CLASSis the social events, heritage excellence and style magazine forAfricans in north America, described by The New York Times as themagazine for affluent Africansin America.
Chinua Achebe: Why I rejectedNigeria's 2004 national honors fromObasanjo's government

The Dueling Letters of Ogbeh and Obasanjoreveal Nigeria's sorry state

Exclusive commentary for USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.comand CLASS magazine

Obasanjo, a retired army general, can no longer claim to be theepitome of morality and virtues as he has touted in the past. Thisscathing indictment by his party chairman and a man who has been hisfriend for decades could not have come at a worse time. Ogbeh'scomparison of Obasanjo'sAdministration with the ill-fated government of Shehu Shagari is apt.The bunch Obasanjo surrounds himself with seems to have been cut fromthe same cloth as the ones that paraded the corridors of power in theShagari days. The lawlessness and shenanigans of party big-wigs inthat era is being reenacted by the current breed. Like I have said inthe past, our journey through the democratic process seem to bebedeviled by a phenomenon of taking a few steps forward and manyleaps backwards. Yet, he President Obasanjo's reply to Audu Ogbeh'scautionary letter is vintage Obasanjo. The President is famous forhis intolerance of any kind of criticism. Usually criticisms of thePresident are followed by a barrage of insults and veiled threats. Hedid not disappoint this time. A cursory glance of the letter wouldindicate that it was written by Mr. President, himself....

Audu Ogbeh, chairman of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, mayhave embarked on a course that will change Nigerian history. First,Ogbeh made history as the first chairman of a ruling political partyin Nigeria to admit that his party has pushed the country furtheralong the edge of a precipice.

On December 6, 2004, Ogbeh penned a letter to President OlusegunObasanjo, lamenting the state of affairs in Nigeria, especially inAnambra State. Someone leaked the letter to Nigerian newspapers. Theletter entitled, "Anambra andrelated matters" can best be described as a reflection on thefeelings of a plurality of Nigerians. It can also be seen as avindication for those of us who have accused Obasanjo of complicityin the Ngige-Chris Uba saga. The treason perpetrated on the people ofAnambra was mishandled from the start by the Obasanjo Administrationand the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It wasn't an internal partyaffair; it was a crime against Nigeria and should have been treatedas such. Yet, we are happy that Audu Ogbeh, for whatever reason, haschosen to speak the truth. It should outrage Nigerians that Ngige,the executive Governor of Anambra State, went without security fornearly one year while Chris Uba and his band of thugs were beingprotected (and are still protected) by the fiercest arm of theNigerian Police- the Mobile Police unit.

Calls for the restoration of Ngige's security detail werepooh-poohed by the Inspector-General of Police (obviously acting onthe orders of the President). If there were any doubts as toObasanjo's complicity in the matter, the aforementioned anomaly putit to rest. "On Tuesday, the 30th day of November, 2004, anothershocking development- a reported bomb explosion in Government HouseAwka. Since then, the media, public discourse within and even outsideof our borders, have been dominated by the most heinous and hatefulof expletives against our party and your person and government. Itwould appear that the perpetrators of these acts are determined tostop at nothing since there has not been any visible sign of reproachfrom law enforcement agencies" said Audu Ogbeh in his letter to thePresident.

Yet, there are some curious elements in Obasanjo's letter.For instance, I fail to see the relevance of Dr. Mbadinuju, theformer governor of Anambra State to the crisis of confidence betweenOgbeh and Obasanjo. If Obasanjo considers Mbadinuju an‚"unmitigated failure" why did he promise him an Ambassadorialposition in his government? Does the President consider the positionof an Ambassador such an insignificant office that it can be used forresettling incompetent PDP stalwarts? The President's letter isreplete with insults and personal attacks that should not be part ofa public document authored by the leader of the so-called giant ofAfrica.

He wrote "I am amused and not surprised your letter of December 6,2004 because after playing hide and seek game over a period of time,you have finally, at least in writing, decided to unmask and showyour true colour.‚" Haba! Mr. President your exalted office doesnot deserve this type of language. It is petty and infantile.Regurgitating personal conversations the President had with Ngige ashe did here is tasteless. "I made a point to him to reconcile himselfwith his father with whom he was not on talking terms."

If indeed that was the situation and the President considered it acharacter flaw, why did he not withdraw his support for Ngige? I hadalways seen Obasanjo as a statesman of the highest caliber until afew years after he assumed office as a civilian president. Havingdealt with some of the petty stuff, it is pertinent to point out thatthe President made some serious statements that require criticalexamination.

In a previous article, I had mentioned a reporting that Chris Uba, at the last meeting of the WorldIgbo Congress in Newark, New Jersey, admitted that he rigged the lastgovernorship election in Anambra state.( --Anambra's rigged 2003 elections: ChrisUba's confession at WIC 2004 in Newark, USA.)

I was shocked that even after the reporting by this newsorganization and others, the Nigerian Police did not invite Uba foran interview. It is even more shocking to read from the President'sletter that Uba made the same admission to him. What was thePresident's reaction? He ordered Uba and Ngige out of his residence.Invariably we have a President that would cover up high crimes by hisfriends and yet claims that he is fighting a war againstcorruption.

If Obasanjo had an iota of respect for the office he hassingularly been privileged to hold twice, he would have ordered thepolice to investigate Chris Uba and Chris Ngige for denying thepeople of Anambra state their right to self-determination. Instead byhis silence, he has become a willing accomplice for thwarting thewill of the people of Anambra state. The President, instead of beingthe number one defender of the Nigerian Constitution, is a willingparticipant in its rape. The treason of July 10, 2003, that wascarried out in Anambra state by Chris Uba and his group has yet toresult in detention and prosecution of anyone including theself-confessed mastermind. No doubt, the inability of the ObasanjoAdministration to prosecute these criminals gave them more impetus tocarry out more attacks on the people of Anambra State for three daysstarting November 30, 2004.


TheNigerian Police watched as property and lives were destroyed in broaddaylight. The President says the Inspector-General of Police claimedthat ‚"the crowd was overwhelming for the policestrength.‚" And the President added, "The issue is whether ornot the police performed or did not perform their duties.‚"Well, Mr. President, did your police perform their rightful duties?If the answer is no, what have you done to the Inspector-General ofPolice and his men?

The Anambra crisis aka the Ngige-Uba saga is an Obasanjocreation. Even if he did not plan it, his acts of commission andomission gave the crisis all the fuel it needed to burn. ThePresident should fix it as he broke it. The first step to fixing theAnambra crisis is the immediate prosecution of Uba and his cohortsfor treason and disenfranchisement of the Anambra people.

Audu Ogbeh, in his letter, said that much to the President withoutsuccumbing to the temptation of name calling as the President hasdone. Those clamoring for the head of Audu Ogbeh should tread carefullest they wake up the sleeping giant called the people of Nigeria.Obasanjo‚"s letter seems to suggest that he has done a very goodjob of being the President of the Peoples Democratic Party. He shouldvacate Aso rock and relocate to PDP headquarters. At this stage ofour nascent democracy, we need a Nigerian President.
Elendu is acontributing editor of, CLASS and USAfrica TheNewspaper. Other USAfrica essays by Elenduinclude: Judging Andrea,Talibansand Osama: A tale of cowards;and The Desperateand theUngrateful

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Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century.
Achebe, scholar, social conscience, cultural historian and globally-acclaimed writer, has been a significant and binding source for an engaging understanding of African pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial history and realities. I believe that such insight has made him a favorite of African-Americans, and other scholars and regular folks in search of a better, realistic understanding of Africa, at least, from Achebe's utilization of his rich and dynamic Igbo ancestry, in south eastern Nigeria. I share the same ancestry, and he's one of my mentors.
By Chido Nwangwu. Click here for commentary
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Those who eat with Obasanjo....: It was reported that after the January 4th meeting of the PDP NEC, the President and Ogbeh went to Ogbeh's house to eat lunch. Some commentators had viewed that as an ominous sign as this was the same way he ate at Dr. Okadigbo's residence, and within one week, mounted a campaign of impeachment against Okadigbo as Senate president. Nigeria's 3-time ruler retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (in picture, right) has added a new phenomenon to Nigeria's polity--a last supper. We can comfortably add this to the president's repertoire: Those Obasanjo wants to destroy, he eats with.... Nigeria's President, retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, in his vindictiveness, has gradually taken us back to the dark days of late retired Gen. Sani Abacha. It was such vindictiveness on the part of Abacha that landed Obasanjo in prison on trumped-up charges. He is now walking in the footsteps of the man who jailed him. Obasanjo as a military man should be a student of history. Maybe he has conveniently forgotten history's lessons. I would like to remind him of one: Those who push Nigeria too far down the edge of a precipice fall off before Nigeria. By Jonathan Elendu, Michigan-based columnist. Click here for full commentary.
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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 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
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CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy was livecast on February 19, 2002. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

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SPORTS: Tiger Woods makes more history with another golf Masters win. He shot 12-under-par 276 and a final round 71 at Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club event and collected $1,008,000, on Sunday April 14, 2002. With it, the world's golf phenom added another green jacket to his array of championships and titles, placing him, in this instance, in the same respected Masters' league as Nicklaus (winner 1965 and 1966) and Nick Faldo (1989 and 1990). The three are the only men to win back-to-back Masters. At 26, Woods has since become the youngest golfer to win his seventh professional major championship. He was joined by his parents and his 22 year-old Swedish model girlfriend, Elin Nordegren.
Impeachment process shows Nigerian democracy "is alive... being tested." Nigeria's president retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the impeachment process shows that "democracy is alive, is being tested, and being tried.... What they (the legislators) have tried to do in the democratic way, which is not easy, would probably have been done by taking arms or by -- with bullets. So, but with democracy, of course, some people feel that this is the way this should be, and then I have an opportunity to defend myself. There is discussion. There is dialogue. There is a decision. There is fairness." He made these comments when he appeared on Tuesday September 17, 2002 on CNN International to discuss the issues of impeachment facing him, the allegations of corruption, abuse of the constitution and deployment of soldiers ina civilian environment which led to the "massacre of civilians" in Odi (Bayelsa) and Zaki Biam (Benue). On the charges by international human rights organizations and Nigerian media that his government has been involved in actions which have led to the deaths of thousands of Nigerians, the retired General gave a surprising answer. He was asked that "as many as 10,000 people, it's being reported, have been killed in Nigeria (in) communal rivalries, and the number is believed to be increasing. And people are saying that although President Obasanjo has done a lot of good for Nigeria, you're accused of not -- accused of failing to halt that spiraling violence."

Obasanjo: Let me say this to you, when you put the question of 10,000 -- 10,000 people dying in Nigeria, of course, for a population of over 120 million people...." But Founder and recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), Chido Nwangwu, who appeared on the same program as as a CNN International analyst (Africa) pointed out that "when (President Obasanjo) answered that in a country of 100 million that 10,000 people are said to have died, as if that was a small number, that in itself reflects a disconnect with the concerns of Nigerians. The second one is that when the risk is civil disagreement, the police are required to intervene in the country. And the deployment of the armed forces of Nigeria requires at least some consultation, however modest, with the parliament." Nwangwu, former member of the editorial board of Nigeria's Daily Times continued that "the third factor that is equally important to underscore is that the armed forces of Nigeria moved in for a punitive action rather than just containing a civil disagreement." He noted in backgrounder "it was revealing and interesting interesting discussing Nigeria's issues with its leader - under the current circumstances of an increasingly out-of-schedule elections and the gathering storm of an impeachment process by a majority of the members of the National Assembly, predominantly by Obasanjo's party members." See rush transcript of the CNN International news program.

Obasanjo facing corruption and ineptitude impeachment charges, again since the parliament, a few weeks ago, passed a motion carrying a majority of the members of Obasanjo's party, the PDP.
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