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Editorial

Anambra: An open letter to INEC

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By Ejike Anyaduba

Dear Professor Mahmood Yakubu,I admit of no better time than now to write you this letter. With the November 18 governorshipelection in Anambra State within days of taking place it behoves us in the state to ask a fewquestions. I assume – even without being admitted in knowledge – that you have taken effectivecare to ensure that Anambra State witnesses a free and fair election. Nothing will be moregratifying than this realization.It is my hope that your coming to the state as an unbiased umpire is to change the perception thatelection results do not always reflect the wishes of the electorate. I pray the Anambra electionwill not be a confirmation of this perception. This is because you and I know how diminished apeople can be each time their collective aspiration is made of no importance. It vacuums them ofhope, and can set them on a path of destruction. To this end, I pray you don’t indulge or panderto any interest that will bring about this situation. This election offers you a chance to write yourname in gold – an opportunity to undo the wrongs of the past. Professor Humphrey Nwosu, youremember him, the erstwhile boss of INEC, is remembered today with fondness by majority ofNigerians not because he plied his pedagogy in political science of many a Nigerian university.Not at all! He is remembered because he dared to be different and conducted what has come tobe known as the freest and fairest election in Nigeria. The opportunity is here with you. I urgeyou to seize it, act in good conscience and allow Heaven to take care of the devil in the detail.May the good Lord speed you!However, there is this rumour that a plan has been hatched to derail the process which I feel youshould know. But for constant dropping of the name of your organization, the purveyors of thecheap gossip would merit no consideration at all. But because every society is surfeited withimps enough to cause distractions, including my dear Anambra, I suggest that you take proactivemeasures to forestall possible derailment. The threat should not be dismissed with the wave ofthe hand as these fellows seem determined to stultify genuine effort to have an equitable election.I haven’t the slightest reason to doubt your good office or to ever imagine it could be in cahootswith any plan to compromise the people. Not at all! Yet their boast of connections in high placesis enough to arouse concern. They speak with definiteness that the result must pan out in theirfavour. Where otherwise – they boasted – the election will be postponed as was the case in Edo.
Ordinarily, no one should pay any heed to such swank as our people can distinguish between thecommand of God and the threat of man. They can also tell a psychological war when they are upagainst one. But I got worried when reference was made to the Edo governorship election. Youmust agree with me that that election did not commend itself highly of INEC. If anything, itreduced public confidence in the electoral body. The postponement of that election fromSeptember 10, 2016 to September 28, 2016 was seen rightly or otherwise as unnecessary exceptas an opportunity for the eventual winner to deal with the odds against his chances. Till date, alot of people are not enamoured of the conduct and will be loath to have it repeated elsewhere. Itmay be argued that the election was equitable at least to the extent that the Supreme Courtaffirmed it and the good people of Edo did not protest the travesty. Neither argument capturedthe damage done to the psyche of Nigerians who had thought the new leadership of INEC wasdifferent from what it has been. It is our prayer that Anambra State should be spared that sham of an election. Not because thepeople have the capacity to compel a different officiation if the Edo option has been slated. It hasto be different for the following reasons. One, because it is the only election within the period, itis less encumbered by pressure. Both the workforce and material deployment of INEC haveenough room to deliver a good job. Two, the state is currently under threat of a shut-down byelements of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). That in itself is enough trouble howeverabated it may seem since the Python Dance 11. It will be stretching our luck too far by provokingmass hysteria through avoidable partisanship. Two and perhaps the greater of the two reasons ispossible provocation of the fractious youth of the Omamballa region. You may not be aware ofthis, but the Omamballa area is the flashpoint of violence in the state. Because of the rotationarrangement two of the frontline contenders in the race are from the area. This area is a veritableground for recruitment of “militants”, and till date bears the record as having fought the longestfratricidal war in the history of the state. Without sounding an alarmist another kind of job wouldbe created for the security agents should INEC mismanage the election.As a rule, Anambra is a pleasant state to govern. The people have no great expectations fromgovernment. They are sufficient onto themselves and can, on occasion, stand in for government.The state occupies a foremost position in Igbo land because of her unique potentials. It is notwithout reason that elections in the state are treated with great care. Anambra electorate aresophisticated and do not need encouragement to accept or reject a leader as they deem wise.However, if deprived the right of choice they can prove most intractable. The state can makenoise enough to get the nation worried. We are not unaware how important a peaceful AnambraState is to Nigeria and vice versa. It will be wrong to task the peace by doing anything untowardduring the election. A challenged governorship election in Anambra State may worsen thevolatile peace in the country. For this reason, our dear INEC, I decided to write you in the hopethat you will resist every attempt to exact your office for the success of any candidate in thiselection.It will be a disservice to our people if their effort on November 18 is made of no effect just tosatisfy a few interests.Our people appreciate the rat race involved in this election and cannot pretend to be unmindful ofefforts by those who boast of their contact in high places in Abuja to subvert the will of thepeople. But to achieve that through any connivance with the refeering authority will spell a lot of trouble for everybody. You owe the state a duty to resist any temptation and or intimidation bythose determined to lead the state against the dictates of her conscience. What happens fromNovember 19, whether there will be a peaceful Anambra, nay Nigeria or not, derives from howfair you choose to conduct the election. I shall be content to bother you less with anunnecessarily long letter for I know you must be busy.Again, may the good Lord speed you!
Ejike Anyaduba writes from Abatete

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Editorial

In 1 in 4 Elections, African Voters Face Delays

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A last-minute decision to delay Nigeria’s general election, now re-scheduled for Saturday, has fueled doubt about the commitment to a free and fair poll in Africa’s most populous country.
For Nigerians, it’s an unwelcome, though not unfamiliar, outcome. The country hasn’t held a presidential election without a delay since 2007, when former President Umaru Yar’Adua handily beat sitting President Muhammadu Buhari.
But postponed polls aren’t exclusively a Nigerian concern.
Across Africa, 27 of 102 presidential elections have been delayed since 2009, based on data analyzed by VOA from various news reports and from the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa, a not-for-profit organization based in Johannesburg, South Africa, focused on promoting credible elections.
Twenty of the 51 countries that held presidential elections experienced one or more postponements in the past 10 years. The delays ranged from two days to several years, with most lasting at least several weeks. Ivory Coast had the longest election delay — five years.
The root causes of the postponements vary, from civil wars and insurgencies to natural disasters and officials’ attempts to skirt constitutional term limits. Sometimes, election dates shift due simply to inadequate preparation.
When a country is unable to hold an election as planned, it can affect the credibility of the process. In Nigeria, voters told VOA they were confused and concerned.

But VOA’s analysis shows that an election postponement isn’t a sign of poor governance in and of itself — rather, both the strongest and weakest democracies experience the fewest election delays.
Delays & democracy
Each year, the Economist Intelligence Unit, an arm of the company that publishes The Economist newspaper, releases its Democracy Index. The Index ranks countries for attributes such as electoral process, political participation and civil liberties.
Overall, countries without election delays attained Index values in 2018 about 11 percent higher than those with delays. Countries without delays also scored about 24 percent higher on an electoral process and pluralism rating.

None of the countries with the highest overall scores, including Botswana, Cabo Verde, Mauritius and South Africa, experienced delays.
But a closer look reveals a more surprising finding: Countries with some of the lowest democracy index values, such as Burundi, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe, also encountered no postponements.

In the period reviewed, 10 countries considered “authoritarian” by the Economist Intelligence Unit delayed elections, but 15 governments with that classification did not.
For countries committed to improving governance and creating more inclusive democratic processes, postponements could be used to bolster turnout and encourage voting without violence or coercion. But governments that hold pro forma elections have little need to make such arrangements.
Future trends
Election delays show no signs of growing rarer.
The number of delays in Africa dipped slightly from 2012–2015, but picked up again in 2016, when 20 percent of elections were postponed. Last year, that number doubled.
Nigeria is the first postponement of 2019, but some countries face ongoing delays. In South Sudan and Libya, voters continue to wait for their chance to shape the directions of their countries after multiple delays.

For Nigerian voters, the most recent election setback came at a particularly frustrating moment, mere hours before the polls were set to open. With a week before the new date, the campaigns for both candidates, incumbent Buhari and challenger Atiku Abubakar, the former vice president, hope voters won’t be deterred.
With a close race projected, the candidates are advocating patience, and encouraging people to consider that every vote counts.



Salem Solomon
Salem Solomon is a multimedia digital journalist with the Voice of America’s Africa Division. She covers the latest news from across the continent, and she also reports and edits in Amharic and Tigrigna.
Salem’s multimedia and data-driven projects include How Western DRC’s Ebola Outbreak Was Contained, Unrest: Ethiopia at a Crossroads, Zimbabwe in Transition, Hunger Across Africa and How Long Have Africa’s Presidents Held Office?

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Editorial

Recurrent issues in APGA leadership conundrum

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 •Likely implications of apex court ruling on Southeast, 2019
When the Supreme Court sits on July 13, 2018 to deliver judgment on the cyclical leadership squabble in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), it would be the 4th time such appeal would receive the apex court verdict.

The tortuous legal journey that led to the uprooting of the founding national chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie coursed through the apex court in several appeals, including interlocutory prayers. In the course of the eight years of legal tangle between Okorie and former treasurer of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, despite the fact that no court of law ever pronounced Umeh as the valid national chairman, he carried on in that office going in and out of various courts clutching technical rulings.

That was the state of APGA such that by October 2012 when Okorie discontinued further interest in the litigations, the party had no less than 23 cases pending at various courts in the country.
Against that background, come July 13, the apex court’s decision would therefore seek to dispel or sustain some ingrained issues surrounding the leadership instability of the sixteen year-old political party. Some of the questions that the Supreme Court’s ruling would possibly answer include: To what extent did judicial corruption aid the unending leadership crises in APGA? Are reports or inputs from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) given due probative value in these crises?
Will justice be served or denied by the judicial pronouncement and to what extent would either tendency affect the structural health of the party, going forward to 2019 election?

On the way to 2019
APGA has gained relevance in Nigeria politics as a fringe party adept at playing second fiddle to ruling political parties, a development helped by its leadership volatility. Last year, in the euphoria of Governor Willie Obiano’s electoral victory and in apparent attempt to court the support of the ruling party, embattled factional chairman of APGA, Chief Victor Oye, declared that the party’s national executive committee would meet to take an official stand on the issue of support for President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term.

Although Oye was severely rebuked for that emotive outburst, his action was in line with APGA’s tradition of siding with any party in power during elections in search for its own relevance and stability. That ignoble tradition came into great show in the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when Okorie was being edged out of the party, for drafting the late Ikemba Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu into the Presidential race in 2003.

As Okorie observed during the several litigations that trailed his removal, based on the stiff challenge APGA presented in the election, Obasanjo decided to use a dubious weak link in APGA to ensure that southeast does not have a strong platform to engineer a bloc vote.

So, by announcing albeit prematurely, the possibility of endorsing Buhari’s second term, Oye was merely lifting survival tactics from Victor Umeh’s book of tricks in the mistaken notion that as it was in Obasanjo’s era, judicial officers would interpret the body language of the Presidency to phrase their ruling.

However, there are strong indications that APGA might suffer terrible defeat in the southeast if it toes the easy path of endorsing the Presidential candidate of a rival party, particularly the All Progressives Congress (APC), in 2019. The outcome of the 2017 Anambra State governorship poll was a combination of two major factors including, disdain for APC and the manner in which PDP chose its flag bearer.

By the time the Anambra gubernatorial election held, a greater percentage of voters in Southeast seemed to have become weary and wary of the politics of self-survival and internecine leadership squabbles in the party. APGA was also losing its earlier mass appeal due to the insistence of some narrow-minded politicians to domesticate its leadership in Anambra in contravention of the founding ideas of the party as platform for Igbo ideological expression.

It was therefore in a bid to extinguish such narrow mindedness that seems to have greatly obfuscated the party that members of the APGA national working committee led by late Nwabueze Okafor, who hailed from Enugu State, decided to sack Oye. Oye was also accused of personalising the office of national chairman of APGA and running the party as if it were his personal estate, which culminated in some financial misconduct.

The fact that that singular change of leadership in APGA received widespread commendation, showed the depth of public revulsion at the lack of internal democracy in the party, as well as, attempt at entrenching Anambra hegemony on its leadership. Consequently, the sack of Oye and subsequent takeover of the party chairmanship by Okafor, who was the former national President of Association of Local Government Chairman of Nigeria (ALGON), brought a new lease of life to APGA.

Unfortunately, Okafor’s leadership did not endure to carry out the institutional reforms the NWC envisaged before death snatched him away. However, in his place, the 2007 Imo State governorship candidate of the party, Ochudo Martin Agbaso, was selected in the spirit of diversification and deregulation of APGA chairmanship.

Nonetheless, with eyes on another general election in 2019, some Anambra politicians that see APGA as a trading company and their money making machine, decided to fight the ensuing reforms, thereby waking up another cycle of litigations with the attendant financial transactions.

One notorious political jobber from Anambra State, in a state of obscene revelry gloated that substantial part of billions budgeted for programming judicial and INEC officials helped him set up his sprawling business enterprises in Awka.

The politician narrated how some judges were compromised to parry justice in most of the court cases involving contending parties in the APGA leadership crises. He disclosed how some judges had to travel to nearby Benin republic, faraway London and Dubai to collect their price for vending judgment in the APGA imbroglio.

The question that comes up is whether if those practices took place in the past, such interference could happen in the present dispensation.

July 13 judgment
The Supreme Court fixed July 13, to rule on the appeal filed by the Agbaso group challenging the decision of a lower court to grant the prayers of Oye, who was not a party to the originating matter regarding the order of mandamus on the Police and INEC to deal with Agbaso-led NWC as the authentic leadership of APGA.

It should be noted that prior to the Enugu High Court ruling, Oye was still in court trying to quash his removal from office by other members of the NWC at a meeting that was properly convened by him as chairman in line with the provisions of the APGA constitution.

In a bid to avert confusion and arrest INEC’s indecision over the leadership position, APGA deputy chairman in Enugu, Mr. Mike Alioke, approached the State High Court with a motion praying for an order on INEC to abide with a resolution of the stakeholders of the party appointing Agbaso as the acting national chairman to fill the void thrust on the party by Okafor’s sudden demise.

Alioke’s case seem to mirror similar motion by Jude Okude, before the then Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice Innocent Umezulike, seeking the court’s interpretation whether by virtue of expiry of his tenure, Umeh could convene a national executive committee meeting of the party. Going by a rotation arrangement in the party, Enugu State was on line to succeed Umeh as national chairman.

In the instant case, no sooner than the court granted the order than Oye went to the Court of Appeal, Enugu division, which reversed the order of mandamus on INEC and the Police to deal with the Agbaso-led NWC of APGA.

Surprised that the Court of Appeal should grant Oye’s petition, not minding that he was not a party to the case, but was joined as an interested party, Agbaso went to the Supreme Court challenging the Appeal Court ruling on the grounds that Oye failed to obtain the leave of the court before approaching the appellate court as required in law.

In his brief of argument through his counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), Agbaso contended that Oye ought not to benefit from the judgment of the court without seeking and obtaining the leave of the court to proceed on appeal.

Agbaso’s counsel averred that Oye suffered legal deficiencies by not aligning with the provisions of the constitution, which stipulate that not being a party during trial at the lower court, “coming to appeal as an interested party requires him to seek and obtain first the leave of the court before appealing.”

Citing the case of Ani vs Oni, Erokoro (SAN) further submitted that the Court of Appeal in its ruling failed to consider the crucial provision of the law that leave must be obtained first before an interested party goes on appeal.

Nonetheless, either on the basis of his counsel’s dismissal of Agbaso’s counsel’s submissions as mere academic endeavour, Oye and his supporters rolled out the drums in celebration, saying that Governor Obiano has assured that victory would come their way for strategic reasons.

How apex court ruling might shape APGA, Southeast and 2019
Being the court of final instance, it is possible that the July 13 Supreme Court judgment would put paid to the endemic leadership squabbles and serial litigations in APGA. But, the outcome could influence the party, southeast politics and the run up to the much talked about 2019 election in diverse ways.

For APGA, if the judgment serves the cause of justice, it would mark a new beginning for the party. The new beginning could be seen in the possible reunification of Igbo political elites under one umbrella in preparation for the 2019 poll as a harbinger for the build up to 2023.

Such collaboration could set the stage for serious interrogation of political options and expression of group interests, particularly on issues like restructuring, economic integration and self-determination or even secession.

On the other hand, a superficial judgment could deepen the monolithic leadership structure of the party and further alienate other Igbo states from APGA. Such tendency might enhance the position of Governor Obiano as an emergent emperor, thereby positioning him and the party effectively to continue the tradition of pandering to whims of ruling platforms.

In the event such an untoward development, southeast could aggregate in PDP for national political cum electoral relevance. Thus, APGA would remain as a visceral party for Anambra politicians.

However in the final analysis the July 13 apex court ruling, could become a talking point for Nigerians to discuss the place of the judiciary in internal democracy in political parties, as well as, the other deleterious imputation that although the law rules, it sways to the power of fiscal and social influence.

 

Guardian

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Editorial

Religious harmony: Onaiyekan chides clerics misleading their followers

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The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has called on both Christian and Muslim clerics to stop misleading their followers in their sermons.
Cardinal Onaiyekan made the call on Monday in Ilorin in his keynote address at the First International Conference of Inter-Religious Council organised by the University of Ilorin.
The theme of the Conference is: “A peaceful co-existence among adherents of different religions: a panacea for National integration and Development”.

He advocated for the total training of both Muslim and Christian clerics on knowledge of scriptures to improve religious harmony in Nigeria.
The Cardinal said there were too many  ignorant Christian and Muslim clerics misleading their adherents.
He noted that religious harmony was possible in Nigeria, but required that clerics from the two major religions should to go back to the scripture and be retrained.
According to him, religious leaders must change their mode of addressing their adherents to conform with the correct teachings of their religions and promote total peace and harmony.
“Religious harmony is not just peaceful co-existence, which is often not peaceful at all especially when there are perceptions of injustice in some quarters.
“Peace is more than the absence of war,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said.
Onaiyekan said it was only peace that could bring about national integration, in which every section would find itself at home and valued.
“There is need for a radical theological updating of our ideas of God and our faith, in such a way that we can accommodate others, just as God Himself has accommodated all of us,” he said.
He called on the diverse religious adherents to celebrate the common grounds we have in our faiths, despite the non-negligible doctrinal differences.
Speaking at the occasion, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, Secretary General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs said the conference was appropriate and timely.
Oloyede, who was represented by Dr Yusuf Adebayo, Lecturer at the Depart of Religions of the University of Ilorin advised against forcing religion on people adding that the Holy Qur’an has already enjoined Muslims that: “Let there be no compulsion in religion; truth stands out clear from error.”
Oloyede warned against the condemnation and provocation of people of other faith which often can lead to unhealthy relationship among people .
Earlier in his welcome address, Prof Sulyman Abdulkareem, Vice Chancellor of the University described religious bigotry as one of the major problems confronting Nigeria.
He said there was so much intolerance against one another which was the major cause of religious crises across the nation.
Abdulkareem said that God created religion as an instrument for unity and peaceful co-existence among people. (NAN)

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Editorial

Anambra State And Illegal Structures

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Quite often development is not appreciated by all, especially where it appears not to affect everybody the same way. Appreciation varies as there are interests, and often provokes a whole gamut of human emotion. But ultimately it commends itself to the greater good.
It is well to remember this fact – no development, however disruptive it may seem, is not adapted to the general good. It may appear severe at the outset, but in the end its salutary effect is assured. Few examples where development was spurned as punitive, resisted with vehemence but eventually accepted with thankfulness may suffice. What is known today as Lekki phase one and two in the Lagos Island area of Lagos State – where the rich now retire in a pleasant feeling of tiredness – was a reclaimed slum – a skid row. It was formerly Maroko, the rundown part of the state and a byword for bedlam and decay. But today the story has changed for good. Those who carried out the demolition as well as the resisters of the exercise can now look back with a feeling of smugness over a good effort. It took decisive effort from the government at the time to accomplish the task without which the state’s dream of a mega city would have come in vain and a good idea lost forever. Maroko was almost a detritus of environmental waste frequented by all manner of people, including those not bred to any manner of trade. Its reclamation was therefore very important to the state and she spared no effort to see it through.

There was also Oshodi, another sprawling habitation in the state. Whether as a market or a habitation, Oshodi did not conjure a good image. Before it was reclaimed from its decided slant towards irredeemable slum the place evoked an eerie feeling in commuters and passers-by. Very few positive stories were told of it. Like Maroko its demolition was frowned at and resisted with vehemence. But today Oshodi is a tourist attraction. Visitors to the state are completely lost on its aesthetic transformation. Hardly does it bear any imprint of the old status. It can be argued that the decision to transform both places (Maroko and Oshodi) was not easy. It was seen as unpopular and resisted accordingly. But because the government was unwavering the idea was pursued with uncommon determination until the objective was achieved.
What happens in Anambra – the removal of illegal structures from the streets – is in no way different. The only difference perhaps is in scope. Whereas Lagos dealt with more expansive areas of habitation and market, Anambra is just slicing off stalls and compartments, obstructing existing structural plan of major streets in the state. She is yet to demolish squalid habitations littered in the cities of Onitsha, Awka and even Nnewi. But even as moderate as the exercise the task has not been easy. It has been met with subtle resistance. As was wont, the presumed victims do not take the exercise kindly. It is seen as punitive but that perhaps is a poor reading of the acts of government, particularly its development plan. But the exercise has doubtless come due, especially with the disruption going on everywhere in the state. Sadly, an allegation of insensitivity is being slapped on the government over the exercise. But that is not tenable for the simple reason that the same government has consistently protected the underclass. Previous efforts bear this out.
At the height of economic recession in the country the government had intervened to cushion the effect of taxation on residents in the state. It also employed workers when states were sacking theirs and pays salaries accordingly. It has offered employment opportunities to many, including people with disabilities and has encouraged them to aspire to positions hitherto denied them. More importantly, it has provided dosshouse for waifs and tramps and built sanatorium for the terminally ill.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for the removal of illegal structures in the state to hang a tag of insensitivity on the government. The latter is not expected to sit on its hands and watch the state continue in the awkward direction. Rather than condemnation, the government should be encouraged in its onerous task of dealing with the disorderliness that has long pervaded the state. Similar effort by the same government had helped to shore up the positive image of the state. The sanity at Upper Iweka/Bridgehead was not achieved in a snap. It came at a cost. Like Oshodi, it was once a confused bedlam. But it took concerted effort by the government to make it a worthy gateway to the state.
It may be hard for those who bear the brunt of the exercise to appreciate the intentions of the government – its effort to bequeath the state a progressive, healthy and environmental-friendly state. But the responsibility ought to be a collective one and should elicit sacrifice accordingly. Unarguably, the exercise was conceived with the people in mind and caused from the outset of the Willie Obiano administration to follow a decided pattern. Against the rash of comments bandied in quarters, it was conceived for the general good of the state.
Recall that early in the life of the administration, a development board, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) was set up to cater for the structural needs of the capital city. It was charged among other responsibilities to draw up a capital city that would favourably compete with Dubai, the economic capital of the United Arab Emirate. Without question, it was an enormous task that involved a lot of adjustment on existing structures and application of restraints on emerging new ones.
It is interesting to note that some of the affected structures – those opposed to the board’s run of duty would have been spared the bulldozers had wisdom prevailed. At least there was ample time to have them relocated to select areas. But that did not happen for obvious reasons. There were those who assumed the board will suffer a sting in the tail. There were also others who would never anticipate a storm when the sea is calm. Notwithstanding, it is believed that the desire to make Anambra the number state in Nigeria has a greater attraction for the people and will encourage them to sacrifice for the state.

Ejike Anyaduba, Abatete

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Editorial

PRESS RELEASE : SENATOR ENYINNANYA ABARIBE ARREST BY DSS.

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WORLD IGBO CONGRESS
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
P. O. Box 132394 Dallas, Texas 75313-2394
Tel: 214 823 7666, 469-867-7774; Email: rnwachukwu@worldigbocongress.com______________________________________________
June 22, 2018
PRESS RELEASE
SENATOR ENYINNANYA ABARIBE ARREST BY DSS.
The World Igbo Congress has learnt with shock, sadness and dismay, the outrageous arrest and detention of Sen. Enyinnanya Abaribe who represents Abia South Senatorial District, by the Nigerian Department of State Service (DSS) on Friday, June 22, 2018. The World Igbo Congress has also learnt that his house had been searched and ransacked with impunity for acting within his rights and duties as a duly elected lawmaker by his constituency.

The World Igbo Congress demands Senator Abaribe’s immediate release without any pre-condition. The World Igbo Congress views this arrest as the same callous and intimidating attack of prominent Igbo by the Muhammadu Buhari administration as Nigeria heads into 2019 general election.

Distinguished Sen. Abaribe’s harassment, by ordered/induced DSS, is considered an insult and an attack to the Igbo nation and would not be taken lightly.

Thus, the World Igbo Congress urges President Buhari and his DSS to release him immediately in the interest of Nigeria and its democracy.

Sincerely,

Dr. Richard O. Nwachukwu
Secretary-General

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Editorial

Brochure! Brochure!! Brochure!!! The Igbo World Festival of the Arts, Language and Culture

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Brochure! Brochure!! Brochure!!!

NdiIgbo Worldwide are Converging in Virginia. This Year, an estimated 2,000 NdiIgbo and Friends of NdiIgbo will be there. This Year’s Brochure is going Worldwide and when People take one home this “Brochure”, will your Picture/message be there? Don’t miss Out. This is one of those rare moments in History of Igbo Cultural Celebration.

Deadline for subscription: MIDNIGHT, JULY 10, 2018!!!!
We are running the risk of being behind on the brochure publication! Those interested in leaving their imprints on this once in a “blue moon” brochure can please make haste to send us their information – $, message, & Ads to garner their imprint on the landscape.

Check out the matrix below and gauge your status. Please let’s know if yours is missing!
LOGISTICS: Premium Pages:
Back Cover: Beginning Bid – $750
Inside Back Cover: Beginning Bid – $7500
Inside Front Cover:Beginning Bid – $300
Inside Page: $100

Payment Information:
ONLINE PAYMENT: http://www.cisandiigbo.com/admission-tickets/
OR:
By Cheque: Payable to CISA
c/o Emeka Nwosu
P O Box 4222
Suffolk, Va 23439

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Editorial

Anambra: Motorcycle restriction, not ban

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Ifeanyi Afuba
Sometime in 1985, I read a short story by the novelist and critic Obii Nwachukwu – Agbada titled Grandfather’s Motorcycle. After much longing, an old man finally bought and was savouring the thrill of owning a bike. Before a company of friends and passers-by, he showed off the beauty of the product. He wheeled the motorcycle around in circles and alighted brimming with satisfaction at the soft drum tones tapped out by its engine. A man touched a gadget here and another felt a component there.
A man in the small crowd smiled at Grandfather. “Let me try it.’ Obliged, the admirer mounted the motorcycle and rode off. He never came back! And riding on Nwachukwu – Agbada’s truth of fiction, we are brought back to the present, where thirty-three years after, the motorcycle is still a major factor in the economy of crime engagement.
In the past four years, the security situation in Anambra State has been very good; witnessing a marked reduction in crime rate and better performance on the part of security agencies in crime fighting. The improved capability of the State’s security machinery has been attributed to the empowerment received from the Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano. Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris is quoted in The Nation of Monday, June 5, 2017 as saying: ‘The support by Governor Willie Obiano is unprecedented; it will enhance our operational capacity and aid our resolve to fight crime and criminality in all nooks and crannies of the State.’

This testimony is corroborated by the statement of another important voice. In an advertorial in Saturday Sun of August 8, 2015, Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Professor Joseph Ahaneku said: ‘The Nnamdi Azikiwe University deeply appreciates the efforts of His Excellency, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano in ridding the State of crime for which the University has benefitted immensely.’
However, the task of containing crime is never completely removed. The socio – economic and personality factors that influence deviant social behaviour can only be mediated, not eradicated. Thus, in the face of new challenges, crime fighting efforts are to be continually reviewed for increased results.
The Anambra State Government had for long been faced with the dilemma of strict security imperatives and the social sentiments of governance. Security reports have consistently identified the easy get-away facility the motorcycle offers to criminals as a hurdle in crime fighting. The motorized bike not only meanders through narrow and difficult terrain that a four wheel vehicle would not manage, the detection of any specific description in the flow of traffic is a particularly tasking job.
It could easily be stripped of some parts and refitted in a new configuration that leads astray investigating eyes. Given its comparative cheap cost, a serious minded gang can afford to ditch the instruments after an operation. As we saw in Nwachukwu-Agbada’s familiar setting, all it takes for a fleeing criminal to melt into the society is a serviceable machine, sheer guts and some luck.
It is remarkable that in the face of these disturbing facts, the Anambra State Government had refrained from regulation of motorcycle transportation in the state even when every other state in the South-east had introduced one sort of prohibition or the other.

Much thought was given to the attendant economic implication for the citizens engaged in commercial motorcycle use. In consideration of the hardship expected to follow a ban on its use, the humane Willie Obiano administration chose to manage the continued operation of the system for some time more. This accommodation, this toleration certainly could not go on indefinitely. The price for the total retention of motorcycle transportation was too high to pay – at the risk of the security and well-being of the citizens as well as the state’s economic growth.

Consequently, the Anambra State Government in the second week of May 2018 reviewed the existing policy and issued notice of restriction on motorcycle operations in the state to come into effect in July 2018. The limitation on motorcycle riding will affect only Awka and Onitsha and their satellite communities – at least for now.
Clearly, there is no ban. Operators in the capital and commercial cities are free to relocate to other towns and continue their venture. The restriction promises to facilitate greater crime prevention, detection and control in the affected cities. And with these beachheads serving as a bulwark, managing the security challenges in other parts of the state where motorcycles are allowed to run, should be easier.
Aside security, there are also other serious problems associated with unregulated use of motorcycle in our societies. There is the road safety issue arising from their ubiquitous presence. The spectre of knocked down pedestrians is ever present. The motorcycle riders themselves have no protective shield in the event of collision with another bike or car.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola had cited the rising trend of orthopedic patients as reason for banning commercial motorcycles when he was Governor of Lagos State. The restriction plan further promises to free Awka and Onitsha from the congestion and pollution motorcycles have unleashed on the towns.
Afuba writes from Awka

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Editorial

As Anambra deals with illegal structure

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Ejike Anyaduba
Quite often development is not appreciated by all, especially where it appears not to affect everybody the same way. Appreciation varies as there are interests, and often provokes a whole gamut of human emotion. But ultimately it commends itself to the greater good.
It is well to remember this fact – no development, however disruptive it may seem, is not adapted to the general good. It may appear severe at the outset, but in the end its salutary effect is assured. Few examples where development was spurned as punitive, resisted with vehemence but eventually accepted with thankfulness may suffice. What is known today as Lekki phase 1 and 2 in the Lagos Island area of Lagos state – where the rich now retire in a pleasnt feeling of tiredness – was a reclaimed slum – a skid row. It was formerly Maroko, the rundown part of the state and a byword for bedlam and decay.But today the story has changed for good. Those who carried out the demolition as well as the resisters of the exercise can now look back with a feeling of smugness over a good effort. It took decisive effort from the government at the time to accomplish the task without which the state’s dream of a mega city would have come in vain and a good idea lost forever. Maroko was almost a detritus of environmental waste frequented by all manner of people, including those not bred to any manner of trade. Its reclamation was therefore very important to the state and she spared no effort to see it through.
There was also Oshodi another sprawling habitation in the state. Whether as a market or a habitation Oshodi did not cop a good image. Before it was reclaimed from its decided slant towards irredeemable slum the place evoked an eerie feeling in commuters and passers-by. Very few positive stories were told of it. Like Maroko its demolition was frowned at and resisted with vehemence. But today Oshodi is a tourist attraction. Visitors to the state are completely lost on its aesthetic transformation. Hardly does it bear any imprint of the old status. It can be argued that the decision to transform both places (Maroko and Oshodi) was not easy. It was seen as unpopular and resisted accordingly. But because the government was unwavering the idea was pursued with uncommon determination until the objective was achieved.
What happens in Anambra – the removal of illegal structures from the streets – is in no way different. The only difference perhaps is in scope. Whereas Lagos dealt with more expansive areas of habitation and market, Anambra is just slicing off stalls and compartments, obstructing existing structural plan of major streets in the state. She is yet to demolish squalid habitations littered in the cities of Onitsha, Awka and even Nnewi. But even as moderate as the exercise the task has not been easy. It has been met with subtle resistance. As was wont, the presumed victims do not take the exercise kindly. It is seen as punitive but that perhaps is a poor reading of the acts of government, particularly its development plan. But the exercise has doubtless come due, especially with the disruption going on everywhere in the state. Sadly, an allegation of insensitivity is being slapped on the government over the exercise. But that is not tenable for the simple reason that the same government has consistently protected the underclass. Previous efforts bear this out.
At the height of economic recession in the country the government had interevened to cushion the effect of taxation on residents in the state. It also employed workers when states were sacking theirs and pays salaries accordingly. It has offered employment opportunities to many, including people with disabilities and has encouraged them to aspire to postions hitherto denied them. More importantly, it has provided dosshouse for waifs and tramps and built sanatorium for the terminally ill.
It is difficult, if not impossible, for the removal of illegal structures in the state to hang a tag of insensitivity on the government. The latter is not expected to sit on its hands and watch the state continue in the awkward direction. Rather than condemnation, the government should be encouraged in its onerous task of dealing with the disorderliness that has long pervaded the state. Similar effort by the same government had helped to shore up the positive image of the state. The sanity at Upper Iweka/Bridgehead was not achieved in a snap. It came at a cost. Like Oshodi, it was once a confused bedlam. But it took concerted effort by the government to make it a worthy gateway to the state.
It may be hard for those who bear the brunt of the exercise to appreciate the intentions of the government – its effort to bequeath the state a progressive, healthy and enviromental-friendly state. But the responsibility ought to be a collective one and should elicit sacrifice accordingly. Unarguably, the exercise was conceived with the people in mind and caused from the outset of the Willie Obiano administration to follow a decided pattern. Against the rash of comments bandied in quarters, it was conceived for the general good of the state.
Recall that early in the life of the administration, a development board, Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA) was set up to cater for the structural needs of the capital city. It was charged among other responsibilities to draw up a capital city that would favorably compete with Dubai, the economic capital of the United Arab Emirate. Without question, it was an enormous task that involved a lot of adjustment on existing structures and application of restraints on emerging new ones.
It is interesting to note that some of the affected structures – those opposed to the Board’s run of duty would have have been spared the bulldozers had wisdom prevailed. At least there was ample time to have them relocated to select areas. But that did not happen for obvious reasons. There were those who assumed the Board will suffer a sting in the tail. There were also others who would never anticipate a storm when the sea is calm. Notwithsatnding, it is believed that the desire to make Anambra the number state in Nigeria has a greater attraction for the people and will encourage them to sacrifice for the state.

Ejike Anyaduba
Wrote from Abatete via dumdile@yahoo.com

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Editorial

Agriculture Traders Seek Creation Of Agriculture Produce Market

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Traders in Nigeria are seeking the support of the federal government in creating a structured marketing arm for agricultural produce in the six geo-political zones of the country.

The concerned agriculture traders during a meeting with Nigeria’s minister of state for trade Aisha Abubakar said the nation can benefit more if the needed specialized markets and infrastructure is provided.
The traders and officials of the ministry of industry trade and investment agreed to work together in actualizing the dream of setting up the markets, which will help in marketing agricultural produce.

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Editorial

Curb social maladies amongst youths, Obiano charges monarchs

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By Kingsley Ezekwelu

The Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has called on the traditional rulers to rise to the challenge of curbing social vice of cultism ravaging our communities through reorientation and enlightenment programmes to remold the youth towards pursuing positive and meaningful goals.
The governor made the call during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 annual seminar of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council, held at their secretariat, Government House, Awka.
The seminar which was the 7th in the series, has as its theme, “Governor Obiano’s landslide electoral victory and the making of a united and greater Igbo nation”.
It was well attended by traditional rulers in the state and guests including the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo; the Amanyanabo of Opobo, Dandison-Douglas Jaja among others. It featured paper presentations and interactive sessions.
While declaring the seminar open, Gov Obiano thanked the traditional rulers for the roles they played in making his 21/21 victory possible and sustaining peace in the State, as well as the tolerance and maturity they exhibited towards handling the Fulani herdsmen – farmers issue that had prevented a major crisis.
He disclosed that as the host for the recent Ohaneze Summit on Restructuring, what he has done was to forward the Ekwueme Square Declaration to his counterparts in other states and summon a meeting where the communique would be ratified and taken ownership of by the SouthEast governors.
He noted that his government is committed to developing the state but it cannot do it alone, calling on the traditional rulers to continue to support his administration’s vision for the transformation of the state.
The Chairman of the Council and traditional ruler of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe observed that Gov Obiano has made Anambra a model state in Nigeria across many areas including security, Agriculture, community development and politics, noting that destiny has designed it that he will lead the state and Ndigbo towards the desired destination.
According to him, the event was an opportunity to discuss on the journey which Ndigbo has started towards self-discovery and strategic positioning in the politics of Nigeria, using the Obiano electoral victory.
The President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo acknowledged that there has been sustained growth trajectory in Anambra State due to sustained visionary leaderships, thanking Gov Obiano for his immense contributions towards the Igbo cause.
In a keynote remark, the Chairman of the Planning Committee for the event and traditional ruler of Okpuno, Igwe Sunday Okafor expressed hope that the year’s seminar will yield answers to the socioeconomic challenges of Ndigbo and thanked Gov Obiano for keeping faith with the traditional rulers.
In a goodwill message, the Amanyanabo of Opobo, Dandison Douglas Jaja said the cordial relationship between the Governor and the traditional rulers as well as his community development initiatives are very laudable and should be emulated by other governors in the country.
He said with the way Anambra is going, it is sure to become a reference point in terms of development in the near future.
Governor Obiano was during the ceremony presented with a plaque by the Ohaneze Ndigbo leadership in appreciation of his decision to host her recently concluded summit on Restructuring of Nigeria.

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In 2016, she was Entrepreneur of the Year and featured on Choiseul 100 Africa list consecutively from 2016 to 2018. She received the ‘Achiever in Agriculture’ Award and was on the 2014 Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa list. She is also a mentor on the Future Global Leaders Fellowship.

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Uzodinma is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. He is the CEO of The Africa Center in New York, promoting a new narrative about Africa and its diaspora through a focus on culture, policy and business. He is the author of three books: Beasts of No Nation (2005), a novel also adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People (2012), a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about coming-of-age in Washington, D.C. His books have been mentioned by Time Magazine, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Times and Rolling Stone. ‘Uzodinma Iweala completed his undergraduate studies at Harvard University and he earned a medical degree at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.’

 

 

ENTER NIGERIA Winning Sunday with The Young Netpreneur for the Week :Ken Nwadiogbu @kennwadio

 

Ken Nwadiogbu (b. 1994) is a Nigerian born Multidisciplinary Artist, popularly known as KenArt, whose practice is primarily centered around hyper-realistic drawings and works on paper.
Nwadiogbu believes that the society speaks- This voice inspires his art, which evaluates, interrogates and challenges socio-political structures and issues within the society. In his reply to this society, he is able to inspire one or two people to also re-valuate their socio-political structures as we know it. The desire to change his society and the way people think is what drives him to create art every day. Gender equality, African cultures, and Black power are a few aspects of his current research and artistic practice.
Nwadiogbu was born in Lagos, Nigeria and holds a B.Sc in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His art career started in the university, and with no formal training, has pushed him to become one of the most interesting young contemporary artists from Nigeria, creating works that question life- calling out some of the problems and becoming very grounded in human consciousness..
Nwadiogbu has been featured in lots of local and international group exhibitions and fairs, including the Insanity exhibition, sponsored by Frot Foundation, in Omenka Gallery, Nigeria; the TMC’s It’s Not Furniture, curated by Winifred Okpapi; the Artyrama’s group exhibition curated by Mr Jess Castellote; Art X Lagos, sponsored by Artyrama Gallery, in Lagos, Nigeria; the Moniker Art Fair, sponsored by Creative Debuts, in Brooklyn, NYC; the Anti-Trump show organised in UK; the Afriuture Exhibition by Ramati Art Africa in association with Commonwealth Africa Summit, in Toronto, Canada; amongst many others. He has been televised and publicized on different platforms like Guardian Life, Tush Magazine, WIRED Magazine, Candid Magazine, Bored Panda, BBC, CNN, and more as well as inspiring and encouraging young creatives through public speaking appearances like TEDx. He co-founded Artists Connect NG, the largest Nigerian artist gathering that took place at Lekki Leisure Lake, in Lagos, Nigeria.
To Nwadiogbu, Art is indeed timeless, it is his solace and hiding place, a safe haven he has found to be devoid of restrictions, boxes and boundaries.

 


 

 

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