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Monthly Archives: December 2013

OBJ/APC Romance : Soyinka Predicts Political Shipwreck

Following the recent visit of All Progressives Congress, APC, leaders to former President Olusegun Obasanjo,Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has issued warnings of an impending political shipwreck.

A statement titled, “Shipwreck Ahead”, warned that that Nigeria would need rescue operations if the APC intends to court Obasanjo to serve as a navigator for the ship of the state.

Soyinka’s statement read, “An APC-led group, we understand, has been paying courtesy visits to former Heads of States. Would it be correct to state that their purpose is captured in the following Mission Statement? ‘Tinubu added that the APC had resolved to rescue Nigeria, appealing to Obasanjo to lead the mission. We’re resolved and determined to rescue Nigeria. We want you as navigator’.

“If this attribution is correct, may I urge you, as an urgent public service, to advise families to begin the stockpiling of life-belts for the guaranteed crash. Don’t forget to alert the coastguards—ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), AU (African Union), UNO (United Nations Organization) etc, to be on the alert for possible salvage operations. If General Sani Abacha were alive today, would he also have been on the ship’s complement? As Captain perhaps?”.

Soyinka is one of the most ardent critics of former President Obasanjo.

SOURCE: Nigerian Bulletin

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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Opinion

 

AK-47 Inventor, Mikhail Kalashnikov, Dies at 94

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Mikhail Kalashnikov, the inventor of the most famous AK-47 assault rifle has died at the age of 94.

The former tank mechanic, who had been suffering from heart problems in the last few years, died in the town of Izevsk, the same place where the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947 (AK-47) was first produced.

Mr Kalashnikov had led a quiet and unassuming life, making little effort to take advantage of his fame, or making much money from it. Asked whether he regretted producing a weapon which may have been responsible more deaths than any other in the last half century, he replied:

“I invented it for the protection of the Motherland. I have no regrets and bear no responsibility for how politicians have used it.”However, the former tank mechanic, who came from a peasant family, never finishing high-school, had also reflected “I am sad that it is used by terrorists. I would prefer to have invented a machine that people like farmers could use, like a lawnmower.”

AK-47 is cheap to to produce and can be assembled by someone with no military training, looked after without a cleaning kit, does not normally jam, partly because of the simplicity of the moving parts, or stop functioning however severe the weather conditions.

Mr Kalashnikov from the village of Kjurya, Altai territory, was one of 18 children, of whom only six survived. He was called up by the Red Army in 1938 and it was while he was injured after the tank he commanded was struck by a German shell, that he began to work on the firearm which was to become so famous. A fellow soldier asked him why the Russians were so regularly getting outgunned in the battles, “So I started to design a machine-gun for a soldier, something which we can reply with” he recalled.

There were teething problems with early prototypes, but the rifle was ready for production in 1947 and adopted by the Soviet Army in 1949.

Senior Sergeant Mikhail Timofeevitch Kalashnikov was awarded the Stalin Prize First Class which was to be followed by three Orders of Lenin and the Hero of Socialist Labour.

Meanwhile the legend of the Kalashnikov lives on. Around a 100 million have been produced over the years along with imitations in many countries. The Russian army has just announced that it will bring into service a new assault rifle next year – bearing the name Kalashnikov.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in True Life

 

Re: Before It’s Too Late – President Jonathan Replies Ex-Presdent Obasanjo

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His Excellency,
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR
Agbe L’Oba House, Quarry Road,
Ibara, Abeokuta.

RE: BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

I wish to formally acknowledge your letter dated December 2, 2013 and other previous correspondence similar to it.

You will recall that all the letters were brought to me by hand. Although both of us discussed some of the issues in those letters, I had not, before now, seen the need for any formal reply since, to me, they contained advice from a former President to a serving President. Obviously, you felt differently because in your last letter, you complained about my not acknowledging or replying your previous letters.

It is with the greatest possible reluctance that I now write this reply. I am most uneasy about embarking on this unprecedented and unconventional form of open communication between me and a former leader of our country because I know that there are more acceptable and dignified means of doing so.

But I feel obliged to reply your letter for a number of reasons: one, you formally requested for a reply and not sending you one will be interpreted as ignoring a former President.

Secondly, Nigerians know the role you have played in my political life and given the unfortunate tone of your letter, clearly, the grapes have gone sour. Therefore, my side of the story also needs to be told.

The third reason why I must reply you in writing is that your letter is clearly a threat to national security as it may deliberately or inadvertently set the stage for subversion.

The fourth reason for this reply is that you raised very weighty issues, and since the letter has been made public, Nigerians are expressing legitimate concerns. A response from me therefore, becomes very necessary.

The fifth reason is that this letter may appear in biographies and other books which political commentators on Nigeria’s contemporary politics may write. It is only proper for such publications to include my comments on the issues raised in your letter.

Sixthly, you are very unique in terms of the governance of this country. You were a military Head of State for three years and eight months, and an elected President for eight years. That means you have been the Head of Government of Nigeria for about twelve years. This must have, presumably, exposed you to a lot of information. Thus when you make a statement, there is the tendency for people to take it seriously.

The seventh reason is that the timing of your letter coincided with other vicious releases. The Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke of my “body language” encouraging corruption. A letter written to me by the CBN Governor alleging that NNPC, within a period of 19 months did not remit the sum of USD49.8 billion to the federation account, was also deliberately leaked to the public.

The eighth reason is that it appears that your letter was designed to incite Nigerians from other geopolitical zones against me and also calculated to promote ethnic disharmony. Worse still, your letter was designed to instigate members of our Party, the PDP, against me.

The ninth reason is that your letter conveys to me the feeling that landmines have been laid for me. Therefore, Nigerians need to have my response to the issues raised before the mines explode.

The tenth and final reason why my reply is inevitable is that you have written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all former Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji Shehu Shagari and these have instigated different actions and reactions. The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous, and before it is too late, my clarifications on the issues need to be placed on record.

Let me now comment on the issues you raised. In commenting I wish to crave your indulgence to compare what is happening now to what took place before. This, I believe, will enable Nigerians see things in better perspective because we must know where we are coming from so as to appreciate where we now are, and to allow us clearly map out where we are going.

You raised concerns about the security situation in the country. I assure you that I am fully aware of the responsibility of government for ensuring the security of the lives and property of citizens. My Administration is working assiduously to overcome current national security challenges, the seeds of which were sown under previous administrations. There have been some setbacks; but certainly there have also been great successes in our efforts to overcome terrorism and insurgency.

Those who continue to down-play our successes in this regard, amongst whom you must now be numbered, appear to have conveniently forgotten the depths to which security in our country had plunged before now.

At a stage, almost the entire North-East of Nigeria was under siege by insurgents. Bombings of churches and public buildings in the North and the federal capital became an almost weekly occurrence. Our entire national security apparatus seemed nonplussed and unable to come to grips with the new threat posed by the berthing of terrorism on our shores.

But my administration has since brought that very unacceptable situation under significant control. We have overhauled our entire national security architecture, improved intelligence gathering, training, funding, logistical support to our armed forces and security agencies, and security collaboration with friendly countries with very visible and positive results.

The scope and impact of terrorist operations have been significantly reduced and efforts are underway to restore full normalcy to the most affected North Eastern region and initiate a post-crisis development agenda, including a special intervention programme to boost the region’s socio-economic progress.

In doing all this, we have kept our doors open for dialogue with the insurgents and their supporters through efforts such as the work of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and the Peaceful Resolution of the Security Challenges in the North-East. You also know that the Governor of Borno State provided the items you mentioned to me as carrots. Having done all this and more, it is interesting that you still accuse me of not acting on your hardly original recommendation that the carrot and stick option be deployed to solve the Boko Haram problem.

Your suggestion that we are pursuing a “war against violence without understanding the root causes of the violence and applying solutions to deal with all the underlying factors” is definitely misplaced because from the onset of this administration, we have been implementing a multifaceted strategy against militancy, insurgency and terrorism that includes poverty alleviation, economic development, education and social reforms.

Even though basic education is the constitutional responsibility of States, my administration has, as part of its efforts to address ignorance and poor education which have been identified as two of the factors responsible for making some of our youth easily available for use as cannon fodder by insurgents and terrorists, committed huge funds to the provision of modern basic education schools for the Almajiri in several Northern States. The Federal Government under my leadership has also set up nine additional universities in the Northern States and three in the Southern States in keeping with my belief that proper education is the surest way of emancipating and empowering our people.

More uncharitable persons may even see a touch of sanctimoniousness in your new belief in the carrot and stick approach to overcoming militancy and insurgency. You have always referred to how you hit Odi in Bayelsa State to curb militancy in the Niger Delta. If the invasion of Odi by the Army was the stick, I did not see the corresponding carrot. I was the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State then, and as I have always told you, the invasion of Odi did not solve any militancy problem but, to some extent, escalated it. If it had solved it, late President Yar’Adua would not have had to come up with the amnesty program. And while some elements of the problem may still be there, in general, the situation is reasonably better.

In terms of general insecurity in the country and particularly the crisis in the Niger Delta, 2007 was one of the worst periods in our history. You will recall three incidents that happened in 2007 which seemed to have been orchestrated to achieve sinister objectives. Here in Abuja, a petrol tanker loaded with explosives was to be rammed into the INEC building. But luckily for the country, an electric pole stopped the tanker from hitting the INEC building. It is clear that this incident was meant to exploit the general sense of insecurity in the nation at the time to achieve the aim of stopping the 2007 elections. It is instructive that you, on a number of occasions, alluded to this fact.

When that incident failed, an armed group invaded Yenagoa one evening with the intent to assassinate me. Luckily for me, they could not. They again attacked and bombed my country home on a night when I was expected in the village. Fortunately, as God would have it, I did not make the trip.

I recall that immediately after both incidents, I got calls expressing the concern of Abuja. But Baba, you know that despite the apparent concern of Abuja, no single arrest was ever made. I was then the Governor of Bayelsa State and the PDP Vice-Presidential candidate. The security people ordinarily should have unraveled the assassination attempt on me.

You also raised the issues of kidnapping, piracy and armed robbery. These are issues all Nigerians, including me are very concerned about. While we will continue to do our utmost best to reduce all forms of criminality to the barest minimum in our country, it is just as well to remind you that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President of the country then. Also, armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been a problem to all succeeding governments. For a former Head of Government, who should know better, to present these problems as if they were creations of the Jonathan Administration is most uncharitable.

Having said that, let me remind you of some of the things we have done to curb violent crime in the country. We have reorganized the Nigerian Police Force and appointed a more dynamic leadership to oversee its affairs. We have also improved its manpower levels as well as funding, training and logistical support.

We have also increased the surveillance capabilities of the Police and provided its air-wing with thrice the number of helicopters it had before the inception of the present administration. The National Civil Defence and Security Corps has been armed to make it a much more effective ally of the police and other security agencies in the war against violent crime. At both domestic and international levels, we are doing everything possible to curb the proliferation of the small arms and light weapons with which armed robberies, kidnappings and piracy are perpetrated. We have also enhanced security at our borders to curb cross-border crimes.

We are aggressively addressing the challenge of crude oil theft in collaboration with the state Governors. In addition, the Federal Government has engaged the British and US governments for their support in the tracking of the proceeds from the purchase of stolen crude. Similarly, a regional Gulf of Guinea security strategy has been initiated to curb crude oil theft and piracy.

Perhaps the most invidious accusation in your letter is the allegation that I have placed over one thousand Nigerians on a political watch list, and that I am training snipers and other militia to assassinate people. Baba, I don’t know where you got that from but you do me grave injustice in not only lending credence to such baseless rumours, but also publicizing it. You mentioned God seventeen times in your letter. Can you as a Christian hold the Bible and say that you truly believe this allegation?

The allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents is particularly incomprehensible to me. Since I started my political career as a Deputy Governor, I have never been associated with any form of political violence. I have been a President for over three years now, with a lot of challenges and opposition mainly from the high and mighty. There have certainly been cases of political assassination since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of them occurred under my leadership.

Regarding the over one thousand people you say are on a political watch list, I urge you to kindly tell Nigerians who they are and what agencies of government are “watching” them. Your allegation that I am using security operatives to harass people is also baseless. Nigerians are waiting for your evidence of proof. That was an accusation made against previous administrations, including yours, but it is certainly not my style and will never be. Again, if you insist on the spurious claim that some of your relatives and friends are being harassed, I urge you to name them and tell Nigerians what agencies of my administration are harassing them.

I also find it difficult to believe that you will accuse me of assisting murderers, or assigning a presidential delegation to welcome a murderer. This is a most unconscionable and untrue allegation. It is incumbent on me to remind you that I am fully conscious of the dictates of my responsibilities to God and our dear nation. It is my hope that devious elements will not take advantage of your baseless allegation to engage in brazen and wanton assassination of high profile politicians as before, hiding under the alibi your “open letter” has provided for them.
Nevertheless, I have directed the security agencies and requested the National Human Rights Commission to carry out a thorough investigation of these criminal allegations and make their findings public.

That corruption is an issue in Nigeria is indisputable. It has been with us for many years. You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Sonny Okosun also sang about corruption. And as you may recall, a number of Army Generals were to be retired because of corruption before the Dimka coup. Also, the late General Murtala Mohammed himself wanted to retire some top people in his cabinet on corruption-related issues before he was assassinated. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known.

The seed of corruption in this country was planted a long time ago, but we are doing all that we can to drastically reduce its debilitating effects on national development and progress. I have been strengthening the institutions established to fight corruption. I will not shield any government official or private individual involved in corruption, but I must follow due process in all that I do. And whenever clear cases of corruption or fraud have been established, my administration has always taken prompt action in keeping with the dictates of extant laws and procedures. You cannot claim to be unaware of the fact that several highly placed persons in our country, including sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country, but we are doing our best to support and encourage the judiciary to quicken the pace of adjudication in cases of corruption.

Baba, I am amazed that with all the knowledge garnered from your many years at the highest level of governance in our country, you could still believe the spurious allegation contained in a letter written to me by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and surreptitiously obtained by you, alleging that USD49.8 billion, a sum equal to our entire national budget for two years, is “unaccounted for” by the NNPC. Since, as President, you also served for many years as Minister of Petroleum Resources, you very well know the workings of the corporation. It is therefore intriguing that you have made such an assertion. You made a lot of insinuations about oil theft, shady dealings at the NNPC and the NNPC not remitting the full proceeds of oil sales to the of CBN. Now that the main source of the allegations which you rehashed has publicly stated that he was “misconstrued”, perhaps you will find it in your heart to apologize for misleading unwary Nigerians and impugning the integrity of my administration on that score.

Your claim of “Atlantic Oil loading about 130, 000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into the NPDC account” is also disjointed and baseless because no such arrangement as you described exists between Atlantic Oil and the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company. NPDC currently produces about 138, 000 barrels of oil per day from over 7 producing assets. The Crude Oil Marketing Division (COMD) of the NNPC markets all of this production on behalf of NPDC with proceeds paid into NPDC account.

I am really shocked that with all avenues open to you as a former Head of State for the verification of any information you have received about state affairs, you chose to go public with allegations of “high corruption” without offering a shred of supporting evidence. One of your political “sons” similarly alleged recently that he told me of a minister who received a bribe of $250 Million from an oil company and I did nothing about it. He may have been playing from a shared script, but we have not heard from him again since he was challenged to name the minister involved and provide the evidence to back his claim. I urge you, in the same vein, to furnish me with the names, facts and figures of a single verifiable case of the “high corruption” which you say stinks all around my administration and see whether the corrective action you advocate does not follow promptly. And while you are at it, you may also wish to tell Nigerians the true story of questionable waivers of signature bonuses between 2000 and 2007.

While, by the Grace of God Almighty, I am the first President from a minority group, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria and I have always acted in the best interest of all Nigerians. You referred to the divisive actions and inflammatory utterances of some individuals from the South-South and asserted that I have done nothing to call them to order or distance myself from their ethnic chauvinism. Again that is very untrue. I am as committed to the unity of this country as any patriot can be and I have publicly declared on many occasions that no person who threatens other Nigerians or parts of the country is acting on my behalf.

It is very regrettable that in your letter, you seem to place sole responsibility for the ongoing intrigues and tensions in the PDP at my doorstep, and going on from that position, you direct all your appeals for a resolution at me. Baba, let us all be truthful to ourselves, God and posterity. At the heart of all the current troubles in our party and the larger polity is the unbridled jostling and positioning for personal or group advantage ahead of the 2015 general elections. The “bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion” you wrote about all flow from this singular factor.

It is indeed very unfortunate that the seeming crisis in the party was instigated by a few senior members of the party, including you. But, as leader of the party, I will continue to do my best to unite it so that we can move forward with strength and unity of purpose. The PDP has always recovered from previous crises with renewed vigour and vitality. I am very optimistic that that will be the case again this time. The PDP will overcome any temporary setback, remain a strong party and even grow stronger.

Instigating people to cause problems and disaffection within the party is something that you are certainly familiar with. You will recall that founding fathers of the Party were frustrated out of the Party at a time. Late Chief Sunday Awoniyi was pushed out, Late Chief Solomon Lar left and later came back, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Chief Tom Ikimi also left. Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo left and later came back. In 2005/2006, link-men were sent to take over party structures from PDP Governors in an unveiled attempt to undermine the state governors. In spite of that, the Governors did not leave the Party because nobody instigated and encouraged them to do so.

The charge that I was involved in anti-party activities in governorship elections in Edo, Ondo, Lagos, and Anambra States is also very unfortunate. I relate with all Governors irrespective of political party affiliation but I have not worked against the interest of the PDP. What I have not done is to influence the electoral process to favour our Party. You were definitely never so inclined, since you openly boasted in your letter of how you supported Alhaji Shehu Shagari against Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Nnamdi Azikiwe and others in the 1979 presidential elections while serving as a military Head of State. You and I clearly differ in this regard, because as the President of Nigeria, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to create a level playing field for all parties and all candidates.

Recalling how the PDP lost in states where we were very strong in 2003 and 2007 such as Edo, Ondo, Imo, Bauchi, Anambra, and Borno, longstanding members of our great party with good memory will also consider the charge of anti-party activities you made against me as misdirected and hugely hypocritical. It certainly was not Goodluck Jonathan’s “personal ambition or selfish interest” that caused the PDP to lose the governorship of Ogun State and all its senatorial seats in the last general elections.

You quoted me as saying that I have not told anybody that I will seek another term in office in 2015. You and your ambitious acolytes within the party have clearly decided to act on your conclusion that “only a fool will believe that statement” and embark on a virulent campaign to harass me out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential elections so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by you.

You will recall that you serially advised me that we should refrain from discussing the 2015 general elections for now so as not to distract elected public officials from urgent task of governance. While you have apparently moved away from that position, I am still of the considered opinion that it would have been best for us to do all that is necessary to refrain from heating up the polity at this time. Accordingly, I have already informed Nigerians that I will only speak on whether or not I will seek a second term when it is time for such declarations. Your claims about discussions I had with you, Governor Gabriel Suswam and others are wrong, but in keeping with my declared stance, I will reserve further comments until the appropriate time.

Your allegation that I asked half a dozen African Presidents to speak to you about my alleged ambition for 2015, is also untrue. I have never requested any African President to discuss with you on my behalf. In our discussion, I mentioned to you that four Presidents told me that they were concerned about the political situation in Nigeria and intended to talk to you about it. So far, only three of them have confirmed to me that they have had any discussion with you. If I made such a request, why would I deny it?

The issue of Buruji Kashamu is one of those lies that should not be associated with a former President. The allegation that I am imposing Kashamu on the South-West is most unfortunate and regrettable. I do not even impose Party officials in my home state of Bayelsa and there is no zone in this country where I have imposed officials. So why would I do so in the South West? Baba, in the light of Buruji’s detailed public response to your “open letter”, it will be charitable for you to render an apology to Nigerians and I.

On the issue of investors being scared to come to Nigeria, economic dormancy, and stagnation, I will just refer you to FDI statistics from 2000 to 2013. Within the last three years, Nigeria has emerged as the preferred destination for investments in Africa, driven by successful government policies to attract foreign investors. For the second year running, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Investments (UNCTAD) has ranked Nigeria as the number one destination for investments in Africa, and as having the fourth highest returns in the world.

Today, Nigeria is holding 18 percent of all foreign investments in Africa and 60 percent of all foreign investments in the ECOWAS Sub-Region. Kindly note also that in the seven years between 2000 and 2007 when you were President, Nigeria attracted a total of $24.9 Billion in FDI. As a result of our efforts which you disparage, the country has seen an FDI inflow of $25.7 Billion in just three years which is more than double the FDI that has gone to the second highest African destination. We have also maintained an annual national economic growth rate of close to seven per cent since the inception of this administration. What then, is the justification for your allegation of scared investors and economic dormancy?

Although it was not emphasized in your letter of December 2, 2013, you also conveyed, in previous correspondence, the impression that you were ignorant of the very notable achievements of my administration in the area of foreign relations. It is on record that under my leadership, Nigeria has played a key role in resolving the conflicts in Niger, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Bissau and others.
The unproductive rivalry that existed between Nigeria and some ECOWAS countries has also been ended under my watch and Nigeria now has better relations with all the ECOWAS countries. At the African Union, we now have a Commissioner at the AU Commission after being without one for so long. We were in the United Nations Security Council for the 2010/2011 Session and we have been voted in again for the 2014/2015 Session. From independence to 2010, we were in the U.N. Security Council only three times but from 2010 to 2015, we will be there two times.

This did not happen by chance. My Administration worked hard for it and we continue to maintain the best possible relations with all centres of global political and economic power. I find it hard therefore, to believe your assertions of untoward concern in the international community over the state of governance in Nigeria.

With respect to the Brass and Olokola LNG projects, you may have forgotten that though you started these projects, Final Investment Decisions were never reached. For your information, NNPC has not withdrawn from either the Olokola or the Brass LNG projects.

On the Rivers State Water Project, you were misled by your informant. The Federal Government under my watch has never directed or instructed the Africa Development Bank to put on hold any project to be executed in Rivers state or any other State within the Federation. The Rivers Water Project was not originally in the borrowing plan but it was included in April 2013 and appraised in May. Negotiations are ongoing with the AfDB. I have no doubt that you are familiar with the entire process that prefaces the signing of a Subsidiary Loan Agreement as in this instance.

Let me assure you and all Nigerians that I do not engage in negative political actions and will never, as President, oppress the people of a State or deprive them of much needed public services as a result of political disagreement.

I have noted your comments on the proposed National Conference. Contrary to the insinuation in your letter, the proposed conference is aimed at bringing Nigerians together to resolve contentious national issues in a formal setting. This is a sure way of promoting greater national consensus and unity, and not a recipe for “disunity, confusion and chaos” as you alleged in your letter.

Having twice held the high office of President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I trust that you will understand that I cannot possibly find the time to offer a line-by-line response to all the accusations and allegations made in your letter while dealing with other pressing demands of office and more urgent affairs of state.

I have tried, however, to respond to only the most serious of the charges which question my sincerity, personal honour, and commitment to the oath which I have sworn, to always uphold and protect the interests of all Nigerians, and promote their well-being.

In closing, let me state that you have done me grave injustice with your public letter in which you wrongfully accused me of deceit, deception, dishonesty, incompetence, clannishness, divisiveness and insincerity, amongst other ills.

I have not, myself, ever claimed to be all-knowing or infallible, but I have never taken Nigeria or Nigerians for granted as you implied, and I will continue to do my utmost to steer our ship of state towards the brighter future to which we all aspire.

Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration and warm regards.

GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2013 in Politics

 

Four Questions for the Jonathan Government – Tolu Ogunlesi

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Question 1

What became of the annual savings from the debt relief deal of 2006? Starting in 2006, a “debt relief savings” item of around N100bn began to show up in the Federal Budget. This is how the then President Olusegun Obasanjo explained it in his 2006 budget speech: “Budget 2006 commits all the gains from debt relief, that is, the Federal Government resources that would have gone for external debt service in 2006, amounting to N100bn, to poverty reducing expenditures in Health, Power, Education, Agriculture, Water Resources, Environment, Housing, and support for women and youths. All the expenditures are targeted at programmes and projects aimed at scaling up our effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals.”The 2007 budget, Obasanjo’s final budget as president, followed up on this. He said: “Included in these allocations are the debt relief savings for 2007 totalling N110bn. As in 2006, these savings are being used exclusively to support and scale up spending on MDG-related initiatives and programmes…”The 2008 budget, President Umaru Yar’Adua’s first, contained the sum of N110bn, set aside for the same purpose.After that, silence. I’ve checked every budget since then, and I can’t find any item remotely resembling debt relief savings. I actually also didn’t find ‘MDGs’ mentioned in any of the budgets after 2009. Hence my question: Can someone please explain this? Did the savings transmute into something else?The disturbing irony is that when a sum similar to the debt relief savings shows up in the 2013 budget, it’s for a dedicated fund that’ll be swallowed by the monster of domestic debt. In President Goodluck Jonathan’s words: “In this respect, a sinking fund of N100bn is being established in the 2013 fiscal year to be used for repaying Government’s maturing debt obligations and to curb the rising domestic debt profile.” We have gone, it seems, from (foreign) debt savings to (domestic) debt sinking funds.

Question 2

How much did the Obasanjo government leave in the Excess Crude Account, in May 2007? How much was there in November 2009 when President Yar’Adua left the country? How much was there in February 2010 when Jonathan became Acting President? And how much in May 2011? There’s been heated debate about the foreign reserves and the ECA in recent weeks, kickstarted by Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili’s University of Nigeria, Nsukka Convocation Lecture. In the speech, she says that the Obasanjo administration left $45bn in foreign reserves and $22bn in the Excess Crude Account. An obviously displeased government has been on the offensive, insisting she is wrong, but failing to give us a clear(er) picture of things. The Ministry of Finance released full-page advertorials telling us what the ECA held in the last half of 2012, which, in my opinion, is not what we need. What will be helpful is to get a sense of the inflow and outflow for the Excess Crude Account, between May 2007 and May 2011. Before now, it was widely believed that Obasanjo left about $20bn in the account (something close to Mrs. Ezekwesili’s figures). Today, this government is telling us there was only $9bn in it in May 2007.For more information I’ve turned to Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s new book, Reforming the Unreformable. On page 22, she writes that at the end of 2006, Nigeria had $8bn in the ECA. On Page 120, she says that the ECA “accumulated up to US$17bn, boosting foreign-exchange reserves to US$60 as Nigeria entered the Great Recession of the global economy in September 2008.”So, while she doesn’t tell us exactly how much was there in May 2007, what we know is that as of mid-2008, there was still at least US$17bn in the ECA. “The availability of these savings allowed Nigeria to introduce a fiscal stimulus to the economy equivalent to 0.5 per cent of GDP at the height of the global financial crisis,” she adds.And then on Page 122, she acknowledges that “the ECA was raided several times after the Obasanjo administration ended – even when the triggers for sharing were not met.” Reuters quotes the then Accountant-General of the Federation (now Governor of Gombe State), Ibrahim Dankwambo, as saying, in August 2010, that the ECA contained only $460m. And last week in Lagos, the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido, was quoted as saying that the six-fold increase in fuel subsidy payouts between 2009 and 2011, were funded from the ECA.So, what we have are all these bits of random information. We desperately need the Federal Government to give us a coherent picture.

Question 3

What happens to the ongoing projects for which Federal funds have been appropriated, but have now been passed on to SURE-P for completion? SURE-P is currently working on completing a number of transport infrastructure rehabilitation projects that predate its creation. One example: In the 2007 budget speech, President Obasanjo said that all the three tiers of government have decided to, from the Excess Crude Account, “jointly execute and fund six major developmental projects, with large foreign exchange components. One of the projects listed is the “Lagos – Minna – Kano (railway line) with Minna – Abuja – Kaduna Spur, Standard Gauge Double Track, (150km per hour design Speed) Railway Line – estimated to cost US$8.3bn in four years.” (The Yar’Adua government would later cancel that contract, and then re-award it). Today, SURE-P lists “Jebba-Kano Railway Rehabilitation” (Jebba-Kano is part of the northern leg of the Lagos-Kano line) as one of its projects, and says it has paid N1.12bn to take it from 87 per cent to 98 per cent completion. In essence, SURE-P, an “intervention” vehicle, that has helped ensure the completion of something started and budgeted for by a different arm(s) of government. My question then is: What happens to the monies already appropriated in the Federal budget for these projects, if any? How can we track these potentially overlapping expenditures, and prevent double-budgeting?

Question 4

Can we get an update on the plans of the government to boost local refining capacity, more than one year after Occupy Nigeria and all the promises to reform the oil industry? I read an interesting interview last week, by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank, in which he argues that building new refineries is not such a big deal, and that local banks have the capacity to easily finance such projects; we don’t have to wait for foreign investors. So, the question hangs in the air: What is the government doing to develop local refining capacity? All we know is that the Minister of Petroleum intends to spend $1.6bn on trying to fix the four broken refineries (which have a disgraceful capacity utilisation currently below 20 per cent). As The PUNCH said in a November 2012 editorial, “Nothing will come out of it, except opening up another avenue for graft.” So, putting that (throwing money at the existing refineries) alongside these facts: one, that we’re still spending billions of dollars importing petrol; two, the bank CEO’s comments (the capacity of local banks to fund refinery construction), and three, that the Niger Delta is full of thriving illegal refineries (proving that local refining can be a viable business), it’d be good to know what the government plans to do differently, beyond wasting more money on trying to redeem the apparently irredeemable?

Tolu Ogunlesi Twits @toluogunlesi

Blogger Twits @Femiolas

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Economy, Politics

 

Finance Minister Gets 50 Knotty Questions From House Of Reps

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Finance Minister Gets 50 Knotty Questions From House Of Reps

Apparently troubled with the level of economic decay and underdevelopment that have characterised President Goodluck Jonathan administration, Nigerian House of Represntative Finance Committee, under the Chairmanship of Dr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, asked the Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (who also double as the Coordinating Minister of the Economy) to provide answers to the following 50 questions.  

Below are the 50 questions:

1. What should you consider as the major economic achievements of this government in the 2013 fiscal year and why? In your explanation, we will need facts and figures in demonstrating such achievements. 

2. You have been credited with many announcements regarding Nigeria’s economy as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. If the economy is one of the fast growing economies, what is exactly growing the economy? What role does government play in the said economic growth, especially given that as high as 80 percent of the country’s total annual budget spending still goes into recurrent expenditure? 

3. Since your arrival as minister of finance in 2011, you have publicly announced the need to reduce the recurrent expenditure so that more money would be made available to capital spending which is critical to growing and diversifying the country’s economy. How far has government succeeded in making these necessary cuts; and where exactly have these cuts been made in this effort to reduce recurrent expenditure? In other words, based on real amount spent on capital expenditure, how much reduction was made in 2011 against 2010, in 2012 against 2011 and in 2013 against 2012? 

4. You are known to be celebrating a single-digit GDP growth. But speaking recently at a breakfast dialogue with some members of the organized private sector in Lagos, organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), you were quoted as saying: “We are growing, but not creating enough jobs. That is a very big challenge…We need to grow faster. I think it needs to grow at least 9 to 10 percent to drive job growth the way we want.” Don’t you agree that a good finance minister managing an economy like ours should be celebrating a GDP growth as high as 20 percent annually? Why is it that our economy cannot grow beyond a single digit? How many jobs are being created as a result of these said growths? In which sectors of the economy are these jobs created? If in private sector, what contributions is government making to further assist these private sector firms?

5. In the presence of Nigeria’s huge infrastructure deficit, why is it that the country’s debt-to-GDP at about 19 percent in 2012 remains one of the lowest in the world when compared to nations already with world-class infrastructure and industrial economies such as America’s 105 percent, Brazil’s 65.49 percent, India’s 67.60 percent, and South Africa’s 40.9 percent? 

6. Since facts don’t lie, have you any disagreements with the September 4, 2013 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum for 2013-2014, which ranked Nigeria 120th out of 148 countries ranked in the Global Competitiveness Index, including being ranked far behind some African countries such as Mauritius 45th, South Africa 53rd, and Kenya 96th? 

7. ‘’For the first time in Nigeria’s 53rd year history, we have successfully privatized the electric power industry,” so said the President at a recent meeting in London with some foreign investors. As minister of finance should you agree that the recent privatization of the country’s power infrastructure is worth celebrating as a major economic achievement in 2013, when in reality there is little or nothing to show as an improvement in the country power supply? Also why our rush to wholesale privatization of the power sector when countries like South Africa, generating as high as 42,000MW still have their power sector mostly in public hands?

8. What was your reaction to the November 12, 2013 statement credited to the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Marie-Francoise Marie-Nelly, who said that over 100 million Nigerians are today living in absolute destitution, representing an unheard-of 8.33 percent of the world’s total number of people living in destitution? 

9. Nigerians are increasingly perplexed that these days nothing happens without government borrowing. And for most Nigerians, it is frightening how those managing the economy are just dragging us into excessively unproductive debts. More worrisome is the fact that every effort is being made to hide the details of the country’s debt stock from Nigerians. Where are the facts that the country’s current high rate of borrowing is productive, let alone have the ability to be repaid without having to resort to more borrowings? 

10. Is prudence in our borrowing simply reduction in borrowing or simply constructive borrowing with government putting necessary measures in place to ensure that domestic debt profile is properly supervised and utilized by curbing corruption? 

11. From Debt Management Office (DMO) 2012 Annual Report, the total public debt outstanding between 2008 and 2012 for external stock rose from $3.72bn to $6.53bn, while domestic stock rose from $17.68bn to $41.97bn. The total debt service the same period saw the percentage of external debt service drastically reduced from 11.46 per cent to 5.96 per cent while the percentage of domestic debt servicing grew from 88.54 per cent in 2008 to 94.04 per cent in 2012, drastically increasing the cost of the total debt service since the cost of domestic borrowing is atrociously higher than the cost of external borrowing. How could your debt sustainability analysis rationalize this without seeing some narrow interests being the overriding reason? Could this be the explanation why commercial banks in the country are declaring unheard-of three digit profits and the high Foreign Portfolio Investment and low Foreign Direct Investment? 

12. It’s an established fact that the willingness and ability to borrow do not automatically translate into economic growth. If you agree with this fact, how productive are the country’s recent borrowings? 

13. Why should our internal debts continue to represent more than two-thirds of Nigeria’s external debt profile, when the cost of servicing domestic debts is ridiculously far more expensive than servicing external debts? Why should government continue to borrow internally when in so doing results in insufficient funds, skyrockets the cost of borrowing and above all, crowds out the real sector from the money market? Shouldn’t the high cost of domestic borrowing override whatever are the assumed benefits? Since both London Interbank Offer Rates (LIBOR) and the US Treasury Bonds rates offer far better interest rates for sovereign borrowings, why have we continued not to take advantage of cheaper interest rates? 

14. Your references to the country’s economic growth profile have always been based on Fitch, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s ratings. Are you aware that these same rating agencies are being sued in New York (with case # 652410/2013) by two Bear Stearns hedge funds for fraudulently assigning inflated ratings to securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis? If you do, why do you insist on accepting the rating as reliable. 

15. How much exactly has been the amount of money lost in government revenue as a result of import duty waivers in 2011, 2012 and 2013? Provide the names and beneficiaries and justification for same. In your opinion as the minister of finance who oversees the economy, what are the implications to the country’s economy? What efforts have you have made to stop this waiver policy, which is distorting the economy? Our non oil income has dropped in 2013. A case where increased tariffs on various items effectively reduced importation to zero in some sectors. However, those items now find their way into Nigeria through our borders. Does it make any sense to increase these tariffs when we have such porous borders? As an example, officially, Benin Republic imported more rice this year than Nigeria. 

16. It was reported that the FIRS is to engage foreign consultants for tax collection in 2014. Could the Minister clarify this position and what Nigeria stands to gain? Have the FIRS not been working effectively? 

17. Do you really believe that Nigeria needs a ‘Sovereign Wealth Fund’ at this critical juncture of budgetary deficits, and having to be borrowing extensively in an effort to address government revenue gaps? Shouldn’t the presence of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) simply mean spreading government’s scarce resources thinly? Why will you insist that no matter what we still need to operate a sovereign wealth fund? Sincerely speaking, how sustainable are the objectives of Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, particularly in the long-term? 

18. You should agree that a lot of Nigerians are interested in the link between NSIA and the government. Since there is no doubt that Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority is an agent of government — or is it not? The question is: How should we think about the management structure in so far as major decisions are concerned? Where is the line between NSIA, as a commercially minded entity, and the government, especially given government’s policy of having no business doing business? If, for example, government does not get involved in specific investments, then, who appoints the external managers involved in managing some parts of the NSIA funds? 

19. Who determines the investment objective and who establishes the risk parameter for the NSIA’s portfolio? In providing answer to this question, it is also important to understand and explain why NSIA recently hired a Swiss national as its chief portfolio investor? Answering this question is important since it should help us to know who determines the maximum draw-down that the government would be comfortable with in extremely negative market environments. 

20. What should be your explanations for awarding MasterCard a multimillion dollar National Identity Smart Cards, when there are indigenous ICT companies that not only have what it takes but would have done it cheaper and create local jobs at the same time? 

21. Have you taken into considerations how foreign company could use such information available to it to invade the privacy of Nigerians? 

22. What are reasons for SURE-P to give preference to Chevrolet cars for SURE-P taxis, when it is known that not only are such cars very expensive to maintain compared with Asian and European cars, but also are also not fuel efficient and not durable on our roads?

23. Honorable Minister of Finance, you will agree that SURE-P is very important to the people of this country, taking into cognizance that it is the only thing they stand to gain from the increase on petroleum product pump prices almost 2 years ago. Who is in charge of the management of SURE-P and who takes responsibility for its successes and failures? 

24. You will agree that inasmuch as the interest rate regime is critical to the real sector borrowing decisions, most principal factor in making borrowing decisions is the business’s expected rate of return on investing borrowed money? The question, without efforts to protect local businesses from their foreign counterparts, the high cost of doing business in Nigeria, puts them at such a disadvantaged position that it makes no economic sense borrowing to invest in their local businesses, why should we expect private sector firms to be investing in the economy? 

25. You are quoted as saying, ‘’ Very soon, the US would become a net exporter of oil…So, it would be disingenuous for anyone to say that just because the price of oil has hovered at around $100 per barrel, it cannot crash…Lest we forget, as recently as 2008, oil prices crashed from a peak of $147 per barrel to $35 per barrel ina space of months triggered by the global financial crisis. Is the minority leader saying he has forgotten that?” This forces one to wonder from which source should the US become that net exporter of oil, given that the US daily oil consumption was 18.7 million barrels with (10.6 million of which was imported daily) in 2012? Or, should it be from the shale oil which the International Energy Agency (IEA) demonstrates to be at two million barrels daily? In other words, given the IEA global oil price trajectory, can’t we agree that “There are many constraints on supply keeping pace with demand” which means that within this decade, oil prices should always hover around $125 per barrel? Answering this question will help us understand why you insist on benchmarking the oil price for the 2014 appropriation at below $79 per barrel? In answering this question, would you also agree that as the global economy shifts from West to Asia, so will the appetite for global oil consumption shift from the West to Asia? As crude oil continues to sell at $100-$110, how low will production have to fall for us to record a net loss or at what production level can we break even at a 2013 benchmark of $79. 

26. Do you agree that the Excess Crude Account as being operated by government is illegal and unconstitutional, especially given how it has been managed? 

27. Can you explain with clarity how the ECA is being operated? Also provide a statement of account of the ECA from 2011 to 2013? Also how much have we made in excess of the benchmark price from January 2013 till date. 

28. If there is nothing like Excess Crude Account, would you have been demanding lower oil price benchmark for the budget, especially when the executive arm of government around world is known for demanding more money from lawmakers in order to be able to meet government spending obligations, particularly capital spending. Why is the reverse the case in Nigeria only, notably since 2011? 

29. With respect to the Excess crude account and our Sovereign wealth fund again, there have been allegations and counter allegations on its legality. Assuming, for the sake of the committee’s enlightenment, the FGN alone saved its own excess in its ECA/SWF (which is about 52% of the Federation account) and the states and LGs get their funds in full compliance with the constitution, what would be the effect on the economy? 

30. Do you believe in the fight against corruption? If you do why has EFCC not been proper funded? Without properly funding the commission, how should it be expected to carry out its duties effectively?

31. Can you confirm with figures if we have met our cumulative revenue projections for 2011, 2012, 2013, and if we have, how and if we have not, why? Also provide backup performance information under the various revenue generating agencies—NNPC (Oil and Gas), DPR, FIRS, Customs, Independent Revenue and other anticipated and unanticipated revenues e.g. privatization and sales of government properties etc. 

32. As Minister of Finance, are you familiar and comfortable with all the present business arrangements of the NNPC? Why were these business arrangements excluded from the MTEF which used to be the practice? Provide all the present business arrangements, the parties involved, the share of each party, and justifications for such. 

33. Provide details of government stake in NLNG. All categories of revenue under the NLNG and total amount generated so far and evidence of remittances. 

34. Why do you always prefer a lower benchmark which leaves government with wider deficits and your attitude of no qualms with domestic borrowings at excessively high interest rates to balance deficit as against our position of increasing benchmark to reduce deficit which consequently reduces domestic borrowing, that frees up funds for the real sector of the economy, thereby bringing down the interest rate, increased private sector investments and creating jobs. 

35. What is the total amount expended by certain statutory agencies of government without appropriation for 2011, 2012, and 2013? Also provide aggregate appropriated expenditure for the same period. As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, do you feel comfortable with allegations that almost equal amount of our yearly aggregate expenditure is being spent without appropriation, yet we are crying that the country is running short of revenue? 

36. Between May 7 and 9, 2014, it is expected that Nigeria will be hosting World Economic Forum on Africa. Who will finance this event and why? In concrete terms, what are the expected tangible benefits to the country in return to justify hosting such expensive event that will require lots of money for logistics, accommodations, security, especially given that South Africa that recently hosted the event has nothing to show for it. 

37. If you should for any reason say it will attract foreign investors, the question, then becomes, what kind of foreign investors are we talking about here because as we all know, no serious foreign investor needs to attend such a forum in Nigeria in order to recognize that our country should have been one of the world’s favored investment destinations had our perennial infrastructure deficit been addressed head-on? 

38. Most of the developing economies like China, India, and Brazil that the world is today celebrating as economic success wouldn’t have become this successful without adopting multi-year development plans. Why after knowing that their successes are as a result of carefully designed multi-year economic planning, we are yet to adopt such a multi-year development model? In other words, why wouldn’t you agree that Nigeria too needs that in order to move faster and more sustainably in its quest for industrialization and economic diversification and job creation for millions of the country’s unemployed young men and women. Specifically, what concrete, visible strategic efforts and action are you taken to diversify our economy 

39. As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, can you precisely clarify how much is AMCON’s debt exposure and what will its defaulting mean to the country’s economy? 

40. Why are we using the 10 to 15 years moving average to arrive at your 2014 proposed benchmark as against the traditional 5 to 10 years moving average we have always used? Is it because using the 5 -10 year average will not give you the benchmark price you desire? 

41. This time last year you informed this committee that our external reserve position was about $48 billion and the balance on our excess crude account was about $9 billion. You also said that the plan was to grow these balances to about $50 billion and $10 billion respectively. However we are hearing that the balances have dropped to $43 billion and $3 billion respectively. And you are saying all is well? 

42. Crude oil projections for 2013 were 2.53 million barrels per day while actual figures as supplied by the NNPC/DPR/MTEF have averaged about 2.3 million barrels per day giving a shortfall of about 9%. Could this alone have caused such a drastic reduction in our reserves and savings positions? 

43. Is any money missing from our anticipated revenue from the NNPC in particular and oil industry in general. If there is, how much? If not, how come such issues emanate from high offices in the executive arm of Government? However, if the reconciliation figures is the issue, how long will Nigerians wait for the reconciliation to be completed. In other words, how long will the reconciliation last and the outcome announced? 

44. Referring to the pre-shipment inspection of exports act of 1996 and the Federal ministry of Finance export guidelines. If any good (oil, gas or non oil) is exported from Nigeria the exporter is compelled to repatriate these proceeds through the domiciliary account of a Nigerian bank. What has been the effectiveness of these laws? Is there full compliance. 

45. If there has not been compliance, would it not make it difficult for us to build up our foreign reserves? Could we not say that the main thrust of the CBN letter was that our foreign reserves are not growing even though there has been a consistent high selling price of crude due to the fact that huge funds are not being repatriated at all or are repatriated through the black market? 

46. Could we say that the issue is not so much that money is missing (which is yet to be determined) but that proceeds that should have found their way back to the Nigerian economy have grown wings or they fly in through the black market, allowing oil industry players have a field day making spreads of up to N7 per dollar in some cases. 

47. What is the Minister’s take on the apparent stagnation of the economy as there seems to be very little job creation and growth in small businesses. Even though the Minister has read out growth figures before it is not telling on the average man on the street. 

48. Would the Minister say that the various Government initiatives at job creation have not lived up to expectation as they affect only a very small part of the population? 

49. Wouldn’t the Minister think that the private sector should be the main driver of job and wealth creation through natural growth of business and start ups being financed by the banking industry?

50. If so, what does the Minister think it would do for the local banking industry if this same pre-shipment inspection law and your own export guidelines are enforced to the letter. The oil industry in Nigeria is worth about $50 billion per annum. If even $10 billion of this passes through our local banks wouldn’t that give the economy a boost with banks now able to fund longer term and bigger projects?

Signed: Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, Ph.D
Chairman

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Politics

 

Incredible! Fathered by a ghost, married to another ghost

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The 25-minute journey on a motorcycle from Akoda junction to Odeomu to Gaga to Odansidi to Omodeere to Olodan to Abese to Ayetoro and finally to Tonkere village, all in Ayedaade Local Government Area of Osun State was uneventful. Members of the sleepy and rustic communities, from their homestead, waved at Saturday Tribune’s TAIWO OLANREWAJU and OLUWOLE IGE while some who met them on the way greeted them expectantly and some currency exchanged hands. They were on the trail of a woman found to have been sired by a ghost and married to a ghost.

Before now, chilling stories had been told of individuals who continued to experience life even after their clear deaths. The Yoruba call them Akudaaya. To the Hausa, they are Satalwa. Time after time, there were stories of how the dead, who were supposed to be six feet under the ground, would still stick around on the surface of the earth and lead lives as normal, regular human beings albeit in faraway places where their chances of bumping into either families or acquaintances who had previously bade them goodbye from this world are virtually zero.

Many have dismissed such stories as fictions, hallucinations or fabrications, but the recent experience of a 20-year-old Taiyelolu Abdulrahman, whose father, who died almost 20 years ago, nurtured till she was married to another dead or “ghost” husband, is lending credence to such weird developments.

It was a Herculean task getting Taiyelolu to grant Saturday Tribune an interview because, according to her, she had already spoken at length with a popular Yoruba magazine which she claimed only used her story for economic reasons. “Where is the assistance they promised would come my way as a result of the interview I granted them?”

Her father-in-law, Mr Raufu Gbadamosi, also was not favourably disposed to Taiyelolu granting another press interview. He showed disapproval when he shook his head, disappeared into his room and then reappeared with a cap and just exited the house.

When she finally opened up, it turned out that nothing could be more bizarre than Taiyelolu’s story. She and her twin brother, Kehinde, grew up with their father in a flat at the Ajah area of Lagos. They led a relatively comfortable life in the house where they only depended on generator as the only source of electricity. Although their father was not engaged in any kind of work, he provided for them.

“My father was not working. He never left the house except on a few occasions at night. But if I asked for N50, 000, he gave it to me. We had no visitors and we visited nobody,” she said.

All they had to do were sleep, eat and watch home videos.

Asked about her mother, she said she and her twin brother grew up to know only their father. They did not see any woman with him. To go out of the house, their father gave the twins a small gourd each which they simply clasped to their palms and then they burst out on the road and board vehicles to the market to purchase food items like wheat, semovita, macaroni, spaghetti and rice. They never consumed amala (yam flour meal).

On a particular day, however, Taiyelolu forgot to take her gourd and as she stepped out of the house, what confronted her was a cemetery with a lot of vaults and a bushy environment.

She screamed and dashed back inside. Then, her father told her to pick the gourd, atona (guide) as it was called. As she clasped the object to her palm and then ventured out, this time, she found herself on a busy tarred road.

Another incident which frightened her happened in the night. “My father went out whenever he wanted but it was always around 10.00 or 11.00 p.m. He would not take anyone along with him. But there was a day I begged him to take me out to where he usually went and he obliged. When we got there, something strange and fearful happened. It was like a canteen and there, I saw a small cooking stand with a big pot on it without firewood or fire and the food was boiling. I asked my father how it was possible for food to cook without firewood and fire and the woman selling the food became angry and slapped me. She asked my father who I was; that I was not part of them but only wanted to expose their secrets. My father begged her and we left the place,” she remarked.

After the incident, her father refused to take her out again so that she would not be privy to the secrets and circumstances surrounding their true identities. Since then, she refused to take food from her father, but only cooked her own food.

By the time Taiyelolu came of age, her father did not allow her the choice of a husband, but asked her to marry someone identified as Abdulazeez. The man moved in with them and behaved like her father.

Soon, she got pregnant. And when she eventually went into labour, she said her father went out, brought back a particular kind of leaf which he applied on her navel and she was delivered of a baby boy without any complication. Her father, who acted as the midwife, took care of the placenta. She bore her two other boys in the same manner. Her children were named Abdul Qayum (now eight years old), ‘Rokeeb (four) and Jamiu (two and a half).

But what revealed the true identities of her father and husband? She disclosed that all the jealously guarded secrets began to come to the open when Kehinde declined to marry a lady recommended by their father.

They continued their routine life until their father considered Kehinde mature enough to get married and brought a lady home for him. But Kehinde was said to have refused outright to marry “one of them.” Taiyelolu said she asked him what he meant by “one of them” but he told her not to bother as she was only a woman who was oblivious of what was happening.

“One day, Kehinde was eating and he suddenly coughed, slumped and died. My father did not feel any sorrow as a result of this. He buried my brother in an unknown place. When I asked him about where he buried him, he said some Muslim clerics had come to pray over his body and he had buried it. Not convinced by his response, I said to him: “When I had my babies, no clerics came for the naming, but they came for the burial of my brother?

“Disturbed by the shocking death of her brother, Taiyelolu confronted her father that she wanted to know his family. That decision marked the beginning of her journey into a new world.

“Eventually, my father agreed to take me and the children to his hometown, Offa, Kwara State. He said he was from the imam’s family. When we almost got to his family house, he said he wanted to check on someone close by and pointed the house to us. He asked us to ask for Alhaji Hussein Salmoni, his uncle. When we met his uncle and explained ourselves to him, he was taken aback. He eventually showed us his grave. He said my father died over 20 years ago,” she said.

Amid bewilderment, Taiyelolu left for the only place she knew as home, Ajah, Lagos, but could not locate their house again. What worsened her situation was the mysterious disappearance of the gourd which her father had given her and could have guided her back to the house.

She went to Ilorin in an effort to locate her mother’s family house which her father told her was Isale Koto. She managed to strike up conversations with some people who introduced her to a radio presenter who narrated her story on air.

She also met a lady who she followed to Ede, Osun State, and stayed with for about a month. It was while in that city that she traced her husband’s parents.She claimed that she was walking by the road one day when a car parked by her side and the driver told her that it was her birthday and in order to felicitate with her, gave her a handset with a SIM card. Taiyelolu is uncertain of her age, but assumed that she could be more than 20.

“It was when I got to ‘this world’ that I realised that I am too young to have given birth to three children with the fourth on the way. Also, I did not know that there is a place where people struggled to earn a living until I got here. It saddens me that I now wake up every day with no money.

“She said she never attended a school, but that her father had the knowledge of the Qur’an and had western education. According to her, her father was the one who taught her and her brother Arabic and a bit of western education,” she said. It is obvious that Taiyelolu is truly versed in the recitation of the Qur’an. Her children now attend a primary school in the village.

On how she got to Tonkere, she said she went to observe the evening prayer at a mosque in Ede when, after prayers, she was chatting with the imam and an old man appeared and told her in clear terms that she was suffering.The man then asked her why she was obstinate about returning the children with her to Tonkere, her husband’s place of birth. The man said if she refused to do so within three days, something unpleasant would become of the children and the man disappeared.Then she asked the imam if he saw the old man who just interrupted their conversation, but the imam said no. She then collected N200 from the cleric, fetched her children and the four of them, at about after 8.00 p.m., boarded a motorcycle to Akoda junction for N50.

At the junction, she asked another cyclist to take her to Tonkere but the man, because of the fact that it was late in the day, charged her N1000, whereas she only had N150. But it was necessary that the children got to Tonkere that night because their father, who was deceased, demanded that she took them to his people.

As she pleaded with the cyclist, a car parked by them and mediated in the matter. The driver asked the cyclist to convey the woman and her children to their destination for N500, which was the usual fare. The man gave the cyclist the N500, wrote down the motorcycle’s number and warned the cyclist to take the passengers to no place but the mosque at Tonkere.

As they alighted from the motocycle at Tonkere, Taiyelolu said her husband appeared to her.

She said he pointed to the shop opposite the mosque as his mother’s and the third building to the shop as his father’s house, saying “I should ask for his father, Pa Gbadamosi. As they conversed, her husband said a lady who was passing by, Tosin, was his sister and he called her.” Between the time Taiyelolu looked in the direction of the lady and looked back in her husband’s direction, he had disappeared.

The lady is with her husband’s people now, but they did not receive her with open arms because the aged parents of Abdulazeez were confused about how their first son, who died at a tender age, could have fathered three children. They are suspicious of their supposed daughter-in-law and are acting cautiously around her. But she dismissed any suspicious of band motives asking why she would want to lie herself into a poor home.

Also, Taiyelolu’s mother-in-law, the Iyalode of Tonkere, had been down with stroke and the father-in-law is a farmer. Financially, they are not capable of supporting Taiyelolu and her children.

The lady, who said the clothes she uses now were given to her, added that they were rags, compared to the ones she wore in her father’s house. What pointed to the fact that she could truly be from another world was the way she was lamenting openly about the treatment meted out to her by her in-laws. She said if she had made up her story, rather than bringing her children to the old mud house, she would have taken them to the governor’s house. The mud house, she said, did not compare with her father’s house in “the other world.” She said she only left her father’s house with a black bag and a Qur’an, which are still in her possession.

She also claimed to have dreamt of her father once, who was all tears, lamenting with his finger in his mouth that he warned his daughter not to embark on this journey. She said her husband pleaded with her in her dreams each time his people offended her. She said her husband said the reason he insisted she took his children to his parents was for his parents to have the joy of raising his children as they did not have such opportunity with him even as a first child.

The parents said they could not remember where they buried Abdulazeez.

The survival of heavily pregnant Taiyelolu and the future of her three children pose a challenge to her. She said the aged parents of her “ghost” husband could no longer work, hence, the fate of her children hung in the balance.

When she called our reporter last Monday, she said she was having signs that she would soon put to bed. She, therefore, appealed to the Osun State governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola; his wife, Alhaja Sherifat, other well-meaning Nigerians, including corporate organisations and non-governmental organisations to come to her aid by empowering her so that her future and that of her three children abandoned could be secure.

What about her husband? She says he these days appears only in her dreams.

Source: Nigeria Tribune

The Blogger Twits at @Femiolas

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Opinion

 

Iyabo Obasanjo’s Open Letter to Father (Ex-President Obasanjo)

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“It brings me no joy to have to write this but since you started this trend of open letters I thought I would follow suit since you don’t listen to anyone anyway. The only way to reach you may be to make the public aware of some things. As a child well brought up by my long-suffering mother in Yoruba tradition, I have been reluctant to tell the truth about you but as it seems you still continue to delude yourself about the kind of person you are and I think for posterity’s sake it is time to set the records straight.

“I will return to the issue of my long-suffering mother later in this letter.

“Like most Nigerians, I believe there are very enormous issues currently plaguing the country but I was surely surprised that you will be the one to publish such a treatise. I remember clearly as if it was yesterday the day I came over to Abuja from Abeokuta when I was Commissioner of Health in Ogun State, specifically to ask you not to continue to pursue the third term issue.

“I had tried to bring it up when your sycophantic aides were present and they brushed my comments aside and as usual you listened to their self-serving counsel. For you to accuse someone else of what you so obviously practiced yourself tells of your narcissistic megalomaniac personality. Everyone around for even a few minutes knows that the only thing you respond to is praise and worship of you. People have learnt how to manipulate you by giving you what you crave. The only ones that can’t and will not stroke your ego are family members who you universally treat like shit (sic) apart from the few who have learned to manipulate you like others.

“Before I continue, Nigerians are people who see conspiracy and self-service in everything because I think they believe everyone is like them. This letter is not in support of President Jonathan or APC or any other group or person, but an outpouring from my soul to God. I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with, Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way. People ultimately get leaders that reflect them.

“Getting back to the story, I made sure your aides were not around and brought up the issue, trying to deliver the presentation of the issue as I had practiced it in my head. I started with the fact that we copied the US constitution which has term limits of two terms for a President. As is your usual manner, you didn’t allow me to finish my thought process and listen to my point of view. Once I broached the subject you sat up and said that the US had no term limits in the past but that it had been introduced in the 1940s after the death of President Roosevelt, which is true.

I wanted to say to you: when you copy something you also copy the modifications based on the learning from the original; only a fool starts from scratch and does not base his decisions on the learning of others. In science, we use the modifications found by others long ago to the most recent, as the basis of new findings; not going back to discover and learn what others have learnt. Human knowledge and development and civilization will not have progressed if each new generation and society did not build on the knowledge of others before them.

The American constitution itself is based on several theories and philosophies of governance available in the 18th century. Democracy itself is a governance method started by the ancient Greeks. America’s founding fathers used it with modifications based on what hadn’t worked well for the ancient Greeks and on new theories since then.

“As usual in our conversations, I kept quiet because I know you well. You weren’t going to change your mind based on my intervention as you had already made up your mind on the persuasion of the minions working for you who were ripping the country blind. When I spoke to you, your outward attitude to the people of the country was that you were not interested in the third term and that it was others pushing it.

Your statement to me that day proved to me that you were the brain behind the third term debacle. It is therefore outrageous that you accuse the current President of a similar two-facedness that you yourself used against the people of the country.

“I was on a plane trip between Abuja and Lagos around the time of the third term issue and I sat next to one of your sycophants on the plane. He told me: “Only Obasanjo can rule Nigeria”. I replied: “

God has not created a country where only one person can rule. If only one person can rule Nigeria then the whole Nigeria project is not a viable one, as it will be a non-sustainable project.”

“I don’t know how you came about Yar’Adua as the candidate for your party as it was not my priority or job. Unlike you, I focus on the issues I have been given responsibility over and not on the jobs of others. It was the day of the PDP Presidential Campaign in Abeokuta during the state-by-state tour of 2007 that Yar’Adua got sick and had to be flown abroad. The MKO Abiola Stadium was already filled with people by 9am when I drove by (and) we had told people based on the campaign schedule that the rally would start at noon.

At 11 am I headed for the stadium on foot; it was a short walk as there were so many cars already parked in and out. As I walked on with two other people, we saw crowds of people leaving the stadium. I recognized some of them as politicians and I asked them why people were leaving. They said the Presidential candidate had died. I was alarmed and shocked. I walked back home and received a call from a friend in Lagos who said the same and added that he had died in the plane carrying him abroad for treatment and that the plane was on its way to Katsina to bury him.

I called you, and told you the information and that the stadium was already half-empty. You told me to go to the stadium and tell the people on the podium to announce that the Presidential candidate had taken ill that morning but the rest of the team, including you and the Vice-Presidential candidate would arrive shortly. I did as I was told, but even the people on the podium at first didn’t make the announcement because they thought it was true that Yar’Adua had died. I had to take the microphone and make the announcement myself. It did little good.People kept trooping out of the stadium. Your team didn’t arrive until 4pm and by this time we had just a sprinkling of people left.

That evening after the disaster of a rally, you said you had insisted that the Presidential candidate fly to Germany for a check-up although you said he only had a cold. I asked why would anyone fly to Germany to treat a cold? And you said “I would rather die than have the man die at this time.” I thought of this profound statement as things later unfolded against me. Then I thought it a stupid statement but as usual I kept quiet, little did I know how your machinations for a person would be used against me. When Yar’Adua eventually died, you stayed alive, I would have expected you to jump into his grave.

I left Nigeria in 1989 right after youth service to study in the US and I visited in 1994 for a week and didn’t visit again until your inauguration in 1999. In between, you had been arrested by Abacha and jailed. We, your children, had no one who stood with us. Stella famously went around collecting money on your behalf but we had no one. We survived. I was the only one of the children working then as a post-doctoral fellow when I got the call from a friend informing me of your arrest.

A week before your arrest, you had called me from Denmark and I had told you that you should be careful that the government was very offended by some of your statements and actions and may be planning to arrest or kill you as was occurring to many at the time. The source of my information was my mother who, agitated, had called me, saying I should warn you as this was the rumour in the country. As usual you brushed aside my comments, shouting on the phone that they cannot try anything and you will do and say as you please. The consequence of your bravado is history.

We, your family, have borne the brunt of your direct cruelty and also suffered the consequences of your stupidity but got none of the benefits of your successes. Of course, anyone around you knows how little respect you have for your children.

You think our existence on earth is about you. By the way, how many are we? 19, 20, 21? Do you even know? In the last five years, how many of these children have you spoken to? How many grandchildren do you have and when did you last see each of them? As President you would listen to advice of people that never finished high school who would say anything to keep having access to you so as to make money over your children who loved you and genuinely wished you well.

“At your first inauguration in 1999, I and my brothers and sisters told you we were coming from the US. As is usual with you, you made no arrangements for our trip, instead our mom organized to meet each of us and provided accommodation. At the actual swearing-in at Eagle Square, the others decided to watch it on TV. Instead I went to the square and I was pushed and tossed by the crowd.

I managed to get in front of the crowd where I waved and shouted at you as you and General Abdulsalam Abubakar walked past to go back to the VIP seating area. I saw you mouth ‘my daughter’ to General Abdullahi who was the one who pulled me out of the crowd and gave me a seat. As I looked around I saw Stella and Stella’s family prominently seated but none of your children. I am sure General Abdullahi would remember this incident and I am eternally grateful to him.

Getting back to my mother, I still remember your beating her up continually when we were kids. What kids can forget that kind of violence against their mother? Your maltreatment of women is legendary. Many of your women have come out to denounce you in public but since your madness is also part of the madness of the society, it is the women that are usually ignored and mistreated. Of course, you are the great pretender, making people believe you have a good family life and a good relationship with your children but once in a while your pretence gets cracked.

When Gbenga gave a ride to help someone he didn’t know but saw was in need and the person betrayed his trust by tapping his candid response on the issues going on between you and your then vice-president, Atiku Abubakar, you had your aides go on air and denounce the boy before you even spoke to him to find out what happened. What kind of father does that? Your atrocities to some of my other siblings I will let them tell in their own due time or never if they choose.
Some of the details of our life are public but the people choose to ignore it and pretended we enjoyed some largesse when you were President.

This punishing the innocent is part of Nigeria’s continuing sins against God. While you were military head of state and lived in Dodan Barracks, we stayed either with our mum in the two-bedroom apartment provided for her by General Murtala Mohammed or with your relatives, Bose, Yemisi and your sisters’ kids in the Boys Quarters of Dodan Barracks. At QueensCollege, I remember being too ashamed to tell my wealthy classmates from Queen’s College, Lagos we lived in the two room Boys Quarters or in the two room flat on Lawrence Street.

No, we did not have privileged upbringing but our mother emphasized education and that has been our salvation. Of my mother’s 6 children 4 have PhDs. Of the two without PhD, one has a Master’s and the other is an engineer. They are no slouches. Education provided a way to make our way in the world.

You are one of those petty people who think the progress and success of another takes from you. You try to overshadow everyone around you, before you and after you. You are the prototypical “Mr. Know it all”. You’ve never said “I don’t know” on any topic, ever. Of course this means you surround yourself with idiots who will agree with you on anything and need you for financial gain and you need them for your insatiable ego. This your attitude is a reflection of the country. It is not certain which came first, your attitude seeping into the country’s psyche or the country accepting your irresponsible behavior for so long.

Like you and your minions, it’s a symbiotic relationship. Nigeria has descended into a hellish reality where smart, capable people to “survive” and have their daily bread prostrate to imbeciles. Everybody trying to pull everybody else down with greed and selfishness — the only traits that gets you anywhere. Money must be had and money and power is king. Even the supposed down-trodden agree with this.

Nigeria accused me of fraud with the Ministry of Health. As you yourself know, both in Abeokuta and Abuja I lived in your houses as a Senator. In Lagos, I stayed in my mum’s bungalow which she succeeded in getting from you when you abandoned her with six children to live in Abeokuta with Stella.

I borrowed against my four-year Senate salary to build the only house I have anywhere in the world in Lagos. I rent out the house for income. I don’t have much in terms of money but I am extremely happy. I tried to contribute my part to the development of my country but the country decided it didn’t need me. Like many educated Nigerians my age, there are countries that actually value people doing their best to contribute to society and as many of them have scattered all over the world so have many of your children.

I can speak for myself and many of them; what they are running away from is that they can’t even contribute effectively at the same time as they have to deal with constant threats to their lives by miscreants the society failed to educate; deal with lack of electricity and air pollution resulting from each household generating its own electricity, and the lack of quality healthcare or education and a total lack of sense of responsibility of almost every person you meet. Your contribution to this scenario cannot be overestimated.

You and your cronies mentioned in your letter have left the country worse than you met it at your births in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Nigeria is not the creation of any of you, and although you feel you own it and are “Mr Nigeria” deciding whether the country stays together or not, and who rules it; you don’t. Nigeria is solely the creation of the British. My dear gone Grandmother whose burial you told people not to attend, was not born a Nigerian but a proud Ijebu-Yoruba woman. Togetherness is a choice and it must serve a purpose.

As for Nigerians thinking I have their money, when it was obvious I was part of the Yar’Adua (government’s) anti-Obasanjo phenomenon that was going on at the time. The Ministry of Health and international NGOs paid for a retreat for the Senate Committee on Health. The House Committee on Health was treated exactly the same way. The monies were given to members as estacode and the rest used for accommodation, flights and feeding. While the Senate was on the retreat in Ghana, the EFCC asked the House Committee to return the monies they received for their retreat and asked us in the Senate to return ours on our return which I refused, as it was already used for the purpose it was earmarked for in the budget that year which was to work on the National Health Bill.

The House Committee had not gone on their retreat. I did nothing wrong and my colleagues and I on the retreat did our work conscientiously. I asked the EFCC not to drag my colleagues into it and I am proud I suffered alone. As is usual in a society where people who are not progressive but take pleasure in the pain of others, most Nigerians were happy, not looking at the facts of the matter, just the suffering of an Obasanjo.

As the people that stole their millions are hailed by them the innocent is punished. When the court case was thrown out because it lacked merit even against the Minister, no newspaper carried the news. The wrongful malicious prosecution of an Obasanjo was not something they wanted to report; just her downfall. But it really wasn’t about me, it was about right and wrong in society and every society gets the fruit of the seeds it sows.

How do you think God will provide good leaders to such a people? God helps those who help themselves. I have realized that as an Obasanjo I am not entitled to work in Nigeria in any capacity. I am not entitled to work in health which is my training, or in any field or anywhere in the country or participate in any business. I have learnt this lesson well and there are societies that actually think capable, well-educated people are important to their society’s progress. Apparently, unless I am eating from the dustbin, Nigerians and possibly you will not be satisfied. I thank God it has not come to that based on God-given brains and brawn.

When I left Nigeria in 1989 for graduate studies in America, you promised to pay my school fees and no living expenses. This you did and I am grateful for because, working in the kitchen and then the library at University of California, Davis and later, working on the IT desk and later as a Teaching Assistant at Cornell gave me valuable work ethics for life. I wouldn’t have it any other way. As a black woman in the early 21st century, I have achieved much and done more than most. My wish is that black girls all over the world will have the capacity to create their lives, make mistakes, learn from it and move ahead.

Moving back to Nigeria, thinking I wanted to serve was obviously a grave mistake but one brought about by the tragic incident of April 20, 2003. This was the day five people were shot dead in my car. The mother of the children was an acquaintance I had met only one day before the incident.
We had attended the same high school and university but she was there ten years earlier than I. She had also studied public health in the UK as I had in the US. It was these coincidences that made us connect on our first meeting and then she decided to visit on theSaturday of the election of 2003 when the incident occurred. I am scarred for life by that incident and I know the mother was too as we both looked back to see two men on each side of my car shooting.

I understand her trauma and her behaviour since then can be judged from that. Nigeria is a nasty place that pushes people to lose their compass. I participated in the campaigns leading to the elections that day, more because this was my first experience of electoral process in Nigeria. Growing up there were no elections and I was too young in the 1979 and 1983 elections. It was interesting to see democracy at work. When Gbenga Daniel who I campaigned for offered me a job, I probably would have declined it, if not for the memory of the dead.

I felt I had to engage in making the country progress and to avoid such incidences in the future. I don’t need to tell you or anyone what kind of governor and person Gbenga Daniel is. As usual when I found out, you would not listen to my opinion but found out for yourself. I also campaigned for Amosun for the Senate in 2003. I have had some wonderful Nigerians do good to me, I will never forget the then Minister of Women Affairs, who saw me talking in the crowd at a campaign event and was alarmed and said “bad things can happen to you out there, I will give you one of the orderlies assigned to my office to follow you”. This was the police man that died in my car that day. I never really thought bad things would happen to me, I moved around freely in society until that shooting scarred me and I accepted a police detail. I was constantly scared for my life after that.

You called me after your vengeful letter as usual, looking out for yourself and thinking you will bribe me by saying the APC will use me for the Senate. Do you really know me and what I want out of life?

Anyone that knows me knows I am done with anything political or otherwise in Nigeria. I have so much to do and think to make this world a better place than to waste it on fighting with idiots over a political post that does no good to society. That letter you wrote to the President, would you have tolerated such a letter as a sitting President? Don’t do to others what you will not allow to be done to you. The only thing I was using that was yours was the house in Abuja where I left my things when I left the country. I eventually rented it out so that the place would not fall apart but as usual you want to take that as well. You can’t have it without explaining to Nigerians how you came about the house?

As I said earlier, this is not about politics but my frustration with you as a father and a human being. I am not involved with what is currently going on in Nigeria, I don’t talk to any Nigerian other than friends on social basis. I am not involved with any political groups or affiliation. You mentioned Governor Osoba when you spoke to me, yes I was walking down the street of Cambridge, Massachussets a few months ago, when I looked up and saw him reading a map trying to cross the street.

I greeted him warmly and offered to give him a ride to where he was going. This I did not do because I wanted anything from him politically but because that is how I was raised by my mother to treat an adult who I really had no ill-will towards. Some said he was part of the people that manipulated the elections for me to lose in 2011. I don’t have any ill-will to him for that because I think they did me a favour and someone has to win and lose.

I had told you I wasn’t going to run in 2011 but you manipulated me to run; that was my mistake. Losing was a blessing. As usual you wanted me to run for your self-serving purpose to perpetuate your name in the political realm and as the liar that you are, you later denied that it was you who wanted me to run in 2011.

In 2003 I ran because I wanted to and I thought getting to the central government I will be able to contribute more to improving lives and working on legislation that impacts the country. I found that nothing gets done; every public official in Nigeria is working for himself and no one really is serving the public or the country.

The whole system, including the public themselves want oppressors, not people working for their collective progress. When no one is planning the future of a country, such a country can have no future. I won’t be your legacy, let your legacy be Nigeria in the fractured state you created because, it was always your way or the highway.

This is the end of my communication with you for life. I pray Nigeria survives your continual intervention in its affairs.

Sincerely,

Iyabo Obasanjo, DVM, PhDMassachusetts,USA.

Culled from Vanguard Newspaper

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Opinion

 
 
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