Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Criminal Politics - a report by HRW

Human Rights Watch has released an extensive report on the political situation in Nigeria,
called Criminal Politics: Violence, “Godfathers” and Corruption in Nigeria
click here for the Pdf version

Highlights from the report:

in Yardy's state (and this was while he was still governor)
Direct State Sponsorship of Thugs in Katsina:
In at least one Nigerian state, Katsina, the state government paid money directly to
gangs of youth who were accused of carrying out widespread political violence in
return for those payments.
Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua served as Governor of Katsina State for eight years until being elected president in April 2007. According to former state government officials, civil society activists and PDP Youth members, his administration used state government money to maintain several thousand “PDP Youth” on a regular monthly stipend of N5000 ($38).

One former state government official told Human Rights Watch that this PDP youth organization was essentially a perversion of an initiative to empower unemployed youth in the state:

"Before 2003 the idea was brought at a Government House meeting to establish
television viewing centers in all of the wards. Some of us vehemently opposed this
on the basis that this was not an acceptable legacy to bequeath on the youth. [We]
suggested computer training centers. The idea was accepted but [later] this thing
suddenly became, “Let’s give them a N5000 allowance.” [These youth] have since
become a reservoir of thugs."
Akala suggests new career for Adedibu

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Christopher Alao Akala at his
campaign office in Ibadan two months prior to his election as Governor of Oyo State.
Human Rights Watch asked Alao-Akala to explain his relationship with Chief Adedibu
as well as Adedibu’s role in the politics of Oyo State:

"For God’s sake, this man is an old man, you cannot reform him, you can only manage him. This man has been in politics since politics began in Nigeria. Can you just wish him away like that? If you go to his house you will see pictures of all the past leaders he has worked with…

Chief Adedibu has sponsored everybody—everybody who is who and who in Oyo state politics has passed through that place.

This man belongs to an old school of thought. If, for example, he asked me, Mr. Governor, I want you to kill this one tomorrow I would say, “Yes, sir.” Then I would go back the following day and say, “Why do you want us to kill that man?”
Then I will provide another solution— we will not kill him, let us bring him to order. If he asked me for N100, I will say, “Yes, sir.” But then the next day, I will say, “Baba, I am sorry, I
don’t have the N100, here is N20 for you to manage.”
That is only an example.

I will recommend Baba [Adedibu] as a lecturer at the University [of
Ibadan] to teach, to lecture students about practical politics."

The Uba-Ngige's "Agreement"
The following are excerpts from a Human Rights Watch interview with Anambra State
political “godfather” Chris Uba at his Enugu residence in February 2007:

"I have been in politics from 1999 and even before, but 2003 is the time I produced a Governor for the State. Since that 2003 I have been handling the party—the PDP—and we have been doing well and we did not have any problem in the party.

When he [Ngige] became Governor he started playing funny. That is where we disagree, we signed before he became governor. We said that I am going to produce [appoint] six to seven Commissioners. He is going to produce [some] because he is governor already. I am going to produce more; he is going to produce lesser…

I spent a lot of money to put him there but I never asked him for my money back. Ngige was trying to be smart, trying to run the government on his own.…
The problem is Ngige being a politician who did not invest one naira, not even one kobo, wanted to run away with everything and not even share one appointment.

That is why he heaped this blackmail upon me…I cannot tell him to give me N3 billion because I know that he does not have it! The allocation to Anambra in one month is not up to N3 billion!
I am supposed to bring the Commissioner for Finance, this man who funded the campaign is supposed to be Commissioner of Works, I said, look, you signed it, and not under duress.

The problem is the immunity the governors are having, everything they are having, you spend your money to bring them into power and they say “Go to hell.”
It should be just like, you invest in a bank and then you have power to make some decisions because of your controlling shares. But he blackmails you and pays the press to go say all sorts of bad things about you and put it in the internet."

In the annex of the report is a copy of the "agreement" between Chris Uba (Godfather) and the former governor of Anambra state, Chris Ngige.


Anonymous said...

I prayed that none of those examples be true but the excerpts from some fictional satire of government in some nether land.

It is criminal and definitely a culture of impunity that people have to accept, condone and acquiesce to this kind of governance.

This report can set off a few conflagrations in the words of Wole Soyinka and maybe it is time for there to be a rupture and shake-down of Nigeria so that truth, probity, honesty, integrity and justice prevail in all matters.

Dami said...

OMG!! I love the example akala gave: go and kill that man! bloody hell..

I wonder if the average Nigerian have access to these reports; they'll be boiling
"its like investing in a bank...????