IPOB not proscribed in UK, official says

The UK government has not proscribed IPOB – the Indigenous People of Biafra – an official said yesterday in Abuja.

An embassy spokesperson described as “inaccurate” reports that the UK government designated IPOB as a terrorist group

The report quoted a UK Country Policy and Information Note (CPIN) on separatist groups in Southeast Nigeria.

The spokesperson, Atinuke Akande-Alegbe, explained that CIPN relies on publicly available information to assess risks faced by asylum seekers.

The information could come from “UK and other governments, local, national and international organisations, and non-government organisations,” she said.

Thus, CIPN observed that Nigeria proscribed IPOB and further accused its members of using violence to press its case. 

CIPN therefore advised closer scrutiny of asylum applicants to weed out those who may have participated in violent activities.

The Statement

Akande-Alegbe, Senior Communications and Public Diplomacy Officer, signed the statement reproduced below:

“We are aware of inaccurate reporting circulating in the media and online that the UK Government has added the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the UK’s list of terrorist groups or organisations banned under UK law. These reports are untrue. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is not a proscribed organisation in the UK.

“The inaccurate reporting relates to the 13 April 2022 publication by the UK Government of a revised Country Policy and Information note (CPIN) on separatist groups in SE Nigeria, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). CPINs provide country of origin information (COl) and analysis of COI for use by UK Government decision-makers handling particular types of protection and human rights claims.

“All asylum and human rights claims made in the UK are considered on their individual facts in accordance with our obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and European Convention on Human Rights, taking into account relevant background country information and case law.

“The CPIN on separatist groups in the South East, including the Indigenous People of Biafra, provides a general assessment of risks faced by individuals belonging to those groups. These assessments are based on an analysis of publicly available country information obtained from a wide range of reliable sources including media outlets; UK and other governments; local, national and international organisations; and non-government organisations.

“This CPIN also acknowledges that the Nigerian government has proscribed IPOB as a terrorist organisation, some members of IPOB have reportedly used violence against the state and members of the public, and advises that persons who have committed human rights abuses must not be granted protection.”

Cover Photo: Ms Catriona Laing, British High Commissioner to Nigeria

Zulum is Coming

Zulum is Coming, is an analysis of the political implication of Borno’s Gov Zulum’s dissolution of his cabinet this week. The piece is taken from the author’s Facebook post uploaded hours ago.

Zulum is Coming

Dr Aliyu U. Tilde is Bauchi State Commissioner for Education and a longstanding newspaper. Columnist. One admirer described him this way: “Over more than two decades, he has been writing, for the north, and about the north and Nigerian topical issues as a whole which consequently resulted into the  evolution of a new pace in the northern public discourse.”

By Aliyu U. Tilde

People should forgive my ignorance if what I write here does not come to pass. His Excellency, Professor Babagana U. Zulum, the Governor of Borno State, the subject of this article, should overlook my wrong forecast at the political climate and not feel offended if indeed I am proven wrong. It is just an attempt to add one to another to make two. I have not spoken to him or to any politician about the 2023 presidency. My only sources on the matter are the eyes of a keen observer and the ears of a good listener. Now, come with me.

Professor Zulum dissolved his cabinet yesterday. This is quite unusual of a straight forward person whose appointments are determined more by merit than by political expediency. Is there an emergency? Yes, I think.

His ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) has been playing chess with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) regarding the zoning of the Presidency. Our friend, Farouk Adamu Aliyu, a confidant of the President, has about a year ago told the BBC Hausa Service that their party’s choice for president will depend on the choice of the opposition—meaning, if the PDP would give a northerner its ticket, then APC will have no choice but to do so too. The North is where the bulk of the votes resides.

That calculation still holds. The APC Chairman said as much last week when he said that the ticket of the party is open to all interested aspirants. APC is not doing this at its own volition. In fact, it has some very sleezy remarks for PDP’s likelihood to field a northern candidate. In an interview published by Punch three days ago, Mr. Osita Nwachukwu, a founding father of the PDP, furiously accused PDP of being Machiavellian and responsible for APC’s return to the drawing board. Mr. Nwachukuwu:

“They (PDP) want to capture power by all means, indeed using Machiavellian tactics. We all know that PDP is famished, thirsty and desperate to win Presidency in 2023… The PDP is aware that President Buhari will not be on the ballot in 2023, therefore, for them there is a void to fill. They must have reasoned that the Buhari’s Vote Bank would be up for grabs if they go north. The PDP’s calculation is a desperate one, and selfish to the extent that they breached their own constitution and their age-long die-hard supporters in the South, especially the South-East.”

Here, I wonder who is more desperate for power between the APC and the PDP. Mr. Nwachukwu and the APC should then be more pious and politically correct than the PDP by sticking to a southern presidential ticket. But abandoning the south and looking up north, thus copycatting the PDP, leaves him and his party at no better moral position than the former. And if indeed President Buhari has a 12 million vote bank, why would not the APC just sit back, ask him to open his vote bank and give his party the 12 million it claims is there? The truth is that pragmatic politicians like the Chairman of the party, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, knows very well that those votes are no longer there. They have been washed away by seven years of Buhari’s presidency to the extent that today you cannot find him again appearing on the poster of any northern candidate—from counsellor to president.

People like the APC National Chairman know that losing power in Nigeria is “next in agony only to Day of Judgement,” as the Chairman of PDP in Bauchi State put it with all seriousness at the party’s stakeholders meeting way back in 2020. The APC National Chairman was himself a PDP Governor. He is only being honest. Rather than give the ticket to a southerner when the party has failed northerners by the low performance of the President and lose the election to a northern PDP candidate, he is ready to throw away the moral costume of zoning and save the party and its members a day of judgement on earth. He honestly knows that today Northerners are not safe and comfortable enough to brave a southern presidency. They are not at all in a gentleman’s mood of 1999.

In its choice of a northern candidate, we all expect the APC under Senator Adamu to be ruthlessly surgical. He knows well that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Governors Bala Mohammed, Aminu Tambuwal and Bukola Saraki are there to break into the “12 million vote bank,” and selecting a less renowned candidate in the APC means apocalypse for the party in 2003.

Coming to the north, the APC would naturally go for someone more appealing to the electorate than just a shared regional identity. Afterall, nobody can be more northern than the Turaki of Adamawa, the Kauran Bauchi, or the Mutawallen Sokoto. APC needs someone who is both northern, undoubtedly, and who can sweep the votes as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise in its favour, someone who has the additional quality that northerners always crave for: a penchant for the common man, a bent for justice and, now, after the sad experience of Buhari, a brave performer who cannot sacrifice the north for any other region and who can arrest the unprecedented level of insecurity and underdevelopment in the region with the courage of a warrior. In short, he must be the athlete who, right from when the gun is fired, when the candidates emerge, give the PDP a good run for its money, making the elections conclusive before they even take place.

This is where Professor Zulum comes into APC presidential equation. Than him there is not an APC candidate today in the north who can foot the above bill better for the party. It is a pervasive perception in the north that he is honest, brave, courageous, competent, down to earth, no-nonsense, empathetic—the embodiment of northern perception of an iconic leader and thus to the Machiavellian APC, the perfect Tyson who, on a good day, to knockout the PDP with a bloody nose within few seconds of the match. Few northerners, if any, can bet their dime against this. I am not doubting that there are candidates that can perform as well as Zulum in the PDP. However, politics, they say, is about perception. It favours Zulum. Add to it the incumbency privileges of the CBN, INEC, Aso Villa and other uncountable resources of government.

Zulum has therefore found himself in the position of many other unintentional candidates who ruled this country before: Tafawa Balewa, 1976 Obasanjo, Shagari, 1984 Buhari, 1999 Obasanjo, Yar’adua, and Jonathan. He has not bought the form yet, even as I write this article. That is not to say that there have not been behind the scene consultations on the matter between him and the Party. There must have been some. But it was getting late as at yesterday. Hence the cabinet dissolution—I continue to think.

If our speculation on this emergency is correct, Zulum has to rush and dissolve the cabinet because there is no gubernatorial candidate of APC in his Borno State and INEC is adamant on its June 6 deadline for parties to submit the names of their candidates. Going beyond 6 May means that in case Zulum is contesting for the Presidency—which many strongly believe he will be conscripted by his party to do at the dying minute—no member of his cabinet would succeed him because they will not be able to meet the one-month statutory requirement of quitting any political appointment before the party’s primaries.

That is why as soon as I heard yesterday that he has dissolved his cabinet, I heard the sound of the last pin drop in the dark, quiet night of my supposition, 500 km from Maiduguri . Otherwise, it is not in the style of the tall, straight-forward professor to dissolve a cabinet this late in his tenure. With it done now, his cabinet members and indeed any other APC member in Borno can aspire to contest the seat of the Governor.

Zulum is coming

Peter Obi and the popular imagination

Peter Obi and the popular imagination

Austin Tam-George, a former Commissioner in Rivers State, interrogates why Gov Peter Obi has seized the popular imagination.

By Dr Austin Tam-George

I served as Commissioner for Information in a PDP government in Rivers State a few years ago. But I was not a member of the party. In fact, I have never been a member of any political party in Nigeria.

Do not blame me for this.

For anyone watching from outside, politics in Nigeria may seem like a peep into a dimly-lit psychiatric ward, where the inmates cannibalize one another in a deadly struggle for the Warden’s key.

But in this election season that has brought all kinds of people to the market square, Mr Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, appears to have seized the popular imagination.

In an era of vulgar political exhibitionism, Mr Obi projects himself as a frugal, disciplined and thoughtful contender for the high office he seeks.

When he talks about public policy, Peter Obi speaks with an infectious earnestness of purpose that is not only rare in Nigerian politics, but in African political and developmental conversations.

You could tell where he stands on the important issues, because on a sector by sector basis, Mr Obi speaks about his ideas in clear, programmatic and actionable terms.

Secondly, by most accounts, Peter Obi left a decent record of service in Anambra State during his time as governor.

I have overheard sensible people complain about Peter Obi’s soft and ” feminine” voice, and they tend to mock the ‘simplicity ‘ of his clothing.

This is laughable because, like most Nigerians, I doubt that the acute security and economic problems that have beset the country would suddenly disappear because of the seductive baritone of the next President.

In fact, from a communication standpoint, the tone of Peter’s voice and the consistent modesty of his physical appearance actually reinforce his authenticity.

Politics may be about a contest for power, but for Peter Obi, it is also about the ability to mobilize the power of semiosis to convey a consistent message – a message of simplicity, native intelligence and connection with everyday people.

This is why despite attending Colombia, Oxford, Harvard and other Ivy league universities around the world, Mr Obi continues to speak and present himself as Peter Obi, from Anambra State, not Abraham Lincoln lite.

Despite being a billionaire entrepreneur, Peter Obi caries himself with quiet, unobtrusive dignity.

For decades, Mr Obi has conducted his philanthropy in education with the resilience of a lonely soldier ant. He has spent billions of his own money, building schools and sending abandoned children across the country back to school.

In the coming weeks, Mr Obi’s political destiny will be decided in the party primaries, by politicians with acute allergy for good governance, in the Peoples Democratic Party. (PDP).

Is Nigeria ready for Peter Obi?

Dr Austin Tam-George is a former Commissioner for Information, Rivers State.

Release Nnamdi Kanu for peace in Southeast – Ohanaeze

The sociocultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, calls for release of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu for peace to return to the Southeast.

Imeobi, Ohanaeze’s highest decision making body, issued the plea yesterday at the end of a closed-door meeting in Enugu.

Other than security issues, the meeting discussed review of Ohanaeze January election, voter registration, 2023 Presidency and Alaigbo Stabilization Fund.

Imeobi deplored “the worsening security situation” in the region and asked the Igbo people to unite and “halt the situation.”

The meeting suggested that releasing detained Igbo youths is a good step to resolve the region’s security problem.

“The release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and Igbo youths in detention is the first crucial step towards restoring peace and security.

“We are convinced that the Nnamdi Kanu issue can only be resolved through dialogue,” Imeobi Ohanaeze said.


Here is the full text of the the meeting communique published yesterday, 4 May 2022.

The Imeobi Ohanacze Ndigbo Worldwide held today, Thursday May 5, 2022 at the National Secretariat under the leadership of HE Amb. Professor George Obiozor, the President-General.

The Imeobi deliberated on a wide range of issues including the January 10, 2021 Ohanaeze election held at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri-Imo State, Insecurity in the South-East, 2023 Presidency, need for our people to acquire Permanent Voters Card (PVC) as well as the Alaigbo Stabilization Fund (ASF).

After exhaustive deliberations on these issues, the following resolutions were reached:

a) That Imeobi congratulates the current National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo which emerged through the January 10, 2021 election held at Dan Anyiam Stadium, Owerri, and also commends the efforts of the Ohanaeze leadership in steering the ship even in these trying times.

Imeobi calls on all the Igbo nation to give the executive their full support, which they have earned and deserved. Imeobi also calls on those aggrieved with the outcome of the election to lend their support to the current Leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

b) That there is need to redouble our efforts towards the ongoing voters registration exercise by sensitizing our people on the importance of the exercise and getting their PVCs where they reside.

e) Ndigbo are irrevocably committed to a Nigerian President from the South-East Zone in 2023.

f) That Imeobi Ohanaeze hereby empowers the President-General to constitute the Political Action Committee amongst others that will achieve the desired results in all the issued raised at the Imeobi.

g) That the President-General, Prof. George Obiozor and the Secretary-General, Amb. Okey Emuchay, MFR or their authorized spokesman are the only officials authorized by the Imeobi to issue
statements on behalf of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide

Best time to conduct a census

There is no best time to conduct a censusNigeria needs to get it done right now.

The problem Nigerian has with population counts is an undue focus on their political, rather than their economic benefits. My brother, Dr Amanze Obi, recently focused on the political over the economic in his recent intervention entitled “2023 Census is ill-timed.” But I must salute him for resurrecting this important topic and casting his habitually clear editorial gaze beyond the frenzy of today’s electioneering.

We should be having a concurrent conversation on Census 2023. I gladly join this conversation to extend it beyond the political to the economic. The primary benefits of population and housing census are in the economic.

Four issues that are worthy of attention stand out in Amanze’s argument and I fully appreciate three of them. The first is that he feels conducting a “controversial” census soon after an “earth-shaking” general election may be pushing our luck too far. What about if something goes wrong and its disruptive effects spill into the enumeration period? The Second is that it’s not fair to immediately pass on a new headcount and potential issues arising therefrom to a new administration. The third is that enumeration is shrouded in politics of number which leads to issues of acceptance of their results. The fourth is a very controversial claim in my view. He suggests that a southerner would manage the census exercise more pragmatically. The southern manager will also possibly lay to rest the enduring argument over whether northern Nigeria is more populous than the south or less.

These concerns are common and legitimate. They are common because many of our citizens hold these opinions in a country where we tend to fear and distrust policies and programmes that issue from public authorities. They are legitimate because we have seen executives in all tiers of government abuse their public trust. But I consider that they focus only on what are the temporal political gains of a population and housing census.

Here is why. We, all of us, have our pet assumptions on the matter of counting how many we are, how we live and where we live in Nigeria. The assumptions we make and conclusions we draw from them are often peculiarly Nigerian – and political. Shorn of its rhetoric, population count is essentially about how we share the national cake in Abuja. We all suspect or fear that it is easy to weaponize population numbers in our group battles for both political power and sharing of resources of the commonwealth. And for legitimate reasons.

Population numbers can be manipulated during elections in the hands of unscrupulous politicians. After the elections, they could also easily become a prime tool for periodic revenue allocation among the three tiers of government.
However, in focusing on its political benefits, we steadfastly ignore the elephant in the room: the impact of population numbers on planning and resource allocation. We forget that the benefit of proper enumeration count is not in using these to access political power or share commonwealth and donor funds. The benefit is in using the data to apply funds received to development.

It is not in receiving but in giving that population numbers have their impact. In other words, the real impact of census data is in its economic rather than political uses. Census is after all only a statistical exercise that aims to generate data for planning purposes. It is not a weapon of war for political victories.

For the sake of argument, have we stopped to consider that population and other factors in revenue sharing will gradually become meaningless? Inevitably, we shall return to using population for the role it primarily serves. Peering into a political crystal ball, one can project that the political benefits of population count will abate in a matter of years.

The national cake shared in Abuja as monthly revenue today come from two sources – crude oil sales and Value Added Tax (VAT). Both have come under severe challenges, one from alternative energy and the other from subnational legal challenges spearheaded by the Governor of Rivers State. This means that, in the long term, it is possible that bloated population figures will no longer be of benefit to states whose chief executives depend solely on periodic Abuja handouts.

The future is uncertain for the nation on revenue collection. Smart state chief executives therefore need to pay closer attention to and support the job that the National Population Commission (NPC) is getting set to do. If I were a governor, I will not be interested in getting overloaded population numbers. My interest would be in getting the most complete and accurate population and housing count for my state. A person that governs without reliable population data is like a man that fathered uncountable number of children from many wives and side-chicks, and goes about boasting of his virility and ability to take care of his own.

A governor that does not have an accurate population data cannot effectively provide for citizens in his care. How will such a governor determine the education and skills available for the state to harness in order to boost productivity and create wealth? Where will he get information about children that are in school and those that are not, for the purpose of organizing the training and development of skills of the future generation? What will advise him on the number of families in the state, where they live and how they live, in order to accurately plan for their health, sanitation and housing? Because most governors do not know much about their citizens, are we surprised that many end up squandering the funds?

Beyonda government and political benefits, it is a fact that lack of accurate census data negatively impacts business planning and social science research. A properly conducted census provides rich data that business owners, marketers, consultants, and entrepreneurs need to understand society’s needs and create values that meet the identified needs. They also provide rich data that social scientist mine to study the population and produce reports that everyone uses to understand how to navigate different aspects of life and existence.

Best time to conduct a census

It is for these reasons that we find it unhelpful to focus only on the political ends to which census data can be deployed or has hitherto been deployed in Nigeria. I daresay there are benefits of holding elections and census close to each other. We should be looking at the positive ends to which a close scheduling of census and the elections can be put. For example, can we find synergy between them that reduces costs? Each of the two programmes is costing Nigeria hundreds of billions of Naira to prosecute. Isn’t there a mechanism for integrating the two so that resources of one can be seamlessly integrated and deployed to reduce costs for the other?

To answer the question: When is the best time to hold a census? if we factor in the security situation in virtually all parts of Nigeria, we cannot be thinking of holding an election or a census exercise any time soon or close to each other. Experience shows that in our country, there is also no perfect time to carry out projects that overly excite or divide citizens. Therefore, anytime is the best time to carry out national duties imposed by law or convention.

Elections are important but population data is the greatest asset in the development process. Leaving our people uncounted for 17 years is not a good testimony to our commitment to planned and sustainable development. We also observe that Nigerians should have been counted seven years ago as President Goodluck Jonathan prepared to leave office, with a Southerner as Chair of the NPC!

I thank my brother Amanze for his trenchant intervention. His should provoke a national conversation. But beyond the political interrogation, every one of us should assist in making sure we get a headcount that enables us plan to properly and effectively develop our nation. For people in conflict-prone areas, including the southeast, this is the time to ensure that miscreants disrupting the process are called to order. We need to get this right so that economically-challenged states in Nigeria today will have the data they need to grow internal revenue – and depend less on the periodic revenue handouts from Abuja and development partners.

I plead that we deemphasize the politics of the exercise.

When is best time to conduct a census

Go beyond magic pills for wellness

Best of the Web

Total healing means that you go beyond the magic pills to find and deal with the root cause. This had devastating effects on our psyche. We live with the illusion that a pill is healing our issues.

High blood pressure in the morning, take a pill, pressure back to normal.

Testing blood sugar high, take a pill, blood sugar back to normal.

Constant headache? Take a pill. ain is gone.

Yes, the symptom is gone but what about the ISSUE behind those diseases?🤔 What’s worse than not healing the issue, is it has sent the message to our body-mind that we were suddenly alright. Very misleading and very dangerous actually since we allow the root cause to deepen its damages by not making the changes that would have been necessary to really heal.🌱

Healing implies changes. We can’t expect different outcomes if we keep the same inputs. We live in a world of cause and effects. So, in order to experience different outcomes we need to apply changes, and this takes time! ⏰

There are 4 pillars that support health:

1️⃣ Detoxing: Maintaining an internal hygiene that will prevent the body systems to clog.

2️⃣ Nourishing: Giving the cells their optimal energy supply so the body systems can perform optimally.

3️⃣ Exercising: To maintain the bloodstream free of toxins, activate the internal circulation and increase the internal pressure so blood reaches the smallest areas and the lymph activated.

4️⃣ Managing our Stress: One general effect of a stress response is the contraction of our tissues which block the supply of nutrients and oxygen to our cells which weakens our overall health and defense system.

All these require knowledge and integration. By pushing ourselves to change overnight will put too much pressure and be counterproductive. Don’t look back every few hours to see if things are improving, just keep going.⚡️

Shoot to become a fully integrated healthy person in a few years. We say that healing completely takes a year, FULL TIME! Part time, two years… Within years, you’ll be sufficiently transformed if you dedicate a couple of hours a day to your health.

Keep going! We people like numbers, right?

Go beyond magic pills for wellness

Enugu Back in the hands of Political Thugs

Enugu Back in the hands of Political Thugs is a witness account of assault and violence unleashed at a Ward in Enugu last Saturday.

By Ejikeme Ekpete

Just like other people of Oduma Ward 4, Saturday, 30t April 2022 started like every other day for me. Except that it was the appointed day for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ward Congress to elect three ad-hoc delegates. They will in turn join statutory delegates to elect PDP candidates in 2023 House of Assembly, National Assembly, and governorship elections.

I was one of the candidates for the three-man ad-hoc delegate election in my Ward.

That morning, I helped to set up canopies and chairs and was waiting with others for the start of the exercise. The Deputy Ward Chairman, Mr. Boniface Egwu (aka Egwueji) led a gang of thugs and cultists to tell me that they had come to deliver an “order from above” that I should leave the venue.

I told them that I bought form to contest for the delegates position and if they had candidates, they should field them against those of Senator Ike Ekweremadu’s supporters. Let the people queue behind the candidates to decide, in line with the PDP guideline.

They descended heavily on me with dangerous weapons, including machetes and started shooting sporadically in the air. People scampered for safety as the cultists and thugs, who claimed to be acting on the instruction of the Aninri Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Benneth Ajah, dismantled the canopies and broke chairs.

I made a dash for my car to escape, but Boniface Egwu told them to block me and ensure I did not escape alive. At this point, one of the cultists used a pole dismantled from the canopies on me. I thought I was dead, I nearly passed out. They gave me a deep machete cut on the head, but I mustered the last energy to make a dying-man’s dash across the road. A vehicle could have knocked me down, I needed to apply the last drop of consciousness left in me to escape.

Our people then rallied and took me to a local hospital. I lost a lot of blood and many were seriously wounded. They snatched my phones, money, and other valuables, but what matters is that I am alive to tell my story.

Unfortunately, it not the first time Ekweremadu’s loyalists were attacked by cultists imported by persons of questionable character. These are persons imposed on our people as Council Chairman and principal party officers. On Saturday, 9 April 2022, cultists allegedly imported by the Chairman of the Council brutally attacked us at the monthly meeting of the PDP in the LGA in Ndeaboh, leaving many, including Member representing Aninri State Constituency, Hon. Chinedu Okwu (Otaka) hospitalised with life threatening injuries like broken heads from machete and axes.

Surprisingly, our Governor did not make any effort to ensure that the culprits were investigated and possibly prosecuted. The Governor merely invited the two parties to the Government House, after the wounded had recovered, and came out with a statement that he reconciled them. Government reconciked the wilful attempted murderers and those they attempted to murder.

This slap on the wrist must have emboldened them for last Saturday’s repeat violence.

We’ll soldier on

But come what may, for me and every right-thinking Aninri and Enugu progressive, we are now even more resolved to support Ekweremadu to emerge Governor in 2023. The atrocities of a few Aninri men, who have hired themselves out for loaves of bread will not deter us. These are the same people who unsuccessfully petitioned to the Federal Government to stop work on the now completed and life-transforming Nenwe-Oduma-Uburu Road attracted by Ikeoha. They will not define us or our love for Ikeoha.

Interestingly, we now know that Oduma Ward 4 was not an isolated case of the fraud, manipulations, parallel congresses, and violence that happened on Saturday. I have seen video clips of what happened at Awgu Ward 2 where the Council Chairman, Pedro Nwankwo, not being on ground and unable to democratically deliver a three-man delegate in his Ward as a second-term Chairman, imported hordes of bad boys to attack his people and attempted to scatter the process. Many party supporters, including the Awgu Local Government PDP, who share the same Ward as Pedro, were attacked and their phones confiscated for recording the shameful political violence.

I have equally seen the pictures of the inhumanity meted on one Bertrand Ugwu by government-sponsored Neighbourhood Watch at Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA. His crime is the mere fact that he was among the many Ekweremadu supporters in the LGA. His head was sliced. Sadly enough, reports allege that this was at the instance of a Council official and a Commissioner from the area running for the House of Representatives.

I have equally seen the trending video from Agba Umana Ward in Ezeagu LGA where a House of Assembly aspirant was carrying about a pump action riffle, intimidating his people. He was allegedly acting in league with a highly paced Enugu Government official running for the House of Representatives.

All these attacks, intimidations and violence boils down to the disregard for the party’s guideline and democratic process by the Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai-led Abuja panel. Working hands-in-gloves with the state authorities and state PDP leadership, they failed or refused to conduct a credible and transparent congress. No result sheet was found in any of the 260 Wards, as none was released.

Obviously, the trio of the Abuja panel, Enugu State Government, and the Enugu State PDP leadership, wasn’t prepared for any transparent exercise. Their people boasted that they already had a prepared list of delegates, which they were entering in the results sheets that should have gone to the Wards; that the panel would take the fake “results” to Abuja and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

So, apparently, they were surprised that people, mostly Ekweremadu’s supporters, mobilised to the 260 Wards in their numbers for the exercise. In the absence of the official result sheets, the results were recorded on sheets of paper. In most cases, the Ward Chairman, Ward Secretary, and the INEC staff signed the outcomes. In many instances also, party officials, following desperate calls from their bosses at the top, who didn’t see that coming, declined to record or sign the results.

Not ready for any congresses, they deployed thugs, armed party operatives, cultists, and party officials, state appointees, and Council Chairmen to destabilise the process in favour of the results being compiled in the cosy comforts of a hotel behind the Government House.

In the meantime, the violence that marred the congress in many Wards have validated the alarm raised in March by the Ikeoha Campaign Organisation over what it described as “the appointment of known deadly thugs and cultists into state and local government offices all aimed at intimidating and stopping Ekweremadu”.

The campaign organisation also reported other excesses like the the intimidation of Ekweremadu’s supporters by agents of state, including the detention in prison of Paulinus Ugwu, the PDP Ward Chairman for Okpatu; the detention and subsequent charge to court for baseless offences of Joshua Ogbonna, Francis Akpa, and Obi Mamah; the ostracisation of Barrister Emeka Asogwa, Engr. Armstrong Agbo, and Chief Charles Mbah all from Ugwuanyi’s hometown, Orba, Udenu LGA, for reasons of their association with and commitment to Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

Yet they claim that Enugu is in the hands of God. But the violence that headlined the last Saturday’s exercise, the return of thuggery, and political violence in Enugu which we thought former governor Sullivan Chime had swept away from our political engagement and culture, is not only a dangerous foretaste of the things to come in the PDP primaries. It further underlines the fact that contrary to the peaceful and democratic pretenses, Enugu is back in the hands of thugs and cultists.

This is particularly unfortunate for a state already battling serious insecurity. It is one thing to give the monkey a calabash of water and another to retrieve the calabash after the elections when the monkey is done drinking.

Ekpete, a lawyer, writes from Enugu

in the hands of Political Thugs

Enugu APC expels ex-Governor, former party chair

Enugu All Progressives Congress, APC, expels an ex-Governor, a former party chair and four others for alleged anti-party activities.

The party banished former military Governor of Bauchi State, Group Capt Joe Orji alongside former party chair, Chief Ben Nwoye.

APC State Secretary, Robert Ngwu, announced the suspensions as State Executive Council (SEC) rose from its meeting today, 4 May.

The immediate past State Executive Committee of the party led by Prince Chikwado Chukwunta hitherto suspended Nwoye.

The suspension was subsequently ratified by the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).

Today’s meeting converted Nwoye’s suspension to expulsion alongside five others, Secretary Ngwu said.

The five stalwarts expelled are Group Capt. Joe Orji, Mr. Kingsley Uduji, Mr. Chidera Obed, Mr. Obodoeze Ocho and Chukwudi Igwe.

Nwoye however described his ouster as “a ruse.”

The party alleged that former Chairman Nwoye “conspired with some elements to illegally break into the party store.

He “unlawfully took away party properties and sensitive documents” while serving his suspension.

“All attempts to peacefully recover the properties and documents were unsuccessful.

“Consequently, our legal team, given the critical requirements of the Electoral Law, has written to the National and Zonal EXCO to help the State Chapter recover the party properties.”

Ngwu accused Nwoye of engaging in anti-Party activities “which tend to disrupt the peaceful, lawful, and efficient organization of the Party.”

Litigants expelled

The party also accused two expelled members, Obodoeze Ochi and Chukwudi Igwe, of sponsoring three others to take the party to court.

The litigants are as follows:

  • Kingsley Uduji who filed Suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/1318/2021 against the party;
  • Dr Orji Joseph Orji took up Suit No FHC/CS/57/22 against the party; and
  • Chidera Obed filed Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/1536/2021 also against the Party.

The party therefore sanctioned the three litigants and their alleged sponsors.

The Secretary quoted Article 21(A)(X) of the APC Constitution which stipulates expulsion for anybody who files action against the Party.

“Subject to Article 21 (A), subsections (ii), (v), (vi), (vii), (ix), and (x) of its constitution, Group Captain Orji, Mr. Kingsley Uduji, Dr. Joseph Orji, Mr. Chidera Obed, Mr. Ododoeze Ocho, and Barr. Chukwudi Igwe are hereby expelled from the Party for filing court action without exhausting the avenues for redress as provided in its Constitution.

A Justification

“This disciplinary action is in line with Article 13.7, subsection (vi), and takes immediate effect.”

Ngwu said an expanded meeting of both State Executive Committee (SEC) and Senatorial District Committee (SDC) sanctioned the expulsion.

The meeting was well attended, including by the 17 Local Government Chairmen of the party.

State party Chairman, Barr. Ugochukwu Agballah told newsmen that his executive will not be distracted by those who want the party to remain in perpetual crisis. They do this to allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which allegedly sponsors them, continue to win elections in the state.

Nwoye in particular, he said, tended to be more PDP than APC, and fights every stakeholder of the party in the state.

He listed Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama; former Senate President Ken Nnamani, and Director-General VON, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, as leaders he previously fought.

It’s a Ruse, says Nwoye

But reacting to the party’s action, the former chairman of APC, Nwoye described the expulsion as a ruse, adding that it had become overused by the same people.

He said Agballah was only being jittery having heard that he (Nwoye) had bought APC governorship nomination form, a fear he said was unfounded because he was yet to pick the nomination form.

On the expulsion of other party chieftains, Nwoye stated that the party constitution does not forbid members from going to court.

Enugu APC expels ex-Governor, former party chair

The Peter Obi Mystique

The Peter Obi Mystique

Sam Amadi

Dr. Sam Amadi interrogates the Peter Obi mystique and demonstrates why his social capital steadily appreciates despite an otherwise bland public persona.

Everything should make Peter Obi not to become the rave of the moment. But he is. His coarse voice. His bland appearance. And his monotonous recitation of data on the economy.

Peter is a lesson in branding and reinforcement. He created the image of a prudent and honest manager and has reinforced it in multiple ways and moments. His public actions and style are fiercely aligned to his message. There is little dissonance, hence he is credible.

How does Peter Obi fit this political moment? First, he is the closest to understanding the Nigerian situation. He has not got a rounded perspective but he has got the vital piece of that situation. Peter Obi more than any other presidential wannabe understands that the political economy of rent and conspicuous consumption lies at the heart of the failure of the Nigerian state. He does not just understand it, he has shown courage and commitment to end the specter of a purposeless and senseless public sector. Peter came closest to the entrepreneurial state during his tenure as Governor of Anambra. For him, public expenditure should produce public value and not reinforce prerogative or privilege.

Anambra politicians mostly don’t like Peter Obi as much as ordinary Nigerians across Nigeria for the simple reason that he is the opposite of exhibitionist and plutocratic politics. Peter Obi is transformative, not like Osinbajo, who is mostly so in speech. Peter is so in speech and action.

Until Peter’s traducers can bring better evidence, the verdict is: Peter is a good deal for 2023 with some reinforcement on big picture political economy.

Sam Amadi

Economics and hype

But Peter has a big shortcoming. His economics is largely business-oriented; it is like book-keeping economics. He needs to couple his microeconomic frugality with a grand vision of economic transformation. Creating wealth in the scale required to end pervasive poverty in Nigeria requires good book-keeping and good reconstructing of the social and economic relations in the manner East Asian countries did to transform their countries. Peter Obi has to step up and say more about his grand development vision.

Again, Peter Obi is still provincial. He has a growing fan base across Nigeria. Win or lose the primary, he should step up and create a coalition of diverse Nigerians and move out from Lagos, Awka and Abuja into Sokoto, Kano and Adamawa to preach his gospel. There is some fear whether he can also string together a Pan-Nigerian governing coalition beyond Valentine Ozigbo and Oseloka Obaze. It is heartening to see him campaign with Doyin Okupe. He should also campaign with Musa Abubakar.

Now some people argue that Peter is all hype and pretense. Yes there is some hype about Peter Obi and he understands the power of communication and positions himself to maximize its value. But that does not diminish his Bona fides. It is like Chief Gani Fawehinmi who sucked publicity like a bee does to a nectar. Nevertheless, he was authentic. Since his death the legal profession has not found his replacement. So Peter’s love of publicity does not necessarily detract from his authenticity.

Is this Peter show mere pretense? Evidence does not say so. Until Peter’s traducers can bring better evidence, the verdict is: Peter is a good deal for 2023 with some reinforcement on big picture political economy.

the Peter Obi mystique

Tension builds up in Enugu after 3-man delegates primaries

…it was peaceful, Governor says

Tension builds up in Enugu as uneasy silence pervades last Saturday’s PDP Congress to elect 3-man delegates in 260 wards.

The delegates will elect the party’s governorship candidate for the 2023 election at the forthcoming State party convention.

Enugu Metro checks show that Saturday’s ward convention to select the three-man delegates did not go well across many wards.

The commonest complaint was that the State Party executive connived with the Three-Man Ward Congress Electoral Committee to hoard results sheets.

There were accusations that the results sheets were subsequently filled with names of loyalists of the State Governor at a hotel in proximity with Government House.

Enugu Metro learnt that in most wards, party members who arrived early at the congress venues were told that the process had been completed.

However, Ward party executive proceeded to conduct the elections, although the results were recorded on ordinary sheets of paper.

“We are not worried by this because the exercise was witnessed by INEC officials, who countersigned the results,” a local government party official told Enugu Metro.

“We shall meet them anywhere to prove that ours is the authentic delegates list,” he said.

Sahara Reporters reported that in some Wards, violence broke out as loyalists of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi clashed with those of opposition aspirants, notably Sen Ike Ekweremadu.

In one of many recorded incidents, one Ugwu Bertrand was brutally attacked by State-sponsored Neighborhood Watch officials at Amagu Ugbaike, Enugu Ezike, Igboeze North LGA. He is currently hospitalised at an undisclosed location.

Ugwu with deep cut on head

Ugwu told Enugu Metro at his hospital location that a supervisor at Igbo-Eze North LGA and a House of Reps aspirant, a former Commissioner, sponsored his attack for being an Ekweremadu loyalist.

In Awgu LGA, party Chairman, Chief Okey Udeh was beaten up and his phone seized allegedly on the orders of Local Government Chairman, Mr. Pedro Nwankwo.

The phone was handed over to the Police but Udeh was told that he will retrieve it only on the condition that he agrees to delete the violence that he recorded at the venue.

In Enugu, a couple of aspirants told us that they will challenge the delegates list in court if it did not tally with what was recorded in the fields during the exercise.

There are also accusations that the state party chair is working with the executive to frustrate the party processes and rules.

Neither the party chairman nor Sen Ekweremadu’s spokesperson responded to Enugu Metro’s enquiries on the matter at the time of filing the report.

It was peaceful, Governor says

The following statement was released on Saturday by the Office of the Governor on behalf of the Party National Committee that came to supervise the Ward 3-man delegates congress:

The Enugu State Electoral Committee from the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the conduct of the ward congresses of the party in the state has described the exercise, which was monitored by officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as peaceful, transparent and credible.

Speaking when members of the PDP electoral committee supervised the ward congresses held to elect three-man ad hoc delegates, the Chairman of the panel, Prince Vincent Yandev Amaabai, expressed delight at the peaceful atmosphere of the exercise across the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State.

The Chairman added that the electoral processes were well organized, and commended the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi-led PDP leadership in Enugu State for the peaceful outcome of the ward congresses in the state.

He disclosed that the panel will submit the names of those who emerged winners from the ward congresses to the National Secretariat in Abuja.

Led by the Chairman of the PDP in Enugu State, Hon. Augustine Nnamani, to supervise the congress in Umunevo, Ward 02, Ogui Nike, Enugu North Local Government Area, Prince Amaabai, accompanied by other committee members, Hon. Okey Ahiwe and Dr. Adetokumbo Pearse, said: “We are members of the PDP state electoral committee who have come from the National Secretariat of our great Party in Abuja to conduct the ward congresses.

“We are going round to supervise and see what you people are doing. Coming here we can see that you people are well organized and peaceful.

“We want to inform you that delegates’ election is a proper election supervised by INEC. And we are happy that the INEC representative is here monitoring this exercise.

“It is either done by consensus or by queuing behind candidates of your choice. The list of the three ad hoc delegates that emerge here is what we will send to our PDP National Secretariat in Abuja. Nobody can change anything. It is what you people do on the ground here that we will submit to Abuja.

“The person here is the representative of INEC, Anthony Obinna, who was sent to monitor this ward congress, you (Obinna) have seen everything yourself. That is how PDP does its thing. Everything is transparent and peaceful.

“I want to tell you people again that the National Secretariat of our party has so much respect for the PDP in Enugu State under the leadership of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.

“This is because since their (PDP National Officers) assumption of office November last year, nobody has heard any complaint from Enugu State and we hope that this record will continue.”

At Umuenwene Ward, Enugu East LGA, where members of the electoral committee were received by the Speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, the member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Prince Cornelius Nnaji, and the Council Chairman, Nze Livinus Anike, among others, the Committee Chairman equally expressed satisfaction with the peaceful conduct of the exercise which was also monitored by an INEC official, Mrs. Perpetual Onyia.

He told the jubilant and enthusiastic party faithful at the congress that “we are happy with the performance of the PDP in Enugu State”, adding: “The National Secretariat is happy with you because since they (NWC members) took over the leadership of the party last year we have never heard of any issue in Enugu State. We pray God that it will continue to be like that”.

On getting to Eda-Nta Ward in Ede-Oballa, Nsukka LGA, where members of the PDP, including the former State Chairman of the party, Engr. Vita Abba, were queuing behind candidates of their choice to elect the three-man delegates, members of the electoral panel applauded their orderliness and comportment, stressing that it was democracy in action.

“We are happy to see people already lining up behind candidates of their choice. Since we have been going round, we haven’t had any crisis. Even here that you have decided to queue up behind your candidates, it is still very peaceful. This is commendable.

“I want to assure you that, whatever result that emanates from the exercise and across the 260 wards, is certainly what we are taking to Abuja; nobody is going to change anybody’s result”.

The story was the same in Obollo-Eke, Udenu LGA, and Ikem in Isi-Uzo LGA, as the visibly joyful party faithful rolled out drums to receive the electoral committee members.

Commending the peaceful exercise, the Chairman said: “We want to thank you people so much for this peaceful atmosphere here. Since we came to Enugu State we have not recorded any incident anywhere. It has been very calm.

“We also bring you felicitations from the National Secretariat, Abuja. Since the new National Leadership came on board, we have been having complaints here and there but we have not heard of any complaint from Enugu State. So you people have set a record and we hope you will continue like that.”

He went further to recognize the presence of the INEC officials at the two events and urged the participants to continue to support the party at all times.

The Chairmen of Udenu, Enugu North, Nsukka and Isi-Uzo LGAs, Hon. Solomon Onah, Hon. Emeka Onunze, Hon. Barr. Walter Ozioko and Hon Obiora Obeagu respectively, joined in welcoming the committee members at their respective council areas.

#EnuguStateIsInTheHandsOfGod. #amokelouis

Tension builds up in Enugu after Ward Delegates Congress