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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Discourse 311 Fraud, Moneybags and CPC

Discourse 311
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Fraud, Moneybags and CPC

Both Muhammadu Buhari and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) do shoulder the responsibility of stopping the ongoing fraud in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) regarding the use of fake cards in its ongoing membership registration exercise. In this task, the responsibility of the former is largely moral, while that of the latter is constitutional. Desperate politicians who thronged the party are setting new records of fraud in the history of our political culture in their bid to use Buhari to hoodwink the masses and capture power in states where the presidential candidate has large followership.

The call has become necessary because, surprisingly, the party leadership is backing the fraud, a practice that is an antithesis of its promise to use the party as a platform for progressive politics. If the fraud is not checked, it has every potential to wreck the prospects of the party and spoil the legendary image of Buhari himself especially given his position as the party's Chairman, Board of Trustees and, understandably, its natural presidential flagbearer.

The story is simple. Many gubernatorial aspirants in the party do not want to play the game by its rules. They want to singlehandedly determine every stage that would lead to their nomination. Aiding their ambition and encouraging it is the poor financial state of the party. Whoever has money will have the upper hand. Simple. He will have everything twisted in his favour regardless of any INEC procedure or the provisions of the party's constitution. And the source of his money is not an issue. What is essential is to have the money, pay the party leadership, contribute handsomely to funding the party and the way becomes his. The entire state executive of the party will be dissolved at his instance; an interim leadership that is favourably disposed to him will be sent to his state; it will solicit for his funding; and it will approve his wishes.

It is not therefore surprising that the complaints are the same across the affected states, whether in Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna or Bauchi. Such aspirants who have earned the goodwill of the National Chairman of the party are sponsoring candidates for the chairmanship of the party executive bodies at state, local government and ward levels. Through these aspiring chairmen, or directly on their own, such gubernatorial aspirants have printed hundreds of thousands of fake party membership cards and distributed them among the masses, waiting for the party congresses that are just about to hold. At the congresses, the fake membership cards, which outnumber the meagre genuine 50,000 maximum which the party sent to each state at its debut, will be used to elect the executives nominated by such gubernatorial aspirants. When inaugurated, such party executives, who according to the existing guidelines of the party will be the party delegates at all levels, will back the candidate who sponsored their success. A gubernatorial candidate of CPC has then emerged. Then Buhari will take the lead in backing such a candidate. The masses, working on their trust for Buhari, will vote for the candidate, as they did to Isa Yuguda in Bauchi in 2007. Your Excellency is then formed!

The person supporting this scheme is the National Chairman of the party, former senator Rufa'i Hanga, who within a short time has earned the bad reputation of being extremely unreliable. Supporting him are many close associates of Buhari himself who have their 'boys' working in concert with the Chairman. There is a fundamental difference between Buhari and these people. They focus on winning elections, hook or crook, in line with the ideologies of their former parties - the PDP, the ANPP and the UNCP (the 'PDP' of Abacha if we can recall). To them politics means power; and power yields money. As they play it, politics is livelihood. Buhari, on the other hand, as we all know, believes power is for service which must be hinged on the rule of law in government; then power itself in a democracy must be attained through internal democracy and free and fair elections. As he plays it, politics is a cause, not a livelihood.

These schemes will only produce governments that are inept and corrupt, like the one we have in Bauchi now. It is totally worthless though it came to power on the platform of opposition politics and with the backing of Buhari. The present membership of CPC is overwhelmingly from ANPP and PDP, and so is the majority of its aspirants for political offices. There is the need for the party to prove itself better than both PDP and ANPP by being transparent in its conduct and prudent in its affairs. So far, its national chairman has not proved that difference.

Tomorrow, Monday, 29 November 2010, the national leadership is sending a delegation of lawyers to defend the use of fake cards in its registration exercise before a federal high court here in Bauchi. An order was duly secured by aggrieved members of the party. It baffles me that a party that goes about dropping the name of Buhari can stoop so low to defend a clear case of fraud. Nothing can be more shameful. Bauchi is just one out of many cases. Its masses will pitifully be deceived again via the same route if care is not taken. The intention is to usher in a stooge governor who will allow outsiders to once more ransack their treasury and leave them without water, healthcare, education or security.

The solution fortunately is simple. The party should print millions of cards if it wishes and sell them to interested members through due process. However, it must validate previous ones that were genuinely sold by the former excos in various states while rejecting any fake card printed and distributed by any contestant under whatever circumstance. Then it can conduct its congress and primaries accordingly. If time is against it, let it use only the genuine cards distributed so far. It is assumed that any serious member must have acquired his long ago. There are about ten gubernatorial candidates in the state, for example. Let them all contest on this level playing ground. Simple.

Buhari needs to be firm on this matter in his characteristic measure. He carries on his shoulder the trust of the masses who will always subscribe to his judgement and presentation. He stands to account for that trust on the day of judgement. He must be under no illusions about that. His popularity is a gift that engenders a responsibility. "Then you will certainly be asked, that Day, about the favours (of God)." He can easily do this through his position as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, its highest decision making body. No fake membership cards. No worshipping of moneybags. Period.

INEC would also need to wade in, just in case Buhari's effort does not yield the desired result. It has the duty to ensure that all political parties live to a certain standard of transparency in the conduct of their affairs, including congresses and primaries. These are the embryonic stages through which governance is ushered, whether good or bad, and to which neither the body nor we, ordinary Nigerians, can afford to turn a blind eye.

In conclusion, for the avoidance of doubt, I would Iike to state that I am not a card carrying member of any party. On the affairs of Buhari, I have maintained an advisory interest while I keep to myself the constitutional freedom to express my opinion regarding any issue that partains governance in my fatherland, Nigeria. I am thus also interested in the affairs of other candidates. As it relates my state, however, I owe its citizens the responsibility to aid in blocking any further attempt to hoodwink them, regardless of the platform that may be exploited to achieve that ignoble end.

28 November, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Discourse 310 Nigeria Cannot Trust Jonathan

Discourse 310
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Nigeria Cannot Trust Jonathan
Last week, Saharareporters published on its website an article titled Secret Army Report Implicates NSA Azazi, Ibori, Alamieyeseigha, Henry and Sunny Okah In Sale Of Military Weapons To Niger Delta Militants.  Also, courtesy of Saharareporters, the full report Niegrian Army Intelligence Corp  (NAIC) can be obtained at The title of the NAIC report which was addressed to Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was Investigation Report into the Theft and Sale of Arms to Niger Delta Gunrunner by an Officer and Some Soldiers of the 1 Base Ordinance Depot Kaduna.
For me the full report is a turning point. After reading it thrice, I am left with no choice but to ask this embarrassing question: Can we, Nigerians, afford to trust Jonathan with the presidency in 2011 in the light of his association with the people involved in the arms theft, with those who covered them up and, of course, his commitment to the militant cause of Niger Delta which is increasingly becoming apparent in his decisions and utterances since he became President? The question is embarrassing because Jonathan is already our President. And there could not be a situation more embarrassing than citizens seeing their President as a security risk.
Briefly, the NAIC report contains details of how close to 7000 assorted weapons were stolen between 2000 and 2007 from the ordinance depots in Kaduna and Jaji. The theft was masterminded by one Maj SA Akubo, who sold them to Niger Delta militants through Sunday Okar, the junior brother of Henry Okar, the MEND leader. It started with the discovery of the Jaji incident in February 2007, which renewed another inquiry into the theft that has been taking place in Kaduna when Gen Azazi (rtd) was the GOC of 1 DIV. Investigations revealed that the two incidents were related. Maj Akubo, Sgt Mathias, LCpl Alexander, LCpl Moses and LCpl Nnamdi were the principal culprits in the incidents.  The Kaduna theft was investigated and suppressed by SSS when Lt. LKK Are was its DG in collaboration with Azazi and one Maj Gen Adekhegba, then Director of Military Intelligence (DMI). Azazi continued to cover up the case, first in his capacity as GOC 1DIV, then later as COAS. It took the discovery of the Jaji theft in 2007 and the tenure of another DG of SSS to mount a conclusive investigation. None of the recommendations of the NAIC report were taken seriously except the court-martialling and jailing of Maj Akubo and the soldiers involved. Sunday Okar was freed and presently aiding Jonathan in the case of the October 1 Abuja Bombings against his brother Henry.
Two former governors, James Ibori of Delta State and Dipriye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa, purchased the weapons for the militants when they were serving governors. They were never questioned or sanctioned and no further investigation into the culpability of other politicians was conducted as recommended by the NAIC report in order to nib in the bud the possibility of someone among such politicians becoming a President of Nigeria one day. NAIC  also recommended, among other things, that investigations be carried out to ascertain the conspiracy theory that the thefts were part of the Niger Delta plan to secede from Nigeria.
To my knowledge, the Nigerian Army has not come out yet to refute the authenticity of the report. As a citizen of a democratic society, I think I am free to express my opinion about it.
This is a report that Nigerians must not let go. With Jonathan on the wheels of the nation, it is my opinion that its contents has great significance to our national security. This is also the opinion of NAIC: “It has been suggested that this issue should be handled in a secretive manner in order to avoid bad publicity to the NA and the government due to the embarrassment of the extent of the theft. It is our opinion however that this is a wrong advice. In as much as this issue deserves to be carefully handled, we do not have the luxury to keep it under cover.” Leaking the report could be in reaction to the appointment of General Azazi as the National Security Adviser (NSA) with the intention of alerting the nation to its dangerous implication.
The most relevant part of the NAIC report  to this discussion is this: “One wonders what would happen if Nigeria ends up with a president who does not believe in the entity of the Nigerian nation, and has a record of involvement in cases like this.”
We now have a president - Jonathan - who was the deputy to one of the culprits, Alamieyeseigha. One cannot imagine that Jonathan as the deputy governor could not know anything about the arms deals which his boss was financing. Emancipation of the Niger Delta is a regional cause and there could be no way that a deputy governor then would not know how it was financed or how its weapons were procured. Impossible.
Not only that, Jonathan became the governor when the flow of weapons from Kaduna and Jaji into the hands of Niger Delta militants was still taking place. His name could not have been mentioned in the report because it was compiled in September 2007 when he was already the Vice President! It was not surprising that investigation into the “many more” politicians involved in the case was not attempted at all.
More importantly, however, is the association of Jonathan with the people implicated in the report after he became President. Jonathan cannot claim ignorance of the report. Yet, as Saharareporters noted, “Alamieyeseigha…is championing the President Goodluck Janathan’s presidential election bid… Sunny Okah has since been recruited by the Jonathan administration and is being used to press the case against his brothers.” The most revealing, however, is the appointment of General Azazi (rtd) by Jonathan as the new NSA despite his multiple roles in the case that are explicitly mentioned in the report. For this, we need to indulge ourselves in some details about his role.
First, “the period of the arms theft that Maj Akubo masterminded at 1BODK fall within the period of Gen Azazi’s tour of duty as GOC 1 DIV”, said the NAIC report. This alone is bad enough. He instituted two shoddy investigations into the theft to cover up his failures.
Secondly, he was the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) when the DSS (or SSS as we popularly know it) investigated the 1BODK theft later. He directed, the Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Major General Adekhegba to “facilitate the release of the officers to the DSS, find out why they were looking for them and also respond on his behalf.” Adekhegba who was ostensibly working under unwritten directives of Azazi “approved the release of Maj Akubo with an incomplete investigation of a case that has probable negative implications on military security without clearing from the COAS,” said the NAIC report.
Thirdly, according to the NAIC report, the DSS completed its investigations of the Kaduna thefts before the Jaji one was discovered without intimating the “NA or NAIC of their findings. Neither did the NA nor NAIC request for any feedback.”  Also, “there is nothing on record to indicate that the DSS obliged or even responded to the requests” of NAIC to have “military intelligence officers be part of the investigations”. DSS kept mute on its findings. NAIC report posed some questions here: “Is there likelihood that this case was shabbily handled in order that General Azazi command failures may remain undiscovered? Did Azazi use course mate influence on the then DG of DSS Lt. Col. LKK Are (rtd) to ensure the case remain suppressed? Otherwise, why did it take until now, when Are is no more in office for the DSS to reopen the case and be willing to cooperate fully with the NA?”
Fourthly, still on Gen Azazi, the army intelligence report had this to say: “Gen Azazi obviously has more questions to answer regarding his roles in this case considering the key appointment he held during the period of the theft. Gen Azazi has already nominated Maj Gen RO Adekhegba for national merit award, probably as a reward for his role in ensuring that his complicity in this issue remains undiscovered.” It did not therefore come as a surprise that the NAIC report noted that “after becoming the CDS, it is reported that Gen Azazi’s nominee for the position of CDI is Maj Gen Adekhegba.”
What late President Yar’adua did as a result of this report was to fire Azazi in 2008 when he was the Chief of Defence Staff, a source told Saharareporters. I remember that was the time when there were widespread reports that Niger Delta militants have infiltrated the top hierarchy of the Nigerian military and the Federal Government was just threatening to intensify its assault on them.
The recent appointment of Azazi as the NSA by Jonathan justifiably raises doubts regarding the latter's commitment to the security of this country. Naturally, the appointment could only be possible if Jonathan was impressed with his record. And to be so impressed with what we have listed above requires a mind that shares the same cause with Azazi, not only in the past but also in the future. Here lies our concern as a nation. How could a President, who is promising Nigerians a new future if elected in 2011 appoint as head of the entire national security apparatus a person who was an accomplice in serious security breaches when he was a GOC, COAS and CDF? How can he return a person fired as CDF and forcefully retired from the army for reasons well known to the President? For a possible answer to these questions, the NAIC report gives us some important clues.
The report suggested a “conspiracy theory” which it recommended to be investigated. The report believes that "there is a link between the 1989 aborted Orkar coup; the 2001 Ikeja Cantonment arms depot explosions; the arms theft at 1BODK and the militancy in the Niger Delta. It is believed that there is an orchestrated plan by the Niger Deltans to secede from Nigeria which is being played out over the years with every opportunity they have. It is also believed that they took maximum advantage of the unique opportunity they had with successive appointments of Gens Ogomudia, Asemota and Azazi as GOCs I DIV.”
This secession theory is not the speculation of a columnist or Saharareporters. It is a theory coming from Nigerian Army Intelligence Corps and it must be given due recognition. If indeed they intend to secede as entailed by their threats, militancy and weapons accumulation, then they can do so easily in the near future, for their plan is rolling so nicely without any obstacle. They now have the Federal Government headed by a President of their own. He is doing everything to cover them up and strengthen them. He has now appointed another of their own, who collaborated with them so much before in stealing arms from Nigerian military depots, to head the institution that oversees the Army, Navy, Air Force, SSS, Police, etc. He now advises the President on anything regarding these bodies. And, of course, by his antecedents, he cannot advise him against the interest of his own people. He has also appointed another Niger Deltan, Ita Ekpeyong, as DG of SSS. And Nigerians are simply watching!
Equally alarming is the plan to recruit the militants as national coast guards.  Few days ago, on 2 November, 2010, Daily Trust reported that the Vice President inaugurated a committee on the integration of the militants as guards in an inter-ministerial/interagency meeting on human capital development master plan for amnesty programme. “Incessant insecurity at our coasts”, the VP noted, “is as a result of inadequate coast guards who may give information and perfectly protect the coasts… Sustainable security in the Niger Delta can only be achieved if there is enough surveillance by the security agencies.” Are the criminals in the Niger Delta the most qualified to secure our coasts? Why won't the government also recruit Odua Peoples Congress in Lagos and Boko Haram in Borno to achieve "sustainable security" on our borders in the southwest and northeast respectively? In fact, aren't there enough law abiding, able-bodied and patriotic youths in the Niger Delta to employ as coast guards? Why resort to vandals, thieves, kidnappers, insurgents and terrorists?
So these militants will be officially recruited, trained and armed by the very government they have been fighting against for over fifteen years. And the President is doing so very fast such that the militants would be employed, trained and armed before he leaves office next April, just in case he fails in the next elections. Thus, the committee is just given ten days to submit its report on the modalities of the integration, implying that the matter is already fait accompli.
Imagine how much security damage Jonathan can inflict on this country if this trend continues until 2015. Niger Delta would have completed all arrangements for a secession: increased oil revenues that could be used to buy weapons; complete undermining of the military through posting agent officers as commanders especially along the coastal area and possible relocation of military hardware to the region; and well trained guards to oversee the illegal activities required to achieve this goal with the aid of Nigerian state machinery which they did not enjoy hitherto. Then, the conspiracy theory of the army intelligence corps would not need to be investigated into and ascertained. It would be a reality, just as would become of the prophesy of the disintegration of the nation by 2015 that is widespread in diplomatic circles.
We have finally stumbled on why Jonathan is desperate to continue beyond 2011. He has not convinced us on any manifesto. He has not achieved anything so far to impress us. His only argument is he is anti-zoning. To achieve his ambition, he has resorted to using primordial sentiments of religion, regionalism and whatever the PDP crooking machine has perfected. And the nation is buying it, hook, line and sinker. It is really a pity.
Nigerians cannot trust Jonathan. They can only do so at their own peril. I am not keen about the origins of a good President whom all of us can trust. But I am baffled at how the entire southern part of the country has shied away from fielding other aspirants in addition of Jonathan or in his stead. The South is undoubtedly blessed with hundreds of such competent people. Everything is left on the shoulders of the traditionally maligned North, a situation which Jonathan, his co-militants and their sponsors are cashing on to orchestrate a victory in 2011.
That is how calamity creeps into a nation, as it did in Germany. It is aided most by the conspiratorial silence of the majority who sees it as a distant speculation. That majority preoccupies itself with daily stereotyping of some groups. In Germany it was the Jews. It fails to listen to the voices of wisdom; in fact, it penalizes them. Until it is too late, at the cost of unimaginable number of lives and the suffering of millions, the nation fails to heed to the warnings coming from such discernible minds. We once had that fateful experience too. The Nigerian civil war: A million killed; three million deliberately starved; millions others injured; many more rendered homeless; and an entire region had to start life again from the scratch. The nation was watching sheepishly as the events were unfolding, starting with the belief in the propaganda that led to the January 1965 coup and subsequent events. Is not that enough a deterrent for Nigerians to stop the Niger Delta secession plan with the benefit of hindsight? How can we afford to be so blind?
For me, the beginning of wisdom is to start questioning every step of Jonathan. For example, why are the suspects of the Abuja Bombing tried secretly despite protests from the civil society? What are Jonathan and Azazi afraid of? Are they afraid that the suspects might tell the public all the dirty secrets of their past and present sponsors? There are also complaints from all regions about the lopsidedness of recent postings in the military. More such postings are coming within the next two weeks. Such things must be challenged nationwide, including the appointment of Azazi and many of his boys. Then the recruitment of terrorists as coast guards must be resisted. Their previous actions disqualify them ab initio from becoming employed in the defence establishment. Besides, MEND is still active. Even this morning, another bomb blast was reported.
Next is that instead of contemplating a post-2011 Jonathan, I would rather implore competent Nigerians from every corner of the nation and in any party they may be to please come forward and contest for the Presidency. Let us dump Jonathan because so far he has proved that there is enough in him to scare us. In my estimation, he has become a security risk.
The National Assembly and the National Council of State must come on board. Their members must open their eyes to this plan. They must stop being rubberstamps of the Presidency on issues regarding the Niger Delta. We wre not helping our brothers in that region by according them the luxury of preferential treatment. A spoilt child always courts disaster for its family.
However, my loudest call goes to the intellectuals and elders of Niger Delta. Politicians on many occasions are no better than thugs in their thought and could be more brutal in their conscience. For some time now politicians in the region have been under the mercy of its thugs. The nation has toed their line too by adopting appeasement as a solution to their criminal actions. But there does not seem to be an end to their demand until they engulf us in another tragedy. We need to hear voices of reason from that region while we do the little we can which is often received with hesitation. There could be consequences for going against the tide but their sour taste would pale before the avoidable sufferings of a nation.
Finally, as I depart for Hajj, I am closing this article with the now familiar warning in the NAIC report: “One wonders what would happen if Nigeria ends up with a president who does not believe in the entity of the Nigerian nation, and has a record of involvement in cases like this." If...if... That was a possibility. Now it is a warning.
Culled from
Abuja, 4 November 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Disclaimer on GE Jonathan's Hero

I am not "Aliyu Tilde", Goodluck Jonathan's Facebook Hero
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

A friend of mine in Lagos, Yakubu Garba Tilde, sent me this text message on Sunday evening, 7 November, 2010:"Assalamu alaikum. Just read the article "Nigerian Youth Becomes Facebook Hero" in today's Sunday Trust. Your straight forwardness and sincerity on content and source is commended. Yakubu Tilde."

Naturally, I became curious, knowing that I have not posted anything on Facebook for the past one month and the discourse I just wrote, Discourse 310 which is not posted yet, is one of the greatest indictments ever written on a sitting Nigerian President. I bought a copy of the Sunday Trust and read the story on page 49.

The story was culled from Sierra Express. It is about a Nigerian youth, Aliyu Tilde, who lifted a material from Reno Emokri 's Breaking the Generational Curse and pasted it on the wall of President Goodluck. Goodluck picked that quotation and used it in his Facebook to describe himself: "I like what a youth, Aliyu Tilde, said on my wall and with his permission I have reproduced his words. Said he: "There are only two types of people In Nigeria - good and bad - and not - northerners and southerners - we are all one in the final analysis." The story said "nine hours after his response the topic became one of the most discussed subject on the website. It gennerated 2,517 comments and 3,076 likes as at 5th November at 12.15am. David Ekweoba believed to be a Nigerian even goes further in his post by suggesting that 'I recommend Aliyu Tilde to be made EFCC chairman." In a chat with Sierra Express on facebook, Tilde confessed to lifting the quote and Goodluck too "later acknowledged the original author of the piece."

It became clear to me that there is mix up or someone is using my name to promote the campaign of Goodluck Jonathan, reaping heavy sums while I continue to yawn under the shade of a tree. So later in the night when the data signals of MTN returned I opened my facebook, which I have not done for a while, to check whether there was anything to that effect. Nothing. See me see trouble. I quickly wrote this short disclaimer there, saying, "I just read in Daily Trust that a Nigerian youth called Aliyu Tilde has become a facebook hero when he wrote on GE Jonathan's wall that "there are only two Nigerians, good and bad..." Please note that I am not that hero. One, I am not a youth. I'm 50. Two, Goodluck, with his recent developments, is not my favourite. Three, I haven't posted anything on facebook for a month or so now. I congratulate that 'Aliyu Tilde'."

As I slept the night "in sublime unconcern for the words which wander abroad", to borrow from the bakandamiya of al-Mutanabbi, my friends started commenting on my thread. They all expressed a sigh of relief. I woke up to read their comments. I was really surprised at how Nigerians are now using the facebook so instantly. The need to write this disclaimer occurred to me immediately such that the information will not just reach my facebook friends but also readers of my weekly discourses on various sites on the Internet. The following clarification is therefore important.

Unless someone comes up with all the necessary credentials (photograph, certificates, address, history, etc) to prove that he is Aliyu Tilde the hero, I strongly put forward the accusation that the Jonathan campaign group or some sympathizers of the President have resorted to impersonation in order to boost his popularity. Here is my evidence.

I was once alerted by one of my readers in the UK, Bello Salihu, that a Facebook page was opened in my name using the exclusive email address ( I created when the usual one ( became always stacked with spam. The difference between the two is just a dot after my first name, aliyu. I used the new one to post my discourses to readers for about three times or so before I discovered a way of blocking the spams and reverted to using the usual one. It was from there that the email address was cloned by someone to open a facbebook page, in addition to the one I opened using my normal email addresss earlier but which I have not used much.

The problem arose from the fact that Facebook, technically, does not pay attention to ownership of names. So anybody can open a facebook in the name of another person, as fans commonly do for their celebrities, unlike email domains which will block you by saying that the name is not available, meaning someone is using it already. Facebook would however allow you to use any password at subscription, not necessarily the password of the original email address. I know another Aliyu Tilde Facebook that was opened by a true fan on mine and he duly informed me, making three facebooks now bearing that name: the original one by me, another by my fan, and the third, possibly, by a pro-Jonathan person. Bello alerted me then on the fake page because it contained hate comments about IBB and claimed I was living "in Washington" and "interested in women" (I wonder which normal man is not!) He said he knows it was not me; that is why he is advising me to do something about it. I did.

I went to the fake Facebook page bearing Aliyu Tilde and, behold, there was a large picture of IBB on which was written "Evil Genius". I tried to delete the picture, but I could not because I did not know how to use facebook very well. Ah ah.(As my readers know, I have for long held differences with IBB regarding governance but I do not hate him personally) I asked my facebook friends for advice. They gave me some. I was able to change the wordings of the mission statement that appeared below the picture. Later, I realized that I could change the password of the facebook, being the owner of the email. I changed it and got an exclussive access to the account of the page. The reader may go to www.facebook/ and ascertain this history from the content of the book since it's inception.

Unfortunately for me many people have subscribed to the fake facebook which I now own properly. So even as I closed it temporarily, I reopened it knowing that it is now safe and I can continue to add more friends rather than reverting to the original one I opened long before which I never used actually. That is why the comment which Jonathan quoted is not there on it. The imposter might have opened another Aliyu Tilde facebook after realizing that he could no longer use the first one he created. My cyber guru friends should please help me sort this mess out. Or was it from that young fan of mine, or the bad guy has cloned my email again? I can't tell because I could not access the page from where Jonathan got his quotation.

I have been advised to paste my picture on the facebook or add Dr. before my name or PhD after it. I don't like parading titles unnecessarily. I hate pictures too. I thought writing my name in full name - Aliyu U. Tilde - as I started doing in my articles since Bello alerted me on the fake Facebook was enough. Now, with this development, I have to paste my picture, boroboro, plainly.

This matter raises a lot of questions about safety on the cyberspace. Three weeks ago when I wrote Poor Northerners! I mentioned how someone in 2005 invented an email address in my name and that of Mohammed Haruna by altering our existing email addresses and used it to post hate mails and articles regarding southerners on the Internet. Clearly he was an Obasanjo man. Dat one don pass. Now anoda wahala don come from a Jonathan man. We need to tighten our security on the Internet, it seems.

I sincerely doubt that there could be another Aliyu Tilde. Well, I may be wrong, but I doubt very much. All the Tildes that I know so far in public domain are from my village. I alone bear the first name Aliyu. There are two other Aliyu Tildes, both my former teachers in the primary school: one bearing Aliyu Saad Tilde, my uncle and headmaster, now a retiree; and the other, Aliyu Tukur Tilde, our present village head and my in law. There could be some among the Fulani in Guinea from where our ancestors came and where there are villages bearing Tilde. But there the name is written 'aliou', being a French speaking country. The one that wrote that 'heroic' quotation, however, was Nigerian, not French.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jonathan campaign has clarifications to make. I welcome the idea of being the EFCC boss after the tenure of my sister Farida. Ha. Mahaukaci ya hau kura. The first people I would send straight to jail would be the First lady and her husband, for as al-Mutanabbi once said, "whoever makes a lion a falcon for his hunting, that lion will hunt him among the things he hunts."

Let the fake Aliyu Tilde know that all day is for the thief, one day for the owner. If I court any presidential wrath and I am declared wanted by the Nigerian authorities, which I believe would come soon, the SSS may not know which Aliyu Tilde to catch. They may grap him. That day he will swear and confess to his impersonation. I will then swear that I am not the Aliyu Tilde they are looking for: Na him. Mumu. E no sabi campaign better sef. E de chop money while e leave me suffer for village. Carry am go, jare!

8 November 2010
blog: http://fridaydiscourse.blogspot.comk

Monday, November 1, 2010

Discourse 309 Northerners (3)

Discourse 309
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Poor Northerners! (3)

(Continued from last week)

There are also those who have never moderated on the partisan propaganda of the First Republic. Mostly in the Southwest, they perceive their region as still in opposition. A lot of lies were written during that period against northerners, the Balewa regime and whoever was in speaking terms with it even among citizens of the Southwest. This much has been admitted in the contributions to the ongoing debate between supporters of late Samuel Akintola and those of late Obafemi Awolowo on the internet. This propaganda polluted the minds of many Southerners with the hatred that eventually brought about the coup that ousted that Republic. Unfortunately, despite the demise of the Republic these old political viruses have replicated their DNA in the genomes of many youths and the tradition continues unabated. They continue to inject that venom into the minds of their youths, telling them about the peculiarities of their ‘race’ and the evil of their principal enemy, the North. These youths would spend their adult life as lecturers, journalists, politicians and businessmen unable to see themselves as Nigerians.

That was the point made by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi when he was invited to speak at a book launch by one of them a year ago. I doubt if his message that Nigerians of his age should be allowed to be Nigerians rather than northerners or southerners was well received by the audience at that event. Every act and every candidate must be for us or against us. I have been following the debate over the approval of Buhari by Pastor Tunde Bakare among members of the Save Nigeria Group. The most adamant opponent of Bakare’s endorsement in the exchange was Dayo Ogunlana. He wrote Egbon Sowumumi saying, “Don’t forget that Buhari has his own k-leg too. He is too tribalistic. I doubt if he has programs that will be of benefit to us in the southwest. He has no soft spot for us in the S/W.” There you are. The urge to return the Yoruba ‘race’ back to the old politics of ethnicity, away from mainstream politics, is strong among many. They hide behind the corruption of Obasanjo and the PDP and interpret the recent successes of AC as an signal that the Southwest is finally regaining its regional consciousness.

Then there is the partition politics of the so-called Sovereign National Conference (SNC). I will discuss its merits and demerits in a later article. Here, I will confine myself to saying that proponents of the conference have always viewed the North as an impediment to the success of their agenda. That assumption may be wrong. Rather than argue with them, I suggest that they come over and conduct an opinion poll among northerners to find out the level of support they may have here. The poll must give three options: a strong centre, as it is now; a lose federation with a weak centre; and partitioning of the country into smaller independent states. I am ready to support whatever would be the outcome of the poll and work hard towards its achievement. I will even switch to supporting a partition once the result of such a poll prefers that. The result of the poll would be a strong argument that will convince many other unionists. Without it, however, I remain committed to one Nigeria.

I have mentioned the aggravated case of the northern Muslim when religion is conscripted to serve political ends in the country. Then, many of his Christian counterparts, will join in the smear and missile hauling against him. The fact is that under such circumstance, the northern Christian is only used as a tool to support the various agenda we described above. The identity of the so-called Middle Belt was reinvented by Obasanjo to divide the North and serve his interest during his first term. He left office without doing anything better for the Middle Belt than the rest of the North. He cancelled the contract for dredging River Niger and Benue immediately he assumed power in 1999. Even now under Jonathan the dredging has stopped, as indicated by the recent appeal for it's resumption by a Lokoja traditional titleholder to the Senate President. In the end, when the chips are down, such Middlebelters suffer from the same injustice, as do the northern Muslims. When it comes to the Niger Delta, TY Danjuma is bombarded as a northerner for declaring profits worth billions of dollars from ‘his’ oil blocks. But when it comes to the power, he is a Christian who would be instigated to support the “Christian” south, like in the ongoing opportunistic power struggle to win the Presidency in 2011 for Goodluck Jonathan.

The Jonathan campaign is unfortunately taking that turn. Emphasizing his minority identity is unwarranted if his intention were to capture the support of every part of the country. He did not need to be so dishonest to dispute the existence of zoning since it is there in Section 7 of the PDP constitution and currently in practice. Otherwise, why aren’t there PDP aspirants from the Southwest, for example? Its obviously because Obasanjo has just spent eight years. Jonathan has not proved to be clever at all. He could not even outsmart his opponents by conceding that he will return the PDP ticket to the North, anywhere in the North, in 2015. No. He is bulldozing his way with the might of incumbency. His supporters among southern politicians know this. That is why in spite of thousands of southerners who are more competent than Jonathan, they would rather cling to him. Who can claim that the Yoruba ‘race’ and the Igbo ‘nation’ are bereft of a better person than Jonathan? Incumbency is the answer. As the President, he has the resources of state at his disposal. He can dish out money. He will rig elections. And he will allow his people to loot the treasury, a motive encapsulated in the ambiguous language of ‘our interest’. If free and fair elections were entrenched in our political culture, it would be difficult for any incumbent to win such unconditional support.

Ironically, belief in incumbency, I must hasten to point out, is not limited to supporters of Jonathan in the South. Northerners in the PDP who are opposed to Jonathan are staunch believers in incumbency too. Adamu Ciroma it was who told Nigerians opposed to the re-election of Obasanjo in 2003 that PDP couldn’t be defeated by virtue of its incumbency. “In 1999, we were not defeated before we came to power, how can we be defeated when we are in power?” he reminded his opponents.

The crisis in PDP is over incumbency. It did not have to be shared by every northerner. Unfortunately, the common northerner has to again be brought in the line of fire before the equation could square up. Point a finger at him and many in the South would be eager to rally around you, by instinct, training or design. And that is when people like me take offence. Poor Northerners. Come rain, come shine, as a group, they must be fired at.

From the foregoing, I think I have made my point clear that the allegations labelled against northerners are really unfounded; if northerners have committed a sin, others have not proved to be saints. In these articles, the ordinary Northerner will find sufficient explanation on the roots of his disparagement. If he is hit by any missile again, as he would surely be, he can now say where it is coming from and why. I hope the victim of these wild accusations and unjust generalizations will continue to ignore them, as he has constantly done. He must not forget that much of these baseless allegations are coming from people who have never visited the North or lived among its people, even though their emails do carry “Sent From My Blackberry MTN” signature.

For those who deliberately do so to vent their anger on a section of the Nigerian population, they must realize that there is a growing number of Nigerians among their kinsmen who are desirous of the unity and progress of this country. To the latter I wish every well-meaning Nigerian would extend his hand of love and support. One day, together we shall leave behind the old Nigeria of religious bigotry and ethnic chauvinism to embrace the new one of love, unity and progress. Then, there will be no North, East or West, but a Nigeria ready to embrace the tenets of civilization, of respect to humanity and transparency in governance. This is the venture in which we must partake with perseverance despite the reluctance of retrogressive forces.

I must confess that this series was difficult to write because of the conscious effort to avoid hurting the feelings of many of my readers. Its length, however, was informed by the desire to forsake brevity for understanding. If you are among progressive Nigerians, you would not find much of its contents hurtful. However, if you are among those who propagate hate, please take delight, as usual, in writing a blistering rejoinder to serve your agenda. I will, however, welcome with equanimity both the praise of the companion and the scold of the rival. The former I receive with caution, the latter with pity.


20 October 2010



Discourse 308 Northerners (2)

Discourse 308
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde

Poor Northerners! (2)

(Continued from last week)

The first part of this discourse that was published last week has generated a lot of interest among readers. One person, Folake Olarenwaju, at least was able to write a rejoinder in Saharareporters accusing me of double standards though it was based almost entirely on a mixed up in identity. Her charge: how can I, who was the CSO of Yar’adua, who connived with Turai to hold this country at ransom, turnaround now and accuse southerners of hating northerners? Just imagine! Her rejoinder was dead on arrival because I am not the Tilde who was the CSO of Yar’adua. I wonder why the editor of Saharareporters did not call her attention to this scandalous assertion before publishing her rejoinder. Other respondents who objected to the article through my email did not dispute its arguments but advised that we, as Nigerians, should focus on what will bring us together. I agree. I am only trying to dispel the lazy notion that the problems of Nigeria are northern and appealing, using facts, for a democratic sharing of blame, if there is the need to apportion any.

We will now briefly discuss the issues of governance and democracy before we dwell on the reasons behind the unwarranted vilification. Northerners are often reminded that their leaders have left them wallowing in poverty while the leaders enjoy their loot. On the surface, the accusation may carry some truth. The North is indeed wallowing in poverty. However, there are many reasons for more poverty in the North, which I have dwelt on in many previous writings in addition to the one I just recently discovered: the inability of having many thieves who can steal colossal sums at the national level. That is why I appeal to Jonathan, the new saviour of the North, to allow it the means to acquire the skill and the opportunity to steal in the next 100 years as much as would be needed to put the region at par with the rest of the country. An affirmative clause guarding this objective would be needed in the constitution.

On a serious note, the poverty argument is often quoted to disrepute northern politicians when they are contesting against a southerner. History however has proved that southern leaders have not proved to be kinder to the North. Under Obasanjo, for example, poverty in the North continued to increase. Throughout his tenure, allocation to agriculture was meagre compared to other major sectors. The North also saw a sharp fall in electricity supply. Kano was especially treated as a target until virtually all its factories closed down when at the same time his home state witnessed a surge in electricity supply and many northern factories belonging to Lebanese relocated there. In fact, how the condition of the North worsened under Obasanjo calls for a doctoral thesis. Jonathan, his scion, can hardly do better from the attitudes he is exhibiting so far.

And how could the ordinary Northerner be rich when after being bombarded by advertisement from banks and the stock market he sold his yams, potatoes, donkeys, cattle and goats and invested the money in the banks (all of which are southern) only to see it stolen away by the MDs who launder it in acquisition of more shares and houses overseas? So he would be better off with livestock and agricultural produce. However, even there Nigeria has set a limit to how much he can earn by preventing him from selling the produce to neighbouring countries where it would fetch him more money. Thus, farmers, who constitute the largest population of the North, are forced to subsidize life for people like me who do not farm.

Also, I have come across many commentators, largely of the Christian Right, who think that chopping the Muslim North off Nigeria would make the country better. A coup was even attempted on this pretext two decades ago. (One of my online publishers of southeastern origin use on its site a new logo of the North that excludes Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Benue, Nasarwa, Kogi, Niger and Kwara states. I laughed.) This argument emanates more from bigotry and fascism than from facts. Agreed that Borno, Kano and Sokoto may not be democratic. We saw how “Malam” Shekarau’s government rigged local government elections in Kano, for example. But elections are just as much rigged in Christian states like Rivers and Imo. Linking the argument to the Muslim World and Islam is equally and totally false. I agree that countries in the Muslim world are not democratic and they represent perhaps some of the worst living specimens of tyranny and oppression. However, that is neither the tenet of Islam nor the choice of its Muslim citizens. It is the practice of their puppet leaders in strong collaboration with the western powers that support them with aid, intelligence, equipments of torture, guns, AWACS, etc. Take Saudi Arabia for example. That kingdom is a monarchy which, in the first place, could not have come into existence without the support of the British or survived this long without deploying American might. In fact this is the root cause of the terrorism that America so much complains about these days. The same thing applies to Egypt and other tyrannical regimes in the Muslim world. Let America and the Western world support the democratization of the Muslim world by withdrawing its support for those oppressive regimes and you will see them collapse in less than five years. But the West cannot risk that because of its entrenched strategic and economic interests.

In the same vein, the people who sabotage the will of Nigerians and impede its progress by rigging elections and entrenching corruption come from various religions, regions and ethnic groups. In fact, they are more united in their undertakings than we are in our camp of those who want a free, democratic and progressive Nigeria. If we had had a situation whereby Christian states like Rivers or Imo were more committed to democratic ideals – expressed in free and fair elections, good governance, rule of law, human rights, etc – than Muslim states of Kano and Sokoto, then the adherents of one religion would have had sufficient ground to point fingers at others. But here we are, drown in the same dirty pool of corruption and poverty and persecuted by the same corrupt minority, which is ever eager to see us divided.

On the plane of governance, southern governors have proved to at least be at par, with their northern counterparts. No one is left behind. There is an equal amount of dissatisfaction among their citizens as it is amongst us here in the North. In fact, some of the southern states have reached levels of insecurity that is alarming. The inhabitants of Aba and Nnewi can tell us better. Listen to Dominic Ogbonna, a discussant in, on the state of insecurity in the commercial town of Aba as at 9 October 2010: “Aba has completely unravelled. Businesses, including banks, are totally closed. ¾ of the residents have left town and many of them will never come back. Many of those remaining spend the day inside their house, or sleep in the bush at night. Rape and impunity is a daily occurrence.” It is a pity. I recall with nostalgia how the Ariaria market was my favourite shopping area in the early eighties.

In the North, the times when such level of insecurity is reached are during the debut of religious and communal clashes before calm is restored in two or three days normally. The Boko Haram is a different matter. They are zeroing their attacks on only two governors, law enforcement agents and government informants among the civilian population who jointly persecuted them last year. Why crime could reach such a threshold in some southern states is largely because of money, the root of all evils. The more you steal, the less comfortable you become due to the intolerable imbalance you create among citizens. The North is quieter because there is little money to display compared to the South, not because Northerners are pious. It is the issue of access. Let Jonathan answer my call and appoint Dr. Aliyu Tilde as the GMD of NNPC and about 1000 more Northerners into similar positions in bsiness and government. We would not hesitate, under his protection, to cart away with everything, like how Saminu Turaki did to Jigwa State, and run down the Nigerian economy. It is not only Mama Ibru. It is Nigerian. After all, the consequence would only be a six months prison term and an inability to visit my village since it will be besieged by kidnappers. I would stay put in Abuja until MEND arrives.

We can now in the final part of this discourse give specific answers to the question posed at its beginning: Why are northerners made the target of hate and hate speech by some Nigerians? I would like to adduce a number of reasons: leadership tenure, opposition politics, civil war, partition politics, and, now, zoning.

Northerners must admit that while their number has legitimately given them some advantage in politics for quite sometime, it has also made them an object of criticism. Nobody in any poverty-ridden society is a target of hate as much as the leader. In a normal civilized society, such criticisms would be limited to the leaders. However, Nigeria is not a normal, civilized society. That is why the sin of one man, the leader, is readily lumped on his entire region. The rules of logic cannot be applied to a primitive environment like ours. This is our quarrel with the broadcasters of hate speech. The crimes and shortcomings of any leader should be restricted to him and not to his people. It is a simple rule in logic, but for obvious reasons, some people are finding it difficult to apply.

It is this primitivism or our reluctance to embrace the dictates of civilization that engenders other factors. We continue to cling to the primordial instincts of tribe, religion and survival even when they are clearly detrimental to our survival as a nation. Here, it is apt to point at the influence of the Civil War. The memory and ‘ideals’ of that war still linger in the minds of many such hate mongers in a negative way. They still see the North as an enemy simply because they perceive it to be the greatest culprit in blocking their dream of Biafra. Radio Biafra is still broadcasting. And some are eager for the world to recognize them as Biafrans, like my friend, a medical doctor, who often replies me with mails carrying the following signature at the bottom: “Nwa Biafra, A Biafran Citizen”. He is reminding people like me, who would like a strong multiethnic modern Nigeria, that Biafra is still alive in the hearts and dreams of some of its former citizens. I told Dr. Nkwocha that I will not discuss anything further him on Nigeria until he becomes a Nigerian!

Others are less audacious. They use anonymous names and hide under the freedom and protection that cyberspace provides to launch their missiles of hate speech against others. For them, the war is not over. If it cannot be waged with the gun anymore, the propaganda must continue using the same language against the same perceived enemy. Nigerians, not northerners alone, must beware of these elements. There is no harm in anyone wanting to secede from Nigeria. It is not a divine creation. However, one does not need to wear a mask and think that he is doing any justice to his cause by unjustifiably vilifying other ordinary Nigerians.

(To be concluded for readers of print versions. For those online, the concluding part is hereby appended)

20 October 2010

Discourse 307 Northerners (1)

Discourse 307
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
Poor Northerners! (1)
“Why do they hate us so much?” was the text I received from someone who read the comments from some Nigerians of southern origin at the bottom of my article The Advancing Violence in Saharareporters last week. In the question, ‘they” connotes such southerners that are fond of making hate comments whenever a view is contrary to theirs is expressed, while “us” means northerners. That was not the first time I received such an inquiry. Many northerners, if you will permit me use the term just for the purpose of this discussion, continue to wonder why they have been targets of hate speech by some people in the press, especially on the Internet where people can hide behind fake names and publish anything unfiltered.
Since the advent of Jonathan’s presidency, we have returned to the olden days where northerners are collectively lampooned and criticized for many things. The words “North” and “northerners” are used at different times, by different authors and for different motives to mean geographical North, the so-called core North or the Muslim North. The victims also vary: some northerners like Christians and so called minorities are occasionally spared. Others – like the Hausa and Fulani Muslims – receive a full dose of the venom any time the North is mentioned. They bear the brunt whenever something goes wrong in the country. The last group also receives some ‘koboko’ from other northerners whenever religion is involved. They are collectively described by such hate commentators as lazy, corrupt, inept, arrogant, illiterates, selfish, reactionary, retrogressive, beggars, parasites, incompetent, mumus, etc. Added to this, especially after 9/11, such commentators say they are Muslims who adhere to Islam, the religion of terrorism that calls for killing others and is against democracy, liberty and freedom. The South should break away, wrote someone, “and become like India” while the North remains backward "like Pakistan.”
I have tried for the purpose of balancing to find similar accusations of Southerners by northern writers in the conventional press or online but I cannot find any! That means if there are some, they must be very few. I cannot also remember any northerner saying southerners are this bad thing or another even in the heat of the ongoing zoning debate. (Perhaps, it is for the lack of such labels from the North, in 2005, someone had to publish an abusive article against Southerners in Amanaonline website using my name as its author just to tarnish my name among them. That year, I also received some hate mails purported to originate from Mohammed Haruna using another fake email. Neither Mohammed nor I bothered to reply them.) I am, therefore, compelled to restrict myself in this article to only what is said against northerners. Interested readers can go to the comments posted at the bottom my last article in Saharareporters and other similar sites.
Let me start by handling the issue of corruption because it is the mother of all accusations. Take for instance what Sunday Kayode said in reaction to Discourse 305: “All leaders that came from the North are thieves. Where did you get your Dr from…University of Maiduguri? Idiot.” I assume that Mr. Kayode is an educated person since at least he knows there is a university in Maiduguri. If Kayode was abusive in his language, another reader was very civil, though he implied the same thing: “Are there no other better candidates from the North apart from IBB, Gusau, Atiku and Saraki?” Both readers were not fair to the North. The North did give Nigeria a number of credible people. It forwarded Tafawa Balewa during the First Republic as Prime Minister. No one has ever accused him of corruption. Then there were also Murtala and Buhari, none of them to the understanding of Nigerians exhibited any corrupt tendency during their brief tenures. Added to them are Gowon and Shagari, who are also saints by today’s standard. The two led Nigeria during periods of oil boom but they did not leave office with 10% of the wealth stolen by Cecilia Ibru. They were not strong rulers, agreed, as they allowed many to loot the treasury unchecked; yet, they cannot in their person be accused of corruption. Let us recall that all those who celebrated their first one billion naira during the Shagari era, people like Chief Akinloye, were southerners. On the other hand, the entire rice importation from which the much demonized Umaru Dikko was supposed to make his money was just about N200million.
Now let us come to those on whom corruption charges justifiably hang: Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami. I cannot defend any of these three. But if we look at the South, we realize that it did not produce saints better than them. Obasanjo was extremely corrupt, as we have seen during his eight years tenure. People speak of missing $12billion dollar gulf war windfall during Babangida but they hardly say anything today about the $16billion stolen during Obasanjo’s administration on electricity projects alone. Members of various southern discussion groups must have read the recent damning article on Babangida written by the veteran journalist, Naiwu Isahon. He conceded that Obasanjo was worse than Babangida when he opened his latest article by saying, “Apart from Obasanjo, Babangida is the greatest evil ever to befall any country in the world.”
The scion of Obasanjo, Jonathan, is now proving to be "like father like son". The corruption tales of his short tenure so far are damning, that is not to mention his brief tenure as the Governor of Bayelsa State from which his wife is investigated for. Now that the PDP – the largest corruption mill in the country – is in crisis, its members who are opposed to Jonathan are telling us how our foreign reserves have been depleted by more than $30 billion in the last few months, in addition to diversion of several billions from ministerial coffers to finance campaign projects and not to mention the corruption regarding contracts in the NNPC. I am sure we will learn more about these shortly. Some like Ojiji Omo have already reached their conclusion: “The making of a tyrant. That man in bowler hat (Azikwe Jonathan) will be worse than Abacha, IBB and OBJ put together”, he said via an email published in Naijaobserver group. I hope we are not heading for the days where IBB, Abacha and Abdulsalami will be promoted to the position of saints by the sheer quantum of corruption under Obasanjo and Jonathan.
On candidates, it will be fair to say that the North has forwarded all sorts of candidates, fitting whatever inclination a Nigerian voter may have – for or against corruption. Of course, if you are for corruption, the PDP candidates from the North are there. Safe journey. If you are for transparency, you are welcome. Buhari is here. As Simon Kolawole of Thisday said recently, to his knowledge, no one has so far accused Buhari of corruption. What would prevent majority of southerners from voting for him instead of any corrupt candidate in 2011? Did their majority do that when he contested against Obasanjo in 2003 or against ‘Yaradua in 2007? I have read some saying Buhari is old and has military background. Good. Nuhu Ribadu is here. Oya now. He is young, handsome, honest and civilian. But would the majority of the South abandon Jonathan and vote for him? Even if you say you want an honest woman President that is decent, we fit produce am. Mama Sarah Jibril is here. Ngwano, biko. Some say Buhari is ‘shariatist.’ Okay. Take Atiku. He has since 2001 declared himself ‘shariah non-compliant’ at a party in Lagos. What prevents these commentators from seeing these aspirants? I salute people like Pastor Tunde Bakare and many others who are not given to sentiments in choosing the candidates they will support in 2011.
Now, let us move to the general public. Is it true that northerners are corrupt, more than their southern counterparts? I would not like to resort to guess work. There is an anti-corruption commission, the EFCC. Let us consult it and find out the distribution of corruption among Nigerians. It presents us with a list of fifty-four ongoing corruption cases that it is prosecuting before various high courts in the country as at this morning. I have presented 49 of them that are Nigerian in the table below, giving the amounts involved and the side of the country from which each of the accused persons hails.
Amount (N) (‘000,000)
Ayo Fayose
Adenike Grange
Joshua Dariye
Saminu Turaki
Orji Uzor Kalu
James Ibori
Iyabo Obasanjo
Lucky Igbenidion
Gabriel Aduku
Jolly Nyame
Chimaroke Nnamani
Michael Botmang
Roland Iyayi
Nyeson Wike
Kenny Martins
Babalola Borishade
Boni Haruna
Femi Fani-Kayode
Ibrahim Dumuje
Bode George
Rasheed Ladoja
4 Zenith Bank Managers
Nicholas Ugbade & Co
B. Sokan & co
Ransome Owan & co
Tom Itseghoghi & co
Albert Ikomi
Yuguda Manu Kaigama
Chief Joe Musa
Dayo Olagunju
Hamman Bello & Co
Innocent Chuka Okwonkwo
Ceciia Ibru
Dr. Bartholomew & 4 others
Raymong Obieri
Sabastian Adigwe
Okey Nwosu
Francis Atuche
Adamu Abduallahi
Attahiru Bafarawa
Francis Okokuro
Charles Sylva Opuala
Osa Osunde
Oladele Shitu
Sunday Akinyemi
T. Taniyi & Co
Adeniyi Elumaro &Rakiya
Erastus Akingbola
Sani & co
 Total number of cases
 Total amount (in Naira) due to North =
 Total amount (in Naira) due to South =
 Total amount (in Naira) under prosecution for Nigeria =
 Percentage amount due to North =
 Percentage amount due to South =
 Totals =
1. The list above does not include four expatriate cases.
2. Cases with asterisks involve both Northerners and Southerners but each is
allocated to the side from which the principal accused person hails from.
3. I did not include the name of Nasir El-Rufai because no amount was assigned by the body against his name.
The table clearly shows that northerners do not have monopoly over corruption, to put it modestly. We can safely conclude that northern thieves are just small rats, accounting for only 6.29% of the total sum under prosecution compared to southerners who account for 93.71%. The figures clearly show in whose hand the economy is. I have always held that northerners do not account for up to 10% of the Nigerian economy. That is why southerners account for 74% of the cases under prosecution by the anti-corruption agency and 93.71% of the total amount involved. Poor northerners!  Despite their sad state of poverty and their poor acumen for stealing they are constantly accused of holding Nigeria back. Truly, they are lazy. But from the table above, one can see the cause of their high level of poverty. I hereby suggest a solution to them.
To ensure that they do not hold this country back anymore, Northerners should protest their marginalization in corruption. They should demand that from Jonathan after 2011 election since he has pledged to emancipate them from the stranglehold of their corrupt elders. Mhm. He must see to it that there is an egalitarian balance of corruption across the country. As I concluded this article, another southerner, a young chap and former adviser to Obasanjo, Mr. Adeyanju Bodunde, was arraigned by the EFCC before a high court for laundering N750million. Last week, the world was shocked at the conviction of Cecilia Ibru who agreed to return over a billion dollars worth of cash and assets. She and others did it under the tenures of the erudite Charles Soludo as Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and born-again Obasanjo as President. Even under Babangida when late Abdulkadir Ahmed was the CBN governor no bank director could steal so much.
I am not saying that there are no thieves among northerners wo. Don’t misquote me. Aha. I am just saying that northerners do not have monopoly over corruption, as the authors of hate speech and advocates of a divided Nigeria would like us to believe. I am though angry that the EFCC data has proved that most northerners are small thieves. Mts. If they should eat a frog, they should look for a fat and juicy one. If they do not know how to do it, they should learn from experts like Cecilia Ibru such that the North can also be rich and northerners can own many banks and houses overseas.
(To be continued)
15 October 2003