Ishaq Modibbo Kawu; Re: Nigeria, “Between the potentials and the failure”. My Right of Reply.


It is astonishing how the northern ruling elite and their media practitioners' collaborators view the Nigerian question. Reading through the above article by Modibbo Kawu like his other counterparts from that region, he just wasted our time talking about nothing. Why is it that northern elites are afraid of the sovereign national conference? None of the over dozen columnists or writers from the North has ever written to support the sovereign national conference.How can a nation tap its potentials when it uses its second or even third eleven team most of the time? It is only in Nigeria that people like Charles Soludo will be allowed to waste and will be replaced with a third rate like Sanusi Lamido and the northern media is applauding it. I am not a prophet of doom, but watch it; the next two years will see the Naira and the Nigerian economy follow the path of Zimbabwe. Nigeria will never get things right Mr Kawu until people like you write objectively to your benefactors that the A-team must be used any time any day.

Every day we hear that you do not change a winning team when the match is on. Umoru Yar'adua cannot give one reasonable reason for replacing Charles Soludo with Alhaji Lamido Sanusi rather than parochialism, nepotism and base avarice. Just like his previous appointments, he will simply remove a competent person and replace them with his relations. My empirical observation of Nigeria over the years is that its leaders look at it as an abandoned property where they make every effort to outdo each other in looting it. While Obasanjo was almost nationalistic in his appointments and even some of his actions, Yar'adua has returned to the cocoon of parochialism and nepotism extra ordinary. In his guardian newspaper interview, at least Umoru has acknowledged that Obasanjo was better than his present mishap. It is true that Obasanjo was a devil and he is the devil that created this monster but with nostalgia now we give him credit for nationalistic appointments during his time. At least the Secretary to his government was not his tribe's man; he was from Akwa Ibom state. His minister of Defense was Rabiu Kwankwanso from Kano. His chief of staff was Abdulahi Mohammed from Kwara state. His national security adviser was Aliyu Gusau from Zamfara. His FCT minister was El-Rufai from Kaduna state. His chief of Army staff was General Luther Agwai from Kaduna state. His Finance ministers were Ngozi Iweala /Nenadi Usman from Imo/Kaduna states respectively. His Central Bank governor was from Anambra state. His petroleum Resources minister was from Rivers state, Mr Oruebebe.

Because Mr Yar'adua want to steal more again from the 'national cake', he surrounded himself with his brothers most of them not qualified and incompetent who will do the shoddy work for him and cover his back. I tell you Nigeria and Nigerians will suffer the more for it.

Modibbo Kawu, from your heart of heart do you think with Yar'adua in charge and this his type of appointments can you honestly say the Nigerian potentials can be tapped? No way. Even look at the appointment of Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities nationwide, supposed citadel of learning, We have said times without number the only way Nigeria's potential can be utilized effectively is to use the best no more no less. Therefore the starting point is returning Soludo as the CBN governor.

But our best bet is the sovereign national conference, where we can all sit together and determine the type of federalism that is good for us.

Look at the Niger-Delta crisis for example, 'federal might' can never solve that problem Mr Modibbo, dialogue and sovereign national conference is the answer. The earlier Yar'adua comes to terms with that the better and the carnage that is taking place there is stopped. Innocent civilians and soldiers alike are killed for no just cause but base avarice on the part of ruling northern elites.

People like you and your likes Mr Ishaq Moddibo Kawu have the 'moral' duty to tell your benefactors the bitter truth for the betterment of the Nigeria society. We have to make playing the ethnic card as archaic as apartheid in South Africa.

Obasanjo can take one credit from me for his nationalistic appointment when he was the lord emperor of Aso Rock Villa. Another credit for never going overseas at least publically for medical checkup or management. ''OBJ na you biko!''

[email protected]

Ndiameeh Babrik.
By Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmed Mustapha
The new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was reported to have told the Senate that there was an urgent need for government to address “critical infrastructure” if we must effectively address the problem of economic development in Nigeria. He said, “My view is that until we address the infrastructure problem in this country we will not even begin to solve our problems.” According to Sanusi, the small-scale industry in Nigeria would hardly register any growth without stable power supply and without adequate focus on infrastructure as a priority.

Let me therefore seize this opportunity not only to welcome Mr. Sanusi on board and congratulate him on his new appointment, but also thank him for his views on the need for government, at all levels, to reprioritize in favour of infrastructure and forget about grandiose projects. May God bless Sanusi. He has taken the right step forward. What he said was exactly what the Minister of State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola said in Uyo during a recent revenue summit in the state. It was the same thing Obong Victor Attah only tried to amplify with facts and figures in his open advice to Governor Godswill Akpabio. The days of profligacy are gone for good. Let all tiers of Government heed Sanusi's advice so that we can move this country forward in real terms. Except one or two instances where one or two groups or individuals attempted in what were obviously stage-managed efforts to speak from both sides of their mouths in favour of the Tropicana project, the state government can be given a pass mark concerning the unusual mature way it has reacted so far to the issues raised by Attah. When I hear of a figure N33billion, I felt like running mad because this one project could pass for almost a whole annual budget of some of our States here in the North. This is why some federal law makers, though they have their own inadequacies, posited that the leaders of the Niger Delta have not been fair to their people.

However, in the interest of the voiceless people of Akwa Ibom state, in the interest of the once peaceful Akwa Ibom and in the overall interest of Nigeria as nation, the PDP as a party and its Federal government should not gloss over the issue of reprioritizing projects in Akwa Ibom and other states. We must stop all bogus and flamboyant projects in favour of infrastructure enhancement. It is unfortunate that before now, the Federal Government could not come out fully and unequivocally to intervene in this matter, but it is never late because Obong Victor Attah, as someone has rightly observed, did not say anything new. If anything, he was mainly echoing the well considered opinion of the Federal Government as hinted by the Minister State for Finance, Mr. Remi Babalola. Giving advice indirectly to any state government on how to properly manage resources is quite in line with the principle of federalism, but we have reached the stage in Nigeria where erring governors, especially in the volatile Niger Delta, must be forcefully called to order the way Attah has done, because doing so tongue-in-cheek as the Minister did, will lead us to nowhere.

Therefore may I suggest here that we subject the issue of Tropicana to a plebiscite if the PDP whose manifesto Akpabio is supposed to be implementing cannot stop him or if President Yar' Adua cannot statesmanlike intervene. Attah said that his administration in which Akpabio served for six years only needed about N6billion to fix a project which would have ensured pipe born water for half the population of Ibom state. And I guess Akwa Ibom probably needs another N8billion for the IPP transmission line from Ikot Abasi to Eket, into national grid. Meaning that with the N14billion more than half of the entire Akwa Ibom state could be provided with pipe borne water and the much needed constant electricity that would have bolstered the economic and commercial activities, as in Kwara State today.

If it would be costly to subject Tropicana project to a plebiscite, the PDP should constitute a neutral panel which should be headed by the Sultan of Sokoto with Mr. Sanusi and others like David Dafinone, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Prof. Pat Utomi, Gen. Jeremiah Useni, Chef Ralph Uwechue, Senator Udoma and one or two others including an environmentalist, as members.

The Panel should sit in Uyo for one week or so, visit the Tropicana site, sample opinion and make appropriate recommendations in the light of Attah's arguments. I make this suggestion also because while Attah told Akpabio “I have poured out my mind to you which in fact, is the lamentations of your people”, Akpabio's Commissioner of Science and Technology Mr. Samuel John Efanga believes otherwise. Efanga, from newspaper report I read recently, told Uyo Solidarity Movement that “Attah's opinion if sampled might not be accepted by the majority.” Fine, whom should we believe between Attah and Efanga?

Were ours a parliamentary system we would have availed ourselves either of two options by which we would have found out where the tax payer stands on this Tropicana controversy. One; is by resignation of the state government, calling for fresh election to either renew or cancel its mandate. Two; is by polling public opinion, which can be done by a specialized body or the Press. Unfortunately for us, Nigeria is not blessed with opinion poll agencies. The Press on its part cannot do much either, faced as they are, with other problems including that of inability to make the freedom of information bill a reality. Otherwise, this Tropicana controversy would not have assumed this dimension.

I was in the United States in 1965, in my twenties, when Mr. Douglass Carter, a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson published an article that centered on public opinion in which he highlighted the critical role of the Press in projecting public opinion and moderating official policies. “The priorities of the Press can often be decisive; even reshaping the priorities of the government itself”, Mr. Carter said. Nigeria is yet to get there. In the interim, we can do with the intervention of either the federal government or the Central Bank when any particular project embarked upon by any government becomes a subject of controversy la Tropicana, as the Spaniards would say?

Alhaji (Dr.) Ahmed Mustapha
([email protected])
281 Daura Road

Engr. Udo Mboso and Rotary 4-Way Test
All of a sudden two newspapers – Fresh Facts and Compass have found their way into the compendium of must read newspapers in Akwa Ibom State , because people are always expecting something new and sensational, perhaps tale-telling.

This development followed the letter of ex-governor Victor Attah to his successor and incumbent, Chief Godswill Akpabio. As would be expected, fresh developments followed wave by wave daily, and the most funny has been the purported suspension of Obong (Arc) Victor Attah from the PDP by the state chapter of the Party. PDP watchers on the wrong side see this as a very healthy development, since what had all along been hatched in the closet will soon blow into the open. Indeed there is an elephant fight in Akwa Ibom State , and in this fight the grass will not suffer. Rather, people will get their awareness whetted as to how the huge oil money accruing to the state has been spent or frittered away. God loves this state. It has been too calm, too okay for comfort so far. Times like this cause people to put on their thinking caps and jolt the indifferent from complacency.

The only seeming disappointment is that the whole affair has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. It has been turned into a slanging match among who can speak vilest against ex-governor Victor Attah. Whoever has ever nursed some pent-up feelings against him has found the opportunity to vent them. This is unfortunate.

The letter of ex-governor Attah was carried in the same edition in which Ime Titus Mbat Essien poured vitriol on Governor Godswill Akpabio. It is difficult to know whether Mbat Essien acted in concert with Attah or whether the acts were mere coincidence, but Attah is Ibibio; so is Ime Mbat Essien. Then Chief Don Etiebet stepped into the affray. Since as the Annang say, “ade anyie awuo a-fighting for,” it was also difficult to surmise whether Don Etiebet stepped in on the side of his kinsman, or whether he merely seized the opportunity to tell the people all that he had ever held against Attah as governor. He went to the extent of saying. “Victor, I made you governor and you were sworn-in on May 29th, 1999 and in August 1999 I was attacked by so called armed robbers who confessed to being hired assassins in Abuja . You were the only VIP from Akwa Ibom State who up till today had not visited me to sympathize with me. Was it not all because I tended to differ with your style of governance in the state?” Pray, what exactly is Don Etiebet insinuating? So Don Etiebet ever had cause to criticize a style of governance, but when someone else also seeks to exercise his right of criticism, he calls him names?

Etiebet has been fond of taunting what to him may be the “low estate” of Victor Attah. He had once been reported as saying that he took Attah from a one-room apartment and he was wearing sleeveless singlet, to make him governor. Why does he take so much delight in derogating Attah's past which may merely have been an individual lifestyle? Or was it an index of self-abnegation which Attah carried into governance by which today he cannot have a smooth ride from Uyo to his Local Government home? Someone else in his position would have made Aka-Nung Udoe Road first priority, engaging the best road construction hand available. What exactly does he seek to portray by writing. “In fact you did not have a house, a car and a telephone number in Uyo before I made you governor in 1999. You can't say that one-bedroom boy's quarter along Abak Road with no drive way was your house, the house of the President of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) at the time?” Once again, when were the Attah of this state ever in acute state of misery as Etiebet would want us to believe?

As if to justify the confidence of Akpabios Information Commissioner, that Ethnicism has been dead and buried in Akwa Ibom State , an unexpected combatant stepped into the arena throwing punches wildly. This is Elder (Mkpisong) Udo Mboso, Attah's kinsman, the man who was appointed into the Board of OMPADEC, precursor of NDDC, during Attah's Tenure; the man said to have handled a major contract in the second phase of the State Secretariat, built by a wonder boy in Air Force uniform, Idongesit Nkanga in just one year, and elevated to a tourist delight by Victor Attah. Where and when did the music stop?

Udo Mboso may remember the old school joke of a fox calling a fox a fox (and he was a merciless fox tormentor). He characterizes Attah's letter as diatribe, but goes on to write a worse harangue.

Reading through his two-page diatribe in the Vanguard Newspaper of Thursday June 4, 2009, gave one stomach ache, yet read it through I had to, for curiosity sake. The only bit of his writing that I want to comment on is his veiled allegation that “We are told that some of us have massive and more expansive Hotels in West Indies and properties in South Africa covering both sides of an entire street costing amount that cannot be easily pronounced.”

Who are the “some of us”? If Udo Mboso is sure of his facts, he should name names, state the locations, the towns, the streets and which island of the West Indies . Let him also name the city or town in South Africa where these property are located. If he cannot or would not do these for any fear, then he would be guilty of bearing false witness against his neighbours. This, for an Elder of a church “founded in 1887 by Samuel Alexander Bill from Belfast in Ireland , United Kingdom ” would be most unbecoming. Noble man that he has been known to be, he should not descend to the level of political urchins. It is something more. He is a past District Governor of the rotary Club, and for one to be found worthy of that elevation, he must be a dyed-in-the-wool Rotarian. Does his two-page diatribe against ex-governor Victor Attah stand the Rotary 4-Way Test? The test comes as follows: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendship? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Even stark non Rotarians accept the Four-way test as moral code and alternative gospel. All the same, if writing the way he has done will assure for him some juicy sub or major contract in the Tropicana project, the end justifies the means.

As for the action of Ime Mbat Essien, all that need be said is that he is entitled to his grouse against Governor Akpabio, but he must, for God's sake, keep the Ibibio out of it. The days are gone when everyone seeking a niche for himself invoked Ibibio nationalism. The Ibibio now know better.

Surely, I fully share with all men of goodwill in appreciating, even applauding Governor Godswill Akpabio for his yeoman's works in the state within so remarkably short space of time. We can do this without necessarily denigrating the administration before his own, all because Attah is no longer in a position to dole out favours, or had denied some people unmerited favours in his time.

We cannot continue to be a land of no heroes; the land that slays her heroes. This land needs heroes and we must learn to hold in reverence those who in other societies in Nigeria are treated as national institutions in their time and after. If all the heroes that Nigeria has ever known have been saints, then heaven would run out of space for angels.

Eno Ikpe
[email protected] [email protected]

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