Saturday, March 19, 2011

Libya; Why Not Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc

Libya; Why Not Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc
Written by Paul I. Adujie

Today, France, Britain and the United States began a process which will culminate in the overthrow of Moamar Gadaffi, the dictator and tyrant who has dominated Libya’s political stage for far too long!

In attacking Libya, western nations led by France, have argued that Moamar Gadaffi already has or is at the verge of massacring “his-own-people” as he repelled or took counter measures against legitimate uprising, rebellion and revolution against his more than 40 years dictatorships, tyranny and repression against the people of Libya.

The truth is, the world is witnessing the onset of the invasion and occupation of Libya for her sweet crude oil. This is Iraq all over again, in which Weapons of Mass Destruction or WMD was used as smokescreen or camouflage and cotton-wool over the eyes of the gullible, in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Libya is being attacked, Libya will be invaded and occupied with a regime change, under the guise of protecting Libyan people. It is false pretense. A dangerous and terrible precedent is being set, a slippery slope will ensue.

Libya is at cusp of experiencing a regime change, engineered by western nations under some banal pretexts. Western nations have hated and loathed Moamar Gaddaffi forever, as a real and phantom or imagined enemy. Gaddaffi’s preachment and stance as anti colonialist, anti imperialist and anti apartheid endeared him to me in my youth and college days.

Gaddaffi’s contradictions and inconsistencies were revealed to me, through an anti African migrant agreement which he entered with Italy and other European nations, in which Libya would be paid, to act as the gatekeeper for Europe against African citizens desperate to migrate to Europe through Libya, and other nations of North Africa.

Secondly, Gaddaffi’s virulent anti African stance was proven to me beyond doubt, when he publicly suggested that Nigeria should be split into several component parts as separate nations, and along regional, ethnic or cultural and linguistic lines! All believers in the unity in diversity and indivisible plural one Nigeria, as I am were irked by Gaddaffi’s petulance and impertinence.

Let it be known therefore, that my opinion is not anchored on defending Gaddaffi and his sons, as they are clearly indefensible, in equal measure as they are brutal, violent, repressive! Gaddaffi epitomized the worst form of dictatorship and tyranny in the world today.

There is staggering hypocrisy and screeching-loud double standards in the actions of these western nations, particularly in the face of the massacre of more than 40 peaceful protesters in Yemen yesterday by the government of Yemen and it’s paramilitary or militia.

Hypocrisies by western nations is legendary and even brazen now, in view of the fact that the were scores of deaths in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc, all of which have witnesses protests and demonstrations and violence to varying degrees in these North African, Arabian and Middle Eastern nations since onset of these political upheaval in January

On the African continent, we witnessed and are still witnessing instances of rebellions and reprisals against rebels. Somalia is the worst example. Somalia is an anarchic nation state, a disintegrated and failed nation state which have not had a steady government since 1991. And yet, western nations have not intervened to save the lives of innocent civilians. If only Somalia had crude oil!?

Somalia has since 1991 garnered the attention of western nations intermittently, only when pirates on Somalis waters, the Somali flank of the India Ocean, interferes briefly, with western commerce and merchandizing with ocean going vessels, have we noticed ad hoc reactions or seeming recognition of the existence of human life in Somalia. Western nations have had this episodic reactions to the humanitarian crises in Somalia which is the root cause of the Somali pirate phenomenon

In 1994, there were massacres in Rwanda of almost a million persons, a monumental disaster which was later adjudged to have been motivated by hatred and ethnic cleansing, and therefore, genocidal horrors, which arose in schism and chasm between Hutu and Tutsi. Western nations folded their hands, despite the presence of the United Nations troops!

Since then, there have other genocidal horrors in Darfur Sudan, in which millions of Darfurians Sudanese met their untimely death, based primarily on their religion, race and southern origins in the Sudan. President Bashir’s government in Khartoum received criticisms, but there were not interventions, and Sudanese oil flowed even while the International Criminal Court indicted Bashir and Khartoum government. Libya is being attacked and invaded and Gaddaffi slated for overthrow and regime change, but Bashir is not!

There have been frequent reports from the Congo, reports which suggests that civilians noncombatants have been massacred, raped and abused, with resultant dislocations and no interventions has been suggested.

Liberia and Sierra Leone had their own shares of conflicts, gratuitous violence and dislocations visited upon innocent civilians, but for ECOWAS led by Nigeria, during which Nigeria spent billions of dollars on peace keeping and stability, there were not murmur or hints of intervention on humanitarian grounds, to secure, protect and preserve innocent civilians in Liberia and Sierra Leone, perhaps because Liberia, and Sierra Leone, quite unlike Iraq and Libya, do not have hydrocarbon or fossil fuel oils?

In recent times, France has corralled efforts and world opinion against Laurent Gbagbo, the incumbent President of Ivory Coast; Ivory Coast suffered an election impasse or deadlock. President Gbago petitioned the highest court of that nation, which resolved the petition upon adjudication in his favor.

But the candidate preferred by France and other western nations, Alsance Qoutarra is being promoted as the winner of the November 28, 2010 elections. There are plans hatched outside Africa, to invade the Ivory Coast in order to install Alsance Qoutarra as stooge, this invasion would use Africans as tools, Nigeria being the arrow head or the apex of such military intervention in Ivory Coast.

As oppose to the extreme measure which is what military intervention-invasion is, how about a recount of the ballots? Alternatively, why wasn't a repeat and a redo of the elections in Ivory Coast considered? Why the haste and what are the reasons for foreclosing these options in favor of the extreme measure of military invasion over election stalemate?

How about the humanitarian crises and refugees and destabilization of the entire West African sub-region which will probably result from the planned military invasion? A repeat election is more cost effective and better for all parties concerned. Military invasion comes with unintended consequences, even when such invasion had any justification... there are the known and unknowable of wars!

Libya, Iraq before it, and perhaps Ivory Coast is next, are supposed to be politically independent, sovereign nations with territorial integrity, inviolate and sacrosanct. And only extraordinary circumstances ought to trigger external intervention and interference in the internal affairs of a particular nation by another or by several other nations. This affront and breach of international law, conventions and protocols are particularly offensive in view of the fact that it is deployed and used selectively.

Even most egregious examples and apt illustration of western nations’ staggering and jaw dropping hypocrisy and double standards is the fact that the attack against Libya and the Gaddaffi clan, is predicated, ostensibly, on the protection of “innocent-civilians” as Gaddaffi and his sons, the undeclared royal family and unconstitutional monarchy of Libya, have during the past several weeks engaged in violence and massacres directed at Kaddafi’s “own-people”

The glaring contradictions and inconsistencies by western governments in these matters are legendary! Yemen’s political leadership have through it’s militia and paramilitary massacred peaceful protesters and their “own-people” even as recent as yesterday, when over 40 Yemeni citizens were murdered by agents of the government of Yemen. But no planned intervention, invasion, and occupation of Yemen by western nations.

After all, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange enlightened us as to how the American government compelled the government of Yemen to deceive it’s own people, by being the fall guy for American military operations inside Yemen, which have led to scores of deaths in Yemen. All this, not in pursuit of Yemen’s national or strategic interests. Yemen is a client nation state, eager to serve interests of western nations, so, no intervention in Yemen, no invasion and occupation or regime change for Yemen.

In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Algeria and Tunisia and Egypt before that, there were peaceful public demonstrations, and protests, in these nations, which have been stereotyped populaces, culture and region with blood-lusts, where folks are liable to and prone to engage in mindless violence without logic or reason.

Meanwhile, peacefulness have been the key word, and catchphrase in these protests which began in Tunisia, then Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, etc. Peacefulness have been exemplified in the tidal wave of revolutions, political upheaval and demands for individual rights, freedoms and a further demand for democracy, the rule of law and an end to political repressions. Mindless murderers and Political Islam which is dreaded by western nations never capitalized on these peaceful protest. And those who are supposed to be mindless murderers for pleasure in the in Islamic-Arab World, and North Africa, were nowhere to be found!

Peacefulness or no peacefulness, it is the case that citizens who have engaged in legitimate demand for economic, political and constitutional reforms in the aforementioned North African, Middle Eastern-Arab and Persian nations, have subjected to brutal attack, extremely draconian and murderous attacks by the various dictatorships and tyrannies in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, and more particularly so, in Yemen.

Western nations’ military armada are now engaged in direct intervention, invasion and occupation of Libya, predicated on the propaganda, neatly packaged, which insists that Moamar Gaddaffi and his sons are engaging in massacres of “their-own-people” innocent civilians and all! But, it must be pointed out, and these pretentious western nations should be reminded that the innocent civilians in Libya, those engaged in uprising and revolution or rebellion in Libya are not different in the plights, predicaments and fates when compared to equally beleaguered peaceful protesters and demonstrators in other North African Arab and Middle Eastern nations already mentioned above. What exactly is the criteria for selecting Libya? And how can western nations sustain reasonable argument which would convince anyone as to the difference between Libya, and most of the North African and Middle Eastern nations with similar uprisings? Why cherry pick Libya, as opposed to Yemen etc?

Why is it that western nations are splendidly disinterested in economic and political reforms, or the establishment and promotion-advancement of democracy in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, etc? These are nations where single individuals and or families have dominated and colonized political space for decades, with winks and nods and active encouragements by and from western nations which are only interested in free flow of oil and the protections and preservation of their parochial and myopic interests.

Western nations have historically and perennially mouthed so-called western ideals a la democracy, due process, the rule of law and human rights etc, and yet, when the chips are down, and when it is time for these same western nations to put their monies where their mouths are, they have always preferred to undermine, subvert and rather truncate democracy and good governance in the hot pursuit of their national and strategic interests, based on expediencies and exigent and ad hoc worldview. This repeated concave and shortsightedness have often backfired historically. Think Cuba, Chile, Iran, Afghanistan etc

This shortsightedness, this myopia, this parochial worldview, measured only by fleeting and fluid western interest is root causes of all the troubles in the world. This invasion, occupation and regime change in Libya is again motivated by land grab and the new scramble for resources, particularly oil in the Middle East, Arabia, Persia, and in the case of Libya, you could say, North Africa, perhaps it is time to raise our collective alert to the fact that there is a new scramble for Africa and her resources, and Libya is the first step, and the first salvo was fired today, led by the French, Britain and America, albeit, with tacit and arguably feeble support from the Arab League and the African Union.
It is extremely shameful to see how often expedient western interests trumps and trounces so-called ideals

All things considered and particularly in view of the situations in the various North African and Middle Eastern nations which are already referenced and outlined above, many are curious to know, why there are no plans to similarly intervene directly, invade, occupy and do regime changes in all the nations which are currently undergoing tidal waves of political upheaval by way of peaceful demonstrations and protests. Especially, as in Yemen where peaceful protesters have been murdered and massacred in large numbers!

The question which should be on everyone’s lips, therefore, is, why Libya? If Libya, why not Somalia, Sudan, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia etc? I hold all dictators and tyrants in equal contempt and disdain, and it is irrelevant whether such dictatorships or tyrannies are theocratic, monarchical or military

Libya possesses the highly valued crude oil, a particularly less sulfuric version, known as the sweet crude, a West Texas Intermediate sibling or equivalent.

And only a fool and a communist would believe that crude oil in Libya has anything to do with western nations’ attacks, intervention, and planned invasion, occupation and regime change in Libya.

Only a floozy conspiracy theorist, would as fathom the silly idea, that Libya’s resources and strategic geographic location, makes Libya a launching pad for the new scramble for resource on the African continent and Middle East region by western nations!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Igbo, Marginalized, Relegated & Bashed Endlessly!

Igbo, Marginalized, Relegated & Bashed Endlessly!
Written Paul I. Adujie

Nigeria is actively undergoing electioneering campaigns for a general elections schedule for April 2011
This general election season has turned out to be an open season of attack, bigotries, prejudices and hatreds directed at Igbo by too many Nigerians.

Igbos are repeatedly attacked and denigrated, even when such attacks and denigrations are clearly unwarranted. These increased spate of vitriol directed at Igbos should make any reasonable person to ask questions.

Why is it, that so many Nigerians, too many Nigerians in fact, are so comfortable in talking down, patronizingly and condescendingly to, and about Igbos?

Why is it, that a majority of those commenting on national issues, with references to Igbos, are always denigrating fellow Nigerians, just because these Nigerians of Igbo extraction?

It is the case that most commentaries about Igbos are so insensitive, and so reckless and extremely inflammatory and careless. These caustic, corrosive and sour attitudes towards Igbos, clearly illustrate persisting ill will towards Igbos. These negative attitudes towards Igbos, are emblematic of bigotries, prejudices and hatreds which have been visited upon Igbos historically and unfortunately, the frequency of these anti Igbo pronouncements in Nigeria is on the upsurge. Too many recent comments against and about Igbos, are just shockingly disgusting!

Nigerians of earlier and older generations have poor excuses for exhibiting clannish attitudes towards other Nigerians of different ethnic or linguistic groups, religious and regional groups in our multicultural and very diverse nation. But how does anyone explain recent barrages of attacks, unwarranted attacks and badgering against Igos? How does anyone explain the fact that very educated, extensively traveled and worldly wise Nigerians continue to exhibit extremely negative and primordial attitude against Igbos?

It is recognized and conceded, that plural society are rather competitive. Competition for resources which are not limitless. Competition for economic and political control, including the competition for the control and or allocation of resources.

What is unacceptable, and what should be condemned by all Nigerians, and reasonable persons everywhere, is the frequency and regularity of occurrence of Igbo bashing and unwarranted attacks against Igbos by fellow Nigerians.

This is the first week of March 2011. Nigeria is in the throes of extreme politicking. It is public knowledge that a momentous general election in Nigeria is upon Nigeria, scheduled for April 2011.

Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora should or ought to be actively engaged in debates of our national issues and challenges. Nigerians ought to eliciting and engendering debates between political candidates and the various political parties regarding their stances and positions on public policies and programs

Nigerians across the spectrum ought to focus on how the current crop of political candidates and their parties may create or bring about better life for all Nigerians all over Nigeria. But instead, too many Nigerians are focused how to keep Igbos marginalized, relegated, even as Igbos are bashed ceaselessly and endlessly.

Igbos are continually blamed for every and all of Nigeria’s afflictions, including political, constitutional and economic underdevelopment. A cursory examination of Nigeria’s past clearly indicates Igbos as victims of sundry circumstances in Nigeria. But revisionists in Nigeria are constantly engaging in extremely offensive revisionism in which Igbos are blamed for the marginalization, relegation and bashing to which Igbo have been subjected for decades.

A case in point is the unwarranted vitriolic attacks from many commentators at a Nigeria related website known as; There was news that the Lagos state branch of Ohaneze, an Igbo sociocultural organization, had issued a public statement, demanding political inclusion and adequate reflection in Lagos state affairs. Too many Nigerians are too often engaged in selective memory and blissful amnesia.

A majority of those commenting or responding to the news, commented as though they felt compelled to excoriate and demean Igbos. The comments against Igbos were so outrageous and outlandish, you would think the word Igbo refers to a foreign nation outside of Nigeria with which Nigerians and Nigeria understandably directed hostilities and venom!

On ground in Nigeria, the sour attitude directed at Igbo is not much better. Many high profile political figures in Nigeria, have recently engaged in uncouth, insensitive and inflammatory pronouncements directed at Igbo citizens of Nigeria.

It is quite ironical and even oxymoronic, that many Nigerians who celebrated and went agog, (perhaps rightfully and proudly so), over President Obama’s appointment of a Nigerian physician, cancer expert, Dr. Olufunmilayo Falusi Olopade, Member, National Cancer Advisory Board of the United States; are the same Nigerians who are now, after or within a few days, surprisingly-shockingly disgustingly expressing offense, over possible appointments of Igbos by Lagos state government.

Dr. Olopade is Nigerian who received her medical degree from the great University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Chicago “transplant“, by way of Nigeria, even with her stellar academic and professional overachiever,with so many accomplishments under her lab-coat and medical overall, would an undeserving non-indigene, “foreigner” and usurper “settler” in the warped-twisted logic of some Nigerians!

Some Nigerians, too many Nigerians across the world, it seems, appear to think Dr. Olopade were she an Igo lady in Lagos or Kano should not aspire or be appointed, despite her pedigrees? It bears restating here for the record, that this ethnic, regional and religious chauvinism, bigotries and prejudices borne of hatreds or mutual suspicions, are not special or unique to particular ethnic groups or regions in Nigeria. Inequality, discrimination and devaluation of citizenship is an equal opportunity offenses of which too many Nigerians are guilty.

I am not advocating that a blind Igbo person should be hired by Lagos state government to drive school buses, in the name of diversity or representation of Igbos in employment by Lagos state government. But Igbos who make Lagos home, like other fellow Nigerians, with qualifications, requisite experience and antecedents and pedigrees should have equal opportunities and representation in the scheme of things in Lagos.

My argument is identical for ALL Nigerians of other ethnic groups, regional and religious affiliations.

Non-Igbo Nigerians in this current electioneering campaign in the lead up to the general elections in April 2011, have arrogantly and adamantly announced to Igbos where Igbos belong and what political turn Igbos may expect. These offensive pronouncements about and against Igbos are frequently made with consultation and reference to Igbos. And what is worse, these pronouncements are made by non-Igbos about Igbos and without regard to the feelings and aspirations of Igbos.

Loud pronouncements about the place of Igbos in Nigeria’s political future have been made by some high profile Nigerians in recent times. These pronouncements have bordered around and encompassed unrestrained arrogant vituperation of Igbos. No adult should tell another adult what to do or what the future holds, but, unfortunately, some Nigerians are arrogant and pigheaded in the extreme, when they presumptuously announce the future for over 40 million Igbos in Nigeria!

Some Nigerians are so insensitive to the feelings of Igbo Nigerians or perhaps it is that some Nigerians take perverse joy in dehumanizing and degrading Igbo Nigerians? Our national security and national strategic interests are better in foreign hands than in the hands of Igbos?

The truth is governments in Nigeria currently employ Americans, Europeans, Indians, Chinese etc. Why the fear and loathing for the prospects of Igbos in employment within the same circles of governments in Nigeria?

A few days ago, I read the opinion of the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji which contained yet, another gloomy, if impossible political forecasts of the future for Igbos in 2015. Professor Omo Omoruyi engaged in similar forecasts several days before, both men, with iron clad view of Igbo Nigerian as occupying the presidency of Nigeria in 2015. Both men were an inch close to and hair-thin short of, predicting that Aso Rock door will remain shut against Igbo man or woman in 2015.

Ibrahim Badmass Babangida it was who, loudly announced to Igbos to await the future, perhaps 2015 and to forget 2011. Babangida made this announcement while supporting and participating in the Adamu Ciroma so-called consensus candidature for the presidency of Nigeria, an effort, which insisted on zoning and rotational presidency by PDP, which is supposed to favor geographic northern Nigeria in 2011 elections.

Everyone often talk down to and about Igbos. Everyone makes matter-of-fact pronouncements about Igbo’s political prospects in Nigeria, and Igbos are supposed to and expected to take all of these and as fait accompli and smile? Igbos like other Nigerians have a stake in Nigeria’s outcome. Igbos should feel at home throughout Nigeria, even despite checkered and painful historical experiences of violence against Igbos across Nigeria. Non-Igbos are keenly aware of Igbos industriousness, superb intellect and business acumen and enterprise. These attributes and qualities are appreciated across Nigeria with Igbo’s industry and presence is felt in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria, bar none!

Some states in Nigeria, including Lagos, in recognition and appreciation, have appointed Nigerians, Igbos, to prominent public state offices, even though such Nigerians are from ethnic groups, other than the catchments area dominant ethnic group.

As when Lagos appoints an Igbo person to public office because such persons are Nigerians and are qualified, and further, to give the appearance of representing and reflecting the demographic components of such states, in this instance, Lagos state.

All Nigerians and lovers of democracy should advocate and promote this practice, in which our government at various levels, accurately reflects our local, state and national population of Nigerian citizens. Lagos and its surrounding or neighboring states are comprised ethnic Yoruba Nigerians. Igbos are the second largest Nigerian ethnic group apart from

Yoruba. It is therefore not extraordinary for Lagos to aspire to reflect this in elective and appointive public offices. Ohaneze is reportedly articulating and advocating inclusion into the political scheme of things in Lagos and Ohaneze have been accused of impoliteness or worse, threatening, usurping and blackmailing Lagos state. Ohaneze is an umbrella Igbo organization and it is duty bound to advocate Igbo’s cause. But Ohaneze is being accused of being bad “guests” for making legitimate demands.

In the United States, immigrants and their children are sometimes elected or appointed to political offices. President Obama is the son of Kenyan immigrant, President Obama is an American by birth, he is nonetheless a first generation American. But Nigerians motivated by bigotry, hatred and prejudice against the “otherness” in fellow Nigerians, in this instance, Igbos, would argue that a third or fourth generation Igbo person in Lagos should not be elected or appointed to political offices in Lagos, on the ground, solely, that such person is of Igbo great grand parents and in effect, of Igbo heritage, even if such person is as versed and as comfortable in Yoruba culture as Abiola or Komolafe or even Omoluabi

President Obama’s father came to the United States less than 50 years ago and his son is president. And yet, too many Nigerians insist adamantly, that children and grandchildren of fellow Nigerians who “migrated” from various parts of Nigeria to different parts of same Nigeria, should remain as “illegal-immigrants” in our country Nigeria? Going by the present illogic in Nigeria, President Obama could not be employed outside of state of Hawaii, never mind becoming a US senator from Illinois or US president.
Mrs. Hilary Rodham Clinton , the Secretary of State for United States is originally from the state of Illinois, married President Bill Clinton from the state of Arkansas, before becoming Secretary of State, she was the elected US senator from New York State.

And how about the storied astronomical rise of former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of the state of California, the fifth largest economy in the world, and the most populous state in the United States with a population of over 35 million Californians, he was born in Austria, lived in New York City as a body builder, then a film star, and voila, governor of California! Why, in view of all these, are Nigerian focused on devaluing Nigerian citizenship of fellow Nigerians within Nigeria, just because the some Nigerians have exercised fundamental rights such as freedom of movement and right to travel or relocate and live in any locality within Nigeria?

Nigeria is replete and Nigeria in fact is being consumed by this singular illogicality. The settler-indigene dichotomies or fleeting and fluid distinctions which are inflicted on Nigerian citizens, devalues our citizenship as full fledged citizens of Nigeria with equal rights, duties and obligations. Nigerians in Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Lagos etc are deathly afraid of domination by Igbos, instead of abject poverty and squalor and the absence of steady electricity and clean water?

Again, in the United States, particularly here in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and mayors before him, have always recognized the immense contributions made by immigrants to the development of New York City. Immigrants currently constitute 36% of the population of New York City, while contributing 37% to New York City’s economic development.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg in recognition of this, created and appointed a woman of Palestinian descent as New York City Commissioner for Immigrant Affairs! Imagine the irony of the presence of a Nigerian immigrant being more respected and appreciated in New York City, compared with the devaluation and degrading treatment such Nigerian may receive in various parts of Nigeria where she-he was born, just because she-he has a heritage with origins, other than, her-his chosen state of residence in Nigeria.

So that an Hausa Nigerian, Igbo Nigerian, Yoruba Nigerian, Esan or Ijaw Nigerian have their beloved Nigerian citizenship degraded and devalued because they chose a particular part of Nigeria to make their home and life? What a shame indeed! Why should it be the case that, just because my great grand parents were born in Maiduguri, and even though I have chosen Nnewi as my preferred part of Nigeria to create health, wealth and happiness, fellow Nigerians would not let me be? Whereas, Mayor Bloomberg says I am OK in New York City, so long as I am all about creating health, wealth and multiplying human happiness?

This writer is on record as a fervently passionate about one Nigeria forever, about the benefits of Nigeria’s unity in diversity and the perils of disintegration. This writer is on record as chastising those of my brethren who continue to espouse beliefs and aspirations in Biafra or any national aspirations outside Nigeria as presently constituted. Nevertheless, it cannot be the case and it is not logical, for any Nigerian to think it acceptable, a national arrangement, where a particular group is historically and persistently marginalized, relegated to the background and frequently bashed as Igbos are in Nigeria.

But who wants to be marginalized, relegated and bashed so often and persistently? Nigeria’ greatest challenge is the allocation and management of resources with which to tackle and eliminate poverty from Nigeria. Undermining a large segment of our population is similar to deploying two thirds of our resources whilst neglecting the deployment of a sizable chunk, as large as one thirds.

Same way some nations neglect to develop their national human capital, by neglecting gender equality for women who are in fact a majority of national populations worldwide. No normal pilot flies large jet airplanes with one engine, ordinarily.

Igbos’ genuine desires and aspirations as full citizens of Nigeria, have been neglected and ignored for far too long. It is gross and extreme injustice for any reasonable person to expect Igbos to remain happy campers in stagnation for so long. All fair minded Nigerians only need to put themselves in the unacceptable position and circumstances which have been imposed on fellow Nigerians of Igbo heritage.

All Nigerians need to and must vigorously discuss Nigeria and the events which led to the ignominious Nigerian Civil War. All Nigerians need to similarly discuss the economic and political developments and occurrences in the aftermath of the Nigeria-Biafra War.

Nigeria need truth, sincere reconciliation and national healing. Constantly blaming Igbos, who are arguably the recipients of the roughest end of the Civil War stick, is a national disservice and disgrace! It takes two sides to fight any war. Blaming one side to a thirty month long war is unreasonable, particularly so, after these 40 long years after the war.

Democracy in Nigeria and across the world is messy and in fact, quite imperfect, this is even more so, in relatively younger democracies such as our in Nigeria. This messes and imperfection become even more complex in multicultural, plural, and secular nations such as ours. Democracies, even in plural societies in which the most qualified persons with passion, commitment and dedication to best public policies for national common good are certainly preferred.

Nigeria’s young democracy, nascent, so-called, is still susceptible to negative common denominators of ethnic, regional, religious differences big and small, real and imagined. And so, the concerns and fears of marginalization and relegation are tenaciously held deeply felt. All Nigerians should recognize these basic facts and therefore do unto Igbos as the rest of Nigerians outside Igboland would expect unto themselves!

All things considered, Igbo Nigerians have be patient and levelheaded even in the face egregious provocations imbued in offensively laced pronouncements regarding Igbos genuine desires and aspirations within the nation of Nigeria. All Nigerians should become more conversant with the fact that the sun also rises in Igboland.

There are millions of competent women and men, who are eminently qualified to occupy the highest political office in the land, and to assume and exercise presidential powers and duties in Nigeria.

Google Search:

1. 2007 Presidential Elections In Nigeria And Ndigbo's Genuine Aspirations. circa 2005

2. What Do Ndiigbo Want? From Biafra To MASSOB. circa 2004

3. Biafra Is Dead, Buried & No More! circa 2005

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Emilia George & The Value of Nigerian Citizenship

Emilia George & The Value of Nigerian Citizenship
Written by Paul I. Adujie

I have just read about the desperately sad, and extremely dire plights and predicaments of a fellow Nigerian citizen; Her name is Emilia George and she was featured in a story on the online pages of The Guardian Newspapers of Nigeria. In an article written by one Ms. Alemma-Ozioruva Aliu, it recounted how Emilia George became a victim of tragedy at multiple levels.

First she was involved in a collision between a motorcycle and vehicle, a tipper truck. While unconscious, she became a patient of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital or UBTH, and then, she soon became a pawn in the hands of many.

Emilia George’s tales of woes are reminders to all of us, of our socially stratified society with such pungent stench and decadence at seemingly all levels. Emilia George’s suffering, hardship and extreme desperation is revelatory of the wanton neglect by the leaderships of our political and economic systems, the extreme neglect to which a majority of our citizens are unfortunately subjected, as fact of life.

The extent and quality of human refinement in Nigeria must be measured by how we treat the poor and the underprivileged amongst us. Emilia George's Nigerian citizenship and her fundamental rights are being subjected to a "means-test" Her detention over her inability to pay her medical bills, is an affront and it is tantamount to an abridgment and a wrongful devaluing of her Nigerian citizenship.

I did not know that it was legal and proper for any hospital in Nigeria or anywhere in the world, to hold patients against the patience’s will, as a result of the patient’s inability to pay bills arising from medical treatment and care. I did not know.

Even so, the hospital within which Emilia George is being held, is a hospital owned, funded and operated with taxpayers’ money. Anyone would think, reasonably, that a hospital owned and operated by the government would not do such.

A local, state and in this case, a federal government, hospital would not compel a Nigerian citizen to remain in hospitalized involuntarily, due to her inability to pay for medical care which was already provided. Even if, this egregious behavior was a common or rampant practice by private hospitals in the locality.

Emilia George’s case clearly illustrates, or exemplifies the extreme extent and magnitude of failures of basic structures in our society and nation. It is not uncommon in Nigeria to learn of how medical doctors, nurses and others in the healthcare system refusing or neglecting to provide even urgent medical care until cash payment is received.

Nigerian health workers are known to argue that their salaries have been unpaid and as a consequence, the sick become the pawn and the chip in the ping pong games or fights between ineffective uncaring political leaders and beleaguered healthcare workers whose lives are rendered unbearably hard through unpaid salaries and miserable working conditions

Ineptitude on the parts of various levels of government leadership now feeds off of the angst and disenchantment of workers of the health sub-sector.

All this makes anyone want to ask, whether democracy, due process and the rule of law means anything to anyone in Nigeria. How else does a Nigerian citizen get detained in a hospital as a prisoner? This is so, without police, law enforcement and judicial intervention, as a matter of process and procedure. How can our nation be so brutish and arbitrary?

Emilia George represents and encapsulates the story of every Nigerian. She rode a motorcycle as her mode of transportation in the absence of public policy on mass transit or any solid substitute form of public transportation. She is injured as a result of human errors on the part of either the motor cycle operator or the driver of the tipper truck or both motorists, and traffic police failed Emilia George.

Absence of a vehicular insurance policy which would have served as a buffer or cushion against calamities, ensured that Emilia George had no recourse.

Nigeria failed Emilia George at every level. What is the function of our government at every level? What is the use and purpose of our government, at least from the perspectives of Emilia George? No public transportation or mass transit. She then relies on what was available.

Upon being injured, the motorcyclist who was hired by Emilia George and the driver of the tipper involved in the tragic accident were not held accountable? Were the vehicular actors insured? Were government agencies and mechanisms for dealing roads and vehicular accidents activated? What were the actions of the various government agencies charge with the responsibilities of tackling issues such as have arisen.

Emilia George was involved in a vehicular accident on a public street or highway, were there any reports to the police? What were the outcomes of police investigations and actions? Nigeria operates mandatory insurance policy law for all motorists, were the insurance carriers of the motorists in question notified? What was the outcomes or responses by the insurance companies? Are insurance companies allowed to collect premiums from insured or policy holders, but never held responsible when insured events occurs?

Emilia George is a Nigerian citizen who deserves and should expect the protection and service from the government of Nigeria. This include the provision of good roads. Public transportation. Rules of the road including insurance and post vehicular accident policies which guides and protects all parties to vehicular accidents. Are Nigerians not entitled to the very basic functions from our government?

Emilia George did nothing wrong. She exercised her freedom of movement and right to travel, now she is amputated, she is traumatized and her ordeal is being exacerbated and prolonged, as she is detained by a major hospital which is owned and operated by Emilia George’s government

She was injured and there was no compensation and there were no consequences for those responsible for her injuries which led to the amputation of her hand. And, she is now being detained and further traumatized by a hospital, which is owned and operated by our federal government!

How can this be logical, or fair? There are so many things happening in Nigeria these days which I thought were unfathomable. But it Emilia George’s plights and predicaments are extremes. Nigeria is not Afghanistan, Iraq or Somalia, the infamous poster boys for failed nation states.

But why is it possible for Emilia George’s tragedy to be part of our national narratives?

What is exactly is the purpose of government?

There are 150 million tales by citizens of Nigeria who are confronted with devalued Naira and its consequences the multiplier effects on everything Nigerians use and we import virtually everything

Nigerians are confronted with the absence of clean water, steady electricity, absence of decent roads and bridges. Nigerians are confronted with abandoned, neglected and decayed public infrastructure across all sectors, including health, agriculture, education etc. And in the face of all these, candidates for the general elections are colluding and conniving and merely coasting toward the scheduled general elections in April!

Iraq, even after over 20 years internal and external violence and crises, still manage to generate and transmit more electricity than what obtains in Nigeria. How can Nigeria be worse than Iraq with reference to electricity and water? Nigeria as a matter of urgency, must allocated and manage resources in new and better ways. Ineptitude, selfishness and unbridled and unmitigated greed has created needless abject poverty in Nigeria.

These are the conditions and circumstances which makes this Emilia George type shameful stories possible in Nigeria. There is no reason why there should be such terrible poverty and desperation which is propelled by such poverty and squalor in Nigeria. How could this Emilia George’s national embarrassment and shame have arisen in Nigeria? This national shame and embarrassment is not unique to her and that makes it even more painful to contemplate and fathom!

Please help this fellow Nigerian citizen... she has suffered enough. Her story is truly sad and her circumstances remain dire. I am left to wonder about her sense of what is left of her person, Emilia George most probably feels devalued beyond redemption. If Emilia George or any other Nigerian was subjected to these injustices by another nation, I would have recommended repercussions against such nation!

But unfortunately, Emilia George’s situations were created by persisting circumstances in Nigeria. Her excruciating experiences have brought about by the human condition in Nigeria. She is entitled to ask, and rightly so, what is the value of her citizenship? How could human dignity mean anything to her after her ordeal? How can any society devalue her humanity so egregiously? Where is the outrage against these sorts of depravities?

I am a Nigerian. I am proud of my citizenship. I am simultaneously embarrassed and thoroughly ashamed of what has happened to our fellow citizen Emilia George.

I do not understand how this could happen in Nigeria, my homeland. Nigeria is brimming with women and men with superb intellects. Nigeria is a nation filled with bountiful human and material resources.

Nigeria is a nation of abundance. But how can I convince Emilia George of the value of her citizenship? Emilia George is young, but she has seen the abyss. What can we, all Nigerians at home and abroad do to restore her faith in the value of her citizenship?

Emilia George has endured extreme agonies, prolonged sufferings and hardships, all, through no fault of hers. How can all this possibly be any reasonable person’s sense of justice?

Nigerians, friends of Nigeria and all reasonable persons should help secure freedom for Emilia George.