The Reasons President Jonathan Lost The 2015 Presidential Election And Things To Come In The Buhari Administration (2015-2019) Part Two
Last week, we did a capsulized history of Nigeria within the limited space allowed in a column and tried as much as possible to connect the past with the present in order to arrive at the immediate future. As I have indicated in this column in the past, the Lord God Almighty is the only One that is making history in the journey of life. Each and every one of us is a character in the journey of life and how you play your part will determine your eternal destination. In His Supreme Wisdom and Absolute sovereignty, the Eternal Lord God has decreed this temporary planet earth is the locale of decision for every human soul that has been born or will ever be born; in other words, every human being MUST decide at one time or the other in this temporary life existence, where he/she will spend eternity. Apostle Paul brought out this reality in Acts 17: 26-27: “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;…” In the history of the Nigerian nation, all manners of characters have held sway in our political life as we brought out last week and we continue on the series this week so that today's younger generation will understand and know how things came to this level in the Nigerian nation and those characters that brought us so terribly low. We will conclude the series next week and ask the Buhari Administration to visit the past in order to fix the preset and guarantee the Nigerian future. This was what former President Goodluck Jonathan refused to do and lost his re-election. President Buhari too will not win his re-election in 2019 unless he carries out this Divine Revelation. He too will become a-one-term president and we are intimating him very early in his administration to watch out for this. This Divine Judgment cannot go undelivered.
THE FIRST REPUBLIC 1960-1966
The elections at the three regions of the north, west and east produced three premiers for the region, but at the federal level, the inability of any of the three dominant parties of NPC, NCNC and AG to win a simple majority led to a government of national unity. It was mooted by the NPC as a form of government of national unity with the NPC as the senior partner but the AG led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Old Western Region rejected any form of alliance, while the NCNC led by Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe joined the NPC led Sir Ahmadu Bello as premier of Old Northern Region at the NPC invitation to form an alliance. That alliance led to Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa-Balewa becoming the prime minister while the outgoing colonial governor-general, Mr James Wilson Robertson handed over to Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of the NCNC as the indigenous governor-general-a sinecure post in a parliamentary system of government-of Nigeria in November 1960. From the start of self-governance in Nigeria, the Nigerian Project seemed to be characterized by selfishness, personal aggrandizement, nepotism, theft, ethnicity, corruption, religious insensitivity and other forms of malpractices that soon writ large in the Nigerian nation. It is baffling how Nigerian leaders of today refer to the early Nigerian political leaders as worthy of emulation as President Buhari did at his inauguration. Noting could be far from the truth when anyone says the early political leaders were worthy of emulation, because if Nigerian early political leaders were that good, were indeed real nationalists and committed patriots, why did the First Republic collapse? Why did the military intervene in Nigeria's political process less than a decade after the British colonialists left our shores? The fact of the matter was that the early Nigerian leaders sowed the seeds of distrust, theft, tribalism, ethnicity, corruption and thievery in the nation which soon blossomed and have grown full circle in Nigeria of today. The only difference was that in the First Republic, there was not so much to steal in cocoa, cotton, groundnuts and other cash crops that were Nigeria's foreign revenues in the 1960s. By the time the oil boom began, the soldiers had taken over power and they upped the stealing and national graft antes to ludicrous levels. Corruption began to walk on four legs in Nigeria.
By 1966, the early political leaders had thoroughly messed up the nation's political life. Parliamentarians fought openly in fisticuffs in parliament; political thugs were engaged to liquidate political opponents just as we witness today in Nigeria and all forms of brigandage and lawless seemed to have been institutionalized. Corruption was so rampant that Nigerians had had enough and they openly called for the deaths of the First Republic politicians. Anarchy had let loose and the new nation, barely a decade old was heading towards the precipice. On January 16, 1966, a military coup took place and three well-known Nigerian politicians were assassinated. A counter-coup occurred seven months later and a new group of army officers of Northern Nigerian extraction took over power. Gen Yakubu Gowon at the age of thirty-three became the new head of state. A civil war soon began in 1967 as Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu refused to recognize the new head of state and for three years, Nigerians slaughtered themselves endlessly. In 1970, the hostilities ceased and Nigeria was somehow kept intact as a sovereign nation. The soldiers had tasted power and with the nation awash with petrol dollars, the armed men and women refused to cede the stage for elected civilians. General Gowon reneged on his promise to hand over power as soon as the civil war ended. This precipitated another military coup d'état against him while he was in far-away Kampala, Uganda in 1975. The new armed soldiers formed a new government led by Gen Muritala Ramat Muhammad as head of state. He did not last long as he was assassinated on February 13, 1976 thus paving the way for his second-in-command, Gen Olusegun Obasanjo as military head of state. Under Obasanjo as head of state, Nigerians went berserk in orgy of extravagance. The whole senseless extravagance came to a head in 1977 when Nigeria decided to host the Festival of Black African Arts and Culture known as Festac.
The year 1977 was spiritually significant in the life of Nigeria as a nation. She was seventeen years old as an independent nation. After a bloody civil war during the Nigerian-Biafra War of 1967-1970- four years after political independence from Britain, and a coup d'état on January 15, 1966, and another counter coup six months later; Nigeria seemed to be lurching from one military regime to another: (Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi regime of January 15, 1966-July 1966; General Yakubu Gowon (1967-1975), and General Murtala Ramat Muhammad (1975-1976). The baton of military power changed from General Murtala Ramat Muhammad, who was assassinated in an abortive coup on February 13, 1976 to General Olusegun Obasanjo, who succeeded him. General Obasanjo decided to change the face of the Nigerian infrastructural landscape through massive injection of government money into road construction, bridges, modern highways, and housing. The height of the government public expenditure occurred between June 1976, and June 1977, when the military regime decided to host the world in a cultural re-awakening of all black peoples of the world known as World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture or Festac. The history of Festac started in Paris, France in 1956, when a group of African intellectuals usually gathered together informally at the Pan-African Cultural Society in the French capital. The thrust of their discussion centered on how Africans, scattered across the world as a result of the obnoxious trans-Atlantic Trade could come together in an African nation to revive the African culture. It was an idea, centered on the theme of African cultural revival. There were only two black African nations that had gained political independence during this period: the Republic of Guinea in 1957 under Ahmed Sekou Toure, and Ghana (formerly called Gold Coast) under Mr. Kwame Nkrumah. Ethiopia was the only African nation that had not been colonized, although she was briefly controlled by Italy. The rest of Africa was controlled by foreign powers as a result of the Berlin Conference of 1884 in Germany. This was a period when Negritude or re-awakening of black consciousness was popular among African cultural irredentists. The African cultural revivalists met with Mr. Leopold Sedar Senghor (1906- 2001), who eventually became the first democratically-elected president of independent Senegal. In 1959, the black scholars met again in Rome, Italy, where they continued their brainstorming on how to bring their ideas into reality. It was in Rome, Italy that the African thinkers came up with the name; World Festival of Black African Arts and Culture, or Festac as an acronym. In 1960, Senegal became independent from France, and Mr. Senghor was sworn in as president. He had promised to give vent to the crusade of his black scholars-friends, who had met him in Paris, France prior to becoming president. True to his promise, in 1966, the First World Festival of Black Africa Arts and Culture known as Festac was staged in Dakar, Senegal with much fanfare. Nigeria which was just six years old, and the most populous nation in Africa was conspicuously absent because of the existential kerfuffle of 1966-1970, which shook the newly-independent African nation to its very foundation. To “compensate” Africa's giant for not participating in the maiden edition of Festac, the organizers of the event in Dakar, Senegal decided to give Nigeria the opportunity to host the event instead of Ethiopia, which had already been promised to host the second edition in Addis Ababa.
The Nigerian head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, acquiesced to the invitation extended to Nigeria to host the second edition of the global cultural event. His regime was determined to host the event in order to fulfill his promise to the African and black scholars, both at home and in the Diaspora; unfortunately Gowon had the urgent task of uniting a badly fractured nation that had just passed through a bitter and gruesome 30-month civil war. His 3Rs of national reconciliation encapsulated in: reconciliation, rehabilitation, and reconstruction were uppermost in the general's plate after cessation of hostilities in 1970 aftermath of the Nigerian-Biafra Civil War. The second edition of the event was again pushed forward twice: 1970, because of the fratricidal war of 1966-1970, and in 1974, because construction works were still going on in some of the venues for staging the proposed event. By the time General Gowon was contemplating staging the global event, he was unexpectedly removed in a coup d'état in July 1975, while on a state visit to attend the annual summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU, now AU) in Kampala, Uganda in East Africa. Gowon's ouster had been announced by his fellow kinsman and chief of staff, the late Brigadier Joseph Garba, who was eventually appointed minister of external affairs by General Murtala Ramat Muhammad, who replaced deposed General Gowon as head of state. Gowon went into exile in the United Kingdom after he was toppled. His successor, General Muhammad put on hold all construction projects going on in the country for the intending hosting of the event. However, six months after Muhammad became head of state, he too was toppled in a bloody coup which paved the way for his military deputy, Lt Gen Olusegun Obasanjo, who was the chief of staff to become the new military head of state on February 15, 1976. Immediately Obasanjo was sworn as Muhammad's successor, there were sundry calls from many quarters that the Festac should be hosted by the Obasanjo military regime. On the other hand, many Nigerians also voiced their opinion against Nigeria hosting the event chiefly among those Nigerians was the late Afro-beat legend, Mr. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. There were criticisms that trailed the decision of the Obasanjo military regime in accepting to host the Festac in Nigeria in January 1977, chiefly among the reasons were the enormous costs that would be expended on the event. The costs could be justified on both sides of the argument; costs expended would lead to economic transformation of the nation's infrastructural development and the fact that it had economic value for the country. The spokespersons of the Obasanjo military regime countered the criticisms, insisting that, as the most populous nation in Africa, and the black world, Nigeria should live up to her expectations to lift up the black race through promoting African art and culture. In addition, both the minister of finance and the minister of arts and culture during the Obasanjo regime (1976-1979) insisted that the nation's economy was solvent enough to absorb the financial costs of hosting the global event. Major-General James Jaiyeola Oluleye, the minister of finance (1975-1979) and also a member of the ruling supreme military council (SMC)-the highest decision-making organ of the junta- defended the government's action in staging the festival. He disclosed that the Nigerian economy was buoyant to stage the event, while the minister of special duties, Mr.Ochegomie Promise. Fingesi coordinated the planning committee of the event.
Other members of the Obasanjo regime justified the enormous benefits that Nigeria would gain from hosting the cultural fiesta. After listening and analyzing the two sides of the argument in the media for, and against, the hosting of the Festac, the Supreme Military Council (SMC) chaired by General Olusegun Obasanjo, and his deputy, the late General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, who was the chief of staff, passed a resolution in 1976, which gave the go-ahead for Nigeria to host the Festac the following year in 1977. Other members of the supreme military council (SMC) which took the decision for Nigeria to host the Festac in 1977 were; Brigadier Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma – chief of army staff; Commodore Michael Adelanwa – chief of naval staff; Col. John Yisa Doko – chief of air staff; Alhaji Mohammed D. Yusuf, the inspector-general of police; the general office commanding 1st Division, Brigadier Alani Ipoola Akinrinade GOC, 2nd Division, Brigadier Martin Adamu GOC, 3rd Division; Brigadier Emmanuel Abisoye; L.G.O., Brigadier John Obada; Colonel Joseph Garba; Brigadier James Oluleye; Colonel Ibrahim Babangida; Lt. Col Muktar Muhammad; Colonel Dan Suleiman; Captain Olufemi Olumide (Nigerian Navy); Captain H Husaini Abdullahi (Nigerian Navy); Mr. Adamu Suleiman, commissioner of police; Lt. Col. Alfred Aduloju and Lt. Commander Godwin Ndubuisi Kanu (Nigerian Navy).
The Festac, which was held in Lagos between January 15, 1977 and, February 12, 1977 has been described as the largest and most expensive event in the history of Nigeria nay Black Africa. It witnessed a cavalcade of the largest number of Africans in Africa, and Africans in the Diaspora, and black men and women ever assembled in one gathering in the history of the black race. In Dakar, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria, where the first and second editions of the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture took place in 1966 and 1977 respectively, great African artists were fully represented. From Mestre Patinha-the Capoeirista of Bahia; Duke Ellington, Alvin Ailey and Arthur Mitchell of the American Negro Dance Company to Marion Williams, and the then Queen of Samba, Clementine de Jesus. Other popular artistes were; Stevie Wonder, Donald Byrd, and Sun Ra from the United States; Gilberto Gil from Brazil; the Orchestra Afrisa International from Congo, Tabu Ley Rochereau and Ray Lema, who accompanied OK Jazz to the celebrated festival. Others were Bembeya Jazz from Guinea, Mighty Sparrow from Trinidad and Tobago, Miriam Makeba, Dudu Pukwana and Louis Maholo, who came from black South Africa because of the apartheid regime in South Africa, while African aboriginal singers and performers came from Australia and New Guinea to add color to the festival. Indeed, it was Africa and the black race at its best. Mr. Fingesi, the chairman of the organizing committee told foreign journalists covering the event in Lagos that, “Nigeria is no longer a third world, but now we are the first world.”
Mr. Randy Weston, African-American Jazz legend, who was in Lagos, Nigeria for Festac' 77 remembers the cultural awakening thirty five years ago. “The Nigerian government reportedly put up huge amounts of oil money to stage this event. The whole idea is that we are one African people; that were the goal of FESTAC. No matter if we're in Mississippi or Havana or Australia, or wherever…They invited about 20,000 artists from across the globe. I only wound up playing once, at least officially, though I did jam with Fela... Sun Ra was there and he played once. There was so much great artistry at this conference that you didn't need to play more than once. Representatives from the entire black world organized this thing. They hosted colloquiums throughout FESTAC on everything from education to health to music, all things involved with African people. It was designed to develop a sense of global unity. The Festac lasted for one month, throughout January. I stayed most of the month because I had come individually on my own; I didn't come with the American delegation because I was living in France at the time.”
The Jazz great remembers the names of popular African-American activists, musicians, writers, authors etc. that were in Lagos, Nigeria for, unarguably the greatest cultural event that brought all black peoples of the world together for the first time under one roof. “The array of folks there was incredible. For example I'd have breakfast and my tablemates might be Louis Farrakhan, Stevie Wonder, Queen Mother Moore, and a heavy Sufi master named Mahi Ismail. Imagine me hanging out with those cats! When he arrived, Stevie came into the hotel with his guitar, walked in the lobby, sat down and started singing and playing his guitar.”
The mission of Festac, according to the organizing committee, was to celebrate the “individuality, the antiquity, and the power of the Black and African World.” General Olusegun Obasanjo and Head of State of Nigeria, who was also the grand patron of the organizing committee of the cultural jamboree, told the world. He said the mission of Nigeria in staging the event was to bring all Africans in the Motherland and in the Diaspora together as one people. “To succeed, we must restore the link between culture, creativity, and mastery of modern technology and industrialism ... to endow the Black Peoples all over the world with a new society, deeply rooted in our cultural identity, and be ready for the great scientific and technological task of conquering the future,” Obasanjo added. On the opening day of the festival, Gen Obasanjo poured palm wine and broke kola nuts to summon African gods and goddesses to the event, in the presence of King Oyekan of Lagos, King Moshoeshoe of Lesotho, President Siaka Stevens of Sierra Leone and Sir President Dauda Jawara of The Gambia. The kola nuts were distributed to all the guests present at the National Theater. The gods and goddesses heard the prayers of Mr. Obasanjo as hundreds of people died on the opening day of the cultural fiesta because of exhaustion and over-crowdedness. However, before the event began proper, the Obasanjo military regime had to construct blocks of apartments and houses, including condominiums to house the large retinues of black people of the world coming for the global event. The regime had less than nine months to put the remaining structures in place to ensure a successful international event between February, 1976 and January 1977. Some eminent Nigerians were appointed as members of the organizing committee of the staging of Festac in Nigeria in 1977. The local organizing committee liaised with black peoples in the Americas and other parts of the world who also set up regional staging committees to ensure a successful cultural event.
To build houses and the venues in Lagos, which are now referred to as Festac Town, and the National Arts Theater Iganmu in central Lagos, mouth-watering contracts for the constructions of such houses, and venues were awarded. The main venue of most of the cultural events; the National Arts Theater at Iganmu in central Lagos, which is 31 meters tall and, occupied about 23,000 square meters space in a reclaimed marshy landscape was constructed by a Bulgarian Construction company called; Technoexportsroy at a cost of about $23billion in today's market during the toppled Gowon military regime. The national theater, with capacity for 5,000 guests and another 1,500 interpreters in eight of the world's major languages, was opulence stretched beyond imagination. If you sat down watching stage performances at the main hall and wanted to go to the rest room, all you needed do was push a button and closed-circuit television sets relayed every move without you missing any part. That was in 1977! Black scholars from 43 nations in Africa, North America, Latina America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Australasia were on hand to present 269 papers called African Colloquiums, which had as chairman, Col. (Dr) Ahmadu A. Ali, the federal minister of education under Gen Obasanjo. In addition, contracts were also awarded for the importation of long vehicles known as; Leyland luxury buses into the country, to convey the various contingents of participating African and black nations from the various venues to their houses at Festac Town known as Festac Village in the outskirts of south-west, Lagos. Other venues used for the jamboree were; the University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology (now City University, Lagos), Lagos City Hall, and other important places such as; the then popular Hotel Bobby on Ikorodu Road, Race Course in Ikoyi which was later renamed, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Lagos etc.
Another city outside Lagos that also played hosts to the contingents was Kaduna where the Festival Durbar took place. Mr. Andrew Young, the first African-American to be appointed by President Jimmy Carter as US Ambassador to the United Nations was conspicuously present. The contingents for the jamboree came from the Caribbean, South America, the United States, Australasia, Latin America and all nations in Africa, except South Africa, and Zimbabwe (then known as Southern Rhodesia). Needless to add that many of the contingents remained behind, and refused to go back to their countries after the cultural event, especially those from the Caribbean and Latin America, including the Americas, after savoring the hospitality of Nigerians. For many of the contingents from the Americas and Africans in the Diaspora, the festival was more like a home-coming.
But beyond the cultural glitz and the razzmatazz that Festac' 77 was supposed to be were the mouth-watering contracts and money spent on the jamboree. Many Nigerian contractors exploited the opportunity to make money out of the Nigerian nation. For example, Mr. Tatari Alli, who later became governor of Bauchi State, collected ₦403,000 (about $503,000 in 1977) as survey costs of Fesatc Village more than the amount actually spent. One Mr. G.A Dada was awarded ₦459,000 (about $559,000) for “artistic dressing?” The sum of ₦244, 625 (about $363,290) was budgeted for Nigerians sent to France for French Language course for three weeks so they could serve as interpreters at the event. The late Mr. Tony Enahoro was indicted for collecting the money to buy a house for himself in Victoria Island, Lagos. In Kaduna, one of the venues of the Festac'77, Mr. Umaru Dikko, who was then commissioner for education in the old north central state and supervisor of the Durbar Festival during the event, was reported to have spent ₦500,000 (about $750,000) on “logistics, committee meetings and mobilization.” A group of contractors were reported to have collected ₦12.6 million (about $20million) to clear the weeds and road at Iganmu in central Lagos where the national theater was to be built for the event. The contract sum of ₦18million (about $30million) was awarded to British Leyland motors in the UK for the importation of luxury buses for the event and two Nigerian officials demanded and got ₦286,000 (about $402,000) as bribes. The sum of ₦608, 218.96 (about $918,410.52) was paid for non-existent contracts to a Canadian firm through the Barclay's Bank International of London for prefabricated houses for the event which were never delivered to Africa. The $10,000 fee paid by each of the fifty-four participating nations for the event, which raked in over $600,000 could not be accounted for and the external auditors' report concluded that it was mismanaged. The Festac did indeed revive African culture but it was also an opportunity for some fat cats to feather their nests. Many of today's millionaires in Nigeria could trace the genesis of their wealth to the huge contract racketeering that took place during the so-called cultural revival and re-awakening of the Black race. For examples, in 1977, Mercedes Benz sedan automobile then was sold for ₦5,000 naira. We are talking about Nigeria in the year 1978. Volkswagen Beetle was sold for ₦900 to ₦1,000. In the 1970's and up to the early 1990's; especially during the military regimes that governed Nigeria, there was a policy known as import license. The import license spelt out the process through which foreign goods could be imported into the country, and there were many Nigerians who made lots of money during that era. But of more importance in addition to the one-month long Festac celebration, which gulped several millions (billons in today's currency), there were other development projects going on across the nation during the Obasanjo military regime (1976-1979), which required large-scale construction works across Nigeria. In addition, the energy crisis of 1973/1974 actually affected the price of crude oil, which ushered Nigeria into the era of oil boom. Furthermore, the year 1977 also coincided with the time the international oil cartel known as, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) became so powerful, of which Nigeria was a member shortly after the civil war in 1971. The OPEC soon became a bulwark against the efforts of the Western world to lower the price of crude oil as the new oil bloc leveraged the cost of their products to their advantage. Today, the 12 members of OPEC comprise; Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Venezuela as foundation members that signed the original documents of its founding in Baghdad in September 1960. The remaining seven nations that later joined were; Qatar, Indonesia, Libya, UAE, Algeria, Nigeria, Ecuador and Angola which joined in 2007. Gabon suspended its membership in 1975. But of all the 12 OPEC nations, Nigeria was (and still is) the most populous. This gave Nigeria more power within the oil cartel.
The three years (February, 1976-October, 1979) that Lt-Gen Obasanjo was on the saddle also coincided with the implementation of Nigeria's third national development plan began by the slain General Murtala Muhammad which Obasanjo had to complete. The newly-created states of Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Benue, Imo, Cross River, and Bauchi had to be developed, and several government ministries had to be created, including the construction of numerous administrative and government offices. Furthermore, the military regime had just approved the establishment of what later became the nation's second-tier universities namely: University of Calabar, University of Ilorin, University of Maiduguri, University of Jos (which was a college campus of the University of Ibadan); University of Sokoto (now renamed Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto), and the University of Port Harcourt (formerly, an arm of the university college of the University of Ibadan). All these various construction projects going on across the nation needed something very vital to constructions of buildings and housing complexes: cement. In addition, the population of Nigeria had begun to increase. Nigeria contained about thirty five million people at political independence in 1960, but within a decade, the population of the country had jumped to nearly fifty million in 1970 and the population continues to grow since then. The jamboree known as Festac '77, a phrase that was coined by Mr. Akin Euba, a Nigerian musicologist was a month-long cultural jamboree hosted by the then military dictatorship of General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1977. Other important players during this period and still continue to play leading roles in Nigeria's political firmament were Lt-General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma who was the chief of army staff between 1976 and 1979 who Obasanjo as an elected president in 1999 brought back as defense minister; Mr. Promise Fingesi who was minister of special duties (they were referred to as federal commissioners in those days), General Olusegun Obasanjo who was head of state and the late Lt General Shehu Musa Yar'Adua who was poisoned by late Gen Sani Abacha at Abakaliki Prison in 1977 are some of the characters featuring today in the political destiny of Nigeria. The late Gen Shehu Musa Yar'Adua was the elder brother of the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua who President Obasanjo handed over power to in 2007. Col. Ahmadu Ali, who was the minister of education and caused uproar among university students shortly after the most expensive cultural fiesta in modern history in Black Africa known as Festac'77 was made the chairman of the colloquium session at Festac' 77. He was later brought back by President Obasanjo in 1999 as the chairman of the retired military-civilian oligarchic contraption known as the People's Democratic Party (PDP). Ali ignited what has become known as the “Ali mon Go” nationwide student unrest in Nigerian universities in 1978 as minister of education leading to the deaths of many undergraduate students at the University of Lagos, the Ahmadu Bello University and the then University of Ife. The same Ahmadu Ali was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan as the chairman of his 2015 Presidential Election Campaign Organization. The National Arts Theater Complex in Iganmu in central Lagos has been described as the costliest public event project in Black Africa. This is history and we should know how all the interrelated connectedness of these past historical people and events impact our present and how they would shape the future of Nigeria as a nation.
Next week, we will conclude by looking at the immediate contemporary history of Nigeria from 1979 to the present.
WHERE IS MR. EMMANUEL CHUKWUEMEKA UDEMBA?
The Press Release reproduced below initially appeared in this column on February 3, 2014. I am reproducing it again now that Nigeria has a new apex police boss and a new president. Please let the security agencies in Nigeria do something about this man's case and at least bring a closure to his agitated family members and relatives.
Open Appeal to the Inspector General of Police and Fellow Nigerians
By Anemelu Family
Forwarded by: MOSHOOD FAYEMIWO
Mr. Mohammed D. Abubakar
Inspector General of Police
Louis Edet House
Dear Mr. Abubakar,
For almost two years now, we have followed up with deep concern the sad news of the kidnap of our brother in-law, Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba, which took place on March 21, 2012 at Nkwelle Ezunaka, Anambra State. Regrettably, important-personnel inaccessibility at your exalted office, our longstanding experience of lengthy, frustrating, and unreliable bureaucratic process, coupled with apparent investigational reluctance of the Anambra State Police Command, have compelled us to make this appeal public. While family and relations are still gasping to recover from, as much as understand, this unfortunate incident that took place at Nkwelle Ezunaka area close to Onitsha, Anambra State, we are still worried that little or no attempts have been made by the Anambra State Police Command to investigate Mr. Udemba's kidnap.
Developments regarding the willingness and readiness of the Anambra State Police Command to investigate his kidnap have, for some time now, remained disturbingly controversial and suspect at best. Sir, we are still in shock that even as the name of a major person of interest in his kidnap was provided to the Nigerian Police with copies forwarded to the former Anambra State Police Commissioner, Mr. Ballah Nasarawa, neither has any arrest been made nor has any investigation situation report provided to the long-suffering family of Mr. Udemba. Sir, you would need to imagine for a moment, the level of psychological and emotional trauma to which the wife and children of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba have been subjected for almost two years now.
It is expedient to mention that at some point, letters of complaint and appeal were directly addressed and dispatched by this party to President Jonathan and Governor Obi of Anambra State. Given the gravity of this matter, those letters were registered and delivered by courier but neither a reply nor a response has come forth. Moreover, countless efforts made to reach those two important offices for help were unsuccessful and access impossible. Sir, besides the Presidency and the Governor of Anambra State, we are hereby appealing to you, in particular, and to all Nigerians, in general, to come to our assistance and possibly suggest ways to help all of us come out of this quagmire with the result of investigations on all those involved, in any way or associated with his kidnap, publicized. We firmly believe that the family of Mr. Emmanuel Udemba, along with his relations and friends, has the right to an honest, helpful and transparent investigation result from the police at this very challenging time. At this juncture, we solicit your urgent assistance and that of all well-meaning Nigerians.
Sir, an entire town, family, friends and relations of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba are exceedingly troubled that despite all the reports and letters of appeal sent to the Federal Police Department and Anambra State Police Command, investigation situation feedbacks on the whereabouts of Mr. Udemba, those of his kidnappers and affiliates have remained virtually elusive or simply nonexistent as at today. We call upon you, sir, to use your good offices and constitute an independent investigation panel on the disappearance of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba as well as deeply probe the modes of operation of the Anambra State Police Command.
Mr. D.P. Yakadi (Anambra State Deputy Commissioner of Police) has been severally mentioned as the overseer of the office that investigates kidnap cases in Anambra state. From our understanding, Mr. Yakadi has been in Anambra state since 2006. Apparently, he was also present in Anambra state throughout the period when Mr. Ballah Nassarawa was the Commissioner of Police in the state. We strongly believe that a man of his caliber and clout should be able to know as well as provide Nigerians with useful information regarding the result of police investigation on the kidnap of Mr. Udemba, its attendant permutations and why the police decided to ignore or inordinately delay investigations in Mr. Udemba's own case.
While we do appreciate some positive changes that have taken place in the Police Force as evident in many states and in some of the states around Anambra State, at the same time we restate our unwavering conviction that an entire town, family and relations of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba, both as loyal citizens of Nigeria and human beings with inalienable rights, deserve a meaningful closure to this ugly incident.
Sir, with this heartfelt appeal, we passionately plead for your very considerate and expeditious intervention. On behalf of already-traumatized and agonizing wife and children of Mr. Emmanuel C. Udemba, we also plead with all Nigerians of goodwill to urge the office of the Anambra State Commissioner of Police (past and present) and the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. D.P. Yakadi, to honestly investigate the kidnap of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba, furnish Nigerians and the world with the result of their investigations. Most of all, may they explain to Nigerians why the police have not made any arrests despite their receipt of the name of a major person of interest and knowledge of another uniquely implicating evidence in this crime over a year ago. We would very gratefully appreciate it if you could give this heartfelt appeal every favorable attention it deserves.
Signed for Anemelu Family,
Sir Joe. C. Anemelu
New Jersey, NY USA.
CC: President Federal Republic of Nigeria
Governor of Anambra State
Senate Committee on Police Affairs
Ministry of Police Affairs
Chairman, Police Service Commission
Attorney General and Minister for Justice
Executive Director, National Center for Women Development
Relevant Human Rights Organizations
HRH, Igwe of Nnokwa
Mr. E.C. Udemba Family
Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba is believed to be a native of Nnokwa in Idemili South Local Government area, Anambra State, Nigeria. Before his kidnap, Mr. Udemba was said to be a resident of Federal Housing at 3-3, Onitsha. Mr. Udemba, a plywood dealer/businessman was kidnapped since March 21, 2012 at Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Anambra state, Nigeria. This happened on his way to his plywood business in the late hours of the morning. Because of threat to his life by his kidnappers over a ransom, his family, with the help of relations, painfully paid a ransom of 3.5 million, Nigerian naira, to his captors so as to secure his release as they promised. However, that release never came through and with the kidnap victim still missing. So many reports and appeals were said to have been made to the Nigerian police, from the year 2012 and beyond, but for some unknown reasons, the police in Anambra state, where this incident took place, did not investigate his kidnap case satisfactorily. Law enforcement agents known as the SSS in Anambra state began investigations, found the cellphone of kidnap on someone's hand, but stopped on the way without giving any good reasons to the kidnap victim's family on why they stopped a criminal investigation of that nature.
The family of Mr. Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba would need your assistance at this difficult time. Please kindly help them to prevail on President Buhari and the new Governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano (where this kidnap incident took place), with passionate pleadings and appeals, to seriously and directly order urgent investigations into the peculiar kidnap case of Mr. Emmanuel Udemba. Not only that, his wife and eight children have been agonizing for almost three years now without knowing their loved one's whereabouts and present conditions. In addition, their lives and properties have been under threats coupled with psychological traumas already inflicted on them. A situation where a mother and her eight children would be left to agonize for almost three years now, without anyone caring to help them, has indeed become a humanitarian issue. Please for more details on the appeals, publicly made in this regard, kindly Google the name: Emmanuel Chukwuemeka Udemba or visit https:emmanueludemba.wordpress.com. If you have any tips for law enforcement agents, please contact the columnist. Thank You.
*Dr Moshood Ademola Fayemiwo is CEO, Alternative Lifestyle Communication, DBA. He lives in Chicago, Illinois in the United States. His new book titled: “How The Lord Jesus Christ Recycled My Life While I Was Wasting Away And Gave Me Hope For Eternity?” will be available from his Florida-based publishers in the fall of 2015. Visit his website at www.allternativecommunication.net Email him at [email protected]