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Obasanjo's outburst at IkejaBomb scene is wrong and unpresidential

By EMMY EJEKAM

Exclusive to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand NigeriaCentral.com

The recent bomb explosions, followed by drowning disasters inLagos, Nigeria, remind all of the fact that Nigeria, remains,sadly, a Third world country. It should never be compared todeveloped and Western nation, such as the U.S.A. In the developedworld, the government provides safe infrastructure, and taxes arepaid and accounted for the interest of public welfare. Even better,the president does not speak with such mindless arrogance and lack ofresponsibility on national crises as we have seen retired GeneralOlusegun Obasanjo do on the issues of almost 750 dead Nigerians. He,President Obasanjo, told grieving and understandably concerned andrestive Nigerians to: "Shutup... I don't need to be here..." at scene of bombdisaster!!!

My concern and astonishment hinge on the comments made by theNigerian ruler to the grieving crowd that his presence at thedisaster site was a favor; afterall, he stated that the Lagos Stategovernor Bola Tinubu, chief of police, and other Lagos state cabinetmembers were there to take care of the situation.

Let's also look at the comments made on the BBC news on January29, 2002, by the army spokesman, Col. Felix Chukwumah , when he wasasked 'how many casualties did the army suffer?' He stated none;citing that the barrack had a prior knowledge and was told toevacuate. It boilsdown to what Nigerians have been crying for: a democratic situationwhere the populace is of utmost importance to the goverment insteadof the men in uniform. Obasanjo is a retired General in the Nigerianarmy, and this ought to concern him. If the Nigerian army knew thatthe ammo depot was in danger of exploding, how come they did notalert the everyday citizen and the public, rather, the soldiers tookcare of their own at the expense of the masses. It confirms what Ihave been saying about our current president Obasanjo and hiscohorts. Remember our late Afrocentric brother and internationallyknown star Fela named one of his albums "Army arrangement." Sadly,that arrangement continues with Obasanjo and his group. Unfortunatelythat is what we are and will continue to experience in Nigeria till athorough-going revolution takes place in Nigeria.

When Obasanjo was released from prison and he came to Houston toaddress Nigerians, he pleaded that Nigerians should never let anyex-military/military person partake in the leadership of Nigeriaagain. i was not told. I was there and reported the events,exclusively, for USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper. Heaffirmed, too, that he had seen it all and will not go back toNigeria's presidency. Few months later, he emerged as the PDPpresidential nominee and eventually became another civilian-clothedquasi-dictator in our new democracy in Nigeria. Somehow, theinternational community continues to be fooled, as well as manyNigerians whose ethnic allegiances have confused and misdirected.

It is only in Nigeria that such outbursts of "shut up.. go tohell..." from its president Obasanjo would seem normal. It's sad. Itseems that the man has never changed from army general to a humbledvictim of the Abacha regime. He basically told the Igbos during ahurriedly arranged "townhall meeting" to "go to hell"; and in Odi(Rivers State) he poured pepper on their pain after having hissoldiers demolish an entire town! Every democratic protest in Nigeriahas been quelled with military might under his command.

And in the face of the most gruesome disaster in Lagos, he said tothe grieving audience that his presence amounted to a favor. Nowonder, his fellow Yorubas did not vote for him, even in his ownlocal district and ward in Ogun State.

Yes, there were no emergency activities and equipment for thebombblast crisis in Ikeja, and poor mechanisms for the response team.Anyone would have had a malfunction because of lack ofmaintenance.

I think that were the late Bola Ige alive, he would have saidsomething more soothing than our president Obasanjo.

Well, my people: Igbo, Fulani, Hausa, Yoruba, Edo, Kanuri, Nupe,Annang, Ibibio, and all others, is this all our President Obasanjo iscapable of doing and saying? Tell me otherwise if I am wrong.

In conclusion, Nigerians have seen from his comments at Ikeja andother events that Obasanjo is not only insensitive, arrogant andinsincere; he is inhumane and your votes should reflect your feelingscome 2003.

May the good Lord salvageNigeria from the clutch of evil and those who pretend to bestatesmen and good men and women! God bless Nigeria.
Ejekam, a leader of a major community organization in Houston, isa community affairs corrrespondent for USAfrica The Newspaper,Houston, and USAfricaonline.com.This exclusive commentary is edited for USAfricaonline.com, andarchiving on any other web site or newspaper is unauthorized exceptwith a written approval by USAfricaonline.com Founder;January 30, 2002. It will also appear in the February 13, 2002edition of USAfrica.




Why Bush should focusondangersfacing Nigeria'sreturn todemocracyand Obasanjo'sslippery slide. ByChido Nwangwu


Obasanjo's government andapologistsshould respect CNN andFreedom of the press in Nigeria. By NkemEkeopara.
There is no doubt that the news and current affairs managers of theglobal information network at the CNN are reasonably concerned abouttheir undeserving bashing in Nigeria. Sadly, the Nigerian governmentorchestratedanti-freedom of the press chant and demonstrations was spearhead byretired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo's cronies following the reporting ofthe facts, I repeat the acts of the violence unleashed by Obasanjo'sgovernment on Nigerians, inter-ethnic conflicts and killings, violentexplosions in Ikeja; all of which have led to the deaths of almost10, 000 or more Nigerians. The foolish anti-CNN campaign continues tobe fuelled by the government and its propagandists spearheaded by aself-proclaimed Gen. Obasanjo partisan and apologist, kinsman and"journalist" Reuben Abati of The Guardian newspaper of Lagos. In thefinal analysis, the issue of Jeff Koinange and CNN in Nigeria is anissue about the freedom of the press. No attempt should be made bythe likes of Abati and other Obasanjo apologists to muzzleit. February 14, 2002

Ige's murder is another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.  


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DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu
How Obasanjo handles Ige's murder will be telling.  By Dr. Acho Emeruwa.
'We've killed
Uncle Bola.' By Jonathan Elendu. Elendu is USAfricaonline.com contributing editor.

Why
Ige's assassination demands better security for all. By Rev. Augustine Ogbunugwu.  

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How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
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Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa


Apple announces Titanium, "killer apps" and other ground-breaking products for 2001. iTunes makes a record 500,000 downloads.
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Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.


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Through an elaborate network of carrots and sticks and a willing army of Nigeria's soldiers and some civilians, controversial global dealer and billionaire Marc Rich, literally and practically, made deals and steals; yes, laughed his way to the banks from crude oil contracts, unpaid millions in oil royalties and false declarations of quantities of crude lifted and exported from Nigeria for almost 25 years. Worse, he lifted Nigeria's oil and shipped same to then embargoed apartheid regime in South Africa. Read Chido Nwangwu's NEWS INVESTIGATION REPORT for PetroGasWorks.com
In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'


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CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents."

These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson


Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No