Monday, October 31, 2011

[Nigeria] Nd'Igbo, Persecution, Etc and Random Thoughts







I am not the only one who had thought the whole idea was crazy, even though I had overlooked it as a rhetorical garbage, hearing about it as a speculation and what the news outlets had gathered.

I am not the only one who felt the pain that a brother in a new line of attack wants his own brother permanently out of his face.

And I am not the only one who had seen the order from Theodore Ahamefula Orji’s administration in Abia State asking non-indigenes of the state to leave his government office jobs alone drawn from the deadly Boko Haram incidents Vanguard’s Pini Jason called ‘Tufiakwa,’ an outright abomination in Igboland.

I am not the only one who had thought the decision of a 21st Century persecution of a group of people profiled for some inexplicable events I’m yet to fathom, was bizarre and should be condemned in its entirety.

And, for sure, I am not the only one who is seeing the ridiculous measure as a tactic to change its subject, hijacking the peoples mandate to run a regime typical of banana republics.

And what would have amounted to such unimaginable action as a move beyond reasoning by Orji asking non-indigenes in his state to leave his civil service alone?

If this clueless ‘executive’ and his action is not an indication of madness and psychological problems, I don’t know what else is.

After giving a thought to Orji’s weird decision, I had hoped it was like another sensationalized story and, thus have this to say: One, I really hope Orji’s cabinet reverses its decision. Two, I hope the decision is not true and had been taken out of context through its legislative process before becoming law. Three, I hope it’s like one of the practical jokes picked up by the tabloids targeting its reading audience for some cheap shots. Four, if indeed it’s true that Abia State had a plan to sack her own kith and kin from a land that was once one entity and a land once a whole before the mean strategy of divide and rule by the colonization powers and military juntas, Igbo, then, should forget about its own national state. And five, if as it has become true and all the Igbo-related states are now bent, watch the forbidden decision unfold in Abia, and do nothing by way of mass movements - demonstrations, sanctions and other related measures to proclaim Abia a pariah state - Igbo should forget its national state, living as predicted and appears; a peoples disappearing cultural heritage and natural being, coupled with the landscape that identifies it as a national state.

That would mean Igbo is done with its nationhood, eventually. It would mean no such thing as Igbo. It would mean Igbo would be extinct as a people, evolving to a blend of other people, culture and languages. And it would mean what its culturally heritage rivals had haggled on, over time in terms of its exceptional culture and tradition, that Igbo never had a unique culture, was never distinct as had been thought, which evidently had become the simple truth.

It is pointblank in this regard that no one should come after me as in the past on my essays, reports and views which caused all sorts of outrage from related events over time, and the analysis following the thoughts I had penned into perspective; issues concerning Nd’Igbo and how to screw in the nuts and bolts needed for a permanently structured place, appropriately. As those thought-provoking papers were directed toward effective leadership which had been lacking, measuring the capability and the capacity of the seriousness in which organized people gets things done. Even though it came with reasonable and logical responses from a very few on the subject matter, many, beyond imagination, chipped in with their ideological views, unrelated and incoherent to the topic in question with quantities of angry mail that flooded my mail box. Some of the bunch were sociological anger by its expression. “Who is it you are writing for?” How much are they paying you for all these your write-ups?” “You have been sent to destroy my political career.” “When you collect, you write good and when you don’t collect, you criticize.” “What did Nd’Igbo do to you?” “I like the way you write but people are complaining that you only criticize Nd’Igbo,” read some of the angry mails and comments.

And with all that hate mails popped out due to the magic pen I had used to write about a peoples social ills, not too many are now raising hell to the line of profiling, bigotry and hatred instituted by the government of Abia State on a people it shares the same lineage. A people culturally and linguistically bonded. A people known to have shared the same ancestors. A people commonly bonded by way of its worship until the advent of the missionaries and the colonial mandates; and a people that have lived, prayed and worked together for onward objectivity.

Many are now tight-lipped for having nothing to say on a variety of reasons - not wanting to be disturbed - being preoccupied with personal obligations, got bills to pay, not the one to fix Igbo problems, none of “my” business and besides, “they should put their own acts together,” and things like that.

Many do not want it mentioned in their face, the in-your-face kind of attitude, for problems heavily accumulated and problems requiring little or nothing, best known to them. Gestured moves like, I don’t have a job and why should I be worried about something that is not going to fetch me a job or pay my bills. Who cares and why couldn’t those non-indigenes stay in their respective states of origin or relocate elsewhere no such laws of eviction exists? Why are all the brouhaha news when there are numerous overwhelming challenges facing them ahead? Why are they in such a bad shape, anyway, and why would all these nonsense stick out when the sitting governor was not legitimately elected in the first place?

Many are moving on, doing their own thing as it pleases them; for their property, life and wealth comes first before any social ills sort of, that will not contribute to their welfare.

Many gave a thought to Abia State’s newest proposition, writing and talking about it as a taboo and should not be allowed to be implemented in the said state; for it would ruin the foundations of Igbo cultural heritage.

And many, as obviously may have been the case, indicated the sanction did not target Igbo indigenes but non Igbo indigenes, and no matter what the decision may have seemed to be, that it included Nd’Igbo on its eviction notice to proclaim the action was not bias, and that realistically, no Igbo had been affected or evicted from the state’s franchise following the strange decision.

Nevertheless, when a government respects the rule of law, upholding democracy its legislative body makes, it should be known that a legislative process in any democratic order involves representations from districts/zones in which proposals are tabled or set in motion for legislation, and when passed on the terms of required figures favoring the proposition which then becomes law, and despite the negating party which may be short of gridlock or fails to garner enough counts to kill such proposition, the yays takes it away, thus making its sponsored motion law, as in all democracies, unless otherwise.

So, as it happened, Abia State in what it had claimed as events that led to evict non indigenes from its governmental offices, the Boko Haram terrorists, it saw threatened the state from its relative bombings elsewhere which ignited the deal of persecution and justifying it with action “timely taken” by Governor Orji.

Persecution had been a classic case of human endeavor. But persecuting a cousin is way out of fashion. I would have been less worried if the Abia State government had been concerned on the mounting pressing problems in the state - widespread scandals of kidnapping, rape, assassinations, civil unrests resulting from related socio-economic problems as part of unending tragedy in the state, rather than its new measure, taking its woes on a people of its kind, moving to where they find life sustainable and comfortable.

In analogy to persecuting people on reasons of faith, language, religion, culture, economics and what have you - the Spanish Inquisition; Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews and Gypsies in Europe; and persecutions in related African countries, draws Abia’s “non-indigenes must go” into perspective with a whole lot of questioning, though.

“If we had some sense of shame, I mean even a little, some people called traditional rulers in the state should know they have no business in this matter, and it is totally out of place for them to log unto this dirty side of politicking to champion a cause,” writes Ikenna Emewu (Daily Sun). “So base and inane as this discriminatory policy of a state against its own blood. If indeed, this list of traditional rulers – about 10 of them and some others in the list is real, I really sympathize with the communities they rule.”

The traditional rulers had been something else but total blame should be irrelevant when a cast of administrative personnel lumped together would endorse an arbitrary measure which makes it scary. The traditional rulers, to be precise, are the architects of destruction in Igboland, in every aspect of its civil liberties, even though the enlightened ones among them sit idly and watch these ridiculous measures unfold. What unfolded in Abia State should not be of a “stunning gig “ based on how Ndigbo operates, remarkably with the traditional rulers who have no business in a just, representative and accountability government but the desire to put in monkey wrench to cause havoc in every of its dealings, adding insult to dishonor. And on the claim that Imo was not nice to Nd’Abia on the breaking down and carving out of the state from a previously dissected Eastern Region to East Central State, to Imo State - Yakubu Gowon and Murtala Muhammad military juntas - a plot orchestrated to keep Igbo divided; which should be taken that Abia had declared its isolation from Igbo in its entirety and no longer care..

The point is, nobody seems to be paying attention as to where Orji’s executive order may lead to and when that decision had been to kick the rest of Nd’Igbo out from its civil service, that could also be making a whole lot of stuff clear for Nd’Igbo: that, say, for instance, an Arochukwu is being savagely axed or murdered in the most brutal way, and a fellow Igbo who stood by watch the horrific event take place must not be questioned or blamed in an act of feud across state lines among brothers, because Orji had fired the first shot in what would be a long battle of a brothers war. That when an ethnic slur is rained against an Ngwa at a market square, it would be fine to cheer on remarks of bigotry and hatred, because Orji started it all. That assuming a Bende man got into squabbles of civil unrest in the northern landscapes and about to be lynched for simply being Igbo while an Igbo at the scene could have intervened but didn’t on the grounds of an irrational executive order by Abia State government.

As the list goes, that an Abriba girl happens to be hijacked by a gang of cultist rapists and another Ihiala man was well positioned to have stopped the rapists and wouldn’t do it just to retaliate by way of personal vendetta, getting even as a result of the actions by Abia government against Nd’Igbo. That an Mbano trader could not meet a fellow colleague of Njaba descent on business related talks over pounded yam and ofe olugbo, bitter leaf soup, at an eatery around the block because the restaurateur hails from Ohafia.

Or as we may have discovered the tragic events of our time, that Nd’Igbo whose history has been of political impotence and victims of genocidal campaigns; and all of a sudden, the northern Islamic Jihadists and terrorists begins to sound positively bloodthirsty again, as in the Sharia Debacle of 2000, and had turned en masse against Igbo women, men, children and their properties in another cycle of wanton killings, and demolitions; and as in a new balkanization theory begun by the state of Abia which would justify the gruesome acts of the Islamic “Jihadic” nihilists and hoodlums on the basis “Igbos have no business to where they don’t belong” in supposedly a Nigerian national state having no restrictions on the free movements of peoples.

What message would Abia State be sending to the rest of the nation when it creates a platform encouraging the northern Islamic terrorists that its acts of terrorism is justified for the purpose of deliberately eliminating its own kind by walling.

Igbo, from generations, not even recorded, has been spoken within the borders in predawn Southern Nigerian Protectorate, a colonial schedule by fabrication - Umunede, Agbor, Asaba, Okpanam, Okitipupa, Igurita, Auchi, Lagos, Abeokuta, Omoku, Ikwerre, Ogoni, Bonny, Okirika, Nando, Ugep, Adadama, Degema, Ogoja, Iva Valley, Enugu, Enugu Ukwu, Ohaji, Egbema, Diobu, Yenagoa, Ahoada, Umuapu, Osina, Akokwa, Umuobom, Arondizuogu, Ikot Ekpene, Nsugbe, Otura, Nnewi, Ogidi, Abagana, Obodo Ukwu, Orlu, Amaigbo, Abba, Ore, Benin City, Warri, Abonema, Obigbo, Umuahia, Uzuakoli, Ogbunike and the list goes on and on - identified with its roots, accent, way of life and tradition.

During the Sovereign National Conferences debates upon the birth of the Fourth Republic when Olusegun Obasanjo who came close to death under Sani Abacha’s gulag, was handed the mantle to take over the affairs of state in a fraudulent election conducted by the Abdulsalami Abubakar’s military juntas, series of groups surfaced on ethnic and tribal lines suggesting the necessities of a sovereign national conference as a road map to a working document for the country. Obasanjo singlehandedly killed that motive.

By then, many groups erupted, waxing stronger save for an Igbo-related group, though the late Stanley Macebuh had earlier founded Post Express, first online national newsreel that provided all around the clock news-related analysis to the nation’s readers. It was during this time I was able to connect with my colleagues piecing together stuff for North Carolina-based Chuck Odili who emerged stronger with the Nigerian World website and the Naijanet discussion group which ignited a new political era for the Fourth Republic with political discourse at its best, before folks who joined lately and hijacked the forums to something else, seeking relevance.

It was also then, that every Nigerian sought the Aburi Accord, the first post-independence conference to resolve the nation’s internal strife and would be breached by the federal Nigerian vandals in its quest for genocide and occupation of Igboland.

Mobolaji Aluko, then Yoruba mouthpiece in its social network began corresponding with me with regards to the Aburi Accord.. Aluko lectured at Howard University, Washington, D.C., and had appeared at Nigerian World related political discourse in an attempt to sell his sovereign national conference campaigns to a young, radical audience that declined to buy his product. Aluko, irratical, angry, mischievous and tribally bent political salesman, left the forum, and in a nutshell, created his own website to promote his agenda and the Yoruba ingrained Awoist principles.

The irony during this period a “reborn” nation was seeking its path to a sound democratic order, Igbos were hovering, knowing not what to do until the Dallas Igbo elites, spearheaded by Acho Orabuchi, founded Igbo Forum, a platform that was way overdue and applauded gracefully. As it happened, it would not be long when the rascals would hijack the place ridiculing the place beyond imagination. Igbo Forum and its sister discussion groups never would be the same again, henceforth.

Sadly, as it developed, Igbo happened to have fallen into a country widely known for its philandering politicians reason why nothing works in its endeavor to get things straight - a brutal police and military force, an Islamic “Jihad” terrorists, a murderous gang of militants, a failed state, collapsed culture and corrupt leaders - virtually in everything that is bad, including the churches all across the land purportedly to have followed the Gospels accordingly, but deviated, misinterpreting the Biblical principles, taking the whole concept to a whole new heights and blown out of proportion. And in some of the bizarre cases, they hold their mouth while the congregational leads are engaged taking advantage of their victims, the gullible and vulnerable ones who had been left with no choices, and who are eventually castigated for attempt to destroying God’s House of Worship by seducing and charming these congregational leaders, offering them what they couldn’t refuse. Such has been the dilemma of these congregational worship centers.

Moreover, as these atrocities and moral outrages are been unveiled, taking other parts of the world, for example, the social media have had a part in changing all that - in their leaderships like in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and now all around the world with Occupy Wall Street, demonstrations, denouncing corporate greed; with an impact already felt and a big ups for digital social media - Facebook, Twitter and other networks.

Are Nd’Igbo using these social media networks effectively?

The answer would be an “absolutely not!” In June of 2010, twenty-eight-year-old Khaled Said from Alexandria, Egypt, was beaten badly by Egyptian Police while witness and several hand held cameras documented the assault. Despite police denial and cover ups by the Egyptian state, contrary evidence was posted by Egyptians on Facebook and Youtube. It was this disturbing development that that twenty-nine-year-old Wael Ghonim, Googles marketing big wig took his expertise to work. He created the Facebook group “We Are All Khalid Said,” for people to join in protest for the case. Ghonim was arrested returning to Egypy from Dubai where he started the movement that eventually ousted Hosni Mubarak. The Internet movement spread elsewhere in the Arab League becoming a phenomenon all around the globe.

Similarly, there has been cases of murder, extra judicial killings in all the Igbo states, corrupt politicians and scores of atrocities all over the land, and yet the only tool left could not be utilized to effect changes as seen in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, the ongoing strife in Syria, Yemen, and several parts of the globe, using the Internet as a force of change and “liberation.”

The arrival of the rascals at Igbo Forum when Igbo elites took things for granted - the inability to set standards with guidelines for decorum and topics to be posted and discussed relative to current trends on all Igbo-related political debates and engaging the politicians in a sense of belonging to their best in providing the structural needs of the people they had been elected to serve.

While Igbo Forum emerged, its counterparts had already concluded its phase of its charter and ready to present its recommendations to the much, looked forward to Sovereign National Conference. By this time, the forum had begun to fall apart for lack of keeping up its archives resulting from non payment of dues. As it happened, a series of Igbo forums begun to surface since the breakouts wanted to go on to the local level - remotely to their enclaves - Nd’Ngwa Forum, UmuAnambra Forum, ASA-USA Forum, Akah Forum, NdiIgbo Forum, Old Orlu Province, Waawa Forum, Njaba South, World Igbo Forum, Igbo Events, Igbo Worldnet Forum and the list goes on and on.

Quite disturbing, typical and indication of a people divided. And when one looks at all the nonsense coming out from Abia and the gang of Orji’s election fraudsters who stole the peoples mandate, one would be wondering if Abia’s really the part of Igboland and origin where prominent Igboist in the likes of Michael I. Okpara, Alvan Ikokwu, Francis Akanu Ibiam and numerous other good men came from.

Until now, Igbo seems not to be getting it, regardless of the ongoing pathetic thirteen years of the nation’s fledgling democracy in the Fourth Republic; that after thirteen years the experiment seems not to be working and an alternative should be sought; which brings to mind Aluko responding to an article I had written years ago giving references to the Holocaust, Apartheid, the Armenian Genocide, the Rwandan Genocide, the Russian Pogrom and Revolution, all all related human atrocities in which the anti-Igbo Pogrom bears the same resemblance, and using the Aburi Accord as an analogy the Nigerian vandals negated; thereby, a sovereign national conference of that nature would not work in a situation no formal apology came forth, effectively. In that regard, I cited sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord for reference to weigh in the irrelevance of a sovereign national conference. Sections vii, viii and ix of the Aburi Accord:

(vii) With a view to promoting mutual confidence, all decrees or provisions of decrees passed since January 15, 1966, which detracted from the previous powers and positions of the regional governments should be repealed. Law officers of the federation should meet in Benin on January 14, 1967, and list all the decrees or provisions of decrees concerned, so that they may be repealed not later than January 21, 1967, if possible.

(viii) A meeting of Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries of Finance of all the governments in the federation should be convened within two weeks to consider ways and means of resolving the serious problems posed by displaced persons all over the country.

(ix) Displaced civil servants and corporation staff (including daily-paid employees) should continue to be paid their full salaries until March 31, 1967, provided they have not secured alternative employment. The Military Governors of the East, West and Mid-West should send representatives (Police Commissioners) to meet and discuss the problems of recovery of property left behind by displaced persons.


Aluko had written extensively on a working document on behalf of the Yoruba elite, and had concluded it was only principles based on Awoism that would work in a Nigerian entrapment, and considering a modelled Western Nigerian framework, through the profound leadership of Obafemi Awolowo.

At this time in question, Igbo had already been divided on its cause of action in determining if a charter drawn from the various sections of its grouping, suggesting what and what not should be included in the charter. Orabuchi, Francis Elekwachi, Nkem Ekeopara’s “Nd’Igbo Generation 1960-!970, Ralph Uwazuruike’s Movemen for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Oguchi Nkwocha’s Biafraland even though he had consistently been against any decision on a Nigerian national state, Okenwa Nwosu, Iselle Obikpani, Ekwe Nche, Enyimba, M.O. Ene’s Kwenu, Cornelius Akubueze and the rest, took part in what had been an arduous task to bring forth a binding document by way of joint sessions with the related factions. Town after town, hamlet after hamlet, village after village, brothers after brothers and cousins both near and far after cousins of the same lineage, raised their voices and said thus far and no further; that Igbo must come up with a charter in the event of an endorsed sovereign national conference, submitting its own line of constitutional guidelines to be deliberated in what the opposing sides had called “conference of sovereign nationalists.”

I had connected with Elekwachi on a series of hiccups relating to the document he had presented on behalf of Pan-Igbo Constituent Assembly in Diaspora (PICAD), the committee he founded in collaboration with Obi Nwakanma, Cornelius Akubueze and others. Elekwachi had commended my insights when the confusion on who is an Igbo and the full definition and meaning of Igbo Proper, which fired up another cycle of debates and symposiums. I had already been exhausted with these debates that had been mind boggling, looking at how the Yoruba nation fair with its stanby, ready made document to keep a Nigerian national state intact and viable.

With respect to what was about to explode among Igbo elites and the ones so distrust of an Igbo charter on the bearings of the document prepared without appropriate and adequate consultations; I gave a deep thought researching and studying the facts and logic about a Igbo Charter to be submitted on behalf of PICAD and a very few other committees. In an exclusive article which was bordered on a profound Igbo national state, putting together analysis and all the stuff detrimental to a healthy Igbo nation, laying empahasis on Igbo as one infinite, indivisible people. Thus I wrote:

“the Igbos are a people whose origin is of one lineage, their genealogies can be traced back through many generations of forefathers to a common ancestor. This type of societal identification is not the same as a national or linguistic grouping. One can join a nation; one can learn a language; both are voluntary. But in blood heritage, it implies Igbos have an inherited customs and traditions which led to a particular order of social organizations. The Igbo of Nando has the same socio-cultural structure as the Igbo of Abakaliki, Ikwere, Obigbo, Nkwerre, Igurita, Okpanam, Ibuzo, Elele, Omoku, Orlu, Abriba, Waawa, Obowu, Nnewi, Idemili, Ihiala, Nsugbe, Amazano, Awkuzu, Nteje, Okigwe, Eziama Obiato, Onitsha and Abagana, Arochukwu, Ohafia, Amaigbo, Arondizuogu, Owerri, Mbaise, Umuohiagu, Oko, Diobu and any community where Igbos can be found. It is in this vast genealogical structure that provided a simple basis for alliances and inheritance. Lands and rights go to sons and brothers on the paternal side. Residential groupings, too, are familial. Villages, kindred and hamlets are made of men descended from a common paternal line women marry in, though many also are of the same paternal line linked by a lineage traceable back to a primal patrilineal ancestor.

So, too, is the traditional way of marriage as no dating occurs when a man expresses his interest in a woman, parents and relatives arrange marriages. As custom dictates, the groom to be has to go through series of interviews and other custom-related events such as paying dowry to the bride to be family before the marriage can be arranged and finalized.

By this order and method, and as we head to the conference table to write a charter for the Igbo nation, we must bear in mind the above particular order when our decisions and resolve begins to climax. We must also bear in mind Igbo nation is a nation state, and that Nigeria must not be included in her principles. In choosing this method, of not including Nigeria or any other entity in her preamble and the entire document, and by not mixing any political principle that varies with the ideals, customs and traditions of Nd'Igbo, treating at great length the needs or rights supposedly appropriate to Igbos everywhere.”

The article was followed by an overwhelming line of commentaries and rejoinders at a time the simmering sovereign national conference proposals had begun to wane, losing steam from a burnt out flame under Obasanjo’s watch and on the premise there was ultimately no need for sovereign national conference as long as a legislature was in existence, a legislature as in all democratic orders to rewrite the constitution through its representatives. The SNC died a natural death the way Obasanjo wanted it.

As the case turned out, the SNC fizzled out for many reasons. Obasanjo, a Yoruba should continue with running the affairs of state, and with the applications of SNC, Obasanjo’s presidency might be jeopardized on the grounds of presiding on a constitution fabricated by the military juntas, and not through normal constitutional conferences procedure. And also, the Yorubas, in respect, should grip firmly on the presidency on the course of its two-term llimitations, and for the first time in the nation’s history, a Yoruba president that could be costly if given away. Obasanjo knew very well the implications of a dim wit sovereign national conference. He alerted his kinsfolk to relax the pace of their desperation based on complications of the agitation on a so-called “better ways to govern ourselves.” Forthwith, Yoruba and Afenifere backed off.

Some weeks ago, I had gone to Town Hall Meeting in my district on related community projects that would create more jobs within the district and with the only community bank in the neigborhood --Union Bank -- and a long standing commitment to help small businesses grow in the community, hoping favorably on the takes of Councilman Bernard Parks (8th District), Councilman Herb Wesson Jr. (10th District), and Mark Ridley Thomas (Supervisor, 2nd District) in a series of ground breaking projects, all in the community.

While exiting the meeting, I bumped into Derek Brown, pastor, the House of Judah Christian Center, who had recognized me from when we met sometime ago in Los Angeles. Brown was classmate to former Kansas City Chiefs running back, Christian “Nigerian Nightmare” Okoye at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Brown, later would move on transfer to University of Oregon, Eugene, to finish up his college scholarship sports program. We spoke at length on gists surrounding his college years at Azusa with Okoye, and how Okoye talked him into Igbo dishes which he is now fond of, patronizing West African-related restaurants in Greater Los Angeles, from time to time. Brown had asked where to locate a Nigerian community in Greater Los Angele, and my answer to his question was a capital “Nada!”

Brown and I talked about a whole lot. His days of flirting with Igbo girls in college and all that cultural stuff; how his dates’ brothers and relatives were always around protecting them. He finally gave up as his routine dating became a trend, the frustrating run around, playing hard to get delay tactics. We also talked about politics and the failed African states. We talked about sports in general and how African athletes were shopped for and picked up at Azusa, for professional and international engagements; and one of the reasons Azusa still stands out for its excelling sports programs in small town San Gabriel Valley. Our hangout was a full historical discussion describing the magnitude of our bonding as one, infinite, indivisible people, never mind the past, that we should work in unity because “working together works!”

Igbo is one, infinite, indivisible people!

Ede chaa nam!

Notes: See;

* “Igbos, Igbo Charter, Etc. and the Igbo Nation,” by Ambrose Ehirim. BNW Magazine, September 06, 2002

* “The Igbo Charter Project- A Commentay,” by Francis Elekwachi. Igbo Forum, July 09, 2002

* No Need For Sovereign National Conference,” By Max Siollun

* “Biafra: The Making of a Nation,” By Arthur A. Nwankwo and Samuel U. Ifejika; Prager Publishers, Inc. New York, 1970

* “The Internet: For Better orFor Worse,” By Steve Coll. The New York Review of Books. (The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empire by Tim Wu, Knopf; The Next Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom by Ellegeny Morozoz; Public Affairs).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Nigeria: Imo State Round Table Meetings In Los Angeles: A Baby Talk?

Roudtable image by SCSU

The last time I was at any Imo State-related meeting was in 2007 when former governor of the state, Ikedi Ohakim had “just” been elected into office and the Southern California chapter of Nd’Imo, in a quick fix, organized and confirmed Ohakim’s formal visit to Los Angeles. I was in the said meeting and questioned the validity of the governor's visit when he had “just” been sworn into office.

In this modernity, four years would storm by and Ohakim would have no time to stop by and see how the Southern California residents of his state are doing; the ones who threw their support and sent him an invitation for a state visit to Los Angeles. Not surprising to some and stunning to those who expected much from the governor, Ohakim would run Imo State for four years - good or bad - and the Southern California elites would not utter a word until Ohakim’s love-hate relationship with the state would be over.

When Ohakim was chased out of office by the peoples mandate, a sigh of euphoria beclouded Imo indigenes in the Soutland with a new strategy that began to unfold in another attempt at throwing in support to the new governor-elect, Rochas Okorocha. Thus begun the new movement and another round of “never again should we sit idly and allow another maladministration happen in our presence. We must not let this happen again,” which earnestly called for action to rescue Imo State from its nightmare and the long ordeal of bad leadership.

Upon Okorocha’s projected victory, the call was immediately announced on a series of outlets and related groups in cyberspace, and had been made public. The call was not about dissolution of Imo meeting in Los Angeles; it was not about the formation of a new one; it was about finding the ways and means to get involved in Okorocha’s administration and to help the state have a sense of belonging and purpose. It was also not about getting rid of the “Old Guards,” but to determine if they’d like to continue or abandon what they started years ago in the quest for a properly, organized Imo State, home and Diaspora.

Nevertheless, the initiative was well worth it and the attempt a bold one. But here is the hiccup, which is troublesome: It’s been six months since Imo Diaspora of the Los Angeles, California-area residents came out with a new political agenda tailored to be significantly engaging in an upcoming Okorocha’s administration in the Igbo heartland. I was overwhelmed and filled with enthusiasm on the basis that Nd’Imo residing in Southern California had made up their minds to “pull the bull by the horn” and get Imo State moving again all around the globe with its new projected guidelines. With an obvious pumping fist in the air, I engaged some very few among my Imo colleagues here in the Southland, showing my interest by way of applications, recon-structuring journalism as part of the ideals to be drawn and required to effecting change in Imo, and especially to set the standard to improve relations between Diaspora and homeland.

From that perspective, many suggestions were made as to a framework that would help launch a new Greater Los Angeles area Imo meeting which did begun, announcing its intentions to the Nigerian list serves. The idea was that all the blah, blah, blah, considering Imo’s magnitude and without question, the thoughts of its intellectual powerhouse though with nothing to show for it, would be a thing of the past if not immediately arrested. The Imo Diaspora of Greater Los Angeles meant business, and patently, no more baby talk. I had assumed, learning about the architects of change, it would go well and be smooth.

From my list of proposals suggesting a guideline which would help map out a spectacular blueprint, I listed the following I had thought was important for the creators who had gunned for a new, vitalized Imo, both home and Diaspora:

1). Start Imo Diaspora network by way of a discussion forum which must be restricted with admissions by referral and verification. Table items to be discussed and if needs be, moderated for out of character commentaries.

2). Get our respective districts involved by attending town hall meetings and voicing our opinions with regards to the ways and means of the relevance of our stay here coupled with the 'push factor' which had enabled us to be part of this great society.

3). Establish a thorough and efficient pressure group to monitor the floors of our federal and state assemblies which would also include the conduct of the state executive branch.

4). Open up a non-profit organization with a Imo Diaspora bearings to start building institutions in all of Imo State, say, for instance, University of Imo State, Amazano Campus, specializing in Agriculture; University of Imo State, Umuowa Campus, specializing in engineering; University of Imo State, Umuohiagu campus, specialing in medicine; University of Imo State, Mbano campus, specializing in all areas of liberal arts; University of Imo State, Nekede campus, specializing in teaching credentials; University of Imo State, Arondizuogu campus known for its business school, and the list goes on and on.

5). Being practical and committed to the cause applying effective leadership.

6). Start working on the agitation for Imo Diaspora Liaison offices all around the world and regional branches in the United States of America for its larger concentration

7). Having direct contact with any sitting governor of the state, the state assembly members, the federal representatives, local government councilors for transparency and accountability.

8). Initiate learning institutes here in Diaspora for our kids to learn a variety of who we are, for instance the kind of food that we eat (botany) and things like that.

19). Initiate paying stipends to our reporters at home as they monitor the goings on, on the floors of the state and national assembly, including that of the executive branch.

What happened from around where this development fertilized was that the three most concerned Imo figures in the South-land involved with the new vision, was that most of us, if not all, had seen an unfolding, committed leadership that needed our moral support. Before the meeting held ground and supposedly no more time for baby talk, but absolutely and positively relative discourses to the well being of Nd’Imo. I, in several occasions, engaged my friend and pointblank, talking-head, radical teacher, Innocent Osunwa, who had been blunt over the years on an idling and do-nothing Imo Diaspora regarding its quest to make Imo a model for the Igbo-related states.

On the trio of intended creators of a new Imo Diaspora and a new Imo in homeland, nothing went through our minds as in suspecting lack of interest to get things done. We did not see the three as enemies of one another, nor seeing them as formidable political personalities who came to play politics with our heads and walk away with something else in their minds. We did not even see them as ambitious, having different visions for the state. We saw the three as having good intentions and same visions of a good society, adapting the American democratic fabric model -- which they have since the ‘push factor,’ the conditions that compelled them to seek better lives elsewhere - and that the press lubricates democracy. We also did not see them as engaging in the personal endeavor to struggle for influence in Imo on the interest of their respective personal gains as indicative of previously mismanaged administrations of Achike Udenwa and Ohakim which was a shocking realization.

I had attended the first Imo meeting “call for action” in Los Angeles held at the All Saints Anglican Church conference room in Hawthorne, California. Based on how the announcement circulated online, I had looked forward to a huge turnout from a Los Angeles-area concentration; and as it was, the turnout wasn’t disappointing. And I had also thought what the previous administrations had left behind - a state that is rich in cash and resources, but socially fragmented and intellectually impoverished - would rise like a phoenix getting the state back on track from what I earlier outlined in this framework. The long reign of past, corrupt regimes during the military juntas’ handling of the affairs of state; the excruciating pains of inept, corrupt administrations during the 2nd, 3rd, 4th Republics respectively, which held in suspense the ordinary struggles that forge historical progress. Imo rebirth expected to be created by the Los Angeles area “progressives” who had thought power should be earned by virtue of dedication, sacrifice and hard work; and what they saw as an opportunistic, financial oligarchic class which erupted a state of empire and anarchy should now be a thing of the past, bringing forth a new era and key figures to speak for the Imo people on accounts of thorough systems typical of organized societies.

The case of sad reality is that the real battle extending the state of empire and anarchy has just begun. Osunwa and I engaged on the subject matter, the probabilities of the “same old song,” old wine in a new bottle kind of stuff, that Okorocha’s backers are of the Old Guards, and if probably not, that Okorocha still have some payback time to his election campaign donors who helped catapult him to Government House, Owerri.

In one of my talking points, bedtime discourses  with Osunwa, which took us into the night, and after the first meeting I had attended as path finder, I argued that the region’s modern state of insanity as seen over the years - kidnapping, human parts trafficking, rape (most unreported), police brutality, murder and things like that - that if we have been serious to face the challenges squarely, it must start from Diaspora to set up the pace condemning the all sorts of mayhem occurring in Imo and all the Igbo-related states through a powerful web of activists, writers, journalists to global links meant to influence Igbo leaderships on an array of problems requiring solutions that must be applied consistently.

Osunwa had relied on the creator’s sense of good judgement to shovel out the Los Angeles area Imo Diaspora from the deep mess it has been into over the years by lacking a sense of purpose. He had also endorsed the state of mind the creators had adopted in pursuing its course of getting Imo State out of the nonsense, square peg in a round hole drama that likely was taking the state to hell. It was in this atmosphere of Osunwa’s imagination that I chipped in to talk about journalism and why it should be taken as important as any aspect of the creators' intent to be romantically involved directly with the goings on at Government House, Owerri, without laying more emphasis on the necessities that provides the tools for change - which by all accounts becomes the work of the journalists to shape how we think, inform the public and govern which comes along with a sound democratic fabric. And why do journalists think about what they do? The job is calling: the mission is to improve every corner of our enclaves. And how’s this done and achieved effectively? And why would it matter?

On the days approaching the first meeting of the “New Order” to a “New Dawn,” I was able to hold some conversations with many of the new dawns on how to get Imo Diaspora and the administrators of the home state to work in tandem for a better understanding and how working collectively would lead to utopia, coupled with a communication gap over the years that could be bridged by means of openness with journalism’s take. Osunwa, however, acknowledged the fact that journal work “is” more than required in a fledgling democracy like Nigeria to keep the government in check, and also said “independent journalists” must be made available to keep checks and balances orderly and not the kind of scandalous journalists who blackmail government and public figures when they have something on them and then negotiate a price within a range of some cash depending on the gravity which is how most newspapers survive in the country; and which at the same time destroys the reputation of worthy, news reporting.

And, remarkably, now that we have fallen into the age of Internet, everyone from individual citizens to political operatives can gather information, investigate the powerful, reach out to the powerless, mediate between government protocol and provide analysis in its investigative work. But as the case has been, not everyone engages in the need for news gathering. For instance, the Igbo-related discussion groups, staggering by the numbers of its subscribed members, and yet haven’t been established well enough to creating impact on how it could influence decisions in its respective administrations from the local governments, the municipalities, the legislature and its executive arm of government that is not however, done by these discussion, news-related groups. Or, are these discussion, news-related groups working on providing quality news items assuming it has established its own line of items that would have its own independent link to reach governmental institutions, as a stable organization which can facilitate regular reporting? And if so, why haven’t we seen a serious news break to their credit, linking directly with these organizations to governmental institutions including the local outlets other than wired news stories?

What has hindered these discussion groups from engaging itself directly with the governmental institutions - the executive, legislature and judiciary - directly for its Diaspora to be engaged fully and be part of a government their role is needed for a sound, thorough democratic dispensation? What was the purpose of creating these groups, for picnic, social gathering and ego-tripping, bragging on its members’ social economic status and the nouveau riche in its class? Why should these discussion groups still be standing in more than 12 years of its founding and are yet to establish any link connecting it directly with series of its governmental organizations in a strictly business way?

Maybe, not so clear to some. These discussion groups, whatever its foundation, cannot afford to be providing us information on picnic, ballroom dances, a new chief in town and its grand-style coronation, a breakthrough purchasing some new arrival of a ‘powerfully’ made machine by the Germans or the Japanese, negating and leaving aside its lifeline that should be benefiting generations to come by totally engaging in the political and socio-cultural issues affecting its land with a concrete, structurally established system for their off-springs and more, more generations to follow; and by discussing innovations, inventions, new techniques, formats for change, ideas and discoveries, and of course, the ways and means to compete in a challenging global market economy.

What are they leaving for the generations to come as legacy when they are sitting idly watching and applauding their land turned into a state of empire and anarchy? What would their generations to come, think of who they were, looking at how hopeless they left the situation? And why is it taken that these discussion groups of a Diaspora stock assume they have nothing to do with the affairs of state, of its native land? And if that be the case focusing on its adopted land, are they fully involved in the administrative process of its council members, senators and representatives at the state and federal level in its respective districts, where they should be presumably presenting their case for the turmoil in their home land like other communities always do? How many town-hall meetings and series of activities that follows have they been to checking on how the folks they elected to office are doing by way of reaching out to its district? Or, would it be they played it off, caught up on a crossroad, not belonging to any side of the road?

There shouldn’t be any quiz here; and if only they had paid attention looking back to a failure , lacking the vision, as a result of their deliberately made mistakes and at a terrible cost, the generations to come, many would have to go through, probably would have done something that should have avoided such a terrible mistake of a lifetime - by using the same mechanisms of their upbringing that “it takes a village to raise a child,” putting the priorities into perspective.

And what would have amounted to such a terrible, costly mistake?

Again, one is weary of pointing out, especially on the logjam cases of a strong Diaspora foundations in building bridges by connecting as in all communities we all bear witness; how in similar, they overcame their predicaments of culture shock, struggled, worked hard as a community and thrived; becoming powerful, influencing decisions in their new found land and their native land. In that regard, they acquired all the accessories to become powerful in all aspects. They established their own banks for their commerce and industry; their own schools to teach their own; their own markets and farms for their own people; their subsidies and other related programs for the underprivileged and for their own elderly; their own learning center to teach their own language and culture; their own elected representatives to speak on their behalf and legislate for their concerns and needs; their own means of employment, employing their own; their own hospitals and women’s clinic to care for their own; their own medical staff and medical benefits for their own; their own vocational institutes teaching variety of trades and crafts for their own; their own mortgage companies attending to housing needs of their own; their own newspapers in their own languages; their own communities and villages where they can be identified; their own quest and determination to make life better for each and everyone of their own; their own socializing courts where the next line of projects are put into perspective; their own orthodox in religion where all their kind worship; their own landscaping company where gardening and things of that nature services the community; their own eateries where its dishes are now universal; their own playhouses where drama, musicals, movies, comedy, life band performances of its own musical genre and dance shows, and things like that, draws a diversified audience, and the list goes on and on and on.

So, too, as the creators' had planned to use the above outlines beginning from establishing a newspaper due to, without news. “we cannot be in business facing the challenges of building community.” Folks need to know about new development in its community. Folks need to read on the latest update in a news worthy world. Folks need information from its own bulletin boards.

And how could this be arrived?

In terms of Imo State, as the creators'  had visioned, creating funds for local news with money made available from federated accounts or money collected from communication-bent projects, like tele-communication users, television and radio broadcast licensing fees, or internet service providers, and which would be administered in open competition through state local news councils. The same could be applied to Diaspora in the event it becomes too much of a burden for the home states to bear. Diaspora could channel a whole lot of ways in getting the news out: through multi-task revenues from related social events, funds from varieties of not for profit organizations, levies from non-governmental events like the churches, enterprises, and many other outlets where funding could be derived so journalists could focus on serious news at the local and state level; and could get it direct on one-on-one to reach the public, uncensored, unless where need be, like the classifieds.

And, as it goes, the bills of the journalist must be paid to get the quality and news-worthy stories across. Journalism has always been a direct/indirect, private/public backed projects. And from that background, journalists in this order, would then have a good relationship with those who pay their bills, whether advertisers targeting consumers and its business development, or private and public domains working on improving infrastructures, needing the services of citizens.

In one of my conversations with one of the creators' regarding the infrastructural needs of the state and how the message could be sent across to a governmental awareness, journal work surfaced, citing outside newspapers’ credits that has been the mouthpiece of the people. The Sahara Reporters, an online news outlet, which has been doing well from noted public opinion polls, on its account of how it handles the news. While the creators applauded The Sahara Reporters’ line of work in its reporting; analysis; dissected programmed blogs; essays relative to Nigeria’s problems grand and small; and documentaries of the same nature, I had wondered if the source of Sahara Reporters’ energy on news-gathering and analysis came from another planet. I had told them that the forces behind Sahara Reporters funding was not unearthly. That the forces, from its foundation of engineering social and democratic change during the Sani Abacha years remains one of its backbones to its existence. So, why wouldn’t Sahara Reporters be top notch agency news reporting outlet, from how it operated in the past and in disguise, masquerading with many handles to fight for democracy and social change?

The creators, from their point of view, weighing Sahara Reporters to have remarkably done a good job in its thought provoking reports and analysis over the years, applauding its efforts; one thing should be borne in mind: it’s time to get your own news outlet and be sure of what the general audience is getting from your reel. Face the challenges and fund your own newspaper. Organize, make it happen and leave it to the experts to handle.

For instance, it will not take all the heavenly places to piece together the finest Igbo writers, correspondents, investigative journalists, including reporters and researchers in homeland to dig deeply providing Diaspora with authentic and reliable, worthy news stories, which is where the creators should start putting their money where their mouth is; that is, if they honestly want to see change and be part of its outcome. The other question should be, are they willing to face the challenges of walking the talk?

Journalists, reporters, writers and researchers in the likes of Chidi Nkwopara-Uduma Kalu -Tony Edike (Vanguard), Leon Usigbe (Tribune), Ikechukwu Enyiagu (syndicated columnist), Chibuzo Ukaibe (Leadership Nigeria), Emma Mgbeahurike (The Nation), Chiawo Nwankwo (Punch), Nkechi Opurum (Daily Times), Petrus Obi-Chidi Nnadi-Ofole Okafor (Daily Sun), Andy Uneze (This Day), Ike Okonta (Daily Star), with a long list of Igbo journalists and scholars on a variety of discipline at the numerous Igbo-related institutions can be given the task; and by investing on good reporting and writing, a whole lot would gradually change especially in this new era of collaborative and “accountability journalism.”

Nkwopara, Kalu, Edike, et al., without doubt, have been doing some fine work of journalism; researching, reporting and writing to keep us informed on a variety of interesting subjects within our surroundings, in Ala-Igbo and its central government in Abuja, including the several other big cities in the nation where Nd’Igbo transact business on a daily basis providing goods and services that sustains the nation.

And why shouldn’t Diaspora be concerned about the affairs of its own people with the kind of work these folks in our journal world send to us, not even mentioning the scholars on their dissertation process and much, much more they will be having us know in terms of information and upfront knowledge. And how much are these folks paid by a controlling publishers and board directors who bankroll what these fine journalists transmits to us regularly?: On how we live and what’s going on in our communities; who is out there to attack us and who wants us dead or alive; how the government is playing games on a very gullible and vulnerable people; why we missed it all on our political, democratic endeavors; why Nigeria is failing all of us; what the urban hard-money banks, insurance companies and big corporations like Shell - are doing to us; the churches in every nook and cranny of the land and why it has become so; how anti-intellectualism and demonization of writers and critics is destroying free speech, and how we are becoming less and less a news reading media people; the angst of the Islamic Boko Haram terrorists, the series of kidnappings in Ala-Igbo and what should be done; the nasty romances in the governmental houses; and how easy going and down to earth men fell readily available as political tool for use by ugly politicians, hard and brutish men; so, the list goes on and on and on.

There are several reasons why other news outlets are performing much better than any independent, Igbo-related owned newspaper, that is, if there is a credible one. From the list of Igbo journalists I have cited, and taking a closer look at the news outlets they work for, about one or so could be said to be owned by a South-easterner; and taking a closer look, too, who indeed runs the paper? The creators cannot be trashy-talky, reproachy, sloppy and gossipy on inconsequential stuff while they have loads and loads of untouched literary and historical issues confronting them -- paying their journalists and writers to start researching on a wide range of their origin, where all the migration began, who they were, how they got trapped into a fabricated nation through a colonization mandate; their role in that fabrication and its aftermath; the pogrom, the civil war, the post-civil war and an alleged reconstruction that followed; and regarding the pogrom and civil war, the victims’ family, the participants who survived and what they know, leading-edge research and interviews in that perspective; and a whole lot connected to the facts and logic about what happened -- and not doing anything about it, which in its entirety a continuous tragedy.

Also, the creators should come to realization that the people want an administration that is open to scrutiny, making its financial accounts public, one of the lapses former governor Ohakim was able to elude them.

The creators should be focusing and coming up with projects, since a lame duck government of deceit would not get anything done; on how to influence, shape, establishing their literary culture by building libraries in every of its enclaves where access to all that is important in its history and things like that can be located -- works of traditional and lyric poetry, comedy, cultural festivals, history, tragedy, medical writers, the pagans and all about the myth; Agwuisi na Amadioha; nd’amala and what they may have left behind; the churches and those church fathers who combined Omenala and the Biblical principles to their practice; the Dibies (native doctors), who combined mgborogwu and Western medicine to their profession; the nd’ na agba afa, soothsayers, who combine their craft with Western ideals of logic and philosophy, and the list goes on and on and on.

Remarking on these blows, I remember interviewing Dr. Julius Kpaduwa on August 11, 2002. I had scheduled this interview with Kpaduwa after reaching agreement with my colleagues at BNW Magazine on questions they would want asked. I had also notified my friend and colleague, Austen Oghuma, who promised he’d be there on the day of the said interview at Kpaduwa’s bedroom community, The Country Diamond Bar home.

What happened was, Kpaduwa had declared his candidacy to run for the governorship of Imo State. I was not there at his formal declaration party. I was investigating the Otokoto family criminal mafia, asking questions on who knows what on a trail of mayhem, rape, lynching, body parts trafficking and mob killings connected to the Otokoto family in Owerri and its environs. I would interview the son of the mob, Maxwell Otokoto Duru, here in Los Angeles on that trail of heinous crimes that spooked Owerri township.

While working on the Kpaduwa interview, first of its kind by any Nigerian, U.S.-based news magazine in that order, its content and capacity, which was during Achike Udenwa’s administration in Imo State, I bumped into Dr. Edmund Ugorji, then medical director, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, who had since relocated back to Nigeria and who had questioned if I was still writing my “thought provoking” stuff treading with caution that even though what I write is clearly the way it’s suppose to be, that Nigeria ‘is’ not America, that “my people are not matured yet for your kind of write-ups; we are still learning the process of democracy,” Ugorji would tell me. Ugorji also popped up the question of Kpaduwa, if I heard anything since he’d been shot by his political opponents in Nigeria.

“What actually happened and what are the details, do you know?” Ugorji asked.

“I have been scheduled to interview Kpaduwa at his Diamond Bar home and I have been talking to Kpaduwa since the attempt on his life in Nigeria, and I will be meeting with him soon for the interview,” I told Ugorji.

“Good, tell him that I said be well and be strong,” (emphasis mine) Ugorji said.

In late 2004, Ugorji, Kpaduwa, Jimmy Asiegbu and a host of Igbo Diaspora in Greater Los Angeles would summon its elite class to address the plight of the Igbo Nation and how to arrest the troubling situations in the Igbo-related states, which I will be writing in a different essay.

On August 08, 2002, my colleagues and I - Chinedu Ibe (Chicago, Illinois), Dr. Emeka J. Amanze (College Park, Maryland), Nick N. Nwuda (Inland Empire, California), Odo Akaji (Gloucestershire, England), Dr. Emeka S. Enwere (London, England) and Dr. Chidi Okorie (London, England) - had a teleconference on Kpaduwa’s interview to be published exclusively at BNW Magazine. The questions were all in order as agreed. Kpaduwa, fine with the date of interview, was prepared waiting for my arrival. Upon arrival, I met Oghuma, and some of Kpaduwa’s friends, colleagues and political allies who looked forward to the interview.

And for sure, investigative and compelling, I asked the questions and Kpaduwa answered all that had stuff to do with Igbo-related worthy causes and the people of Imo in general. Just like a country or state without appropriate measures operating a police force without bullets, Kpaduwa laid out his agenda for his ideas and visions if elected governor, when I popped the question on healthcare:

BNW: Let's talk about healthcare. The healthcare system in Imo state today is in shambles. I remember the story of a dying patient who could not be treated because he had no deposit. That, for sure, will not happen in the United States. Here, in America, in a situation like this, all one need to do is dial 911 and the response would be available immediately. If elected, how would your administration address the issue, improving the healthcare system?

Dr. Kpaduwa: You have asked the most important question of the night, though I don't know how many more questions you have. I can tell you that for the past four years, my wife and I (my wife is also a physician), we have been organizing and going on medical missions,, a free medical care to all parts of Imo State. As a matter of fact, we just finished one last Friday and we had a whole lot of cases. I was not able to go, even though I arranged it, and my wife could not go even though she was suppose to be part of the medical team. You just have to talk to people from Mbano, and they will tell can tell you what they experienced in our medical missions last week. Not only in Mbano, there were accounts of people who came from Orlu, Owerri and Mbaise trooping to Mbano Joint Hospital for free medical treatments and needs.

In fact, it was as a result of inadequate medical care I experienced during or very first medical mission that drove me to what I am doing now, running for the governor of Imo State, because I found out I could do very little with a stethoscope. I found out that if there was sound, good public policy as far as healthcare is concerned, the people of Imo State would be better off. That's really what motivated me to seek the office of the governor.

I have a plan that is very well laid out in our Manifesto, so to speak. And that plan, basically will guarantee any division of government owned Imo State hospital, standard of community hospital in the United States, if you know what I mean. That means that the operating room has to be fully equipped and functional. There has to be a functioning emergency department. There has to be adequate amount of drugs. And you will ask me how are we going to finance this. We have been doing this without even being in office, completely free of charge. We happen to be in a country--the United States of America--and God bless America that philanthropy is one of the bedrock of society. There is no where I can go to the hospitals that I practice, and ask them for equipments which are still functional and very good, or do a drive around the United States, I will equip every single hospital, functioning without spending a penny. All I need is the transportation. I will train a personnel, an adequate personnel. We will fully compensate the physicians that work there.

The hospitals, nobody goes to them because there is little or no care. We practiced in those hospitals, they are only hospitals in name and it is a shame. If you do not provide the people with minimum wages, decent jobs that will not guarantee them some form of health insurance or any form of health coverage, I believe that the government has the sole responsibility to take care of its own citizens. I don't care where you get the fund from,you go out there and get it until such a time when you have brought out the economic level of the state to a point whereby people can begin to get health insurances from their various jobs.

Under our own government structure, no single individual will be turned away from government hospital and emergency cases because of the inability to pay. It can be done because we will be able to get resources from outside of the country. For complex cases, no individual, for any operation that is needed will be turned away because he or she did not have money. And that is what's going on now. If you don't have money even on emergency basis, in fact, when I was shot and they took me to Federal Medical Center in Owerri, they refused to let me down until I have a police report. This is a gun shot wound, I was bleeding; I was in pain; nobody took the time to access my condition, I could have died. They told us that I cannot come down. So, we went to the police station to get a police report. Under our administration, such a nonsense will not happen.

When we got the police report and went back to the hospital, they refused to attend to me until we are able to pay certain basic fees. I just was lucky my wife's friend who's a physician works at that hospital and she happened to be there when we walked in. She paid all the fees. It's not that I don't have the money, but we just didn't have it on us. You will need a card, you will need this, you will need that in order to be attended, or they won't attend to you. Under our administration, that comes to a full stop. I don't care whether it's a federal medical center or a state hospital.

So the Imo people are in for a treat, as far as healthcare is concerned. That's where they will have the immediate benefits of our administration, because this is not depending on anybody else effort. It is going to be solely our effort. I belong to the Association of Nigeria Physicians in America; they help me run the medical mission in Mbano. The Imo people really are out for a treat; they want decent health-care and we are going to put a whole lot of money for it.”

Which, as the interview entails years we have been living in different times, if at all, we ever had normal lives, with no sense of an ending, as our daily life and movements have been altered, not knowing where the kidnappers are planning for their next victim; not knowing the next politician to be murdered in the most brutal of circumstances; not knowing when a village encounters police on a shootout on the vagaries of a kidnapped local government chairman; not knowing the next victim to be hanged on a tree; not knowing when a Diaspora is waylaid by hired assassins while visiting his native land; not knowing when a young girl would be raped by a gang of college students; not knowing when police would fatally shoot a U.S.-based resident visiting his homeland, and the list goes on and on and on.

We have not in many instances cared about these practices except when it’s shown in the news or we heard it while socializing in beer parlors, and as it’s not happening directly to us, but others - until, one day, and unfortunately like a man going about his business knowing nothing at all and suddenly hears the story of his or her relative being a victim, of the chaotic nature of the land, and that’s when we’ll be up awake, in shock, moping, “is this happening in our land? Jesus Christ!”

What is actually disturbing is the recent incident of the rapists Jonah Uche, Zaki, Ifeanyi Justin Ogu and Winston Okoye Chinonso who collaboratively raped a young college student brutally to a point the victim asked to be killed. The irony: the follow-up to the case seems to have quieted down, fizzled out and we are erasing it from our memory with nothing done as time passes by. Has anyone thought of the rape victim being a sister, a sister’s friend, a mother, a family friend’s wife and or a very close relative?

These and a whole lot of problems is what should be expected from Diaspora to address with their influence and a positive result.. And with this framework, and a Diaspora comparing its ideals to other communities, in analogy, as they lay claim on their cumulative life experiences in building community from turmoil to triumph in what did pay off telling of their American story as a community; and telling of American prosperity from their building community; and telling of American triumphalism, who else would doubt and argue when they say: The United States Of America is the greatest nation in the world!

Ede chaa nam!

References: See;

BNW Face 2 Face: Dr. Julius Kpaduwa, The Exclusive Interview
http://magazine.biafranigeriaworld.com/aehirim/2002aug16.html

The Otokoto Family Criminal Mafia
A BNW Magazine/The Ambrose Ehirim Files Exclusive Interview With Maxwell Vincent Duru Otokoto
http://tinyurl.com/3lavqrk
http://tinyurl.com/3suq9ph

Rochas Okorocha and the New Dawm
http://ambroseehirim.blogspot.com/2011/06/rochas-okorocha-and-new-dawn.html

Friday, October 07, 2011

Zik Ekwuo Aru Upside Down Readers

Onye na ekwu...Onye ka iwu
Ebee ka iguru akwukwo
Imakwa onye mmwu
mmee gi ihe; iga amata onye mwu
Ana enwe obodo enwe;
kama-kwa-kama; mmee gi ihe
mgbeahu ka iga amata
na uguru tu oyi
Awum Udumotali Ugwumagala
Duru akwukwo bekee na atu ujo
okeze ji obodo; oshimiri ego agwu agwu
ebe oku na enwu n'elu
ga kwaa juo

Starring:Omemgboji 1, Oloutuna Ukashi, Kpakporo Okoroigwe, Okwamkpuru Nwaimo, Eziokwu bu-Ndu, Oguzie nwa-Emena, Omajiji Ogbokiri, Igbo Nd'Iro

NOW PLAYING AT ALL IGBO-RELATED THEATERS NEAR YOU!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Disintegration of Nigeria Is The Cheapest Means To Containing Islamic Extremism In Africa

By Ikechukwu Enyiagu, Modern Ghana

No one ever solves a mathematical equation without a formula; no one finds the solution to a problem without first finding the root of the problem. Terrorism didn't just happen; it is the result of decades, and perhaps, centuries of subdued disagreements and misunderstanding. Wisdom demands that prevention often be preferred to a cure. These truths inform this timely advice to the United States of America, Britain, France, and all other affected countries of the world to accept without delay that, in order to contain this virus called terrorism which is speedily spreading all over Africa, Nigeria must be disintegrated without further delay.

Like a mustard seed, terrorism only has to have a point of contact-no matter how small. Whilst the Nigerian genocide against Igbos from 1967-1970 have remained no business of the world ruling interests (those who champion human rights) to this date, terrorism in Nigeria shall force everyone to ask this very vital and inevitable question which has until now been mumbled in different quarters: “Does Nigeria has to remain one?' Of course, the obvious answer to this is a resounding NO! Setting aside the unthinkable amounts of money which the US and other nations have wasted so far in the fight against terrorism, lives threatened, with no one sure where and who it may be next, pose greater worries for the world at large.

Nigeria, a country with over one hundred and sixty million (160,000,000) people, have proven itself ungovernable as one federal state. A foolish leader is not one who makes a mistake but one who refuses to accept his mistake and learn from it; the amalgamation of Nigeria by her majesty's authority was the worst mistake ever made by the British government. Even with the many lives of Igbos wasted, with the backing of Britain, for no justifiable cause, and the corruption which has corrupted everything in Nigeria, until now, the British authorities have not accepted that their “Project Nigeria” was a fatally destructible and failed one. Nevertheless, Islamic terrorism is about to change all that arrogant denial.

Until now the pursuit of a Biafran state out of this failed project called Nigeria has not won all the duly needed attentions and interventions from the United Nations, America, and the rest of the world. However, it will be noted here that Biafra is not the only nation in Nigeria that wants to secede; the entire Northern states of Nigeria have obtrusively been agitating for their separate state, even before the Nigeria-Biafra civil war, where Sharia law shall be the constitution of the day; and at the other end stands the Niger Delta movement. While MASSOB represents the Biafran movement, MEND fights for the Niger Delta and Boko Haram, the Muslim North. And while MASSOB resorted to a non-violent approach to assert and obtain the rights of Igbo nationhood, MEND uses violence to claim their rights, while Boko Haram diversifies terrorism in Nigeria.

According to Gen. Andrew Owoye Azazi, the Security Adviser to the Federal Government of Nigeria, “Terrorism has come to stay in Nigeria. This was in confirmation of the British secret service's report that Al-Qaeda has planned to use Nigeria as their African headquarters to attack the west. And true to it credentials, Boko Haram, the extension of Al-Qaeda in Nigeria, has now sworn that “the country would not have peace until there is 100 per cent implementation of Sharia law in the country as enshrined in the holy Quran.” This therefore leaves no question as to whether Nigeria will metamorphose into a Pakistan, an Afghanistan, or even another African Somalia; the question the west and indeed the rest of the concerned member states should be asking now ought to be: “Should we let Nigeria evolve into a Somalia, or an Afghanistan, or even a Pakistan in Africa?” Considering the effects of fighting terrorism and mostly the damages it has inflicted so far, the obvious answer to this, again, should and must be a resounding NO!

Having considered the conditions of Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, South-Sudan, and Somalia, I have come to the only wise and workable conclusion and solution to a terrorism-free Africa: A disintegrated Nigeria. If British intelligence claims Nigeria to be the proposed African headquarters of Al-Qaeda, then it could be since the sings are on the increase. One of the many reason large sums of money are wasted and lives lost in combating this international crime is the precautions and cautions taken by America and its allies to avoid killing innocent citizens, and the sole reason terrorism has lasted this long is because those involved take advantage of civilian-populated zones , both to hide and to attack. In the case of Nigeria and, by extension Africa, knowing the source of the problem would lesson the degree of wastes always envisioned and encountered. The economic instability in all of the western countries today is the effect of fighting terrorism-the effect of refusing to prevent from occurring and, instead, preferring to cure when the whole system has been effectively affected. Not everything has immediate cure if and when not initially prevented from occurring. Lastly, I'd like to advice the US and all concerned that, before the decision to send drones or to come in to fight terrorism (which has actually gained legal residence in Nigeria) is made, please help Nigerians to help you. Nigeria has truly shown the final sign of a failed state when it lost the capability to provide security to protect its president; how much vulnerable can an ordinary Nigerian be? But before the west comes in to increase our pains as a means of reducing yours, give us the help we need to reduce yours without having to increase ours; help us to dissolve this lethal mistake of an experiment called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. A stitch in time saves nine.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

How Shell funded militants -Report •It’s not true -Shell


By Olawale Rasheed, Nigerian Tribune

OIL giant, Shell, has been accused of fueling human rights abuses in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria by paying money and awarding contracts to armed militants, according to a new report published on Monday in London by a coalition of local and international non-governmental organizations, led by a London based NGO, the Platform.

Entitled “Counting the Cost,” the report implicated Shell in cases of serious violence in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta region from 2000 to 2010, detailing how Shell’s routine payments to armed militants exacerbated conflicts and led to the destruction of Rumuekpe town.

Shell was also accused of collaborating with the state in the execution in 1995 of writer, Ken Saro-Wiwa and other leaders of the Ogoni tribe.

Shell was said to have paid $15.5 million to the eight families in settlement, and key documents implicating it never saw the light of day during the trial.

Shell has, however, disputed the report, defending its human rights record and questioning the accuracy of the evidence, even while it has pledged to study the recommendations, according to its London office.

The coalition backing the report includes Center for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Friends of the Earth Netherlands/Milieudefensie, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Social Action, Spin-watch and Stakeholder Democracy Network.

According to Platform’s report, Shell continues to rely on Nigerian government forces, which have perpetrated systematic human rights abuses against local residents, including unlawful killings, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

Key findings of the report include testimonies of contracts that implicated Shell in regularly assisting armed militants with lucrative payments, such as an alleged transfer of over $159,000 to a group credibly linked to militia violence in late 2010.

Shell was also alleged to have, from 2006 onwards, paid thousands of dollars every month to armed militants in the town of Rumuekpe, in the full knowledge that the money was used to sustain three years of conflict.

Platform’s investigation alleged that government forces, hired by Shell, perpetrated atrocities against local civilians. (Shell disputes the report, but has pledged to study the recommendations).

Last year, Shell was said to have transferred more than $159,000 to a group credibly linked to militia violence.

One gang member, Chukwu Azikwe, told Platform that “we were given money and that is the money we were using to buy ammunition, to buy this bullet, and every other thing to eat and to sustain the war,” adding that his gang and its leader, S. K. Agala, had vandalized Shell pipelines.

“They will pay ransom. Some of them in the management will bring out money, dole out money into this place, in cash,” he said.

Platform alleged that in Rumuekpe, ”the main artery of Shell’s eastern operations in Rivers State,” Shell distributed “community development” funds and contracts via Friday Edu, a youth leader and Shell community liaison officer.

By 2005, Mr Edu’s monopoly over the resources of the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) was reported to have sparked a leadership tussle with Agala’s group, with the latter reportedly forced out of the community and a number of people killed.

The allegations, according to Platform, were largely substantiated by a Shell official, adding that a manager with Shell confirmed that in 2006, one of the most violent years, Shell awarded six types of contract in Rumuekpe.

Rumuekpe is just one of several case studies examined by the report, which alleged that in 2009 and 2010, security personnel guarding Shell facilities were responsible for extra-judicial killings and torture in Ogoniland.

Meanwhile, a Nigerian environmental activist, Sunny Ofehe, standing trial in The Netherlands for alleged plot to bomb pipelines in the Niger Delta, has cried out, saying “I am not a terrorist or suicide bomber.”

In an e-mail made available to the Nigerian Tribune, Ofehe, who is also the founder of Hope for Niger Delta Campaign, said his travail was traceable to the parliamentary testimonies he gave at the Dutch parliament about degradation of Niger Delta environment by Shell Oil and other oil majors.

“I have been campaigning against environmental devastation of our people’s environment for many years and testified at the Dutch Parliament against Shell in a parliamentary hearing, where Shell was summoned to defend its practice in the region,” he said.

He said less than a month after the hearing, “a team of about 30 policemen came to my house and arrested me on trumped-up charges and I was detained for 14 days before being released, but remained a suspect, adding that “when they could not establish a case against me, they came up with a new charge of conspiracy to commit terror act by blowing oil pipelines belonging to Shell in the Niger Delta.

“I became the first person to be charged under this law since it came into effect in 2004. I appeared in court for the first time on September 5 and we now have a new hearing date of December 5, 2011.”

No parole for drug traffickers in Malaysia -Malaysia’s High Commissioner to Nigeria


Nigerian Tribune Interview

When you see a man who is brilliantly excelling in any duty post, that person’s success may not be because of his intellectual capacity or capability to harness logistic alone. There must also be a judicious admixture of passion.

Passion was what the Tribune Tourism Magazine ‘s crew of Wale Ojo-Lanre and Wale Olapade found written all over The High Commissioner of Malaysia in Nigeria, His Excellency, Nik Mustafa Kamal Nik Ahmad, when he granted an interview at the moderately furnished Malaysian House, located on Rio Negros Close, off Yedseram Street, Maitama Abuja.

Nik Ahmad is a journalist’s delight any day. Cool, calm and collected. He logically and sequentially responded to our questions without any ill feelings, no matter how sensitive and provocative the question might be.

“Your country seems to be ruled by wicked people who enact wicked laws, one of which stipulates hanging as a sentence for drug traffickers.”

Instead of him raking on you, the amiable Ambassador would take you on an expository journey of the consequences of the activities of drug traffickers.

The soft-spoken diplomat has a robust understanding of Nigerian and its people “You see, Malaysia and Nigeria are Siamese twins, but the difference is that, one is in West Africa and the other in East Asia.”

And throughout the interview, we could see in him the passion and emotional attachment to the values, culture and norms of his country with equal respect and regard for Nigeria.

He patiently, with the candor and mannerism of a debonair diplomat, discussed how tourism became the number two revenue generator in Malaysia. The issue of Islamic banking, expected behavior of travelers to Malaysia, the drug issue and its attendant consequences, why Malaysia has over 118 airports and their vision of making Malaysia the 20th economy in the world.

By the time you finish reading this interview, you will agree that Nigeria needs to learn and do thorough peer review with Malaysia. Excerpts:

YOU have spent almost two and half years here in Nigeria. You must by now have an impression about your host country?

Yes. I do. Nigeria is a great and wonderful country blessed with innumerable resources and stocked with a mass of pristinely intelligent people. We have a lot also to learn from each other. The reality is that Nigeria and Malaysia share a lot in common. In fact, I used to say they are Siamese twins but unfortunately, however, one is surviving in East Asia and the other is coping in West Africa. Both have the same colonial experience. They both belong to many international associations .Their history of formation is the same. They are countries of mega-diverse cultural and multi-linguistic entities. So we have a lot to learn from each other.

But despite all these diversities, Malaysia seems to be more united than ever?

It is a function of governmental structure and determination to survive together. As I told you, Malaysia is a country of 27 million population, made up of 13 states and three federal territories. We have on ground a federal constitutional monarch. The monarch takes care of the ceremonial aspects of country while the Prime Minister takes care of the running of the government business. In Malaysia, despite the fact that we have different languages, different culture, different ethnic groups, different nationalities, different religions, we never allow these to becloud our sense of reasoning as one indivisible people with a common destiny, hope and vision, while our government functionaries harp on those factors that harmonize us rather than fanning embers of disunity. We realized that in unity we stand. We never allow mutual suspicion or ethnic jingoism to rule our national psyche and/or as determinant factor in appropriation of issues, assets or consideration. It is also in our sub-consciousness that many nations that were hitherto strong and enviable some decades ago are now broken down to smaller territories now.

We don’t want Malaysia to be so. Hence, we daily see those things that unite us, and what we have to gain being united. Malaysia will like to be like Switzerland, not like the former USSR, Ceylon, or like the defunct Yugoslavia or the latest, Sudan. You can see the terrible consequences of fragmentation. We don’t want that in Malaysia and I don’t think it is expedient for any country. Our mega diversity is our pot of unity. And we will defend it till eternity.

Malaysia is one of the first; if not the first, Islamic countries to be called a developed economy. What is the miracle?

It is true. Malaysia achieved this through proper planning, vision-driven strategy and prompt response to diversification. Our vision is to become one of the first 20 economies in the world. Hence, anything we set our minds on, we implement to the letter. This is why we launched our own vision 2020 in 1990. We have not derailed. Also, our ability to read the global economy in the early 80 which forced us to diversify our revenue generation factors, helped us a lot.

You know that in the pre and early post independence, Malaysia was world’s No 1 producer of rubber and tin, but we realized that to lead the world as intended, we must do some extra work. We then diversified into the manufacturing of electronics, and tourism.

As of today, manufacturing is the highest revenue earner for the country, followed by tourism, then petrol, palm oil and timber.

Then what happened to tin and rubber?

You know in the early 80s, there was this economic recession which affected the prices of tin, rubber and oil. As we set ourselves a goal of becoming no 20 of the world economy, we decided to diversify. So we embarked on massive development of the manufacturing sector with specialization in electronics and electrical. We also realized the enormous potentialities in the tourism sector. We quickly commenced the development of the infrastructure necessary for the enhancement of the tourism sector. Nigeria too is heavily blessed with a lot of tourism potentialities. Now, because of the insight and strict adherence to policy implementation, tourism is the second revenue generator for Malaysia, second to manufacturing, while oil takes a distant third followed by palm oil, timber and others. And I want to tell you that 20 million tourist visited Malaysia in 2010.

So what happened to tin and the mining gorges?

This was where creativity and seriousness came into play. In other countries where heavy mining activities were carried out, the gorges and lakes created environmental problems, but do you know what? We turned all of them into resort sites and tourist attractions. The large mining lakes that have continued to attract massive inflow of tourists all over the world are in Malaysia. That is through tourism. We turned sites that should been liabilities and environmental hazards into money making, wealth creation, employment generator sites.

Also, these former mining sites are now locations for Bollywood film makers. In fact, James Bond, Ian Flemings, shot one of his films in our country.

I am using this opportunity to call our Nollywood giants to visit Malaysia and use the resorts as locations to shoot films. It will be interesting also to let you know that some of the medical tourism sites which Malaysia is famous for are also planted within the mining sites!

So how did other resources fare?

We did not relegate any into the background. We also tuned them inward; to keep the industries working, That is why we have been able to reduce the poverty level and unemployment drastically. Let it be known that any country that exports its minerals and material resources in the crude and raw form may never grow and developed rapidly. In Malaysia, we processed all our mineral and materials resources. No timber leaves our shores without being processed. The tin is not only processed but used to produce our ancestral sword, which some Malays hold so dear to their hearts. Imagine what the scenario will be, if Nigeria processes all its exports commodities? This would drastically reduce the poverty level, inflation, unemployment, dearth of fund, and increase the GDP.

Let’s go back to tourism. What is the miracle?

We had a clear vision of what type of tourism we wanted. We realized that we are in the middle of great countries; Singapore, Jakarta, Manila, Vietnam, Brunei. These countries attract a deluge of tourists and travelers. These tourists used Malaysia as a transit post. We decided to tap into this, if only to just attract and lure five per cent of these tourists.

So, our government embarked on tourism promotion taking cognizance of the 3S of tourism, Sun, Sand and Sex. These we don’t desire. We now focus on the rain forests, some of which are over 130 million years old, national parks, where we have the largest numbers of ancient elephants, tigers and orangutan, which is only found in Malaysia. Also since we don’t have the pyramids like Egypt, nor the Taj Mahal like India, we have the people, the Portuguese, the Chinese, the Indians and others whose mode of living are unique and interesting. We packaged and promoted our Home Stay Program, whereby an international tourist, even city dwellers, would visit and stay with the rural dweller in their homes and do things the way they do.

What are the tourism incentives?

Tourism is about infrastructure. It is about promotion. It is about packaging. With our 27 million population, we have 118 Airports, six are international. We have 22 seaports and harbors and road network that covers 98,721 kilometers (61,342 mi) and includes 1,821 kilometers (1,132 mi) of expressways. (The longest highway of the country, the North-South Expressway, extends over 800 kilometers. We generate 24,00 megawatts whereas we need only 20.We also keep our road sane. Road repairs are carried out in the night, not during the day time. And during the peak hours, long vehicles and articulated trucks are barred from entering the city which is from 6- 10 am and 4-6pm.

Let’s talk about Nigerians in Malaysia. How many are in jail?

I do not know how many Nigerians are in jail in Malaysia. There are many Nigerians in Malaysia. Last year alone, we issued over 12,000 visas. Right now, over 7000 are studying in various institutions. Sometimes, there is a problem of identity assumption. For instance, last year, there was a report that a Nigerian committed suicide in a hostel. When I read the news, I quickly made an investigation into the case. I was surprised to find out that the deceased was not a Nigerian but a Guinean! However, I was also embarrassed last year when another report came out that a Nigerian had been kidnapped by another Nigerian, both of them students. When I looked into the issue, I found out that it was a fact! It was like a set up by one of them to farm more money from his rich parents. The majority of the few Nigerian bad eggs in Malaysia are from well to do families who resorted to misbehavior out of indulgence. For I don’t see the justification; why some parents will be paying their children over a thousand dollars every month in a country like Malaysia It is too much. There is no way such a student will not misbehave.

There is this issue of Islamic banking which is a little controversial. What is your view on this?

There should be nothing controversial in this issue of Islamic banking, which I will say is good for Nigeria. I understand the fact that people might be uninformed or have too little knowledge of its operation. What we should try to do is for everybody to have an open mind on the issue and then look at the inherent advantage and opportunities in the system before we say 1234. Islamic banking should not be confused with religion. It is a process of banking being conducted in line with the way of Allah. Allah, the most compassionate, the beneficent, the merciful, who abhors exploitation. If we are sincere with ourselves, the formal banking system is heavily exploitative, pro–rich, and breeds poverty when it comes to lending and granting credit facilities.

How ?

This is because, one, the banks charge interest; two, the interest rate is often too high. Three, there must be collateral, which you have to forfeit in case you did not make profit; four, profit or not, the bank will collect the agreed interest. But in Islamic banking, the bank will lend you money to execute a project or finance a business without any interest. The business must not be those against Islamic injunctions. The bank will not leave you to your fate as it will be a participant in the business. The profit will be shared at the end of the day. And if there is no profit you will not forfeit your property or anything personal effect or loss, which you did not plead in the first instant because there is no collateral needed in this form of credit facility. Allah is against exploitation not dividends.

But you said ‘the business must not be against Islamic injunction is that not infusing religion into it?

Well. It is simple. I am a Muslim and you want me to participate in a concern that it is against my faith, I will not. For instance, asking me to finance or participate is such enterprises that promote prostitution alcoholism, piggery and others. This is not a new concept.

Your country is having one of the crudest penalties for drug trafficking, that is death by hanging. Don’t you think it is high time for change?

To the ordinary fellow on the street who does not appreciate the consequences of drug trafficking. It will look so. But to us who know the import of these acts, we cannot treat the offender with kid gloves. A drug trafficker is a mass murderer. He does not care a hoot for the consequences of his actions. He only cares for his dirty money. Such a kind of a fellow does not deserves mercy. He does not deserve to live. He is worse than an animal. That is why we always urge applicants for Malaysia visa to read and assimilate our rules, laws and policy very well before they set their foot on Malaysia’s soil.

Don’t you think there should be parole for some people on compassionate ground?

If the offense is drug trafficking, the law is clear on that, there is no parole .It is death by hanging. This penalty is not discriminatory. It applies to anyone found guilty of drug trafficking. If a Malay is caught today, Insha Allah, he must face the consequence. So, it will be difficult for any government to plead clemency for its citizens if they are caught in the web. This is equity. This is fairness. This is justice. And as for us in Malaysia, we cannot tolerate drug trafficking, prostitution and terrorism because we want to remain truly Asia, the best of the East.