Sunday, December 27, 2009

Generalizations Against Nigerian Muslims, Nigerians And Nigeria

Generalizations Against Nigerian Muslims, Nigerians And Nigeria
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Amateurish criminal action by a Nigerian citizen, against Northwest or Delta flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit, has unleashed unwarranted and unbridled criticism against Nigerian Muslims, Nigerian Security Agencies and Nigeria the country.

This, even though Nigerian Muslims, Nigerian Security Agencies and Nigeria have all denounced the suspect and his botched criminal enterprise.

These unwarranted attacks, maligning and denigrations of Nigeria, have occurred despite the facts. The facts are that the father of the Nigerian citizen in question, acted forthrightly, as he took actions, he clearly and specifically notified the United States of America of his worry, regarding his son’s radicalization or extremism. A father acted against his son, that is profound and heroic! How is it possible for some, to still generalize about Nigerian Muslims and Nigeria, in the face such division between good and evil even at a nuclear family level?

Some in the western media are hastily and lazily describing Nigeria as a sort of fertile breeding ground or recruitment forum for Al Qaeda or Taliban. And this is quite untrue, just as it is a quantum leap in silly speculations. After all, there are homegrown terrorists here, in the United States and this should not lead anyone to label all Americans, just as, there should be no generalizations against Nigerian Muslims, Nigerians and Nigeria, just because of the acts of one lone wolf Nigerian without known cohorts or co-conspirators, co-actors, accomplices and collaborators anywhere in Nigeria or with any other Nigerian anywhere in the world.

It should be clear to the world that a mistake was made. A father reported a son, and American law enforcement and security agencies thereafter accomplished nothing much after the complaint by the suspect’s father.

The fact is that, someone dropped the ball in neglecting to put on a no-fly list or at minimum, put him under some extra scrutiny if he indicated interests in flying, and particularly so, when is destination is the United States.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. The United States was put on notice for a long time, as to the possibility of Umar Farouk Abdul Muttallab’s criminal act which occurred on Christmas Day 2009. The suspect’s visa to the United States, could and should have been revoked. The US Embassy in Nigeria is well known and is on record for denying visas or revoking and or canceling visas because it received an anonymous telephone call against a visa recipient, visa applicant. The US Embassy in Nigeria regularly denies visas to Nigerians over flimsy reasons or no reason at all, and in this instance, there was abundance of reasons to have revoked or cancelled the suspect’s visa or put his travel plans under heightened scrutiny and red alert.

The suspect’s father is prominent and high profile Nigerian citizen. He was a leader of a major bank in Nigeria. He volunteered information against his own son. And despite this advance warning by a Nigerian father, a hero and a patriot, in all of these, those whose duties it was to act, failed to act and instead of accepting their lapses, they are conveniently blaming everyone and everything else, but themselves. It is in comparison to a situation in which the president of a major bank in America, Citibank or Chase Bank, reports his son to law enforcements, after careful observation and consideration and the law enforcement agencies neglected to take action and thereafter, seeking scapegoats.

There are three critical issues to examine in this incident which could have been catastrophic in outcome, had he been successful. The attempt by Umar Farouk Abdul Muttallab to engage in criminal acts against an aircraft and its passengers could have been nipped in the bud, it was clearly preventable.

First, it was preventable in view of the fact that there were advance notice to the appropriate American law enforcement agencies, as to the possibility of its occurrence. The suspect’s father took prescient and profound steps to address the risks, even where, taking such action, clearly meant a diminution of life and liberty for his son. It must be stressed that this is not by any means an easy thing for any parent to do. The elder Mutallab, must have agonized and gone through most excruciating pains and nevertheless resolved to do the right thing and he did, he reported his own flesh and blood as someone with criminal tendency or inclination, while the suspect was still preparatory or the crime in an inchoate phase.

Secondly, the Mutallab, the suspect, began his trip in Nigeria, and more specifically, from Lagos Airport where there is a huge presence of American security personnel stationed there in almost overbearing numbers and yet this slipped through their fingers and every expert, pseudo analyst and commentator has been blaming Nigerian security operative since the Christmas Day incident. It is common knowledge worldwide, that American Customs, Immigrations and Drugs or Narcotics Enforcement Agents now play pervasive permeating roles in airports around the world these days, particularly, since September 11, 2001. Agents of US law enforcements dominate airport screenings in many countries, including Nigeria. How then, did this suspect beat all of them in Lagos and Amsterdam? My personal experience in Canada and Bahamas is that flights bound for America from these countries are literarily taken over by the American Enforcement Agents.

In this incident therefore, it is one of two things, it is either that the suspect bomber was so clever in his subterfuges, so much so, that no precautions by the Nigerians and their American counterparts at the Lagos Airport could detect his murderous shenanigans or that, he was hiding in plain sight and the Americans, the Dutch and the Nigerian security system failed the world in not detecting him. It cannot be that the Americans and the Dutch performed excellently, but the Nigerians failed in some sorts of selective way hence the failure to detect the bomber in Lagos or at some other point during his flight.

The suspect embarked on his flight initially in Lagos with the Dutch airline, KLM flight 588 on a Boeing 777, 11:00 PM, Nigerian time, on Christmas eve, a first screening in Lagos ostensibly undertaken by a combined team of American and Nigerian security operatives. Thereafter, more screening were undertaken at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam for transit passengers including the suspect Mutallab, in their second and final leg of flights Northwest-Delta flight 253 on Airbus A330 departure at 8:54AM from Amsterdam to Detroit, Michigan. I have been a transit passenger through Amsterdam and other airports in Europe and around the world, and transit passengers received secondary or additional checks before merging with continuing or final leg of journeys. And as a matter of fact, checks in Amsterdam have revealed that Mutallab the suspect changed planes from KLM to Northwest-Delta with other passengers in Amsterdam. And that he and others, were required to be checked or screened before boarding the Detroit portion of their flight through Northwest-Delta.

It will be recalled that a similar murderous attempt by Richard C. Reid also known as the shoe-bomber, he too had embarked upon a similar transatlantic flight in 2001 with plans to bomber a jetliner bound for the US out of the skies. Reid like Mutallab the suspect, was thwarted as well and I do not recall anyone blaming Britain and or labeling all Muslims in Britain and for that matter, blaming all Britons, because of the dastardly attempt by Reid. This makes me want to ask, what exactly is different now? Reid fooled security operatives in Europe and got into the flight board for the United States. Tackling crimes, international crimes, must become collaborative and more multilateral in planning and implementation.

Instead of blaming Nigerians, Nigerian Muslims and Nigeria, the suspect’s father should be held up as a hero. He did his part, he supplied his son’s name to law enforcement and intelligence community, but for their reason, chose to treat the report as trivial or treat the complaint with levity and disregard, because according to their judgment, the son of whom the biological father complained, did not have derogatory information against him on file. What is more derogatory than a father calling his son a religious extremist?

This incident happily resulted in no loss of lives. However, it does exemplifies the need for shared intelligence and more elaborate communication between American National Security Agencies and their Nigerian counterparts as equal partners in the global fight against crimes and those who perpetuate crimes. Poor communication and inadequacy in information sharing between agencies of the American security apparatuses led to the lapses culminating in this near tragic incident in Detroit airspace.

It is now public knowledge that the suspect has been traveling. The suspect should have been monitored in all his travels to London, Dubai, Yemen before he ever embarked on the fateful journey to Detroit from Lagos via Schiphol. After Mutallab the elder reported his son, Mutallab the suspect should have been flagged as a person of interest and it would not have been too much to subject all his travels to extra scrutiny. There was no room for error or the sort of lapses which enabled him to travel widely, evade detection, despite his father’s generous information against him.

There should have been a universal precaution after the report by his father. This is more so, especially in view of the plots of violence and spates of violence which has not ebbed since September 11, 2001. Even by the admission of Mr. Edmund S. Hawley, formerly of Transportation Security Administration and others in Homeland Security claim to know that Al Qaeda and other extremist or militants group have since September 11, 2001 and they are going to keep trying, and so, vigilance is the operative word or key word here, and yet, this is precisely the opposite of what was done when the elder Mutallab reported his son’s bent for extremism and militancy. There was a neglect of vigilance.

Worldwide vigilance is demanded by all, in the security services everywhere. I could have been on that plane. We should all be concerned as to where penetration might be next and this is not a Nigerian problem or challenge. Mistakes were made everywhere in this particular case of Mutallab and the mistakes were made on both sides of the Atlantic. Blaming Nigeria is quite unreasonable in view of all the circumstances and the known facts.

The world must reject the notion that it is okay to blame Nigeria in a matter like this, where there was a name and an identified individual who, despite advance notice and warning, slipped through multiple layers of security, defying the Americans, the Dutch and the Nigerians, all.

Unfortunately however, since the incident, all manner experts, analyst and commentators have had most disparaging things to say about Nigerian Muslims, Nigerians and Nigeria. We have heard how porous and ill-equipped Nigerian Airports are. We have heard and seen the so-called Osama Bin Ladin perception index which has determined that Osama is considered as if some sort of hero in my Nigeria according to PEW “Research” which has claimed that Osama is more popular in Nigeria than in Pakistan and Afghanistan together, with 54% popularity among Nigerian Muslims.

Whereas, the truth of the matter is that there are approximately 50 million Muslims in Nigeria, they are not admirers of Osama bin Ladin and they are not all like the suspect , whose father, it must be restated, is a Muslim himself, who would report his son to the Nigerian and American authorities, clearly because his did not share his son’s worldview. This criminal act is purely an isolated incident without Al Qaeda or Taliban connections as some have strenuously sought to fathom from ashes and dusts. Nigeria is not a hub for any extremism. Nigeria is not a recruitment ground for any mass murderers. Nigerians and Nigeria reject this untoward and unsavory label and any attempts to smear us and generalize about Nigerians and Nigeria. Nigerians reject generalizations and these rush to judgment about Nigeria, because of a crime committed by one Nigerian citizen alone.

However, this has not stopped those intellectually lazy journalists, experts, analyst, so-called political leaders and sundry careless commentators from generalizing about Nigerians, Nigerian Muslims in particular and Nigeria as a nation. Too many of these person clearly do not know where Nigeria is on the world map. Nor do they care to know Nigerians and Nigeria.

I have rolled my eyes each time they pronounced Lagos which is properly pronounced LayGUS as LA-GUS or LAH GOSH! Just the same way these persons have lazily and ignorantly pronounced Iraq as EYE-RACK, instead of Iraq which is properly pronounced as EERAK. The ignorance and intellectual laziness is so palpable. It makes me want to ask, how much effort could it really take to say Lagos correctly? There are several Nigeria diplomatic missions in the United States, notably in Washington D.C. New York, Atlanta and Houston etc and one phone call could have done it, and besides, there are thousands of Nigerians in America, ignored and sidelined in all of these commentaries and opinions about an incident arising from the behavior of a Nigerian citizen. Western journalists should at least learn to say LayGus and not LAH-GOSH !

When all is said and done, the truth is that millions of Nigerians, Christians, Muslims and Atheists have since Christmas Day incident, condemned and denounced the attempt by Umar Farouk Abdul Muttallab, at mass murders of passengers in an American airline. Countless Nigerian individuals and groups, in Nigeria, in America and elsewhere in the Diaspora have roundly condemned the suspect for engaging in what could have been a major tragedy with catastrophic proportions.
It is such terrible shame that some would seek to demean Nigerian Muslims, other Nigerians and Nigeria as a nation, when in fact criminals and their crimes are not peculiar to any nation, especially in the face of homegrown religious extremists right here in America itself! Richard Reid is not a Nigerian.

The murderer who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin is not a Nigerian. Rabbi Kahane is not a Nigerian, Major Hassan is not a Nigerian. Timothy Micveigh was not a Nigerian. John Walker Lindh the Taliban is not a Nigerian. Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber is not a Nigerian. The woman who attacked the Pope on Christmas eve is not a Nigerian. Christian extremists militants who the name of God and in the name of being anti abortion shoot, to kill, shoot to maim and shoot to murder medical doctors in America, are extremist and dangerous across the world and across all religions. Religious extremism is global and it is an affliction endured by all. Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab is accused of a crime and he should be judged accordingly to the fullest extent of the laws and based on the evidence.

Crimes and criminals demean us all, with their negative impacts and in their equally negative consequences or outcomes. Crimes and criminals are like religious extremism-militancy, they are like virtues and vices which are part of human frailties and foibles, warts and all and are universal.

Not peculiarly Nigerian.

It is therefore a shame and disgrace on the part of those who are exploiting the Northwest/Delta flight 253 incident to disparage Nigerian Muslims, Nigerian Security Services and Nigeria as a country!

Monday, December 21, 2009

President YarAdua Is 30 Days AWOL Or Absence Without Official Leave From Presidential Duties

President YarAdua Is 30 Days AWOL Or Absence Without Official Leave From Presidential Duties
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Absence Without Official Leave or AWOL, from duty by our president has put us in needless quandary. This is unacceptable and it should not continue.

Exactly 30 days ago, President Umaru Musa YarAdua left Nigeria for Saudi Arabia, ostensibly, for medical treatments, due to his known imperfect health condition, no one of course, begrudges our president for his unfortunate health status.

Even as Nigerians in the millions pray ceaselessly in churches and mosques and other houses of worship, at home and abroad, President YarAdua remains incapacitated, indisposed and perhaps in a precarious physical health condition in far away Saudi Arabia.

President YarAdua’s absence from work, and particularly, his departure without following laid down constitutional procedure, has thrown up questions. What is the best way to resolve President YarAdua’s refusal and or neglect to have been in compliance with constitutional stipulations? The drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, intended to seamlessly address circumstances similar to the ones in which President YarAdua have found himself as a consequence of his recurring ill health and indispositions.

The irony and oxymoron in President YarAdua’s AWOL, should not be lost on anyone in Nigeria or thiis world. This is so, as President YarAdua, upon becoming president of Nigeria, claimed to be a believer of the Rule of Law and constitutionalism, to the applause and embrace by Nigerians, who believed him on these claims, claims, which have eventually, turned out to be a mere ruse in the first place.

It will be recalled that President YarAdua at the inception of his administration, loudly claimed that he was a man of the people and that he would be a listening president and the servant leader with obeisance to the constitution of Nigeria. Since his inauguration in May 2007 and up till his moment of departure to King Faisal Hospital in Saudi Arabia, our president’s actions and pronouncements were not illustrative nor demonstrative of his self-avowed claims to being an apostle and an adherent of the rule of law, constitutionality, nor his false pretense of being a listening president who is as well a servant leader.

Exigent circumstances now dictates that President YarAdua be wheeled off Nigeria’s presidency.

This is important, in order to avoid a void, and an unnecessary political vacuum. Nigerians, and all those who wish Nigeria well, have been worried sick over a now highly likely probability of political and constitutional crises. This festering crises atmosphere is already very ominous and looming larger by the day and portends evil.

These unnecessary constitutional and political toxic mix of conditions have been foisted upon Nigeria by, and through the unwillingness of President YarAdua to follow the clearly laid out constitutional process. President YarAdua have neglected and refused to abide by set constitutional provisions, every time he has been away from presidential duties. President YarAdua and his acolytes are clearly disdainful of section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, which require a president to formally inform Nigeria’s National Assembly of absence from presidential duties.

Clearly, it should be emphasized that, the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, anticipated a sitting president may embark on a vacation away from the seat of government in our nation’s capital, in Abuja; A Nigerian president may, therefore, for instance choose to relax in any part of Nigeria, such as a vacation in Yankari Game Reserve, Obudu Ranch, etc or in the rare event, embark on overseas vacation, perhaps to a gambling trip in Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States. It is also quite likely, that the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, also anticipated a happenstance such as the physical impairment of a president, which is identical to the current situation in which President YarAdua is clearly categorized.

Clearly, it was the intent, of the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, in inserting section 145 of our constitution, that in both it’s letter and spirit, there should always be an orderly devolution and succession of power, even in the short term.

It should be clear therefore, that the primary reading and the only interpretation possible, of section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, is a desire, a strenuous and fastidious desire to avoid a constitutional power void and constitutional power vacuum

Naturally then, the creation of the post or office of the vice president to complement the office and position of substantive president is also a derivation of this natural constitutional aversion for power void and vacuum. The position of vice president in our constitution was not intended as a mere decoration or as a superfluous political ornament for Nigeria’s constitutional democracy.

These very same political and constitutional crises, which now looms larger and larger, as everyday comes to an end, were the very reasons why, the drafters of the constitution of Nigeria, created the position of the vice president

The position of the vice president is constitutionally analogous to the usefulness and importance of a spare tire in car. Car manufacturers create space for the storage of spare tire in vehicles, in order that motorists would not be stranded without recourse, in the event of a rupture, puncture, burst and flat tire.

A spare tire saves the day, as a temporary respite or permanent replacement, depending on the circumstances. But in all cases, being in the possession of a spare tire, ensure an orderly devolution or transition and the journey embarked upon by the motorist and passengers continues with minor adjustment or discomfort or dislocations.

In President YarAdua, Nigeria has had a motorist, who loudly proclaims himself as an excellent motorist. President YarAdua however drives a car which is not brand new, and in fact, a car known to have tires with advertised precarious condition and yet, this motorist who is quick to proclaim himself an excellent driver, frequently traveled with this car, bad tires and all, and yet, neglects to bring along the spare tire, every time he embarkson trips with the car, imperfect tires, bad road and all!

President YarAdua has analogously brought Nigeria to where we are today, because of his ego, his malice or because he is stubborn hard head, he traveled without a spare tire, prescribed , tried and proven efficacy, which is supported by scientific research, as an imperative by car designers and manufacturers and highly recommended for safety of driver and passengers. All passengers are now facing imminent dangers, all due to being without a spare or replacement tire and hence we are stranded

It is time therefore, for Nigeria to leave or jettison this stubborn, ego maniac, arrogant and self absorbed driver. It was he, who refused and neglected to travel with a road trip prerequisite, a spare tire. It must be realized that it his arrogance, neglect and or refusal, has the potential of subjecting the car to damage or theft. It must, additionally be realized, that the stubborn driver through his arrogance, neglect and refusal to imbibe the good driver conduct of taking the spare tire with him, and activating the spare tire as prescribed and as needed, subjects everyone in the car to unnecessary harm as well.

Nigerians are the passengers in the car being driven by President YarAdua. He is an arrogant, ego maniac, stubborn and self absorbed driver who have, despite advise and available data, disregarded the imperative a spare tire. Nigerians are now stranded with the president on a deserted road in a desert and in the middle of nowhere, all puns intended. Our presidency is stranded in the desert in the Middle East region and far away from home. While government policies and programs, including the current budget stalls in abeyance.

How long can Nigeria afford to leave presidential duties in the limbo? Another 30 days? Another year?

Nigerians, it must be said, have in the circumstances, been very patient for these long 30 days, waiting for solution. But we are still stranded in the middle of nowhere, we are running out of water, food, and all other necessities and it is time to live the arrogant, and stubborn driver to his own devices in the desert. And his will not judge us as harsh. After all, it is the fault of this arrogant and stubborn driver who neglected to equip the car with manufacturer scientifically predetermined prerequisite for road trips by car, spare tire!

It is now time to consider our self-preservation. We must now bid the arrogant and stubborn driver farewell and a goodbye, leave him with the car, bereft of spare tire, food and supplies. We cannot afford to remain in flux or cast adrift as a consequence of our driver’s arrogance and stubbornness.

It is time to leave our driver. He will be stranded, but we must leave and wish him the best of luck.

After these long thirty days of hunger and thirst. After these long thirty days of uncertainties. After these thirty days of feeling like a nation about to implode. And After these long thirty days of being held hostage due to the arrogance neglect and or refusal to comply clear constitutional provisions.

Presidential duties are not part time within the constitution of Nigeria. Nigerians must therefore completely and totally disregard the inanities of Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, Attorney General and Minister for Justice as when he recently lectured Nigerians to the effect President YarAdua can govern Nigeria from Saudi Arabia. As if Nigeria is still a colony and being governed in absentia, by a monarch President YarAdua, and he Mr. Aondoakaa is the potentate governor-general or divisional officer on the ground handing out “the law” to the locals in locales.

If President YarAdua is not totally incapacitated or comatose, he should immediately, from his hospital bed in Saudi Arabia, write a letter to the National Assembly to formally inform them that he has proceeded on medical vacation. After all, Nigerians have been lectured by the AGF Aondoakaa that our president is well enough to manage Nigeria from his hospital bed? This means he can write a letter to Nigeria’s National Assembly at the very least. When the president so writes, the current anomalies with be corrected and resolved.

This would clear the current lacuna and pave the way for Vice-president Goodluck Jonathan to take over presidential duties, until the return of the president when and if, he is able to do so. In writing to the National Assembly, President YarAdua would have retroactively or in retrospect, complied with section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria, as he should have, from the onset of his trip to Saudi Arabia and eventual hospitalization since.

It is now obvious to all, that the daily business of governing Nigeria at the presidential levels have grinded to a halt. Our nation is left in limbo and left to totter and wobble, due to the vacuum and void, created by the absence, and then, neglect of President YarAdua to abide by and with section 145 of our constitution.

The seal of the president is needed to formalize the 2009 Supplementary Appropriation Bill. Similarly, the so-called amnesty program for members of MEND or the phenomenon of militants in the Niger Delta agitation for improved conditions still awaits full implementation and presidential oversight

Others have pointed to numerous other pending or shelved events such as the 2009 National Honors Award which cannot be conferred because the substantive president is AWOL and the vice president have no constitutional instrument conferring substantive powers on him, again, due to the egregious omission by President YarAdua prior to his departure from Nigeria.

Furthermore, there are the matters of appointments of the new President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief Justice of Nigeria have been duly confirmed, but still await the proper administration of their oath of office, and these are constitutionally stipulated to be administered by the President.

Currently, the vice president have been presiding over the Federal Executive Council , but it must be stated that as a matter constitutional law, and by virtue of Section 148 of the 1999 Constitution, it is the case that, only the president can preside over the Federal Executive Council (FEC) he is chairman of the board so to speak. Other than these, there sundry policy matters of national importance, including, domestic and foreign policy matters which demands presidential assent or approval. And no one Nigerian should hold the lives, the health, wealth and happiness of 150 million Nigerians hostage or to ransom.

It is not in Nigerians’ and Nigeria’s best interests to wait indefinitely for what happens or becomes, the outcomes of the President YarAdua circumstances. If he loved Nigeria, he would have followed the provisions of the constitution of Nigeria, whether he was in perfect physical health condition or impaired.

The National Assembly of Nigeria should now intervene to avert looming political and constitutional crises and probable catastrophes, which may ensue, due to the acts and omission of President YarAdua.

President YarAdua should be removed from office as a result of his haven been indisposed for so long, and, due to his precarious and steadily ebbing state of physical health. Nigeria is a nation, and not a personal estate or fiefdom. And Nigerians have been kept in the dark for too long. And for all we know, he may now in fact, be comatose or in vegetative state. And his handlers have refused to communicate and update Nigerians with his condition.

The Nigerian National Assembly should remove President YarAdua from office as a consequence on his refusal and neglect to comply with section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria.

President YarAdua should be removed from office due to his physical and mental incapacity to perform as president of Nigeria for more than 30 consecutive days.

President YarAdua should be removed from office because pertinently described exigent circumstances, and further, President YarAdua should be removed from office as president of Nigeria, for the protection and preservation of Nigeria and Nigeria’s national security and strategic interests.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama The Idealist Confronts Obama The Realist; Obama The Candidate Wrestles With Obama The President

Obama The Idealist Confronts Obama The Realist; Obama The Candidate Wrestles With Obama The President
Written by Paul I. Adujie

It was as if President Obama said to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee, thank you for the peace prize, but, excuse me, I have wars to fight! As if in rebuke and repudiation of the award.

The above statement is one way to interpret the seeming simultaneous upping of the antes in Afghanistan with additional the 30,000 troops as the practical realities of a president who inherited two foreign wars versus, the contrasts and contradiction of a president who is being celebrated worldwide, and the cynosure of this years Nobel Prize awards’ pomp and pageantry.

It will be recalled that millions of tongues wagged in the United States and worldwide, when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. His admirers were elated in their delights, at the award, by the Nobel Prize Committee, as indicative of a repudiation of President Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, who took unilateralism to a new level, and made it an art form. Additionally, President Obama’s supporters also saw the award as a ringing endorsement of Mr. Obama’s multilateral approach to global issues, where he seeks and prefers diplomatic solutions, while proclaiming other nations as friends and partners in a universalistic sort of ways.

Conversely, President Obama’s opponents, critics and outright detractors, expressed disapproval and sundry negative views or analysis regarding Mr. Obama as one of the awardees of the Nobel Prize. They argued that it was quite premature, as Mr. Obama has barely completed one year as president of the United States. And as a consequence, there are no measurable accomplishments or achievements with which the Nobel Prize Committee could have possibly predicated the this famous award bestowed upon Mr. Obama.

It was vigorously argued, perhaps, even meritoriously, that Nobel Prizes were usually bestowed on those persons with retinue of accomplishments in their chosen professions or careers and or political leadership roles played. Furthermore, it was postulated, that most awardees usually become recipients at the tail end of their roles, and sometimes, even posthumously.

President Obama at winning the Nobel Peace Prize, seemingly joined his critics, at least outwardly, he appeared to have done so, when he conceded that the award to him was undeserved, because he was just getting started on the tasks of his presidency, a Herculean undertaking, no doubt. Perhaps President Obama’s public comments which followed the announcement of his award, and his address at the ceremony upon actually arriving to receive the award, can be seen in one of two ways. First, that Mr. Obama’s comments encapsulated his sincere and forthright expression regarding his early fortune; Or, that Mr. Obama was only attempting to assuage his critics by seeming to agree with them, and thereby, deflecting the critics’ negative attention from his person. But either way, his comments appeared to have been tastefully appropriated and well rendered.

Personally, Mr. Obama was my candidate for president in 2008, for several reasons. In him, I saw endless possibilities, both in substance and symbolism. I reasoned that Mr. Obama’s election would be progress, it would be a cleansing moment of atonement for America. Atonement for the horrors and brutalities of slavery, segregation and institutional racism. I thought that it would heal continental Africans and all peoples of African descent, and that Mr. Obama’s election as president of the United States will be redemptive for all races, and in that, I saw endless possibilities for the entire world. I also thought of human progress in the very immediate Black community sense of self-worth as defined by all the negative imports of life in America, nay, life globally, where race is still a major factor and determinants of life’s outcomes.

I thought, boundless energies would be unleashed, horizons would be broadened. He will inspire and motivate all, but, more particularly so, for continental Africans and all peoples of African descent globally. In short, I thought that so much was riding on Mr. Obama’s political ascendancy. And after the preceding eight years of President George W. Bush, who foisted two foreign wars upon the world, just as Mr. Bush’s administration’s capitalism without regulations caused a global financial and economic meltdown, festooned upon the whole world, electing President Obama could not have come a moment too soon. In him I saw redemptive, transformational and transcendental American presidency.

Luckily for the United States, the world and me personally, Mr. Obama turned out to be a super, unique and spectacularly impressive candidate. He stayed on message and he had full grasps of national and international issues. He made be incandescent look easy. He made being brilliant and professorial seem a walk in the park on a summer day. He made his opponents appear petty, disorganized and self-destruct.

And then, he won!

President Obama’s election has unleashed, inspired many in America and worldwide. It has removed fear, hopelessness and cynicism hitherto pervasive among many in the world.

Then his subsequent public pronouncements started to appear too calibrated to lower expectations. Some of us noticed. But brushed it off, as the proper tone to set, in order not to appear as if he was gloating or not to appear as mean in defeat. Many therefore applauded when he selected Mrs. Clinton into his administration, even though she came across as very acerbic, belligerent and corrosive against the man who would be president, as his opponent, all through the electioneering season.

It was also thought that the lowering of expectations may serve Mr. Obama’s presidency well, when and if he delivers remarkable results on his campaign promises

But, President Obama is becoming something of an ambiguous phenomena. Mr. Obama the candidate was attacked by Republicans and conservatives, as more liberal than the late US Senator Edward Moore Kennedy from Massachusetts. He was even described as being to the left of leftists. He was castigated as a socialist and redistributionist and worse.

However, since his inauguration as president of the United States, President Obama has become something of an enigma. He has remained entrenched or even buried and sidetracked by his foolhardy continued insistence on bipartisanship with the Republicans, even though the Republicans have persistently demonstrated the Republicans that they are splendidly uninterested in bipartisanship and that their only interest is winning the next election . The Republicans have demonstrated this on many issues, among which are President Obama’s Health Care Reform, The Second Stimulus Package or TARP, as well as President Obama’s nomination of Honorable Justice Sonia Sotomayor, now of the United States Supreme Court. In all these instances and more, the Republicans voted strictly on party line and so, there is clearly no bipartisanship to be had, and yet, Mr. Obama keep insisting on this nonexistent concept.

In the Health Care Reform debates during the summer, Mr. Obama’s political opponents, conservatives and most Republicans, Mr. Obama was ridiculed and called all manner of unprintable names, such as socialist, fascist and even the unpardonable appellation of being castigated as Hitler! And as a result, I have argued that President Obama and his party, the Democrats and the Independents who support him, should concentrate and focus and the prodigious and vigorous pursuits of public policies for which they campaigned and for which they are identified. They should thereafter be seen as being derailed or frustrated by the conservative and the Republicans, instead of the Democrats and their Independents supporters appearing to be in disarray and in ambivalence on essentially Democratic or Liberal public policies.

President Obama has become an exemplification of these middle of the road public policy ambivalence or even outright middle of the road public policy confusion. It is as if there are too many compromises and deference by President Obama and the Democrats, it is beginning to looks as if, Mr. Obama and his political party are now, right of center right in their political convictions or policy positions. Too many concessions have been made to accommodate Republicans and the so-called “Blue-Dog” conservative Democrats, so much so, that there is now a blurring of policy differences between the ultra conservative Republicans and the Democratic Party!

Accommodating and cooperating with the other political interests is a good policy overall, but, it should not be so much so, that, there are no long discernible policy differences between the governing Democratic Party, and their Republican Party counterparts, who are a minority, and as such, the current political orphans, who have demonstrated that they would do anything and everything which advances their chances at electoral victory in the upcoming midterm elections and the general elections in 2012

It my strong view therefore, that President Obama and the Democrats should focus and concentrate on the hot pursuit of their core policy thrusts, which are representative, of the Democratic party. This is what the American electorate want and still demand, hence the repudiation of the Republicans at the polls in November 2008.

Currently however, President Obama and the no so cohesive Democrats, have literally, been giving aware the store and the warehouse to the Republicans and their conservative domestic and foreign policies. The Republicans are against using part of the unspent TARP funds to generate employment. The Republicans also dragged the extension of unemployment benefits for so long, before it eventually passed, meanwhile, those are the sorts of unnecessary hardships and sufferings inflicted on the electorate, for which they are not likely to quickly forget or be forgiving.

President Obama is the president for all Americans. It is understandable therefore, his pronouncements and actions are not perceived as special favors to the African American community; but even so, we must quickly add, that Mr. Obama knows the structural imperfection of America, which has historically, disfavored and disadvantage African Americans. Hence the Civil Rights Laws and such efforts made by presidents who were themselves not African Americans, such as President Lyndon Johnson and President John Kennedy before him. African American have made progress, but still fare badly, comparatively.

The indomitable Reverend Jesse Jackson recently put it succinctly, when he said that the government should and must, intervene to rescue those who suffer from the structural lopsidedness of America. A structural defect which ensures that those at the bottom wrung of the American society bear the brunt of the economic meltdown and global financial crises. American structural defect, ensures that when America suffers a from an economic recession, African Americans suffer deep economic depression, for instance, the current unemployment rate in America is approximately 10% whereas, in the African American community, especially in certain age groups, it is between 20% and 35% unemployment among African Americans, college educated and all.

The government intervened to bailout Wall Street, and Automotive Industries, the government should intervene to bail out poor people, hunger hurts the poor, black and white. Mr. Obama’s government have bailed out Wall Street, it is time to bail out Main Street! The Reverend Jesse Jackson makes a profound argument for President Obama to urgently intervene and rescue our peoples with a package targeted towards minorities and women, those at the bottom of the economic ladder, a package, through which racial and gender inequalities in the economy should be addressed.

President Obama’s Health Care Reform is another one of his wonderful ideas. And it is on of his core public policy issues, which if successful, could transform the American society in profound and crucial ways. The extraordinary cost and expense of health care, have led to bankruptcies of many individuals and families in the United States. The American Health Care System, as currently configured, is too divisive in social, economic and racial effect.

Furthermore, President Obama and the Democrats, seemed not to be willing to do anything, different, regarding the two foreign wars unfortunately inherited by President Obama’s administration. President Obama’s speech at West Point Military Academy, coupled with his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech which could very well have been titled, “I am A War President and I have Just Wars to Fight and That Is What A Commander In Chief Does!” Is the best argument that President Obama’s American war and foreign policies are not at all different from those of his predecessor Republican President George W. Bush.

Listening to President Obama’s above mentioned speeches to West Point and Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, many conservative, Mr. Newt Gringrich the former speaker of the US House of Representatives and Mr. David Brooks of The New York Times, applauded Mr. Obama for an amazingly remarkable speech. These are two speech which many conservatives have repeatedly praised as akin and identical to what in all intents and purposes, could have been delivered by the former President George W. Bush! Can these praises of President Obama be interpreted in any way, as complimentary and representative of the true public policy stances of the Democratic Party? I think not! President Obama and the Democratic Party would have to compare being praised by the Republicans and conservatives, as similar in contradiction and oxymoron value, as when an abolitionist would have in similar circumstances, say, 150 years ago, slavers praising public speeches by self-avowed abolitionists!

In all these, I must state that I am of course aware that public policy formulations and implementations can be quite complex and more intricate than a candidate may have first thought, especially, as an establishment outsider. It is also conceded, that idealism is very quick to clash with realism of governance; and the realities of the United States and the world at large might be night and day for a candidate compared with an actual public office holder.

President Obama and the Democrats have shifted away from the ideals of the Democratic Party. In the Health Care Democratic Party now appear ready to abandon and jettison the “Public Option” which was initially promoted by the Democrats. It is crucial to have “some” Health Care Reform at all. But must it be watered down so much, that is almost meaningless. Nevertheless, a reform is sorely needed in the health care sector.

President Obama have had the singular “luck” of inheriting American loss. These inherited losses are the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the American and global economies in debacles. I take the view that President Obama the candidate, have been subdued and marginalized by Obama the president.

President Obama with his dispatch of additional 30,000 American troops to the “just-war” in Afghanistan, seem to have made an about face of 180 degrees, as he now mouths Thomas Aquinas, John Locke and Von Clausewitz on just wars and war of necessity and tool of policy by other means, respectively; As well as Michael Walter copious theory about just and unjust wars

President Obama during his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, sound as if intent on addressing America’s political right, the Republicans and the ultra conservatives right-wingers at home. President Obama acceptance speech during the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, sounded as if a continuation of his speech at the West Point Military Academy in New York, delivered approximately a couple of weeks before his Nobel Prize speech.. After watching President Obama for almost a year hence, I feel like writing a news flash, titled, Obama Wrestles With Obama and Obama the idealist wrestles with Obama the realist who wrestles with Obama the candidate who then wrestles with Obama the president who in turn wrestles with the peace loving Obama who wrestles with the commander in chief the war president

President Obama’s historic election and probable presidential legacy remains to be determined, after all, he is just in the first year of his first term of a possible 8 years of two terms. Currently though, Mr. Obama is so nuanced and so delicately balanced in the right of center right. Mr. Obama now sounds and appears as if he subscribes to a Winston Churchill mantra of “Never stand up when you can sit down and never sit down, when you can lie down” In my harsh assessment, Mr. Obama is his first year at the presidency, seem to have yielded his core policies and his campaign fundamentals to the Republicans, and, in doing so, he has struck the appearance too engaged consummate expediencies.

President Obama has satisfied the Republicans and conservatives with his expansion and escalation of troops and war strategies in Afghanistan. This is welcome news for those whose profits are assured in what is the super structure on steroid, which is also known as the American Military Industrial Complex. Too many wars are fought in the name of American citizens, the same citizens who are deprived of health care and employment creations, even as more blood and treasure is squandered in these foreign wars!

Or is it that President Obama is deeply anti war, deeply conflicted about wars, and yet orders up additional troops, escalating a war, but, argues that he does what a “head of state” has to do anyways? Why stand up, when you can sit down, why sit down, when you can lay down? It seems.

It is perhaps to early to judge President Obama as to what would be his presidential legacy. But, after eight years of a seemingly anti intellectual presidency of Mr. George W. Bush, Mr. Bush, who governed with a sort of moral certainty, and inspiration from his gut instincts, we now have the professorial, contemplative, deliberative Mr. Obama, who is savvy-suave and over-analytical as a president, who is on the verge of being afflicted with over-analysis paralysis. This analysis paralysis, could portend his legacy. It could act as a downside or drawback in his pursuit of his presidency’s domestic and foreign policies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

President Yar’Adua Should Not Resign; But Obey The Constitution Instead

President Yar’Adua Should Not Resign; But Obey The Constitution Instead
FRIDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2009 13:18 EDIT2
By Paul I. Adujie
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the peoples’ servant, the president who listens and Mr. Rule of Law Ko? What happened? What changed?

What exactly is at stake in the face of President Yar’Adua’ frequent hospitalizations and absence from the presidency? It rather simple.

The issue is President Yar’Adua violation or willful and complete disregard for section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria. The issue is not about his fragile state of health or about the unconstitutional and unbridled power of first ladies. The issue is whether we are a nation of laws, a nation of constitutional democracy or a nation of brigandage of cabals, pirates and criminal gangs!

Nigeria must avert these obvious speed into serious crisis. Averting catastrophes and cataclysms makes eminent sense. Avoiding looming anarchy from unnecessary constitutional crisis in Nigeria simply require that Nigerians scrupulously follow the constitution of Nigeria. In this particular instance, adherence to section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria 1999 strongly advocated. And this merely requires that some Nigerian current political leaders with huge egos, curb their arrogance and overbearing ways.

Nigerians at home and abroad have been left waiting and holding bated breathe for over two weeks now, all due to the precarious state of health of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, president and commander-in-chief of our beloved country.

Nigerians, including myself, feel empathy toward the president over his health condition. First, because is a fellow human being and second, because he is one of us and thirdly, because he represent our nation as a national symbol for Nigeria, during the proper tenure of his presidency. We recognize that our president did not wish ill health upon himself and it is not something he purchased from some supermarket or stoke. It is just happenstance and luck of the draw, it happens to the best of us. Life is such.

This is also an appropriate commentary on the human condition in Nigeria. How be it, that there is no hospital in any of the six geopolitical zones with sufficient medicines and adequate equipment of current medical science and technology to enable health care givers perform their function for President Yar’Adua and every Nigerian citizen Adamu, Bola and Chima, whether in Anambra, Bauchi or Oyo states. It is an open secret that Nigerian doctors and nurses excel everywhere in the world, but, in Nigeria, the medical professionals lack electricity and equipment and that is all.

I wish the president well in his pursuit of treatment and recovery overseas, even as I recognize and I am saddened by the fact that millions of Nigerians cannot go abroad for death inducing ailments. I sincerely wish our president best of health, nonetheless.

But, niceties and politesse flees and depart from me quite rapidly, as I consider the egregiously unconstitutional behavior of President Yar’Adua, and his advisers,. Particularly, the chief law officer of the federation, who ought to be our first in line, as a national constitutional watchdog and defender of our constitution. Chief Michael Aondoaakaa has failed the nation miserably as Attorney General and Minister for Justice. I have actually had an occasion in the past to append a fitting label onto him, as Nigeria’s Public Enemy Number One, as he seem to observe Nigerian laws in the breach. Hugging looters and rigging courts processes in their favor, both in Nigeria and in London.

But President YarAdua is not blameless. He knows our constitution, after all, he was chief executive of Katsina state for 8 years, before become president of our federation. And even before that, he was a college professor and he read and understands the constitution. He has a bevy of legal advisers, despite the willfully ignorant Attorney General and Minister for Justice who seem to excel in subverting the constitution and laws of Nigeria.

The issue here is not whether the president is sick, the world obviously know that by now! The issue for me is not about the dichotomies of North or South or Christian or Muslim, region or state, the issue at stake and propelling of all these, is arrogance of persons who are being simply uncouth. Section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria provides, in letter and spirit, that the president shall inform leaders of the national assembly in writing of his absence from the presidency, and absence from the management of the affairs of the Nigerian nation. President Yar’Adua haven’t practiced this constitutional requirement!

Only Sunday, I read in the front page of one of Nigerian newspapers, that the military president of Guinea was shot and injured, and he chose to seek medical treatment in Morocco, and he duly handed over or delegated presidential authority, to his deputy! What an irony is that? Guinea should be learning from Nigeria.

Guinea is small, and relatively poor compared with Nigeria, and above all these, Guinea’s current leaders are not even pretending to be democrats or to have faith in constitutionality. The military guys, president and deputy, never laid claims to the practice of democracy and constitutionalism, and yet, power transfer and devolution was without incident, it was rather seamless, even after an assassination attempt on the president, quite unlike the Nigerian circumstances where no gun shots were involved

And so, in the case of Nigeria, President Yar’Adua or any president of Nigeria at any given time, could be in excellent or perfect health, when he is away from the presidency, on vacation, or drunk or whatever the reason for being indisposed or otherwise absent or unavailable to properly discharge his constitutional presidential duties, he or she, should follow the stipulation of the constitution of Nigeria which prescribes the manner of power succession and devolution in hierarchical order. President Yar’Adua for his reasons or no reason at all, have so far refused to follow these constitutional order.

The People Democratic Party members are surely blinded by their self interests and their power retention paranoia. Their interests are in direct conflict with the interests of Nigerians and Nigeria. The PDP is of necessity, defending its “turf” and to that extent, I agree with Mr. Tunji Braithwaite that a few in the ruling party or cabal, are selfish and acting completely and totally at variant with the best interests of our nation at this time. PDP has become a colossus incapable of managing itself, let alone, our complex nation

After carefully considering all the present circumstances however, I certainly do not believe that President Yar’Adua should resign, until and unless, he is determined to be permanently indisposed, incapacitated and otherwise unable to function effectively efficiently, as Nigeria’s chief executive. Such decision should be his alone, and perhaps, given his advertised impaired health conditions, in due consultation with his personal physicians.

As a matter of fact, there are historical precedents in all of these. There have been presidents and prime ministers in the world, in the past, and outside Nigeria, with imperfect health, President Roosevelt pursued the so-called New Deal, even though he was afflicted and literally crippled and wheelchair bound with Polio. And not too long ago, about a couple of years ago, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel became comatose and he remains that way, but, there was no upheaval in America and Israel during these aforementioned times. The issue is that Nigeria should not have a power vacuum or the absence and lack of legitimate constitutional presidential authority in Nigeria, while the president is away in sickness or in perfect health. The affairs of the Nigerian nation should not be held to ransom or allowed to grind to a halt for so long. We do not want a military or civilian coup. We need our work in progress democracy to lurch forward and move Nigeria into a more perfect united nation where no one is marginalized. We want constitutionalism.

However, it must be mentioned that those now demanding the resignation of President Yar’Adua, with all due respect, are themselves beclouded by some subjectivity. I am not persuaded that they could not find and win over some PDP members to co-sign the resignation petition drive with the 53 who appear to be interested in a power grab of their own choosing. After all, a cursory look at the names on the resignation petition portray the signers as anything but members of the CNPP, the current opposition coalition parties.
One cannot be certain that these CNPP crowd are making their demands with clean hand, forthrightly, impartially, objectively and without prejudice.

The CNPP are such collective of opposition party persons, who are in my estimation, not vigorous or vibrant as they should have been all these times. They are therefore in my view, mere political opportunists and political orphans, seeking circuitous way to the presidency. It is no secret that CNPP of which the form the fulcrum, have been seething and waiting in desperation. Or that they harbor bruises and even animosity and hostility from the shenanigans of the last general election. These same CNPP folks are now claiming that they are acting in the name of the Nigerian electorate and people

CNPP should not be allowed to reargue and essentially re-litigate their forgone election petitions losses through the backdoor of presidential infirmity of President Yar’Adua, as a convenient excuse. Therefore, President Yar’Adua and Vice President Jonathan remain the de jure and de facto political leaders of Nigeria respectively.

But why is President Yar’Adua and his cohorts and acolytes and platoon of enablers clearly flirting with an obvious calamity and catastrophe? Is it that some Nigerians want to hurry Nigeria along and toward the precipice of predicted anarchy and disintegration as forecasted and told Nigerians by non-Nigerians the umpteenth time?

Or why would we not heed those, like General Theophilous Danjuma, who recently repeated his old advice, that Nigeria cannot afford nor, would Nigeria survive another civil war? Is that not glaringly clear to all, by now?

Does Nigeria want to follow the wonderful paths of Afghanistan, Somalia etc? I presume that ours would be worse because of our size and numbers! The extent of human hardship and suffering of Nigerians will be higher in magnitude and higher in proportions.

We must not allow some selfish Nigerians use their political manipulations and power intrigues to speed Nigeria to war and disintegration?

The current political climate in Nigeria is everything, but, it is certainly not only President Yar[Adua physical health. This is not about the president ill health at all, it is about his unwillingness to obey the laws of the land and to respect section 145 of the constitution of Nigeria 1999. The current constitution, until it is amended or repealed completely, remains the supreme law of the land. President Yar’Adua and vice President Jonathan arrived at Nigeria’s political stage through an imperfect albeit, a flawed process. Nigeria’s current constitution, is also arguably imperfect. But we will have to make delicately manage these double-binds and extricate ourselves from these rather delicate situations without violent frictions.

In the preceding ten days or approximately two weeks, there have been a toxic mix of incendiaries and combustible speculations about power devolution, of the north and south axis type. There have been a plethora of rumors and countervailing rumors of power grab and power grab resistance strategies. There have been announced plans of usurpation and counter announced or articulated plans to fight to the death! What manner of citizens are these?

Some Nigerians want to play a zero sum game. Some Nigerians want to throw the baby and the dirty bathwater, and these could portend cataclysms and serve as harbinger to greater evils or even violence.
All those who wish for a peace and security, justice, progress and development, advancement and greatness for our nation, must refrain from making public pronouncements and posturing to inflame.

Those Nigerians and friends of Nigeria, who wish Nigeria well should ensure that these delicate moment is managed effectively to protect and preserve Nigeria as one, indivisible and united nation.

1. President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua has been absent from presidential duties for about 20 days hence. This means that in 10 additional days, he would have been away from the presidency for one whole month

2. No one should blame President Yar'Adua for having the misfortune of imperfect health. However, his unwillingness to adhere to the constitution of Nigeria, has left many tongues wagging in Nigeria and worldwide.

3. For all I care, President YarAdua could have been in perfect health and be on vacation at Obudu Cattle Ranch or near Oguta Lake or near Yankari Game Reserve or somewhere in the sinful city of Las Vegas... the right thing to do in all case of presidential absence, is to follow the constitutionally stipulated power succession or devolution and our president, in his infinite wisdom, chose otherwise and as such, violative of or in noncompliance with our constitution

4. In this omission and or commission, President YarAdua has left a simmering discontent and schism and chasm, which might lead to a constitutional and even political crisis with dire consequences for Nigerians and Nigeria

5. I take the view therefore, that the federal government of Nigeria certainly have bigger fish to fry, instead of the shadow boxing, which is my assessment of this hot-pursuits of Mallam Ribadu and Mallam Rufai.

6. I am of course aware that a separate branch of the Nigerian government system, the judiciary that is, and a duly constituted trial headed by Justice Constance Momoh, have been examining allegations against these individuals. And so, it can be said, that these eventual warrants are part of a judicial due process which separate and apart, from the shenanigans of he executive branch.

7. But in view of the obvious or quite apparent looming constitutional and political crises,... which is encrusted in the vacuum created by President YarAdua's continued absence from his presidential duties, outsiders will be forgiven for asking, what exactly is the priority here... in magnitudes? The yet to be resolved allegations/accusations against Ribadu/Rufai or the dangling sword of Damocles imbued in presidential unconstitutionality?