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Monday, October 16, 2017

The crackdown on Southern Cameroonians

~ Tribune Nigeria. Thursday, October 12, 2017.

THE axiom that freedom is never willingly given by the oppressor but must be demanded by the oppressed cannot be more apt in dissecting the current crackdown on “dissident” elements in Southern Cameroon. Just like the unsavoury events that followed the independence votes in Kurdistan and Catalonia, Southern Cameroon was a theatre of anguish penultimate week. On October 1, the day some separatist elements in the region sought to symbolically regain their independence from the Republic of Cameroon, the Paul Biya-led government unveiled the state apparatus to crush any dissent. The symbolic declaration of independence was made on social media by one Sisiku Ayuk, the “president” of Ambazonia.

Early this year, the Biya government cut off internet access in the region for three months. It did not even bother to adopt the option of counter narratives to whatever the “separatists” were saying. It announced a temporary restriction on travel and public meetings across the South-West Region. This was after imposing a curfew in the neighbouring North-West Region. Only a fifth of Cameroon’s 22 million people are English-speaking, and the government has always sought to suppress this minority. In 1961, the former British entity, Southern Cameroons, united with Cameroon after its independence from France in 1960. At the inception of the union, the federalist system was adopted, but things were to change in 1974 when a patently fraudulent referendum stage-managed by the centralist government in Yaounde imposed the establishment of the Republic of Cameroon.


The assimilation process, a feature of colonial rule, was adopted by the Yaounde government, along with disparities in many parts of the country’s national life: the distribution and control of oil wealth, education and the judicial system. Believing that the federal arrangement, which would allow them considerable power over their own destiny is the way forward for a united and prosperous Cameroon, the Southern Cameroonians have always staged protests, with a much more hard-line section embracing violent rhetoric and calling for outright secession from the country and the formation of a dream country, Ambazonia. But the central government has never pretended to be enamoured of the federalist proposal, let alone secession. On September 22, as thousands of “Ambazonians” took to the streets in the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, soldiers reportedly shot at least eight people dead in the restive Anglophone belt, notably Buea in the South-West and Bamenda, the main town in the North-West. Thereafter, teachers and lawyers hit the streets in protest over the use of French in Anglophone schools and courts. This soon mutated into an outright demand for Ambazonia.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The changing patterns of August meetings in Igbo land

By Emeka Mamah, Vincent Ujumadu, Chidi Nkwopara & Anayo Okoli
~Vanguard Nigeria. Wednesday, August 16, 2017.


August meeting in Minnesota, USA
WOMEN in Igbo states including Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo are holding their yearly August meetings in their various communities to contribute their quota towards developing of their home towns.

Although, this year's meetings are not glamorous as they used to be because of the economic recession, which has brought gloom to most families, the yearly meetings, which began over 20 years ago, have become a yearly ritual as Igbo women living at home and abroad return home as part of their efforts to complement the efforts of the men in providing essential amenities like roads, health centres, electricity and churches among others in their communities.

During such meetings, the women organise bazaars and levy themselves and whatever is generated is usually channelled towards providing amenities in rural areas.

Community involvement in rural development began at the end of the 30 months civil war between Nigeria and Biafra in 1970, when the late Sole Administrator of the Eastern Region, Dr. Ukpabi Asika,urged communities to develop their areas under the aegis of Otu Olu Igbo.

Since then, most Igbo communities have been building schools, health centres and hospitals as well as grading their local roads and handing same over to their various state governments.

However, the involvement of women in the development of their rural communities became popular when churches organised their various women organisations to contribute towards the building of their worship centres in particular and their communities in general as a way of complementing the efforts of the male folk.

Initially, the period of "august returns" was as used an avenue for displaying affluence by most women until the churches decried that only cheap uniforms belonging to Christian mothers are worn during such meetings. It has, however, shifted from an avenue of displaying affluence to a period of brainstorming on how to make their communities better.

At Ogbe, Ahiazu Mbaise Local Council Area of Imo State, the meeting started on a controversial note as the women claimed that a health centre which was built about 17 years ago had been used by some government officials to "retire some expenditures," without their knowledge.

President of Ogbe Women Development Association (Home and Abroad), OWDA, Mrs. Anastasia Anyanwu, said: "Our frame of mind when we opted to build a health centre, about 17 years ago was not for anybody or group to take credit for what they were never a part of." Anyanwu said their priority is and remain "to actively bring in development in the community, including but not limited to, training our children, according to modern demands’ and improving the quality of family life."

Surreptitious taking over

She, however, frowned at the surreptitious taking over of their health centre project by government, claiming that it was "built by the Federal Government in collaboration with Imo State Government."

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Restructuring Nigeria: We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist.

Topics:
  • We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist
  • THE DANGER OF RESTRUCTURING WITHOUT A REFERENDUM-APPROVED CONSTITUTION
  • What restructuring means in practical terms by ABC Nwosu
  • It's time to restructure Nigeria, says Babangida
  • Beyond restructuring or secession: My fear for Nigeria
  • 'Why north is uncomfortable with restructuring'
  • How Nigeria was de-structured
  • TRUE FEDERALISM THROUGH RESTRUCTURING IS THE ONLY OPTION FOR NIGERIA NOW
  • Road to recovery: A case for restructuring Nigeria
  • Restructuring and its benefits for all
  • Restructuring: Let's go our ways in peace -Rufai Hanga
  • IT IS TIME TO RESTRUCTURE NIGERIA
  • RESTRUCTURING AND THE YORUBA AGENDA
  • Restructuring: Who lopsided Nigeria in the first place?
  • The clamour to restructure Nigeria
  • Why Nigeria must be restructured
  • Who's afraid of restructuring?
  • The restructuring rhetoric
  • Nigeria: Formed by negotiation, will forge by negotiation
  • Osinbajo commits political apostasy
________________________________

We must restructure Nigeria now, Southern, Middle Belt leaders insist
Written by Taiwo Adisa - Abuja
Nigerian Tribune. Sunday, July 16, 2017.

Leaders from the Southern part of the country and their counterparts from the Middle Belt, on Saturday, in Abuja, insisted that Nigeria must be restructured now, just as they demanded the implementation of the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

Rising from a joint meeting, they declared that restructuring remained the only panacea for ending the rash of ethnic agitations in the land.

In a communiqué issued after the meeting convened by an elder statesman and leader of the Ijaw nation, Chief Edwin Clark, the leaders cautioned against the danger of allowing the agitations to persist.

The leaders, who came from all the three zones in the South: South-South, South-West and South-East, as well as Middle Belt, included Chief Olu Falae, Professor Jerry Gana, Idris Wada, retired Commodore Dan Suleiman, Mr Labaran Maku and Mr Yinka Odumakin, who read communiqué at a press conference.

According to him, the meeting was meant to find realistic solutions to the mounting agitations for a fair, just, equitable and balanced restructuring of the federal system.

He said the leaders affirmed their loyalty, love and support for the country as one entity, but that they believed that the existing federal structure was “unbalanced, unjust, unfair, over-centralised, unstable, anti-development and therefore unacceptable.”

He added: “Accordingly, we firmly our support for the demand to restructure the federation in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference.

“Recommendations to restore the country to the principles of federalism enshrined in the Independence Constitution negotiated by our founding fathers. For the federation to function properly in the interest of the constituent parts there should be fundamental devolution of powers and functions to the federating units.

“This is important so that each federating unit can effectively serve the development interests of the people. This is the central essence of a good federation, not the current over-centralisation of powers and functions in the central government.”

Odumakin said that as a logical derivative, “Nigeria must work out a new fiscal formula that would move the country away from the current overdependence on oil and gas revenue to a diversified economy; a diversified economy where all federating units are encouraged to develop their abundant natural human resources for regional and national development. The federating units shall remit agreed percentage of their revenue to the federation account.”


He said the leaders urged the Federal Government to take appropriate and urgent steps to ensure the full implementation of the resolutions and recommendations contained in the 2014 National Conference report.
-----------------------------------------------------

THE DANGER OF RESTRUCTURING WITHOUT A REFERENDUM-APPROVED CONSTITUTION
Written by Rev. Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji - Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Pontifical Urban University, Vatican City (Rome)
Email: foborji@hotmail.com
Fr. Francis Anekwe Oborji is a Roman Catholic priest. He lives in Rome, where he is professor of missiology (mission theology) in the Pontifical University.
“Watchman, what of the Night” (Isaiah 21:11):“Nobody pays attention to what we say. No – one listens to us. We are there to wait at their door. Those who have papers pass in front… taken care of … for us nothing.” (Jean-Marc Elain the epigraph in his book, “L’Afrique des Villages” (1982).
The above citation from “L’Afrique des Villages”, the immortal work of Jean-Marc Ela, a Catholic Priest and African theologian from Cameroun, is a fitting introduction to the theme of this article. It is a bird’s eye view of the lamentations of African masses against their so-called political leaders and elites who have been operating since independence in 1960s with constitutions not approved through referendum or popular votes.

In traditional African society, any decision taken from top or rather by a selected privileged few, which has not first been discussed and approved at the grassroots level, the African palaver popular assembly discourse (L’Afrique des Villages), is not binding on the masses and therefore, does not elicit any obedience or respect from them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

BIAFRAEXIT: 16 northern groups give Igbo October 1 to vacate region /With Biafra, Igbo'll remain in Nigeria, says Nnamdi Kanu

Topics:
  • With Biafra, Igbo'll remain in Nigeria, says Nnamdi Kanu
  • 16 northern groups give Igbo October 1 to vacate region
  • Arewa Youths Write Osinbajo
  • Presidency replies Arewa youths letter to Osinbajo on Biafra secession
  • Igbo youths to Northern group: We're not afraid of war
  • Open letter to Prof Ango Abdullahi
  • OPEN LETTER TO THE AREWA YOUTHS.
  • Igbo dare Arewa: We won't leave North …demand Ango Abdullahi's arrest
  • The quit notice to Igbo in the North
  • Southern leaders demand Arewa youths to withdraw ultimatum.
  • Igbo quit notice: Pan Yoruba group calls for Oodua Republic
  • PRESS RELEASE BY THE MIDDLE BELT YOUTH COUNCIL.
  • The Igbos Have Paid For Their Sins- Emir Sanusi
  • THE YOUTHS OF ODUDUWA REPUBLIC LAGOS DECLARATION – 10TH JUNE 2017
___________________________________

With Biafra, Igbo'll remain in Nigeria, says Nnamdi Kanu
Written by Ihuoma Chiedozie and Tony Okafor
~PUNCH Nigeria.  Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

Nnamdi Kanu
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday, said Igbo must not vacate the North, or any other part of the country, as a condition for the actualisation of the agitation for Biafra.


The IPOB leader spoke in an interview with some journalists in Enugu, where he received awards from a number of pan-Igbo groups, including the Igbo Women Assembly, the Eastern Consultative Assembly and the Igbo Students Union.

Reacting to the 'quit notice' issued to Igbo in the North by a coalition of Arewa youths, Kanu noted that secession from Nigeria did not imply that Igbo must leave the North, or other part of the country as suggested by the ultimatum issued by the northern youths.

He said, "You are aware that Scotland is seeking to leave the United Kingdom? Are you remotely implying that every person from Scotland, who lives in England, should now return to Scotland?

"Britain just left the EU. Are you now implying that every British citizen in the EU should come back to Britain in order to finalise that process of extraction of Britain from the EU?"

Kanu noted that what he described as "poor education" was responsible for the impression that Igbo must leave other parts of Nigeria in the event of the actualisation of Biafra.

BIAFRA: Southern Kaduna will go with Biafra, Danfulani tells Kanu

Topics:
Southern Kaduna will go with Biafra, Danfulani tells Kanu.
AN OPEN -LETTER TO MY BRETHREN IN THE "SOUTH-SOUTH"
Steps towards Biafra
- Likely scenarios if Biafra goes
- Don’t Go To War With Biafrans Again; They Are Now Too Sophisticated   To Be Defeated – Gowon Tells Buhari, Others.
- Let’s beg Biafran agitators – Obasanjo
Civil war not to wipe out Ndigbo - Obasanjo
Biafra will not stand, Buhari vows
- Kanu a bigger crowd-puller than Buhari, says Kukah
- Biafra - A creation of northern elite
- MASSOB pleads with UN to conduct referendum
MASSOB pledges allegiance to Niger Delta Avengers
IPOB restructures
________________________________________

Southern Kaduna will go with Biafra, Danfulani tells Kanu
Written by Anayo Okoli.
~Vanguard Nigeria. Tuesday, July 25, 2017. 
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra ( IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu ( left) ,
with social crusader and advocate of Southern Kaduna people,
Dr. John Danfulani ( right),  when the latter paid him solidarity visit
yesterday in Umuahia.

UMUAHIA – DR. John Danfulani, a social crusader and activist from the embattled Southern Kaduna has said that the people of Southern Kaduna would prefer and be comfortable to go with the Biafra Republic rather remain with Nigeria where the people were being killed on daily basis with any adequate protection from the Government.

Danfulani who spoke yesterday in Umuahia, when he paid a solidarity visit to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was quoted to have said that "the people of Southern Kaduna share a lot of values in common with Biafrans”, and would not hesitate to follow them “if Nigeria breaks up”.

The former university teacher bemoaned the fate of minority ethnic nationalities in Southern Kaduna who are mostly Christians and lamented government’s indifference to their ordeals following incessant unprovoked attacks by herdsmen.

"If Nigeria breaks up we won’t go with the North. Certainly we will go with Biafra because we share a lot in common. We can form a confederation based on agreement. It is better for us because we are safer in Biafra. In the North, they don’t like us because we don’t pray like them. So, it is better we follow those who share the same faith and values with us”, Danfulani was quoted to have said.

According to him, if the Federal Government failed to heed the clamour for the restructuring the country before 2019, Nigeria might not remain a single political entity.

It was his opinion that Nigeria was amalgamated for British economic and administrative convenience against the people’s wishes, saying there was need for the country to be restructured.

"Nigeria remains the only country in the world where people were merged together because of the economic interest of their colonial masters without their consent. If we fail to restructure now, it may be late after 2019″, he warned and wondered why some people are considered sacred cows in the country while others are treated as second class citizens.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ndigbo and Biafra: The war rages on by other means

Topics:
Biafra: The war rages on by other means
- Secession: 'Igbo'll be greater losers'
Who wants Biafra? 
- Timely Warning To Nigerians!
BIAFRA AS AN IDEOLOGY
- Northern House Of Assembly Proceedings, February - March 1964
Ndigbo and Biafra: You want Biafra?  What are your plans?
Where are our leaders? Who are our leaders? 
_________________________________________________

Biafra: The war rages on by other means
By Asikason Jonathan
*Mr. Jonathan, a public affair analyst, wrote from Enugu-Ukwu, Anambra state.

"Sincerely speaking, the South-East has not had a fair-share/ since the civil war. Their marginalization is quite obvious/ But if the policy of reconciliation of Gen. Gowon and late/ Gen. Murtala's administration had continued, the agitation by few/ Igbo for Biafra would have been a thing of the past"-- Balarabe Musa

IT is fiftieth anniversary of the Nigerian civil war, the war that the people of the defunct Eastern region of the country fought for the survival and sustenance of one of the world's shortest lived states -- the Republic of Biafra. While it is not surprising that the federal government is mute about the significance of the event, in that many conditions -- as Balarabe Musa pointed above -- that made the war inevitable still haunt us today, it is regrettable lugubrious(apologies to Patrick Obahiabon) that no commemoration is planned or organised by any state in the South-East or South-South.

The war was declared by Gen. Yakubu Gowon's led military government on 6th July 1967 to bring the defunct Eastern region back to the Nigerian federation. The unity of the country which one of the federal war cry said "is a task that must be done!" was compromised by then Col. Ojukwu who on 30th May 1967 declared the Republic of Biafra. He did that as survivalist mechanism against what could be called state sponsored pogrom against the Igbo people.

Igbo people living outside the Eastern Region had since the "Return March of 29th July 1966" made victims of mass slaughter. These for Northerners were in retaliation of their leaders killed in the failed 15th January 1966 coup--the coup they believed, tenaciously, to be "Igbo coup."

So, it was against this backdrop that Ojukwu's declaration of Biafra was greeted with pomp and pageantry. To an average Igbo man then, it was an epiphany of the Igbo race. But that was not to be as what started as a police action in the wee hours of 6th July 1967 turned out to be a full blown war that lasted for thirty months.

The events of the war were economically rendered in my poem titled -
"In the Shadow of Biafra":

Poem: In the Shadow of Biafra
Agreement suffered disagreement
And canons were let loose
Raining in the sky of Biafra,
The scavengers called for feast
Life and death brawled in a free-for-all
But the scavengers had their ways
With their cups overflowing in the presence of their enemy,
Psalm 23 was in their lips.
Were these Biafrans that "heroes fight like"?
Ah! Hunger was the weapon of the enemy.
Kwashiorkor came knocking at the door,
And the death dominoes began to fall.
The grim-reaper was the zeitgeist,
In the genocidal engagement
The rising sun hurriedly departed,
And cessation was the secession.



With defeat in sight, on 11th January, 1970, Gens. Ojukwu and Alexander Madiebo, the commander of Biafran army, fled for exile. It was the man that the white reporters called F-young (Gen. Philip Effiong) that did the needful by handing over to then Col. Obasanjo the instrument of surrender. So on 15th January 1970, Gen. Gowon received the Biafran delegation and thus announced the end of the war on the terms of "no victor no vanquished."

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