Sunday, 13 December 2009

PhotoSpeak! Barack Obama Winner! 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for War!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Turai Yar'Adua our modern day Imelda Marcos

Turai Yar'Adua our modern day Imelda Marcos. by Kayode Ogundamisi

Imelda Marcos is known in world history as the schemer of Philippines but also the “jointe presidento” of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos became the 10th President of the Philippines, he took the oath of office to defend the constitution of Philippines but in practical terms gave the “right to rule” to his amiable, strong wife, the “rose of Tacloban” and “iron butterfly” Imelda Marcos. Today Nigeria is presenting to the world her own Imelda Marcos in the person of “Her Excellency” Hajia Turai Yar’Adua, wife of the bedridden President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

Turai like Winnie and Hilary also finds herself in the throes of very sad historical circumstances. For her right now, there is the need to rise up from the ruins of a heart that should be shattered by the fate of her terminally ill husband who is also the president of a country in turmoil and stand on the side of her country. Turai must choose between the privileges of being the wife of a president and the rights of a country in need of a president; a president at work. She also needs to choose between the needs of a helpless man who must be challenged by the fact he is indeed dying and her need to enjoy the splendour, influence and ostentation that attend the life of a president's wife in Nigeria.Inspite of the despicable things we do to each other in a bid to survive and be influential, we are a nation of people with the African spirit; we share deep fraternal ties and true love for one another. Inspire of the fact that Stella and her husband abused the faith of Nigerians, we sympathised with him and her family. We are quick to empathise with our neighbour in distress and do whatsoever we can to ease the pain.

That is why it is painfully embarrassing to see that we have been denied the privilege to empathise with the Yar'adua family over the predicament of their son and Turai must take the bulk of the responsibility for that because of the obvious choices she has made. She must be held accountable for the fact that rather than cushion her husband's pains, she is fuelling the outrage that compounds his situation by insisting that he hangs unto power at the expense of Nigeria and his life. How much could a man possibly hold unto at a time like this?

It's amazing to see how she has evolved from the rustic woman who suddenly found herself in Aso rock to this sophisticated trendy woman with an insatiable appetite for power and the accessories that make it addictive. Turai leaves no one in doubt about her aspirations and she seems to be acting a well thought out plot that should culminate in her enthronement.
What we can only do is appeal to Madam President in waiting to put the well being of her husband and Nigeria first before anything else. President Umar Musa Yar’Adua is described as a very good man with good intentions and some of us who oppose his evil party the Peoples Democratic Party believe so, Turai can help free Musa from the “nest of killers”. She must join well meaning Nigerians to liberate the president from the evil men and women who pretend to love Musa Yar’Adua than Yar’Adua himself, they are nothing but a greedy lot who in reality are determined to loot our commonwealth and manipulate a sick president in the interest of the minority few in Abuja and other part of Nigeria over the 145 million people in dire need for a living and working President.

Hajia Turai is free as a Nigerian citizen to contest election into any post in Nigeria including the highest position in the land, the way she is holding on to power in Morden day Nigeria makes Imelda Marcos look like mother Theresa.

Only Hajia Turai Yar’Adua can free Musa Yar’Adua from the vagabonds in power. The time to tell the president to step down is now, in his own interest, in Turai’s interest and in the interest of Nigeria.Nigeria takes pre-eminence over any individual or gang. Ours is a democracy and not monarchy where the queen can inherit the throne after the king. There are laid down procedures that must be followed. Besides does Turai think she can do better than her husband? And if that were the case there are constitutional ways of proving her point without taking Nigeria hostage. 2011 is here already and it’s a trouble free opportunity she can take advantage of to pursue her ambition. She's been first lady long enough and with the talents she's revealing to us right now, there's no doubt about the fact that she must have amassed enough resources to fund her ambition. Hillary was merciful enough to legally pursue her ambition without politically murdering her husband. Let her story inspire Turai and encourage her to desist from rushing her husband to his grave.

Evil manifests in diverse ways but Turai and her gang are unprecedented! Nigerians do not want the president dead, Nigerians want the president to 'step aside' and take care of his health. If by the grace of God he survives it all, he is welcome to submit himself to democratic processes again.

The Ladies are Nudist So What?

Lagos State government! The ladies are Nudist! So what?
By Kayode Ogundamisi
Early in the year the Lagos state environmental task force, carried out what it described as a “carefully planned and very well executed raid” on private clubs that were said to be “carrying out immoral acts” such as girls performing “nude dancing”. It is the responsibility of any government to make sure that clubs and entertainment centres operate within the confines of the law and a responsible government will also keep an eye on such clubs to make sure they do not engage the services of the underage, minors or ladies who are forced to perform without their consent.

However the recent invasion of clubs by the Lagos government officials in a Rambo style manner is very unbecoming of a state whose governor is arguably one of the best performing public official Nigeria as ever witnessed in recent times. The way they subjected those young Nigerian women, to series of humiliation, by photographing them openly and making such available to the press almost naked is a violation of the rights of the citizens. If the officials involved in the raid must display the “captives” can’t they give them the choice of having their clothes on?
There is need for the government to check the excesses of the Lagos State Environmental task force, that agency is more or less now behaving like a “moral soldier” meant to dictate to private citizens, on what move they should view, which club they must visit, what colour they must paint houses and what manner of apparels ladies must wear.

The raid before last week’s by the very same official did not produce any conviction except the sensation it got in the media. Sadly, the media worldwide seem to enjoy the public humiliation of the female body type, it is apparent those found to be “poll dancing” where men the photographs would not have been of public interest, thus we must stop the obscene chauvinistic tendency that is taking root in our society.

In as much as Lagos has been doing well so far, we cannot and must not keep quiet when some officials are out of line and literally wrapped up in misconduct. The emergence of ostentatious clubs, “yachts’” and other elitist play toys are contentious by-products of a city that prides itself in its pro-active mechanism of governance. If we do not cautiously ensure that a healthy balance is maintained at all times some overzealous officials will pretty soon start dictating to Nigerians on the shape, size and complexion of the partner they must date or marry - could get that ridiculous!

Under the nose of our so called “moral police” young Nigerian ladies who are incessantly challenged with forced long holidays due to the neglect of the educational sector and strikes by both academic and non academic staffs engage in misdemeanors to while away time or simply survive. High and low class prostitution thrive unchallenged in the streets of well lit reserved areas of Lagos and the men who can patronize these girls are definitely high net worth individuals in government and the private sector.

The irony rests in the act that it is the same Nigerian public officials who patronise these same clubs, have we not heard stories of girls pimping for commissioners, governors, directors, ministers and all in our various campuses? At least it is public knowledge that some public officials in Nigeria patronise these same clubs that are tagged immoral when on official assignment outside Nigeria . If the story of the “India Apple” is to be believed, then we all know that Aso Rock unofficially kept prostitutes in the dying days of Sanni Abacha.

Besides what alternatives are available to these erring young people? What choice do they have? The male students go delinquent and violent, venturing into kidnapping or just simply spend days in cyber cafés to look for an unlucky “mugu” that they can scam. Can’t the government see that we have let down our youths and tackle the problem from the basics? What infrastructures have been put in place to productively engage young people and empower them to live meaningful lives? Fact remains that an idle mind remains the devil’s favourite workshop and when that idleness is compounded with poverty there is no limit to what can go wrong.
The entertainment industry remains a sucour for young people all over the world. Impoverished young men and women are being transformed to millionaires, doing good work. If the government could partner more people in the entertainment industry to create a safe and conducive environment for the industry to grow in Nigeria and also serve as an alternative source of leisure and excitement in a nation bereft of social infrastructure, the nude clubs will die a natural death.

Moreover, are these social issues not as a result of more serious concerns in Nigeria ? With a sleeping president, law makers who cannot point out the difference between red and orange? Fast growing religious empires without a corresponding upright following? Collapsed infrastructure such as energy, road, aviation, policing, law and order and a charade called ICPC and other so called anti corruption agencies?

Women groups, non-governmental organizations, civil society groups should please mobilize and come to the aid of our youths, bring to justice those involved in the violation of the rights of young Nigerian in all ramifications and urgently assist in the rehabilitation of those who may have been forced to take up indecent lifestyles to survive the crunch of today’s Nigeria.
They also must impress on the officials of the Lagos State government that treating nude dancing as an outright criminal issue is contentious because there is a greater sense in dealing with it as a moral issue. If it is crucial for the lagos state government to eradicate it then the better option might be to regulate the activities of clubs by engaging the proprietors, putting acceptable norms in place and regularly inspecting the clubs to make sure they are not operating contrary to stipulated rules.

Unfortunately, religious leaders are jumping into the bandwagon of sitting in judgement over the ladies! Rather, they should put their money where their mouths are and check the corruption going on in their own organisations, or call to order government officials who have front row seats in their church and mosques and also impress on them the desperate need for them to deliver good governance. A failed society is the society where those who should speak out only speak out when it is popular to speak.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Thoughts on Nigerian Federalism. by Kayode Ogundamisi

Thoughts on Nigerian federalism
By Kayode Ogundamisi

Federalism is described as the system of government built under the understanding and foundation that those who make up the federating unit will share power and also recognise, accommodate, preserve and promote the distinct identities of the ethnic nationalities that make up the larger political union, their rights to resource control, freedom, justice and equity amongst many other, heated debate on the issue of federalism is ounce again coming up amongst Nigerian political elites, discussion forums and the media.
The orchestrated misunderstanding of “federalism” in Nigeria is in the propagation of corrupt practices in the ranks of the ruling elite. Thus mechanisms such as “rotational presidency” “quota system” and others are put in place to guide their tendency to plunder, enrich and entrench their caprices.
The symbolic gesture of a “Yoruba presidency” for instance did produce General Olusegun Obasanjo who in practical terms represented the interest of the core of first the “Hausa-Fulani political elite” and then the “Yoruba political and economic elite” and Obasonjo delivered his promise not to the suffering oppressed class of the “Hausa-Fulani nor the suffering oppressed class of the Yoruba or any other ethnic group in Nigeria. He created billionaire friends leaving the vast majority of all the ethnic nationalities be it Yoruba, Fulani, Husa, Nupe, Igbo, Ijaw, Ibibio and other Nigerians in worst situation as they were under a Hausa-Fulani presidency. In the same vein former Hausa-Fulani Presidents General Sanni Abacha, General Ibrahim Babangida and others - did not make life any better for the average people in all parts of Nigeria and Northern Nigeria is worst off in socio, economic and infrastructural development. Thus Federalism should be viewed from a class perspective.

Whilst the average Nigerian discusses federalism vis-à-vis the competitiveness of the geo political zones, the promotion of development in all regions of the Nigerian federation and what can enhance good governance, the Nigerian political elites are thinking of federalism in terms of how to enhance their greed, ambition and lust for power.

The first step in our quest for true federalism is for politicians, policy makers and opinion molders to first understand the importance of federalism as it relates to good governance rather than how it facilitates equitable access to the infamous opportunity to plunder the national resources amongst the elites of the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria . Thus there must be an alignment of understanding between the rulers and the ruled

Nigerians can not shy away from the obvious need to renegotiate the bases for our nationhood. Running away from the issue keeps our country roaming around the orbit of a treacherous infamous vicious cycle of political infamy and economic profligacy. The “we the people “inscribed in the Nigerian constitution should be expunged forthwith.

A renegotiation of Nigeria is the first step towards a truly Nigerian Revolution. We should be courageous about the reality that all the various constitutions operated from the moment the British packaged us together till date are nothing more than reinventions of the conquest document imposed on the people before Nigeria was created. Before then, it did not matter if you were from the North, South, West or East; pre colonial Nation-States had sovereign relationships, fought wars, resolved crisis and related as equal partners.

The Kingdoms in the North, South, West, East are what in modern days could be referred to as States with sovereign rights, distinct borders and constitutional governments either in a parliamentary form as in the Old Oyo Kingdom, or the Oligarchy in the North or the collegiate system in the east. The fact that the British Colonial masters characterized our system as “crude” and “native” does not make an amalgamation without consultation with the people right. We must renegotiate our nationhood but with the resolve that Nigeria must not disintegrate.

If the Soviet Union can renegotiate with her federating units, South Africa dealt with her post apartheid era, we can tackle our problem head long. I do not see any reason why we cannot honestly seat down as a people and re-negotiate Nigeria on the bases of equal partnership; a partnership that must be in the overall interest of the poor people of our Country. Our constitution is a unitary document disguised with misrepresentations of federalism and it should not come as a surprise because even as students of history we know that the people who make Nigeria were never and have never been genuinely consulted when those documents are drafted and imposed by the rogue minority in power on the hapless majority.

And yes it’s been a chequered history of constitutional experiments first from the colonial masters, to the post colonial civilian government and then series of military regimes through to post military civilian governments. All that’s been done at each point in time has characteristically been to service the machinations of the various ruling elites. Indeed the four constitutions written by the colonial masters reflected the intentions of those in power, thus, we refer to the Clifford, Richards, McPherson and Lyttleton constitutions’ as travesties that were all crafted to subjugate the ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria; none reflected the needs, aspiration and unique diversity of our people.

A hurriedly drafted independence constitution failed under three years, You are all familiar with how the different military regimes, danced from unitary to federal and so on and so forth but none with the honest mission of resolving the National Question. Over the years, as we continue to shy away from reality, Nigeria predictably heats up to the boiling point. We’ve had the Biafra/Nigeria Civil war, series of religious and cultural riots and mass killings in the north, the OPC crisis in the west and its attendant deaths, the emergence of groups such as MASSOB, the introduction of Sharia Law in the North and the militancy in the Niger Delta amongst every other conflict flash points nationwide.

Sadly, our inability to re negotiate the way forward is as a result of the bankruptcy amongst our political leaders, thus we label anyone who raises the issue of True Federalism as wanting to break up Nigeria . It is clearly not a crime to call for the restructuring of Nigeria along the geo political divide. In as much as I personally feel that we may not be able to compromise our indivisibility, we have come a long way as a Country. Our long enforced marriage does not preclude the need to look at long term progressive revolutionary options that will weaken the centre, turn off opportunists and bring governance close to the people.

Acknowledging that we have a flawed Nation-State is the flag off point for the Nigerian revolution. Issues such as corruption, lack of transparent credible elections, poverty, mistrust, bad governance and others vices are bye-products of a people who care less about the character of the Nigerian state but more about their selfish interests.

The campaign for the convocation of a truly Sovereign National Conference that will resolve issues of, Resource Control, creation of Local Governments, State Police, ceding of overbearing federal government control of state Resources to the States and federating Units, a confederation that will work and strengthen the diverse nature of our Country is must continue.

We need a federal system that works for all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion, race or creed. Thus the energies of groups/alliances in opposition should be channeled not just to capture political power and perpetuate more of the same failed tendency of ignoring the core of our problem but adopting the PRONACO document with a view to expanding it and involving the Nigerian electorate.

Rejection of all the negative aspects of the constitution that first of all reflect the thinking of our colonial masters, the military and also the greed of the ruling elite that does not have the interest of the people of Nigeria is an emergency.

The federating state governments should continue to challenge the overbearing power of the federal government; the introduction of Sharia legal system by the states of Northern Nigeria was one of such steps. The creation of local governments by the Lagos State government and its continued challenge in court is a welcome development at enriching our federal system even as we look for that constitution that will truly reflect our unity in diversity.
Meanwhile, resolving the issues surrounding true federalism will not suddenly resolve the issues of corruption, bad leadership, electoral fraud, crime, marginalization just to mention a few. No it won’t, but at least we can localize the issues and resolve them side-by-side our nation building efforts. We cannot let our moment pass us by. It will only take a brave leader with vision to tackle the founding root of this macabre dance we call living.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Henry Okah! Niger Delta Amnesty and Failed Promises!

Niger Delta amnesty and failed promise!

Did I just see Henry Okah on Al Jazerra channel describing the amnesty programme of the Nigerian government as nothing but a stage managed play? scripted by the corrupt segment of the Nigerian ruling elite for the benefit of those who will control the multimillion dollar fund made available to those the government will hand pick to supervise the amnesty deal?And are we not witnessing the outcry by many a “former commanders” and foot soldiers of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and its allied partners who are now called “repentant militant” it was on the same Al Jazerra a self proclaimed “General Boy loaf” called on the international community to press on the Nigerian government to fulfil its promise of “given me the house they promised me in Abuja”, “put my children in school” and guarantee a “life savings”.Suddenly the issue is no longer about the ordinary people of the Niger Delta, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about “environmental degradation” when did you hear anyone speak about “oil spillage”? Oh or suddenly the spillage dried up and the Niger Delta women and children can now go swimming and fishing as the case may be. Or Shell , Chevron suddenly became socially responsible and the Joint Task Force transformed into a “friendly force of occupation”
I will not repeat what went through my mind when the idea of amnesty for the militants in the Niger-Delta was initially mentioned by the president. Many turbulent years in the struggle for the well-being of a great nation naturally influences my judgment of what the government says and what it truly intends to achieve. But all the same a lot of Nigerians and myself included did want the government to succeed and was hopeful that the government even if it is failing in all its agenda will at least succeed in the agenda of resolving the crisis in the Niger Delta. But alas we got hopeful to soon.I have closely monitored the implementation of the amnesty granted to militants in the Niger-Delta and many times anxiety has left me breathless; sick with trepidation. For so many reasons I’ve concluded that the mind of the average Nigerian politician is as fickle as the propaganda that gives him the audacity to rig his way to power and put Nigeria and her resources at her service.

Slowly but surely, the creeks emptied themselves out, weapons were submitted and now the fighters are on stand-by waiting for the next line of action. Meeting, endless inconclusive meetings have now taken over as the next line of action. What In the world are they now talking about in these meetings that they didn’t have enough time to talk about when the methodology and timeline for the amnesty were being worked out? Is it possible that from the on-set no one sat down to work out details of the processes and procedures necessary for the transformation of the so called restive people into resourceful citizens?Why do successive governments get to play the same brand of mischief with the same intensity and cunning? Could there be some mysterious secret initiation and orientation process that government leaders and officials go through to furnish them with what it takes to perpetuate such massive falsehood? And why do Nigerians always only grumble through it all and then animatedly talk about their suspicions coming true when at the end of the day the charade is seen for what it is and government of course fails to deliver on its promises?The saddest truth that has ever been told about the Niger-Delta is that very few stake-holders involved in the search for peace in the region are interested in seeing an end to the crisis. Governments from the federal through to the local levels are absolutely not interested in a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Too many vultures relish and flourish in the deaths that spoil the region, making it one of the richest wastelands in the world. The filthy politics and destructive leadership practiced by our governments can only thrive in an equally unwholesome environment.After all, most of today’s millionaires in the region are not descendants of legendary business men whose enterprise pre-dated colonialism. They are either crafty politicians and bureaucrats who negotiate for and corner resources meant to appease the people and develop the region or fearless men and woman who bully their way into the myriad of negotiating rooms where unscrupulous multi-national businesses and their cohorts in government pay them for the rights to drill billions of barrels and only account for a tiny fraction of it. And I am waiting for the day MEND will turn its anger at the local vultures, those Niger Delta Citizen who enslave the people of the Niger Delta and the common man who would never have a voice in an environment of violence, intimidation and chaos.Thus will you now call me cynical for suspecting that because it is now so difficult to out rightly steal public money, the amnesty was just a grand plot to get money out of the treasury and not a deliberate process in the search for peace in the Niger-Delta? And are the endless meetings not suppose to provide a clearance for time to perfect the scheme for the next phase of misappropriation?And now they feign shock and concern at Henry Okah’s judgment of the current situation. Isn’t an idle mind the devils workshop? Shouldn’t idle stranded fighters want to go back to the life and job they’ve always known? Besides, governments at the states could be missing their bulky monthly security votes they spend at their discretion.
The arms merchant must get back to business; there are more sophisticated weapons to sell. Before the creeks become war camps and arsenals again and hostilities escalate, the politicians and their cronies would have stolen enough money to abandon Nigeria and live lavishly in Europe or anywhere they fancy.I need Nigeria to prove me wrong this time; I desperately need to be proven wrong. We must not permit the charade being acted out to be played out to the end. We must all get involved; we may not all be from the Niger-Delta but no Nigeria can truly live well and in safety while the region is being torn apart. That joke and charade called amnesty should be for the benefit of not just the young man with the AK47 and his Bazooka but for the ordinary people who live in the hinterlands of the Niger Delta. The new expensive four-wheel drives now nicknamed “amnesty jeep” is not the freedom Isaac Adaka Boro, Ken Saro Wiwa and others paid the supreme sacrifice for. MEND must reMEND itself and the Nigerian government get off the TV and move machines to re build the Niger Delta.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Chief Olabode GeorgeWhen things happen in our own unique Nigerian way, you find yourself doing a systematic check on yourself just to be sure that the fault is not from you. What has happened is of course absolutely crazy and you’ve got to be sure that it is the occurrence and the people who orchestrated it that are crazy and not you.
This has become such an impulsive ritual that even when Bode George got his Nigerian Sentence during the week I had to do a massive check with myself and fellow Nigerians to be confirm that it wasn’t me that had gone crazy. And even as I write I pray earnestly that at worst the ridiculous sentence is for real because it’s highly possible that in the books Bode George is an inmate at the Ikoyi prison while indeed he’s somewhere in Europe living large and garish. Or to make it a little real he could decide to live at home in the island and sneak into prison at dawn so that amebos can see, hangout with the wardens in the cozy parts of the prison and sneak out again at night. While we may not be able to reverse the sentence and give him what he truly deserves for being such a brazen fraudster, we can only hope that the little he gets goes to him. Thus, in as much I oppose oppression of any kind, I’ll break my own rules and hope that Bode George and his accomplices get to go through the initiation rites other convicts go through during their early days in prison; the beatings and bullying that others go through on arrival. Don’t ask me how I got to know about the prison rituals I lived it many times in Jos Prison as an official of the University of Jos when the National Association of Nigerian Students was worth the name attached to it. And I know about the SSS detention centre in Shaginsha Lagos, I have been a guest of the SSS underground cell in the middle of nowhere on the outs skirts of Abuja. I have had a taste of several police detentions. I am so proud of the trauma as they testify to a sacrifice we have have to make for our nations. But I feel pain that Swagger man Bode will not see the prison we saw, he will never partake in the ritual of a new comer. He will be in a “special cell” in Jos Prison it is known as “B ward” Bode’s alter ego Olusegun Obasonjo spent some months in that cosy cell. I onlyt could admire it as I stroll around the yard of the colonial Jos prison in those days. I feel sad. The big mans cell in Nigeria is home away from home. Uncle swagger Bode will be laughing at us all. The common man steal bread in Idumota market, we shout “Ole! Ole! Ole! And get him a “necklace” (used tire) we get petrol and roast him alive. Powerful men like Bode George Is to spend 913 days for stealing N84bn at the rate of N92m per day. Nigeria ! One country ! One law for the mighty another for the less priviledge. What an outrage but then “half justice” is better than none, at least we can call him Olabode George. GCOFIPN (Grand Convict of the Federal Ikoyi Prison of Nigeria). Kudos to the brave judge.Olabode George is a key player in the destruction of our country and a mastermind behind the misrule that now creates most of the criminals we have in prison today. That’s why it is only right that he gets a taste of his own medicine. For years men like Bode George have maintained their stranglehold on the nation; wheeling and dealing, unleashing terror on the people like predators on the prowl in some lawless jungle. Even predators in the jungle live by their rules. They are not wasteful. They don’t kill what they don’t need! Terror is a violation that not only aggrieved groups or persons are capable of committing against a others; leaders like the thieving manipulating George, irresponsible Yar’adua, con Ibori, and their ilk before them do rain terror on Nigerians killing them with poverty, lack of adequate health care and the basic necessities of life that any good government must provide for the people. The EFCC must give us reasons to believe that this is indeed a conviction in spite of its deficiency and not just another smart way of kicking dirt into our eyes. Our politicians and their cronies in government are deft at insulting our intelligence and getting away with it while we sit back grateful for the charade they just acted before us. Isn’t it possible that this conviction is just a decoy that’s supposed to appease us while an even greater evil is being done somewhere? The burden of survival is depleting our sense of history and we quickly forgive and forget because we’ve got no mental/moral energy left to fight. The EFCC must prove to Nigerians that this gawky victory is not a ransom for others awaiting trial and definite conviction. We must be able to see the way forward in all this; yes they go to prison but what about the money they got through the scam? Will the money be recovered? How will it be recovered? What is being done to recover it? While we will try and encourage ourselves to get over the fact that a man gets a two and a half year sentence for fraud that’s worth billions of naira it is important those who by fraud or by merit now find themselves at the helm of affairs in our great country to realize the fact that Nigerians are waking up! Waking up to the call for complete change in the way our great country is managed. People will be held accountable for their deeds; even after they are dead and gone! As the tears of suffering Nigerians whose lives they cut short to enrich theirs fall on the ground, even the dust they must return to will war against them!
Kayode Ogundamisi

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Killing our citizens softly! The primary healthcare mess in Nigeria.

Killing our citizens softly! The primary healthcare mess in Nigeria.

By Kayode Ogundamisi

Professor Babatunde Osotimehin is Nigeria’s Minister of Health, I don’t know the schedule of the minister but I have a humble suggestion for him, the professor should take time off his very busy schedule of addressing international forums and visit some of the rural areas in Nigeria and see for himself the gory details of what happens when a government abandons its people. One of the legacies of the ministers in the Umaru Musa Yar'Adua government in Nigeria is the length of time they spend outside Nigeria. Thus it is no longer unusual to walk along major European cities and meet Nigerian ministers conducting everything but the affairs of state. Their seeming lack of knowledge and understanding of what is going on in the nook and crannies of the country means the difficulty in their different ministries look ordinary and nothing unusual to them and their advisers.

I have listened to Nigeria’s minister of health PROFESSOR Babatunde Osotimehin. He is a frequent visitor to the United Kingdom and loves international forums. And it is quite commendable to see our minister “network” with the who is who in the international community; I would have been hoodwinked by the smooth talking professor, the professor earlier in the year called on Nigerian physicians in the Diaspora to return home and showcase their talents he particularly challenged Nigerian medical practitioners in the United States of America to “return home” I completely agree with the minister that all citizens should in one way or the other volunteer time and resources to develop the country but the minister should show a good example and take the lead. He should start by doing something worthwhile to encourage Nigerians in Diaspora.

I accompanied some German based Nigerian medical team to Nigeria in august of 2009. Private citizens who visit the country unnoticed, to help out in the hinterland and communities that appear to have been wiped out of the map of Nigeria by the Nigerian government. The professor should please take time off and visit the following health facilities; I have seen them and they are a painful travesty of what primary health care delivery should be.
In Kano state we visited health facilities in Waraw, Tsanyawa and Bagwai, Birnin Magaji in Zamfara, Ibeju Lekki in Lagos, Nkpor in Anambra state and Ikare in Ondo State Nigeria and these health centres are junky medical showrooms visited by people who have no alternatives, knowing that they even lack the resources to go to bigger neighborhoods’ where they can find private hospitals that are well above their range financially.

I am not a medical expert but you do not have to be a professor of medicine, or a practicing medical expert to notice the presence of anything but functional healthcare facilities at the most important level of healthcare delivery in our country. Primary health care delivery in some cases is offered in dilapidated buildings, and in other cases very well built fancy structures that are cursed with the absence of skilled health workers, functional equipments and grouchy poorly motivated health workers. At the level of these communities, the poor level of awareness of the importance of healthy living is as a result of inability of health workers to provide health education to the people.

The federal government has of course dumped the responsibility of health education on the shoulders of international aid agencies. Furthermore, the result of World Bank policy is the decision to replace the provision of drugs with the national health insurance which is available only to civil servants who form about 10% of the total population of Nigerians while the local governments who are meant to provide drugs are stretched to the limits. Besides massive corruption drains funds meant for primary health care delivery and never mind the government’s promise to raise the total budget for health to 15% of; Nigerians could survive a bit if the current allocation was spent on them.

I am hoping that by the minister would read this, and resolve to give primary health care the required attention. Relying on the opinion of sundry consultants in the assessment of our current health situation and the performance of the ministry of Health is irresponsible.
The minister should knuckle down and get involved in what is happening in his ministry. He should personally know whether Nigerians can get attention when they need it.
He should know whether the health centres and hospitals have the technical and human capacity to provide this attention. He should know what it takes to replace the travesty we call health care delivery with a system that is empowered in all ramifications to work.

The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), was established in 1992 with the main aim of ensuring sustainable primary health care in all noon and crannies of the Nigerian federation, Mr Minister your agency is as of today not fit for purpose, beyond the regular radio jingle and the millions of naira dolled on media houses and spin doctors, the NPHCDA should connect to ordinary Nigerian’s.

Beyond rhetoric, Nigerian health practitioners home and abroad should rise up and confront the orchestrated deficiencies that are killing our people all over the country. Some of those in the Diaspora come in trickles with their colleagues to provide free medical services where it is badly needed. May God empower more of them to do same. These volunteer could become foreign legions that will visit the rural health centres and provide time and facilities.

It bears re-emphasising that we must make the health ministry more accountable. To make matters worse, we have that fraud called interventions by the United Nations Development Fund; in Ikare for instance where three different health centres are reported to have been built for the community, I was terribly shocked and disappointed. Between the United Nations and their local partners some one must take responsibility for the lie that’s called a health centre.
Our inability to make our government accountable is giving those in office the courage to do whatever they want to do and more painful is the fact that those in the rural community have little or no voice. No avenue to cry out. If we continue to define our “development” on the bases of the number of sky scrappers and 10 lane roads coming up in Lagos and Abuja. Or the number of international forums our minister’s attend or the laughable statistics we exhibit out on daily basis to a gullible section of the local and international media, then we are more or less a nation with a greater percentage of unwell population.

It is dreadful enough that we cannot provide our people with a the basic needs in life , even as basic as clean water, accessible road network, corrupt free institutions, a lasting and transparent electoral process, at least we should not burden our local communities with slow death, that farmer in Northern Nigeria should not have to worry about treating a snake bite, the Niger Delta woman in the riverside area should be able to seek advice from a health care assistance close to the river bank. The Ibeju Lekki bus conductor should have a place to go to effortlessly for health advice. Ordinary Nigerians do not ask for more, they see local schools become glorified poultries, open greeneries that used to be the meeting points for youths to interact are taken over by uncaring elite and primary health care is now added to the list of “hard to find hard to get”.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

London “Kpeke” life and the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom.

London “Kpeke” life and the Nigerian High Commission in the United Kingdom.

By Kayode Ogundamisi

The life of the Nigerian is a very complicated one; somehow the evil we are challenged with at home seems to follow us everywhere we go. As life at home increasingly became a grind and the massive brain-drain syndrome depleted the ranks of our professionals, the expectation was that hell was being left behind and the destination abroad was paradise. Whereas for some this is true, for a lot of Nigerians, this highly besought paradise is becoming another hell hole.

Nigerians in the United Kingdom are reported to be topping a million or more and are said to be the “fastest growing ethnic minority group in the United Kingdom”. It is common these days to meet a larger segment of the Nigerian community describing themselves as “Nigerian British “ a catch phrase for identifying Nigerians with British nationality or as some would put it British people of Nigerian descent. Of course they sure have dissolved themselves into the British society and now we easily refer to Seal, Sade Adu, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sophie Okonedo, Lemar the soul singer and other’s as British acts even though the Nigerian blood flows deep in them.

Slave trade and colonialism consolidated the British Nigerian link, with London being the “host city” to Nigerians; the British home office describes London as the home of the largest Nigerian communities and possibly the largest oversees Nigerian communities in the world outside Nigeria. I call them Nigerian communities because we have taken tribalism with us and so within the broad Nigerian community you have cultural and even social groups that segregate.

The South London town of Peckham is the home of the largest overseas Nigerian community in the world. Yoruba the language of ethnic Yoruba people in South West Nigeria is widely spoken in London in particular the Southern London Boroughs’. Name any Nigerian food and you can get it in a jiffy and in abundance, either from the Dalston market, Peckham market, Finsbury Park and the many Nigerian shops springing up in every nook and crannies of the city of London. Nigerian clubs and food restaurants are on the rise and it is noteworthy that Nigerians are reported to own the highest number of African restaurants in the United Kingdom with the city of London accounting for majority of the eateries.

In spite of these economic activities, It cannot be said to be all rosy for the Nigerian community in the UK as the numerical advantage they have as not been translated into a political force. Nigerians until recently are not known to be united when it comes to issues affecting the home land. However, we anticipate gradual attitudinal changes as groups are now networking; the advent of social network sites such as face book, twitter, bego and others are increasingly facilitating the capacity of various groups to network. We’ve got a long way to go though in comparison with the influence wielded by the Somali or Ghanaian community.

The Nigerian High commission in Northumberland is just less than 5 minutes walk from the famous tourist site, Trafalgar square, but the high commission is never a place Nigerians look forward to visiting for any kind of business. Even though the old rug at the reception area has been replaced with a more presentable one the disposition and efficiency of the staff of the high commission is a far cry from what it should be.

When Nigerians encounter problems here in the United Kingdom, the high commission is the last place they want to go to as officials will never respond to enquiries or call for help. Instances abound, chronicling the indifference of the high commission to the plight of Nigerians. The customary joke that goes around is that if you want to have a feel of how things work in Nigeria just visit the Nigerian high commission in London; bureaucratic bottlenecks, extortions, delay in issuance of travel documents, the list goes on. Ironically the high commission is quite efficient when it comes to issuing visas to foreign nationals visiting Nigeria.

In fact, the high commission is commonly referred to by Nigerians as the “western union” arm of the thieving Nigerian ruling elite, with allegations that the embassy is being used as a cover to transfer stolen money from Nigeria into the United Kingdom. It’s stunning to see how diplomatic staff spend valuable time running errands for visiting Nigerian officials even when in most cases their visits are private. Little time is spent addressing the needs of ordinary Nigerians.

Nigerian are a huge percentage of inmates her majesty’s prison; Holloway prison is filled with Nigerian women some who are mainly victims of circumstances and others who are slammed in for drugs, fraud, cyber crime or immigrations problems. The high commission does not have a case worker who visits these prisons as it is done by other embassies in the United Kingdom. It is never the business of the High commission; even in clear cases where Nigerians are victims of miscarriage of justice ,no help is forthcoming.

To get the bills paid and put food on the table, Nigerians have now established the “Kpeke” business. “kpeke” is a coinage from the sound a coin makes when you drop it in a bowl and that is the term some Nigerians use to describe the job of toilet assistants in night clubs. The rise in the number of Nigerians who have no alternative and now make a living as toilet assistants in the UK is alarming. The job is so humiliating that the attendant is subjected to between seven to eight hours in the toilet without formal pay. The reward for cleaning the toilet is expected to come from the coin dropped “kpeke” in a bowl. So the sound of each coin brings a reassuring smile to the attendant. Now because tipping is not obligatory some may just spend a whole night with little or no money to take them home.

That our citizen have to resort to this way of life is an indictment on the way we have mismanaged our country turning able bodied and very well educated men and women into toilet attendants in European cities. Add to this the provocation of watching politicians and public office holders who come in and out of the United Kingdom and spend money like crazy. Nigerians in the United Kingdom see family members of Nigerian public office holders’ ride expensive cars that even British citizens only see with mouth agape in advertisements. They open glossy Nigerian magazines and see how fellow Nigerians boast of millions they have not earned, stolen wealth! Sadly, rather than get angry they pray to God to be able to join them and if they fail to join them, they pray that someday their children would rise and be like those who enslave them. They flock the ever increasing Nigerian churches springing up in every nook and crannies of inner London boroughs’.

It’s a shame that Nigerians rarely get effectively angry in the United Kingdom; we moan about the situation of things at home, rain curses on the President of Nigeria Umoru Musa Yar’adua, his godfather James Ibori and other’s and then ask for when the next party will be taking place in Peckham or when the next Nigerian artist is coming to throw a big concert. We then gather our earnings from, the “kpeke” business, thank God for his mercies, put on our best attire from Primax or M&S and move to the party and dance like we’ve got no worries because tomorrow will never come. Then, non Nigerians will look at us, shake their heads and retort “Nigerians, they deserve the kind of government they have”.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Photo Speak! My Nigeria the Beautiful!

Photo Speak! My Nigeria the Beautiful!

In august 2009 I did visit my Country of birth Nigeria and I took some random pictures i and could not help but share random image of that beautiful country with you. Enjoy.

Kayode Ogundamisi

We may be maltreated by Government but we send our children to School.

"Ejika ni Shobu"

"Trafiki Light we dey Obey"

"Agege Buredi"

"Oya wey your Kpa-ti-Kola"

Good Bye to "the Girls" UK

Abuja Blues the "Moon and the Rock".

Sunset On Lagos 3rd mainland bridge.

The "Igi Iroko" Ikare , Akoko North, Ondo State South West Nigeria

"Oga wey your Helmet"

"River Bank".

Nigerian Army "For Country and for God" Lagos

"Sango" (god of thunder) . Lagos Marina

Ikare the Root. Main aproach to Ikare Town.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Gani Fawehinmi and the Digbo Lu gi... uncontrollables ! By Kayode Ogundamisi

Gani Fawehinmi and the Digbo Lu gi... uncontrollables ! By Kayode Ogundamisi

Tamedo: Unmm Did you notice the “grand” burial given to Chief Gani Fawheinmi!
Lagbaja: The man is a great man, from the moment he passed away his GRA Ikeja house became a “Mecca”; all the activists gathered in less than one minute.
Tamedo: Activist? Do we still have them?
Lagbaja: Of course we have them they came from all the nooks and crannies of Nigeria even NANS came.
Tamedo: NANS? Did they not give all kinds of awards to all manner of governors for bringing Mr Biggs to state capitals?
Lagbaja: What is your problem? They came and I saw them with my korokoro eyes. They vowed to continue Ganis struggle, as a matter of fact Governor Fashola met them and they immediately surrounded him shouting Baba ni governor
Tamedo: Oh so the governor is in town?
Lagbaja: Yes and he came with a seasoned activist in his government as they drove out then came the two Odua leaders?
Tamedoa: Enm me I no dey o, don’t say anything funny about the Odua people o!
Lagbaja: No I won’t, the younger Odua leader got a resounding welcome, sebi you know Gani backed him during the Odua crisis? He waved , shook hands and then signed the condolence register, as he moved to his jeep the other leader came and someone in the crowd shouted hey Baba what are you doing here did you not once describe Chief Gani Fawheinmi as “Digbolugi”?
Tamedo: A-a-ah Lagbaja please shut up! You are trying to make something out of nothing, that was in the past and things have changed. At least Nuhu Ribadu came and you can not accuse him of not being sincere! Imagine he risked his life just to come and “touch” Gani’s body...that young man should be president he is the kind of courageous leader Gani was talking about.
Lagbaja: I can’t comment on Nuhu I don’t want EFCC problem. You know if I say nice things about him Farida will start asking me for the receipt of my table fan. But I can assure you Babangida sent his condolence
Tamedo: Baba wetin? You mean Baba Gana Kingibe?
Lagbaja: No not Kingibe. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. He called Gani a national hero!Tamedo: A national what?
Lagbaja: Hero! Wonders will never end, even Olagunsoye Oyinlola made it to Ondo to Honour Gani. And Bola Tinubu too; he gave a very moving speech.
Tamedo: Did Tinubu mention Chicago?
Lagbaja: No!
Tamedo: Did he remind the crowd of how Gani fought him almost to a standstill?
Lagbaja: You are a trouble maker, I won’t comment, I live close to Alausa. I was also reliably informed that Gbenga Daniels sent his delegates to Lagos. He did not show up and busy bodies kept saying he was busy at Okija shrine...
Tamedo: Okija? In Ogun State?
Lagbaja: Sorry Ikija , but the people’s Democratic Party promise to create a foundation for Gani and also carry out Gani’s programmes in One year.
Tamedo: Even the PDP? Wonders will never end. Gani called the PDP Evil party.
Lagbaja: I don’t know about that but Adams Oshiomole promise to hand over his 25 million Naira ‘Silverbird Man of the Year’ award to a newly created “Gani Fawheinmi Foundation”
Tamedo: Are you serious? Did the owner of silverbird not make money under Obasonjo? Or are you telling me Obasonjo’s money will go into Gani’s foundation?
Lagbaja: That is your problem, Oshiomole joined AC but I think after Gani’s death he will move to the National Conscience Party in honour of Gani, you know to build a true opposition party not owned by any god father.
Tamedo: What about the lawyers?
Lagbaja: Ah! they all came even all the Senior Advocates that denied him SAN suddenly remembered being Gani’s best friend. Even lawyers who usually did not want to be identified with Gani during the struggle against military dictatorship brought memorable pictures. As a matter of fact the courts became a mini carnival centre.
Tamedo: I was told Gani’s clothes were changed several times.
Lagbaja: Mind your business they changed his clothes to match the occasion but when they got to Edo they could not get the Oshiomole kind of Khaki for Gani.
Tamedo: So after Ganis burial what will happen
Lagbaja: ‘To thy tents o Israel’. The activists will go underground again and leave Yar’adua to continue his misrule; ye pa did I just say that? I withdraw that statement o. I don’t want to be “Boko Harramed”. Anyway it is a regime of “Ruse of Law” I am safe. So the activist will resume the usual conferences, symposium , parliamentary lobby, and then wait for 2011 to serve as consultants’ to politicians and then wait for God forbid another important activist and they will all gather again like locusts.
Tamedo: Haba, in your entire story you did not even mention the Nigerian masses
Lagbaja: Masses ke! Is that not the name of Late Moji Obasonjo’s political party
Tamedo: No it is the name of ordinary Nigerians
Lagbaja: O I see...they ke? They buried Gani Fawehinmi in their hearts. They love him to bits and know that someday very soon, another Gani will rise again.
Tamedo: I am going to sleep o jare. Digbolugi...ah, that person must be wicked to describe Gani as Digbolugi and yet shed the most tears, what a world.
Lagbaja: Good Night.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Gani Fawehinmi A man for whom silence was never an option, the conscience of 150 million Nigerians:

Gani Fawehinmi A man for whom silence was never an option, the conscience of 150 million Nigerians: Lawyer and activist who fought for human rights in Nigeria

Thursday, 2 July 2009

“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” I am off to Nigeria! Kayode Ogundamisi

“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” I am off to Nigeria! Kayode Ogundamisi

Dear Friends and Adversary alike ,

The words from Cheri Hubber above best describe the raison d’être not to desert our homeland based on the fear that forces of evil will exterminate us. As a consequence of a collective resolution of members, volunteers and sympathisers of the Nigeria Liberty Forum I will be arriving Nigeria on Wednesday 8th of July 2009.

Due to my absence I may not be able to update your face book news page on a regular basis as I am off to my country of birth Nigeria. I do appreciate the interruption my absence would bring to a few people who rely on the updates we offer here as a source of information.

Those who may feel the absence of the regular update would be our Diaspora brothers and sisters who write in to make suggestions on how we can make the page serve you better.

My trip to Nigeria is very important, as it is a mandate we have to fulfil. The need to network with Nigerian based organisations, identify areas of need in community development and also work for the people of Nigeria trough the Nigeria Liberty Forum.

We are aware of concerns raised about our safety in Nigeria. We want to re assure you all that We are very confident that all will be well in our homeland and that whatever may happen we must not lose sight of the fact that the struggle is not about the safety of our individual self but the safety and survival of the ordinary people who sweat daily under the most dehumanising conditions in Nigeria and under a thieving, evil political class and those who collaborate with them in subjecting our people to a perpetual state of INDIRECT SLAVERY.

We have faith in our common destiny for a better Nigeria but faith alone do not move mountains the work of our hands will help in moving mountains and obstacles. The Nigerian trip is important and as we always say only us can “SAVE NIGERIA FROM NIGERIANS.”

I doubt if I would be detained in Nigeria as I have done all I do bearing in mind my rights as a citizen of a free world and my limitations under the law. I have not in anyway violated any known law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Luckily the Musa Yaradua government believe firmly in the “RUSE OF LAW” and the administration would not want to contaminate that reputation, but in any case if my self or any of my colleagues get picked up on arrival at the Muritala Muhammed International Airport on the 8th of July or in Nigeria, We want you all to be resolute in demanding for a just, equitable Nigeria and make the campaign less about us.
In my absence I recommend a sister publication as an alternative source of news. If you need any enquiry about our work in Nigeria please contact the NLF trough as our team will be updating the website as soon as practicable.

You may contact the Nigeria Liberty Forum in Nigeria on +2348058325505 or P.O.BOX 3720 Ikeja Lagos Nigeria.I want to thank you all for your understanding and words of encouragement. May I emphasize again that our cause is not about individuals but about our collective destiny.

Hopefully in few weeks time your page will be back in full strength. Permit me to leave you with the words of MARGARET CHASE SMITH

“Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk. The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character.”

Nigeria shall Rise Again!

Kayode Ogundamisi

Thursday, 11 June 2009

MY TAKE: Taking a measure of Nigeria in London By Okey Ndibe

MY TAKE: Taking a measure of Nigeria in London
Okey Ndibe
June 9, 2009.

Anybody who wished to gauge what Nigerians think about their country's bizarre brand of "democracy" should have been in London on May 29.

I was there as one of the speakers in a symposium tagged "The State of the Nigerian Nation." It was clear to me that Nigerians had exhausted their patience with the coterie of criminals who have hijacked their nation, and that something is about to give.

Headlined by Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka, the event was organised by the Nigerian Liberty Forum. The NLF, whose public face is Kayode Ogundamisi, exemplifies what can be achieved when committed, mostly young, citizens come together to exclaim no to the diabolical bunch who're mortgaging their country's interests.

Given many Nigerians' tendency to quickly discount the perfidious acts of their so-called leaders, it's comforting to behold a group that's sworn not to forget.
Instead, the NLF maintains a formidable sense of the multiple ways in which Nigeria has been betrayed. The group's goals include advocacy of "good governance, accountability and the enthronement of democracy" and the organisation of "peaceful public protests against corrupt Nigerian practices."

It has recorded some remarkable feats. When Umaru Yar'Adua visited the United Kingdom, the NLF mobilised Nigerians to come out and remind the man's British hosts about his tainted mandate.

More recently, the group pulled off a successful rally that sent former president, Olusegun Obasanjo cowering for cover. Obasanjo had been invited by the London School of Economics to talk about his role as a United Nations' peace envoy to the Congo.
The NLF felt that, given Obasanjo's record as president, his name and peace should never be mentioned in the same breath.

True, the NLF fell short of persuading LSE to withdraw its invitation. Even so, its members ensured that Obasanjo's inflated and delusional credential as a peacemaker was eloquently called into question.

In a sense, the symposium was proof that the NLF is far from just reactive. Its line-up of speakers was morally august. There was the former chair of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Nuhu Ribadu.

Soft-spoken in voice and wiry in appearance, Ribadu's message resonated deeply with the audience. In what amounted to a cry from the heart, he implored Nigerians, one, to reject the false creeds those in power employ to divide and conquer and, two, to reclaim their country from the hands of its despoilers.

There was Femi Falana, one of Nigeria's most intrepid lawyers, whose insider account of the recent electoral shame in Ekiti reminded the audience about the depth of the ruling party's determination to emasculate the Nigerian electorate.
The unprepossessing Sowore Omoyele, publisher of, proved a crowd favourite. Omoyele's website, which combines hard-edged investigative reports with an iconoclastic style, has endeared him to many Nigerians who relish the way he exposes the cupid underbelly of the ruling class.

He challenged Nigeria's traditional media to awaken to the need to identify with the cause of the masses or risk losing relevance.

Josephine Amuwo, who helps run a highly successful London-based agency that offers training and a variety of other services to women, gave a short but spirited testimony about her passion for Nigeria and her belief in its capacity to rise from the morass and achieve its promise.
Affiong L. Affiong, a former student activist, spoke movingly about the role of women in the struggle to liberate Nigeria.

The ever-ebullient Kennedy Emetulu and the energetic Professor Sola Adeyeye gave rousing performances as moderators of the morning and afternoon sessions respectively.
So much was at stake at the London symposium. That it was held on May 29, a day Obasanjo presumptuously declared "Democracy Day," was at once fortuitous and added to the dramatic temperature.

Soyinka's speech skewered the notion that May 29, rather than June 12 (when Nigerians held what's acknowledged as the finest election in their country's history), merits designation as the day democratic aspirations are to be celebrated.

There was, besides, a running subplot to the symposium that lent it some air of drama.
Prior to my arrival in London, I'd received feelers that the Yar'Adua regime was hostile to this gathering of Nigerians to take stock. In London, I was shocked to discover how chagrined Abuja was at the prospect of this meeting.

Under pressure from the Nigerian High Commission in London, the London Metropolitan University pulled out as co-sponsors of the event.

When Sowore, Ogundamisi and I sat down in the studios of BEN TV to do a live interview on the conference, the audio became unaccountably mute.
I later learned that the High Commission had registered its displeasure with the Nigerian owner of the studio for letting subversive elements appear on his TV. At the symposium, a man told me that the commission had signalled that any Nigerian groups that attended the event courted sharp censure.

Despite these shameful efforts, the hall was packed from morning till the event's conclusion. Still, the government's attempt to undermine the symposium struck me as powerful proof that our democracy is yet deformed.

Culled from NexT Newspaper.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Hanover blues! ich liebe dich !

Hanover blues!


Kayode Ogundamisi

Hanover ! How I so look forward to seeing you again! Pride of Niedersachsen and the blossom dew of River Leine.

You it was who gave me water when thirsty; you gave me the opportunity for rebirth. Your warmth from Schwarzer Bär to the dry tips of the Messe replaced my hate with love. No city can take your place. How I long to see you again, all others see your angst but to me you gave your sweetness, feeling my thoughts only with the beauty of life.

Even when my country of birth ounce hunt me like a demon, your reassurance thought me to love my Homeland more. Love Africa like never before, caressing Africa with my slim fragile finger’s from the topmost desert land of Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt, running my slim tender fingers across the African exotic jungle of Cameroon, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and reaching climax in the breathtaking African toe of Namibia, Botswana and South Africa.

Providing me with the soul of mercy, teaching me to love adversary and hope over browbeaten. As I leave the rustiness of little Britain to call on you again for wisdom and the way forward I say to you Hanover that part of you in me will never die. As I may never say to another soul, or to any other city but you, Hanover let me say it Loud to you. ich liebe dich !

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Gordon Brown’s hypocrisy and parochialism are fuelling genocide and corruption in Nigeria

Gordon Brown’s hypocrisy and parochialism are fuelling genocide and corruption in Nigeria

Kayode Ogundamisi

The tenth anniversary of Nigeria’s return to civil rule and the second anniversary of President Umaru Yar’Adua’s tenure is being marked the genocidal confrontation between the military's Joint Task Force (JTF) and armed groups in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The JTF, which is comprised of troops of the army, navy, air force and the mobile police, was set in 2004 to tackle the armed groups fighting against the exploitation and oppression of the people of the Niger Delta and the degradation of the natural environment by foreign multinationals involved in the extraction of oil and the complicity and neglect of the corrupt state and federal governments.

Since 13 May 2009 the JTF have carried out a military operation on suspected militant camps in the Gbaramatu kingdom of Delta State, using gunboats, helicopter gunships and fighter jets. The JFT claims the offensive is being undertaken to root out militants but a number of villages including Opuye, Okerenkoro, Kurutie and Oporoza, are reportedly razed to the ground and many innocent civilians are reported among those killed.

According to Amnesty International, “hundreds of bystanders, including women and children, are believed to have been killed and injured by the JTF and by the armed groups shooting at the JTF. Many houses in the communities have been set on fire and destroyed by the military. People are still in hiding in the forest, with no access to medical care and food. The main method of transportation for these communities is by boat. However, according to reports, people attempting to travel by water are being targeted by the JTF or members of the armed groups.”

Oil companies operating in the Niger Delta have made record profits, and the various state governments received unprecedented oil revenue, in recent years. Yet the region remains impoverished, with no basic amenities or infrastructure. Oil and gas companies operating in the region import most food in the region due to the decades of contamination of the water and soil. Thus, the military blockade imposed by the JFT effectively means starvation for thousands of people.
Federal lawmakers who said the operations should be extended to neighbouring Rivers and Bayelsa States have endorsed the military operation.

In response the JTF have attacked Abonnema in Rivers State. Residents of the town Odi in neighbouring Bayelsa State, which was burned down by the Nigerian military in a similar operation ten years ago, have also fled the town in fear of being overrun by the soldiers.

One lawmaker, Alhaji Bala N’Allah, was reported to have declared, “Nigeria can afford to waste 20 million people in the Niger Delta to save the remaining 100 million population.”
JTF spokesman, Colonel Rabe Abubakar, has also expressed not dissimilar views. According to him, "In the conduct of this national assignment some few members of the communities will be inconvenienced by our actions, but we did not do it deliberately. It is for the overall development of the communities in the long run and what we want to achieve for our children to benefit tomorrow.”
The ongoing operation, codenamed 'Cordon and Rescue' which has seen the JTF use dozens of gunboats, several helicopter gunships and fighter jets, is a significant change in the government's approach to tackling a three-year-old insurgency that has disrupted nearly a quarter of Nigeria's oil production.

The sheer scale and coordination of the operation are unprecedented and is a chilling reminder of Gordon Brown’s pledge last year to provide the Nigerian military with direct assistance to help return law and order to the Niger Delta in order to restore oil output.

It will be recalled that with the unrest in the Niger Delta helping to drive oil prices to the record high of $145 per barrel last summer, Mr Brown announced at the close of the G8 meeting in Japan on 9 July 2008, that: "We stand ready to give help to the Nigerians to deal with lawlessness that exists in this area and to achieve the levels of production that Nigeria is capable of, but because of the law and order problems has not been able to achieve."

His comments came ahead of a visit to London by the Nigerian President, Umaru Yar'Adua in July 2008. President Yar'Adua came to power in May 2007 after a flawed election a win that was universally condemned by national and international observers.

The European Union, said the polls had “fallen far short of basic international and regional standards for democratic elections and... cannot be considered to have been credible.” The head of the EU monitoring team, Max van den Berg, declared it one of the worst elections the EU had observed.

In April 2008, Prime Minister Brown against Robert Mugabe made a strikingly similar judgement for what is arguably a lesser electoral fraud. According to Mr Brown: “No one thinks, having seen the results at polling stations, that President Mugabe has won this election. A stolen election would not be a democratic election at all. The credibility of the democratic process depends on there being a legitimate government.”

Three months later, Mr Brown was treating Mr Yaradua, another beneficiary of a stolen mandate, to a four-day visit. In addition to his meeting with Mr Brown, Mr Yaradua enjoyed the privilege of tea with The Queen, and a lunch hosted in his honour by the Foreign Secretary David Miliband with a wide range of British Ministers in attendance.

During Mr Yaradua’s visit, both countries agreed to work together to tackle lawlessness in its oil region. As a result of the uproar created by Mr Brown’s previous statement in Japan, the Prime Minister chose his words very carefully at a press conference to mark the end of the visit: “The security training force that we are talking about will be support for Nigerians to be able to have trainers and others who can build up this capacity locally to deal with the problems of lawlessness that exist in the area.”

However, anyone vaguely familiar with the problems in the Niger Delta would recognise that what needs to be tackled as a first priority is endemic corruption. Indeed the All Party Parliamentary Group on Nigeria, which visited Nigeria in late 2008, concluded that “There is no alternative but to make oil work for the benefit of Nigerians as a whole. This means first and foremost clamping down on corruption and improving transparency and making a concurrent improvement in government accountability.”

Yet the government of President Umaru Yar'Adua has dismantled the anti-corruption body. Despite campaign pledges to tackle endemic corruption he has used his endless rule of law rhetoric as a pretext to nullify the limited progress made by the previous government in tackling high level corruption. He has also failed in his pledge to address local grievances in the Niger Delta.

Ironically issues of transparency and accountability did not feature in the speeches made by Prime Minister Brown and President Yaradua at the end of the July 2008 meeting. Thus as the UK government continues to assist the Nigerian army defeat the militants the political leaders whose corruption and greed underdeveloped the Niger Delta and many of whom are fugitives from British justice remain untouched in the corridors of power in Abuja.

Of particular significance in this regard is the immediate past Governor of Delta State – the scene of the current battle between the JTF and the militants - Mr James Ibori. Mr Ibori was convicted of theft at Isleworth Crown Court in January 1991 for stealing goods from a Wickes shop in Ruislip, where he worked as a check out cashier; and again in February 1992 for handling a stolen American Express Gold at Clerkenwell Magistrates Court.

However, by 1999 he had risen in the world, and assumed office as the Governor of the oil-rich Delta State. As state Governor, Mr Ibori’s annual salary was less than £13,000 a year yet he was able to transfer millions of dollars to UK bank accounts with which acquired assets during his eight-year looting spree that ended in May 2007.

The Metropolitan Police have frozen some of Mr Ibori’s UK assets worth over £17 million. However, in November 2007, the Nigerian government refused a request by the British authorities to extradite Mr Ibori, who is widely believed to have bankrolled the flawed election of Mr Yar’Adua as president in April 2007, for prosecution for money laundering in Britain.

Consequently, Mr Ibori’s wife, sister and three associates including a London-based solicitor Mr Bhadresh Gohil, are currently facing charges of assisting Mr Ibori to launder money in the United Kingdom before the Southwark Court but the principal offender remains beyond the reach of British justice.

It did not appear that the extradition of Mr Ibori featured during the Prime Minister’s meeting with President Yaradua nearly a year after the British extradition request was turned down.

Nor was the extradition of Mr DSP Alamieyeseigha, the former Governor of the neighbouring Niger Delta State of Bayelsa (where the Nigerian army destroyed the town of Odi and killed scores of civilians in retaliation for the murder of some policemen by a local gang in November 1999) who jumped bail in December 2005 from the United Kingdom to escape charges of money laundering mentioned by the Prime Minister.
When Mr Alamieyeseigha was arrested in London in September 2005, apparently after a tip-off from Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, £920,000 was found in suitcases in his £1.75m flat in Paddington. After several weeks in Brixton jail, Mr Alamieyeseigha was released on bail despite the fact that another Nigerian Governor, Joshua Dariye of Plateau State, who faced similar charges of money laundering in London fled to Nigeria after being granted bail the year before.
Legend has it that Mr Alamieyeseigha escaped to Nigeria by allegedly disguising himself as a woman but he insists that the British authorities allowed him to escape. The continuing failure of the British authorities (after forfeiting his £1.25m bail bond) to extradite him to the United Kingdom appears to lend credence to his claim.
Compared to his ruthless willingness to assist in the armed battle against militants in the Niger Delta, Mr Brown’s reluctance to ensure that the political leaders that impoverish the region face justice even when they have so flagrantly abused the laws of the United Kingdom is the height of hypocrisy and the depth of parochialism.

During the pre-election food shortages and cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe in December 2008, Mr Brown branded the Mugabe government “a blood-stained regime that is letting down its own people” and challenged the international community “to say firmly to Mugabe that enough is enough." According to him: "The whole world is angry because they see avoidable deaths -- of children, mothers, and families affected by a disease that could have been avoided."

Yet, two weeks after the Nigerian military’s sustained air raids, bombings and blockade have led to the avoidable deaths of innocent children, mothers, and families and rendered tens of thousands more homeless and fearing for their lives, there has been no murmur from Mr Brown; or from any British politician for that matter.

Mr Ogundamisi is the Convener of Nigeria Liberty Forum, which is hosting the Nigerian State Symposium scheduled for 29 May 2009 at the London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road, London.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Professor Wole Soyinka, Nuhu Ribadu and Femi Falana to speak on the “State of the Nigerian Nation” in London.

Nigeria Liberty Forum NLF in conjunction with London Metropolitan University


Professor Wole Soyinka, Nuhu Ribadu, Femi Falana, Omoyele Sowore and other's in a Public Lecture.Public Symposium
Date: Friday 29 May 2009
Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Location: London Metropolitan University. Stapleton House

London UK Street: 277-281 Holloway Road.
London N7 8HN Town/City: London, United Kingdom Phone: 07951402986
Moderator Professor Sola Adeyeye

Media Enquiries for NLF Event.
Or Phone +447984212553 Media Contact Only.

Mr Kayode Ogundamisi

Dr Abraham Dalang.

Professor Wole Soyinka

For 40 years the Nobel prize-winning writer Wole Soyinka has been an outspoken opponent of brutal regimes.

Wole Soyinka.
The Man Soyinka by Eamonn McCabe
When the Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka fled Nigeria in 1994, and was sentenced to death in absentia by the military regime of Sani Abacha in 1997, he likened the "liminal but dynamic" state of the writer in exile to a parachutist's free fall. His limbo was ostensibly ended by Abacha's sudden death from a heart attack in 1998 and Nigeria's steps towards democracy. Yet for Soyinka, whose 1970s prison memoir famously proclaimed that "the man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny", there can be no true home without justice. "I'm still looking forward to a homecoming," he says, though he now moves freely between Nigeria and the United States - he lives near Los Angeles and since 1997 has been Woodruff professor of the arts at Emory University in Atlanta. "To really feel you've come home, you have to have overcome the factors that sent you out. That's not happened yet - and probably never will in my lifetime." Soyinka is 68, and for more than 40 years his most obsessive theme has been "the oppressive boot and the irrelevance of the colour of the foot that wears it". The 1986 Nobel prize judges deemed him "one of the finest poetical playwrights to have written in English". Yet his lifelong critique of power has also been through screen and radio plays, poetry, novels, essays, and autobiography.
UK Guardian Newspaper on Soyinka. 2002.

Nuhu Ribadu:

Nuhu Ribadu's fight against corruption made him a national icon in Nigeria. He was appointed to the position of the chairman of the Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) in 2003 by former president Obasanjo. He prosecuted some of Nigeria's prominent politicians, civil servants and businessman. Ribadugraduated from the Nigerian Law School and was called to bar in 1984 before joining the Nigerian Police Force, where he rose to become head of the legal and Prosecution department at the Police headquarters in Abuja. He then led the EFCC during his four years at its helm to an unprecedented 200 criminal convictions.Ribadu has been the recipient of numerous awards as a police officer, prosecutor and EFCC Chairman, including the Inspector General of Police awards in 1997, 1998 and 2000and presidential special commendation in 2005. In 1999, he was commended by the Accountant General of the Federation for succesfully prosecuting corrupt public servants. More than once, prominent newspapers in Nigeria have voted voted Ribadu "Man of the Year" in recognition of his achievements as a committed crusader against corruption. Nuhu Ribadu ahs since undergone persecution by the Nigerian government between 2007 and 2009, he was removed from his position as the EFCC chairman, sent on a compulsory course by the police IG, demoted by two ranks and finally expelled from the Nigerian police. He is currently particiapting in fellowship at Oxford University in London.

Femi Falana.

Femi Falana is acknowledged as a credible and consistent voice in the ongoing campaign for a just rule of law in Nigeria. He is highly regarded as a strong and effective pillar against rights abuses and tyrannical rule as well as an advocate of good governance in Nigeria and across Africa. No less significant is Femi Falana?s contributions to legal development in Nigeria and outside the country. In his dual capacities as the Editor-in-Chief of the Weekly Reports of Nigeria (WRN) and Ghana Monthly Law Reports, Femi Falana is daily pre-occupied with making available to our legal practitioners, judges and other stakeholders in the administration of justice, decisions of superior courts of records of Nigeria and Ghana.