Information reaching 247ureports.com indicate that another community in Adamawa State have fallen under the attack of the vicious Fulani herdsmen. The attacks according to an eyewitness began today’s [December 5, 2017] evening at Lawaru, a community in Adamawa State.
According to an eyewitness statement reproduced below, the community of Lawaru was set ablaze by the legion of Fulani herdsmen who had arrived earlier in the day to the town.
The account stated that a military style helicopter gave the attacking Fulani herdsmen cover as they torched the town. The helicopter was reported to have joined the attack.
See the eyewitness account below:
He Statement Of An Eye Witness From Dong… via Phone…
‘I was at Kwalumo when a friend called me from Lawaru that legions of Fulani herdsmen are trooping into their village. On the phone, I heard some scaring gun sounds that can only be liken to a nightmare from the pit of hell. I immediately dial Klomoso’s Number to help notify Hama Dong. While putting a notice to Klom, I saw Lawaru on flames! It pained me so much knowing my biological mother who went there earlier that day might have been killed!! I ask the guys around to go with me! I wanted to go and rescue my mother dead or alive!!
We went in good spirit with no gun but guts. At Ngodon, We met hundreds of women running into bushes. I saw Sapwada, I asked where are our men? she said she said the vow to die standing!!
I was provoke the more, but the atmosphere cold me.
Within some minutes, we saw them trooping into Dong. We hide, watching them burn our houses. Under the tree on which I was hiding, those fulanis raped seven girls of 12-14yrs..
Aside that, a helicopter was hovering over, and giving them cover.. At a certain point when we noticed they were running out of arms, We mobilized from bushes to face them. No too long a military jet let loose a bomb on us killing many of us….
As am speaking to U now, most of our men were killed by d four air strikes while children and women by the Fulani…..””
LIBYANS ENSLAVING "SLAVES" OUR HYPOCRISY OUR SILENCE SOCIETAL CHANGES ARE WE ALL IN IT?
After seeing the few photographs recently coming from Libya and the hypocritical out cry from African countries especially Nigeria I would like us to answer some of these questions:
HOW, WHY AND FROM WHERE DID THEY GET THERE? As we wail and curse Libyans we ask ourselves and the govt,why,how and from where did they get there? Is this the first time we are hearing of this phenomenon?Is it cheaper for the govt to send plans to cart away her citizens than making correct educational policies that would mould out prepared, productive and employable youths to face the present world economic changes? Why are the victims people predominantly from a particular geographical area ?
IS IT OUR FIRST TIME OF SEEING SLAVES? Is it not hypocrisy of the highest level to deny we are not all slave mongers? From our Clergy,politicians,civil servants,business people and even to our Nollywood and entertainment people: the neo-bourgeois we have been shouting at the Libyans but just take a second and have a look in your household and around you now and tell me if you do not have one or two 'slaves'? Are you not deceiving your conscience with the employment or the 'assisting a relation that would have been in a worse situation'reason? Those Libyan animals have exactly the same reasons like you. Are you treating him or her like your child or if employed are you following the govt regulations in time and stipend ? Tell me now are you a slave monger or not? Are we not all Libyans on different levels with different reasons/motives?
HAVE WE NOT SENT OUT SLAVES TO WORK FOR US? As we enslave in Nigeria do we (those that have cash) not send our brothers and sisters to other countries to go and 'survive' there? Do we not sell lands and other properties to send untrained, unskilled and unemployable people overseas? To do what? Do we not curse them when they do not send cash ,cars or build houses in their first years overseas still knowing that even the hosts and employers do not even boast of such at the same short time? Do we not NOW in our churches, cultural places and placements show more apparent respect to those that enslaved themselves more and made money more and quicker for that maatter?
Are you not deceiving yourself when you (especially those from the Mid-western states) believe that your daughter with ring worms on her head,without even a complete high school education is going to Italy through the Sahara desert and Mediterranean sea to work in an Italian restaurant? Can you see now who the slave monger is? He is not the Libyan certainly; that Libyan rapist is just a criminal managing the slaves you sent to him.
TO BE CONTINUED.........
Chukwubike Okey C (works in the Italian migration services for 16 years)
There’s no place like home. So goes a very popular saying. I guess whoever coined it, had some degree of positivity attached to it. However, a look at some of the places many of us call ‘home’, will without a doubt get one thinking that this saying may not be valid after all. At least, not for everybody. After my last trip to my country, Nigeria, I must confess experiencing a reappraisal of my hitherto strong belief, in that saying. I came back to Europe with so many unanswered questions lingering in my mind: What has happened to us as a people? What has become of our national conscience? Why is everyone in such a hurry? Where are we trying to get to? Why can’t we just walk, like all the other peoples of this world? Why have we erased the word ‘patience’ in our dictionary?
Nigeria, today, is a country where everybody blames everyone for all societal ills, and the government for not providing all that she should. All of their needs. Corruption is the most discussed topic in Nigeria, and is of course, condemned by everyone you discuss it with. This should have you thinking that everybody hates corruption in Nigeria. Far from it. Yes, we all condemn it, but only a handful would actually hold back from enjoying the fruits of corruption. If your brother is made a minister, and doesn't bring back home money stolen from government coffers, and you call him a fool. Which Nigerian wouldn’t like to have the president, his vice, or some other high-ranking politician, attend his wedding ceremony, or any other ceremony of the sort?
In Nigeria, everybody is a ‘born again’ Christian, Muslim, animist, or something. God is mentioned without fear. One gets the impression, that we may all be direct descendants of the biblical Pharisees. I must quickly add here, that there are however, people who are true about their faith. People with love in their hearts. The problem is that religion has become so monetized, that it’s difficult to know where business ends, and true religion begins. I have come to a humble conclusion, that behind our ‘grab- grab’ attitude; that behind the societal pressure to ‘perform’, which we all feel so helplessly, are our traditions. We celebrate everything from births, to deaths, weddings, chieftaincy titles, anniversaries, promotions, etc. Everyone you ask why we need to spend millions of naira on all of these events, will readily respond, that it’s the demand of our tradition to do so. It doesn’t matter if one can afford to celebrate so lavishly or not. He is expected to do so. It doesn’t matter if he has to steal to do so. He has to do it, like everybody else. Permit me to say, that it smells more to me, like the demands of consumism and materialism, to do so.
People are encouraged to show off what they may not even have. People need to boost their egos. It no longer is wise, to blame the meagre-salaried police men, for asking for their 100 naira ‘personal tax’ from vehicles at their checkpoints, and other such places. Considering that a policeman cannot save millions of naira from his salary, and that he has to spend millions of naira in the event of his father’s burial, where do you expect him to come up with such staggering amounts? How can the average politician be honest, when he knows that people would expect him to celebrate in a big way, his his own traditional events? Add the tradition of money being ‘sprayed’, at such ceremonies, and you know how sick our traditions are.
Put a ban, on these stupid traditions, and we would have taken a giant step towards the achievement of socio-economic development in Nigeria. Money, which is needed, to be reinvested in existing businesses, and the creation of new ones, is lavishly thrown away, on the daily. Why do we put so much pressure to perform on ourselves? Why do we keep inviting stress to our doorsteps? This unending pressure to perform, is the reason we have corrupt politicians, clergymen, armed robbers, kidnappers, cultists, secret society adherents, prostitutes, drug dealers, etc. Ask any one of them why he or she is so desperate, to ‘make it’, and you will hear that they want to get theirs too. We Nigerians deserve to live better than we are doing presently. We have the resources, and brains to do so. The world is moving ahead, slowly but steadily. We shouldn’t be left behind. Let’s stop behaving like crabs in a basket, pulling each other down. God bless Nigeria.By Evaristus Ogbechie.
Ikeji or New Yam Festival in Mgbowo is as old as Mgbowo Community. Today, the 16th of July 2017 marks this year's Ikeji or New Yam Festival that heralds the harvesting of new yam in my community. Many families are gathered today in their various ancestral places of meeting called NKORO to deliberate on serious issues that agitate the mind of each family member and to share EKA OKUKU (the wing of fowls) killed to commemorate the festival.
To add impetus to the celebration this year, I dug through my library to share with all my friends and Mgbowo people wherever they may be what IKEJI or New Yam Festival raelly means to the Mgbowo Man as eruditely presented by one of the celebrated Wordsmith of our time in Mgbowo MR. EGBUNA AKPA. Please enjoy.
TEXT OF A LECTURE DELIVERED BY MR. EGBUNA AKPA AT A SYMPOSIUM ORGANIZED AS PART OF EVENTS MARKING THE 2012 IKEJI FESTIVAL IN MGBOWO, THURSDAY, 19TH JULY, 2012.
1.0 Introduction: Man and His Culture
History and Religion testify to the origin and existence of human beings. However, while history subscribes to the Theory of Evolution to prove the emergence of homo sapiens; that is, human beings as we see and know them today, religion attributes it to the act of creation by God.
Whichever way we may choose to look at it, the incontrovertible fact is that the world is peopled by human elements who are rational creatures. The rationality of man imbues him with the ability, not only to reason and judge, but also to speak, think, act, discover, invent, and use the materials around him to his own advantage. Also, man is endowed with the innate ability to learn from personal experience, from what happens around him and from what he inherits from his forebears.
Thus, over the years, human beings have, in tandem with their immediate physical and social environments, evolved systems of beliefs, ideas, behaviour, custom and even artifacts, which they accept and share, as peoples of particular societies. These commonly accepted and shared ways of life are collectively called culture.
Therefore, we may define culture as the aggregate or totality of a people’s way of life. It includes their language, beliefs and custom, as inherited from their ancestors. Indisputably, a people's culture is their special identity; in the same way as a person's name and habits are his or her identity.
As a society of homo sapiens, Mgbowo Community has her own beliefs, ideas, dialect and custom, which constitute our cultural identity. One aspect of this culture is the custom of revering and celebrating yam as the king of all crops; otherwise called Ikeji, our New Yam Festival. It is in deference to our collective belief in this age-long traditional practice of our people that we are gathered here today to discuss this extant custom.
It is expected that, at the end of our discourse, those of us who belong to the outgoing generation will have refreshed our memories of what it used to be in our distant past, while the younger elements will appreciate the wisdom of our forefathers, cling to it and protect our harmless traditional practices from imminent suffocation and death.
2.0 The Ikeji Festival
As we observed in our introduction above, Ikeji Mgbowo is an aspect of our people's culture. This custom dates back to the earliest days in our history when yam was treated as being sacrosanct, served as a status symbol, an index of wealth and as an object of title-taking. No other crop, wild or domestic, enjoyed such reverence or recognition among our ancestors.
It is, therefore, not surprising that they had to translate their regard and respect for this king crop into reality by mapping out a programme of events to celebrate the yam at appropriate periods of the year; namely, during the planting and harvesting of yam.
The celebration of the new yam at its maiden harvest is called Ikeji, while the veneration of the crop just before it returns to the soil is known as Enwu. We shall examine the relationship between these twin festivals in the course of this lecture. Suffice it to say that both occasions are also used to pray to the gods and ancestors for long life, productive farming, abundant harvest, communal peace, and unity, as well as for individual family favours and needs.
2.1 Announcement of Ikeji Festival
Generally speaking, Ikeji Festival, which is the greatest of its kind in our community, takes place in the 9th moon of our local calendar; otherwise known as Onwa Tonnu. In recent times, however, the authority and custodians of the festival have had cause to add or subtract a moon to or from the normal Onwa Tonnu, to bring forward or postpone, by one moon, the usual time or period of the festival. This practice is said to be justified when the weather adversely or favourably affects the growth of the planted yam.
The custodians of Ikeji Festival have always been the Chief Priests of two of the major deities in Mgbowo, representing Ndi Ali Mgbowo and a representative of Uhuokwe family - Umu Olukaaji in Eziobodo Alechara Village who actually does the announcement. They are:
a) The Chief Priest of Ali Ihiriho (from Ameta Village);
b) The Chief Priest of Ali Dulaho (from Imeama Village), and
c) The Umu Olukaaji Family (in Alechara Village).
At the emergence of Onwa Tonnu, the three wise men decide when the festival will hold. It is their collective responsibility to announce the Ikeji Day. The announcement is made usually 8 days (or izulambo) into the 9th moon of Mgbowo Calendar year. The Ikeji Day proper falls on the 20th day of the 9th moon or 12 days (izulalo) after the formal announcement. Invariably, it is made to fall on Orio Market day.
2.2 Phases of Ikeji Festival
The Ikeji Festival is celebrated in five (5) phases, namely: Itu Nvula, Igbuji Ji, Eka Okuku, Oku Obodo and Ifu Ahia.
2.2.1 Itu Nvula
This expression suggests that Nvula (water yam) might be the oldest specie of yam known to, and planted by, our people. Be that as it may, Ilu Nvula is the opening phase of Ikeji, and takes place on the eve of the festival. Since Ikeji is invariably celebrated on Orio Market day, it means that Ilu Nvula takes place on Eke Market day; the day preceding Ikeji Day.
The main activity of the day is the visit of married men to their fathers in-law. While going on the visit, the married men take with them tubers of yam, cocks, wine, tobacco etc, as presents. Where the father in-law is late, a man can visit and make such presents to his mother in-law. The idea is to share the joy of the coming celebration and further cement the existing bond of unity between both families.
2.2.2 Igbuji Ji
This happens on Orio day, the day after the Itu Nvula ceremony. It is the Ikeji Day proper. Activities of the day include men going to their farms to harvest the new yams, cutting the yam, breaking kolanuts and killing cocks, all at the entrance of their compounds.
Also, the men otter oblation and pour libation on the same spot, while praying to God and the ancestors for good health, peace and progress, and to thank them for favours received, especially the good harvest expected in the year.
Generally, families stay in their homes to celebrate on Ikeji Day, except the younger male children who may move from compound to compound scrambling for broken kolanut lobes often sprinkled with the blood of fowls.
2.2.3 Eka Okuku
This takes place on the third day of the festival; that is, on Aho Market day; hence, Aho Eka Okuku. It is a very important phase of Ikeji Festival because it offers opportunity for male members of each clan in the community to assemble and discuss the state of their clan. Those of them living outside are expected to return for the festival and be present at the assembly.
Usually, activities of the day begin simultaneously throughout Mgbowo, after palmwine producers have returned from their morning rounds. The wine they bring home is used for prayers and libation.
Members of each clan assemble in their ancestral hut or house called Nkoro, which is often located in the premises of the eldest surviving member of the clan. To open the meeting, the clan Head, on behalf of all members present and those unavoidably absent, prays to God and the ancestors for being alive to see another Ikeji. He breaks a kolanut, offers oblation and pours libation to conclude the prayers.
After that, kolanuts are shared, chicken meat (i.e. the eka okuku) is exchanged and drinks are also shared. Then follows the examination of the state of the clan. Reports and complaints are received from those who have them. It could be on disputes between or among members, the inability of a son or daughter of the clan to return to school or to marry due to indigence, or the decline of the business fortunes of a member of the clan, among other matters.
The issues are discussed and solutions provided, as much as possible. The occasion demands that the truth is told and justice upheld, so that peace and harmony are restored where they have been truncated. Those who need or seek advice or counselling are obliged and, at the end of the session, everyone returns to his home at peace with himself and his kinsmen.
Apart from the clan assembly, Eka Okuku Day approximates to Boxing Day in the Christian Calendar. It is a day of exchange of visits and presents among relatives and friends. Married women prepare and take to their fathers and other deserving male relations, rich food, the thighs of the cocks, killed by their husbands the previous day and, indeed, other edibles they can afford. Recipients of such generous gestures reciprocate by loading their daughters or sisters with presents in cash and kind, with new yams as part of the gift items.
Eka Okuku day is generally observed as one of visits, feasting and merriment; it is a day when pounded yam is eaten, often with isasa soup or egusisoup interspersed with okpulekwa.
2.2.4 Oku Obodo
This phase of the Ikeji Festival comes up 4 days following the Igbuji Ji ceremony; that is to say, on the izu after Ikeji Day proper. The event of the day involves mostly the younger male members of the community and takes place in the evening at a place called obodo, the village square or playground.
Earlier in the day, the children gather and stockpile firewood at a convenient corner of the village square. In the evening, they assemble on the square, carrying raw new yams, kitchen knives and bowls or plates of red palm oil often mixed with akpaka (sliced oil bean seeds).
At the appropriate time, the huge heap of firewood is ignited, resulting in a huge bonfire. The excited children now push their yams into the blazing fire to roast and each guards his own jealously until it is done and ready for consumption. As the blaze declines in intensity and the yams are fully roasted, the children withdraw them, scrape them neatly and retire to their corners to enjoy the meal. After that each child returns to his home, full of joy and tales of what transpired during the oku obodo.
This is to say that Ikeji Festival takes care of every segment of the population in Mgbowo; males, females, adults and children. It is our community's most universal cultural festival.
2.2.5 Ifu Ahia Ikeji
Traditionally, Onwa Tonnu ends 8 days (izulambo) after Ikeji Day. It is the day Ikeji Festival comes to a close with the spectacular outing of the populace in the community market place; hence, the phrase, Ifu Ahia.
However, with the adjustment of Mgbowo market day from Orio to Eke in the late 1950s, Ikeji Festival now lasts for seven, instead of eight days and ends on Eke market day; a day earlier than used to be the case.
Activities of this grand finale include the display of masquerades in the market place. Every village adorns and leads its own masquerades to the venue to entertain the jubilant audience with dances and acrobatic skills. The people cheer and pelt the dancers with cash presents. Everyone going to the market for this special event turns out in his or her best attire.
At the end of the day, the Ikeji Festival is formally over and everybody returns home to wait, nostalgically, for that of the next year.
3.0 Significance of Ikeji Festival
Our elders believe that yam is indigenous to our community. This is unlike cassava, which is known to have been brought in from outside through Imeama Village; hence, the expression, "Sam bia gbaa Imeama I'ish;, which you would hear a woman say when she wants to eat cassava foo-foo.
Today, both yam and cassava are cultivated as cash and subsistence crops throughout Igbo land and beyond but nowhere is the cassava revered or celebrated as the yam. Indeed, apart from the human being and land, yam is arguably the next most revered terrestrial object among our people; and, therefore, must be seen as having great significance, which is why it is celebrated in Ikeji Festival. Thus, we can safely assert that the significance of Ikeji is inextricably intertwined with that of yam as the king of all our local crops.
* Ikeji is, by far, the most important common festival in Mgbowo and its month (Onwa Tonnu) the most significant month in our local calendar. In those days of Irosh; in Onwa Esaa, a family that could not perform the ritual during the month was free to do so in Onwa Tonnu.
* Yam is regarded as sacrosanct in Mgbowo cosmogony or tradition.
Consequently, it is an abomination for any Mgbowo person to steal yam and, if one deliberately uproots a newly-sown yam seedling, one has grievously offended the gods. In addition, a menstruating woman is forbidden from entering yam barn, and two persons don't hold a yam when it is being cut.
* Yam confers on the "big yam farmer" social esteem, recognition and wealth.
* It is used in all important ceremonies secular and spiritual; such as marriage, birth, death, and presented as gifts to beloved and important persons.
Aside from these values attached to yam, its significance is also felt in the impact it has in our people's way of life. For example,
* Ikeji marks the end of the planting of yam in the course of Mgbowo calendar year. However, if for any reason a man must sow yam anytime between Ikeji and Enwu, he must do so with a knife; not with a hoe.
* Ikeji authorizes every Mgbowo person to eat new yams for the year, wherever he is. This is to say that no indigene of Mgbowo would eat new yam until our community has celebrated Ikeji Festival.
4.0 The Ogbu Ebele Ji Title
We have observed that a great yam farmer is regarded with awe and very high esteem. He is easily a man of means and is most disposed to dine with priests and elders. To further enhance his status in the community, he could decide to take the yam title of Ogbu Ebele Ji, with the additional compliment of Onyiri Umuejonni (conqueror of gluttons).
The taking of Ogbu Ebele Ji title is a lengthy and expensive business. It lasts for eight days (izulambo) during which rams (ebele), fowls and some other animals are slaughtered in the man's compound. Since he is supposed to have more than enough yams to feed the entire community for the period, nothing is cooked or eaten in his compound except yam and its by-products.
On the final day of the ceremony, the title -taker's compound is a beehive of activities. People who come from far and near throng the premises and more animals are slaughtered and used for preparing soup and yam porridge to feed the people. Cultural dancers perform but prominent among them is the Ogeji music group, which provides the music for the title holder to dance.
Finally, the yam deity, (Joku JI) is installed in the man's barn in the form of an earthen bowl (oshiri) and sacrifices made to it with a ram and fowls. From then, the barn becomes a sacred and restricted area, out of bounds for thieves, menstruating women and dishonest men.
The celebrant has become an Ogbu Ebele Ji, and can join others before him to adjudicate in all cases involving the abuse of yam in Mgbowo. Also, in conjunction with Ndi AIi, they are first to plant new yams after Enwu Festival.
5.0 Relationship Between Ikeji and Enwu Festivals
Without delving into the nitty-gritty of Enwu as one of our traditional festivals, I consider it necessary, for a better understanding of our subject, to discuss the relationship between it and Ikeji. In a sense, both festivals have something to do with yam; though, while Ikeji is totally a yam festival, Enwu only serves as a whistle for yam farmers to take off in the race. This is to say that Ikeji marks the beginning of yam harvests but Enwu heralds the planting of seed yams.
As we observed earlier in his lecture, the sowing of seed yams terminates with the harvest of new yams on Ikeji Day. The ban, as it were, is lifted on Enwu Day and fresh planting can begin the immediate next day; that is, the day after Enwu.
Another semblance between Ikeji and Enwu is the occurrence of Eka Okuku in both festivals, during which male members of every clan in the community meet to share prayers and victuals, and to discuss issues of common interest.
The practice, significance and rules that govern Enwu festival should be reserved for another lecture of this nature.
6.0 Summary and Conclusion
In this lecture, we have been discussing Ikeji Festival, which we have described as an aspect of Mgbowo traditional culture. I must appreciate the patriotism and foresight of the organizers of this occasion for the opportunity they have given us to recreate our remote and proximate past through this lecture. Coming at a time most of our once-cherished traditional practices have gone extinct, it is incumbent on us to use the opportunity to reflect on the consequences of presiding over the regrettable demise of our own culture and heritage.
Agreed that Christianity and civilization have dealt stunning blows on most of our local deities and rendered them impotent and anachronistic, why should we sit back and watch while our non¬idolatrous practices are casketed and buried? Agreed that we should not return to the era of killing fowls in order to cure fevers or to the days of idol worship, why have our women stopped the child¬outing ceremony (ifuta I'omugwo) all in the name of Christianity?
As far as I know, there is nothing fetish or idolatrous about ifuta I l’omugwo and there is no reason why it should be banned. As far as I am concerned, nothing stops us from recovering and restoring our stolen cultural heritage, no matter whose ox we may gore in the process of doing so.
Our culture is our identity; so, to lose that culture is to lose our very identity and essence. In the good old days, what we may call the golden era of Mgbowo, our people were synonymous with humility, positive pride and ambition, hard work, honesty, truthfulness, reliability and fortitude, among other enviable attributes. They traversed the length and breadth of this country and beyond without let or hindrance; hence, they were known as ogaluzo atu utu. These qualities provided the ladder with which most prominent Mgbowo people climbed to the lofty points of success and progress.
Today, the reverse is largely the case and we have been paying dearly for our indiscretion in the form of youth restiveness and youth mortality. It seems to me that the solution to this problem lies in turning round and returning to our roots by placing premium on those traditional values that once made Mgbowo Community and her citizens the doyen of humanity on this side of the globe.
This supposed accusation of fraudulent management of funds and sack from the IPOB by a phantomatic female announcer in a phantomatic Radio Biafra has some air of probably another 'own goal' or boomerang propaganda by the Government. Most of us, and I know a great majority of people who in this past month had some 'slow down' in listening to that Radio Biafra and the Radio Biarfa International had to tune back to it yesterday for curiosity and the case was opposite: speakers and callers were even angrier than ever especially about the supposed fake news in Nigeria press. Listeners and contributions to discussions increased to unprecedented level as was observed. By the way why should anyone be interested in the the activities and the sack of the head of an organisation that is banned in our country? The jubilation, tone and body-language over that supposed fake news shows that we know we have not gotten it to any point good in addressing the issues around IPOB and whatever or whoever they represent. We (the rulers) are still not relaxed, we are still afraid. The manner we handle this issue fans it the more. Good morning.
Everyday that passes most Igbo rulers expose their ignorance of history through their arrogant or outright unimaginable actions. Most of them forget that some ways of governance can never go down with Igbo people even in one million years to come They forget the mistake of the colonial masters that came and imposed rulers, chiefs and kings on Igbo people forgetting that they had their ways of administration. They thought "since it was working in the north it would work for everyone, afterall all of them were just BLACK and PRIMITIVE" . They forgot what history thought us: that most of these rulers then lost their senses and became semi Gods serving just the MASTERS (The British Empire) only. They also forgot that some communities like mine (our great grand father et al) took the "WRONG" decision of taking back their honour and lives through beheading in the Market place their imposed ruler and helping the assailants to escape to far away lands. This however attracted he wrath of the EMPIRE which came and imposed inhumane conditions which the people not very tactically refused and rather challenged the EMPIRE by killing the first batch of the Empires soldiers. The empire came down with her Army and unmatched Fire -power and decimated my people. Their number decreased but their spirits to manage their destiny increased . They even as of then started to talk of the the good governance in a distant Cameroon by the Germans and expressed their wish to have the Germans come down to help them. The hammer of the empire fell on them again for this "assertions and day dreams" We remember our history but these present rulers don't remember their history and the history of governance. The fire power of the 'present EMPIRE' is deceiving them to forgetting the biological aspect of being,actions and behaviour i.e that the mutation of the DNA takes a long and lengthy process though we all have learnt and advocate for non violent and less savage ways of doing things. The set is the same now and the people are watching ! NB. The people are the Igbo people and the story happened in Nenwe and to Nenwepeople of Igboland of the Federal Republic of Nigeria .
Premise : Personally I do not believe that the Nigerian Army medical corps would go against professional ethics as rumoured in the South East (IGBOLAND)
However, come to think about it: Just yesterday you came:
DISGRACED AND DEHUMANISED them .
Shot and killed them as much as you could like game animals or beasts:
Kidnapped and destroyed corpses (these last were denied).
You branded all of them TERRORISTS which means they are all enemies of the nation and could or should be destroyed by any means possible.
Then Today you come with smiles to vaccinate them and give then medicines as not to die and you think you are believable and trustworthy?
You unprofessionally destroyed a trust that has taken 50 years to build and manage just in a day with your "shameful/shameless PYTHON" A shameful dance that will hunt you and your conscience more than the Biafran-Nigerian war.
You want to remedy all these horrible and horrific acts by vaccinating them and giving them paracetamol pain reliever. By the way who what type of human beings plan your Public relations and mediation strategies? In this way you are moving You might be needing more than 50 years again to get to that level you were in the eyes of the people 3 weeks ago.
Lets call a spade a spade , with all your "good intentions " you are not trusted and they have all good reasons not to trust you and your vaccines. If you would like to know there is a vibrant Virologist in every 20 south eastern or Igbo family, ask around even in your medical corps. They are not afraid of being wiped out by virus or epidemics rather they are afraid of being wiped out with guns etc and the silence/ collaboration of corrupt people.
Taking you back to history which your Ogas banned in the schools: After the war in 1970 there was one of the fastest and deadliest cholera outbreak in the southeast. It was rumoured the government was too slow and silent in actions and that it was deliberate since those affected were the Igbos in Igboland . Prof A .Njoku-Obi and his group in Nsukka (UNN) produced an anti cholera vaccine. The Nigerian government wanted to wait till eternity for the ones that the white man would send from (World Health Organisation) Geneva.
Meanwhile Igbos were dying more than the war day. The government went further to ban and follow the WHO to class the vaccine as "unapproved and dangerous" but it still sneaked out of the Nsukka labs and people started to be vaccinated. This writer was vaccinated by the (underground) Made in Nsukka vaccine and I did not die rather survived the cholera epidemic. The WHO later reluctantly approved the Nsukka Vaccine and came back to Nigeria with it . It might interest you that it was the Nsukka vaccine was to be "re branded" or accredited to other persons , then they observed it was already being used without their permission and positive results recorded so they approved it on Prof Njoku Obis name . It is being used in places there is a great outbreak till date all over the world. Nobody would tell you this.
Therefore my gallant men and women, you can imagine now that these people are not afraid of epidemics ooo. Park your things , return to the barracks and vaccinate your close family members and friends especially your commandants. Tell them to plan a better way of showing that the N A is the peoples army and not the Cabals army. There are so many other ways to achieve your results but this one: hmmm, the subject, object, time and method in short everything is wrong in the PR / mediation environment .
Ohanaeze PG's paper at Chatham House today Wednesday Sept 27 RESTRUCTURING NIGERIA: DECENTRALISATION FOR NATIONAL COHESION Let me begin by extending my deep sense of gratitude to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, for inviting me to participate in this current series of discussions on, Next Generation Nigeria: Accountability and National Cohesion.
The involvement of this reputable British Institute in discussing and proffering suggestions for extant Nigeria’s problems is not only commendable, but I believe most relieving for the British establishment, who must understandably feel a deep sense of vicarious responsibility for putting together a country confronted which such grim future.
Nigeria became a united British colony by the amalgamation of its Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. In 1960 it attained independence, fashioned a federal Constitution which had three and subsequently four regions as its federating units. The pre-1960 and the 1963 constitutions of Nigeria were fashioned by the people of Nigeria as represented by the leaders of their ethnic nationalities. The coup of January 1966 and the counter-coup of the same year occasioned by ethnic tensions and disagreements within the military-led our country to disastrous consequences.
Our first Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Tafawa Balewa and the then premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, as well as the then Minister for Finance Festus Okotie-Eboh, were murdered. A massive pogrom was unleashed on South Eastern Nigerians living in the Northern Nigeria. A sitting Head of State from the South East, Major General Aguiyi Ironsi and a governor from the South West Col. Adekunle Fajuyi were murdered.
The military suspended our 1963 constitution and adopted a unitary system of government to fit their command and control structures. Opposition to this move by Southern Nigeria led to constitutional talks in Aburi, Ghana. The agreements reached Aburi were jettisoned. War broke out and claimed more than three and a half million lives mostly from the South East. After the war, the military-authored two more constitutions, one in 1979 and another in 1998/99. The two military constitutions were finally approved by the Supreme Military Council.
Under military rule, this organ was the highest legislative organ for the country. It was made up of senior military officers, a majority of whom were from Northern Nigeria. The last constitution of 1998/99 which the military approved was the legal instrument that governed Nigeria’s transition to democracy. It is still in use in Nigeria today. It was not subjected to a national referendum. It created 19 states out of the old Northern Region, 6 states out of the Western Region, 2 states out of the old Midwestern Region and 9 states out of the old Eastern Region.
An agreement by a constitutional conference convened by General Abacha divided the country into six geopolitical zones. This agreement was never incorporated into a legislation even though it continues to be adopted for administrative purposes by Government and the political parties. The creation of states and local governments in these six geographical areas did not respect any equitable parameter.
Our present constitution is not autochthonous. It was not written by the people of Nigeria. It was not approved in a National referendum. In jurisprudence, its effectiveness will score a very low grade on account of its unacceptability. Regrettably, it continues to hold sway and begins with a false proclamation, "We the People of Nigeria…."
Our present constitution was written at a time of unprecedented increase in National revenue following the massive discovery of oil in Nigeria and its global reliance as a source of fuel for mechanical machines. It had as its centrepiece, the distribution of national revenue and national offices using states and local governments as units for division. It constructed a federation in name but a unitary government in practice following the pattern enunciated in 1966 from the inception of military administration in Nigeria.
Competition and drive for production by the federating units was destroyed. Each state and local government waited every month for proceeds from oil generated revenue to be divided out to them.
The Federal Government became enormously powerful taking over mining rights, construction of interstate highways, major educational establishments, rail and water transportation, power and several infrastructural responsibilities previously undertaken by the regions. Competition for control of the Federal Government became intense and corrupted our electoral system. Corruption became perverse as the Federal Government became too big to be effectively policed by auditing and administrative regulations.
As I speak to you today, Nigeria has a grim economic outlook. Nigeria’s external debt has grown from $10.3 billion in 2015 to $15 billion in 2017. Her domestic debt has also grown from 8.8 trillion Naira in 2015, to 14 trillion Naira in 2017. Domestic debt component for the 36 states rose from 1.69 trillion Naira in 2015 to 2.9 trillion Naira in June 2017.
The Federal government has on two occasions released bailout funds to enable states to meet their recurrent expenditure requirements. Only about eight states in Nigeria namely Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Edo, Delta, Abia, Rivers, and Kwara have their internally generated revenue sufficient enough to cover their interest repayments on their debts without depending on allocations from Federally collected revenue.
For the Federal Government close to 40% of its annual revenue was spent on servicing of interest repayments on debts and according to International Monetary Fund (IMF), this percentage is expected to increase further. According to Fitch ratings, Nigeria’s Government gross debts is 320% of its annual revenue!! – one of the highest in the world.
In the face of this economic reality, the Population Reference Bureau predicts that Nigeria will in 2050 become the world’s fourth-largest population with a population of 397 million coming after China, India and the United States of America. This is only 33 years away.
In 2011, five Colonels in the United States Centre for Strategy and Technology, Air War College did a case study on Nigeria and the global consequences of its implosion and came out with a conclusion that, “despite its best efforts, Nigeria has a long-term struggle ahead to remain a viable state, much less a top-20 economy”.
Faced with this grim economic outlook and a structure inimical to growth what is, therefore, our way forward? Our growth model has to change for us to survive as a country.
A model based on sharing of Government revenue must give way to a new structure that will challenge and drive productivity in different regions across the country. This new model must take into account that the factors driving productivity in today’s world are no longer driven by fossil oil but rather the proliferation of a knowledge-based economy.
The restructuring of Nigeria into smaller and independent federations limits and the devolution of powers to these federating units to control exclusively their human capital development, mineral resources, agriculture, and power (albeit with an obligation to contribute to the federal government) is the only way to salvage our fledging economy.
Restructuring will devote attention to the new wealth areas, promote competition and productivity as the new federating units struggle to survive. It will drastically reduce corruption as the large federal parastatals which gulp Government revenue for little or no impact dissolve and give way to small and viable organs in the new federating units.
Those campaigning against restructuring in Nigeria have painted an unfortunate and untrue picture that those of us in support of restructuring are doing so in order to deny the Northern States who have not yet any proven oil reserves of the ability to survive. This is unfortunate. The new model we propose for Nigeria recognizes that revenue in the world today is promoted by two main sources namely, human capital development leveraging on technology to drive the critical sectors of the economy and agriculture. Ten years ago the top ten companies in the world were the likes of Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Total. Today the top eight companies in the world are represented by technology related companies. They include Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
The example of Netherlands in Agriculture is also relevant here. The Netherlands is the 18th largest economy in the world. It has a land area of about 33.9,000 square kilometres. Niger State, one of Nigeria’s 37 administrative units has about 74,000 square kilometres. Netherlands has over $100 billion from agricultural exports annually, contributed mainly by vegetables and dairy. Nigeria’s oil revenue has never in any one year reached $100 billion. Northern Nigeria is the most endowed agriculturally in Nigeria. Its tomatoes, carrots, cabbages, cucumbers, tubers, grains, livestock and dairy feed the majority of Nigerians in spite of its huge reserve of unexploited export potentials. In a restructured Nigeria, Northern Nigeria with the right agricultural policies will be the richest part of Nigeria.
Our analysis here must be viewed from the background that datelines have been fixed by OECD countries and China for the cessation of production of automobiles and machines dependent on fossil oil. This development and the new technology for production of shale oil in the United States has made world dependence on Nigeria’s crude oil a rapidly declining phenomenon.
This brings me to the question of what form Nigeria will assume under a restructured arrangement and how this restructuring can be brought about. Two basic models have been canvassed for restructuring in Nigeria. A conservative model aimed at maintaining the status quo has been proposed to mean simply a shedding of some of the exclusive powers of the federal government like issuing of mining licences, permission for constructing of federal roads and shedding of regulatory powers over investments in critical sectors of the economy like power. This model merely scratches the surface of the problem. It avoids fundamental devolution of powers.
The second model calls for a fundamental devolution of powers to the States as federating units and a lean Federal Government with exclusive powers for external defence, customs, immigration, foreign relations and a Federal legislature and judiciary to make and interpret laws in these exclusive areas. This second model proposes states at the federating units with two different approaches. The first approach simply wants the states as the federating units and a federal government with limited powers. It wants the states to control a percentage of revenue accruing from their areas and contribute an agreed percentage of such revenue to the federal government.
The second approach proposes the states as the federating units with a region at each of the six geopolitical units whose constitution will be agreed to and adopted by the states in the geopolitical region. The regions will have the powers to merge existing states or create new ones. There will be regional and state legislatures and judiciary dealing with making and interpreting laws made in the respective political entities. This approach proposes a revenue sharing formulae of 15% to the Federal Government, 35% to the State Government and 50% to the State Governments.
To achieve a national consensus on this subject requires a national discussion. Regrettably, the ruling party, APC which promised restructuring in its manifesto after two years and four months in office is still appointing a committee to define what sort of restructuring it wants for Nigeria. To make matters worse, none of the other political parties have come up with any clear-cut route for achieving a consensus on this matter.
The National Assembly itself is a reflection of the deep ethnic divisions in the country and the Northern majority conferred on it by the military makes it highly unacceptable to Southern Nigeria. Recent resolutions made by it on devolution of powers have not helped the situation. Happily, the Senate President has promised a revisit of the subject matter.
In the recent past, self-determination groups have sprung up in Nigeria. The self-determination groups include IPOB, MASSOB, YELICOM, Arewa Youths, Niger Delta Republic and Republic of the Middle Belt.
Of all these groups IPOB and Boko Haram have been designated as terrorist organisations by the federal government. This development in relation to IPOB is unfortunate. Boko Haram is an armed organisation which has attacked and occupied Nigerian territory hoisted its flag and appointed local authority governments.
It has abducted and abused Nigerian women, kidnapped and imprisoned many and killed over two hundred thousand people. It is still involved in guerrilla warfare against Nigeria yet the Federal government is negotiating with them. No member of Boko Haram captured by the military is under trial. Members of this Federal government are on record for condemning the previous government for brutal murder of Boko Haram members and condemning the retired Chief of Army Staff for zealous prosecution of the anti-terror campaign. Members of the sect who confess to a change of mind have been received along with their abducted female partners in the Presidency and rehabilitated.
The declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organisation is in my view hurried, unfair, and not in conformity with the intendment of the law. Whereas I am not completely in agreement with some of the methods of IPOB like its inappropriate and divisive broadcast, the uncontested evidence given by the Attorney General of the Federation in an interlocutory action claiming that IPOB attempted and/or actually snatched guns from law enforcement agents are, if proven, merely criminal offences. They do not constitute enough evidence to meet international law definitions of a terrorist organisation. Happily, the United States Embassy in Nigeria only three days ago shared this conclusion and asserted that the United States Government does not recognise IPOB as a terrorist organisation.
This same unarmed IPOB that is being stigmatised by the Nigerian government had its members murdered in Asaba, Nkpor, Aba and Port Harcourt simply for having public demonstrations without the federal government ordering a judicial inquiry. Instead, after I called for one and Amnesty International provided evidence that 150 of them were killed, the Chief of Army Staff set up an inquiry composed of serving and retired army officers thus abandoning the rules of natural justice which prescribes that you cannot be a judge in your own court.
The Igbos in Nigeria feel the treatment of IPOB as unfair, discriminatory and overhanded. They see the move as an attempt to encourage a profiling of Igbos in the international security arena.
We know of other self-determination groups in Nigeria that are armed and have destroyed government and private sector installations and wells that government prefers to negotiate with rather than label them as terrorist organisations.
Fulani Herdsmen otherwise called the Fulani militants have ravaged farms in Middlebelt, South West, and South Eastern Nigeria killing several farmers in the process. In January 2016 they killed 500 farmers and their families in Agatu in Benue state. In Enugu state, they murdered more than 100 farmers in Ukpabi Nimbo in April 2016. Photographs depicting them with automatic rifles trend in the entire world media, yet not one of them is facing criminal charges, nor is Operation Python Dance being conducted in the areas where they ravage and kill and the Federal government describes them as criminals and not a terrorist organisation notwithstanding their classification by the Global Terrorist Index as the fourth deadliest terrorist group in the world (see British Independent Newspaper, 18th November 2015). The London Guardian Newspaper of 12th July 2016 indicated that Fulani herdsmen killed one thousand people in 2014.
Let me seize this opportunity to once more thank the Royal Institute of International Affairs for inviting me as President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to speak here today. In Nigeria, Ndigbo whose social cultured organisation I lead are, notwithstanding their historical experiences in Nigeria, the most loyal ethnic group to the concept of one Nigeria. We are the largest ethnic group other than the indigenous group in any part of Nigeria.
We invest and contribute to the economic and social life of the committees wherever we live. We are proudly Christians but very accommodating of our brothers of other religious persuasions. We are grossly marginalised and still treated by the Federal government as second-class citizens.No Igboman, for instance, heads any security arm of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Our area is the most heavily policed as if there was a deliberate policy to intimidate us and hold us down.
Our endurance has been stretched beyond Hooke’s gauge for elastic limit. The deployment of the Nigerian Army under the guise of Operation Python dance to the South East was unconstitutional under S. 271 of the 1999 Constitution.
Deployment of the army is only allowed in circumstances of insurrection, terrorism and external aggression not in killing of priests, or fighting kidnapping. And in those circumstances where they can be deployed, leave of the Senate must be sought. This brazen impunity in dealing with matters which concern the South East is provocative.
The Arewa Youths Council by issuing a quit notice for Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria and declaring a Federal Republic of Nigeria without Igboland had committed serious infractions of the law. First by declaring a new Republic of Nigeria which excises the South East unilaterally, they were committing treason. By issuing a proclamation for Nigerians to leave any part of Nigeria forcibly they were infringing the fundamental rights of innocent Nigerians, as guaranteed by the Constitution to live and do business anywhere.
By commencing an inventory of Igbo property in Nigeria for seizure by October 1st, 2017, they were attempting conversion. By proclaiming a mop-up action of those who did not comply with their order by October 1st, they were, without doubt, inciting genocide. Yet in spite of all these orders to arrest them by the Kaduna State Government and the Inspector General of Police were not enforced nor were they prevented from holding court with Governors and leading elders from the North.
The only hope for change in Nigeria today is the rising call for restructuring pioneered by the Southern leadership forum, supported lately by ex Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, former President Ibrahim Babangida and leaders of the Middle belt including Dan Suleiman and Prof. Jerry Gana.
Our expectation is that now that our President is fully recovered and back to work, he will address the situation by constituting a nationwide conversation of all ethnic nationalities to look into the 2014 National Conference report and the trending views on this subject matter so as to come up with a consensus proposal that the national and state assemblies will be persuaded to adopt.
To continue to neglect a resolution of this impasse will spell doom for our dear country. Our argument is further reinforced by a two-year extensive study by the UNDP titled, JOURNEY TO EXTREMISM released in September 2017 which indicated that exposure to state abuse and marginalisation not religious ideology are better predictors of radicalisation.
It also indicates that those living on the periphery of their country with less access to education and health services are more vulnerable to be recruited into violent extremist groups. In Nigeria, millions of unemployed graduates from universities waiting for up to 10 years without gainful employment are restive, agitated and veritable cannon fodders for escalating restiveness.
In conclusion, I hope that the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the British Government and British interests associated with Nigeria will continue to offer useful advice to our polity that will lead to an early resolution of our situation.
Il massaggio Shiatsu che si effettua tramite la pressione delle dita, dei palmi delle mani e dei piedi e dei gomiti su tutto il corpo, agisce sui punti energetici considerati dall'agopuntura. Stimola la circolazione sanguigna ed il flusso linfatico, agisce sul sistema nervoso allentando la tensione muscolare più profonda, rimuove le tossine dei tessuti, risveglia il sistema ormonale e sollecita la capacità di autoguarigione del corpo.