{Press Release} Don’t Belittle Igbo Traditional Red Cap, Diehard Igbo Believer Warns Socio-eco-pol Organisations

Don’t Belittle Igbo Traditional Red Cap, Diehard Igbo Believer Warns Socio-eco-pol Organisations

The Senate president, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki on Thursday Jan. 31 2019 tweeted on his Verified account @bukolasaraki that they had arrived Delta State for the PDP presidential rally ongoing for the 2019 elections. He pitched his post with some faces of bigwigs in the party wearing the Igbo Traditional Red Cap with a barge of PDP’s logo –  umbrella – laced on it.

In the words of Saraki, “We just arrived in Delta State, the Big Heart of the nation where our Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, will be speaking about their plans for a #BetterNigeria. #PDPDeltaRally.”

I want to call on the general public not to denigrate the Igbo Traditional Red Cap in whatever guise. It is sacred and should not by any means be desecrated for social, economic or political lucre.

Putting on the Igbo “red cap” is not for everybody, let alone, using it for political rally; something that cannot be attempted in other traditions across the country. The Igbo ‘red cap’ is for a particular people in the Igbo cosmos and not worn by Tom, Dick and Harry. It is a sign of authority and culture and power in Igbo land. It is not for beer parlour outing!

Whether the Igbo “red cap” it is worn with eagle feather or not, its significance of leadership in the Igbo nomenclature cannot be overemphasized. The Igbo Nze na Ozo, might not be laughing when a non-initiate in the Igbo tradition is putting on the “red cap” talk of affixing a political emblem on it in the name of electioneering campaign. This is an insult to entire Igbo traditional institutions and the aberrants have no reason not to apologize.

While I am not against the PDP or its agents in whatever way, (I’m openly saying that I’m not in support of President Muhammadu Buhari, but not APC) it is very offensive to use our revered Igbo Traditional Red Cap for political rally with PDP logo attached on it or any other logo.

I would not want to say that those who did this to our esteemed Igbo “red cap” have no value for the Igbo traditions and cultures but the customary rulers in Igbo land who allowed the downgrading of the Igbo “red cap” for political rally or any other are bogus.

I therefore call on all Igbo traditional institutions to reject this aberration with all their weight and might and call on abusers to retrace their steps.

Let these atypical offenders heal the wound they have inflicted on the Igbo tradition by apologising for their unmerited and unwanted act. This cannot be done on the Fulani/Hausa chieftaincy turban. Proverbially, “It hurts the most when the person that made you feel so special yesterday, make you feel so unwanted today.” One of one own is wearing the “disgraced red cap” without calling for a shift. This is one electioneering campaign gone wrong.

Signed:

Odimegwu Onwumere (Nze Obimgbegbuo),

a writer based in Rivers State and diehard believer of everything aboriginal practice of Ndigbo; their cultures, traditions and spirituality. {None of these should be desecrated.}

Date: Jan. 31 2019.

Tel: 08057778358

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Injustice Anywhere, Not Injustice Everywhere

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Injustice and justice differ from one village to another, from one town to another, by ethical injunctions and from one political sovereignty to another. What may seem as unfair or undeserving treatment in one clime might be the beginning of justice and its outcomes in another clime and vis-à-vis. As injustice is the hypothesis of this discourse, we’ll have to draw experience from injustice beyond the interpretation commonly found in Western philosophy and jurisprudence in modern times. Injustice and justice is a susceptible subject to talk about. For instance, if justice is vehemently the practice of fairness in the society by allowing people to get what they want, do we not think people can be given more than they deserve? Against this influence, we must interpret injustice and justice through the periscope of traditions, cultures, and religions predating modern times. We must draw inspiration from laws of different countries. We must interpret injustice and justice through laws that were before and during slavery. We must not undermine such laws and base our argument on the 10 December 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No. This discourse may not attain the result it was intended to if we base our argument only on human rights. There were other rights before the progenitors of Martins Luther-King Jr. journeyed to the United States of America in the cause of slavery. There were rights that countries observed before the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and we must exhume them for posterity.

When the founding fathers of the United States wrote into the Constitution in 1787, there was a provision that absolutely legalised slavery. When they said that “all men were created equal”, they purposely meant the Americans because they did not see the world beyond the confines of their country, their political interest, religious inclination and economy. If they did take to cognizance that “all men were created equal”, they would not venture into slave trade in the first place. They saw what they did as their right – to overlord themselves over others.

By their Constitution in that period of time, slaves were not seen as people but as objects paramount for labour. A quote was credited to Thomas Jefferson as saying. “Blacks and whites could never coexist in America because of ‘the real distinctions’ which ‘nature’ had made between the two races.” This philosophy by Jefferson which, (without doubt, represented the mindset of founding fathers of America), is what political scientists call Political Injustice. We shall unravel the benefits of Political Injustice in our subsequent lines.

We must consider politics played in different climes, their interest, before we define justice and injustice. This brings to bay Political Injustice. Political scientists say it has great benefits. They believe that “he who has the most guns grabs the most property”. They are not concerned about human rights. They are not talking of a failed state but “he who dies with the most toys, wins.” Those who call the shots in such environment regarded as fiefdom extend their practice beyond their “peons and protégés” they have acknowledged under their authority. They also argue that human rights activists see such environment as a failed state, but decorum and a sense of ‘justice’ prevail in it. Accordingly, the points given here disprove Martin Luther King Jr.’s legendary statement which states that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Ancient and Modern

Before the political communities we live in today, we once questioned what justice and injustice was (as rational human beings). We again questioned justice and injustice in religious sects, traditions. For instance, at the beginning of Plato’s Republic, Socrates was seen quizzing Cephalos, afterward Polemarchus and lastly Thracymachus about what they profess justice and injustice is. We often preserved judgment of this to either God or Ancestors. While many of the values we inherited from the past inflect the way we act on matters, the context of just and unjust has shifted drastically, taking on a more transnational concept. We can see that in the past atrocities such as genocide, ethnic cleansing, corruption and the killing of women and children in wars were regarded as a taboo. Then-again, as children, we construct our notion of justice and injustice based on the definitions ascribed to these constructs by society and law. Often, people do not keep to the definitions learnt in childhood due to trauma; hence the situation impacts what they define as social order – justice or injustice. This sheds light on the fact that the mind of a child is constructed by the legal system/ethical principles of their upbringing. This environment consolidates their initial view of justice and injustice.  

Justice, Injustice and Law

It is essential to state that in the past justice and law were like Siamese Twins. They were synonymous. But there is a drift today: injustice can be supported by law; despite most people claiming that justice is the sole purpose of the law.

Let us believe that the type of justice Martin Luther King Jr. was referring to was the justice that morality brews. In the same vein, the world has had personalities like Plato, Derrida and Socrates who insisted that law should make justice prevail. But what they forgot to understand was that the justice they were fighting for was not embodied in the practice of law. Rather, such justice was indescribable, if not erroneous, and dislocated from the personified practice of law.

Justice is indefinable in law. It is in dispute with law. Lawyers would say that justice may apply to disperse issues or engage technical questions, objectivity to judge or give penalty and reward. In history, law, anthropology and political science, the role of justice is regarded as a political statement.

There are two chief definitions of justice. One relates to criminal activities while the other relates to equality. What may be seen as a crime to the people might not be seen as a crime in law. The same is applicable to equality. In some cultures (with emphasis on Islam) the treatment given to men is not the same as women. They measure justice not on equality but on equivalence. Treatment also differs between a man and woman, a boy and a girl in a Muslim community. For this reason, we cannot say that since there is inequality in Islamic tradition – there is injustice. Most Muslims were comfortable with this and no one, seeing through their lens, would characterise their practice by injustice. In this context, justice and injustice is determined by the law governing a given group and country. Conversely, in the face of injustice, a suspect has the right for a plea bargain in a court (in front of competent jurisdiction). Therefore, what may seem as injustice at a local standpoint is not always enough to convict. Even when a suspect admits guilt in a societal setting, to evade extrajudicial punishment, he or she still remains legally innocent.

Nevertheless, settling a matter out of court is often seen as more important than justice. They call this a win-win situation in law, whereby both prosecutors and defense attorneys’ interests are managed. We can see that in this type of situation, the victims and the community have no place in the world of justice but the suspect has. Prosecutors and defense attorneys are often faced with pressures that lead to a compromise.  This brings societal justice as the compromise has guiding principles and rules. There is no special treatment. Here, the law is not evenly and equally applied to all.

Not Evenly and Equally Applied

Analysts would say that governments at all levels are keen to promote social injustice christened as social justice. This is where the interest called political correctness comes to play. Many governments convert this political ideology into law, which ought not to be so. There are suspects that receive special treatment to the peril of private citizens. Now, we have governments all over the world who prefer the gathering of special interests above the law. This is to say that Martin Luther King Jr. and his contemporaries were children of circumstance at the time. Today America allows millions of migrants into her every year and allows them to enjoy welfare.

To the government, this is a way of showing justice to those outside America (in need of coming into the country). But for the taxpayer, it is blatant injustice against the whims and caprices of the American Refugee Act of 1980 which specifies a limit of 50,000 refugees. Some Americans would say, “Executive decisions removed limits.”

Conclusion: The Blind and The Elephant

Proverbially speaking, justice and injustice are like the elephant in the eyes of the blind. The blind can only define an elephant from the side he or she is allowed to touch. Thus, the great Martin Luther King Jr. was a blind man in the definition of justice and injustice without considering social, religious, ethical, traditional, political, economical and sundry differences around the world.

Affront Calling On Atiku To Throw In Towel Because Of Buhari’s Credentials

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Some supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibajo re-election who were said to be in a mass rally dished out the most ridiculous irritant of the century by calling on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to step down his presidential ambition in what they characterized by “the intimidating credentials of the current administration of President Buhari”.

Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari covers face in shame?

This news from Ibadan Saturday, January 12 2019, was not a good one except to those that made the news. One would have swept the irritating comment under the carpet but it would be aplomb to let the President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibajo pretenders erroneously called campaigners to understand the credentials that the President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibajo administration has indeed intimidated Nigerians with before they would call for Atiku’s head.

Just on December 26, 2018, the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibajo administration was told it on the face by the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization (PPCO). The arm of the PDP orchestrated in no less term that Buhari was seeking a solution in 2018 on how to combat problems of the economy, corruption and insecurity. This was invariably the key promises he made to handle during his electioneering campaigns in 2015. The PPCO therefore concluded that for President Muhammadu Buhari/Osibajo administration to be using the same old campaign aphorisms has shown their acceptance of failure, ineptitude and lack of competence to deliver on promises.

While Nigerians of goodwill had expected Buhari to deliver on promises he made in 2015, was the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mallam Garba Shehu on September 19, 2016, telling Nigerians that Mr. President spent about £50,000 as operating cost for his ear treatment in London.

Shehu was disproving a statement made by one Prof. Farooq Kperogi at Bayero University Kano that Buhari spent £6m for that purpose. The Professor had quoted a national paper in a commentary as the cost of Buhari’s trip to London for the ear treatment. Meanwhile, during his 2015 electioneering campaigns, Buhari had endeared Nigerians to supposedly stone any public officials that would go for a medical treatment abroad.

The embittered Professor exposed that no matter the presidency denied the £6m as expenses incurred during Buhari’s medical trip to London, Nigerians should remember that on June 8, 2016, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina — one of the Buhari’s garrulous media aides — actually lied, “The President did not go to London for treatment.”

But Nigerians were latter told Buhari spent “less than £50,000” as his medical bill for ear treatment. However, Buhari, who was clamoured that he had ear impairment known in the medical term as “Meniere’s Disease’’ was shamelessly defended by his aides to the contrary. The mystified Buhari nonetheless confined himself to the State House and canceled three official occasions in which he was represented by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, a testament that showed all was not well with him as at the time.

It could be recalled that “the intimidating credentials” that Buhari had against Atiku was for Osibanjo to represent 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 within the period. Well, with their “intimidating credentials”, Adesina had told Nigerians that the president would on June 5 2016 proceed on a 10‎-day leave, which he would spend in London.

To wash their embarrassment, Adesina told those who cared to listen, that Buhari in the cause of that trip, would see an E.N.T. specialist ‎for a persistent ear infection. Meanwhile, he said that Buhari was (sic) 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.

The Buhari apologists have been lying themselves to stardom but this is the time to remove the heinous ladder they have been climbing with. The umpteenth time, 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 travelled overseas, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, Vice President, Commonwealth Medical Association (CMA) as at the time, 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, that year, and it was successful.

Enabulele contended in an open letter to the president, saying, “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.”

Further, the medical expert believed that the presidency was yet to tell Nigerians the truth pertaining to why Buhari travelled to London given that the former Governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada, patronized Nigerian-trained medical experts and medical facilities here in Nigeria when he unfortunately suffered a fractured femur following a road traffic accident in 2013, hence there was no reason in 2016, for Buhari not to had stayed back in Nigeria to attend to his ear infection.

It was then Nigerians realized through a public commentator that just for an ear infection, Nigeria’s president travelled all the way to London to get expert treatment and a second opinion. Shame on Nigeria! (sic). And this ear infection explained all the loud cries and groans of the common people suffering from their day to day challenges. Meanwhile, a memo which Atiku sent to the 2014 National Conference and still stands on it till date suggests as follows inter alia:

  1. A major reason why Nigeria is not working is the way we have structured our country and governance, especially since the emergence of military rule in 1966. We can agree that the federal government is too big, too rich, and too strong relative to the federating states. We can agree that there is too much centralisation of resources and concentration of power at the federal level.
  2. Nigerians would not have been calling for a National Conference, sovereign or not, if we were meeting our people’s basic needs, including food, shelter, education, security, energy, and transportation infrastructure, if we were putting the country on the right path and every segment of the country feels equitably treated. And we would unlikely see people describing as a mistake the amalgamation of the northern and southern parts of Nigeria 100 years ago.

For those who parade Buhari’s “intimidating credentials”, Prof. Kperogi asked, “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 writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348057778358. E-mail: apoet_25@yahoo.com

How Araraume Taught Okorocha To Be Godly But Okorocha Refused

By Odimegwu Onwumere

Chief Rochas Okorocha, the indefatigable rambling Imo State governor has a new agenda he wants to introduce in the state since Senator Ifeanyi Araraume indicated his interest for the governorship race of the state come 2019: Hatred.

The governor who believes and has said that Araraume is not ‘Godly’ and cannot govern Imo State, has shown himself as the rightful person that lacks spiritual  knowledge and the fear of God.

{Okorocha and Araraume}

This is odoriferous in the carriage with which Okorocha who thinks that he dines with God and is a family member of the Jehovahs, showcases himself in keeping malice and playing politics of acrimony, deceit and self-conceit.

These qualities, without a doubt, run in Okorocha’s blood like a virus and may be seen as his trademark. If not, one wonders why he would believe that Araraume would not earn his support and he would decide who Imo governor becomes in 2019 or not

The bad displeasure governor had shown his ungodly manners not only to Araraume but to many too numerous to mention. For instance, the Agbasos of Emekuku, near Owerri, will never forget the double tongue they earned from Okorocha after he deceived their son, Jude, to become his deputy.

Jude Agbaso was later hounded out of office through some spurious, trumpeted and kangaroo allegations. This happened after Okorocha had ‘swore’ before Chief Martin Agbaso, in the latter’s palatable compound at Emekuku, saying that Jude would go far with him in governance.

The raging Okorocha did that to earn the support of Martin, yet knowing deeply in his heart that he would not go far with Jude in the Imo politics. And this is what happened!

Many know Okorocha as a man who cannot be relied on when it comes to politics and Araraume perhaps knew about this peculiarity of the effusive Imo governor yet he loved him.

In the event of the 2015 elections in Imo State, Araraume directed his supporters to vote for Okorocha while believing that his action would be for Imo interest, oblivious that Okorocha would be an accident that many had thought would not happen in governance.

Araraume who was and has always been influential in the Nigerian politics gave the APC victory in Imo in the outcome of the April 11 2015 guber election. Araraume delivered APC in the six local governments of Okigwe zone, where Araraume comes from.

The Araraume whom Okorocha wants the world to believe today that has no fear of God, the latter presented glowing tributes of the former when he put the APC in the lead with over 79,000 votes.

“I want to tell you that I have seen a true man of integrity, a true great son of Imo State who came out to support me and the APC in the governorship elections without asking for a kobo,” Okorocha told the world after the 2015 guber election. “All he asked for is that the interest of his supporters and Imo people be protected. That man is Senator Araraume.”

This is the quintessential Araraume: A man whom many believe in that can put his head, not only leg, in a matter he so much believes in. Araraume so much believed in Okorocha, whom the Imo residents are suffering from the wound of the disaster that Okorocha has festered in the state today.

In the same year while in a church service at the Government House Chapel, Owerri, Okorocha was occupied of praises for Araraume. In short, Okorocha so much praised Araraume for the support he showed him, as a major determinant reason he won at the elections. If Araraume had no meek and amiable heart, he would not have supported Okorocha even when he was in another party, pre-election of 2015, other than the APC which produced Okorocha.

Let us not say that Okorocha is today sold out to greed and self-enrichment, while forgetting the hands that fed him. The irony is that he did not only forget the hands that fed him, but also, embroidered them with the mud.

Let us not also say that Okorocha is a chronic liar and deceiver who can do anything as a (godly person he wants the world to believe he is) just to get political power. And Araraume supported him to gain that political power and today, he is using it to inflict mayhem on Araraume.

Let us say that Okorocha is not ashamed of the malnutrition, hunger-related deaths, joblessness and food insecurity that have characterised Imo State sine seven years he has been in power. Instead of him to show remorse that Araraume is not the problem of Imo State, Okorocha concentrates on his long-term policies of blame game, over conceit, the unfortunate glowing tribute of the disgraced and resigned ex-president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma.

The insult which Okorocha is giving to Araraume today is unwarranted. But like Araraume would say to the rambling Okorocha, “It is only God who arrogates power, nobody can decide the fate of another; if you do that you will only be challenging your God. My destiny is in no man’s hand but God in 2019.”

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

How Dishonest Politicians Cause Pains Among Citizens

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The electioneering campaign is on and we gather ward by ward and unit by unit to receive aspirants of political positions in 1999 and hear their manifestoes. They promise us of a better living like good roads, hospitals, qualitative education, constant electricity and other people-oriented need.

{Scene of IPOB protests}

While we listen to them, many of us do not believe their sermonizations. They say that politicians are not honest in the entire global political environment, they are not frank. They say that politicians just speak in the language that they feel will arrest the minds of the people, seeking to engage the people, but not actually to do what they promise after the people must have voted them.

There are today tears and anguish written all over our faces – we are now refugees in our country, christened Internally Displaced Persons (IDP). I look for explanations to define the relationship of politics with the people; it is a strong and importunate relationship of disagreements. The word politics is dirty to people. Nigerians say that politics has become about power and conflict and this explains why many people are especially irrational about politics.

The displaced are victims of politically-motivated insurgencies being carried out by Islamic sect known as Boko Haram in the northern part of Nigeria. The last time I checked, there were nearly 4 million people in the camps where the government provided for them. These people are excluding hundreds of thousands that have been killed since the mayhem started in 2009. We are facing a problem of political foolishness. It is a social problem greater than any crime in the world; politics has prevented our leaders from solving the problems they promised the voters that they would solve if voted for.

We have been having politically-motivated religious wars between the two dominant religions of Christianity and Islam in the country. The United Nations (UN) will always have politics or is it humanitarian services to play in such crisis whereas it is very hard to see a country that is united with each other across the world. Politics has divided countries and peoples. Yet, we hear that in the last 20 years alone, the United Nations (UN) has presented electoral support to more than 100 countries. However, the drums of wars and rumours of wars in diverse places, being brewed by politics continue to skyrocket.

We once saw Palestine on 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 where people lost everything they had due to political conflict. I have heard of the Russian Revolution of 1917, the decades of dictatorship under Ben Ali and his predecessor Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, where Tunisians gnashed teeth in their experience of bad governance, dearth of liberty and poor panoramas. They later engaged the government of Ali in December days of 2010 and on 14 January 2011, they achieved their objective and the government was ousted. By then scores of people have been pummeled to the soil. All boiled down to politics and the people.

I’m looking for the truthful person who will engage us actively. I would have joined politics but one has to know how many millions of dollars that he or she has, hence politics isn’t for people, but for the capitalists, who have for centuries been transforming in circles from the times of lords and feudal and found themselves in democracy. Around the world, I’m seeing a lot of people who are not engaged in politics and policymaking, due to politics.  Yet, over the years, you hear of politicians, clerics and opinion leaders advising more people to join politics.

Hardly can we explain political decisions and hardly can journalists be given freedom of information. We saw Zambia in 2011, when for the second time since independence in 1964, Michael Sata from the Patriotic Front vanquished the sitting president and was elected to the country’s presidency with the highest choice, after three unsuccessful endeavours. This makes politics boring to me and it has created long distance with voters. We have sentences like German sociologist Max Weber stating in his capacious sociology of religion in 1920, that the direct problems with the world people are material interests which come first, followed by mental interests, and not ideas.

We perceived that the earlier European colonization relegated the Aboriginal peoples to abysmal political approaches that contempt or pay-no-attention-to Aboriginal peoples’ cultural rights. There was the Queensland Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act 1897, regarded as the most heinous, geared towards pointing out where the natives should live, who they should associate with or even marry. It is politics that drove more than a million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe in 2015. The last time I checked, 135,711 people got to Europe by sea since the start of 2016. In 2015, Germany received more than 476,000 asylum applications. More migrants made the journey on land through Greece and the Western Balkans, and sought for asylum in Hungary, which had 177,130 applications by the end of December 2015.

We heard the International Organization for Migration (IOM) saying that more than 1,011,700 migrants entered by sea in 2015, and about 34,900 by land. More than 3,770 migrants were reported to have died while on their expedition. We also heard and saw the crisis that it sparked. Many countries were literarily held hostage by the flood of people. Europe nearly divided over decisions to handle the menace. Many migrants drowned in the seas and many arrived by seas to their respective countries of refuge.  We saw that Turkey and Albania didn’t rest.

The conflict in Syria drove many citizens away with the violence in Afghanistan and Iraq, molestations in Eritrea, poverty in Kosovo, compelled people to leave. They were looking for better life elsewhere due to political issues in their countries.

But upon how politics has treated the people, we are still struggling to be like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the First indigenous President of Nigeria; Fidel Castrol of Cuba. You see Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President (non-U.S.1954–).  There is Hillary Clinton, Government Official, U.S. First Lady, Women’s Rights Activist and once presidential hopeful in 2016 (1947-). There was Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister (1925–2013). There is John Major, Prime Minister (1943–); Mary, Queen of Scots, Queen (1542–1587); David Cameron, Prime Minister (1966–); Alexandra Feodorovna, Princess, Tsar/Tsarina (1872–1918) and a host of others.

{Scene of IPOB Protests}

Notwithstanding, we heard a former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in 1998 that democratization gives people a stake in the society. Its importance cannot be overstated for unless people feel that they have a true stake in the society, lasting peace will not be possible and sustainable development will not be achieved.

Odimegwu Onwumere is an award-winning journalist based in Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

The Stinking Gap Between Politics And People

By Odimegwu Onwumere

I was youthful when the military took over the political affairs in Nigeria on December 31, 1983, lasting till 1998. Killing of civilians and hounding of activists that were opposed to the whims and caprices of the military, were the first impression that I had about politics, likewise many of my ilk. Nothing more!

Many Nigerians fled the country for their dear lives. I saw a country that was moving backward, yet preaching to us pubescent as the leaders of tomorrow. I saw radical elders who did not blink before their wards in showcasing their political impoliteness, whereas young people were involving in political conflicts.

Some sane minds were afraid that we the youth then were erroneously influenced; saying that what influences a person build up his or her future. Those in this line of thought were worried that we the youth were learning radicalism from the military and there might not be respectability and rule of law in the country, even if the much touted democracy was finally achieved.

Upon democracy in 1999, I’m among the many Nigerian adults today that are asking for who destroyed the country economically, socially and politically, especially between 1999 and 2016 that we attained democracy. I’m among the adults who are dropping patriotism to question reality: The country has not moved forward from where the military left it.

The writer in me has propelled me to ask many questions in my articles pertaining to mis-governance in our country, but the answers I have gotten are not what we collectively bargained. One may think that our country is Iraq in 2002. I see cynics everywhere, not by their making, but the hardship in the country has caused some persons’ neurons. People are going gaga. Most times, I have to go miles to charge my phone with electricity generating sets in the houses of those who can afford buying fuel at the exorbitant price of N145 a litre. Electricity supply in the country is seen by the authorities as luxury, not a necessity. No one is talking about government water. The roads are sorry tales.

I’m aghast that scarcity of fuel, kerosene and diesel is endemic in a country that is characterized among the 10 producers of crude oil in the world. Police are on their part collecting tips on the road, transport fare is on the increase, people are being sacked from their jobs everyday and there are no job opportunities in sight. The present government that promised change during its party’s electioneering campaigns in 2015 and was embraced by Nigerians in the Diaspora as well as the international community, is giving excuses like governments before it, why it cannot reform and transform Nigeria over two years it mounted the saddle of leadership.

The resultant of this is the hunger I see written on people’s faces in the name of democracy, more than it was in the military era. Functional education, hospital, road, and every dividends of democracy are all mirage. Yet, politicians are joining politics everyday to make money. Service to the people is not in their agenda.

There is insecurity everywhere. One wakes up every morning to note from news some hundreds of innocent people that have been killed either by insurgents that have taken killing as an occupation in the northern part of the country or Fulani herdsmen from the north massacring numbers in the south for the purpose that their cows must graze in the south. Kidnapping is rife and issues of judiciary and corruption are on the increase.

These heinous acts without doubt are the extension of what we learned from the military and today, our leadership (as leaders of tomorrow then) is not in moving the country forward, but in extending what we learned from the military that has left us poor.

The Federal Government is recently, politically proposing a grazing bill in all the 36 states of the federation for northern cattle owners. But the southerners are objecting the agenda. They are saying that they do not see how that will translate to national development, but owners of the cows who are supposed to man how their cows are fed.

Against this backdrop, politics has made some of our people who returned from overseas to feel that they are ‘repatriates’ or tourists, because of the sordid conditions they left many years ago, have not been solved when they returned, many years after.

Every year, we clamour for change. But change has remained elusive, not minding that the project of our country should be taken seriously. The economic system is down and citizens are scampering for safety without hope.

Observers say that more than 70 per cent of the citizens are very poor. Just on July 17 2016, the Deputy President Yemi Osibanjo affirmed this in the national broadsheets, saying that 110 million Nigerians are poor; whereas the population of the country was estimated at 170 million. Imagine!

Like many of my ilk today, who were not born in 1960 when Nigeria got her independence from the British colonialists, everything is moving backward 55 years after. Our country has not learned from the woes of the past. It keeps taking backward movement and repeating the same old things that have not made us develop like the so-called developed countries of America and Britain.

A large population of our countrymen and women believe that the country has been backward due to the charlatanic approach of the political class. Against this influence, I’m thinking if there is a correlation between politics and corruption. Everyone is saying that our political elites are severely corrupt and pay just lip service to national issues that should matter.

It was politics, like in our country, that compelled the Arab Spring of 2011 that saw to the ouster of Libyan revolutionary, politician, and political theorist Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Gaddafi.

Our leaders are yet to learn from the political conflict of the Middle East in late 2010. From Tunisia, it spread all over the region in 2011, all-through Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya and Syria.

Born June 7, 1942, al-Gaddafi was politically killed on October 20, 2011. It was the same politics that saw to the death of the fifth President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti. What killed al-Gaddafi was what I saw in 1990s when youth-spawned political upheaval brushed the former Soviet coalition like East Germany, Georgia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, and Serbia.

Across the world, politics has destroyed many conditions that include social ecology, basic resources, social networks, safety and security. Hussein was killed by a kangaroo judgment on December 30, 2006. Born on April 28, 1937, he served in his ability from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003.

We saw Bosnia in the 1990s, when young people did not understand the political situation around them and that borne emotional and shared scars of ill-treatment. The youths moved for violent struggles for the social good.

That was coming after the Palestinian first intifada of the late 1980s and early 1990s. In Syria, this is the fifth year that youths have engaged in politically-motivated war, ignited by a display of foreign intrusions on the side of government and Free Syrian Army.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and millions driven from their homes in this war regarded today as the world’s bloodiest civil war. Look at the ruins created by politics in Sudan. I still remember the Nimery’s notorious September Laws in 1983, which ushered in Sudan’s route headed for Sharia Law and the equally villainous Article 152 that bullies pants-wearing females with whips amid prejudiced sentences and shrewdness.

There is politically-motivated madness in our country and this has made a lot of people to mind their businesses and, they are naive. We have been experiencing crackdowns on opposition political parties and their members.

The authorities think that the laws they enact would shape our lives, but while we most often embrace social path and decorum, the authorities don’t. Today, liberals in the Americas are calling for political fairness, while the conservatives wink. Our backwardness as Nigerians would have been averted if politicians think that politics is related to the entire masses, not only to them. Politics is life.

Imagine where government decisions that were supposed to affect the generality of the people just affect only a few opportunists. Politicians have turned politics to where people take their destinies into their hands.

Nevertheless, no matter the shoddy sides of politics to people, the world will still have Martin Luther King Jrs., who will take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, to challenge the atrocities of politicians against their people, because conscience, not politics, tells them it is right.

We will continue to have Theodore Roosevelts, who will tell the world that in politics, it is not oppositions that count, but those unsung heroes who fight, whose faces are marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strive valiantly; who err, who come short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who do actually strive to do the deeds; who know great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spend themselves in a worthy cause; who at the best know in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if they fail, at least fail while daring greatly, so that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Our Injured Mentalities In Political Choices

By Odimegwu Onwumere

“We have given politics a substantial impact on the direction of our lives. No wonder it’s so important to so many people!” shouted Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus, research fellows at Cato Institute, an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C, USA.

Powell and Burrus’s insight on politics in their discourse of September 14, 2012, with the designate – Politics Makes Us Worse – was the aftermath of my fears about politics in the 80s. They appended that political choices matter greatly to those most affected and the interest in political parties manufacture problems that never existed.

I came to understand what that meant: Our mentalities have been injured as a result of political choices. Buttressing this point, they enthused that for those who do pay attention, politics consistently leads in newspapers and on TV news and gets discussed, or shouted about, everywhere people gather; politics can weigh heavily in forging friendships, choosing enemies, and coloring who we respect.

Politics As A Dicey Affair

At our aboard in Oyigbo, Rivers State, Papa had told my younger brother, Henry, and I that there is an axiom that guides politicians: In politics, no permanent enemy or friend, but permanent interest. Incessantly, he shouted it into our ears that politics is a dicey affair.

Not minding, Henry showed interest in politics, but I never did. I hated politics following history accounts of how people kill and have been killed for politics and its offices. I detested killing and my bother never liked it, either, but he wanted to be a politician.

Powell and Burrus were worried why politics plays a major role in people’s lives with decisions by politicians determining what the people should do and should not, what the people’s children should learn in school and what they should be taught, how the people should eat and socialize, how they should even marry the people they love and sundry.

The highlight of that buttressed my worst fears which were on December 31, 1983 when many lives were lost to a coup for group mentalities, for political choices. The democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari was overthrown by Major General Muhammadu Buhari in a military coup.

The same was applicable on August 27, 1985, when General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida overthrew Major General Buhari in a coup, and stayed in power until August 27, 1993.

In that coup, many lives were lost, too. As a maximum ruler, people wailed and were bullied for wailing, because of group mentalities, political choices.

Hence, there was a long struggle to attain democracy with the help of international community. When democracy was gotten in 1999, we thought that democracy would help us when a retired Army General, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was elected President Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999.

But like the military regimes, I noticed the government sending out the Nigerian military on a largely Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa State, on November 20, 1999 and they massacred a people in a circumstance over indigenous rights to oil resources and environmental fortification.

Nigeria experienced a lot of politically motivated killings from that year to 2007. Dissenters to the views of the government were hounded and in 2016, democracy has not helped the people, either. All boils down to group mentalities, political choices.

Imprint Of Politics On People

Later, Papa told us of how politics of Nazism hypnotized Germany in the 20th Century. We read in the newspapers of how democracy and politics have made India to be on the index as the world’s largest population of poor people; oh! South Africa was ruined by apartheid of decades which was a sorry tale.

Across Asia and Africa, politics has imprint of woes in diverse places. Papa had told us that from 1974 when autocratic regimes gave way to democracy in Greece, to Spain in 1975, to Argentina in 1983, to Brazil in 1985, to Chile in 1989 and a host of others, politics has traumatized the people.

Soviet Union with a people living harmoniously was disintegrated by the politics in central Europe. My phobia heightened on noting that monarchical government was fad in the 19th Century and people fought against each other for dukedoms.

While peoples all over the world were fighting and hoped to gain in democracy, yet, nascent democracies collapsed in Germany, Spain and Italy in the first half of the 20th Century.

Politics Connects People With Woes

More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history known as First World War, or the Great War, that originated in Europe and lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918.

Over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died in that politically motivated war. This number excluded victims of a number of genocides. Because of politics, came Second World War that lasted from 1939 to 1945.

It was regarded as the most widespread war in history, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. There was the Holocaust (in which roughly 11 million people were killed).

An estimated 50 million to 85 million fatalities were recorded in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There was the Third World War where countries in extensive divergences indirectly showed their grievances.

This was christened Cold War or the War on Terror leading to the formation of the United Nations (UN). Psychotherapists observed, ‘United Nations’ was first coined and used by the then United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Declaration by United Nations of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.

Whichever, I could not have believed much in Powell and Burrus’s pose – on how badly politics can make a people worse or influence them in a democracy till the government of General Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria came on board on May 29 2015, now as a democratically elected president.

Sharing Baked Breath In Politics

In Nigeria, the members of the two political parties – All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – have shared baked breath under Buhari government except a few persons ‘sharing’ the largesse of the government.

Nigerians at large are crying wolf since the inception of this government and I will tell you how. Politics like this has made a lot of people not to vote across the countries of the world.

For instance, many young people in America do not vote during an election. This does not mean that they do not want to be heard, but, because of how the older ones have made them to feel and see a tooting gap between them.

In 1992, Mr. T.B, then a 19 year old student, refused watching the 1992 Presidential Debates because he didn’t see how that responded to the many isolations he was facing in school.

I could remember a Chris Weinkopf, associate editor of National Review, saying, “I think both of them are really just paying lip service to young people in the way they address issues.”

Weinkopf said this “when speaking about how Bill Clinton and Bob Dole are talking to young voters.” Many people believed that democracy would be the most political idea when the idea started in the 20th Century, but politics has posited itself to be afar from the people, even though that people play the politics.

In February 2014, I was astonished of how Ukraine politics was overturned by protesters, all, in a quest that there should be closer relations with the European Union (EU). The much solicited for by the protesters was for the closer relations to end Russian interference in Ukraine’s politics.

The world saw a people that took a stand against what they knew and termed “corrupt, abusive and autocratic government” of President Viktor Yanukovych.  Powell and Burrus sniveled, saying that even if we try to ignore politics, it influences much of our world.

Nigeria Politics

My brother is today in politics, but I’m yet to see any change that the people have made with politics, or politics has made in the people.

Just in June 2016, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, (CDHR) cried out, saying that the All Progressives Congress, APC-led government has failed Nigerians who voted for them.

Both Buhari, who was once a military dictator and his party, the APC, have been said that they displaced signs of incompetence during electioneering campaign of 2015.

I read from a source, saying, “The APC presented Nigerians with a glimpse of Eldorado even when they were aware that they lack no the capacity or intellectual ability to fulfill even 10% of their promise. To mask their disability, they shielded General Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo (his deputy) from every form of political debate. Instead, they resorted to prepare speech-making in Chatham House, London(UK), and padi-padi town hall meeting where participants, who are their party sympathizers and paid agents would discuss pre-arranged questions.”

This is my phobia about politics and the people. People hide under politics to perpetrate heinous things against the people. It is saddening that many people are committed to their different political parties for politics than they are committed to the general public. This is what psychologists have forewarned: People will grasp group mentalities for politics and will be antagonistic.

Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com