Lonely meal of sorrow {Poem}

By Odimegwu Onwumere

{This picture was culled online to lace the poem}

All hopes entrusted on the country
Have been betrayed
Like an infidel partner.

Many of us at the war front
Continue to retreat
Like defeated soldiers
Without reinforcement.

The lightened room
Continues to darken
Upon prospects.

We continue to lend our voice
Which croaks like frogs
During drought.

The country continues to release
Sadness into our soul

And lonely meal of sorrow
Is the only meal left on the menu.

© Dec. 15 2018; Odimegwu Onwumere


Factors That May Work Against Okorocha’s Candidate In Favour Of Araraume In Imo Guber

By Odimegwu Onwumere

One Ayn Rand tells the world in Atlas Shrugged, saying that “‘power-lust’ is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.”

{Okorocha and Araraume}

Rand might not have the loquacious Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha at heart, when that statement was made. But in earnest, the statement best captures what is happening in Imo today, where the once loved, respected, modeled, orator Rochas Okorocha has sullied his image because of “power-lust” in 2019, as if Imo State is a dramatic theater where fiction is entertained in the place of reality.

Okorocha prefers to be known for the much clatter he makes and controversial features he exhibits as governor rather than to be known as a statesman after his tenure, a trait that has shamed many people like this writer who loved Okorocha to a fault before and in 2007 he wanted to contest for the PDP chairmanship.

From his comments today, Okorocha still lives in the medieval feudalism. Imo State has become his land while the people, his labourers, who are bound to abide by his tyrannical overtures usually consisting arrogance and vulgarity.

Okorocha has shown much of his smuttiness to Senator Ifeanyi Araraume, given the interest the later has shown for the plume job of governor of Imo State come 2019.

While Araraume believes that the Imo electorate will deliver him, the talkative Okorocha believes Imo State is under dukedom where one family succeeds the duke after another.

What formed Okorocha’s statement in February this year that he has told all the contestants to start consulting but he will not support Araraume shows that Okorocha is a “proud, arrogant, vindictive, greedy and narrow-minded or clannish” person, some words he had the umpteenth time indirectly used to qualify the person of Araraume.

It is evidence that why the governor is hitting his head on the wall against Araraume’s aspiration is because he would not want Araraume to open the can of worms that he perhaps has canned as governor.

This is typified in the governor’s comment stating that he would not want, apart from Araraume, his immediate predecessor, Dr Ikedi Ohakim, re-elected. According to the ravenous Okorocha, “if Ohakim is re-elected, his mission would be for vengeance.”

It ought not to be in the hands of Okorocha to tell Ndi-Imo who they want to elect or re-elect as governor if he has nothing to fear after his tenure expires as governor in 2019. While Okorocha has said that he does not want the likes of Araraume, yet, while speaking with newsmen on February 5, he said that it was Imo people who should name “who his successor should be.”

In his words, “I want Imo people to name who they want as their governor in 2019, because I will not name any body, and that is why I have asked the aspirants to consult with the people; but, definitely, the likes of Araraume and Ohakim will not succeed me.”

However, few days latter that Okorocha made that comment like a man that cannot be trusted that he is, on February 12, at a meeting with members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Owerri Municipal Council Area, he named his Chief of Staff, Uche Nwosu, as his successor in 2019. Nwosu is also Okorocha’s son-in-law.

Apart from choosing his son in-law to succeed him, Okorocha’s affront on the Imo people that has shown he has failed before and on arriving 2019 was when he said that his choice for Nwosu was because of “the qualities of an ideal leader” that Nwosu has.

When it seemed to Okorocha that his son in-law was the only person in the entire Imo State with the ideals of leadership and when many Imo people were afraid to talk to Okorocha who apart from seeing Imo State as his fiefdom and overloads what happens even in the APC in the state, Araraume manifestly told him that no one owns Imo State or the APC in the state.

Okorocha who believes that his son in-law and him are the only people in Imo State that have leadership qualities, also has interest to run in the Imo West Senatorial District in 2019.

Well, given how richer Okorocha has become financially, many people from far think that Imo State population are wealthy. What they did not know is that Okorocha promised making Imo big, but the outcome is his ‘having it all to myself’ mentality he started showing as he became governor.

His new political trend to form a political dynasty is part and parcel of sheer greed which is no longer hidden in Okorocha’s political charades. He is obsessed with power, money and greed. If not, why would he have made a choice of the son in-law to go for governor while himself, to senate. This is a case of making the world to believe that greed is good.

On the other hand, it is obvious that Araraume, no matter what it will take him or cost him, wants to say that Okorocha’s judgment of 2019 is politically impaired by no other person but Araraume, because Okorocha has blinded Imo State with “power-lust” ambition.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Balarabe: Unreserved Truth Of APC’s Wares Of Hardship To Nigerians

By Odimegwu Onwumere

“Balarabe Musa is one of Nigeria’s brightest stars of integrity and sterling principles. The octogenarian has lived to his reputation by avoiding any conduct associated with corruption and dishonour. Even Musa’s worst enemies and critics cannot dispute his remarkable reputation for integrity and selfless service to the people.” – Muhammadu Buhari

At 81, Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa who is regarded as a left-wing Nigerian politician, elected Governor of Kaduna State, during the Nigerian Second Republic, has remained an outspoken loyalist to the downtrodden, hapless and defocused Nigerians, who are enduring charlatanic governance under the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of Nigeria. Musa who probably would not have owned a house of his own if not that he took a loan about 40 years ago of which he balanced recently, has spoken truth to the mendacious APC government.

Musa, the National Chairman of Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, with an undamaged acumen not always known of persons of his age, news has it that while speaking at the 54th National Executive Committee of the party in Kaduna on December 12 2017, had the following words for the retrogressed and aberration known as APC: “The economy remains comatose, and in some sectors, particularly in industry and commerce, it is even getting worse. Monetary and fiscal management have continued to lack coherence and consistency, or even predictability and strategic planning.

“Unemployment, particularly among the youths, who constitute the bulk of our population, has assumed critical proportions and is now, for all practical purposes, a national emergency. Yet, this APC administration, which rode to power on the back of false promises to this generation of hapless young men and women, seems to have no answers to this ticking time bomb beyond slogans such as N-Power.

“In the name of an anti-corruption campaign, the government has been consistently assaulting Due Process and the Rule of Law. Court orders are flagrantly disobeyed by the very institutions that should enforce them. Basic democratic rights are being cynically abused.

“While talking glibly about fighting corruption, the government shamelessly looks askance where corruption is exposed within its own very ranks, closets and cocoons. APC, both at the centre and the states it controls, has proved that it has little or nothing else to provide Nigerians other than further mass impoverishment, frustration and hardship.”

While the Major General Muhammadu-led APC government has shown that it lags the tenets of positive leadership in the points raised above by Musa but with a PhD in propaganda, you wonder what is then an impeachable offense that a president should commit before he is shown the exit door in the office. T

The governened are enduring untoward hardship as they are experiencing under the government of Buhari in the name of democracy.

Musa has shown that he is not and cannot be like the Senate leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), who on July 25 2016, said in an interview that Buhari cannot be impeached, because he has not been faithful to any impeachable offence. In the same month of that year, the Nigerian House of Representatives corroborated what the Senate had said through Ndume.

Chief Whip of the House, Alhassan Doguwa was the garrulous ‘speaker’ for the lower chamber. Whereas the Senate and House of Reps exonerated the president of impeachment, it is still fresh in our hearts that the DSS was unashamedly above board in its excesses in this government, Army, Police, Fulani herdsmen and Boko haram were also defiantly everywhere in this government.

Remember that the Nigerian Police was rated the worst in the world few weeks ago, according to World Internal Security and Police Index International, WISPI. But apart from the fact that Nigerians are roasting under Buhari and some persons were saying that he had not committed an impeachable offense, the retention of the (il)legal Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, upon the rejection of Magu by the Senate, had been said is one impeachable offense.

We should not even remember the brain behind Maina’s return. According to Reno Omokri, the author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years: Chibok, 2015 and Other Conspiracies, “This is even as the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had already revealed that he “acted in the public’s interest” in initiating the process for Maina’s return.” The $25 billion Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) fiddle which is regarded by opinion leaders as “the biggest scam ever in the history of Nigeria since 1914 to date” could also have been “in public interest”.

Omokri, about five months ago, said that the former President Goodluck Jonathan made mistakes, but Buhari is a mistake. Omokri is not far from the truth. Buhari is not just a mistake but a failure in governance that many of us shouted about during his emergence as APC’s presidential candidate in the 2015, that he will finally not prove critics wrong.

Taking to Twitter of the lies of the Buhari government, Omokri wrote that before the APC came into power, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, and currently the Federal Minister of Power, Works and Housing and was Lagos State Governor from May 29, 2007 to May 29, 2015, had in 2014 promised stable electricity, if only the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is voted out.

“However, he is now blaming Jonathan, for reducing electricity tariff. Buhari will do well moving @tundefashola from being in charge of generating power for Nigeria to being in charge of generating excuses for govt,” Omokri mocked them. “The main difference between GEJ/PDP and PMB/APC is that @GEJonathan made his mistakes as President while @MBuhari is a mistake as President. The major difference between the PDP and the APC is that whereas the PDP had some confirmed liars as members, the APC is itself a lie!”

Against that influence, Buhari spent the vital parts of his first year in office junketing around the world without a cabinet. Buhari stayed in the office without a cabinet knowing or unknowing that the different states depend on the Federation Account to survive. Buhari had a view that he was preparing for the best for the country, oblivious that his action was for the worse. Six months without a functional cabinet of ministers, ambassadors and so on, were enough to damage the country’s economy than just recession. And here we are!

However, speaking in an interview on April 2 2017, Senator Femi Okurounmu, regarded as a die-hard Awoist, said that the president might be impeached, on the appointment of the Magu, if he refuses to follow the constitution. In the words of Okurounmu, “There are two issues involved here. If the Senate rejects Magu and the president allows him to act, that is an impeachable offence. If our legislature is up to the task, if our lawmakers know their rights and they are men of honour, that is enough to impeach the president.”

Hmmm. Hardly is anyone talking on the hyper-kept secret of the health condition of Buhari since January 19 2017, we read then in the news that he sent a letter to the senate in respect of this. The senate did not see him, but saw the letter. Since then, Nigeria has been sick as their president is sick.

It is the odious of governments that Buhari is heading that pushed Musa to weep that at 81, he is not yet fulfilled, while fielding questions to journalists on October 27 2017. It is this type of nuisance called democracy under Buhari that made Musa to regret the 57 years of Independence from the rapacious British colonial masters. He said, “At 81, I will say I feel great and I thank God for everything. But, I am not completely fulfilled because we are yet to have the country of our dreams. We are yet to have a country where there is equity and respect for rights and dignity of all citizens. We are yet to have a country where the governed are good followers and leaders think first about the people and not the other way round. I desire a better Nigeria where everyone will feel the impact of governance that is my birthday wish for the country.’’

Nevertheless, when this government expires someday, the remaining of us who were not killed by the Buhari hunger policies would remember Balarabe Musa as a man who spoke truth to power, when some others chickened out. We would remember Musa that it was his un-daunting courage for the elements of integrity that made Buhari to describe him as a “man of unassailable integrity and untainted record of public service” in a tribute to Musa on the occasion of his 81st birthday anniversary this year.

If Buhari apologists think they can keep the health of the president a secret, they cannot keep the fact that Nigerians are hungry under Buhari a secret; they cannot keep the killing and marauding Fulani herdsmen a secret, and many other deliberate abuses here and there under the Buhari-led APC government. These are the hardships being offered to Nigerians by the APC government, which Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa was not happy about.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Media Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

£6m Down The Drain: Many Lies Buhari Told On His Ear Infection

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Mallam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to launder his paymaster’s image and perhaps save his job, said on September 19, 2016 that Mr. President spent about £50,000 as operating cost for his ear treatment in London as against £6m Prof. Farooq Kperogi at Bayero University Kano had quoted a national paper in a commentary as the cost of Buhari’s trip to London for the ear treatment.

{Major General Muhammadu Buhari}
{Major General Muhammadu Buhari}

“The disclosure on Prof. Farooq Kperogi’s wall that President Muhammadu Buhari’s ear treatment in the United Kingdom cost a whopping £6m must have shocked many of the respected scholar’s followers.

“I’m prepared to share documents with Farooq, one of the brightest ever produced from the Bayero University Kano that the whole treatment, including a follow-up visit by a specialist to Nigeria didn’t cost £50,000,” said the embattled Shehu.

Checks At The Presidency Had Claimed The Trip Cost £6m, Not £50, 000

Checks revealed that after Shehu made the claim, Kperogi put the records straight in a public presentation on September 24, stating as follows:

#1. “Checks at the presidency claimed that, the cost of the trip which includes aviation fuel, accommodation, allowances for aides and medical treatment amounts to about £6 million.” (Vanguard).

#2. What government needs to do is go beyond issuing a glib denial; it should bring authentic, verifiable documentary evidence that shows exactly how much was spent during the 14-day trip to London when Buhari’s ear was treated. How many aircraft in the presidential fleet were taken to London? How much did it cost to fuel them?

#3. What was the landing cost for keeping them in London for 14 days? How many aides and government officials went to London with the president? How much did their per diem (what we call “estacodes” in Nigeria) cost the national treasury? What was the cost of accommodating and feeding the coterie of aides and government officials that followed the president to London? We already know, through Mallam Garba, that the president’s medical bill was about 50,000 pounds.

#4. From my own informal observation, when you calculate the cost of the trip-fueling of the aircraft in the presidential fleet, per diem for aides and other government officials, etc. for two weeks – there is no way on earth that it wouldn’t add up to a few million pounds. No way. Now, note that Vanguard claimed to have made “checks of £6m” at the presidency, and nobody from the presidency denied it – for more than three months after the fact!

#5. But, most importantly, some people assume that just because the presidency has denied the allegation, it must be false. That’s unbelievably shallow and credulous. First, Mallam Garba Shehu’s statement (of £50, 000) merely told us the medical bill Buhari incurred for his ear treatment. It said nothing about the cost of the entire trip. Never mind that on June 8, 2016, Femi Adesina actually said “The President did not go to London for treatment.” Now we are told he spent “less than £50,000” for as his medical bill for ear treatment.

First Lies Told By Buhari About His Ear Infection

Mr. President’s aides started defending him with lies when early this year, Nigerians clamoured that he had ear impairment known in the medical term as “Meniere’s Disease’’.

Within the period instead of the mystified Buhari would accept his ear infection reality, he rather confined himself to the State House and canceled three official occasions in which he was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

Osibanjo represented Buhari in Papua New Guinea where the 8th Summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States held. Also, at the 48th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which held in Dakar, Senegal, Buhari was represented by Osibanjo. Buhari also canceled his trip to Lagos State to launch some projects accomplished by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of the state.

Later, on June 5, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, told Nigerians that the president would on that day, proceed on a 10‎-day leave, which he would spend in London.

“During the holiday, he will see an E.N.T. specialist ‎for a persistent ear infection,” he said, explaining: “The president was examined by his Personal Physician and an E.N.T. Specialist in Abuja and was treated. Both Nigerian doctors recommended further evaluation purely as a precaution.”

Needless Medical Trip Abroad

When the All Progressives Congress (APC) produced Buhari as president in the 2015 presidential election, the party accused the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of squandering the country’s resources in overseas treatment of its stakeholders. But the APC sent shame to the winds and sent Buhari on abroad medical trip, something the APC had used against the PDP.

Instantaneously that Buhari confirmed his ear problem as a reality and was set to travel overseas, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, Vice President, Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) and former President, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), told the media that the trip was a shame on the nation (despite the presence of over 250 ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists in the country and a National Ear Centre in Kaduna State), given that Enabulele had undergone surgical operation for his ear infection in Nigeria, this year, and it was successful.

“I am very constrained to state that this foreign medical trip flies in the face of the federal government’s earlier declaration of her resolve to halt the embarrassing phenomenon of outward medical tourism, which by the end of the year 2013, has led to a humongous capital flight of about $1 billion, particularly from expenses incurred by political and public office holders and their accompanying aides, whose foreign medical trips, most of which are unnecessary, were financed with tax payers’ resources,” Enabulele contended in an open letter to the president.

The medical expert gave an instance why Buhari should have treated himself in Nigeria, saying, “If the former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, could patronize Nigerian-trained medical experts and medical facilities here in Nigeria when he unfortunately suffered a fractured femur following a road traffic accident in 2013, I see no reason why in 2016, Mr. President could not have stayed back in Nigeria to attend to his ear infection.”

Nigerian doctors had recommended extra assessment of Mr. President’s ailment simply as a precaution, but did not recommend foreign trip. “Just for an ear infection Nigeria’s president travels all the way to London to get expert treatment and a second opinion. Shame on Nigeria! And this ear infection explains all the loud cries and groans of the common people suffering from their day to day challenges,” said a public affairs commentator.

Conclusion: Buhari Would’ve Stayed Back In Nigeria; Claim He Spent £50,000 as False

According to media reports, “The medical expert claimed that most public and political office holders who seek foreign medical care are treated by Nigerian-trained doctors, particularly in the United Kingdom, which has over 3000 Nigerian-trained medical doctors, and the United States of America, with over 5000.

“Most of these foreign-based doctors, Mr. Enabulele added, relocated abroad because of the government’s repeated failure to address the various factors that make the local environment difficult to work in.” Adding, Dr. Enabulele said that if he was in the Buhari aides’ shoes, he would have advised Mr. President to stay back in Nigeria and explore any of the following options.

  1. Urgently invite a consortium of Nigerian trained ENT specialists in Nigeria to Abuja to re-evaluate and treat Mr. President; or,
  2. if it is determined that the medical expertise is not available in Nigeria (and I doubt this), any identified Nigerian trained ENT specialist practicing anywhere in the world should be invited to Abuja, Nigeria, for the sole purpose of re-evaluating and treating Mr. President; or,
  3. if it is a case where the health facilities/equipment are unavailable (and this is a possibility) then Mr. President should have used his current medical situation, though unfortunate, to commence the Federal Government’s plan to re-equip Nigerian hospitals with modern state-of-the art health facilities, by ordering for the needed medical equipment to enable the locally available Nigerian trained ENT specialists to attend to him, and thereafter use same facilities to attend to other Nigerians with similar conditions.

Finally, Prof. Kperogi added, “Can anybody in good conscience defend the action of a president who allocated N4 billion to Aso Rock Clinic (which is more than the budget of all Nigerian teaching hospitals combined) but goes abroad to treat an ear infection less than a month after he banned government officials from traveling abroad for medical treatment? Let’s not allow our emotions to get the better of our judgment! Only unreflective Buhari apologists assume the falsity of the Vanguard report (of £6m), without any shred of contrary evidence other than a facile, reactive denial.”

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Poet, Writer and Consultant based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Rivers: Why Wike Shouldn’t Go About Peace Without Princewill

By Odimegwu Onwumere

In Rumundele Community of Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State, the residents threw open party recently in jubilation that over 200 youth from two bloody cult groups that had terrorised the area for months with property worth hundreds of thousands of naira destroyed and many lives lost, have openly denounced their membership in the Community. In some communities in the state, cult-related activities were rife which compelled the state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to initiate amnesty for the bigoted cultists of which, not only in Rumundele, many youths who were into gangsterism across the state, have embraced the initiative. Like the immediate past governor of the state, Chibuike Amaechi, Wike invariably inherited a volatile Rivers State in what have been as cult activities, militancy, piracy along waterways, political backbiting and hostage taking. Amaechi-led administration implored the services of security personnel with the code names, Joint Task Force (JTF) or Operation Flush Out, which moved in the streets heavily armed. But upon the presence of the security agents, the much sought peace was elusive till Prince Tonye Princewill waded in and took peace campaign personally to the creeks and hideouts where the boys took as their base for operation. So, with Amaechi recording half-baked peace with the presence of JTF, till Princewill came in and helped for the restoration of peace in Rivers State, Wike might not bring about absolute peace in the state with his amnesty initiative.

{Governor Wike}
{Governor Wike}

Prince Tonye Princewill, the Labour Party governorship candidate in the 2015 governorship election in Rivers state, may have diverted his attention from the politics of the state to other ventures out of principle but observers know that he was part of the foundation to the relative peace that the state is enjoying today and he should have a rethink or be appealed to help the present government of Governor Nyesom Wike to succeed because Princewill knows how best to go about peace.

In the event that Wike was declared the winner of the election, the voice of Princewill was up in advice that all political parties should be civil in any move for redress in the court of law and should not incite their followers into violence. This was given that the election in the state raised tension upon that the 3 major candidates that were contesting in the persons of Dakuku Peterside of the All Progressives Congress, Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party and Tonye Princewill of the Labour Party had signed an undertaken on January 22 2015 before a US Ambassador to Nigeria to ensure a violent free election.

Many political observers saw that move as the first in the political history of the state. Of a truth, Princewill has maintained that peace pact covertly and overtly by not citing comments capable of breaching public peace like some other person has been doing. Although, he has told truth to the people that the election was marred by irregularities. Since he’s not a lawyer, legal luminaries at the Supreme Court had said that Wike was duly elected and is the Governor of Rivers State; Princewill has since then, channeled his energy to his private business.

It is on record that by January 2014, which was regarded as the decisive year for the 2015 election, Princewill sued for peace and reconciliation among the many warring politicians in the state. Peace has always been Princewill’s insignia. His approach to a peaceful resolution may be connected to the fact that he is the son of King (Prof) Theophanous Jacob Tom Princewill, CFR, Amachree XI, Amayanabo Kalabari whom the junior Princewill shares the same birthday with. We cannot also say that he came about peace from the books he has read as he holds a Master of Sciences degree in Mineral Resources Engineering and distinguished Diploma from Imperial College, London, having had a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt. But in another look, majority of the sons of Kings and influential are known for arrogance. So, we may say that peace runs in Princewill’s blood and not because of his royal pedigree.

It’s observable that his strong political philosophy of equality and liberty might be his undoing political factor as he is an apostle of free and fair elections, when majority politicians think the obverse. He also believes in civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and a right to life, liberty, and property, as was captured by one of his former aides. He does not believe in politics of bitterness, with his popular mantra that “politics is too important to be left to politicians.” Hence, his venturing into politics in 2007 under Action Congress, after he returned from London in 2003, where he spent many years studying and doing business. That year was the pick of upsurge of militancy in Rivers State with his home town of Buguma boiling.

Princewill was chiefly the arrowhead that initiated peaceful movements that resolved the crises which saw to many people and companies packing, lives wasted and property worth billions of naira destroyed. For the love of Rivers State, Princewill refused to go to court against the Supreme Court judgment that favoured the immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi against Sir Celestine Omehia; the later being a very gentle man. As a master of peace, Princewill made sure that all the political parties in the state come under an umbrella known as and called Forum of the Organised Opposition Political Parties (FOOPP) in Rivers State. Over 43 political parties were in this forum and the state was calm from 2008 when the forum was formed to 2010 when Princewill moved to the Peoples Democratic Party, for personal reasons.

His peaceful dispositions and art in reconciling people saw him to becoming a member of the Rivers State Economic Advisory Committee in 2008, which Professor Nimi Briggs was Chairman. On July 7, 2008 the National Mirror, published the names of 40 Nigerians that, in its view, could fix Nigeria’s problems. It also published the pictures of the people in a publication titled, “Cabinet Reshuffle – 40 People who could Fix Nigeria” on page 6 of that edition. Princewill’s name was there.

By 2009, Princewill was on the Presidential Technical Committee on the Niger Delta and was Sub-Committee Chairman of the Niger Delta Subcommittee on Vision 2020 that was pioneered by the then President Umar Yar’Adua. For the love of humanity, Princewill tendered his resignation letter as a sign of protestation from the Vision2020 Committee when the military invaded Gbaramatu, in Delta State.

He continued with his peace move by founding the Princewill Political Associates (PPA); although as a political pressure group. He brought Ohaneze Ndi Igbo leadership into looking for ways to resolve the Niger Delta crises; a move he personally made to Enugu in 2009. On 29th June 2009, Princewill reconciled Alhaji Asari Dokubo with Amaechi. He proved the critics of the Eso-led reconciliatory panel wrong, by leading Asari to reconcile with Amaechi, although journalists as at the time said the reconciliation was “of an unproven issue”.

But spectators knew that Alhaji Asari was angry with Amaechi over statement by the later calling the then Niger Delta crusaders criminals. In a statement by Asari to Amaechi, he said, “I decided to follow him (Princewill) to visit you, the governor, today to demonstrate that apart from the issues highlighted above, I have no other grudge against you and to formally accept you as my governor and the undisputable Governor of Rivers State, as upheld by the Supreme Court.”

Amaechi explained his happiness and commended Princewill for this feat, saying, “My becoming the Governor of Rivers State, apart from being divine, was a calculated attempt to restore hope and actualization of the vision of the founders of our dear state in 1967. Today is one of my happiest days because no matter our differences, I admire Asari so much for his love for our region and his readiness to lay his life on behalf of our people; and I feel so bad that such a personality could not team up with me to contribute to develop our only state. But thanks to God who, in his infinite wisdom, decided to use Tonye to make this great reunion possible.”

{Prince Tonye Princewill}
{Prince Tonye Princewill}

Prince Tonye Princewill knows how to go about peace and he is tested and trusted in this area. Therefore, Governor Wike and Prince Princewill have to team up and see how they can lift Rivers State to the next level irrespective of party affiliation.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV). Tel: 08057778358. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

Kalu, keeping hope alive in Buhari

By Odimegwu Onwumere

It is three months that a former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu told Nigerians in service of this year’s Democracy Day, on May 29, to keep hope alive and have patience with the government of Major General Muhammadu Buhari.

{Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu}
{Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu}

I’m responding to the comment now because in Igbo, we believe that a man does not give his verdict over an issue, till he must have slept over it. I’ve slept over it!

For the avoidance of doubt, the statement of Kalu reads, “Nigerians must display endurance at this critical time as President Buhari cleans the Augean stable. It is quite easy and simplistic to destroy but takes a longer period, commitment, hard work and sacrifice to correct ingrained anomalies. There can be no magic wand in sorting out the maze of unprecedented corruption, official banditry, nonchalant looting and holistic underdevelopment, which characterised the immediate-past government.”

Before Kalu’s comment of hope, I had seen Buhari being represented in a statement in “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, saying, “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” So, Buhari does not care!

I’d not seen any cogent reason to align with Buhari or have hope in his government, because he is dogmatic; and dogmatists do not make good democrats. But regarding the fact that Kalu who is renowned for being a social democrat has made the comment of hope, I think there is a reason to look at Kalu and his comment of hope again.

My position in this treatise is not to say whether the immediate-past government that Buhari succeeded was corrupt or not. What I want say is the underlining hope in the statement by Kalu, which points him out as a man of hope. This has made many Nigerians to have hope in Kalu.

On July 8, this year, Kalu who never had any government contract since democracy was attained in 1999, equally said that he was yet to believe that the anti-corruption war by Buhari was selective.

Also, hear Kalu, “I do not believe that the anti-corruption war by President Buhari is selective. Someone may look at it in the perspective that it is selective because it is the people in the previous government that are involved and this is because they are the ones who handled the money during that period.



“I support President Buhari in the fight against corruption, but as we are fighting corruption, we should also look at the industrial base of the country. No country can survive with only politics. The economy is very important to the nation.”

While Kalu came to Buhari’s rescue in these times that Nigerians are growing Iroko-size of impatience against the government of Buhari, I want to keep hope alive in the sense that Kalu is one gold that glitters and that is good, unlike what it used to be, “All that is gold does not glitter.”

Why I’m interested in what Kalu told Nigerians was that he had advised Buhari not to be like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo used the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to settle scores with his political opponents. So, Kalu had.

A comment by Kalu in this regard, reads: “He (Buhari) should not fight corruption the way former President Olusegun Obasanjo did, when you have seen me spend security vote and you are after me on that to settle personal scores. You pursue people for not supporting your inordinate ambition and policies, it is wrong. I appeal to President Buhari not to get involved in that kind of corruption-fighting and I am happy he has appointed someone who has lesser belief in material things, as acting chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). I am saying this because when all these people say they are fighting corruption, they don’t really fight corruption. You know I don’t fear anybody; I’m not even afraid of dying today and not afraid of not saying the truth.”

Kalu was telling us that from the ashes of a fire shall the phoenix be woken; something that he had experienced before he attained his global status as a distinguished entrepreneur and anti-corruption crusader.

I want to deem Kalu that we should be patience with the clumsy Buhari government because I had known from a Friedrich Nietzsche, saying, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It was not that Kalu deeply loves Buhari or deeply hates Nigerians and he made that comment of patience. What I have understood by the comment, when others were perhaps shouting ‘Kalu!’ was that Kalu’s love for Nigeria gives him strength and courage that all would be fine again.

Others might not have seen what Kalu saw before making that comment; he is one man that does not say things because he wants his voice to be heard. No. He does not say things because he wants others to praise him. No. He shows the words of Mahatma Gandhi of India in the work “All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections” in practice, which is that the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Gandhi had affirmed the position of Kalu today, when the former said, “Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Kalu is not weak that he cannot forgive; he is strong, but not as strong in the words of President Obama, when later said, “Africa needs strong institutions, not strong men.”   Kalu believes in the words of J.K. Rowling, saying, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Kalu believes that all mankind should show positive expression, even in the face of disheartening courage.

We have to be united in the hope that Kalu has raised and not in looking at the directionless government of Buhari that its proceedings have broken a lot of people down. I’m protected by the hope that Kalu had raised and not in the government that had broken many with yearning, making many to be in solitude, not to love again, because of government-generated hardship.

Kalu had raised hope for Nigerians to see the reason they must still be proud, whereas the government continued to break a lot of people’s heart. Oh! I’m taking solace in the words of Kalu which invariably depicted the words of a Albert Camus, saying, “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

It was Dalai Lama XIV who said that there is a saying in Tibet, ‘Tragedy should be utilised as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.” So, we have to thank Kalu for building that courage of patience, which is most important of all the virtues of life.

{Major General Muhammadu Buhari}
{Major General Muhammadu Buhari}

Kalu has shown character, courage, essence, determination, goodness, fortitude inspiration, life-lessons, persistence, resolve, self-reliance, strength in making sure that Nigerians keep hope alive.

Odimegwu Onwumere is award-winning journalist based in Rivers State. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com

Aisha vs. Fayose: Truth spoken too late, more destructive than a lie

Written by Odimegwu Onwumere

Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and their ilk have been sending feint to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State over a supposedly trip to the United States of America, USA, by the wife of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha, on August 3 2016, but they are fighting a lost battle.

{Aisha Buhari and Ayo Fayose}
{Aisha Buhari and Ayo Fayose}

In the event leading to the hypothetically trip, Fayose had said that Aisha played a role in Jefferson bribery scandal. The ebullient governor made the comment the umpteenth time. Some links were said to have been distributed to the USA Justice department to show testimony of the odious funds that were allegedly transferred by Aisha.

The fearless and indomitable Fayose claimed that Buhari should own up that he was as corrupt just as those he was witch-hunting instead of following the rule of law. Since June 20, Fayose had not said this like one having water in his mouth; he said it loud and clear!

In the words of Fayose, “Even the President cannot claim to be an angel. The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton Scandal (sic). When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson. We can serialize the judgment for people to see and read.”

Nigerians cannot rule out the fact that Governor Fayose is brave, outspoken and a man who has refused to talk like a boy when others have chickened out in the Major General Buhari-led (un) democratic governance for fear of being haunted.

We are not talking about the democratic government here, but what happens under Nigeria’s democracy under Buhari – where Buhari cajoles lawyers and judiciary apparently – not to follow professionalism in the conduct of charges against some alleged corrupt persons, but should send such persons to prison without a trial.

Remember that Buhari on April 1, 2016 said his government was not prepared to release from detention the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and Director of the Europe Based Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, for alleged treason, as well as former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, a retired Army Colonel, who is facing corruption charges.

Hear Buhari: “Dasuki, who is presently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), has multiple cases in court, which he must diligently face and answer. Nnamdi Kanu has committed a serious offence and therefore government is not prepared to release him based on the numerous bail orders handed down by the different courts”. In short, the governor said many things in this stead.

After Fayose made that claim against Aisha, a make-believe ‘Aisha Buhari’ passport was circulated over the media, especially the online, as the one who was the ‘culprit’ that Fayose was talking about, and not the Major General’s wife.

There was jittery in the presidency and it took them nearly two months or so to ‘package’ news that Aisha travelled to the USA, when we were being fed that she was represented at an event in the USA by the wife of Senate President, Mrs. Bukola Saraki.

But before we could open some pictures of Mrs. Saraki with the Obamas, the image launderers of Aisha started bombarding the social media with ‘Aisha pictures in the USA’. They also sent out some videos of her in the USA without us seeing her with those that matter.

The irony is that Fayose did not gamble with his stance, but it took Aisha a conduct-of-life to come out with her USA trip story. We know that both positive and negative thinking are infectious, so Fayose was right in his thinking.

The governor triumphed over procrastination, but Aisha didn’t. She showed that there could be some truth in the position of Fayose by the way she delayed, deferred, dilly-dallied, lazy, postponed, procrastinated going to the USA at the early time of the accusation.

The APC Ekiti and others insulting Fayose today ought to hide their faces in shame and apologise to Fayose. Remember that Major General Buhari and those in his bandwagon had on June 27 2016 announced that Aisha would travel to USA that day for the June 30th World First Ladies Conference holding at Colorado USA., in order to confirm that she was innocent.

Many Nigerians and onlookers were toned to that news, but what we saw were a jittered Aisha and her husband’s presidency making a u-turn. They saw that Nigerians would say ‘there is Jack in the bedroom’; hence, they told us that Aisha had left for the Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj.

Their game was a bad one! There was no need keeping the travel of Aisha to the USA for so long. An innocent person would always show action, avoidance of doubt, courage, resolve to establish his or her innocence.

Aisha’s delay before the emergence of the news that she was in the USA in August, was habitual procrastination. Fayose showed courage which was more important than the Aisha’s shallow victory.

Fayose showed a sign of thinker: maturity. Fayose never gave excuses like – Aisha – that will not take anyone far. Fayose was calm, cool, humble, but Aisha and her husband’s presidency showed procrastination and allowed excuses reign supreme.

They delayed justice and highly missed the scant trust that people had in them. Governor Fayose wears the crown of victory having not tarried on his goals in speaking out unlike those that have buried their joy for shying away, hence bearing the mark of untold story written all over them, because of fear of the untouchable Major General Buhari.

We know that Fayose’s bribery stance will continue to bang on the doors of Aisha’s heart. However, let Fayose not allow the accusations by the APC Ekiti suggesting that the rumoured trip of Aisha has exposed him as a “man lacking in integrity to hold the responsible position of the governor of Ekiti State”.

APC spokesman, Taiwo Olatunbosun was reported to have said this on August 7 2016. Fayose should therefore take comfort in Alan Garner’s “The Weirdstone of Brisingamen”, saying, we learned that the deed is nothing. It is the thought that breeds fear; and we achieve little by lingering.

Consequently, Aisha achieved nothing by lingering on the USA trip.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based poet, writer and consultant. He won in the digital category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016, Lagos; and the International Award for Excellence in Journalism 2016, Geneva. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: odimegwu@journalist.com