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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Series on Psychology 2006, #8 of 52: A Brother's Call for Help is Ones own Call for Love | Main | We got Hoodwinked Again »

February 23, 2006

There is Not Much to Give Credit for: A Rejoinder to Paul Adujie, Re: President Obasanjo’s Diplomatic Finesse: Unheralded in Nigeria!

by Oyibo E. Odinamadu (Mrs.) (Raleigh, North Carolina) --- There is not much diplomatic finesse to herald at home, but a lot to unherald in Obasanjo’s Administrations of Nigeria, with reference to Paul I. Udujie’s write-up entitled "President Obasanjo’s Diplomatic Finesse Unheralded In Nigeria." It is very regrettable that through some persons in Nigeria, for what can be clearly seen as pecuniary reasons, according to Femi Fani-Kayode, President Obasanjo has chosen the path of destruction, rather than of rectitude and survival. The path he has chosen to thread, through some misguided emissaries, has degenerated from the ridiculous to the sublime.


Yes indeed! Generals Babangida, Abacha and Abdulsalami institutionalized corruption in high places, not because they were Four or Five Star Generals in the Nigerian Army, but because of the money they acquired by corruption while in office. But it was Obasanjo who saddled the horse of corruption, equipped it with the reins, mounted and galloped away. Otherwise, how dare nincompoops like Femi Fani-Kayode, Paul Adujie, Okey Ndibe, and others like them, ignore all that is sacred and respectable in Igbo and Yoruba culture, and have the audacity to insult elders and the cream of intellectual excellence in the world, like Professor Chinua Achebe and Professor Wole Soyinka, simply because they happen to be Nigerians; and because they have the strength of character to speak out the truth against President Olusegun Obasanjo - a man who has ruined Nigeria and become a despot in office.


Obasanjo’s brand of diplomatic or is it mentality finesse abroad is the type that makes him cringe for the Bushes and Tony Blair and to address them as “Master”. But one of the brands at home is the one by which he prostrates to Chief Adedibu several times, in behalf of Governor Ladoja, the elected Governor of Oyo State, and dragging Nigeria with him in that prostration. Another brand that he practices at home, not abroad, is the diplomatic or mentality finesse that pursues and promotes the “Demoncrazy” of exclusion rather than of inclusion. His brand of Democratic Finesse at home is the one where there should be no opposition and no dissenting voice. It is a Finesse which allows no dissenting voice and where, if any, the dissenter is hounded and put away. It is a diplomatic finesse and demoncrazy where the Head of State takes the lead in thuggery and the State security outfit becomes the strike-squad for the Head of State. It is a One-Man-Demoncrazy with the finesse where one man is the people, the party, the government and operates totally contrary to the Constitution he swore to protect and to uphold. It is an exclusive Demoncrazy where the people he claims to have voted him into office cannot call him to order? It is a Demoncrazy with the diplomatic finesse where might is right and the person who claims to have the people’s mandate has become totalitarian and a monster.

His brand is Demoncrazy that operates where the Head of State has become tyrannical and a robot. His is Demoncrazy with the diplomatic finesse where the Head of State has become so power-drunk that everybody else is declared an enemy of the State and charged with “treasonable felony”, unless one sings his praises and kisses his behind? His brand of diplomatic finesse at home is Demoncrazy where the Head of State has become: “Eze onye agwanam”, that is: “A king of ‘thou shall not tell me’.” It is a Demoncrazy where the Head of State claims to be the State and where sovereignty belongs to the Head of State and no longer to the people. A Democracy that operates with the finesse where there is no longer any freedom of speech and association as guaranteed by the Constitution. Obasanjo’s brand of diplomatic finesse at home is a Demoncrazy where citizens can no longer live and set up their businesses in the country where they like. It is a Demoncrazy where the Head of State has the power to order, at will, single-handedly, the closure of a citizen’s businesses, and his goods dumped into the ocean. The kind of diplomatic finesse that Nigerians get at home from President Obasanjo, the Head of State, is a Demoncrazy where the Head of State has his finger in every pie!!!


It is very far fetched to see what President Obasanjo has accomplished by jumping all over the globe, leaving the people at home to complain, without redress, about him relishing globe-trotting rather than attending to the problems of governance at home. Is part of what he accomplished in the Conference of the African Union in Egypt – the connivance of the AU Heads of State to deviate from the provision of their Constitution and to keep the President of Sudan from assuming the post of the President of the AU after hosting the Conference, and giving it to the President of the Congo? What qualifies President Obasanjo, the out-going president and the one they elected, better than the President of the Sudan? Are they less guilty of the violation of human rights or of the elimination of people? What did he achieve in his peace-keeping in Daffur when the CNN is reporting this morning (Saturday, 3rd February 2006) of the escalating carnage that is still going on there – senseless killing, arson, raping of women, even elderly women, in the presence of their children, hunger and thirst, disease, no shelter – unabated? Is he claiming the success of Lady Sirleaf in the Liberian presidential elections as one of his so called diplomatic finesse when his own PDP here could not even let a woman win the nomination for local council chairmanship or governorship?


It is a crying out shame that President Obasanjo, who presides over the sixth largest oil producer in the world, should go cap in-hand, begging for debt forgiveness, among the poorest and most destitute countries of Africa, and counting it as an accomplishment. Does he also count it as an accomplishment to be presiding over the poorest population of the world in the midst of such oil wealth? What about the Poverty Alleviation Programme? How have Nigerians been lifted up from poverty, in fact abject poverty and destitution, which the President does not see, has said does not exists, but which the whole world sees and talks about? What finesse is there to herald that he is: “Ogalanya n’ezi, ubiam n’uno”, that is: “Rich abroad and poor at home”? What about the Universal Basic Education Programme? How much has it succeeded, while he is establishing a university which will draw its student body from traders, daily paid jobbers at “Ogbo Manu”, Agboro from motor-parks, and he like? What percentage of children of school age are registered and in school, all over the country to warrant the appellation of the name “universal”? Why are some advantaged and others disadvantaged? How well are school fees paid and school supplies provided, in order to be heralded as a laudable programme?


I read it sometime ago when he said, while addressing a democracy group in Mexico, that all the Nigerian men with him there were chauvinists, because they believed that men will always be first. You see, that is what is mainly wrong with President Obasanjo’s assessment of situations in Nigeria – he and his chorus boys discount himself as being involved. As far as I am concerned, he is the first and foremost chauvinist in Nigeria. Every Nigerian man, except a handful of them, is a chauvinistic. Of course; any man who is a polygamist is an arch-chauvinist by equating so many women to himself as wives. Above all, polygamists in public office are super-arch-chauvinists of the first order, by usually using one wife to suppress the others, and by appearing and making the people and the world believe that they are what they are not. What diplomatic finesse is there in this hypocrisy to be heralded?


How could it be said that President Obasanjo achieved any diplomatic finesse, as the President of the AU for the last two years, to be heralded when the Banjul Charter of the OAU, which was adopted since 1981, that is twenty-six years ago, has still not been adopted and domiciled by the State Governments, let alone implemented; and there is no hope in sight of it being adopted, domiciled and implemented? Is this to be heralded?

In 1981 the Organization of African Unity adopted the Banjul Charter on Human and Peoples Rights. Certain provisions of the document may also be interpreted to create a state duty to protect women from female circumcision. The Law for the prohibition of female genital cutting and mutilation (FGM) has been passed for Nigeria, but female genital circumcision is still going strong in Nigeria as if no law has been passed. That shows that it is not the wild claims of success that matter, but how far a law or measure is being implemented and enforced? What has President Obasanjo done for the women of Nigeria in this regard, or what is keeping him from wiping out the practice in Nigeria totally? Yet Paul Udujie will expect the girl-child and women of Nigeria to herald Obasanjo’s diplomatic finesse all over the world.
President Obasanjo should take a cue from Burkina Faso’s Melegue Traore, the traditional chief and former president of Burkina Faso’s National Assembly when he said, according to the Authoritative Link: "We are in no way abandoning African culture when we abandon female genital mutilation." We also hope that the conference of politicians, health and human rights NGOs, religious experts and traditional leaders in the Senegalese capital included Nigerian Christian and other religious leaders, whose stance has been to support retrogressive native cultural practices rather than Christian progressive and forward-looking reformations. We hope that Nigerians joined them in their rejection of female genital mutilation as not being against tradition. West African religious and traditional leaders meeting with political officials the first week of December 2005 affirmed their commitment to eradicating female genital mutilation, saying that: “To abandon the practice is not to reject traditional or religious values”. Nigeria must be one of the 28 countries of Africa and the Middle East where three million girls still undergo some form of genital cutting annually, according to the UN World Health Organization, as reported by the Authoritative Link.


The Banjul Charter also includes the right to health, the right to be free of cruel and degrading practices, the right to sexual and corporal integrity, and the right to reproduction. A right to health is also provided for in Article 16 of the Banjul Charter, which states: Every individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health. In addition, Article 18(3) declares that the state shall ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of the rights of the woman and the child as stipulated in international declarations and conventions. The women of Nigeria still live under punitive, demeaning and dehumanizing widowhood practices because the woman lost her husband as a man would lose his wife. Why must widows - young or old - suffer untold torture, hardship and deprivations, INCLUDING DISPOSSESSION OF LIFE AND PROPERTIES from their husband's families? Since these punitive, humiliating and dehumanizing practices obtain in all the ethnic nationalities of Nigeria, it is a matter for the Federal Government to legislate against for the whole country, and to stop such practices forthwith. What has President Obasanjo done to effectively extricate the women of Nigeria from these inhuman practices? NOTHING! Yet he is very proud of the Nigerian women he has appointed into his Cabinet who still live under these oppressive conditions described above in their respective ethnic nationalities. What diplomatic finesse are there for the women of Nigeria to herald for President Obasanjo?


The preference of the International Organizations to support the tribal groups right to IDENTITY AND RECOGNITION as opposed to the RIGHTS OF THE GIRL-CHILD AND WOMEN TO BE FREE FROM CERTAIN PRACTICES, SAY, CHILD MARRIAGE, is the same trend of male domination which extends from the individual, to the family, to the community, to the state and to the international organizations. Tribal identity and recognition, as it were, are only found in the practices that oppress women, never in such practices as FACIAL SCARIFICATION BY MEN (Igbu Ichi), which has been banned ages ago without any fanfare. Ultimately, patriarchy establishes interdependence and solidarity among men, which enables them to dominate women - in most cases to hoodwink women. And in Igbo parlance, they say: “Ka eme nya ife ana-eme nwanyi”. (Do to her what is normally done to women). In effect, to trick her or hoodwink her, or leave her in confusion, wondering just what is going on or what has happened, while men get on with “taking care of business as usual”. The men at higher levels can buy off those at the lower levels by offering them power over those still lower, including women. It is this interdependence and solidarity, and closing of ranks among men, which is the strength of their domination over women, and by which men in authority, who can help women, just pay lip service. What has President Obasanjo done to break this chain of injustice in favour of the girl-child and women? NOTHING!!!


The practice of wife-battering, which is condoned by Native Laws and Customs, to tame and discipline the woman, is one of the marks of IDENTITY of tribal groups. Domestic Violence or Wife Battering is treated with levity in Nigeria. Section 252 of the Criminal Code Laws of Nigeria 1990 defines assault and section 351 penalizes assault.

The criminal code is however silent on wife-battery. In reality, wife battery is treated by the Police as FAMILY AFFAIR and is, therefore, neither investigated, nor the batterer charged to Court or even restrained from battering his wife. IRONICALLY, IF THE WOMAN IS BEATEN TO DEATH, THE HUSBAND IS CHARGED TO COURT FOR MURDER. See the case of Nafiu Rabiu Vs. The State 1980 8-11 Sc. WHY MUST THE AUTHORITIES WAIT UNTIL THE WOMAN IS KILLED BEFORE THE PERSECUTOR IS RESTRAINED OR PROSECUTED? What has President Obasanjo done for women in this regard except keep quiet and pretend that these conditions do not exist? NOTHING!!!

Nigeria is a signatory to many International Conventions and Treaties and Human Rights Laws that guarantee women’s freedoms from discriminatory practices and equal fundamental rights as men. Theses include:

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;
Convention on Political Rights of Women;
Slavery Convention of 1926 as amended; and
Supplementary Convention on the Abolition of Slavery, the Slave Trade; and
Institutions and Practices Similar to Slavery.

It is the duty of the Federal Government, headed by President Obasanjo who goes to defend the human rights of the women of other African countries, to implement the international conventions and treaties concerning the fundamental human rights of the girl-child and women in Nigeria. These have been neglected over long periods of time, ESPECIALLY BY THE MILITARY RULERS WHO DO NOT WANT THEM TO EVEN BE MENTIONED.Yet he as well as the other MILITARY MEN WANT WOMEN TO CONTINUE VOTING FOR THEM TO CONTINUE RULING NIGERIA.
President Obasanjo should tell us which one of these United Nations Conventions he has domiciled and implemented for Nigerian women in the last nine years that he has been in the saddle, as Head of State of the Federal Government of Nigeria?


If the Constitution would be properly amended and the provisions of these Charters and Conventions complied with and enforced in Nigeria, women would not be complaining at all. But the snag is the unfavorable attitudes of the dominant group in power - men - towards implementing them. Therefore, the Charters, Conventions and Treaties, of the African Union and the United Nations, become mere paper tigers, toothless bulldogs, and the epitome of: Justice Delayed Which Is Justice Denied! A law just on paper is a stillborn and moribund law and, therefore, useless, void and of no effect! What has President Obasanjo done to change the situation? NOTHING!!!

It will do a world of good to the people, especially to women, to have the most obnoxious of customary laws abrogated, some amended, and then codify and harmonize them, with the statutory laws, into one body of laws for each ethnic people, as it has been done in South Africa. There is no need to continue to have two or three bodies of laws, complicated with the unwritten and un-codified customary laws, for one and the same people. After all, the governments – customary and constitutional - are all in the hands of the people now as there are no more foreigners to hide from, fight or compete with. When the Laws are harmonized, then and only then will women know what laws that govern them and which they have to live by; not the ever fluid and changing customary practices as they are now. This is an initiative that a Head of State will have to take for the modernization of the laws of the land and governance. Has President Obasanjo or any of his predecessors in-office done anything about it? THE ANSWER IS A CAPITAL NO!!! what then do we herald?


The Constitution of Nigeria, which President Obasanjo, the man with diplomatic finesse has sworn to protect and to defend, lacks specificity about the female gender. For instance: the lack of specificity or the unwillingness of the Government, and even the international organizations, to specifically write in the feminine gender separately, in the Constitution and in statements to include women as persons, causes confusion, ambiguity and lacks clarity. The idea that the female gender is inclusive in the male gender is a fallacy and unfair. It is the same deliberate tactics of leaving women out, and having them go on to protest and to pressurize to the ears of men, which have been tuned off and deafened, that is still going on. If women are meant to be included as persons, much time and energy and stress would be saved by simply saying or writing in: “men and women; he and she; him and her”; from the very beginning. This ambiguity of the female being included in the male is mischievous, trickery, hoodwinking, fraudulent and a manifestation of the Government running with the hares and chasing with the hounds. President Obasanjo should be pressurizing, in behalf of women, to have the Constitution amended to re-arrange references to women equitably and to accommodate the girl-child and women properly, rather than to amend it so that he can stay on in office. What has President Obasanjo done for women in this regard? NOTHING! And yet they are expected to herald his diplomatic finesse!!!


The children of Nigeria – girls and boys - are still being trafficked at home and abroad, with impunity, for domestic labour and sex trade. What has President Obasanjo done to save Nigeria’s children from this shameful state of affairs, other than to look the other way, as the home and foreign mass media report? NOTHING! I have read of a case where more than 50 children were going to be shipped overseas in ocean-going crates used to carry fish across the ocean to Europe and America before the traffickers were caught. This may not be an isolated case. But suppose that this consignment was not caught? The economic conditions at home that make parents to give up their children, to be taken overseas, in the belief that they would soon be sending money home to them, must be very desperate.


Above all, with all the oil-wealth of Nigeria, which Udujie says she is awash with, there is no Social Welfare Support for anybody in Nigeria - indigent widows and orphans, the unemployed and elderly or handicapped and destitute, etc. Why? It is because the Treasury of the country is looted by the men in high offices; there is no transparency in accountability; there is widespread financial impropriety and mismanagement; there is insatiable appetite of those who loot even though they have become richer than the State and Federal Governments; and because they have no PATRIOTISM and SHAME! THEY HAVE DONE NOTHING FOR THE PEOPLE! YET THEY ARE REQUIRED TO HERALD WITH FANFARE WHAT THEIR PRESIDENT HAS BEEN DOING FOR OTHER COUNTRIES!


It is very good that Mr. Udujie outlined some of the things that are wrong with the PDP as well. Well placed PDP members have said it that what is wrong with their Party is President Obasanjo himself, because he would not let other people elected into offices do their jobs. He tries to do his job as well as the jobs of the other people. In other words, he meddles too much in other people’s jobs and businesses beyond what it should be. The President has also been reported as saying that he is all and all in the Party and in the Government, and that no one else in Nigeria can do the job as well as he would or better than he.


President Obasanjo should know that he has lost the confidence of Nigerians, except those of the ones he pays to keep on singing his praises and to go on telling him what he wants to hear. He is even too cowardly and arrogant to talk to Nigerians directly himself. He keeps mute but prods other people with back-hand to go on saying one thing or the other or yes or no; in his behalf. But General Gowon has let the cat out of the bag by revealing part of the letter written to him by Obasanjo’s third-term promoters, prompting him to support his third-term bid, so as to enable him carry on with his programmes until he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. When will that be? When he chooses?

This is hallucinations of grandeur; the conceitedness of a man who has lost his head. Can the people supporting Obasanjo not see that this man has become too drunk with power; has become a robot; has no intelligible limits and, therefore, has to be stopped? If he cannot be made to understand that he should leave now that there will still be some ovation left for him, at least by his henchmen, he has to be dragged out of office, and be booed out in ignominy. It is said that: "Ijiji na enwero ezigbo ndumodu ka aneni nya na ozu”, meaning that: A fly that does not have good advice is buried with the corpse”. IF HE IS LEFT TO ACT BY HIMSELF, FOR 2007, OBASANJO WILL RIG THE ELECTIONS AND DECLARE HIMSELF WINNER, WITH THE HEEP OF HIS MENTORS, AS USUAL!!!

Is this not self delusion? The reason he wants to stay on in office is the very reason for which he should get out. Does he not know that Nigerians believe that he has exhausted his tricks and wits about governance and about staying in power? He does not even have to wait to exhaust his tricks and wits before leaving. He has exhausted his terms of office. Period! His problem is that he cannot get himself to leave the glow of the aura and trappings of the office – the limelight! This is the mindset that makes him see himself above the law and so cannot operate by the rule of law. In a way, it is the effect of faulty home up-bringing. If he had obeyed his parents as he should have, he would know that this stubbornness to hold on to the office is very counter-productive.

But leave he must. Governments are supposed to be progressive, successive and continuous, one person handing over to the other. Any Government that is worth its salt has a series of programmes on hand: some starting; some in progress; and others finishing, at any given time. For a Head of State to want to stay to see all of his programmes materialize means that he would be there till the end of his life, succeeding himself. Does he know that by that bid to stay, he is giving the impression that he has skeletons in the cupboard that he would not want anybody else to see? But the skeletons in his cupboard must be seen. His programmes must also be seen, assessed, evaluated, and some discontinued or continued, according to how relevant they are to the people’s needs and aspirations. Eleven years are enough for him to prove his mettle in the governance of Nigeria. It is time for him to throw in the towel!


It is odd how President Obasanjo is using the Igbo to play on the Igbo – all for money. Are these Ndi Igbo trying to live up to the proverbial Igbo whose death is tested and confirmed when he does not awaken to the sound of a few pieces of coins in a tin-can, shaken at his ears? Almost all of his chorus boys are or have been Igbo – Ojo Maduekwe, Paul Udujie, Okey Ndibe, Frank Nweke Jr., Chris Uba, Governor Chimaraoke Nnamani, etc inspite of all the atrocities Obasanjo has committed against Ndi Igbo, and continues to commit on daily basis. Obasanjo’s latest on Ndi Igbo is his order to close Ibeto’s Cement Factory in Port Harcourt, which provides employment for hundreds of people that he could not. There is no Federal Government presence whatsoever in the South East, especially in Igbo land, except civil war memorials. And what Ndi Igbo are able to do for themselves, Obasanjo closes down and destroys. Is this the type of Obasanjo’s wicked diplomatic finesse that Ndi Igbo should herald?

This is a proper case of “a dog in the manger” – who would not eat what is in the manger, but would allow the any one that would eat to come close or to eat. How much more wickedness could President Obasanjo exhibit towards Ndi Igbo to satisfy his sadism and cruelty, simply because they had to defend themselves in a war that he and his colleagues unleashed on them? Are Ndi Igbo the only people that have ever been involved in a civil war? Ndi Igbo have been made to understand, according to an interview granted to Chido Nwangwu by Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu that he, President Obasanjo, has asked Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to denounce Biafra so that they could work together. I suppose, by extension, so that he could also forgive Ndi Igbo. I think that he would wait forever for Ikemba to renounce Biafra. Ndi Igbo would also be ready for more of Obasanjo’s antics; continue to work for the realignment of Nigeria; and to outlive Obasanjo and his ilk!!!


Ndi Igbo who are promoting Obasanjo for credibility and a further term of office, like Chris Uba, should: “Fie isa n’anya”, which , literally, means to: “Wipe their eyes with all their fingers seven times”, as Ndi Igbo say it. Furthermore: “Onye atu gbulu nna ya ejiro mpi atu anwu mmili”, that is to say that: “One whose father was killed by a buffalo does not drink with the cup of a buffalo’s horn”. Besides, “Ejiro okwu ochu amu okwu”, and that is to say that: “One does not learn to speak by adopting murderous words or terms”. Ndi Igbo who are supporting and promoting Obasanjo should know what they are doing and where they are heading. They should take a cue from the cases of Major Hamza Al Mustapha, Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi, and Co. with General Sani Abacha. THAT DIRECTION WOULD APPEAR TO BE LEADING TO THE PROMISE OF: GOD’S CASE, NO APPEAL!!!!

Oyibo E. Odinamadu (Mrs.)

Posted by Administrator at February 23, 2006 07:17 AM


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