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Monday, 11 December 2017

Human Rights Legend


Senator Hope Odidika Uzodimma can be said to be one of those gems who hit the ground running. From childhood, He was sure of what he wanted in life. It was clear from his earliest activities that he was cut out to be a Leader. And it later turned out to be that he indeed became a leader both in business and politics.

Born to the modest family of Chief Michael Uzodimma, Igwe of Ozuh Omuma popularly known as Chairman of Common Man and Ezinne Rose Uzodimma (Nee: Nneoha) on December 12, 1958 in Omuma, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo state, Hope proved worthy of his name indeed as he sooner than later became the hope of his immediate community, peers and associates. He is married with Seven Children and a Grandson.

He obtained his West African School Certificate from Mgbidi Secondary School, Mgbidi, Oru West Local Government Area of Imo State in 1982. From there he proceeded to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Imo state where he obtained Ordinary Diploma in Maritime Management Technology. He later bagged a Higher Diploma in the same field from FUTO. The Distinguished Senator also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies and Diplomacy from Washington International University.

Before moving into full time politics, Sen. Uzodimma distinguished himself as an accomplished businessman. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Niger Global Engineering and Technical Company Limited from 1999 till June 2011 when he became a Senator. He was also the Managing Director of SMIEC Chemical Engineering and Construction Company Limited between 1995 and 1999, Managing Director of De Hope Engineering Services Limited, 1990-1999. Between 1999 and 2011, Sen. Uzodimma was equally the Chairman of FILTIM HUZOD Oil and Gas Ltd. Indeed his business career and experience expanded across a matrix of empires that consequently prepared him for other challenges.

As early as 1993, Sen. Uzodimma’s political Leadership qualities had started manifesting. By that year he was appointed Chairman Imo State Marketing Board. He held the position till 1996. Between 1996 to 2002, Sen. Uzodimma was the president of Nigerian Amateur Wrestling Association of Nigeria, under the supervision of Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports.

A year after in 2003, he was appointed Chairman Nigerian Mass Literacy and Non Formal Education Commission. He held this position till 2007, when he contested for the Governorship Primaries of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP.) He came second in that race and was set to win at a run off, which never held because of crisis in PDP that eventually led to the party not having a candidate in the governorship election of that year.

Sen. Uzodimma has been a long standing member of the Board of Trustees (BOT) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a party he is a pioneer member and financier. Beyond the PDP, Uzodimma’s political activism started in the hay days of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) where he made a mark as the Youth Leader of the party. He was also a stalwart of the UNCP in the 90’s.

Before his election as Senator in 2011, Senator Uzodimma had always maintained that his mission was to find a platform that will avail him the opportunity to translate his private sector experience and achievements, spanning over 20 years, “to a public sector that appreciates hard work, competence and rewards same accordingly” His admirers are hoping that his election as Senator will avail him this platform.
What is certain is that the senate position has at least kick-started that platform. In just Three years in office, Senator Uzodimma has distinguished himself as a Legislator to watch. With Four bills, one has passed second reading, Ten motions and recognition by Thisday Newspapers as one of Ten (10) best Senators for the Legislative year 2011-2012, Sen. Uzodimma is certainly not a bench warmer Senator. He was voted and honoured as the best Senator from South East by the Senate Press Corp in 2017.

At the community level, Sen. Uzodimma has left an indelible mark. He constructed rural roads for his community, Omuma. His Hope Uzodimma Education Foundation has trained over 200 graduates with over 150 students still in different schools both within and outside Nigeria. He completed a rural electrification project for his Community also. For all these and more he has been accordingly recognised. He holds the chieftaincy title of Onwa of Omuma, Omekagu of Umuna in Orlu L.G.A., Omeihe Ukwu of Orlu, Onwa Ndigbo by South East Council of Traditional Rulers and many others.

A devout Catholic and a good Christian, Chief Uzodimma has equally received much recognition by the church. He was given an award of Excellence by the National Council of Catholic Women Organisation. The same award of Excellence was bestowed on him by the Anglican Communion, Orlu Dioceses. The Rotary Clubs of Festac, Lagos and Enugu also recognised him with different awards of Excellence. He is the grand patron of the Saint Vincent De Paul Catholic Diocese of Abuja. Sen. Uzodimma is also a member of the Parish Pastoral Council, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama Parish Abuja. He has presented both academic and religious papers at different fora and they include;

1.    The Church and the State as Partner in Nation Building (Being Paper presented at the  Orlu Catholic Priests Retreat in 2013) in Omuma, Oru East L.G.A. Imo State
2.    When the Righteous are in Authority (Being paper presented to the Anglican Synod of Orlu Diocese in 2012.
3.    Health Care Delivering in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects (Being Paper delivered at the Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Nsukka(UNN), Enugu Campus, in 2013).

Sen. Uzodimma is a member of Ikoyi club Lagos and the IBB Golf Club, Abuja. His hobbies include Golf, Football, Tennis and meeting people of diverse interest and background. To a very large extent, it can be said that Senator Uzodimma is an accomplished businessman and a politician with promise. The next few years will surely see him blossom in this direction. This has commenced positively through his activities as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Customs, Excise and Tariffs where he has recovered Hundreds of Billions for the Federal Government through his selfless oversight activities.


Wednesday, 6 December 2017

TONY OJUKWU’S NHRC’S APPOINTMENT IS LAUDABLE:- SAYS HURIWA *TASKS PRESIDENT ON CREDIBLE BOARD:


A frontline pro-democracy and civil Rights organization – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has praised President Muhammadu Buhari’s choice of a legal luminary Mr. Tony Ojukwu as substantive executive secretary of the National HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC).

But the Rights group has equally called on President Buhari to ensure that only credible Nigerians with sound commitments and passion for altruistic, selfless, and patriotic services are appointed as governing council members so as to make the institution respectable, independent, credible and operationally excellent. 

HURIWA submitted that the choice of the longstanding staff of the Rights Commission as head of the commission has made history positively and signposts likely manifestation of a national human rights enforcement agency that won't be seen by millions of Nigerians as mere mouthpiece of the Federal Government but a commission that stands at the threshold of momentous history to taking it's fundamental prime position as a credible voice for the downtrodden and millions of disadvantaged Nigerians. 

In a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and National Director of Media Affairs Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA maintained that although President Buhari took ages to nominate a substantive Executive secretary long after the last head of that institution ended his tenure of office, but the Rights group nevertheless stated that the decision to pick one of Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyers with monumental experience in the civil rights sector having worked for years at the management level of the National HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION shows that government may have started listening to the aspirations and yearnings of a cross section of human rights practitioners.

However,  the Rights group expressed fear that should the President commit the fatal error of appointing politicians to the governing council, then we can as well say good bye to that wonderful institution. The Rights group therefore charges President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his good steps by appointing credible persons with the formidable frame of minds and mindsets of Patriots to constitute the Governing body of the institution so that the promotion and protection of human rights of all Nigerians are vigourously pursued. 

“Mr. President has done well to have sent the name of Mr. Anthony Ojukwu, from Imo state, and a senior Director of the Rights Commission to step in to head the place in what is obviously the first time ever that the highest political authority in the land has chosen merit, competency and qualifications over mundane politics. The decision to look inwards rather than bring a stranger that lacks institutional memory and zeal to lead the place is worth saluting and celebrating. This right step must be followed by the best practices of picking only persons with credible human rights backgrounds as commissioners and board members.”

“We hereby asked the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to hasten the process of confirming this great lover of human rights and democracy Mr. Tony Ojukwu to head the National Human Rights Commission. Ojukwu's profound knowledge of the human rights sector will definitely bring about immediate and comprehensive reforms to the strategic engagements with civil rights leaders to serve the public good of Nigerians".

"Posterity will remain eternally appreciative of the legislators and President Buhari for this singular act of patriotism,”  HURIWA argued. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

INSECURITY IS ERODING YOUR LEGACY: HURIWA TELLS BUHARI: *Condemns Fulani Herdsmen's Siege of Chikun in Kaduna and NUMAN in Adamawa:


“President Muhammadu Buhari got a chunk of votes from most voters in the 2015 presidential poll because of his famed military antecedent and based on his campaign theme which focused majorly on tackling and combating manifestations of insecurity, threats to territorial integrity of Nigeria caused by boko haram terrorists and other categories of violent criminalities. But two and half years down the line, with only few months to the end of his presidential term of office, the President has been unable, unwilling and refused to implement nationalistic military and law-based defence mechanisms to eradicate the increasingly threats to national security by armed Fulani herdsmen; boko haram terrorists and armed kidnappers.”

With the above summation, a civil rights group – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has warned President Muhammadu Buhari of the extensive damage to his credibility and expected political legacy which the expanding frontiers of organized criminal violence of armed Fulani herdsmen, boko haram terrorists and other classes of armed freelance attackers, have done to his records of service as Nigeria’s Civilian President from 2015 –2019. 

HURIWA has also condemned the reported siege of Chikun LGA of Kaduna and Numan Local Council of Adamawa state by armed Fulani herdsmen and demanded immediate military deployment of patriotic Nigerian soldiers to disarm these terrorists. 
The Rights group faulted any government's political declarations of victory over boko haram terrorists and asserted that such cosmetic propaganda is far from the reality on ground but the group applauded the Nigeria Army for some tangible efforts even as it tasked the Federal government to dp more to equip the combatants and motivate them with adequate remuneration.

“Mr. President seems distracted already with the cacophony of sycophantic political machinations by career politicians who are already drumming up farcical support for him to run for a second term even when this government has so far failed to deliver the cardinal principle of his campaign which is the effective demolition, degrading and destruction of the capacities of criminal elements to stop the heightened state of insecurity and check the increasing threats to national security posed by boko haram terrorists.”

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA charged President Buhari to immediately reorganize the national security architecture to enable the security forces to live up to their constitutional role and frontally combat all violent criminal elements irrespective of their tribes, religion and trade.”

HURIWA called on President Buhari to fortify border security so as to block all avenues for the inflow of illicit weapons just as the Rights group asked President Buhari to drop heads of security forces because they have failed in their constitutional duties with the possible exception of the Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai whose men and officers are battling the scourge of boko haram terrorism with some verifiable manifestations of achievements.

The Rights group however wants the Federal government to set up a joint milital task force to combat the increasing threats to national security posed by armed Fulani herdsmen so as to avoid the situation whereby all affected communities could team up to attack the Fulani herdsmen as revenge mission. 

Mrs Akeredolu urges special budgetary allocation for Cancer control


The First Lady of Ondo State, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has again reiterated the need for a National Policy on Cancer Control in Nigeria.
Speaking at the International CSOs Cancer Conference (ICCC) 2017, an event by Civil Society for Cancer Eradication in Nigeria, which took place at the National Centre For Women Development, Abuja, Mrs. Akeredolu stressed the need for medical practitioners to adopt global best practices when it comes to the management and control of cancer.
According to her, many Nigerians are on their own when it comes to surviving cancer thus the need to push government to take the lead in cancer control through advocacy as obtainable in many other parts of the world where government through policy plays critical role in reducing cancer incidence and deaths.
At the conference themed: Bridging the Gap between medical practitioner and CSOs in the global fight against cancer, Mrs. Akeredolu used the opportunity to call for budget appropriation for cancer control at the federal and state level and as well the establishment of state owned comprehensive cancer centers stressing that though the incidence of cancer appears low but many Nigerians are bound to die more than those in western countries where cancer incidence is higher.
Her words: “Many of you must have had the opportunity to interact or network or even attend conferences of some of these international organization and you know we have a continuum on cancer control which starts with awareness, prevention, early detection, diagnosis, palliative care and so on.
“According to WHO, every year there are about 100,000 new cases of cancer in Nigeria and it is estimated that by year 2020 the incidence rates will be 100.9/100,000 for women and 90.7/100.000 for men, If you look at the incidence rate and compare those figures with what obtains in western world, you may say well the incidence is quite low but we are more likely to die from cancer than those in the western country where the incidence is higher if you look at our death rate”, she lamented while questioning why the pattern has not changed over the years since her winning her own battle against cancer 20 years ago.
“I have been in this fight for over 20 years now – what are we all doing? Why is it that the pattern hasn’t changed? These are some of the questions we should begin to ask ourselves. We have been told to be serious about cancer control. I don’t think we have been doing really well when it comes to the area of prevention – if we are honest with ourselves. And that could be linked to paucity of funds. Another thing is logistics- it might sound simple but how are we going to get to these rural area to create these awareness”.
The climax of the event however was conferment of an Award of Excellence on Arabirin Akeredolu in recognition of her contributions in the fight against Cancer.

REMARKS BY THE SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, HIS EXCELLENCY, RT. HON. YAKUBU DOGARA AT THE PLENARY OF THE HOUSE ON THURSDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER, 2017: CONFRONTING THE SCOURGE OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND MODERN SLAVERY

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Protocols:

My dear Honourable colleagues, I wish to make few remarks on the subject matter of my trip to Italy where I participated in a Conference specifically convened by the President of Italy’s Chamber of Deputies, Her Excellency, MS LAURA BODRINI, to discuss a very topical issue -“Women Empowerment and the Fight against Trafficking in Persons. The Partnership Between Nigeria & Italy”.
  
2.  The conference was convened in the aftermath of the very tragic event of 5th November, 2017 at the shores of Italy which resulted in the death of some 26 mostly Nigerian girls having embarked on what has now become the riskiest journey on earth, attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. You will recall that this House passed a Resolution (HR. 151/2017) on November 9, 2017 to investigate this tragedy. And only yesterday, November 29, 2017 another Resolution on a related subject matter was passed. 

3. If you thought the horrific events that led to the deaths of our girls were appalling just as we prepared to leave Italy last Friday, we received the terrifying news that another set of 30 migrants had died in the Mediterranean Sea while 200 were rescued.  To our collective shame these kinds of deaths have become a recurring decimal on account of which the Mediterranean Sea has become the cemetery where Africa’s future, which our young represent, is buried. Our findings reveal that the deaths are under-reported as the figures more often than not do not take into account those deaths for which the corpses are not recovered. It must be noted that in most cases some of the immigrants are deliberately dumped into the sea like bags of weed.

4. To add salt to injury, humanity’s conscience was recently jolted by the CNN report of auctioning of black African migrants as salves in Libya where these migrants are normally held in servitude in human cargo holding facilities. I believe most of us have seen the atrocious pictures of black Africans in such overcrowded holding facilities were they are packed like sardines and often mercilessly beaten and terrorized by their captors in order to keep them subjugated. These pictures which the social media is replete with have moved even the brute and the cruel to tears.
 
5. For those who wonder why would a fellow human being strip another of his dignity in this beastly manner, the answer is, Money. They do it for the money. Slavery is so lucrative especially now that it involves human organ harvesting. It was and it is still a money spinner. In the past, it was so lucrative that a part of the sweet Land of Liberty fought a vicious Civil war to keep slavery until the Abolitionists won. 

6. Permit me to underpin the historical difficulties in dealing with slavery. The author of the finest line ever written by man, “we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal”, himself a slave owner, was once forced into deep introspection about the ideals he had lifted to cosmic heights and the fact that he himself own slaves. Because slave trade and slave labour brought him so much wealth and influence, he couldn’t himself live up to the eternally truthful ideals he had so brilliantly espoused. He wrote to the effect that keeping a slave is like holding the wolf by the ears, it’s a job you hate to do but you dare not let it go. He placed justice and self-preservation on a scale but pathetically self-preservation won over consideration of justice. This is the case with modern slave masters; justice and life have no meaning to them, all they care for is self-preservation. It’s a trade the mafia and their local collaborators dare not leave because of the money involved. 

7. What is consistent with the lessons of history is that unless slave masters are forced to stop, they won’t on their own put a stop to the criminal enterprise. We have a duty to stop them and we must begin by accepting responsibility for what is happening now. The question is, what have been done either as individuals or corporately to force these forces of evil to stop this trade in humans? Where is our conscience? Are we not troubled by the unfolding scenario where human beings are bought and sold for any amount much more for as low as $400 US Dollars barely the cost of a local cow or horse? 

8. It is my considered opinion that we are all involved in this crime either as perpetrators or those who are aiding and abetting human trafficking by standing aloof.  For we are ultimately responsible for what we allow or permit. There is a place for Nigeria in all these. As the most populous black nation on earth, we must accept the fact that if any black man or woman falls, it would be because Nigeria lacks strength. Until the last modern slave is freed, we would have done nothing and our generation will bear this shame forever.

9.  The legal framework to combat Human Trafficking is fairly well developed. What is required is the political will and the muscle to execute the laws and policies already in place. As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to use our legislative tools of oversight to ensure that all agencies empowered by law to fight this scourge are made to account to our people. This we must ensure it’s done with dispatch.
 
10. It is in this regard that I hereby direct that the Public Hearing on House Resolution (HR. 151/2017) which ordered an investigation into the death of the 26 girls recently in the Mediterranean Sea and the Resolution passed yesterday mandating relevant Committees of the House to investigate the slave trade going on in Libya be consolidated and immediately scheduled for hearing in spite of the pending work on the 2018 Budget. The relevant Committees should make sure that all relevant parties and stakeholders are invited to dig out the facts and proffer workable solutions to this heinous crime against humanity.
 
11.  Furthermore, the House of Representatives would soon convene a major Conference on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery as part of our intervention to help put an end to this evil. This would afford experts the opportunity to make recommendations on possible Legislative and Executive actions required to tame this evil trade. We must also sensitise and activate, as soon as possible, the ECOWAS Parliament and other Inter Parliamentary bodies such as IPU, CPU and other affiliated bodies to wade into this matter.
 
12.  Permit me to use this opportunity to call on Mr President and Commander in Chief to lead this struggle for total and unconditional emancipation of the unfortunate victims of this scourge. History beckons on our President with a gold pen and a page reserved for only Africa’s great Statesmen if he successfully leads the campaign to eradicate modern slavery. Mr President should, if necessary, deploy Nigeria’s diplomatic and military clout on this matter. We would like to see an immediate convening of emergency session of the ECOWAS and AU to lunch a rescue operation as soon as possible. As it is, the voices of ECOWAS and AU are unacceptably too feeble on this devastating issue.  We commend the French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron for taking a principled position on this matter and applying pressure on the UN to take urgent steps in dealing with this scourge. We expect other nations who value freedom and the dignity of the human person to join France in working out a permanent solution to this resurgent evil.

13.  In conclusion, let me once again commend the forceful words of His Holiness, Pope Francis who said: “Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity. It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community”. Now and not tomorrow is the time to act, the world must not shrink from this responsibility.
 
14.  Thank you for your kind attention and may God bless our commitment to excise this cancer from our midst and bring this shame to a halt.

PRESIDENT BUHARI CONGRATULATES WIZKID, DAVIDO ON AWARDS

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President Muhammadu Buhari congratulates renowned hip-hop artistes, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, WizKid, and David Adedeji Adeleke, Davido, on their awards at the Music of Black Origin (MOBO).

President Buhari joins the teeming fans of the artistes in Nigeria and all over the world in celebrating the highly deserved and meritorious recognition, which saw WizKid winning “International Best Artitse’’ award, while Davido picked the “Best African Act’’.

The President affirms that both singers have showcased the rich talents in the country, and brought pride to the nation through their many songs and performances, commending their dedication, hard work and charity works.

President Buhari in the statement by his media spokesman Femi Adesina3 also calls on the upwardly mobile artistes to be cautious and mindful of likely distractions to their careers, urging WizKid and Davido to serve as ambassadors of the country and role models to upcoming musicians.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

NEITHER for Atiku nor Buhari By Emmanuel Onwubiko


Few weeks back, the media savvy governor of Ekiti State Mr. Peter Ayo Fayose inaugurated his campaign for the highest political office in the land in the election that has already been scheduled by the electoral panel for the year 2019.
Hardly had he ended his press briefing on this thematic political issue before the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warned him to stop the campaign.

INEC was of the opinion that it was too early in the electoral calendar for political campaign which would herald the Presidential election that is about two years away.
But since that colorful declaration of intent of Mr. Fayose of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), many other political interest groups have heightened their open campaigns for one candidate or the other.
Those who have sprang up to urge President Muhammadu Buhari to recontest for a second term did not even listened to the warning on early campaigns as issued by the INEC seen as being excessively pro-All Progressives Congress – the party that produced President Buhari in 2015.

Then on Wednesday November 29th 2017 in far away Abidjan, cote de voire during the Summit of African Union and European Union, President Buhari gave his notice that he will indeed seek for reelection come 2019.

Buhari’s subtle declaration is yet to elicit any warning from INEC which jumped up very rapidly to warn the opposition politician Mr. Ayo Fayose to stop his presidential campaign.
Buhari’s declaration also followed the impactful departure from the All Progressive Congress of his Kinsman Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who was once a Vice President of Nigeria for eight years between 1999/2003.

Atiku’s departure from APC was anchored on what he alleged was the lack of internal democracy within the newly formed All Progressives Congress which came into political reckoning when the then incumbent president Dr. Goodluck Jonathan gave Nigeria the good luck of ceding power to an opposition party after a highly contested election in 2015.
The All Progressives Congress is an amalgamation of several parties including Buhari’s CPC; Bola Tinubu’s ACN and a remnant of All Progressives Grand Alliance from Imo State that emptied themselves into the newly formed alliance in obedience to the poorly performing governor Rochas Okorocha. 

The APC was also able to wrestle power because of the overwhelming financial contributions of some disaffected governors of the then ruling political party-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some of their  Senators including the current Senate President – Dr. Bukola Saraki.

The erstwhile Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is said to be on his way back into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)- the party that made him Vice President for eight years.
But certain political principalities are already critical of the move by Atiku to dump the APC to find his way back to his former party homestead. 

Most of those who threw these punches at the direction of Atiku Abubakar are known to be paid supporters of President Buhari who himself had on two occasions switched allegiance from All peoples parties to set up his CPC and then the All Progressives Congress that resulted from the political amalgamation of some individuals who were bent on displacing Dr. Jonathan from office in 2015.

But come to think of it, which amongst most politicians in Nigeria has ideological discipline to stay in one political party in and out of power?

The total truth is that even from 1999 when there were only fewer political parties, almost all of these parties lacked unique identity and ideological leanings that would fundamentally make them uniquely different from each other.

At that time, one of the biggest political thinkers chief Bola Ige of blessed memory described the existing political parties as five leprose fingers of one hand.

The philosophical epithet written about these earliest political parties by the late chief Bola Ige, a senior Advocate of Nigeria, was because he participated in the authorship of the so-called manifestoes of all the political parties. Bola Ige exited his party known as Alliance for Democracy to join his kinsman Obasanjo to form the PDP-led Federal Government. He was murdered in Ibadan as a serving Federal Attorney General. 

Also from 1999 till date, one distinguishing characteristic of politicians is the capacity to switch allegiance at the speed of lightening just so that the selfish interest of seeking for power by all means is achieved.

Politicians in Nigeria are known to hold fast to the shallow, untenable and ethically deficient saying that in politics there is no permanent friends but permanent interest.
I therefore beg to differ from this political band agonists  of our time who pay more attention to individuals than on ideologies.

 I hereby declare that I am neither for Atiku Abubakar nor for Muhammadu Buhari but for a true Nigerian nation state governed with the fear of God and strict adherence to democratic principles and constitutionalism.

I hereby repeat what is written in first Corinthians, Chapter three, verse four as follows: “some of you are saying “I am a follower of Paul, others are saying I follow Appollos, or I follow Peter, or I follow only Christ Jesus.”

In obedience to the critical thinking of Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who said that “I think, therefore I exist,” I will say that Nigerians should think only of how to make Nigeria a peaceful home for all citizens whereby all citizens are equal partners. 

In making our choice and decisions, for who is best suited to steer the ship of Nigerian state in 2019, we must look beyond the fantasies of thinking that the solution to our numerous problems lies squarely with either the two old men called Atiku or Buhari. 
Far from it!

Let me state that the reasons for believing that neither Atiku nor Buhari holds the magic wand to our problem is because the clear inability of the duo to concretely address the Nigerian situation when each one of them was and is opportuned to hold political offices. Infact, each one of them are sources of much of these developmental challenges confronting us.

I begin with Atiku Abubakar who as the then Vice President was allowed by his political principal Chief Obasanjo to oversee the economy for a brief period before both of them started internal warfare to wrestle political power.

It remains a huge fact that poverty, unemployment, insecurity and above all, corruption were the major developmental challenges that were not sufficiently tackled. 

Rather, what happened was that members of the political class embarked on a buying spree of publicly built assets in the guise of the spurious privatization exercise. NITEL and Nicon Hilton were sold to politicians and Nigerians were shortchanged. Many other strategic national assets were sold out to these political clique. 

Both the then President Obasanjo and his vice were fingered in the repossession of several strategic national assets sold at giveaway asking prices and ever since their departure from offices they live like kings.

Volker Treichel, a lead Economist with the World Bank summed up the unemployment situation in Nigeria as follows:  “shift of employment into family agriculture. Growth of employment in the agricultural sector is consistent with the absence of improvements in agricultural productivity; strong agricultural performance reflected primarily the rise in the prices of agricultural commodities; share of people outside the labor force and outside training has remained constant, and for the youngest age bracket rising – rising youth unemployment.

This expert also informed us that; urban informal sector not adding much labor; creation of contractual wage jobs in the rapidly growing sections of the economy was unable to compensate for the loss of wage jobs in the public sector, parastatals and ministries, leading to a decline in wage employment.   

Fast forward to the Buhari –led dispensation and what is notoriously known is that in the last two years and more, unemployment has skyrocketed even as the bad economic situation nosedived to a state of recession which lasted for over a year and even when the political statisticians told us that we have exited economic recession, millions of jobless Nigerians have no jobs coupled with the rapid breakdown of law and order occasioning social and organized violence.

Thousands of Nigerians whose lives are threatened by a range of forces including freelance armed killers like armed Fulani herdsmen, boko haram terrorists and kidnappers have decided to take risk by attempting irregular migration through Libya. 

These mass exodus have led most Nigerians to be trapped by the armed Libya gangs who are now auctioning those compatriots as slaves.

In the last two years, there have been several cases of extralegal killings by soldiers and police and there is the extremely high levels of intolerance of dissenting opinions. There is a climate of lack of respect for the orders of competent courts of law. In the concluding part of this piece we eill read what the Chief Justice of Nigeria has to say. 

But again, may we be reminded that President Buhari returned from nearly four months medical vacation in the United Kingdom and ordered military clampdown of unarmed members of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) which followed the reported agitations by this group for self-determination.

The current government employed the backdoor rule to declare the pro-self-determination platform as a terror group. 

This same government has done nothing to stop the incessant violent attacks of farmlands by armed Fulani herdsmen who are kinsmen of the President.
The aggressive attacks of dissenting voices are antithetical to democracy and constitutionalism.

Robert S. Peck, a graduate fellow at Yale Law School has written as follows: “Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom,” Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo wrote in 1937. Free speech has long been accepted in the United States as a fundamental right, but it did not originate with Constitution.”

Since Nigeria's Presidential system is patterned after the American system, it is therefore inexplicable why opponents of the federal government are bombarded and attacked. Then the worst case scenario is the lack of respect for duly issued verdicts of the Court in compliance with section 6 of the Constitution of Nigeria.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, recently, publicly attacked President Muhammadu Buhari to his face accusing him of running a government that that has a gross disregard for the judiciary and the rule of law.

Justice Onnoghen who spoke at the opening session of the 2017 All Nigeria Judges’ conference, said there was urgent need for the President and his Executive arm of government to learn to obey court judgments and orders.

The CJN while addressing President Buhari directly, maintained that obedience to court orders ought to be considered by other arms of government, especially the Executive, “as a strong motivation for the fight against corruption and the entrenchment of the Rule of Law in our country”.

Justice Onnoghen said Nigeria should learn from countries like Kenya and the United States where he said there is “Rule of Law in practice”, with their Presidents and government agencies, respecting court decisions that are against the interest of the government in power.

The CJN further demanded total independence of the judiciary from any form of external pressure from other arms of government in the discharge of its duties.
He said: “Closely linked to the independence of the Judiciary is the need for governments and institutions to obey court orders and judgments.

“Today, Nigerians easily refer to the recent Supreme Court judgment in Kenya and some Court Orders in the United States of America and conclude that the judiciaries in those countries are doing better than ours.

“They, however, forget to mention that President Uhuru Kenyatta promptly accepted the judgment annulling his victory in the August 8, 2017 Presidential election and agreed to a re-run against his opponent.

“In similar fashion, the United States Department of Immigration did not wait for a presidential directive to allow immigrants from seven Muslim countries continued access to the US as soon as a court struck down President Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning citizens of these countries from entering America.

“That is the Rule of Law in practice and I urge the other arms of government, especially the Executive, to consider the obedience of court judgments and orders as a strong motivation for the fight against corruption and the entrenchment of the Rule of Law in our country”.

Observers said that It would be recalled that the President Buhari-led government had since refused to obey some court directives, including orders that granted bail to the detained former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki, retd, as well a judgment that ordered immediate release of detained leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, Sheikh Ibrahimm El-Zakzaky and his wife.

Recall also that the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, had on May 29 when the country marked its democracy day, also scored President Buhari’s administration low on respect of the rule of law, saying it was “appalled at the continued detention of certain individuals in blatant disobedience to court orders”.

Therefore, any great lover of Nigeria should reject Atiku Abubakar and Muhammadu Buhari and opt for a younger progressively minded patriotic Nigerian who is incorruptible and empower such a statesman to steer our ship of state out of our current situation of dysfunctionality and autopilot stage. 

*Emmanuel Nnadozie Onwubiko is founder of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and blogs @www.huriwanigeria.com; www. emmanuelonwubiko.com