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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Stacey Ukaobasi as Child Rights Champion By Emmanuel Onwubiko

As I picked up my pen to write the story of an encounter I had recently with one of the nation's emerging child rights champions- Miss. Stacey Odinakachi Ukaobasi, my spirit was dampened when suddenly the consciousness of the ugly experiences of our contemporary Nigerian children flashed through my sub-conscious. 
I suddenly realized that the last two years can rightly be described as some of the toughest in the lives and times of the Nigerian Citizenry and most especially the younger population who are usually at the receiving end of absolute poverty, terrorism and other manifestations of bloody violence and crimes that have enveloped the nation. 
From Sokoto to Maiduguri in the North West and North East and from Lagos to Calabar in South West and South/South Nigeria, respectively, the plight of children has increasingly assumed frightening dimension just as other serial social menace of sexual molestation and exploitation which culminate in child trafficking have all but increased. 
The grave danger facing contemporary Nigerian children attracted global attention and introspective study when the 2013 Special edition of The Economist news magazine titled “The World in 2013” recorded a frightening revelation that Nigeria will in the year 2013 rank as the worst place on the planet Earth for babies to be born. 
At first some of us with overwhelming patriotic zeal disputed this sad episode graphically depicted by this international news magazine and asserted that there was no how war torn nations like Somalia and Syria would rank better than Nigeria in the global ranking of the best and worst places for new borns to arrive this year.  
The reporters who conducted the global wide survey which was published in The Economist with the sub-title of “The lottery of life” were too sure of their facts that they insisted that Nigeria is indeed the worst place for babies to be born in 2013 given all the basic indices and scientifically verifiable empirical evidences drawn from measurement of which country will provide the best opportunities for a healthy, safe and prosperous life in the years ahead. 
The Economist wrote thus; “Its quality-of-life index links the results of subjective life-satisfaction surveys-how happy people say they are-to objective determinants of the quality of life across countries. Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too". 
In all, the index by this international global-wide news magazine The Economist takes 11 statistically significant indicators into account. They are mixed bunch: some are fixed factors, such as geography; others change only very slowly over time (demography, many social and cultural characteristics); and some factors depend on policies and the state of the world economy.   
The United Nations Development program (UNDP) recently issued her latest report on the human development index whereby the claim by The Economist that Nigeria is the worst place for children to be born in 2013 was rendered very credible, factual and a pragmatic reality. 
The UNDP report places Nigeria amongst the least countries of the world that recorded achievement in the upgrade of the welfare of their citizens – the Low Human Development category, where mostly poor nations or low-income countries as they are called belong.

 Nigeria, our country in which we so much arrogate to ourselves the prime position of the 'giant' of Africa, ironically on the rating table of the UNDP is placed number 153 out of a total of 186 countries around the world where the survey was conducted. 
The countries are classified into four categories, namely: Very High Human Development; High Human Development; Medium Human Development and the least, Low Human Development. 
The report says 143 under-five children die yearly of preventive disease out of every 1000 births; 630 women die out of every 100,000 deliveries in the country; the population of people living under one United States dollar and twenty five cent per day (an average of N170) is 68 per cent while life expectancy is 52.3 years,  which if translated to concrete terms means that the majority of Nigerians die before even the public service’s retirement age of 60 due largely to what I may term man-made deprivation and mass poverty occasioned by lack of good governance. 
This is so, according to the report, because Nigeria’s public spending on health yearly, relative to the size of her Gross Domestic Product, is just 1.9 per cent, which earned the country a score of less than one per cent-at 0.510 per cent. 
But why these imposed sad travails of most Nigerians and especially the Nigerian Children especially when statistical evidence from the nation’s budget office in Abuja showed that at least, N18.844 trillion was generated and spent between 2011 and last year in Nigeria by the Federal and State government? 
The Budget Office also declared that the country recorded real growth, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of seven per cent in 2011 and 6.28 per cent in 2012. The critical situation of the Nigerian child as confirmed by international observers belie these fake statistical claim of economic boom as encapsulated in the report from the Nigerian Budget office. 
Some of the above sad development formed the inspiration and passion by the middle age Miss. Stacey Odinakachi Ukaobasi for stepping out with series of advocacy campaigns to highlight the plight of the Nigerian Children and to use her talents as a community mobilizer and social activist to seek for positive transformation and change in the living conditions of millions of the Nigerian children. 
Born and educated variously South East Nigeria, Miss Ukaobasi who hails from Abia State has recently in Abuja, the nation’s capital, unveiled her new initiative called “Forum for CHILD RIGHTS PROMOTION” which was recently registered by the Federal government as a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization with thematic focus on the promotion, protection of the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian Children. 
Miss Ukaobasi has through series of charitable activities with orphaned/homeless children, demonstrated an uncommon zeal to use her platform to put pressure on the federal and 36 states governments including the Federal Capital Territory to invest meaningfully in the capacity building, education and proper upkeep of the Nigerian Children because in her assessment, it is dangerous for government and the private sector to continue to neglect the welfare of the Nigerian children. She indeed wants the Federal Government and the 36 state governments to bring back functional child's welfare homes in the local government area councils to bring succour to the disadvantaged children who roam the streets in abject poverty. 
Her organization recently gave out a dozen scholarships to indigent children even as she has done a lot of advocacy activities to enlighten children on healthy living and the need to embrace reading culture because for her if the children are adequately educated then the future and prospects of Nigeria is bright.

Her organization-Forum For Child Rights Promotion [FCRP] needs corporate sponsorship from the likes of banks and telecommunication firms in Nigeria so that the message of hope can be adequately imparted on the Nigerian children and for positive impacts to be made on the lives of the Nigerian Children who are currently endangered. 
Miss Stacey Ukaobasi who is the owner of young brain and beauty pageant in Abuja is also the mother of the beautiful and talented creative fine artist daughter in junior secondary school in the nation's capital by the name Jennifer Chiakwelu who incidentally won the coveted prize as the young children queen of Aso-Abuja in the year 2011.  
Miss Ukaobasi who has extensively travelled, has garnered a diploma certificate in law from the Enugu State University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in marketing from the same institution just as she has had extensive professional experiences in different enterprises. 
She has promised to initiate series of pro-poor projects targeted at improving the living condition of the Nigerian children which in my considered opinion should be supported by all lovers of Children so that together we can stop the serial abuses of human rights that are unleashed on our children.



Monday, 18 March 2013


The Nigerian presidency and the members of the National Assembly may have unwittingly engaged in a mutually and morally destructive race of their lives and have in the last few weeks and months exhibited obscene behavioural patterns that are not only unconstitutional but also absolutely unpresidential, upardonable and unparliamentary.

Two cases will suffice to show how some current political office holders have disrespected the time tested and time honoured ethical, moral and constitutional codes that ought to guide their public lives whilst they preside over the political affairs of Nigeria in strict compliance to the fifth schedule, part one section 1(a) which states that “a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities”.  

One significant question that comes to mind when reflecting on the emerging absurdities in Nigeria's political space is the questionable way that the Federal House of Representatives has so far responded to the grave credibility burden that emerged from the two serious bribery scandals involving the ranking member of the House Mr. Farouk Lawan and the chairman of the House of Committee on capital market – Mr. Herman Hembe.

In the case of Mr. Farouk Lawan accused of demanding and receiving the sum of $620,000 USD from the Lagos – based business mogul Mr. Femi Otedola to give him clean bill of health from the list of indicted subsidy thieves, the House should have suspended him from all its activities without pay pending the outcome of the legal proceeding.

He has being belatedly and reluctantly charged to court and is on bail after spending just some few days in Kuje prison.

But the Federal House of Representatives only withdrew his appointment as chairman of the discredited fuel subsidy probe panel but nevertheless he continued to enjoy all privileges and payments from the public treasury as if what he was said to have committed is not worrying enough to warrant strong administrative reprimand.

The leadership of the House went a step further in the macabre dance of shame in the allegation of bribery made against Mr. Herman Hembe, the discredited chairman of the House Committee on capital market who was alleged to have demanded bribe of N44 million from the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission Miss. Arunmah Oteh.

Mr. Hembe, the Benue born lawyer and  his discredited committee members were charged with the onerous constitutional duty of probing the state of near-collapse of the Nigerian capital market but rather than dispassionately carry out this important assignment the members  were alleged to have engaged in an over drive to collect bribe so as to clear the hierarchy of the stock Exchange Commission from  any indictment.

How did the House leadership respond to this scandal of very disturbing scope? It proceeded on a journey of vicious vendetta against the institution of the Nigerian stock exchange commission by failing to appropriate any fund for the running of this important office in the 2013 budget year and also demanded that the lady be sacked for daring to raise the allegations that have now brought serious credibility crisis to the parliament. This is shameful and reprehensible and must be overturned.

The House of Representatives did not stop this naked dance of shame but proceeded to try passing a law that will grant them administrative immunity similar to the criminal provision in section 308(1) smuggled into the constitution by the thieving military dictators before they handed over power and this faulty 1999 constitution to the civilians.

Immunity for parliamentarians is authorization of robbery.

If the House of Representatives think they are more creative in the invention of dubious laws and policies, they were wrong because President Jonathan in the last two weeks implemented ridiculous decisions that have attracted the harshest criticism from even the government of the United States of America.

President Jonathan met with few members of the National Council of States whereby on his prompting they advised him to extend state presidential pardon to the disgraced former governor of Bayelsa state (Jonathan’s boss) who was removed from office as governor following series of allegations of theft of state fund.

His removal paved the way for his then deputy – Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to assume office as governor of Bayelsa few months before he was again chosen to run with the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua as vice president in the 2007 presidential election.

Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyesegha, a retired Naval officer was arrested by the metropolitan police in the United Kingdom and several financial assets were recovered from him even as he jumped bail and returned to Nigeria.

The United States also confiscated several choice property from this same man allegedly bought with stolen fund of Bayelsa state. This is the man that Jonathan has granted pardon from his conviction which in any case he served out the prison term and was released long before this controversial pardon.

President Jonathan retinue of spokespersons have regaled Nigerians with the half baked claim that Alameseigha’s pardon was exercised in accordance with section 175(1) of the constitution. Defending this atrocious act of unpardonable unpresidential pardon is similar to justifying the rape of an innocent girl child by a morally depraved full grown adult male.

But section 15(5) of the constitution clearly provides that “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”.

What this unpardonable unpresidential pardon has done is to tell Nigerians that corruption pays provided that your political son is in a good position to fall back on some legal framework no matter how nebulous and weak to grant you state pardon.

Unfortunately, Nigerians are too busy attending religious functions that they have become too docile and weak to challenge these misbehaviours of the political elites.



Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Nigerian politicians often play dirty and for them the profane and the sacred are interwoven so long as their (politicians) permanent selfish interest are served.

Abia state under the administration of governor Theodore Orji is perhaps one place whereby politics of the dirtiest dimension are played so long as the perceived opponents of the current powers-that-be are at the receiving end of this vindictive brand of politics to the detriment of speedy infrastructural development and transformation.

For thirteen months and still counting, appointees of the Abia State governor have gone berserk with consistent media attacks against the person of the immediate past governor of Abia -Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, known simply as OUK.

These vicious attackers have become so paranoid that observers have been made to believe that the only job they were hired to do is to pour unrestrained tirades at the person of the former Abia state governor-OUK.

These career trouble makers  have in the past thirteen months embarked on a regime of attacks against the man who was responsible for bringing to power his then Chief of Staff Theodore Orji who was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over Sundry allegations of financial indiscretion but who through the magnanimity and ingenuity of OUK gained judicial reprieve just so that he can take the oath of office to succeed his boss.

The latest of these series of organized and well orchestrated attacks was the charade that played out  at the ivory tower called the Abia state University, Uturu, whereby the so-called senate of that university descended to the dirty arena of Abia state politics to announce that it has withdrawn a university degree the school awarded to Chief Orji Uzor Kalu years  back when he (Orji Uzor Kalu) defied the comfort of his cosy office to enroll as a mere student of that university and validly completed his course of training which culminated in the award of the said degree.

The reasons offered by the senate of the Abia state University for this obscene infamy is as bizarre as it is absurd and laughable.

What the senate of the Abia state university has achieved through this act of profound infamy is to publicly ridicule that beautiful university that has produced several egg heads like professor Chidi Odinkalu of the Nigerian National Human Rights Commission; Peter Esele of the Trade Union Congress and big heavyweight politician Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim. 

For the benefit of my readers I hereby reproduce the incoherent press statement reportedly signed by Registrar of ABSU Mr. Ernest Onuoha and issued by the Abia state university in which it stated that the university degree awarded to Chief Orji Uzor Kalu is withdrawn.

He said in the statement: “On the strength of the findings and recommendations of an investigative panel into allegations of breach of the extant Academic Regulations of Abia State University, in the admission process of the admission and graduation of Kalu, Orji Uzor in the discipline of Government and Public Administration, of matriculation number 00/42226, the Senate of Abia State University at its resumed 69th Extra-Ordinary meeting of Friday 1st March 2013 and by a vote of eighty-eight (88) against three (3) dissenting voices only, approved the cancellation and withdrawal of the degree result and certificate awarded to him."

Onuoha said the decision of Senate was based on the following grounds among others; the violation of the Academic Regulations of the university on Admission-by-Transfer, which rendered the offer irregular, ab initio; the non-completion of the mandatory six (6) semesters (i.e. three academic years of study), before he was awarded a degree of the university.

According to Mr. Onuoha, OUK spent only two semesters in all.
My first reaction on reading this story is to say that the National University Commission (NUC) must immediately commence a probe of this university because if indeed it awarded a degree to a student and years after discovered some “irregularities” it goes to show that there are a lot more of such cases which must be uncovered and lot more of the school’s lecturers and top flight management staff have serious credibility question and must be fished out, prosecuted and sanctioned for allowing irregularities to mar the admission and/or degree awarding mechanism of that university.

The next thing is to task the National university commission to also probe if the current visitor to the University and the governor of Abia state has a hand remotely in this whole politically- motivated withdrawal of the degree awarded to his now political rival (OUK) and if the answer is in the affirmative, the Abia state university must be made to purge itself of partisan/dirty politics for the sake of the credibility of academic training in that school.

The National University Commission is clothed with the powers to grant approval for all academic programmes run in Nigeria universities; grant, approval for the establishment of all higher educational institutions offering degree programmes in Nigerian universities; ensure quality assurance of all academic programmes offered in Nigerian universities and Channel for all external support to the Nigerian universities.
Pure and simple, what played out at the Abia state university is the extension of the political warfare between the erstwhile political godson-Theodore Orji and his former political godfather-OUK.

The question is why will a purely academic institution allow itself to be drawn into the murky water of politics? Why will the school authority order the arrest of students who protested this gross abuse of power by the school authority?
The muzzling of protest and democratic exercise of free speech in Abia state University reminds me of the authoritarian tendencies of the British colonial oppressors who were however stridently challenged by the ordinary people as captured in the book; "The evolution of the Nigerian State" by the Historian Professor T.N. Tamuno.

Professor Tamuno had written thus; "The intensity and duration of opposition to British rule in parts of the protectorate can be further explained by the effects of punitive expeditions and patrols...despite the overwhelming odds, several people mounted desperate resistance in their attempts to protect their cherished pre-colonial values and institutions".

In the same vein, the students of Abia state University will most certainly resist the current attempt to emasculate their democratic freedoms and fundamental human rights enshrined in chapter four of the constitution to oppose the emerging authoritarianism and gradual involvement of the school authority in the murky water of partisan politics.

Why will the Abia state university so reduce itself from the sacred position of an independent Ivory tower to the profane terrain of Nigeria’s dirty politics? Why has it taken this lazy senate of ABSU all these years to set up a kangaroo investigative panel for the purpose of fishing for phantom evidence for use in carrying out a poorly executed political witchunt against the immediate past governor at a time that the relationship between him (OUK) and the governor has deteriorated due largely to the bellicose attitudes of sycophants who parade around as political appointees of the Abia state governor?

OUK has in his first reaction to the story that his degree certificate was annulled blamed Abia state governor for this latest absurdity.

In the statement signed by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Oyewumi, said the move has only put to test the pedigree of the men and women who make up the Senate of the university, the credibility of the certificate issued by the school and brought to fore the warped nature of Orji.

Oyewumi said in the statement: “What the Senate of ABSU has done amounts to shifting the goal post after the goal has been scored. No one can deny the fact that His Excellency (OUK) was in ABSU for lectures and examinations".
The management of the ABSU must be told in clear terms that we are no longer under military dictatorship during which time the autonomy of the university suffered serious battering with the appointment of some gun-wielding military generals as sole administrators especially during the dictatorship of the late General Sani Abacha.

NUC should immediately restore respectability to the Nigerian university system by probing the immediate and remote circumstances surrounding the involvement of the Senate of Abia State University in Abia state petty but vicious politics before a dangerous precedent would be set.

Section 36(5) of the constitution provides for fair hearing in all matters involving any citizen. How come that this ABSU’s Kangaroo panel never invited Orji Uzor Kalu to defend himself before rushing to the public to announce the withdrawal of his certificate alongside those of others who were cleverly added to the number to make the action of the senate look transparent? On his part, OUK should rush to the competent court of law to seek immediate redress.

*    Emmanuel Onwubiko, Head, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION OF            NIGERIA          



“Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing to do with it”, so wrote W. Somerset Maugham.

But for millions of people around the world, Tuesday March 5th 2013 is remarkable only for one significant event – the death of Hugo Chavez, revolutionary leader of one of the World’s largest crude oil producing nations – Venezuela. In the demise of one of the World’s most significant charismatic leader, most people have once more come in close contact with the much dreaded concept of death.

President Chavez succumbed to the cruel hand of death after suffering from a deadly cancerous affliction for which he underwent series of surgical operations in Cuba and in his homeland.

For fourteen memorable years, Hugo Chavez, a former military officer, presided over the affairs of governance of one of South America’s most populated and resource rich nations – Venezuela just as he achieved popularity and respectability among his local people for working vigorously to uplift their living standards.

Chavez extensively worked as the president of Venezuela to show that leadership is all about improving radically the living conditions of the greatest majority of the populace and to lift them to their better selves.

Hugo Chavez for me exemplified the teaching of the founding fathers of utilitarianism who anchored their belief system on the intellectual plank that political leadership is all about serving and indeed actualizing the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people of a given society.

As a thorough bred political communicator, Hugo Chavez remained in constant communication with his beloved citizenry even till the point that he reportedly gave up the ghost.

Chavez rose to prominence when he assumed the presidency of Venezuela from 1999 up until he died in hospital in Caracas, Venezuela on Tuesday 5th March 2013, and fundamentally drove a political and radical economic process/regime that departed from the Western neo-liberal ideology and he indeed renounced the global dictatorship of the United States of America just as he advocated a just and fair World whereby the interest of one uni-polar powerful nation would not constitute the dominant global agenda.

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia recorded that he was born as Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias on July 28th 1954 and became the leader of the fifth Republic movement political party from its founding in 1997 until 2007 when he became the leader of the United Socialist party of Venezuela.

As a political leader per excellence, who assumed office after a beautiful and illustrious military career, he vigourously implemented the political ideology of ‘Bolivarianism’ and what is called “Socialism of the 21st century” under which he undertook sweeping economic reforms with the core interest of the civil populace in mind.

Part of the larger home – grown economic reforms which brought his government into constant conflict on the World stage with the American political establishment, was his government’s policy of nationalization of several strategic industries in which Western dominance in the ownership pattern was hitherto remarkably noticeable.

His popularity blossomed among the populace when his government consistently invested substantial financial resources into the Health care sector which significantly improved the health standards of the poorest of the poor and he proceeded to introduce a new constitution which spelt out in broad terms, certain participatory democratic norms which saw the ordinary people gained ownership of the political process.

The West spearheaded by the United States Government waged unrelenting campaign of calumny against Hugo Chavez particularly for his penchant in associating closely with some political leaders in the middle East like the Iranian Ahmadi Najad, considered as a big enemy of the West and the United States of America. Chavez voiced his support for the Iranian right to enjoy the benefits of nuclear energy for which the Western nations feared that Iran is developing nuclear weapons to confront Israel considered as a core ally of the United States of America.

He also mingled deeply with the political leadership in China just as his verbal political battle with the United States reached a dramatic twist when it emerged that he has cancer which he immediately accused America of the responsibility for his ill health. At death, his successor accused the United States of responsibility in the circumstances surrounding Chavez’s cancer.

Political historians recorded that at his inauguration on February 2nd 1999 for his first presidential tenure, Chavez deviated from the exact words encapsulated in the then Constitution and invented his own pro-poor statement of oath taking which goes thus; “I swear before my people that upon this moribund constitution, I will drive forth the necessary democratic transformation so that the new republic will have a magna carta befitting these new times”.

He was more or less a man of action who proceeded from mere ideological communication to the pragmatic implementation of those far-reaching economic reforms that practically bettered the lives of his people in the long run
From Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, we learnt that this charismatic leader of Venezuela made several alterations to his presidential privileges scrapping the presidential limousine, giving away his entire presidential wage of $ 1,200 USD a month to a scholarship fund and selling off many of the government owned air planes, even though critics also pointed to a life of extravagance which he allegedly lived alongside his immediate family members and cronies.
But the above criticism does not take anything away from the good leadership example which he set for the rest of the World, especially the African continent and Nigeria in particular to emulate if we must move away from our current situation of massive economic and political crimes by the political elites which resulted in the excruciating poverty afflicting nearly 80% of the Nigerian population today.

Known for his fiscal conservatism, Hugo Chavez nevertheless was reported to have successfully implemented economic reforms that on the long term were primarily targeted towards poverty alleviation for the working class just as he invested massively in public works which also contributed in creating millions of jobs for the unemployed youth.   

Dan F. Hahn in his book “political communication; rhetoric; government and citizen”, has the following to say about ideology and communication for which Hugo Chavez perfectly represented, if you ask me.

Hahn wrote thus; “Ideologies cannot be developed, sustained, or challenged except through communication. And communication cannot occur without reflecting the ideology of the speaking individual and the society for which [s]he is a member”.
He was such a great leader that even at his death, his erstwhile political adversaries in the United States and Europe paid glowing tributes to his heroic leadership style which remarkably witnessed the transition of most peasants from poverty to sustainable employment.

For instance, the United States President Mr. Barrack Obama who never saw eye- to- eye literary(in political parlance) with Hugo Chavez also expressed the sentiment that goes to convey a certain sense of apprehension that the demise of president Chavez constituted grave challenge to the people of Venezuela.

Obama stated thus; “At this challenging time of president Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights”.
Plato one of the best known philosopher had listed the attributes of a good leader some of which were in large supply during the life and time of Hugo Chavez as the Venezuelan President for fourteen years.

Plato said in a straightforward term that the ruler should be the one who has been fully educated, one who has come to understand the difference between the visible world and the intelligible world, between the realm of opinion and the realm of knowledge, between appearance and reality. The philosopher king’ is one whose education, in short has led up step by step through the ascending degrees of the divided line until at last he has a knowledge of the Good, that synoptic vision of the interrelation of all truth of each other.
Most important of all, Plato, the quintessential philosopher, affirmed that “the ruler must come as close as possible to a knowledge of the Good, for the well being of the state depends upon knowledge and character”, (see, S.E. Stampf, page 76-79).

Unlike in other climes whereby political appointees are quick to betray their leaders especially in their times of trial and tribulation, the leadership that was put in place by Hugo Chavez during his absence up until he died, headed by his vice President Nicholas Maduro remained consistently loyal and committed to defending the integrity and credibility of Hugo Chavez and his unique school of thought.

In about a month time, the people of Venezuela are expected to vote in a substantive president in compliance with their extant constitution, to elect a president to replace the departed leader who was so loved genuinely by his people unlike in other political environment like Nigeria whereby political leaders pay and hire crowds of hungry people to stage solidarity rallies in Abuja.

One huge task for the people of Venezuela is to show a unity of purpose when they go out to vote and ensure that a surrogate of the Western interest is not put into office so that the monumental people- friendly economic reforms put in place by the departed leader are not speedily reversed under the heavy weight of influence of the Western neoliberal and neocolonial promoters who are already warming up to unleash their influence on the political firmament of Venezuela with the sole objective of predetermining the outcome of the coming election.       

Venezuela must not return to the position of a ‘guinea –pig’ of the Western powers like most nations in Africa including Nigeria whereby the huge crude oil wealth are cornered systematically by the tiny clique of political rulers who transfer these massive public wealth to their private bank accounts in the Western World.

* Emmanuel Onwubiko; Head, HUMAN Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria blogs