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Thursday, 24 October 2013

Igbo Southeast Political Appointees Are Sitting On A Keg Of Gunpowder


In Nigeria: Administrative Investigation Into  Oduah’s Alleged Fraud A 
Bold First Step, But Not Enough
(Public Information, 24th October, 2013)-It has again come to the
knowledge of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties &
the Rule of Law that the Igbo Southeast political appointees occupying plum offices including ministries, parastatals and

agencies at the federal level, are sitting on a keg of gunpowder in Nigeria. Almost all key Igbo Southeast appointive public office holders serving under the present
administration of President Jonathan are under threats. Already, the likes
of former Minister of Power, Prof Bath Nnaji, former Controller General of
the Nigerian Immigration Service, Mrs. Rosemary Uzoma and the immediate
past Chairman of the National Population Commission, Mr. Festus Odimegwu,
have either been sacked or forced to resign. The major weapon used for
this “ethno-centric warfare” is the Nigerian media, controlled and
sectionalized by the Southwest Nigeria.
Apart from thickening plans to restore the age-long Hausa-Fulani/Yoruba
political slavery in Nigeria, whereby  other ethnic nationalities
including the Igbo Southeast will remain politically and economically
enslaved under them ad infinitum; extensive sectional media warfare has
been massively deployed to weaken and frustrate the priceless
contributions of  eminent sons and daughters of other nationalities to the
national development. Nigeria has three major tribes of Hausa-Fulani, Igbo
and Yoruba and two major concentrations of minorities of southern and
northern Nigeria extractions. In 1957, “the fears of the minorities”
forced the outgoing British colonialists to enshrine the “fundamental
human rights code” into the Independence Constitution of 1960.
In other to address these fears of political and economic domination by
the three major tribes, particularly the Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba
nationalities, the 1994/5 constituent assembly divided Nigeria into six
geopolitical zones with the mindset of creating two zones for southern
and northern minorities. While the minorities of the south were
successfully given one geopolitical zone, their northern counterparts
were further Balkanized. The mainly Christian minorities of the north are
supposed to be composed of southern Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, Taraba,
Adamawa, Kogi, Kwara and a part of Niger State. It was expected that the
last States and LGAs creation exercise of 1996 would have addressed
these. But the State creators and boundary adjusters of 1996 twisted the
whole thing and included Taraba and Adamawa States in the Northeast
geopolitical zone instead of North-central zone where most of others were
included.
These arrangements were gazetted and included in the Decree 24 of 1999,
which is now called “the Constitution of Nigeria 1999”. Section 14 (3) &
(4) was inserted into the Constitution to ensure that no particular zone,
area or tribe dominates Federal and State appointments and revenues. This
was followed by the establishment of the Federal Character Commission to
ensure strict adherence to the geopolitical equity principle. Yet, these
provisions have been observed in reckless breach. The Nigeria Police Force
and the Police Service Commission, for instance, now promote senior police
officers without disclosing the names and geopolitical identities of those
promoted. While the Hausa-Fulani nationalities use violence and political
suppression to dwarf Igbo-Nigerians resident in the north as well as its
mainly Christian minority nationalities, the Yorubas of the Southeast make
extensive use of its media to hunt down top Igbo political appointees at
federal levels. The Yoruba media canonize Igbo clowns and destroy her
upright personalities.
Even where there is no stain or scandal, one will be created using traps
and sectionalized media reports. To have their way if no scandal is seen,
malicious subordinates and personal aides are induced with scripts aided
by malicious media arrangements to blow open the scripted scandals. Today,
Southwest political appointees at State and federal levels are shielded
from public scrutiny and where it rarely occurs, media formations and
legal technicalities will be massively and consistently deployed to shield
such appointees from criminal investigation and prosecution.
In the case of, some say, disgraced former Court of Appeal President, Ayo
Isa Salami, the highly sectionalized Nigerian media was strongly believed
to have been massively deployed to shield him, despite being reportedly
caught in the act electronically. Instead, the media attention was
massively beamed on Hon. Justice Aloysius Katsina Alu; a former CJN over
his alleged unethical roles in the Sokoto State governorship litigation.
The learned jurist came from a northern minority Christian nationality.
Similar case was the in thing in the aborted trial of one Tinubu Ahmed by
a Code of Conduct Tribunal. The said ex public office holder is neither
guilty nor innocent because of mass deployment of sectional media and
legal technicalities. The trial was stalled and inconclusive.
Stella Oduah’s Alleged Fraud:
Though, we believe strongly that Aviation Minister Stella Oduah is being
hunted in the immediate by the Yoruba media and their sponsors because of
her efforts in making the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu an
international one, but if at the end she is competently indicted over
rumors of fraud, not by the highly sectionalized Nigerian media, but by
competent administrative and criminal investigative agencies, then she
should not only be administratively sacked, but  should be diligently
prosecuted as well. The intervention of the Federal Government of Nigeria
in this respect is a bold first step. The promise made by the FGN to “set
up 3-person administrative investigation committee” is not enough. While
the administrative enquiries or investigations only serve the purpose of
“administrative punishment or exoneration”, they do not serve the
fundamental purpose of criminal law. The issue of fraud is not purely an
administrative matter in Nigeria. Its mother name “corruption” is
mentioned in about 22 anti corruption agencies in Nigeria. In other words,
corruption be it fraud, bribery, over-invoicing, kick-backs, contract
inflation, theft or extortion, is a criminal offence in Nigeria.
Our Advice:
The entry gate of media is report and the exit gate of media is also
report. Punishment of any citizen whether criminal or administrative based
on media reports without proper investigation, is the height of injustice.
Many Nigerian egg heads, who volunteered to serve their country, have been
destroyed by the highly sectionalized Nigerian media. This has scared away
others who want to assist in rebuilding their battered country. Nigeria
has over 25, 000 professorial and doctorial experts in US alone. The
limits of media involvement in the scene of crime and criminal
investigation managements are universally pronounced. This is because the
potentials of the media to distort facts and destroy pieces of vital
evidence because of vested interests and unprofessionalism are very high.
In the world over, any reports solely based on “media reports” are dead
on arrival. Once media uncovers a presumed social deviant act or crime,
it stops and allows an in-depth ethical and criminal investigation to
unravel proper parties to crime or deviant act and related others. In the
eyes of criminology and criminal law, no matter how investigative a media
report is, it cannot be prosecutorial and judgmental. It does not quality
as basis for administrative or criminal punishment, except where the
accused openly admits. Other than the latter, it amounts to “trial by
ordeal” or jungle justice. Such an investigative media report must be
surgically operated by criminal or ethical (administrative) investigative
detectives. Keeping the NPF’s Force Criminal Investigations Department
redundant and inoperative is totally condemned. The Force CID should go
into the matter to look at the criminal aspect of it dispassionately.
Therefore, the Federal Government of Nigeria must be careful and refrain
from punishing Nigerians including its political appointees based on
highly sectionalized media reports without proper investigations be they
administrative or criminal. In Stella Oduah’s case, all the characters
mentioned in the alleged scandal or fraud must be administratively and
criminally investigated. The idea of forcing any political appointee with
tenure of office to resign on the basis of planted subordinates’
disloyalty or uninvestigated media reports must be done away with.
The unceremonious and forced resignation of Eze Festus Odimegwu as the
five years tenured chairman of the National Population Commission as a
result of his vow to make a difference in the forthcoming census
exercise, which has been mired in roguery since Independence, is roundly
condemned.  The idea of replacing any sacked political appointee with
another from the same geopolitical zone, as was the case in the NPC and
the Power Ministry, is very commendable. But it is our condemnation that
this was not the case in issue of the Nigerian Immigration Service boss.
We call on top political appointees of the Igbo Southeast to always watch
their backs because “their enemies are within”. While they must be upright
at all times and stay away from any frauds, they should also be careful
with the type of personal aides they recruit to work for them including
media aides. They should also work harmoniously with their subordinates,
but at the same time, watch them very closely to thwart any moves by their
hunters to plant or instigate any scandals that may bring their downfall.
All the those from the zone holding any command, administrative and other
appointive positions should have effective media counter forces including
reaching out to those in the social media to fight back when under
malicious attacks. They should also establish periodic constituency
consultations with formidable CSOs and other upright figures in their
zone.
Signed:
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman of the Board
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
08033601078, 08180103912
emekaumeagbalasi@yahoo.co.uk


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