Citizenship, Not Indigeneship Desireable, Says Cleric
A Cleric and academician, Rev. (Dr.) Titus Adeboye, has said only a
constitutionally guaranteed citizenship as opposed to indigenship
could promote harmony and a sense of belonging.
He added that while it may be desirous for government to opt out of
mundane productive activities, it must however not abdicate its
responsibility to blaze new trails in activities that can move the
country out of poverty.
In a memorandum to National Political Reform Conference, Adeboye
said "we should not continue to make strangers of our citizens by
denying them some rights based on narrow considerations."
He suggested that the nation take a cue from Britain and the United
States where citizenship rights are guaranteed even if one is born
out of his/her own state.
"Here (in Nigeria) the fact that I was born in Zaria and lived most
of my life in Kaduna State does not make me a Zaria man nor a citizen
of Kaduna State. I cannot, for example, contest for seat in the
legislature of Kaduna," he bemoaned.
He noted that until the current administration of Governor Mohammed
Makarfi, it was difficult getting a land allocation in one's own name.
"You buy land or property from the `indigene' then you seek to
transfer the title which could lead to revocation in many cases," he
The cleric regretted that in all cases, ethnicity, name or religious
affiliation determines one's citizenship of a state and not place of
He said this factor fuels ethnic clashes and encourages unfair and
unjust treatment of so-called non-indigenes.
He however said the same fate even awaits these persons in their own
communities when they are born outside of their parents roots.
"Unfortunately, those born outside their parents' roots find
themselves at odds in their so-called roots as they are seen as
strangers even there," he said.
Confab notes, Ngige And Uba
By Reuben Abati
"DID you see that photograph in The Vanguard of Tuesday, March 15?
That front-page photograph showing two delegates taking a nap at the
"Oh my God. I saw it. It is an award-winning copy. The photograph
says it all. It makes a loud and metaphorical statement about the
national conference in Abuja. Those two men were not just taking a
nap, they were having a deep, sound, sleep. I wouldn't be surprised
if one of these days, one of the delegates stands up to make a strong
case for the provision of mattresses at the confab".
"Be careful, one of those two gentlemen in The Vanguard photograph is
a Bishop of the Church of God. You could be accused of blasphemy".
"You mean the Bishop was probably communing with God. He was in the
spirit as they say."
"Como't, that Bishop was in deep slumber. In fact, I hear that
sleeping at the confab is standard routine. I read in The Punch that
one fellow usually arrives at the confab, settles into his seat, and
takes off. But miraculously, when the chairman announces a tea break,
he would suddenly wake up".
"That is what you get when you load a conference with old men and
women, who get tired easily".
"I think the confab should reconsider its stand on the chewing of
kolanuts. If most of the delegates are going to make a virtue of
snoring and sleeping, then they should be allowed to eat kolanuts".
"Chewing gum should also be allowed. Some of those women may like to
keep their mouths busy to keep their ears open.".
"Let them eat anything, including chewing stick, as long as they stay
"One delegate was so bored, he forgot to go with his walking stick.
Everyday, the Secretary has to go about collecting forgotten walking
sticks. Poor Father Kukah. Ah, na wa oh"
"Talking about boredom, I hear the confab is really the headquarters
of boredom. I listen to the contributions on television. And I find
it boring listening to the same old platitudes. And you need to
listen to the accents. Delegates are speaking a variety of Nigerian
English - Yoruba English, Efik English, Igbo English, Ibibio English,
Ekiti English. I listened to one delegate the other day, and I
thought of recommending that the confab should engage the services of
"To interprete what? English is the official language at the confab?"
"I know. The job of the interpreter will be to interpret the English
that some of the delegates speak, and turn it into proper English".
"Ah, go and sit down. Don't worry about the English. We should worry
more about the issues"
"Such as former military leaders apologising for military rule? I
don't see what purpose that is meant to serve. The thing is that
people like to use the word apology loosely in this country, even
when they do not mean what they are saying. How does a mere apology
negate the evils of military rule? People went to the Oputa panel,
they shed crocodile tears, and offered apologies. But what happened?"
"Well, I think generally the confab is only beginning to warm up. It
is likely to become more interesting as the serious issues are thrown
up for debate"
"I hope so. At least the delegates have to justify the N20,000 per
day that they collect. Each one of them takes N140,000 from the
Federal Government per week, although the confab sits for only three
days in a week".
"Oh they earn more than that. The state delegates receive additional
allowances from their state governments. I understand that in a week,
a delegate receives about a quarter of a million".
"Wonderful. That is good money. N250,000 per week just for sleeping
and snoring on behalf of innocent Nigerians? If that is true, then I
do not see this confab ending in three months. The delegates are
going to ask for an extension. I mean, what other job would earn
someone N250, 000 per week?"
"By the way, how did the President get the money with which he is
funding the confab? I am not too sure anybody has told us that. I
recall that the National Assembly never appropriated any money for
"This is Nigeria. I am told the President has approved about one
billion for the event".
"But does he have such powers? He cannot spend any money that has not
been appropriated, can he? He has to get the Assembly's approval. If
he refuses to do so, then, it means he has chosen to overrule the
"That is what he has done."
"It is illegal if it is true".
"You are speaking grammar. What does it matter? When the Supreme
Court advised and later ruled that the Federal Government should
release all monies meant for the local councils in Lagos State, the
President on his own chose to re-interpret the Supreme Court. And I
tell you, nothing will happen".
"You mean the National Assembly cannot do anything?".
"Which National Assembly? Apart from the House of Representatives
which occasionally tries to assert its independence, the Senate often
sounds like an extension of the Presidency. You'd see what will
happen after the conference. The National Assembly will find itself
struggling to remain relevant.".
"I don't think so"
"Okay, they will make some noise, but at the end of the day, they
will be lobbied and sorted out".
"What do you mean how? You mean you do not know how? In fact, just to
be sure that the National Assembly does not misbehave, some of the
delgates are already threatening that they will recommend that the
national legislature should be abolished. Or that the deliberations
of the conference should be taken directly to the people at a
referendum. The delegates don't have such powers but in this country,
everybody is allowed to indulge in body language of any sort"
"But I have just read a story in The Independent which gave me the
impression that things may not be easy as they appear. At least for
"What story is that?"
"It is this story about how President Obasanjo held a meeting with
South-West delegates and Governors in his Ota farm, last weekend".
"I read that story too. Look, I don't believe it. Was the reporter
invited to the meeting? Or we are dealing with hearsay passed off as
"Why are you getting worked up? Are you now working for Obasanjo? You
are saying that you do not believe the story but have you seen any
rejoinder to it anywhere? If the people who are mentioned in the
story think that they have been misrepresented, let them say so.
Until they do so, I am willing to give the newspaper the benefit of
"Fine. I am listening. But just bear in mind that the Presidency has
said again and again that there is no hidden agenda anywhere. Even
Makarfi has said so" .
"Leave that one. Is Governor Makarfi now a Special Assistant to the
President? In fact, I am planning to do a piece on the Macchiavellian
Prince in Obasanjo. At the meeting, the President was said to have
told the delegates and the Governors to support the Presidential
system of Government at the confab. He also told them to support the
amendment of the Constitution to allow for a single-term of six years
for the President and that he, Obasanjo, intends to take the first
shot and enjoy an additional six years".
"Yes. I am listening".
"Now, the delegates didn't like this. They insisted that if this was
Obasanjo's plan, then, why did he call a conference. In fact, one
Governor was reported as having stood up to express his preference
for the parliamentary system".
"And the President got angry?"
"What does it matter?"
"It does not make sense to me. It does not add up. I read that story
too. You are talking of about 36 delegates and six Governors, with
their aides, and hangers-on, hanging around. You mean Obasanjo will
go before such a crowd to say something as silly as confessing to the
existence of a hidden agenda?"
"He was talking to his own people. His own Yoruba brothers".
"Come on, Obasanjo does not have such a hold on Yorubaland. Now, I
ask you. Was Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State at that meeting?
Were the Lagos State delegates invited? If they were there, what did
they tell the President? Did they ask him about the Lagos state funds
that he has chosen to seize contrary to the rule of law? Would, he,
the President, invite Lagos delegates, to a meeting to ask them for a
favour, when he is denying them their due rights as the people of
Lagos State? You see, the logic does not add up".
"There is no logic in politics. It is all about expediency".
"And that is where you are wrong. There is logic to expediency. For
example, President Obasanjo takes himself seriously as an
international figure, as a world leader. I don't think he will
sacrifice that for another shot at the Nigerian Presidency".
"Your problem is that you always see things on the surface. But this
same Obasanjo that you are defending went to the United States, and
told his hosts that his government will remove the immunity clause in
"He didn't say will; he said may. Those words mean different things".
"Will. May. Whatever. Why would the President say that when there is
a national conference in place that is supposed to represent the
collective wishes of the people?"
"But the same President has just said that General Babangida and
others are free to contest for power at the highest level. At the
Commonwealth lecture in London, he upheld the right of the electorate
to make their own choices. I mean, he didn't sound like a man with a
hidden agenda. He was speaking in London, mind you"
"Don't make too much weather out of that. The British have always
helped to manipulate the electoral process in Nigeria".
"I refuse to comment on that"
"It is public knowledge. Even the British themselves have admitted
"I am sorry. I forgot you are a diplomat".
" I can bet that Obasanjo cannot afford to have a hidden agenda that
will retain him in power beyond 2007, in the same manner in which I
can bet that Kenya is not a serious contender for a seat in an
enlarged UN Security Council".
"It was in the papers".
"Kenya ke. They are asking for animals that have horns, the tortoise
is also stepping forward. Is that the kind of horn we are looking
"Oh, come on. It is a joke. Just like the so-called expulsion of
Ngige and Chris Uba from the PDP".
"Ah, those guys are out of the PDP oh. In fact, both AD and APGA are
already wooing Ngige".
"The PDP has simply exposed itself as an unserious party. It has shot
itself in the foot. The issue is not about the membership of Ngige
and Uba in the PDP, but the implications of what happened in Anambra
State for the rule of law and the democratic process. Both the PDP
and the Federal Government are playing games with that. Expelling
Ngige and Uba is a cover-up. It is of no use to the average Nigerian".
"The party insists that it is perfectly in order if it chooses to
discipline its members. Even Dariye, the Plateau State Governor may
be expelled from the party".
"So, is the party saying that it is no longer a family? I thought
everything within the party used to be labelled a family affair".
"The family is in disarray".
"It has always been in disarray. The expulsion of Ngige and Uba is
not the appropriate response to the Anambra crisis".
"The hoodlums who sacked the entire state must be identified and
brought to book. Their sponsors must be unmasked and brought before
the law. They must be made to pay for the destruction that they
engineered. The Anambra crisis is no longer about the PDP expelling
its own members. It is a matter for justice and the rule of law".
"Who will enforce that?"
"The police and all the other institutions".
"Ah, police? Very soon, you'd start recommending NEPA as a serious
"You know one NEPA official was beaten with charms in Ibadan a few
days ago. He had to be taken to Ijebu-Ode before he could be revived
with a goat. He could have died.".
"Ijebu-Ode. I have heard about Ijebu-Ode and juju. You mean those
things are true?"
"I don't know".
"You should know".
"What do you mean I should know?"
"What I know is something about Customs? I hear Customs recently
caught some smuuglers pbringng Tokunbo brassieres into the country? "
"Tokunbo brassieres? You mean some women in this country wear Tokunbo
bras? You mean there is a market for Tokunbo bras in this country?
You must have seen quite a number of those bras, and "kostes" given
"You dey craze. "
RESOURCE CONTROL: We won't accept less than 100%—Niger Delta confab
By Tony Ikpasaja, Abuja
A delegate to the National Confab representing Bayelsa State has
said that Niger Delta will not accept anything short of 100 per cent
control over its resources adding that resource control does not
mean depriving other Nigerians from benefiting from oil and gas.
Chief Oronto Douglas, a delegate and Commissioner for Information in
Bayelsa State in a reaction to Alhaji Umaru Dikko's statement at the
Confab that the Niger Delta should seek for self-control rather than
resource control, said the elder statesman needed to be educated.
In a quick reaction over the weekend, Douglas asked "what does Umaru
Dikko mean by self-control in place of resource control? The issue
here is that the Mallam is a respected gentleman even though he had
been enmeshed in controversy. But I think respected men like Umaru
Dikko have not been able to sit with down with us, so that we can
explain to him what we meant by resource control."
Speaking further about the, "compelling necessity for explanation,"
Douglas added that in resource control, there is accommodation and
ìit does not mean preventing other Nigerians from benefiting from
oil and gas."
Alhaji Dikko had last week, while making his presentation, noted
that the delegates from the Niger Delta should seek for self-control
instead of resource control.
The former Minister of Transport was believed to be apparently
referring to the frequent demands made by all the delegates of the
Niger Delta who, during their presentation, called for control of
their oil and gas resources.
Douglas further said that the people of Niger Delta region were
fully confident that the ongoing National Confab would give them
adding that total control was what was operational long before the
military came into power in the sixties.
"Because we belong to Nigeria, we want to formulate a democratic
process that will help to liberate some of these resources to help
the indigent. And what are these processes? An effective taxation
policy on oil resources. I do not mind if I control my resources at
100 per cent and on an agreed framework you take away 30 per cent,
40 per cent or even 50per cent. Now if you do that, you are not
giving me what I already have," he stated.
Meanwhile chairman of the conference, Justice Niki Tobi is expected
to constitute the 18 committees this week as delegates have
submitted their areas of interest and specialization to the