Wednesday 23 December 2020

Sacking Service Chiefs May Not Be Our Solution To Ending Insurgency… Aduwo

Olufemi Aduwo Is the permanent representative of the Centre For Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) to the United Nations, and president, Rights Monitoring Group. In this interview, he speaks on insurgency, #ENDSARS protest and the army engagement, among other sundry issues...

The country's biggest challenge has been insecurity, fueled by insurgency. What is insurgency and how did we get here?

The distinction between terrorism and insurgency is blurred. As a consequence, significant misunderstanding exists in the relationship between the concepts of terrorism and insurgency, terms often used interchangeably by policymakers, non-governmental organisations and the media. The terms are not interchangeable. Not all insurgencies employ terror, and not all terrorists are insurgents. Insurgencies have an alternative vision of how to organise society, and they use various instruments, ranging from public service to terror, to realise that vision. Terrorism may be embedded in and subordinate to insurgency. But terrorism may also exist outside of insurgency, animated by sheer revulsion toward the status quo, without offering or striving for an alternative.

The insurgent activity is designed to weaken government control and legitimacy using guerrilla warfare, terrorism, political mobilisation, propaganda, front and covert party organisations and international activity. Significantly, a common characteristic of insurgent groups is the intent to control a particular area and or population. This objective differentiates insurgents from terrorists, whose objectives do not necessarily include the creation of an alternative governing authority capable of controlling a given area or country. Thus, an insurgency is a contest with the government for support of the people and control over resources and territory.

insurgents exploit and manipulate societal trends and populations through non-violent as well as violent means. They often use propaganda to recruit and promote their cause among potentials. They seek to infiltrate, manipulate, and disrupt discredit government and societal institutions in their effort to gain control. Most insurgent strategies involve attempts to provoke over-reaction by security forces, exacerbate ethnic or sectarian divides, and engender violence.

How did we get here?

It’s an unfortunate but preventable incidence. As we were being told, the late Mohammed Yusuf founded the group around 2001 and 2002.When Boko Haram first started, their actions were non-violent. Their main goal was to purify Islam in northern Nigeria. Things changed after the killing of Yusuf in July 2009.The killing of Yusuf did not escalate the group action; we all know with such religious ideological leaning, definitely the government must intervene. Any discerning person should know that the level of poverty and illiteracy across the north is a time bomb. The leadership of the entire north, both past and present should take the blame.

While many have applauded the army, others feel they have not performed so well in ending it. How will you rate the efforts of the Nigerian Army so far?

Let me answer with a simple illustration. The United States needed only three and a half years to defeat the Axis in World War II. During that war, Germany alone fielded more than 20 million soldiers. So, when U.S. Admiral John Kirby, the spokesperson for the most powerful military force the world has ever known, was asked how long it might take to defeat the modest threat posed by ISIS, he said that it could take five years, six years or even more. It’s well known that fighting insurgencies is challenging. The war against the Taliban started in 1994.

The achievements made so far to weaken these terrorist groups was by United States support. If such assistance were available to Nigeria military, Boko Haram would be a thing of the past within a year.

Regardless, the cowardly attack of Boko Haram in the past four years the military has achieved a lot. When you compare the territory controlled by Boko Haram before 2016 and what they control now, the military has done a tremendous job by taking over more territory from them.

Removal of Service Chiefs would not provide the arms and fighter jets needed. l think the reason why the Chief of Army Staff is selected for attack is probably because he is a professional who doesn't believe he must lobby any political leaders or politicians to retain his position. And, l notice, in Nigeria truth is bitter; insurgency cum terrorism war is a long war. l think the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation Agency have a role to play; people must be informed and understand the difference between fighting insurgency and civil war.

There is a general saying that terrorism war is difficult to end. Why is this so?

Insurgencies can be categorised in a number of ways; two of the most common ways are to distinguish insurgencies by their goals or by the primary method they employ. These categories are archetypes, however, and many insurgencies exhibit characteristics combining multiple types, or their goals may evolve during the course of the conflict. In some conflicts, multiple insurgent groups may operate simultaneously, either competing with one another or setting aside the fact that they may have differing views on post-conflict governance to form temporary alliances against the government.

Nevertheless, at the broadest level, the goals of an insurgency most often fall into one of five categories. Revolutionary insurgencies seek to replace the existing political order with an entirely different system, often entailing transformation of the economic and social structures. Reformist insurgencies do not aim to change the existing political order but, instead, seek to compel the government to alter its policies or undertake political, economic, or social reforms. Separatist insurgencies seek independence for a specific region. Resistance insurgencies seek to compel an occupying power to withdraw from a given territory. Commercialist insurgencies are motivated by the acquisition of wealth or material resources; political power is simply a tool for seizing and controlling access to the wealth.

Another way of categorizing insurgency is to focus on their organizational structure and whether the insurgents stress the political or military aspects of their struggle.

Insurgents, of course, may adjust their organization during the course of a conflict. With this background, to defeat Boko Haram, will depend on our military capability, identify the foreign financiers and how well prepared the civil populace are willing to assist the military.

There are clamours for the removal of service chiefs as a way of changing strategy. What is your take on this?

I said it earlier, the service chiefs’ removal would not add arms and weapons needed to defeat Boko. l read it many times, where people talk of fresh ideas.    It seems many people who are asking for service chiefs’ removal do not have full knowledge on how military policies developed, which is bottom-up method. No service chiefs sit alone and develop policies and strategies on military operations.

Lekki Toll Gate shooting became an international discussion that attracted condemnation. What category of people would you blame for the escalation of the protest and its attendant fallout?

I will restrain myself a little on Lekki Toll Gate alleged shooting, but let me make a disclosure. During the ENDSARS protest, l visited both Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate protest centres. Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) organisation has the consultative status of ECOSOC/United Nations, which make me the permanent representative of the organisation to United Nations. We are permitted to deploy five persons yearly to attend meetings at United Nations, New York, Vienna and Geneva, and we are allowed where necessary to embark on political assignment on behalf of United Nations. l am an affiliate member of Amnesty International, regardless l don't know the Nigeria Office.

The army engagement on the last day of ENDSARS was due to curfew imposed by Gov. Sanwo-Olu, and he made the curfew announcement around 10 a.m. when people had left home for work, and he wanted the curfew to start by 4 p.m., which is not possible, considering the traffic in Lagos state. The governor said he shifted the curfew imposition from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and he relay it around 6 p.m., when the curfew had commenced. That was a suicidal blunder on the part of Lagos Government. The Lagos State governor is culpable and those who removed the lights at toll gates should be treated as murderers. Like l said, we are working with the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Both the civil society organisations and government officials are being economical with the truth on Lekkigate shooting. For example, if ten military men were at Lekki Toll Gate, each would be there with two magazines and each magazine contains between 20 and 30 bullets; l hope that would give you a clear picture of the narrative going around.

Nigerian economy is seriously on the downward curve. What is the way forward?

I started attending the World Bank & IMF boards of governors’ meetings since 2012 as a returnee. At the Civil Society Forum and meetings with World Bank executive directors l have consistently argued that the bank must engage the people before loans are given. No country that borrows for consumption the way we are doing could survive the economic disgrace as being witnessed now. l raised the alarm and published in many newspapers. Thank God governor El Rufai has joined the crusade. As President Obasanjo, a friend and a father said, l called for a stronger synergy between the federal government and the citizens in addressing the issues affecting the country. With the current insecurity, economic instability, the citizens must be resolute and proactive in addressing the logjam. These challenges are not really new except that they have taken a different dimension.

Are you still advocating for restructuring?

Of course. But l don't want either Biafra or Oodua Republics. l am a federalist. We must go back to the 1960 constitution and where it’s necessary, to amend the constitution. The arrangement whereby states get allocation for what they don't work for negates the ideals of federalism our forefathers agreed upon. Only a few oil producing states and Lagos State are fiscally sustainable; many of the states are parasites and Almajiris.

2023 is here, and both the North and the South are clamouring for the slot. Do you think power should shift to the South?

Ideally, l care not where who rule comes from, but for the sake of equity and self-belonging, l will advise the other tribe, apart from the North and South West produce the next president, possibly South east; l hope they would be serious. During President Obasanjo’s eight years in power, lbo was allotted senate presidency. Within eight years, they produced four senate presidents from four states out of five. You can draw a conclusion from that trend.

Monday 14 December 2020

Nigeria: A Failed Or Failing Nation- State? By Olufemi Aduwo.

Because of its subjective nature, there is no single,agreed upon definition of the term “failed state” by the non state actors.Much like beauty, “failure” is in the eye of the beholder.However, a state is generally considered to have “failed” when it is no longer able to consistently and legitimately enforce its laws or provide its citizens with basic goods and services. Typical factors contributing to a state’s failure include insurgency, high crime rates,ineffective and impenetrable bureaucracy, corruption,judicial incompetence and military interference in politics.

Basically a failed state, is a state that is unable to perform the two fundamental functions of the sovereign nation-state in the modern world system: it cannot project authority over its territory and peoples, and it cannot protect its national boundaries.The governing capacity of a failed state is attenuated such that it is unable to fulfill the administrative and organisational tasks required to control people and resources and can provide only minimal public services. Its citizens no longer believe that their government is legitimate, and the state becomes illegitimate in the eyes of the international community.

A failed state is composed of feeble and flawed institutions.Often, the executive barely functions, while the legislature, judiciary, bureaucracy, and armed forces have lost their capacity and professional independence.A failed state suffers from crumbling infrastructures, faltering utility supplies and educational and health facilities, and deteriorating basic human-development indicators, such as infant mortality and literacy rates. Failed states create an environment of flourishing corruption and negative growth rates,where honest economic activity cannot flourish.

The dynamics leading to and compounding state failure are many and varied, including civil war, ethnic violence or genocide, and predatory government and bureaucratic behaviour. State failure comes in degrees and is often a function of both the collapse of state institutions and societal collapse.A strong state provides core guarantees to its citizens and others under its jurisdiction in the three interrelated realms of security, economics, and politics.A failed state cannot maintain a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence and minimize internal conflict.

 It cannot formulate or implement public policies to effectively build infrastructure and deliver services or effective and equitable economic policies.In addition, it cannot provide for the representation and political empowerment of its citizens or protect civil liberties and fundamental human rights.Thus, state failure manifests itself when a state can no longer deliver physical security, a productive economic environment, and a stable political system for its people.

The total collapse of the state marks the final, extreme phase of state failure, and very few states can be described as completely failed or collapsed. Yet, research demonstrates that many states suffer from various degrees of weakness and are therefore potential candidates for failure. Weak states were failing with increasing frequency, most of them in Africa but also a handful in Asia and the Middle East, and failed states are known to be hospitable to and to harbour dangerous nonstate actors such as warlords and groups that commit terrorist acts.

 For example, at the end of the 20th century, Somalia descended into state collapse under rival warlords, and Afghanistan, a failed state under the Taliban regime, harboured the terrorist group al-Qaeda. Furthermore,state failure poses pressing humanitarian issues and possible emergency relief and state-building responsibilities for the international community. 

Consequently, understanding the dynamics of state failure and strengthening weak nation-states in the developing world assumed new urgency.Where is Nigeria as a nation- state direction of movement ?

Olufemi Aduwo 
Permanent Representative of Center for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) to United Nations/ECOSOC 

The D -Day For Electoral College: Here’s What To Expect.By Olufemi Aduwo.

The members of the Electoral College will gather in their respective states on Monday to cast their official ballots for president. Ordinarily, the process is little more than a formal duty to rubber-stamp the results of the November election. For weeks, President Trump and his allies have pressured Republican officials to ignore the popular vote in close-fought states won by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and appoint their own electors who would favor Mr.Trump.They have also asked courts to hand victory to the president in states he lost. 

But judges and Republican state lawmakers have shown little appetite for subverting the democratic process, and the electors have remained.As they vote on Monday, Mr. Trump is essentially guaranteed to end the day as he began it: a one-term president. Here’s more on how the voting will work, and on the next steps in the process:

Can I watch the Electoral College vote? 

Yes — most states offer livestreams to watch the proceedings, including crucial battlegrounds won by Mr. Biden. Here are links for four of them: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia. 
The electors don’t meet in one place or at one time; some start at 10 a.m. Eastern, and most vote in the afternoon. California, the crucial state for Mr. Biden to achieve 270 Electoral College votes, meets at 5 p.m. Eastern.Electors for each state and the District of Columbia meet at a location chosen by the state legislature, most often the state’s capitol. The Delaware electors are meeting in a gym. Nevada is the only state holding its meeting virtually this year. 

How does the Electoral College voting work? 

The electors cast their ballots for president and vice president via paper ballot. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia legally require their electors to choose whoever won the state’s popular vote, so there should be no surprises there. The other 17 states don’t “bind” their electors, meaning they can vote for whomever they choose. 

The electors were chosen by state parties (if Mr. Biden won a state, for example, the Democrats’ slate of electors casts the votes). Typically, electors are political activists, officials, donors and people with close relationships to the candidates — meaning they are very likely to vote for the candidate they pledged to support. In 2016, seven electors lodged protest votes for someone other than their party’s candidate. But the likelihood of “faithless electors” switching sides and handing the election to Mr. Trump is essentially zero. 

After the electors cast their ballots, the votes are counted and the electors sign certificates showing the results. These are paired with certificates from the governor’s office showing the state’s vote totals. The certificates are sent to Vice President Mike Pence, in his capacity as president of the Senate; the Office of the Federal Register; the secretary of state of the respective state; and the chief judge of the Federal District Court where the electors meet. 

What happens next? 

Congress officially counts the votes in a joint session held in the House chamber on Jan. 6, with Mr. Pence presiding. Mr. Pence opens the certificates — in alphabetical order by state — and presents them to four “tellers,” two from the House and two from the Senate, who count the votes. When Mr. Biden reaches a majority with 270 votes, Mr. Pence announces the result. 

The proceeding is strictly prescribed by federal law, down to where various politicians sit in the chamber. (Mr. Pence gets the speaker’s chair, Speaker Nancy Pelosi sits to his left, and the “tellers” sit at the clerks’ desks.)The session cannot be ended until the count is complete and the result publicly declared. At this point, the election is officially decided. The only remaining task is the inauguration on Jan. 20. 

Which Congress runs the process? Since the new members will be sworn in on Jan. 3, the next Congress will conduct this joint session. Democrats will hold control of the House and Republicans will control the Senate, regardless of the results of the Georgia runoff elections on Jan. 5, because Mr. Pence will still be in office to act as the tiebreaking vote if the chamber is split 50 to 50. 

Can members of Congress block the results? 

There is no debate permitted during the counting of the electoral votes. But after the result is read, members of Congress get one opportunity to lodge their concerns.Any objection to a state’s results must be made in writing and be signed by at least one senator and one member of the House. The two chambers would then separate to debate the objection. Each member of Congress can speak only once — for five minutes — and after two hours the debate is cut off. Each body then votes on whether to reject the state’s results. 

Since the Electoral Count Act was passed in 1887, there have been just two instances of congressional objections, in 1969 and 2005. Neither passed either the House or the Senate. 

What’s the likelihood of Congress changing the outcome? 

Stopping Mr. Biden from assuming office remains a long-shot strategy for Republicans.For an objection to stand, it must pass both houses of Congress by a simple majority. If the vote followed party lines, Republicans could not block Mr. Biden’s victory. Democrats control the House, so an objection would already be doomed there.In the Senate, Democrats would need to pick off only a couple of Republicans to side with them to vote down the objection.A number of Republican senators have declared Mr. Biden the president-elect.With some Trump allies already planning objections, the congressional session is likely to make for good political theater. But the process has little chance of changing the outcome of the election. 

Olufemi Aduwo,is a veteran election observer .He was a member of Nigeria- INEC Election observation Team to United States in 2008 and the only Nigerian accredited by United Kingdom Electoral Commission for 2009 general elections and 2016 referendum.He has served as technical supporting staff to AU and ECOWAS election mission.Currently with Rights Monitoring Group and Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (RMG& CCDI ) as the President and CEO & 

Sunday 13 December 2020


The presidential system of government was invented by America’s founders in 1787. It is a democratic and republican government in which the head of state is also the head of government. He leads an executive branch that is separate from the legislative branch and is elected directly by the people as the Chief Executive of the country. Being the Chief Executive of the country, the President possesses great powers. 

All the executive powers of government are vested in him subject only to the checks and balances of the legislature and judiciary as enshrined in the constitution. The quality of the leadership of the President in a presidential system of government determines the direction, character, fortunes or misfortunes of the country. The presidential election 2020 in United States of America has “trumped” up a lot of lessons for generations yet unborn to learn from. 

There is no silver bullet in a democracy to prevent the emergence of a queer, unconventional, conspiratorial, dishonest, corrupt, selfish and destructive leader from time to time. Washington Post as at 15th October, 2020, had documented about 25,000 lies and falsehoods told by President Donald Trump since his inauguration as the President of the United States of America on January 20th, 2017, which is about 1358 days on an average of about 18 lies per day. He crossed the 20,000 mark on 9th July, 2020. 

A case of the most powerful country in the world producing the most powerful liar as President. His niece, Mary Trump, lamented in her book, “Too Much and Never Enough”, how her family created the world’s most dangerous man. She practically described her uncle as a “criminal, cruel and traitorous” and belongs in prison after he leaves the White House. 

Almost every official who left the service of the White House in Trump’s regime echoed same sentiments. Mitt Romney, the Utah Republican Senator and former Republican Presidential Candidate, opined that Trump has a relaxed relationship with the truth. The mere fact that Trump himself is considering a preemptive pardon for himself and family before the expiration of his tenure is a subtle admission that he may have run a criminal enterprise as President which may later come back to hunt him and family after his disengagement as President. Trump uses such adjectives as nasty, dog, monster to describe female opponents. 

Whoever is an opponent to Donald Trump is marked for destruction. Trump lives for Trump only. In his world, it’s either you are a winner or a fighter, there’s no room for a failure or loser. Perhaps, the most troubling of all alleged misdemeanours of Donald Trump is his insistence that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in favour of his opponent, Joe Biden and his refusal to concede defeat. This assertion of his was done without a scintilla of evidence. It challenges the integrity of elections, not only in the US, but undermines democracy world wide. 

Nations that had used the USA as the shining example of democracy to their citizens are at a loss what to tell their citizens on the current happenings in the US. Mitt Romney described his unfounded attempt to overturn the will of the people in the 2020 presidential election won by Joe Biden as madness.The lesson here is that no system is perfect and every country should be allowed to evolve their own system of democracy. Not even in the most backward third world country has there been a leader like Donald Trump. 

If Donald Trump had won a second term in 2020, this article would have been titled “America: The Emerging Third World”, because 8 years of Donald Trump would have changed the character of America permanently and forever.Another lesson is that leadership matters. Before, the arrival of Donald Trump on the political horizon of the US, one lie from a presidential candidate can make the candidate lose election and a lie from any civil servant might make him lose his job.

Indeed, Michael Flynn, Trump’s first National Security Adviser, lost his job, in the early days of Trump’s presidency, for telling a lie to Vice President Mike Pence that he didn’t meet with the Russian Ambassador in US, whereas he did. As Trump started manifesting avalanche of lies, it didn’t take time before most civil servants working for the government and republican party members started toeing his steps and the competition in American bureaucracy now is who will lie more to be in the good books of Trump. 

People who tell the truth are fired while the liars are promoted. Chris Krebs, the election official in charge of the cyber-safety of the elections, was sacked by President Trump for publicly declaring the 2020 US presidential election “the most secure election in the history of America” in contradiction to Trump’s claim that it was the most fraudulent election in US history.

The Republican Governor of Georgia was called a moron by Trump for refusing to rig Georgian election in favour of Trump. Dr Scott, who is not even an epidemiologist, was elevated to become Trump’s closest adviser on coronavirus because he was echoing Trump’s lies on the consequences of the coronavirus on the people and diminishing the importance of wearing masks, social distancing etc, while Dr Fauci and Dr Birx, well known epidemiologists, were benched because Trump found their honest comments on the coronavirus embarrassing to him. 

As a result, 289,450 Americans died from coronavirus complications, while a total of 15,392,979 Americans were infected, the highest in the world, as at 9th December, 2020. It was Alexander the Great who once said that an army of sheep led by a lion will become lions while an army of lions led by a sheep will become sheep. Leadership matters. Any country that gives its leadership to men without integrity is finished. 

A lesson for Nigerian politicians is the fact that the only reason why elected leaders in a democracy are given some months before being sworn in is to enable them form their government before the swearing-in date so they can hit the ground running from day one. The President-Elect, Joe Biden, started forming his cabinet immediately he was declared the winner of the election. He has selected his health, economic, defence, communication etc team and is ready to start work on day one. This is what democratic transition should be. Every situation is treated like an emergency.

In Nigeria, some elected leaders waste months after being sworn in to form a government leading to an irrecoverable loss of time. We must recognise in this country that time is the most unique resource available to any person, institution, organisation or government, especially in a democracy. It cannot be stopped, stretched, stored or recovered. It can only be managed.Time is life and a wasted time is a wasted life. Politicians who delay in delivering democracy dividends to the citizens are unwittingly wasting the lives of Nigerians. 

In a democracy, four years is four years, whether the elected leader performs or not. In Nigeria, some leaders will be busy travelling around the world and enjoying themselves instead of governing, only to come back to ask for third term when they run out of time. Sorry, you cannot stretch the time. Strong institutions and strong men are very important in a democracy. Strong men build strong institutions and strong institutions defend strong men. 

Were it not for the presence of strong men and strong institutions in America, the country would have gone under even within the first 4 years of Trump. When he employed an associate to man the post office system probably to use him frustrate the mail-in ballots which traditionally tend to favour the Democrats, it was some employees of the post office that raised alarm on the activities of the ally and the pressure from the people and the legislature on him made him reverse some of the obstructive policies and avoid the sabotage of the US mail-in ballots which eventually led to the loss of the election by Trump. 

Recently, the Attorney General of US, Barr, publicly parted ways with Trump by defending the integrity of the US election, stating that there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the election, to the embarrassment of the US President.It is believed that Trump is considering firing him for this and he is considering resigning if that is what it takes to defend the integrity of the election. We must learn to build our institutions to provide enough checks and balances to a recalcitrant leader. Independent, impartial and incorruptible judiciary is a foundation for an enduring democratic society. The US election has demonstrated that justice can be speedily executed in electoral matters. 

Trump had the privilege of appointing many Judges of the Federal, Appeal and Supreme Courts. He appointed three out of nine US Supreme Court Judges. He openly boasted that he will rely on them to give favourable judgement to him in the event of any electoral dispute that may arise after the election. Trump has filed about 50 cases against the declaration of Joe Biden as the duly elected President of the United States of America. 

To his chagrin, he lost 49 out of the 50 cases he filed. Even the Judges he appointed in the Federal, Appeal and Supreme Courts ruled against him. When Trump took his matter to court to nullify the election in Pennsylvania, because he lost, it was an Appellate Judge appointed by Trump that threw out the appeal as lacking in merit asserting that “calling an election unfair does not make it so”. The Supreme Court denied him access to even proceed further with the case in the court. The Judiciary disposed of all these cases within about 34 days from the declaration of the presidential election. 

In Nigeria, the Constitution allows for 180 days to determine election cases yet some politicians are insinuating that it is too small. It is our attitude towards paying undue attention to technicalities rather than substantial justice and corruption that lead to the unnecessary delays in our courts. Justice delayed is justice denied. Our judiciary must be independent in its judgements despite who or the party that appointed them. Their allegiance should be to the country not the appointor. The Judiciary should be the last hope of everybody not just the common man. 

We must all be committed to free, fair, credible and violence-free elections in Nigeria. In a democracy, elections have proved the most peaceful and reliable method of transfer of power from one leader to the other and from one party to the other. Impeachment as a tool of removal of a recalcitrant leader is not reliable.In impeachment,what determines the fate of the leader is not how heinous or shameful the attitude of the leader is, but how many members of the legislature can move against him. It is always deeply partisan in deliberation and an uphill task for the prosecutors to achieve the necessary two-third majority of the legislature needed to remove the erring leader. 

Throughout the history of United States of America, no President has been removed through impeachment. President Trump was impeached by the US House of Representatives dominated by Democrats but was acquitted by the US Senate dominated by the Republicans, despite the acknowledgement by every discerning person that he committed the acts he was alleged to have committed, which was to invite a foreign country, Ukraine, to investigate a political opponent, Joe Biden. 

Americans have demonstrated that they are willing to defend the sanctity of their elections when the Republican controlled states of Georgia and Arizona refused to rig the presidential election to favour Donald Trump, a Republican President, despite the insistence by Trump that they should do so. 

Also the Republican controlled Legislature in Pennsylvania refused to block the certification of the presidential election in Pennsylvania which Biden won. As at the 8th of December, all the 50 States of America and Washington D.C. have certified the elections which were organised under the individual laws of each State. In Nigeria, it will be difficult to remove any President through impeachment because of religious, ethnic, regional and sectional imbalances such removal may introduce. 

We are left with the option of strengthening our electoral system to ensure free and fair elections. We must learn to respect the will of the people freely expressed in a fair election irrespective of whose interests are affected. No sitting President in Nigeria should be allowed to use the security agencies and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to influence and overturn the will of the people in his favour. 

Parties should learn to fight for the survival of democracy before the interests of their parties. We must appreciate what we have and stop thinking that others are better than us. If what is happening in the US were to be happening in Nigeria, some uninformed Nigerians will be screaming “Nigerian factor” and vowing that such a thing will never happen in US. Now that such things are happening in US, no American citizen is screaming “American factor”. They are all saying, “Trump factor”. 

The happenings have revealed that no country or institution is perfect and every nation should be vigilant in defending democracy. We must start becoming original and stop copying other countries. We have what it takes to become the best and soon we shall be by the grace of God. 

Olufemi Aduwo
Center for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) Inc, Maryland, United States,501(c)(3)Non-profit organisation and in Consultative Status with United Nations/ ECOSOC


"If we do not kill corruption,corruption will kill us "(Buhari),with due respect, l consider this statement a bit shallow, lacking in a serious understanding of how societies and human nature work in a semi-primitive society such as ours.My argument has always be ,we should not be talking of fighting corruption, rather, we should see corruption as a symptom of something that is intrinsically wrong with our society, the loss of the moral centre of gravity of our society.

If corruption is so evil,how come we are so much at peace with it? if corruption is so rotten,how come we all seem to enjoy it's company? Why has corruption become so easy and pervasive and why is it that,like MTN would say,it is everywhere you go?What makes it attractive? lf we are so much against it,how is it that we cannot generate a collective sense of moral revulsion? 

But if we are  a serious people with sense of history, how many wars have we won in this country-Nigeria?50 years after civil war,the lbos still believe Biafra is alive,because those who govern us have refused to admit that,in all dishonesty, we have left a few windows open.Why did we not win the war against indiscipline?Why did we not win the way against illiteracy?Why did we not win war against hunger despite operation feed the nation and establishment of dams across the country?Why did we not win the war against armed robbery? Why did we not win the war against poverty? What makes us confident that we will win this war?Should it not be clear to us that there is more than meets the eyes ?

The question we should be asking ourselves now is,how and why is it that every coup plotter in Nigeria hung his colours on the mast of fighting corruption?How come that all successive governments have come in,accusing their predecessors of massive corruption only to turn around and do even worse or leave a similar legacy of rot?.Let me draw from a few or speeches of coup plotters to illustrate this tragedy and argued that we are all cupable and that we are also sinners,not a bunch of innocent people who have been sinned against. Let me very briefly trace this same trajectory to make a point. On January 15,1966 (l was then three years old) ,Major Nzeogwu told a stunned nation that he and his colleagues had intervened to establish a strong, united and prosperous nation,free from corruption.

The high point of his speech was when he said: "Our enemies are the political profiteers...As we know,he and his men went on to commit heinous crimes against this nation by killing innocent men and finally triggering off the ugly events that led to a civil war.When the war ended, General Gowon was overthrown on July 29,1975( the year l entered secondary school).Brigadier Murtala Muhammed stated,that the military had intervened because:"Despite our great human and material resources, the government has not been able to fulfill the legitimate expectations of our people.

Nigeria has been left to drift" Nearly all the governors who served under Gowon regime.were indicted of corruption except Brigadier Rotimi Oluwole,of western state and Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson of Lagos State.Even the charlatan Lt-Colonel BS Dimka, opened greeted Nigerians on February 13,1976 by saying "l bring you good tidings " and ended his speech by reminding Nigerians: We are together " On December 31,1983 the nation woke up to the voice of one Brigadier Sanni Abacha who conscripted Nigerians into the witness box by arguing:You have been witnesses to the grave economic predicament and uncertainty which an inept and corrupt leadership has imposed on our beloved nation...Our economy has been mis-managed.

We have become a debtor and a beggar nation...ln some States workers are being owed salaries of 8-12 months. Abacha concluded that he and his colleagues had intervened because it was their duty as promoters and protectors of our nation interest.The new Head of State was announced as Brigadier General Muhammadu Buhari, who,in his opening address noted:The change became necessary in order to put an end to the serious economic predicament and crisis of confidence afflicting our country...This government will tolerate kickbacks, inflation of contracts and over invoicing of imports ...

When Brigadier Dogon Yaro announced the overthrow of the Buhari administration on August 27,1985,he acknowledged that the government had been welcomed with what he called, "unprecedented enthusiasm"He complained that members of the supreme military council has been sidelined and made redundant because only ....a select few members were charged with the day to day implementation of the SMC's policies and decisions...The concept of collective leadership has been substituted by stubborn and I'll advised unilateral actions thereby destroying the principles upon which the military came to power.On the same day,General Abacha ,in his own speech ,complained: The Buhari leadership lacked the capacity and the capability to lead this nation out of its social and economic predicament...

lt is most disheartening that most of the ills that plagued the nation during the civilian regime are still present in our society. President Babaginda then stepped up and opened his speech by reminding a stunned nation that Buhari had come to power with the most popular enthusiasm accorded any government in the history of this country...He continued: Buhari was too rigid and uncompromising in his attitudes to issues of national significance...Babaginda made the usual noises about the State of economy and the plans to end economic mismanagement and place the nation on the path of rectitude.

Then General Abacha came back a third time ,this time to oust Chief Ernest Shonekan.This was a rather curious speech because it was like no other. General Abacha broke from tradition of denigrating his predecessor as a way of justifying his coup.lnstead ,he commended Shonekan for ,his own words, "showing the greater courage of knowing when to leave"be promised to lay a solid foundation for the growth of democracy.He ended his speech by again lamenting Chief Shonekan who  again,in his words,"unfortunately, resigned yesterday "stated that the government was a child of necessity out to enthrone lasting democracy!!

The civilian counterparts are not fare better ,check all the campaigns since 2003,the same song of corruption and bad governance. 

l know l sound like a bearer of bad news, a cynic or one who does not support Buhari's war as my enemies have concluded. indeed, the opposite is actually the case.First as the American television series "Everybody loves Raymond "Will say,"Everybody loves Buhari " But that is the first danger.It is not in President interest that everyone presents a face of love for him.The country is more than one person.  

Mr.President Buhari himself l said that much.What the President needs is an army of non-partisan  patriots committed to supporting him.To the Glory of God Almighty, probably l should be the only or one of the persons who ever wrote President and stated why they would support his government. l wrote him in 2019,copied the late Chief of Staff to the President, Mr.Abba Kyari and NSA to the President, l took the letter to the villa submitted and acknowledge copy given to me.ln the letter l stated reasons why l wouldn't support APC/Buhari government because of some characters around the President and President attitude to some serious national matters. 

Building a nation, as diverse as ours,is a tough job and require patience.If we have the patience and ready for the sacrifice,then ,the sky will be a footstone for us.Till then ,we must learn from the likes of Mandela, that it is, indeed a long ,long road to freedom.This is why lam pleased to leave you with the words of Jimmy Cliff, who titled one of his songs, Hard Road To Travel. l will sing it for you, so that you can know that if l had not went to school and study journalism now  a human rights activist ( no regrets ) who knows ,l could have ventured into music and made a living. Among other things he said: "l've got a hard road to travel and a rough rough way to go,Said it's a hard road to travel and a rough rough way to go.But l can't turn back, my heart is fixed My mind is made up,I'll never stop My faith will see ,see me through"

Comrade Olufemi Aduwo 


Rights Monitoring Group and Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (RMG and CCDI and Permanent Representative of CCDI to United Nations. & 



Thursday 10 December 2020


Today is World Human Rights Day, the day we honour The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed on Dec.10, 1948. The declaration guarantees every person the right to equality, democracy, due process, and safety from violence. It’s a remarkable and historic document.

We at CCDI, believes human rights can only be achieved through an informed and continued demand by people for their own protection.Human rights promote values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others. It develops an understanding of everyone's common responsibility to make human rights a reality in each community."Olufemi Aduwo, President, Center for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI )

Wednesday 2 December 2020

“Nigerian Army Should Be Commended for Managing EndSARS Protests Professionally” …Olufemi Aduwo

By Daniel Daniel 

Comrade Olufemi Aduwo
Comrade Olufemi is the permanent representative of the Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity Inc (CCDI) to the United Nations. He doubles as president of Rights Monitoring Group (RMG). In this interview with the Editor, FOLORUNSHO HAMSAT, Aduwo speaks on the last EndSARS protests across the nation, the army engagement, the government responsibility, among other germane issues.


 We learnt that you were at the venue of EndSARS protest in Lekki, Lagos, would you like to share what you witnessed that day?

I visited Alausa, lkeja where the protesters gathered on the 11th of October, 2020 and went there consecutively for three days and each day,  l would be there for six or eight hours. For certain reasons, l started visiting Lekki Toll Gate from the 15th of October till the 20th of October, 2020. I saw when the soldiers came to the toll gate and l also witnessed when the policemen came after the soldiers had left. 
After my first visit to Lekki Toll Gate,l saw the momentum gathered and l knew the protest would end in crisis between the security agencies and the unarmed youth. On the 17th of October, l sent message to Chief Ayo Adebanjo the Afenifere leader through a top member of the group. l wanted the respected elder along with Pastor Adeboye, Pastor Adeyemi,Admiral Ndubusi Kanu and other respected elders to liaise with the protesters and also with federal government, since government have agreed to look into issues the youth raised. Also,l sent the same message to His Royal Majesty the Ooni of Ife and former President Obasanjo. A day after, Obasanjo visited Ooni of lfe at his palace and after they met, Ooni announced he would intervene.

 Ideally, federal government could have reached out to some respected elders before the Lekki Toll Gate episode. Participatory democracy allows protest as long as it is within the boundaries of the law. Unfortunately, it is very rare for protests to go on for days without being hijacked by hoodlums or criminal minded persons.

 The protesters said that they had no leaders…

(cuts in)… l strongly believe the government could have made the move to talk to the protesters. The truth is, they had identifiable leaders during the protest but they were being smart about it, perhaps, to confuse the government and to avoid their leaders from being bought over. These youths were listening to words of some elders in the society while the protests lasted.If they didn’t have leaders, who were those providing them money, food and other essentials at the protest venues? Mind you it was not the Buhari national address that stopped the protests; in fact, Mr. President said they have right to protest. Somebody somewhere called off the protests. Government should have met with these elders and encourage them to intervene. Already, it was obvious after thugs attacked the protesters in Benin, Edo State, Abuja and Lagos that the protests were going to turn violent. I participated in the protest against the annulment of 1993 

presidential election; it was hijacked with violence and stealing of property. It was the same during the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest in America. A hungry man is an angry man and an angry man sometimes is a mad man. When a barely literate person joins a protest, his perception is different from that of a graduate who needs a white collar job. Does it mean the security intelligence community underrated the protesters that they could not envisage the outcome before such magnitude destructions happened in many parts of the country?
 At what point did you leave the protest venue?

I was at the Lekki Toll Gate till 11pm along with three other members of my organisation. When the military arrived, l saw four vechicles; they stopped at a distance and the soldiers came down and walked toward where the protesters gathered. ln the 80s, l was a defence correspondent with a foreign news agency. My understanding of the military engagement in such protest control is that, any soldier deployed for such assignment would be given at least two magazines.A magazine contained between 15 and 30 bullets. It means the two magazines would have between 30 and 60 bullets. So, if a soldier points his AK-47 containing 30 or 60 bullets at a crowd of such magnitude at a close range, a single soldier would kill not less than 30 persons. Even the bullets will not only hit their targets, they will shred their bodies. This raises even more questions; did we witness soldiers firing to the sky at Lekki Toll Gate on the day of the incident? The answer is yes. Were people running to avoid being hit by bullets that day? The answer is yes. Is it possible for people to die during a stampede without being shot at? The answer is yes.

When the CNN came up with the ‘unconfirmed report’ that a specific number of people died at Lekki Toll Gate, I told the Amnesty International Secretary General, Mr.Kumi Naidoo on phone that such information could not be correct. I am a member of Amnesty lnternational, l don’t get involved with what the local chapter in Nigeria is doing. ln a nutshell, l didn’t witness any person directly shot at during the melee at Lekki Toll Gate.

Why do you think there has been controversy and passing of blames about the issue?

The controversy started with post information and communication management. It was already a crisis and it involved public relations, not media relations to pass the message across and heal the wound. It was wrong for the Army to have denied being at the toll gate, though they later agreed they were there. With due respects, I would lay the blame at the doorstep of Mr. Sanwo-Olu, the Lagos State governor The curfew was necessary but the timing of announcement was wrong. The announcement was made around 10am in the morning, when many have left their homes, to start at 4pm. Immediately l heard it was 4pm, l said it would fail, because of the transportation mess in the state. The shifting of the time from 4pm to 9pm would have been announced before 4pm and not at 5pm or 6pm as the governor said on a television programme where he was a guest two days after the incident. 

The management of the Lekki Toll Gate who turned off the lights is culpable. Who gave the order to switch off the lights and why were all the answers provided by the governor and the toll gate management far from the truth? Assuming the lights were on, we would have clearly known whether the soldiers actually did more than shooting to the sky. All kinds of weapons are useable during fighting. I know that it was not only DJ Switch that did the recording of the events that day and l know her submissions were not totally accurate or correct. Somebody said DJ Switch did the recordings from when the soldiers left Kofo Abayomi Street where the 81 division army office is located and another team of soldiers left Bonny Camp to Lekki. That can’t be the truth.

 The army has defended its position on Lekki shooting. How would you evaluate their testimony?

Let me make it clear; lam not a Buharist or a supporter of APC or card holder of PDP. Ln fact, in 2019, l wrote President Buhari and copied his late chief of staff, Abba Kyari and the NSA on why l would not support his government.  l don’t think Buhari is extremely a bad person, but many of those who are leaders in his party are criminals. I applaud the army on this EndSARS protest, the soldiers performance was professional and perfect. I was amazed when I saw on television the military men in Osun State and Lagos State pleading with the protesters and even exercising to pacify them in the streets. 

This was happening for the first time in Nigeria. The error was made by Lagos State governor, Sanwo-Olu because of the way he declared the curfew and also invited the army. Information when not properly and timely passed could cause serious damage as being witnessed. Regardless the alternative to the truth being spread, the army and police engagement were commendable.ln 2012,some elders in the country’s political class who were on a peaceful protest were violently interrupted by teargas-wielding security men.The demonstrators were led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze, including former Minister of Finance, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu; Dr. Tunji Braithwaite; Chief Missioner of the AnsaruDeen Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Abdulrahman Ahmad, among others. They were protesting the increase in fuel price before they were violently dispersed by the police. l don’t think such prolong protests with wanton destruction of public property would be tolerated during President Obasanjo period. L am not saying people should not protest, but comparing with the past, the army did well.

Does the governor have power to call the army out?

Since 1999, many things have been going on and accepted as norms. For instance, nearly every state has a security outfit made up of regular police, navy, Air Force and army. In Lagos State, there is OP-MESA, it is a security outfit that comprises of police, soldiers and Air Force and is answerable to the governor in fighting crime in the state. It is an aberration to involve military in normal police duties. Why can’t we strengthen the police structure for effective performance of their duties? The army said that the governor invited them. I believe them. Neither President nor chief of army staff would deploy military to any state without the knowledge of the state governor. During the 1993 presidential election annulment 
protest, the then chief of army staff, General Bamayi,  met with the civilian governor of Lagos State then, Chief Otedola and asked for his permission to allow army to enter the streets and quench the protests, regardless that the army was ruling at federal level. Already, the Nigerian army is overstretched and it’s not the best for the overall interests of the national security. Soldiers were trained to fight war. But we are inviting them for civil engagement, what has happened to the police.

 What is your suggestion on the blockade of certain protest leaders bank accounts by the Central Bank 

I have met the CBN Governor severally at the World Bank and lMF Board of Governors meetings in Washington DC and l do exchange messages with him. On monetary issue, I would plead with him to be as neutral as possible in this matter. Whether there is a law backing the action or not, I would advise that those accounts are unfrozen, unless the government has more classified information about the account holders. If it was the DSS that asked the accounts to be blocked, they have their own shortcomings too. The DSS is about intelligence. They should have known about the protest long before it happened and when it started, they should have seen where it might lead to.

 Do you see the possibility of a similar protest in the future?

Yes of course, unless we are not practicing democracy anymore. Regardless the threat from government against future occurrence, it would still happen. It is not only the police brutality the protesters were after, corruption and bad governance were among the issues raised. For example, governments should not wait for people to protest to know that the wages and conditions of service of police and military must be improved

Some Nigerians have been calling for the sack of service chiefs for alleged incompetence. But you are saying the army has performed well. How do you justify that?

I don’t care whether the chief of army staff is kept in office for 10 years, what Nigerians want is performance. But we should not forget that fighting terrorism is totally different from fighting conventional war.In a conventional war, there are rules of engagement.For example,soldiers would not kill journalists,Red Cross or United Nations personnel or unarmed civilians,unlike the murderous action of killing farmers by terrorists. Mexico has been fighting terror war for more than 50 years, the United States is yet to defeat Taliban over the years regardless the current peace agreement President Trump entered into with Taliban, which may not have any meaningful impact at the long run. 

Let government change the service chiefs monthly, that still would not translate into defeat of Boko Haram. The military needs capacity enhancement and modern equipment.With viable intelligence community activation, definitely things would change for good. l got to know when l went to Dafur, Sudan as a member of United Nations fact-finding mission in 2017, that in military, strategies are bottom build-up arrangement. l don’t think the current service chiefs would take any decision arbitrarily in regard of the execution of war against terrorism. I am not saying the current service chiefs are the best in military, but calling for their removal seems to have political undertones.

 How do you think the impasse could have been resolved before it escalated?
The federal government and the appropriate ministries concerned should have done what l said earlier by reaching out to credible leaders before the Lekki Toll Gate shooting saga. What should be done now are remedy applications within and outside the country. Any sanction against Nigeria now may have damaging impact because currently, the country is bleeding.

 The information minister said government may sanction CNN for misreporting the Lekki toll gate shooting. Do you support that?

Alhaji Lai Muhammed should know that no one fights the press and win. For misinformation, government has the right to send protest letter to CNN for apology and retraction, and since CNN has realized it made a mistake and has retracted the story, it should end the episode. That is the beauty of credible journalism. Also, government should know that the era of sanctioning radio and television for alleged misreporting or being critical of government, is gone. Mutual engagement is the rule.

 In spite of the calmness, the calls or restructuring or breakup are mounting. Do you think that is the solution to the country’s challenges?

l have written and spoken a lot about restructuring. To me, it means devolution of power to the federating States. It means genuine fiscal federalism in practice, something similar to what we had in 1960 and 1966 before the military truncated the process. l don’t think any reasonable person would oppose such plan. Regardless the challenges, l don’t think either that any responsible person would be clamouring for the country to break. We collectively spoilt the process and we should collectively rebuild it.Regardless how many years the northerners have been ruling; the north remains the most backward and place of abject poverty.The political leaders are selfish and lack the political will and trust to do what is right. The looters are everywhere across the country.

Would you like to speak on Asiwaju Tinubu’s rumoured presidential ambition and the APC alleged plan to return Goodluck Jonathan to power in 2023?
Goodluck Jonathan is a son of grace. Here was a man who never envisaged he could be a commissioner but he became deputy governor. He later became governor, vice president and then president. He was doing well at the beginning until he allowed the political hyenas misled him. The economy became so bad under him that if he had been reelected then, things could have been worse probably than it is now. The stealing was massive as it is now. When the masses demanded for change of leadership in 2015, it was normal. But unknown to the masses, politicians who were calling for change were the actual people they could have voted out. 

However, if Jonathan decides to join APC, he is entitled. After all there is no difference between APC and PDP. Bukola Saraki and Abubakar Atiku once abandoned him in PDP and joined APC to stop his second term. It is when they could not achieve their selfish agenda in APC that they returned to PDP. So, it is good if Jonathan too dumps them in PDP and joins APC, but l don’t believe it. l will advise him not to contest. He has secured good place for himself in the political history of Nigeria. Before the election that ousted him was concluded, he called Buhari to congratulate him. What the outgoing United States president, Trump finds difficult to do, he did it.

On Tinubu, everybody knows that he would like to contest for the office of President in 2023. But it does not need a star reader to know that the powers that be do not want him as president. The powers that be are not limited to the president, governors or lawmakers. The political influencers are not limited to those who occupy political offices, in fact, foreign influence too matter as well. Majority of them are not partisan politicians.
To start with, Tinubu already has problem in Southwest apart from that,will Alhaji Tinubu run with a Christian from the north, that would be difficult to sell.The country is more divided on religion line now than ever before.ln the past,religion was not an issue in political permutation.Jakande was a muslim and his deputy, Jafojo, was also a muslim.The religion issue came into the system during the IBB regime and it has continued.

Alhaji MKO Abiola, a muslim, could not take the former NLC president, Pascal Bafyau, a Christian from the north as his running mate in 1993 but went for Kingibe,a muslim.With the current situation in the country, neither muslim/muslim ticket nor christian/christian ticket will sell in 2023 or thereafter.l will advise Tinubu that he should  support Yemi Osinbajo or Kayode Fayemi. None of them have come out and declare, though.Tinubu should have seen the handwriting on the wall that the powers that be do not support him. If they field him, he will lose. Besides, it would be disastrous for Tinubu to be elected as President of Nigeria.
With all the revelations we are hearing about his companies and Lagos State resources, Bola Tinubu’s presidential ticket would not fly.

 What is your position on restructuring, in view of the recent security challenge in Ondo State?
The security challenge is across country. People are being kidnapped; a royal father was shot dead in the State weeks ago, even in the north Emirs have been killed in the past. It is becoming clear that no part of Nigeria is safe. Boko Haram in the north east, banditry in the north west and kidnapping and robbery in the entire southern part of the country. This only brings to the fore the call for community policing. There should be devolution of power. The north has nothing to lose in this arrangement. Power must come back to the states. It does not mean that the federal government has lost its powers. In a proper federation, every state is more or less a partner. Nine states are producing oil in Nigeria and 27 states and federal government are sharing every month and collecting bailout funds as when due, how is that fair? It will not work. The police are not well paid and we keep pretending. This is a country of more than 400 ethnic groups. The way God created Nigeria, it can never break. Restructuring is inevitable because Nigeria is not working as it was during the First Republic.

Monday 9 November 2020

Sanwo-Olu Lost lntegrity Over Lekki Shooting – Group.

A civil group, the Federal Social Democrats, has stated that the integrity and credibility of the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, have been diminished by the alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night of October 20. 

The group, in a statement on Sunday, signed on its behalf by Olutola Mobolurin, also condemned the harassment of #EndSARS protest leaders through the freezing of their bank accounts and stopping them from travelling outside the country. The FSD’s statement was titled, ‘Statement by the Federal Social Democrats On the #EndSARS Movement and Violence in the Wake of Lekki Shootings.’The group said, “Governor Sanwo-Olu, who before now has been credited with responsible and energetic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has by this one act lost his credibility and integrity for many. “He has a big task in regaining the confidence of the public and youths; his credibility gap surrounding what happened at the Lekki Toll Plaza is not helped by the insensitive bluster of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the governor’s residence stating that those who were injured and presumably those who died had questions to answer.

Though the group condemned the destruction of public assets and looting that trailed the shootings at the Lekki toll gate, it said the mayhem pointed to the alienation of a large number of youths from society by the government. It said, “The so-called hoodlums are the youths that have been denied any stake in society by the self-dealing and state capture that have characterised governance over the last 30 years.

Millions of our youths have been uneducated, un-employable and with no meaningful social safety net. Even for the millions who are educated and skilled, long-term unemployment has been their experience in the Nigerian prerenal political economy that serves primarily the interests of public office holders and their cronies. “Some of the ‘hoodlums’ responsible for the trashing of Lagos are the youths and ‘the toughies’ that many politicians have over the years employed to subvert the democratic process through intimidation of voters and perpetration of violence during elections.

The group said the organisers of the #EndSARS protests deserved commendation for the resourcefulness, transparency, and accountability which they demonstrated. The group condemned “the growing reports of compilation of names of the assumed leaders and facilitators of the protests for government reprisals.It said, Those that are being targeted are reportedly being prevented from travelling outside Nigeria while accounts of some have been frozen. This is hardly the hallmark of a democratic government that is interested in dialoguing with the youths or learning positive lessons from the #EndSARS protests. “It is also a violation of the spirit of government’s acceptance of the 5 for 5 agenda. The President should stop all these acts of witch-hunt.The group want the Lagos State Government to rebuild and replace the vandalised public assets.

Friday 30 October 2020


We want to congratulate the IGP and entire Nigerian Police for the exemplary quality leadership displayed by Catherine Ugorji who is currently serving with the United N ations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and has been selected by the UN as one of two runners-up for the prestigious UN Woman Police Officer of the Year award for 2020. 

Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) a non-profit organisation with Consultative Status of United Nations,noted over yesrs through both her words and actions, the UN Police Officer Ugorji exemplifies the best of UN policing and the ideal which Nigerian Police represent.Out of the 1,300 UN policewomen deployed in UN peacekeeping operations, 21 were nominated for the award. Mrs Ugorji joined the Nigerian Police in 2003 and served as a criminal investigator from the local to State level, Child Protection Officer, Divisional Crime Officer up to Acting Deputy Commander of the Ogudu Police Division in Lagos.The UN said 1,300 UN policewomen deployed in UN peacekeeping operations, 21 were nominated for the award and Chief Inspector Doreen Malambo of Zambia, serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), would receive the award.

The award would be presented during a virtual ceremony presided over by Mr Lacroix on Tuesday, Nov. 3.Also, Luis Carrilho, UN Police Advisor, congratulated Ugorji for being chosen as a runner-up and described her leadership of “three Formed Police Units(FPU) in Gao” as remarkable.“Catherine has introduced tactical operations that have been instrumental in reducing crime in the area, in support of the Malian security forces and the host population.“In addition to this very demanding role, Chief Superintendent Ugorji has worked diligently to improve living conditions for women police officers so they can serve safely and with dignity,” 

Carrilho said.Mrs Ugorji ,a chief superintendent of police, was commended for her work to extend the outreach of the FPU to the Ansongo area, “close to the Mali-Niger-Burkina Faso border area, where terrorists and spoilers of the Malian peace agreement are increasing their influence.”It was revealed in the statement that her support for the joint operations with the Malian police, gendarmerie and National Guard has helped to ensure the security of the local.

We applauded the engagement of the Police during the ENDSARS protest across the country for the professionalism the men and officers displayed,regardless the casualties recorded among the protesters and police men and officers there mode of engagement should be commended.As noted by the protesters government as a matter of urgency should look into the  welfare of the Police men and officers without delay, not only the their morale is low,there is frustration across rank and file,which is dangerous for productivity and optimal performance.There might be anarchy if the police officers failed to return to their duty posts, noting that they were needed despite their deficiency.

l applauded the IGP proposed visit to all State commands across  country as confidence-building measures, noting that the police needed to regain public confidence. Federal Government  should emulate the Rivers and Lagos State governments which announced financial assistance and scholarship awards to families of slain police officers.

 “Our police are bad likewise our politicians are thieves  but not all police men or politicians are bad or thieves .Now they have killed some of them in spontaneous reaction because of aggravated, accumulated grievances of the people to the actions of the police. What we need to do is to reassure the police that they belonged to us.”You can imagine what would happen if policemen go on strike for a week .

l hope Amnesty lnternational which CCDI is a member will review the information available to her and able to come out with unbiased report on  the role police ,DSS and Army during the protest.I appeal to Police authorities to investigate those who sponsor the thugs who attacked the protesters in Lagos and Abuja, that single act gave the criminals to hijacked the protest which caused wanton destruction of life and property across the country.

Olufemi Aduwo President & Permanent Representative of CCDI to United Nations.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

The Plight Of Girl Child In Inter-Religious Marriage

United Nations declared every 11th of October as International Day of the Girl Child. To mark this year`s event, Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity (CCDI) a Non-profit organization, with Consultative Status at the United Nations organised a roundtable at Eko Hotel, Lagos with the theme, “My Voice, Our Equal Future”, The occasion was used to commemorate 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the global agenda for advancing the rights and empowerment of women and girls, everywhere. In 1995 at the World Conference on Women in Beijing, countries unanimously adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing the rights of not only women but girls.

The Beijing Declaration is the first to specifically call out girls’ rights. On December 19, 2011, United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 66/170 to declare October 11, as the International Day of the Girl Child, to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.The International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights. The occasion was used to focus on challenges women in inter religion marriage face in Nigeria. On November 15, 2002, a Nigerian Christian girl whose father became a Muslim was raped after being forced to marry a Muslim. Rakiya, 20, from Bilkawa in Kano State, has been a Christian for ten years, but her father converted to Islam five years ago. Since the introduction of Shari'ah Law in Kano State, he was told that his daughters could not remain Christians. On two occasions Rakiya, along with her sister Dije, 19, fled from their father's home to the house of a Christian aunt, only to return base on the agreement that they would not be forced to become Muslims. 
In September 2001 both girls were summoned to meet Muslim authorities and were given the option of choosing Muslim husbands for themselves or being given in marriage to Muslims. They refused and were moved to Kano, but later fled again to their aunt's house. Their father accused his Christian nephew and the church catechist of being responsible for his daughters' disappearance and the two men were arrested and charged with abduction. The parish priest, Rev Isayaku Idi Kano and Canon Musa Haruna were charged with the same offence and all four were held in police custody for four days at the end of March 2002.
 Their case is now at the High Court, but the cost to the church could be as high as 1.5 million Naira. The girls were returned to their father, during which time Dije escaped. However Rakiya was forced to marry a Muslim and four men dragged her to her new husband's room where she was raped. The President of Center for Convention on Democratic Integrity, Olufemi Aduwo who monitored the case and visited northern Nigeria for fact finding discovered that the plight of the two sisters is not an unusual occurrence in areas that are predominantly Muslim and in some areas as well in the Southern Nigeria. He made reference to the case of Mr Babatunde Abdulahi that happened in 2016 as horrible experience. 

The story of Mr and Mrs. Babatunde Abdullahi was pathetic and called for serious concern. Mr. Babatunde was from a Muslim family and the wife, Olubukola Anthonia was from a Christian home.Before they got  married, Babatunde has  converted to a Christian without the knowledge of his father, Alhaji Saka Abdullahi,  who is a devouted Muslim and renowned  Islam cleric.The marriage held without the knowledge of husband's family who practice Islam. After the marriage, Alhaji Saka Abdullahi  did not back down,he want both his son and his wife to embrace Islam for many reasons, though he is a polygamist but Babatunde is the only son out of his twelve children.
On the day of their first child naming ceremony Alhaji Saka Abdulahi invaded the venue with some Islam clerics and without the concept of Mr and Mrs Babatunde, he gave their son Mofiyinfoluwa Sultan.This singular act made Mr.Babatunde not to invite his father when they gave birth to other two girls and they name them lmisioluwa Grace and Oluwatamilore  Christana, which Alhaji Abdulahi  was not comfortable with when he knew years later that  they have two girls.To humiliate and stamp his authority, he told his daughter in law to come along with the children to the village for gender mutilation which the sister in law and his son vehemently opposed. 
On two occasions, Alhaji Abdullahi came with others to take away Sultan, their first son and Alhaji Abdullahi first grand son to the village and enrolled him in arabic school to gain islamic knowledge but he could not gain access to his children house.Alhaji Abdullahi told his son, Mr. Babatunde Abdullahi to divorce his wife and at same time return to Islamic religion, otherwise, he would disown him. He believed his daughter in law was responsible for Babatunde being  converted to Christianity. Mrs Olubukola Anthonia Abdullahi and her husband went through a lot in the hands of Alhaji Saka Abdullahi and  Mr. Babatunde step sisters. Mr Babatunde's mother divorced Alhaji Abdullahi many years ago and she has also embraced Christianity. 
He said at the moment, they cannot  locate the current residence of Mr. Babatunde Abdullahi, we were told he sold his property in Lagos and went under with his family to avoid incessant attack of his father. This is one of the sad story of inter-religion marriage in Nigeria.
He want the development partners and United Nations to take a stand against this barbaric behavioural display by these religion fundamentalists. An earlier case a female convert from Niger State was bound hand and foot in a Shari'ah Court, thrown into the boot of a vehicle and driven by her family to their home village where she was bound to a tree and publicly raped by a prospective Muslim suitor. The lady managed to escape and is now married to a Christian. However, she continues to be in fear for her life years after this event, as some members of her home village still vow to kill her if they see her. The Rights Monitoring Group and Centre for Convention on Democratic Integrity team also discovered widespread suppression and violations of religious freedoms in many states in the northern Nigeria. For example, the only Christian burial ground in the state capital, Minna, is full to overflowing, and grave sites are now being doubled up. However, Christians are denied land for a new burial site. Moreover churches are often denied both land for building new facilities, and permission for improving existing structures. Further research uncovered evidence of orchestrated attacks on Christian settlements around Plateau State. These usually involve gangs of 300 to 600 well armed Islamic extremists, some from Niger and Chad, who embark on a spree of killing, looting and burning. The attacks appear to be part of a calculated attempt to alter the ethno-religious make up of the predominantly Christian state so as to facilitate Muslim dominance and the institution of Shari'ah Law in this key state in the Middlebelt. Nigeria has seen an increase in interreligious violence since the northern states began to call for full Shari'ah Law in 1999. It is normally the poor and female who are worst affected by Shari'ah Law punishments as demonstrated by the case of Muslim Amina Lawal. She was sentenced to death for adultery in Katsina State and is due to be stoned to death many years ago.
 Olufemi Aduwo ,Permanent Representative of a Non governmental organisation ,CCDI to United Nations said: "The spread of Shari'ah Law in the northern Nigeria has terrible human consequences for all, but particularly for those who are not Muslim. "The forcible marriage and rape of Rakiya and the fear of her sister in hiding are due to a religious law being implemented on those over whom it should have no legal jurisdiction. Likewise is the story of Babatunde Abdulahi who and his family are living in fear for years. "We call on the Nigerian government to uphold the country's constitution and to prevent more injustice and inter-religious tension from spreading."

Wednesday 14 October 2020


*Twenty-one senators currently receiving pensions from government as ex-governors and deputy governors.*

*The current senators who once served as governors are Ibrahim Gaidem of Yobe, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye of Plateau Jonah Jang of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, George Akume of Benue and Isiaka Adeleke of Osun and so on* 

*The  former deputy governors in the Senate are Ms Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe of Abia. Danladi Abubakar Sani served as the acting governor of Taraba state.*

*Many former governors are also in Buhari's Cabinet as Ministers. This includes: Ngige, Fayemi, Amaechi and Fashola (SAN)*

*In Akwa Ibom State, the law provides that ex governors and deputy governors receive pension equivalent to the salaries of the incumbent. The package also includes a new official car and a utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide; a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5 million per month and N2.5 million for his deputy governor.*

*In Rivers, the law provides 100 percent of annual basic salaries for the ex-governor and deputy, one residential house for the former governor “anywhere of his choice in Nigeria”; one residential house anywhere in Rivers for the deputy, three cars for the ex-governor every four years and two cars for the deputy every four years.* 

*It is alledged that in Lagos, a former governor will get two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja, estimated at N500 million in Lagos and N700 million in Abuja. He also receives six new cars to be replaced every three years; a furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual salary to be paid every two years, and a N30 million pension annually for life.*

*This is the reality for all the 21 ex govenors and deputy governors who are currently serving as senators. This same is also true of ex governors who are now serving as Ministers.*


*How many years did these guys serve their states as governors and deputy governors?Is it more than 8years? Is that a reason to be entitled to pensions for life?* *Even if they are entitled to pension for life, must it be so outrageous?*

*As if that is not enough: HOW on earth can any public servant with conscience collect salaries and allowances as a senator or minister, and still have the audacity to claim pensions equivalent to the salaries of a serving governor in Nigeria?*


*Once you are elected a senator or appointed a minister, you must forfeit any pension accruing to you from government at any level until you vacate office. This should also apply to senators collecting military pensions like former Senate President David Mark.*

*Yet these senators are in the Senate that is inviting the current finance minister to discuss the recession of Nigeria's economy. A senator pockets approximately 30 million naira monthly as salary and allowances. Our "honourables" are not interested to make laws that could restructure our country into economically autonomous federating States/Regions to save the country from sectional agitations that is threatening  to destroy Nigeria. The sad and hopeless situation is that the rest of Nigerians are busy arguing based on party, ethnic and affiliations while these enemies of state continue to rape us.*

*Do you know that it costs tax payers 290m Naira yearly to maintain each member of our National Assembly in a country where nothing works & 80% of population earn below 300 Naira a day ? A working day earning of a senator is more than a yearly income of a doctor; it's more than the salary of 42 Army generals or 48 professors or 70 commissioners of police or more than twice the pay of the US President or 9 times the salary of US congressmen.* 

*It's high time the country had a referendum on those outrageous salaries of Senators, House of Representative members and other political office holders.*

*Nigerian Youths Move On To Next Level Impunity And Direct Looting Of Our Commonwealth Must Stop.Police Need Decent Accomodation And Living Wages.