Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust....

Its beginning to read like a story being serialized in newspapers. Every week there must be a PDP Governor's election being revoked or another so called election victory being reversed. Like a house of cards, its all falling apart.

Last week it was Aliyu Wammakko of Sokoto State, this week Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa. And there are still a few more states to go, one year after the elections were held.

All these would have been bearable but for Professor Iwu's INEC's posturing. Now they have gone ahead to take up ample airtime on TV justifying their conduct of the April 2007 (s)elections by saying that "It is politicians who rig elections not us".

WTF! How can politicians rig elections without the active connivance of the Umpire INEC? Sebi I said it that if all the INEC officials have been arrested, tried and locked up since the past one year for 'electoral malpractice' (just like any other professional misconduct/malpractice), this story would have been different. After all, even students get 21 years jail for exam malpractice.

As it is, the more elections are reversed, the more money for Iwu and his cohorts as they simply present a fresh invoice.

The case in Bayelsa is even more interesting as some House members came up that they had impeached the Speaker who was to be sworn in as Acting Governor until the rerun elections are held. They nominated and presented their own Speaker for swearing in as Acting Governor!

Many people have always held that elections do not take place in the Niger Delta states particularly Rivers and Bayelsa. The sheer logistics of navigating the creeks alone is daunting. INEC just collects its allocation for those areas and simply allocates figures for them according to the powers that be.

In the 2003 elections, the then Rivers state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili scored a whopping 98.8% of total votes cast in the state gubernatorial elections leaving the remaining 1.2% for the other 13 (yes, THIRTEEN) political parties to share in a field that included veteran politicians like Chief Sargent Awuse of the ANPP.

That election was also remarkable in the fact that voter turnout was 100%. Everybody who was registered for the election came out and voted! No one was ill, no one had died, no one traveled or relocated between the period of registration and elections proper which were more than eighteen months apart! It was a feat only the PDP and INEC could have produced.

And Iwu says it is politicians who rig elections.

I was in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state last year for a burial and it fell in the period when a rerun of the Assembly elections were being held. The burial was on Friday and I wanted to leave town by Friday night in order not to be caught up in the movement restrictions that usually go with elections on Saturday.

My friend Okon told me not to worry myself. He told me that the elections would actually hold on Friday night. Saturday was just a day of rest.

'You think this is Lagos where you people kill yourself because of elections?', he had asked.

On Friday, the anointed candidate would go round the wards distributing food items ranging from a mudu of rice, a bottle of oil and a cup of salt to a bag of rice per household depending on the position.

The people are then told to stay at home and cook their rice on Saturday. The politicians allocate figures to themselves and INEC declares a winner based on figures submitted to it.

I actually stayed to witness elections, AK-style. I was around the Ewett Housing Estate and there was a polling booth right across the road from the house. I sat in front of the house reading a book from morning till evening. Apart from a few people who obviously came around to confirm that there was nobody at the polling station, nobody came around. Not even INEC officials! And yet they announced results.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record ... E no make sense.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Holy Moses!

He was murdered. By 'unknown assailants' the report said.
But GOD knows them.
And maybe he did too. Or maybe not.
Obviously they knew him not.
Or they wouldn't have killed him.

Memories are all we have now. I still remember him.

We met back then at our initiation as the newest members of the Supremost Komradium The Keggites Klub (a.k.a Palmwine Drinkerds Club) at the Moda Shrine (Ilya Ovia) very close to the School of Dentistry, UNIBEN. It was a 'wet tapping'. He was a dark quiet guy. He talked with a slight stutter. Maybe that was why he usually kept quiet.

With some other new Comrads, we got talking and introduced ourselves.

'Hi, I'm Nimmo. Yada yada yada yada yada ...'.

We gave and received the one-finger-salute.

'Hi, I'm Moses.'

A 'wet tapping' is a meeting of the Komradium where the palmwine flows freely but Moses did not drink. A Keggite who does not drink was called 'Holy'. He was a 'Holy'. Holy Moses.

('H-o-l-y M-o-s-e-s' was also an exclamation made popular by the character Mr. B in Ken Saro Wiwa's sitcom of the 80s, Basi & Company).

I remember the Parliament of the UNIBEN Student Union Government. This was during the period of Joseph Okonmah as President UNIBEN-SUG, his impeachment and removal from office.

Members of the Parliament are addressed formally as 'Honorable' followed by the member's surname. Except Moses. Everybody called him 'Honorable Holy Moses'. At some point, even the Speaker got tired of correcting Parliamentarians on the formal mode of address. Honorable Holy Moses had the floor a lot that night.

After we left school, we met severally in Lagos particularly around Ojuelegba where he lived with his family. He was a banker. And from what I gathered, he was one of the whiz kids of the industry with a fast rising profile.

Last time I saw him was in January. I was crossing the road to my car parked on Tejuosho Road, by the FCMB branch there, when a car swerved and parked close to me on the kerb.

'Who be dis person who wan oppress me with new motor so? Person no fit waka for leg again?'.

It was a new Toyota Corolla painted in the colors of a particular bank.

'Baba Nimmo What-I-saw'.

Very few people called me that. I looked closely and recognized him.

'Holy Moses! Wetin dey happen? Omo, dis na new one o. Don't tell me you have changed bank again.'

'Omo na so o but my branch still dey Apapa sha.'

He gave me his card. We talked some more. About our families. About the other friends with whom we had lost contact. About the need to keep in touch.

On Wednesday, I got to the office and saw it in the papers. A full page notice by a Committee of Friends. I called a few people if it was true. They confirmed it. It is true.

Adieu Moses Leseremejuma Ejueyitchie. 1967-2008.

Holy Moses.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

E No Make Sense 2

After going through the comments on my last post, I went straight Solomonsydelle's and as usual she had laid out all the topics I wanted to rant about in an orderly fashion. Almost in alphabetical order. LOL.

Now everybody knows that I am a serious person. Well, at least you know, abi? I am not one to trivialize a serious issue particularly one that involves lives and reputations of people, right?

But sometimes, some things dont just make sense to me so I ask questions maybe I can deduce something therefrom. I arrange things into some kind of sequence and try to extract logic from that.

I have always said that I am not as bright as I look, so please bear with me.

Take for instance:

1. THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING AIRCRAFT (Quote. Unquote. Solomonsydelle)

Now, walk with me through this:

James Onanefe Ibori, former Governor of Delta state is on trial for corruption and embezzlement while in office. He is reputed to have purchased practically everything purchasable between Asaba and Jo'burg and also in the USA. Including a Beechcraft plane among other crafts.

Over two weeks ago, the said Beechcraft plane (we were told) went off radar on a routine flight to Cross Rivers state to pick up the Governor Liyel Imoke who was going to Abuja to appear before the House Committee probing the expenditure of over $16 billion in five years by the last government of which he was a part, severally as Technical Adviser, Special Adviser, Head Technical Action Committee and Minister of Power and Steel. In short sha, the plane disappeared.

About twenty-four hours later, the Minister for Aviation as the competent Minister, announced that the wreckage of the crashed plane had been found by some villagers near Obudu, Cross River state and they were deploying emergency rescue teams to the site of the crash.

About twenty four hours later, the Ministry of Aviation retracted this story, saying that the Minister was misled into believing that the said crash site was of the plane in question. So, the plane did not crash, then what happened?

Several speculations, most plausible of which include:
- The plane strayed off-course and crashed in the deep rain forest jungles of Obudu far from civilization.
- The plane strayed off-course and crashed somewhere along the Nigeria-Cameroun border or in the Cameroun Mountains. Also, far from civilization.
- The plane strayed off-course and into Cameroun's security zone and was shot down by the Cameroun military forces.

Please note that all these speculations are going on in Nigeria in the 21st century! All the above would have made sense but for the following:

- If the said site reported by the villagers was not of the plane, then what happened there? Villagers are not stupid people. They were probably looking forward to a bounty or reward of some kind. Something must have happened at that site for them to call attention to it. There was probably a wreckage of something. What was it? A truck? Another plane? If so, which plane? What happened to it? When did it crash? How and why didn't the Ministry know about it?
- If the plane crashed in the forests, someone would have seen or heard it drop. A plane cannot crash without a noise. Even villagers know the difference between a plane in flight and one in distress. At least they know the sound of a crash and I dont think could have crashed without a sound. No matter how small it is, it is still bigger than most SUV.
- The most ludicrous is the one that the Cameroun military shot down the plane. In the first plane, it was a civilian plane and the Camerounians could see that. At worst, they would force it to land using military planes to guide it. Even if they shot it down in error, they are bound by conventions to report it. And even if they refused to do so, the Nigerian Intelligence Service has enough operatives on ground inside Cameroun to ferret out such information.

(OK, you probably did not know that the NIS exists right?)

Even if all the above can be explained away.

The plane had three crew members including the pilot on board. Nigerians all. Those guys are/were the breadwinners of their respective families and two weeks after they disappeared, no one from their families had gone to press with some story or the other. Omo eni ku, san ju omo eni so'nu lo.
We worry more over a lost child than a dead one. At least in death there is a certainty of the child's condition.

With the Nigerian's legendary penchant for theatrics, we have not had Professional Mourners Clubs paying daily pilgrimages to their respective homes to offer their condolences, real and imagined.

Are the crew of that Beechcraft plane dead or alive?

What exactly was that Beechcraft plane carrying? What was its cargo?

As if all that was not enough, just last weekend, James Onanefe Ibori, owner of the said Beechcraft plane - who had been known (actually thought) to be an Obasanjo acolyte and was actually very instrumental in the emergence of President UMYA as PDP candidate- was in a gathering that included Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and Obasanjo's nemesis among other politicians at an event largely organized to dishonor Obasanjo.

He laughed like no man's business. He did not look like someone who'd just lost a plane.

Maybe its just me but e no make sense.

E no make sense at all.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

E No Make Sense

Someone please help me to make sense of this.

When a patient dies, the Doctor could be liable for the death if she was found to be negligent in performance of her duties. The Doctor could go to jail and lose her license/practice.

A Teacher can lose his job when his students fail in their exams and he is found to be negligent. Even for an offence like groping a student or even selling handouts.

A Lawyer can be disbarred and lose his practice for conducts adjudged to be unprofessional.

Managers get fired everyday for performing below par or failing to meet agreed objectives.

Even sports people lose their places in the team or their positions and rankings due to a drop in performance. Clubs get relegated. Champions have their belts withdrawn.

But what happens when INEC messes up the elections in a whole state?


Give Iwu another 3 Billion Naira to organize 'fresh' elections!

Who is responsible for elections in Nigeria?

You mean you can decide to waste billions of Naira in organizing an election, run the elections like no man business and if anybody complains, tell them to go to court. If the courts nullify the elections and order a rerun, you simply present a fresh bill of quantities to the Treasury. Just like that.

I think there should be a law that if the results of an election is canceled even in an LG Ward, whoever was in charge should be summarily dismissed from whatever service without benefits. (Most INEC officials are career public servants on secondment.)And should be tried for sabotage.

Maybe the position of INEC Chairman should be rotated among the states, with each state guaranteeing its candidate to do a good job. In event of failure, the state will pay back to the nation the total amount expended on the election or the part considered flawed. Since the money is from deductions, each state has the option to sue the INEC Chairman.

From the Polling Station Officer to the INEC Chairman, each of them is liable for what happens in his area of jurisdiction/authority. Enough jail terms, without options of fines should be prescribed.

Maybe they will take elections more seriously. Maybe they will take the lives of Nigerians more seriously.

Maybe we should even privatize elections organization in Nigeria. Let companies bid for it and hold them according to agreed objectives and with specific milestones/performance indices. Failing which they dont get paid.

What happened in Kogi state this past weekend and will repeat itself in Adamawa and most likely Edo state too is a travesty of justice. The people just went to the polls again and elected Idris again. But who removed Audu's name from the ballot in the first place? Why? The buck must stop at someone's table. He must at least tell the nation why he did what he did.

Who is responsible? Why was nobody punished?

Well, somebody was punished, the people of Kogi state. Nigerians all.

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