigeria Is Almost 50: A Re-Examination of Duties and Obligations of Citizenship
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

All citizens have rights. All citizens have crucial duties, obligations, and responsibilities as well.

All governments at all levels do have duties and responsibilities to her citizens. The mark and exemplifier of a good government, is in the fulfillment of basic duties and responsibilities of such government in Nigeria and worldwide. But, these duties and responsibilities on the part of governments is not a one way street. There are two sides or even multiplicities of sides to the story of good citizenship and good governance-good government worldwide.

We Nigerians seem to only understand our rights as citizens, if even that! We seem always, in our pronouncements, in our actions and inactions, to be clearly and splendidly unaware of what our duties, responsibilities and obligations are, as citizens. The state of affairs and human condition, in our nation and our entire continent are, in the main, attributable in major part, to the absentee citizenship as a factor. And by absentee, I pointedly mean participation through ownership, and not physical absence.

There is a pervasive and permeating attitude and tendency among Nigerians, nay Africans, to conceptualize our country and continent, as entities, owned, managed and for the benefit, exclusively, political leadership, past, present and future. This attitude informs the apathy and disenchantment between citizenry and public servants, public property and even public advocacy. Too many citizens’ initiative are hampered and hindered by this persisting mindset. Citizens seem to feel, assume and accept limitations to their thinking, pronouncements and actions, based on the perception of self as outsiders. The political leaders are seen as the “owners” and the insiders and controllers of public policy.

Public policy as such, is not conceptualized in the context of public policy for national or continental benefits. But instead, governments are seen as self-interested cabal and mafia with impunity, impervious to reproach, criticisms and even condemnations. Military “governance” made this perception of citizens’ powerlessness even worse, as logic and reason during military regimes and dictatorial governments were not synonymous with freedom of thought, public debate and free press.

Over and extended period of time, Nigerian and other African citizens were “socialized” to be docile, unquestioning and public uncritical of government policies. It was either quiet obeisance or there was a cost, a price and penalty to pay or to be exacted at the expense of those who may exhibit the temerity

Nigeria is one hundred and fifty million citizens strong, and yet, Nigerian citizens seem to think that citizens are powerless. And so, 150 million citizens endure this assumed powerlessness in the face daily assaults by those at the helms of our nation’s affairs. Nigerian citizens feel too stumped down.
Citizens can actually confront poor leadership by organizing and articulating citizens’ power to harness leadership, quality leadership. The concern which I have about our citizenship these days is that too many Nigerians appear to have ceded Nigeria to aberrant leaders. Good citizenship requires more.

Nigeria is analogous to a corporation, and our current leaders should be seen as ineffective inefficient managing director and board members. Nigeria is a corporation into which Nigerian citizens are heavily invested. Nigeria should be seen as a corporation which currently has poor return on our investment or no dividends at all. The prudent thing for any smart investor, shareholder to do, in order to earn dividends, profits and return on investment, is to oust the errant managing director and board members. But instead, most Nigerians engage in advertising the corporation to which they are heavily invested, as the worst company in the world. Nigerians publicly excoriate Nigeria, as a corporation which makes the worst products in the world, and then, we all wonder why no one would buy products made by this same is not attracting customers interested in products and hence a lack of profits, dividends and return on investment.

The average Nigerian now excels at portraying Nigeria as the worst country on earth. The popular and yet error-laden belief often spouted, to the effect that Nigeria is irredeemably bad and only “God” can help us. But we know how “God” is? he only helps those who are willing to help themselves! Nigerians therefore must be willing to do all we must do, to undertake the rescue of our wonderful corporation from the vice grips of our deranged managing director and members of the board who are running our corporation to the ground, willy-nilly. Even as we engage in these daring rescues, we must simultaneous refrain from ascribing all evils as products of our beloved corporation!

Nigerians should be aware, that we cannot and should not advertise to the world that we have monopoly over the manufacture and production of evils, and then turn around to wonder why anyone might ascribe evil to us! It is quite common these days for non-Nigerian individuals and entities to find refuge in the arguments of fellow Nigerians who portray Nigeria in the worst lights.

There are surely different approaches which are available to us in efforts to tackle the myriad challenges facing our nation. Public shaming, scolding and ridiculing have, over the years, changed nothing. Instead, quite to the contrary, those who are shamed have become bizarrely shameless, those scolded now act with more impunity, and those ridiculed have become impervious to our collective contempt. What to do? A change of tact!

Nigerians should resolve that we are Nigerians. Nigerians must first and foremost reconcile ourselves to this immutable and incontrovertible fact that we are Nigerians and belong to Nigeria. Nigerians should believe that Nigeria is sacrosanct. This is the metaphorical crossing of the Rubicon. This will be the major paradigm shift in our national attitude. This will be removal of a major obstacle from our national psyche, and then, our psyche will heal and such healing will be followed by the crucial attitudinal adjustments, from which clear thinking and proactive actions will ensue. Challenges which our nation faced are insignificantly infinitesimal when compared with the repertoire of intellects and robust energy and resilience which abounds in Nigeria’s 150 million human capitals.

Apart from human capital, there abound in Nigeria as well, bountiful resources, quantifiable materials, and unquantifiable minerals, both tangible and intangible resources. And in view of our indefatigable human capital, it is almost trite to announce that Nigerians ought to and should and must harness all these, for the betterment of the human condition in Nigeria for the common good. Nigerians have so far, not achieved or accomplished this, through unity of articulation of purpose and focused pursuit of such purpose.

Nigerians at home and abroad should refrain from hyperbole in describing our national condition. Nigerians should become more engaged in actions, conscientious actions and pronouncements which will and must lead Nigeria to the promised-land which we the citizenry envision.

America’s vaunted democracy, even after of hundreds of years, is still work in progress, and America remains imperfect. Nigerian citizens have a great deal to learn from American citizens. American citizens are the movers and shakers of American democracy through engagement and participation, not without some who are apathetic apolitical. Americans have all sorts of support groups of citizens’ actions, regarding politics, economy, culture and much more. Americans have plethora of non-governmental organizations. There are citizens’ support groups for stray cats and dogs. Americans have support groups for the recently divorced or recently bereaved. There are all types of volunteer groups in America. There are all types of support groups for house-warming for new home owners. And support groups for new neighbors and support groups for everything above and under the sun! Americans do many things which improve, and enhance how life is lived in America and without government role and intervention. American society is a bottom up approach. Citizens’ action invariably drives government policies.

Nigerians can certainly learn democracy from Americans. Nigerians can also learn volunteerism and the creation of citizens’ actions from the Americans. Nigerians can use support groups in similar ways in which American citizens deploy the phenomenon for national progress. Nigerians can, through Labor movements, civil right movements, need organizers and organizers are citizens. History is replete with examples of how citizens movements facilitate good government, good governance through good leadership. Currently however, too many Nigerians only expect a top-down approach, in which political leaders must be angels who are unlike the elements which the citizenry is comprised. Too many Nigerians therefore expect political leaders to be holier than the citizens and consequently provide the proverbial “enabling” environment which will in turn lead to progress, development and greatness of our nation and continent. But perhaps it is time to re-examine this mindset closely. We may find that it is quite possible for the “quality” of leadership to actually be as a result of the “quality” of citizens or followership.

Nigerians are too often liable to see governance and government as owned by the political leaders. There is a symbiotic relationship between good citizenship and good governance-good government. It is a sort of horse and carriage, love and marriage, a push and pull sorts arrangements, none goes without the other! And there is so much truisms in the assertion that democracy is not a spectator sports! Democracy, perfect or imperfect, requires active, robust and even vigorous participation by citizens!

Too many Nigerians on the average are aloof, detached and disenchanted as citizens of our republic. Too many Nigerians seem to think good government, good governance and a good country is the job of someone else. Nigerian citizens are liable to look the other way, when drainage is being blocked and same Nigerians would be quick to complain loudly when the rains come and there is flooding and damage. Nigerian citizens are liable to look the other way when a NEPA PHCN is being stolen or vandalized, but, same Nigerian citizens would engage in hyperbolic stridency directed at blackouts or power interruptions, while ignoring the direct relationship between transformer thefts and vandalism and power failures. Nigerian citizens may encourage the undermining of NEPA PHCN efficiency because they have a stake and profits from the importation of electric generators, and then, the same Nigerians seem not to see the linkage between these sorts of acts and the failure of NEPA PHCN, noise pollution, and death and damage from the prevalent use of generators.

A Nigerian working for the NNPC and or major oil multinational corporation, allows himself to be splendidly disinterested in actions which are inconsistent with corporate best practices, same Nigerian then wonders why Nigeria is not getting the best deals, the best shake and best benefits from oil exploration which has gone on for so long. The examples are endless, but perhaps reader probably gets the point by now? The point, being the natural relations, correlations between our attitude of aloofness, detachment and disenchantment regarding Nigeria national interests and what obtains in Nigeria. There are natural consequences between our actions and outcomes. There is a clear linkage between what manner or quality of citizenship a country has and the manner and quality of leadership. A citizen who is accustomed to looking the other way, on becoming a political leader, remains that same person accustomed to looking the other way. There is no magic pill, which transforms a bad citizen into a transcendental transformational leader, suddenly, upon becoming a leader. The unpatriotic, worse than useless, greed-infested aloof, detached and disenchanted citizen remains just that! And what is worse? These sorts of warped-twisted citizens now suddenly have a higher podium, pedestal and platform at local government, state and national level from which to inflict their unsavory attributes upon all of us.

Social progress is often engineered through citizen activism. Citizen activism moves the world economically, politically and culturally, even in the face of tremendously enormous obstacles of highest magnitudes. Historical examples abound in the life stories of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a citizen activist who mobilized America and the world against racism and poverty. When he was killed, the American government did not automatically create a national holiday to celebrate Dr. King, citizen activists ensured that and it was certainly not a shoo-in, there were resistances in many of the fifty states of the United States. But now, Dr. King birth is observed in all the fifty states of the United States a matter of federal law. Thanks to citizens activists!

Everyone have heard the resilience and persistence of Ghandi and Mandela protests or citizen activism against illegal governments by way of colonial imposition in the one case and Apartheid horrors and brutalities on the other, again, there monumental obstacles, which were overcome, through citizen activism with which these great individuals infected the world and corralled efforts to end oppression and usurpation in India and South Africa respectively. Nigerians have in the past opposed colonial governments, military dictatorships and imperfect democracy and Nigerians must continue to engage in citizen activism and participatory democracy. Nigeria deserves nothing less. Nigerians should stop seeking refuge in the “comforts” of aloofness, cynicism, pessimism, fatalism and flights to state of anomie. Nigerians should instead, think of our challenges in terms of what would Nelson Mandela do? What would Ghandi, Malcom X, Idiagbon, Murtala, and Gani Fawehinmi etc do in the circumstances of the challenges we may face? The heroes refer to above chose to confront evil and as a result enshrined their names in gold. They chose not bribe, corruption and pillaging or self-gratification. They chose not aloofness, passivity and fatalism. Nigerians should recognize that there are no monuments or national holidays which celebrate fatalists, pessimists and the extremely cynical.

Might we start the creation of progress, development and greatness for Nigeria by becoming good citizens who are actively engaged in participatory democracy? Nigerians should be unwilling to rig elections, unwilling to allow smugglers of guns and dangerous goods into Nigeria because we can be bribed. Might Nigerians first become decent citizens, brothers and sisters keeper, and reject injustice, oppression by whomever and at whatever parts of Nigeria! The loyalty of Nigeria should henceforth be to the Nigerian nation and not to our ethnic, state, region or religions. Might we reject aberrant and criminal behaviors, perpetrated by a member of our families and our friends! May we on very individual level, reject and refuse election rigging, bribery and corruption, and pillaging. In effect, the change we want in Nigeria begins with our individual selves. Our change at individual levels about all these things, will lead to Nigeria’s development, progress and greatness.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Surprise At Consulate Of Nigeria New York Passport Office!

Surprise At Consulate Of Nigeria New York Passport Office!
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Just when you thought there is nothing to write home about, then, there is!

You will not believe what happened at the consulate of Nigeria in New York, last month, on Wednesday, August 26, 2009! The day was ruined, as far as assumed public knowledge or familiarity with laxity and lack of work ethic among certain public officials. Those who service Nigeria at various diplomatic missions or outposts have frequently been reported to be experts at treating Nigerian citizens with utmost levity.

I needed to make a quick trip to Canada, a country which shares a common border in the northern part of the United States and my home state of New York, which is more like traveling from Lagos to Ogun state or from Maiduguri, Borno state into Chad Republic. It is a very local trip, but the law is the law and the formalities of international travel has to be followed, even though it is at time so inconvenient in our hurried over-schedules and lives in North America.

Life in New York City can be quick and busily hectic; this frequently means needful things have to be prioritized and some other equally needful things may fall below over-schedule radars and left untouched. And so it goes that my passport expired and I never felt the pressure to renew my old faithful Nigerian passport, despite my knowledge of its expiration. Then I had to be in Canada on a fly; and my procrastination met its match! I cannot cross the border from my home state of New York into Canada without a definitional certainty of my nationality, which is Nigeria, my homeland. Despite haven lived in the United States for decades, my nationality has remained Nigerian, part, happenstance, and part, the deliberate choices I made since arriving at my economic refugee camp here in the United States. I have as yet to do the usual summersaults or taken the victory lap, American passport in hand

Most Nigerians are quick to tell anyone who would listen, the lamentations, and the dread often associated with visiting and interacting with Nigerian bureaucrats. Some Nigerians would actually insists, that Nigerian bureaucrats abroad, are a little bit more disdainful of Nigerians, than the bureaucrats at home, bureaucrats, disdainful of Nigerian citizens, who may commit the unforgivable sin of requiring anything, resembling the provision of public service to Nigerian citizens.

With these historical burdens in my mind, I proceeded to the Consulate of Nigeria in New York situate on the grounds of that green glass mammoth edifice known as the Nigeria House at 828 on Second Avenue.

Ever the optimist, I deliberately relegated any seeping concerns to the bottom pit of my stomach. I mulled over the anticipation of what could be my seething rage, if my day is consumed in waste without the renewal which I sought coupled with the possibility that my people would wound up treating me in truculent manner which I never allow, in non-Nigerian environments or entities.

The schedule time during which the Passport Office section operates is 10:00AM. And as is my practice with appointments, I arrived at least twenty minutes ahead of schedule, factoring, transportation bottlenecks etc. The passport officer arrived two minutes before schedule 10:00AM opening and in resplendent hunter-green Nigerian attire. His Nigerian attired pleased me. One of the many qualities for which I admired Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala and my other sister, Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, Dr. Dora Akunyili then of NAFDAC, they are policy wonks in their own unsurpassed rights, and they wowed me with their cultural ambassadorship, with their ever resplendent African attires.

Well, Mr. Passport Officer arrived and surprised me with his “good morning all” He greeted, good morning all! Sat was my turn. I did not have the requisite paperwork or the publicly available information. And I was frankly embarrassed upon being confronted with my lack of preparations! I never would approach any other diplomatic mission or high commission of other countries without calling or visiting their websites to ascertain their requirements and I quietly embarrassed that I did not research my visit to the Consulate of Nigeria, before I actually embarked on the trip there! And now even as I write this, I wonder how many Nigerians visit our diplomatic mission without adequate preparation as to what might be required of them. There are forms, money, procedures and other basic necessities common with these sorts of processes, with Nigeria and other nations. I also have to wonder now, what roles this lack of preparation or knowledge of requirements probably plays in familiar frictions between officials and recipients of services.

In my particular case, the facts of consulate general New York website was known to me and I could have gleaned the details of passport renewals before marching audaciously to the consulate for my renewal. Additionally, when I deal with government departments or agencies, of the United States and or other nations, I usually ensure that I know and have necessary information at my finger tips. And as I routine matter, I do so, for work related or personal contacts or interactions with private entities, corporate for profits or not for profit organizations. In hindsight, I wondered why I did not think it fit, to conduct due diligence, which is my routine and universal approach and precautionary standard outlook?

I was ill-prepared, but he made me comfortable and the entire process took less than three minutes! I was ill-prepared to the extent that I was unfamiliar with the new processes which require a download or print of passport forms from the Consular Internet Website, and be ready with the prescribed fees etc. I was completely ignorant of the required necessities to obtain a new passport or what it entailed to renew an old one. I was completely at the mercy of my passport officers for my ignorance…

The process began in most orderly manner. Upon arrival, guests are required to pick a number and mine was 82, and I worried. There are 82 persons ahead of me? I was quietly nervous upon believing that I was spending the rest of the day at 822 Second Avenue which would have ruined my schedule for the day’s other activities

Now, I am face to face with the officials, Mr. Bello Osagie, the guy in Nigerian attire called me, and I quickly confessed my ignorance, and lack of due diligence and proceeded to ask him, what I must do to correct lax preparation and still ensure that my mission to renew my passport and to soon after embark on my quick hop to Canada is not aborted. I was scheduled to travel in a matter of days. Mr. Bello assured me that I could renew my passport that day same day, so long as I quickly complete the forms, and accompany it with the stipulated money order, and he gave me the forms, forms which applicants were supposed to download and print on their own, this I failed, and neglected to do, out of my ignorance and to my peril! Well, I rushed out to get the money order, then, submitted it with the completed forms, all in a few minutes. And I was told to return in the afternoon between 2:30PM and 3:00PM

Upon arrival, in the afternoon, I was soon joined by numerous other clients who returned to collect new or renewed passports. There was no one present. And some clients were already grumbling; Complaints about 2:30PM is past and where are the officials? I was quietly concerned myself. And yet, I politely urged patience, because we all know that sometimes, lunch break comes with glitches and snafus, and that could possibly be the same case with the passport office folks. I also reminded others, how the service in the morning was smooth. Jokingly, I also intoned that some Nigerians who spent overnight at the American Embassy or arrived at 3:00AM and spent the whole day in a bid for American visa, are now the same persons now, too quick and too eager to blame Nigerian officials for two minutes lateness! And as it turned out, Ms. Damole Or Damolekun merely went upstairs to fetched the newly issued or renewed passports, and it turned out that the folks at the passport office section of the consulate of Nigeria, had not gone on some frolic for fun. They were upstairs for a mere couple of minutes to fetch our ready passports

Both Mrs. Comfort Damolekun and Mr. Bello Osagie were epitome of strictly business attitude (passport officers)? and security operatives at the entrance to the consulate were on the same page as if they all read a script or memo which they are following; and dotting each i and crossing each t.

Everyone who I interacted with behaved as if they were deliberately and calculatingly announcing to me that the Consulate of Nigeria in New York is under new management. They were efficient, effective and very businesslike.

To my surprise and delight, my visit to the consulate of Nigeria was seamless and painless and briefest encounter with this consulate and any branch of the strata and levels of our government. This speaks volumes, positively, of the current unassuming technocrat at the helms of our consulate, Consulate General Anwal Ibrahim He is obviously very competent and seasoned, and a superb administrator it, who knows keenly, competent persons to delegate to carry out key component of consular tasks, among other things, such as being Nigeria’s public face, for culture, for tourism and travels to Nigeria and for sorely needed investments and sundry interactions between the diverse peoples of Nigeria and the rest of the wide world. While at the consulate, I had a chanced but brief encounter with Professor Joy Ugwu, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United Nations, who I saw last in Canada, while she was foreign minister. Again, she as well looked resplendent in her culturally appropriate Nigerian attires.

All said and done, we all received excellent service deserving of a five star rating and I enthusiastically offer the Consulate General of Nigeria and his entire staff, and in particular, the Passport Officers, thunderous applause for very efficient and effective delivery of service and a superb representation of Nigeria. The Consulate General and his staff exemplified and epitomized all the excellent things we Nigerians are able to accomplish when we set our minds to national tasks. Bravo for making Nigeria proud!

Consulate of Nigeria New York on the Web? Here her links:

Monday, September 21, 2009

Looming or Impending Constitutional and Political Crises Over Local Government Creation

Looming or Impending Constitutional and Political Crises Over Local Government Creation
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

Creation of more local government areas is desirable for many, if not all the state of Nigeria.

And Lagos state can probably accommodate 100 local government areas instead of the current 20 local government areas. The worthiness of more local government for Lagos state is an argument for another day.

The business at hand is the looming constitutional and political chaos which is quietly brewing and to which millions of Nigerians are notoriously oblivious. President Umaru YarAdua has written a letter to Governor Babatunde Fashola, intimating him of the desire by the federal government of Nigeria to enforce the law and in particular, the true, correct and proper interpretation of Section 8 subsection (3) and (5) of the constitution of Nigeria 1999 which provides in part, that states are empowered to create additional local government areas through their Houses of Assembly. But, however, such new local government areas must not and cannot become operational until they are ratified by the National Assembly as contained in section 8(5) of the same 1999 constitution.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu erstwhile governor of Lagos state created 37 additional local governments in addition to 20, which were then the existing numbers of local government areas in Lagos state. Apart from Lagos, some other states had engaged and pursued the creation of additional local government areas, but without recourse to the constitutionally laid down formalities. There are currently only 774 local government areas in Nigeria and they are listed accordingly, in schedule four of the constitution of Nigeria, 1999.

It is beyond any legal dispute that Lagos and every other of the 36 federating states of Nigeria possess the constitutional rights and power to create additional local government areas, provided of course, that such state, scrupulously complies with all constitutional and statutory formalities. Lagos state, under the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, then a member of Alliance for Democracy or AD before Action Congress or AC was formed, Lagos state under Tinubu, in an opposition party to the central government leadership under a different political party, the Peoples Democratic Party or PDP, chose to disregard these constitutional stipulations. He rather provocatively, created 37 additional local government areas, without liaising with the Nigerian National Assembly. Omitting to synchronize the exercise with the National Assembly appear to have been in bad faith, most probably motivated by fact that Lagos state was at the time administered under a different political party separate, apart and different from the People Democratic Party or PDP. Lagos it will be recalled was not a PDP state. This single fact may very well have created a chasm between Lagos state and the Nigerian federal government in many ways.

There is an impending threat to national security in Nigeria due to the schism between Fashola and YarAdua over the vexation created and foisted by Bola Tinubu for creating 37 additional Local Government Areas in Lagos state. President YarAdua wrote a letter recently to Governor Fashola, demanding that Fashola disband and dismantle the37 additional local government areas, which were improperly, inappropriately if illegally created by Lagos state. My information is that, Lagos state has replied to the president, with thanks, but no thanks! Lagos state is adamantly insisting that Lagos was constitutionally right and therefore protected in indulging in the creation of the additional 37 Local Government Areas which has since made Lagos state a state with 57 local government areas.

Supporters of Lagos state’s arguments for creating additional local government areas, make the revenue allocation arguments, in which part of the federal revenue is allocated per capita of local government areas and these supporters have therefore argued that Lagos with her oversize population deserves additional local government areas. The creation of additional local government areas will in effect, attract additional federal revenue. Lagos state and her supporters have also argued that Lagos state actually have larger population and demands on her resources, in comparison to some other state, which also engaged in unilateral creation of additional local government areas as Lagos state did.

This crises was engendered by Bola Tinubu. And it will be recalled as well, that Bola Tinubu and Orji Kalu of Abia state were among those with whom there was no love lost between them and the then Preident Olusegun Obasanjo; Those familiar with the pro and cons of this debate will recall that Mr. Bola Tinubu took Mr. Obasanjo and or the federal government to courts over the creation of additional local government areas by Lagos state and Lagos subsequently secured a pyrrhic victory at Supreme Court of Nigeria. Pyrrhic victory because, Nigeria Supreme Court ruled in favor of Lagos state in a very narrow and limited sense and it is quite clear that not many Nigerians are familiar at all, with the specificities of the legal or constitutional “victory” by Lagos State over the federal government.

Lagos state created additional local government areas without bothering to comply with the exactitudes of specifications as laid out and spelled out in section 8 (3)(5) of the constitution of Nigeria 1999. Such creation of additional local government areas is constitutionally void ineffectual, void ab initio, until and unless rectified by Nigeria’s National Assembly and this was not done before the creation, during the creation, after the creation and has still not be done, even after the so-called victory at the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The Supreme Court actually spelled out the proper procedure and constitutional methodologies for creating additional local government areas under the relevant sections and subsections of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria. Lagos state has failed, neglected and refused to take any steps to rectify her constitutional lapses. Lagos state has not cured her constitutional blunder. The public misunderstand and misinterprets the “victory” which was awarded to Lagos state by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

Governor Tinubu started this constitutional mess and Mr. Tinubu was one of those, who seemed to have enjoyed his confrontational attitudes directed at Mr. Obasanjo and in the process garnered very bad press for Mr. Obasanjo, as Mr. Obasanjo was portrayed as not following or implementing the court “victory” for Lagos state. Lagos state obtained a pyrrhic “victory” which was actually limited to the detained federal allocations and nothing whatsoever to do with resolving the constitutional lapses, noncompliance or even violations by Lagos state. Eventually, both Mr. Tinubu and Mr. Obasanjo terms of office expired in which case, Governor Fashola as chief executive of Lagos state inherited the assets and liabilities of Lagos state just as President YarAdua inherited the assets and liabilities of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as the chief executive of our federation.

The Supreme Court of Nigeria never at anytime resolved the constitutional noncompliance, lapses and breaches in favor of Lagos state. The Supreme Court merely stated in their verdict, that the central government had no right to detain Lagos state legal share of federally statutorily allocated revenue based on Lagos state constitutional breaches when Lagos state created the additional 37 additional local government areas, without obeisance to constitutional order. The Supreme Court did not and never at any time, resolved the underlying dispute of the breach of constitution by Lagos state, which is, creating additional local government areas without following constitutional procedural processes.

Our constitution of 1999 does say that all federating states in Nigeria, can initiate creations of additional local government areas, but that, as a precondition for legality, such state or states, must engage in the creation, in consonance and even in concert with the National Assembly. In plain English, it simply means that states can, may or shall have right to create additional local government areas, so long as, such state or states, follow the procedural process of … taking the additional and or subsequent constitutional step, of ensuring that Nigeria’s National Assembly approves of what the states are otherwise authorized to do. It is similar to saying, the president has the right to appoint a minister or ministers and such other members into the executive branch or cabinet… but, with the consultation, approval and consent of the national assembly or just the senate. There is a step A and B or a step 1 and then, 2. Lagos got the first step right, but did not, and never took the constitutionally mandated second step of seeking and obtaining or receiving a rectification by and from the National Assembly.

That is the prologue. Governor Fashola and President YarAdua entered the picture in May 2007 and the new chief executives of Lagos state and our federal republic respectively. Most people probably assumed that the matter was or would be resolved amicably, particularly so, following pronouncements by the president and then, the release of rest of the revenues allocated to Lagos state which were still detained by the federal government at the time. President Obasanjo, following the “victory” by Lagos state had released some of the funds, but not all.

Usually reliable sources, has informed that President YarAdua has written a letter to Governor Fashola, in which the president has urged Lagos state to obey the constitution, because the law is the law. And to this, Governor Fashola is said to have responded Lagos state does not feel nor see the need to reverse the creation of the vexed additional 37 local government areas, which Lagos state now coyly and slyly refer to as Local Council Development Areas or LCDAs as if to skirt the illegalities and unconstitutionalities imbued and still embedded in the creation, arising from the failure, neglect and refusal by Lagos state, then and now, to have sought or now seek, the rectification of the exercise by the National Assembly.

It is understood that Governor Fashola and President YarAdua are in a constitutional duel with huge political implications for Lagos and our entire federation. We all should be concerned, because we know, that when elephants fights, the grass necessarily suffers, bearing the brunt of big falls. An ultimatum is ominous. An ultimatum has issued and 14 days will expire. Will the gladiators and matadors in this constitutional, but politically laden battle reach a compromise? Or would Lagos seek to secede from Nigeria?

President YarAdua is determined to enforce the law and the relevant portions of the constitution of Nigeria pertaining to local government creation and has intimated Lagos state his intentions through the fourteen day ultimatum. I cannot fault the president for seeking to defend our federal constitution. Governor Fashola is said to have responded in intransigence contained in a strongly worded letter to the president that Lagos would not oblige!

Governor Fashola is a lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria or SAN at that… this is the second time in a couple of months, during which I am having to wonder about this fact about a senior lawyer who seem to be always willing to jettison the constitution of Nigerian for whatever is politically expedient! Governor Fashola has to know that the constitution of Nigeria was not followed by Lagos state, when she engaged in the creation of the vexed additional 37 LGAs or what Lagos state now terms LCDAs!

Governor Fashola has to know, ought to know, must know that the Supreme Court of Nigeria did not resolve and never intended to resolve the underlying dispute, which is the unconstitutionality of Lagos state acts, in creating additional local government areas. The Supreme Court made pronouncements only in relation Lagos state right to her statutorily allocated federal revenue. Lagos state should be beseeched by all, implored and urged by all, to seek, immediately, a rectification of the aberrantly created 37 local government areas. This matter can be resolved in a bipartisan manner and amicably.

Our nation does not need a head-on collision between Lagos state and the federal government, such collisions seem imminent and Nigeria does not need such distraction in our public space. There is so much needful things in public policy formulations and implementations crying for the attention of Lagos state and the federal government in every area and every facets of life in Nigeria. There is high rate of unemployment, poverty and hopelessness in the land. A Fashola-YarAdua collision will be a dissipation of energy needed for Nigeria’s progress. After fifty years of political independence, we deserve better!

Nigeria needs and deserves peace, security, prosperity, development and greatness

Thursday, September 17, 2009

An Open Letter to Nigerian National Assembly

Deportations of Nigerians Citizens by Governments Foreign and Domestic
An Open Letter to Nigerian National Assembly
Written by Paul I. Adujie

I write to your honorable selves while shedding actual physical and metaphorical tears.
This is because of the precarious plights and predicaments which our citizens face today. This is especially so, among the poorest citizens and those with disabilities. Nigerians at home and abroad, are literarily catching hell from “deportations” Our fellow citizens, are mostly, free of sins and infractions, and yet, they are roundly maltreated by various governments, including our very own federal, state, municipal and other subdivisions of our Nigerian government. And have really come to unfortunate crescendos in Lagos and Kaduna states.

Recently, I became aware of the kidnapping, bundling and dumping of Nigerian citizens, who are afflicted with one disability or the other, including destitution and abject poverty. Nigerian citizens with disabilities, who resort to meager subsistence through requests for alms or street begging, have in recent time bore the brunt of poor public policies, ineptitudes and sheer moral bankruptcies by various strata or levels of the Nigerian governments.

First, it was the government of Lagos state led by Governor Fashola, who though, a senior lawyer, saw it fit to engage in the thrashing of our constitution, with his illegal order to “deport” Nigerian citizens resident in Lagos by choice. Lagos “deported” these Nigerian citizens to Ogun, Oshun, Oyo and Kaduna states. At the time, I expressed the hope that Nigeria’s distinguished National Assembly would take this matter up as a matter of urgent national importance, upon which a threat to national unity and national security could ensue. These “deportations” by Lagos state were well publicized, and I had in good faith hinged my hope upon the fact that our National Assembly would have noticed the unsavory incident because of the publicity, controversies and complaints which attended it.
Here is an excerpt of the news reports “Lamenting on the exercise, some of the destitute who claimed to be indigenes of Kaduna State, said that they have been living in Kano Road Mosque for the past 30 years before they were provided with the Centre eight years ago after the Mosque was burnt during the last crisis in the state. Besides, a cripple who also claimed to be an indigene of the state, Mustapha Abubakar, said they participated in the campaign for the in 2007” The above makes it clear that the actions of Lagos and Kaduna are fraught with dangers. One of the “deportees” from Kaduna actually insists that he is from Kaduna state and had in fact, been a campaigner for Governor Sambo! Additionally, it is the news, in the excerpted parts, that some of these Nigerian citizens were actual residents of Kaduna state for more than thirty years! By any standard, these Nigerians have expressed and demonstrated their preferred state of resident, as Nigerians, for over thirty years!

Lagos state as I feared, have set a most unfortunate precedent! Lagos state has set the pace in constitutional backwardness and retrogression of Nigeria’s national unity efforts. And sadly, Kaduna has joined these backwards and retrograde actions which are a whack in the face of preachment of unity in diversity. State governors are now spearheading the clannishness and ethic separations. State chief executives are now emphasizing distinctions between Nigerian citizenship and state citizenship? State political leaders are creating and enforcing state of origin, and the vexatious indigene versus settler dichotomies, which is what led to the intractable internecine crises in Plateau and other states in the past.

The latest news from Nigeria is that, Governor Alhaji Mohammed Namadi Sambo of Kaduna state, has also engaged in the illegal and barbaric act of “deporting” Nigerian citizens to Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kebbi, Kano, Jigawa states etc! My information is made even sadder by the fact that Lagos and Kaduna states respectively, have used a “means-test” in implementing their dastardly actions against our fellow citizens. First, the actions were taken because Nigerian citizens in question are citizens with disabilities. Secondly, another basis of these “deportations” was that these Nigerian citizens are unemployed and poor. But how could any subdivision of our government do this, in particular, given the fact that there is currently rampant and pervasive graduate unemployment in Nigeria. Would Lagos and Kaduna states resort to deporting unemployed college graduates soon?

Governor Fashola of Lagos state and Governor Sambo of Kaduna state, respectively, should be sanctioned and censured by all and in particular, by Nigeria’s National Assembly. As a matter of fact, I rather surprised that our National Assembly has not weighed in and waded into this matter. The political leaders of Lagos and Kaduna have earned our collective rebukes and reprimands for their ill-treatments of Nigerian citizens.

I am a Nigerian by birth, in blood and in full spirit. But I live and work in New York City, and for that, Americans call me and regard me as a New Yorker, and it worries me to think that I have more rights in New York City, in the United States, than fellow Nigerian citizens in Lagos and Kaduna, just because they suffer abject poverty and physical disabilities, and so, Lagos and Kaduna, instead of seeking to protect the weakest and powerless in our society, Lagos and Kaduna actually determined that it is good public policy to settle political squabble with their political opponents, on the backs and at the expense, of our society’s most vulnerable citizens? What has become of my beloved country?

Why must Lagos and Kaduna states be allowed to play ping-pong with our citizens with disabilities? Why must Lagos, Kaduna, and other states which are likely to follow these bad examples, be allowed to think they can settle political scores with, perhaps the federal government, through the maltreatment of our most defenseless citizens? Would Lagos and Kaduna attempt to “deport” Iwuchukwu, Dangote or Adenuga? We all understand that 100 Senior Advocates of Nigeria would line up to freely defend these millionaires!

The extent of refinement of the Nigerian human condition, will be measured and determined by, what we do as a society, as a nation, to our citizens with disabilities; our citizens without abundant financial and material means. Hence our treatment of the most defenseless and must vulnerable amongst our citizenry. And these are the citizens being deported now, by Lagos and Kaduna and whatever state cares to join these wayward trailblazer states

It is my view that our home government, as any responsible government, should flinch and squirm, and then rouse to action, even if staggers sometimes, anytime there is news of a Nigerian suffering, anywhere on earth. Our government should spare no efforts in protecting and preserving our country, and our citizens, at home and abroad. It is doubly troubling, that Nigerians are being “deported” within Nigeria and our federal government has not as much made a statement, to admonish, advice, rebuke or explain, why these “deportations” are illegal, unconstitutional or otherwise. I take the view that there is a need for clarifications as to whether or not, states and political subdivisions in Nigeria can, without probable or just cause, summarily extinguish a Nigerian citizen’s choice of state or locale of residence? The Nigerian National Assembly should rouse the executive branch of government, by summoning the Internal Affairs Minister, the Attorney General of the Federation as well, as the governors of Lagos and Kaduna states respectively.

There is the other matter of Nigerians facing trials, in various legal troubles, including deportation. I am quite aware that Nigeria is doing better now, than we did in the past, when Nigerians outside of our shores face legal troubles, as it happens to citizens and other immigrants in countries where Nigerians may reside. And Nigerians are, and Nigerians can be found in every country on earth these days, thanks to comatose and porous economy. All representatives of Nigeria abroad, should be acculturated and schooled to understand that Nigerians facing legal troubles are innocent until proven guilty, even upon proof of guilt, such Nigerian citizens remain Nigerians first and foremost, and extricating Nigerians in legal mess remains a core obligation. It is not the duty of our representatives in Foreign Service, to join, collaborate or collude in the diminishments of any Nigerian, under any circumstances! On this point, there is a lot, and a great deal of improvement which is necessary, and perhaps, we can borrow a learning leaf, from Mexico and other countries, who vigorously and robustly advocate the causes of their citizens, whether they murderers, or they have simply cross the borders illegally. Nigeria should no longer harshly judge, maltreat and humiliated Nigerian citizens who endure humiliations and double misfortunes of deportations from abroad. This is particularly so, in a tight labor market everywhere, which may lead to a spike in the deportation rates from different parts of the world.

I will also like to use this medium to invite the Nigerian National Assembly, our august legislative body, to permanently concern itself, with the fortunes and misfortunes of all Nigerians, and in this regard, Nigerians who are in economic dire straits. Nigerians who may out these sorts of economic hardships, sufferings and desperations, embark on foolhardy dangerous death defying deserts and oceans crossing, in, the too often vain hope, of a better life outside Nigeria. There are Nigerian young girls, who are reportedly beaten, raped and sexually abused all over Europe where these young girls voluntarily and involuntarily prostitutes themselves as the only non-choice choice or only game in town for survival.

I reckon that members of the Nigerian National Assembly are mightily worried over the plights and predicaments of Nigerians at home and abroad, but in particular, the plight and predicaments of Nigerian citizens with disabilities, who are not facing the brunt of bad public policies recently enunciated by Lagos and Kaduna states respectively. Even though I am a private citizen of Nigeria, here, in far away New York City, it worries me, each time I read about our society’s seeming cavalier treatment reserved for Nigerian citizens with disabilities and Nigerians who are poor, whose personal economic pressures and even misfortunes have compelled to Libya, Italy, Ireland, France and everywhere in between, where Nigerians are found these day. Places where a great number of Nigerians suffer in dungeons, or the fringes of host societies. Places where some of them get deported to Nigeria, with empty pockets and broken and or dead dreams!

There are many reasons why Nigerians live overseas these days; many of these reasons are non-choice sorts of reasons. Then imagine a Nigerians who lives abroad almost involuntarily, who then gets deported back to Nigeria, also, involuntarily?

Mass migrations by Nigerians whether to Libya or Europe and beyond is connected with Boko Haram and prostitution by young Nigerian women in Europe, and graduate unemployment and beggars and destitution in Nigeria---poverty, poverty, not of resources or materials, but instead, poverty of ideas! Nigeria in fact has abundant human and material resources for all Nigerians. Nigerians and Nigeria ought not to be mentioned in the same sentence!

Has our moral fiber so degenerated? It is my strong belief that our National Assembly should and make pronouncements on these matters otherwise the actions of Lagos and Kaduna are mere harbinger of worse things to come… Nigeria is entering a slippery slope of national disintegration. These first steps, are outrageously devaluing the meaning and worth of our national citizenship. These discriminations could come in larger proportions.

I call on the Nigerian National Assembly to as a matter national priority and in utmost urgency, to examine the recent spate of “deportations” of Nigerian citizens, by Lagos and Kaduna state governments respectively. Our National Assembly should as well, scrutinize the treatment, including the meting out of the capital punishments or the death penalty to tens of Nigerian citizens by Libya. Nigeria should put every country and the entire world on notice, that the lives of Nigerians are valuable. Protecting and preserving the lives, rights and properties of Nigerian citizens of every social strata is job number one for the National Assembly, and in fact for every level of the Nigerian government

This means that defenseless abjectly poor Nigerian citizens with disabilities should no longer be treated like used furniture. On the other hand in the foreign policy front, Nigeria should hold any and every country accountable and responsible for how such country treat or maltreat Nigerian citizens, and such, should be considered, contemplated and deliberated in Nigeria’s diplomatic, economic, trade and strategic relationship with any and every country worldwide. Nigerians matters, Nigerians, rich, abjectly poor and even with disabilities, are why Nigeria matters!

Please Google:
1. Nigerian Citizenship Should Be Redefined NOW! (published in August 2009)

2. Nigerian Citizenship Should Be Redefined (published in June 2004)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Obama Dared By Israel’s Toxic Arrogance!

Obama Dared By Israel’s Toxic Arrogance!

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Remain Adamant On Jewish Settlements Expansions. He is recalcitrant and unrepentant even in the face of findings by the United Nations and polite entreaties from the United States.

Recently, Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, angered American and Palestinian negotiators by saying that 450 previously planned housing units in Jewish settlements on the West Bank should be built, despite demands for a complete building freeze by the United States, the United Nations and lovers of peace worldwide

Even as I write this, The New York Times reported that “Israeli officials on Wednesday bluntly dismissed one of the main recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission’s report on the three-week war in Gaza last winter: a call for the Israeli government to begin an independent investigation of “serious violations” of international humanitarian and human rights law, including evidence of war crimes, during the military campaign.”

The world should want to know why Israel defies everyone, as of Israel is above the law and above reproach? Not even the United Nations is spared Israel disrespect and disregard, as she continues to belligerent and resort to bellicose tones when prodded to be accountable and held responsible for her harsh and even brutal actions directed at Palestine!

And this week, I was reading an advert place in the current copy of The New Republic Magazine, in it, supporters of Israel excoriated Palestine, as they attempted to justify Israel’s intransigence in the Palestine – Israel peace process. A particular term was deployed by these Israel supporters more than once; it caught my attention because it is very revealing of the pervasive mindsets and attitudes which have made peace impossible in the Middle East. The vexatious term was this, “allow” these supporters of Israel wrote that. Binyamin Netanyahu is willing to “allow” the creation or establishment of Palestine nation to coexist, side by side with Israel! An individual, the prime minister of Israel, will “allow” the creation or establishment of a nation?
The New Republic also published an article ”Back to Reality” by one Shmuel Rosner who in an excerpt here state “Earlier this week, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced his intention to “establish a de facto state apparatus within the next two years.” On the face of it, his plan sounds quite detached from reality, eliciting guffaws from Israeli politicians such as Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who said that "[t]here is no place for unilateral actions.” The plan ignores “a central component of the framework in which Fayyad himself is permitted to function, and from which he derives his own authority,” warned Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to Israel’s foreign ministry.” There is a clear disdain and utter contempt for Palestinians by the Israelis!

Anyone who cares about human rights, justice and peace, would have to read these and be in tears, as it the statement is clearly indicative of the state of affairs in geopolitical power play, and in this case, between Palestine, the clear underdog, and Israel, which plays the role of the hawk, the hyena and lion of the Middle East. Reading that arrogant statement about “allowing” the creation or establishment of the nation of Palestine laid bare, the contempt, disdain and complete disregard which Israel and her load supporters reserves for Palestine, and by extension, all Arabs!

Reading the statement led me to wonder why it should be up to Binyamin Netanyahu (merely just an individual person) or Israel, merely one nation, to “allow” the creation, establishment and existence of another nation? Palestine will be the national corporate entity of the peoples of Palestine, an independent nation with political, economic independence, and with territorial integrity!

But part of the “conditions” being “generously offered” by Binyamin Netanyahu, as announced by these supporters of Israel, is that Palestine will be demilitarized! In plain English, Palestine, the only version Israel and her supporters can live with will, and must be a Palestine without an army or arms and ammunitions. I am personally against the squander of public resources on arms and armaments .However, I will rather that such decisions are left to individual nations. And perhaps, Israel, and her supporters, will have to defer to Palestinians on such matters. Added to this already unreasonable preconditions by Israel, is the added acid to an open wound, as Israel adamantly insist on pushing ahead with settlement expansions on Palestine territories against the wishes of the whole world. Israel persists in land-grabs even as Israel pretend interest in peaceful coexistence with Palestine and Arabs.

Clearly, the road to peace between Palestine and Israel cannot be paved with dictations from Israel to Palestine. The continuing land grabs by Israel is illegal, unreasonable and quite counterproductive to peace efforts by all.

There is tremendous arrogance on the part of Israel and her supporters. The arrogance displayed in stated conditions, are so toxic in their strengths and capacity to derail any peace overtures. These are industrial strength toxic arrogance on the part of Israel and her supporters. It must be understood that these unreasonable preconditions such as enumerated above, are sure to derail any peace talks with anyone, Palestinians, Albanians or Congolese!

In July 2009 Obama lectured and scolded Africans and peoples of African descent in Accra Ghana and New York City respectively, in Accra, where he addressed the parliament of Ghana, and then, in New York City while he addressed the national of NAACP. Strangely, Obama applauded by panoply of strange bedfellows, replete with a combination of racists, ultra conservatives and revisionists, all of whom latched onto Obama’s inappropriate ill-considered speech. They were all excited because Obama was carrying their mantle. And giving disrespectful disparaging speeches, these racists and conservatives would like to deliver to us, except that they know that we would promptly call them out on it!

In July as now, I disagreed vehemently with those who excused Obama’s inappropriate speech with spurious illogicality by arguing that Obama was merely demonstrating “Tough Love” or alternatively, Obama was telling his continental Africans and peoples of African descent, a so-called “Bitter-Truths”! I was accused of quibbling then and I will remark now, that Obama does not have the political spine to tell Jews and or Israel to zip it! This week, it came to pass only barely a month after I quibbled to the chagrin of some; Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu the current prime minister of Israel has in one full-swoop turned the already fragile-volatile and tentative Israel –Palestine moribund or comatose peace initiative of the Obama administration asunder! Netanyahu has, in flagrant disregard for the desires of the Obama guys, to eschew the continued expansion of settlement upon Palestine territories which is still occupied by Israel, announced that building permits are granted and thereby guarantees the continued boon to the expansion of settlements on the land-grabbed from Palestine by Israel!

Obama does not have the political nerve or political capital with which to compel American Jews and their client-protégé, Benyamin, to tow the line of the fragile peace “talks” which were being brokered by the Obama’s administration between Palestine and Israel in particular, and Jews and Arabs in general. There is this very tempting urge to now say, oh yes, I told you so! Where is Obama’s so-called “Tough-Love and Bitter Truths”? When it comes to Benyamin and Israel in reference to Palestine lands and rights?

Where Is Obama’s Tough Love and Bitter Truth For Israel? Where is truth in diplomacy? These questions are relevant here again as they were earlier this summer. Obama’s lectures and scolding of Africans and peoples of African descent, first in Accra Ghana Obama’s bully pulpit and the second time was, while he addressed the centennial of the premier Civil Rights Organization, the NAACP in New York City.

I was badgered by critics who insisted that Obama was merely telling Africans and peoples of African descent, the bitter truth and in the process, he was showing tough love to representatives of the communities he addressed in Accra Ghana and New York City in the United States, respectively. I argued then, as I will now, that Obama does not have the gravitas to scold, lecture and shame others, and Jews and Israel in particular, the way he had, to with the Africans and peoples of African descent.

The Obama administration have during the past several months, offered polite entreaties and all manners of ego massages with diplomatic finesse for political leaders in Israel, beseeching Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister, not to approve or encourage expansion of settlements in Palestine territories occupied by Israel. When will these benign entreaties yield way to bitter truths and tough love for Israel? Perhaps, when Abbas, Netanyahu and Obama meet in New York City soon?

Regardless of all of Obama’s best efforts, Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have just approved the expansion and upward multiplications of more settlements upon Palestine territories. This action is inimical to the peace process and Israel, which is usually loudest as the side with peace overtures and peace offensive, are again yanking the chains of the peace process. This intransigence flies in the face efforts which are being made by many sides to the Arab-Israeli peace process. Perennially, Palestine have been deftly portrayed by Israel, and pro-Israel groups, as being to blame for continued failure of the intractable dispute between Israel and Palestine, and to some extent, the entire Arab world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Obama Is Not An American!

Obama Is Not American!

By Paul I. Adujie

In 2007, events in the United States moved me to wonder publicly, whether race relations were actually getting worse as opposed to, progressing? I asked then and I ask again now, whether “Race Relations Is Regressing in America? What with the return to slavery era language? What with a return to tactics of that ignominious era? Brandishing of weapons, guns, knives, fire, fists, clubs, stones and the pinning of mustache on Obama to portray his as fascist and even as Adolf Hitler?

Last Saturday, crowds of mostly racists, illiterates and bigots besieged Washington D.C. in their thousands. And they chanted USA, USA, USA, they claimed that they are the “real” Americans; self-proclaimed “Nativists” who were saying that this is a matter of self-preservation, against socialists and communists, arguments cloaked in identical façade during battles against slavery and segregation when racists claimed that they were trying to preserve their race or its “purity” They mostly spoke in code words often used by racists and xenophobes. Those Minuteman types, who never worry about terrorists coming into the USA through Canada, as have been the case, but, they rather paranoid about hardworking immigrants coming into the United States from Mexico. Racism, bigotry and prejudice is written all over the current attacks against President Obama, by these chortling crowd.

This is all about Obama’s color! Some Americans are labeling President Obama Adolf Hitler, Al Quieda sympathizer, a September 11, 2002 hijacker, an advocate of Eugenics, a Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro identical policy twin! Ignorant protesters with a herd mentality, they are so illiterate, so much so, they confuse feudal Russia with Czars, with communists who overthrew the feudalists! So that the appointment of czars (heads of government agency) to enforce policies is synonymous with the introduction of communism into America by Obama, so that, transport czar, internet security czar and narcotics enforcement czar, are all harbingers of the onset of communism into America through Obama!

The protesters were mostly nuts and simpletons, who are being choreographed by the inanities of political handlers and some ratings conscious members of the so-called mainstream media, who are milking the advertised idiocies of these nuts, for high ratings. There are willful exploitation of these multitudes of illiterate Americans by Machiavelli like politicians and journalists, who are polarizing the American populace for monetary benefits. President Obama is falsely accused of planning to confiscate privately owned properties of individual Americans as well as planning to impose Islam on unsuspecting Christians in America.

Since the presidential campaign in 2008 during which the term “real Americans and real America” was made a recurring term by that incongruously ignorant Sarah Palin of small town, in Alaska, it has become a euphemism for those with the nonsensical conspiracy theory regarding whether or not Obama is ineligible to be elected or to have been elected president of the United States. Those conspiracy theorists, better known as “conspi-racists” for their “conspi-racism”, have become so loud, and they are also now, alternately referred to as the “birthers”

Harsh racial politics of South Carolina is historical. A South Carolina Congressman once brought a cane to whip state of Massachusetts US Senator Charles Sumner, on the almost to death because Sumner was an abolitionist, and an advocate for the end to slavery… and all this happened on the floor of the US Congress.

In proper perspectives therefore, historically, South Carolina, has been perennially backward, in racial matters… it is no surprise that Joe Wilson, the “Con-gressman” for SC would, on the floor of the US Congress shout-down President Obama, in Wilson most outrageous manner. South Carolina is also one of the states in the South, which still proudly hoist the “Con-federate” flag… which celebrates confederacy, with all its pungent putrid history of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow laws and institutional racism etc

On the floor of the US Congress, the following statements were made by US Congressman James Henry Hammond

"All this leave one to wonder what would happen next, would South Carolina and their fellow con-federates with shared racism seek secession from the United States as they did in the past? A South Carolina Congressman, James Henry Hammond once said, “Although I am perfectly satisfied that no human process can elevate the black man to an equality with the white - admitting that it could be done – are we prepared to face the consequences which then must follow? Are the people of the North prepared to … place their political power on equality with their own? Are we prepared to see them mingling in our legislatures? Is any portion of this country prepared to see them enter these halls and take their seats by our sides, in the perfect equality with the white representatives of an Anglo-Saxon race – to see them fill that chair – to see them placed at the heads of your Departments; or to see, perhaps, some Othello, or Toussaint, or Boyer, gifted with the genius and inspired by ambition, grasp the presidential wreath, and wield the destinies of this great republic? From such a picture I turn with irrepressible disgust”

This was hundred of moons ago. We all thought that these sorts of mindsets and racists attitudes were behind us” But no!

There is so much idiocy going on in America these days. Racism is alive and well, but it now too often wears fine clothes and expresses itself in impeccable grammar wrapped in robust syntax. These season of unreason and idiocies by racists, (and their facilitators) have been exacerbated in recent times, as more and more racists are expressing their crude umbrages because a man with darker hues, unusual and unknown in the “traditions” of the Oval Office, in the presidential building of the United States, which is also known as the White House. Why would any sane American compare President Obama to Adolf Hitler? It is the case that Obama has been called Marxist, fascist, socialist, communist and his upper lip adorned with a mustache reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s mustache, how egregious!

Many American racists are obviously pained and sorely disappointed by the fait accompli of having, this colored-man at the helms of political affairs, in the United States! Who would have thunk-it?! That there is a biracial man, who now parades himself as president of the United States! What has the world turned to? And they seem to hide and seek refuge in the open, with their base racists commentaries against Obama, even as the cast themselves as being merely interested in critical examinations of Obama’s public policies.

These strident and most vociferous critics are no critics at all; they are really bigoted attackers of President Obama. Their racial prejudices cannot be concealed, despite their most ostentatious efforts at obfuscating their real motives and intents, in all of this. What does any reasonable person make of those who remain adamant and persistent insistence, in their conspiracy theories regarding President Obama’s place of birth and religious adherence? ” Despite incontrovertible evidence, and available facts, the Birthers” continues to assert that Mr. Obama was not born in the United States! And clearly, this is an attack as to his qualification to be president of the United States. If these shenanigans were merely at the fringes of public debate and the American society, it would have been easy to dismiss it.

But, when so-called journalist such as Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and many more on the television, are continually and continuously giving pedestals and podiums for psychotic debates about Obama’s citizenship and religion, the prejudice and bigotry rises to a din and uncomfortable decibels. These persons are using the same sorts of language and crudity, which propels anti abortion protesters to murders and maiming of innocent people, and their facilitators and those who spur them to violence are then quick to feign a lack of responsibility, when violence ensues from their useless rhetoric which they spew for profits!

Tea Party, Freedom Works, Lou Dobbs of CNN, Ann Coulter, Glen Beck and his 9/12 Project and now, Congressman Joe Wilson, have demeaned and denigrated the president of the United States in terms and manners not seen since the 1800s. And were harm to befall Obama, these folks here who are endorsing idiocies and outrageous behaviors now, even if endorsing only coyly and in some cases, tacitly, would pretend unawareness of logical consequences that are now apparent and clearly foreseeable, as outgrowth of the poisons which the are currently peddling in the media

President Obama inherited two foreign wars, and a third war at home, here in the US, the wrecked economy, with attendant joblessness and frayed nerves, were the doings of Obama’s predecessor. Former President Bush burned billions of dollars, a trillion dollars and counting, in foreign wars, in his wrong-header policies and pursuit of phantom terror wars. And Obama is not even at the deck for 8 months and he is being blamed for the mess which he inherited!

Attackers of President Obama rallied in Washington D.C this past weekend, and their pronouncements, their placards, their composition, their sponsors, organizers all point to the unsavory motives of the rally and the participants. The rally was not about Health Care Reform or about any public policy. But instead, it is clear that they were motivated by vile and hatred. Just imagine those who picked quarrels with the present speech to students who were returning to school. This president is not the first to have given pep-talk to American youngsters. However, some racial baiters and racial racketeers, found it fit to suggest that President Obama was in the process on introducing their children to socialism, communism etc. They accused the president of the United States of planning to indoctrinate their children, and these magnificently ignorant attackers of the president, chose to withdraw their children and wards from school, as if the president was visiting schools, oozing with contagious diseases, maybe Swine-Flu?

I think it should be clear that the undertones of this “revolt” against President Obama’s pep-talk to American school kids, was an unstated retort, “I do not want this Negro to indoctrinate my children into socialism and theories about wealth redistribution; My child should not have to hear anything this Negro has to say” The truth of the matter is, even for those who disagree with Obama, can agree that he has the antecedents which makes him a good example or role-model for children everywhere! And I do not understand why any parent would tell a child not to listen to such a compelling example? Or why the fixation of about risks children being indoctrinated by the president. This is all about total disrespect and devaluing the presidency because of the individual who now occupies the position. There are concerted efforts to demean the current occupant of the White House.

Congressman Joe Wilson of South Carolina, brought this to the surface last Wednesday, when he behaved like a thug in the hallowed halls of the US Congress, he shouted epithets at the Negro who is parading as president of the United States!

There are, sadly, too many Americans, whose patience have been tested in the past several months, tested by the singular fact of having to call a man with a natural tan, the president of the United States! The events have been unfolding in sequence. There are those who have argued forcefully that Obama was not born in the United States, and that if he is an American citizen at all, he does not qualify, as a matter of constitutional law, to hold the presidency, as a matter of law, only citizens by birth, and not by naturalization or registration, qualify, to be elected president of the United States.

Then, there were those who were so affronted and miffed, at the prospect of this Negro and charlatan, posturing as president of the United States, and using such “false” claims, as pedestal, podium or platform to teach American children about anything! Not even a Pep talk about how to succeed against all odds? And certainly not about personal hygiene in foreboding possible Swine-Flu! Don’t you talk to my kid! No Negro talks to my kid or tells my kid how life works, never! Say the racists. And just when you were convinced that the birthers and their ilk are deranged conspiracy theorists, mostly at the fringes of the American society, a confederate soldier showed up and bared his fangs in the hallowed halls of the US Congress, he disgracefully, unabashedly and shamelessly interrupted the president mid-speech to the nation, on prime television no less, while the world watched!

You may not be as rattled as some of us are about this sequence s of events. But please be reminded that Obama was mentioned in the same sentence with guns and assassinations during the presidential campaigns in the United States in 2008. Kindly be further advised, that the Health Care Reform debates have been hijacked by persons who have demonstrated vehemence beyond impolite and cantankerous hectoring-heckling of anyone a scintilla of support for any health care reform measure.

There have been occasions when some opponents of the reforms have felt the “need” to show up with weapons at Town-Hall meetings or such other venues, just to add toxins and “gunpowder” to the needful health care reform debate. All sorts of bizarre extremisms have been employed by attackers of Obama’s Health Care Reform, among which is the falsehood, that the contemplated reforms, includes Death Panels, which would summarily decide who lives and who dies, as features of the reform rules.

We have witnessed the theatrics of the so-called Tea Party or anti tax opponents of President Obama. It has become clear, if gradually, that there is a taint and tinge beyond the pale, all these cloaked attacks on President Obama, even though many a racists still pretend to have finesse and freedom of expression sheaths, over their racially sharpened swords.

The opposition by these racists, steeped in their resentment, in having to “endure” the tenure of a president, whose color operates as an unmitigated shock to their intelligence. Congressman Wilson impulsive outbursts is proof, that racism directed at Obama since his election, is not isolated, nor should it be dismissed infinitesimal or inconsequential chatter by those in the political fringes of the American society. Those in the business of protecting President Obama should become robust and rigorous in his security and safety precautionary measures. Mr. Obama’s security team are now sufficiently on notice, that there are those in the United States, who would do Obama harm, physically, if Obama’s security detail slips.

All these are clearly indicative of the fact that racism remains an albatross around the neck of the United States. We only need to just look at the “Tea-Bagers” pretend Tea Parties, then The “Birthers” Con-gressman Joe Wilson outrageous outbursts and now, these marchers consisting of one peculiar hue; even as they wrap themselves in their CON-federate flag… what does all this tell us?

Only last week, we all witnessed the silliness of those who did not want President Obama to give their children pep talk about how to stay in school and succeed in life against all odds. Some clearly did not want their children to listen to whatever that “Negro” has to say!

I will have to assume that everyone can see clearly now, that we do not as yet, live in a color-blind society! Or live in the nonsense which some call a post-racial society, especially, since President Obama’s election!

Racists are alive and well, and sadly, in huge numbers!

During this tumultuous week, the only speech to which its listeners did not behave like a bunch of children was actually the speech by Obama to school kids. This was quite unlike the speech to the US Congress which met unsavory reactions, such reactions, as from those who mechanically clapped, or stopped clapping midway or the Joe Wilson outrageous outbursts as he castigated the president a liar!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Sanusi Sanitization of Banking in Nigeria A Great Clean Up?

The Sanusi Sanitization of Banking in Nigeria A Great Clean Up?
Written by Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

All Nigerians should answer a few questions in connection with the spate of actions by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi; are Nigerian Bankers on trial Innocent or is Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi Is Wrong on his sanitization drive?

And while at it, all Nigerians should also endeavor to answer a few more questions regarding the pandemic of corruption. Who should fight corruption in Nigeria and how? Who exactly qualifies to fight corruption neutrally and freely, without having to face fluid charges of selective prosecution, witch-hunting and vindictiveness or economic- political intimidations of targeted enemies; sectionalism, regionalism and nepotism etc? Who?

There was a time in our recent history, when Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, a lawyer, police officer and chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was castigated as a protégé of then President Olusegun Obasanjo and labeled irreparably, as a mere agent or even political thug, who hot-pursued only Mr. Obasanjo’s political enemies who also doubled as his opponents in the fight to occupy Nigeria’s political prime space. Imagine Tafa Balogun, the former Inspector General of Police as one of Olusegun Obasanjo’s political enemy? In the end, Ribadu was emasculated and demeaned out of the chairpersonship the EFCC and out of the Nigerian Police establishment. Some people remain deeply suspicious of, even Nuhu Ribadu’s best efforts while at the helms of the EFCC. But from my standpoint on Nigeria, the emasculation of Nuhu Ribadu emasculated all of us Nigerians!

In essence, endless attempts to fight corruption in Nigeria have always encountered this turgid reform resistance army of the corrupt and powerful. There is a persisting and recurrent attitude of distrust among Nigerians. And every leadership initiatives have suffered and borne the brunt of this attitude. Many Nigerians did not trust Muhamadu Buhari and his late brother, Tunde Idiagbon, in the duo’s fight against corruption and decadence in Nigeria. Hence the duo, were popular only briefly, and suddenly became too unpopular, just before the gap-toothed man with a mansion on the hills of Minna overthrew Buhari/Idiagbon in a self-serving, self-preservation coup. Nigerians can even recall that before Buhari/Idiagbon, there was Murtala Mohammed, an imperfect man by all accounts, a man who sought to tackle corruption head on as well, before he was gunned down by evil forces. Nigerians and Nigeria have always been or appear to be at the very cusp of the war against corruption, and then, a quick return to the epicenter and deeper closer to the precipice of corruption evil Armageddon, perennially foist upon Nigeria by those who do not mean well for Nigeria’s progress, development and advancement.

The synopsis of all efforts at eradicating and eliminating corruption from Nigeria clearly indicate that all such efforts have been met with vigorous resistance by the corrupt and very powerful segment of the Nigerian population. It does appear from these foregoing paragraphs Nigerians have managed to have rejected every corruption fighter, who had appeared on out corruption fighting stage, as imperfect. By default, we have, in unison determined that previous actors so far, were not qualified or competent or perfect enough, to fight our battles with corruption? Are Nigerians about to be misled into rejecting Sanusi Lamido sanusi, without careful and somber examination and consideration? Are Nigerians about to reject Governor Sanusi, yet another current fighter of corruption, the national albatross and nemesis of our national development advancement? Is history about to repeat itself in our fight against corruption in Nigeria again? Even despite our professed determination to rid Nigeria of corruption? Is our proclaimed hatred for corruption and corrupt persons really genuine? Or why do we seem to always rally-around those who make corruption in Nigeria wreath-large as chokehold on our necks? Our national developmental necks! Why do some of us always seem to find excuses for the corrupt instead of solid support for those who fight corruption?
Many commentators were miffed and expressed displeasures against Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, when he sought to streamline banking, through recapitalization. His efforts led to family-fronts which, in the past paraded as banks or financial institutions in Nigeria, merge into, consolidate, arguably into more viable and sustainable banks, with capital and size, comparable to banks in other nations. Soludo’s solutions were imperfect. Soludo is, even now being accused of cover-ups, collusion with banks for personal benefits and conflicts of interests etc. These allegations, if proven, should be condemned by all.

Now, enters Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who sees banking in Nigeria as different from the way his predecessor CBN governor saw it. This is the same Lamido Sanusi, who upon being appointed, was quickly portrayed as someone who could not run even a chicken farm effectively-efficiently, and Sanusi was quickly portrayed by some, as incapable and incompetent and quite unlike his predecessor, an acclaimed or vaunted professor of economics! Some created the impression that the banking skies would fall in Nigeria, if someone such as Sanusi is appointed to run the Central Bank of Nigeria!

I thought Soludo’s consolidation idea was a good one, base primarily on my knowledge of banking in Nigeria. As I was aware the fact that too many individual families were forming personal entities which did not deserved to bear the toga, bank. Such banks were notoriously lacking in sound solid capital base. Therefore, demanding increase in their capitalization or nudging them into conglomerates in mergers and acquisitions, was not entirely a bad idea in the circumstances.

At the time I had written, supporting the action “Crying And Bleeding For Bankers And Banks In Nigeria?” This was my opinion about the consolidation exercise, which I was critical of banking practices in Nigeria. There is vindication now, in seeing the charges against bank executives who were merely extensions of some families. And families and friends received loans without collateralizations! Nigeria’s economy was left holding the empty bag, and fraudulent bag. In “Crying And Bleeding For Bankers And Banks In Nigeria?” I asked and wondered aloud, why Nigerian banks never invested in education through loans to students in colleges, universities and other tertiary institutions. And further, why, Nigerian banks never invest in agriculture and food production, through loans to farmers and investors in agriculture and food production. And oh why, Nigerian banks never spur industrial development through loans to investors in Small and Medium Enterprises. Why Nigerian banks never engage in the profitable practice of micro-financing, considering the high levels of abject poverty in the land of 150 million people? But instead, Nigerian banks have, for the most part and in the main, specialized in the sale of foreign exchange and quick profits, without actual banking services to both the public and private sectors!

The falsities and frauds which are now being uncovered are responsible for the lack of capacity utilization in the Nigerian economy. And only recently, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) complained publicly, about how Nigerian banks are not helping matters of spurring economic development and progress through the infusion of needed resources into action production base of our economy. Clearly, MAN is in position to know, because their members are in the manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy. And the world now knows, through Lamido Sanusi’s sanitizations, that Nigerians banks have not demonstrated good faith in the economy, nor shown any of their interests in our development outcomes. But, we told you so! There were those who attacked me and defended Nigerian bankers against my article some years ago. But the numerous charges against several bank executives now prove the point we sought to make then and now.
Several bank executives and other bankers, have been alleged to have engaged in “Granting loans to many others without adequate collateral contrary to the provisions of Failed Bank (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Bank Act, Cap F2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and other offences punishable under the same law. According to EFCC, the offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 28 (3) and 50 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) CAP B3, Laws of Nigeria, 2004.”

Or “Failed to keep proper books of accounts and classification of commercial papers as contingent liabilities of his bank ” A particular bank chief was alleged to have engaged in misconduct as “He was also accused of failing to take reasonable steps to ensure the correctness of the bank’s monthly return to CBN from October 2008 to May 2009.”

Several other ranking banking leaders, were similarly accused as follows, “The seven non-executive directors and members of Board of Directors of Intercontinental Bank, who were the third set to be arraigned on 18 count charges, were accused of colluding with the former managing director, Akingbola (now at large), to grant various credit running into over N36 billion to companies, in which they are also directors without security.”

The list of charges goes on and on, such as the fact that “They were also accused of taking $10,000 as holiday allowance in contravention of the code of conduct for banks issued by CBN.” And further that “The bank directors were further accused of ensuring that the balance sheet of Intercontinental Bank did not give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the bank with regards to the non-performing credit amounting to N87.6 billion.”

I am horrified petrified by these damning revelations above and I am left to wonder whether most Nigerians, including the public commentators and journalists, who have published opinions so far, are paying close attention to all the facts and sundry allegations against these several Nigerian bankers who are facing criminal charges? Have they examined the nature, the extent and magnitude of damage to our economy and far reaching ramifications being alleged by the prosecutors? And whether our focus should not be why it should matter to us all, and matter deeply, the truth of these charges? If these charges are true and proven, it will be clear to us all, why our economy has been terminally ill and comatose!

Why are some Nigerians focused on ancillary and extraneous issues? Mrs. Ibru’s fine and robust skin was mauled by mosquitoes and Nigeria should declare a national day of mourning her encounters with mosquitoes and her seemingly choreographed fainting spell in the courtroom? Even as her doctor certified her fit to continue to face charges. Too many Nigerians are too elitist and so class and wealth conscious. Or why is it, that none of these same silly journalists worried about Mrs. Ibru’s entanglements with mosquitoes, are not similarly worried about the more than 100, 000 poor Nigerians Awaiting Trials and detained for years, and their nightly encounters with mosquitoes and malnutrition and other abject conditions in Nigerian detention centers and prisons? So what if mosquitoes bite the opulent Mrs. Ibru?

Poor Nigerians detainees who have not committed any offense at all or anything close to the heinous offenses these bank executives have been accused of? The bank executives are alleged to be responsible for how things have been in Nigeria… comatose economy, capital flight and the contradiction of huge annual bank profits! Who cries for common man detained without trial, as malnutrition and mosquitoes feast on her in the putrid conditions of our detention centers and prisons? Why are some Nigerian journalists crying for the purveyors of our stunted growth and stifled development? Nigerians should demand that these accused bankers receive severest possible punishment, when and if proven guilty! At least, Mrs. Ibru and other bankers are getting their day in court! Could we say that for the more than 100,000 citizens of Nigeria, who are detained indefinitely and awaiting trial endlessly?

Some Nigerians have instead squandered and expended their energies accusing Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as having a “Sectional Agenda”, hence this upheaval and “trumped up” charges, but in my view, Nigerians should urge those bankers who are currently facing trials, to prove their innocence of all the charges leveled against them by CBN and the EFCC. Why does it appear to me, that a section of the Nigerian Press is driving the criticism against Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s current policy? I guess these bankers also own and control these newspapers and the journalists within them, and that is why the coverage is slanted and so lopsided against Governor Sanusi?

I myself suspect that a sectional defense of the accused bankers and a sectional defense of Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo’s tenure and honestly, I hate to think in these terms! Why don’t we keep an open mind and follow the paper trails and the facts and evidences of what transpired? Why don’t we dare the CBN and the EFCC to prove the allegations against these accused bank executives, instead of prejudging and excoriating the CBN and the EFCC? It is my view that all Nigerians have suffered and continue to suffer from the evils and deprivations caused by corruption persons and their enablers, whether in the public and or, private sectors of our economy!

Why, oh why, are some Nigerians already introducing ethnicity, religion, region, state and the usual suspects multiple variables of our national negative lowest common denominator into Sanusi sanitization of the banking system in Nigeria? We should fight corruption in Nigeria with all we have got, even if our system, albeit, is imperfect!

See also similar articles by the same author with themes on Nigerian Banking
1. “Crying And Bleeding For Bankers And Banks In Nigeria?”
2. Economic Meltdown Without Toxic Assets?
3. Naira: 20 Years Of Devaluations Without Benefits
4. Oh Ye Ministers Of Little Faith In The Naira And Nigeria!
5. Soludo Solutions & Economic Reforms in Nigeria
6. Bravoes, Kudos to Soludo: On Naira Strategic Agenda