The Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has asked the embattled National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, Chief Victor Umeh to win his Senatorial zone for APGA before boasting of winning Imo state for APGA in 2015 election.
First, we take the liberty to say that Chief Victor Umeh’s threat or boasting on how he or his party, APGA would recover Imo state from Governor Okorocha and his APC in 2015 was an empty one, and he knows that. The basic truth is that neither Chief Umeh as a person nor APGA, as a party has the capacity to take away Imo from Governor Okorocha and his party, APC.
Chief Umeh after being the National Chairman of APGA for more than twelve years, and even with Ikemba Odumegwu Ojukwu alive could not win election beyond Anambra state with his APGA, until 2011 when Owelle Rochas Okorocha came and delivered Imo state to the party, a Senator, House of Representatives and Assembly members.
And unfortunately for APGA and Umeh, the man who brought victory to APGA in Imo had left, and even the Senator from Imo on the platform of APGA had also left, and all these only show that, APGA winning another election in Imo, will be like building a mansion in the air.
Even in Anambra state where Chief Umeh comes from, APGA is sick, and if that was not the case, the party would not have needed the “stampede” that characterized the last gubernatorial election in that state to manufacture victory for its candidate.
Again, Chief Umeh’s comments could be more laughable when one remembers that the man and his APGA could not secure his senatorial seat (Anambra Central) for APGA, with Dr. Chris Ngige winning the election on the platform of the then CAN, now APC. If not that the last governorship election in Anambra state developed K-leg, APGA would have lost that election.
So, Chief Umeh should please stop disturbing the peace of Nigerians. Granted, he is a flamboyant politician, but such feat has no contribution to make to electoral victory, otherwise, he would have stopped, at least, Dr. Ngige in his senatorial zone.
And in case Chief Umeh does not know, Governor Okorocha or his party, APC, is never under any threat with regard to the 2015 election in Imo because in less than three years, his administration has done what the people of the state had never seen before in terms of both structural and infrastructural developments.
Terrorism, corruption and the N76bn CCTV scam
By Emmanuel Onwubiko
As I watched with considerable trepidation a video of the leader of the dreaded armed Islamic insurgents in northern Nigeria, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, in which he claimed responsibility for the bombing campaign in the suburb of Abuja- Nyanya in which an undetermined but high number of Nigerians were wasted, I came to the conclusion that this is, indeed, the time for a comprehensive and transparent forensic audit of the defence and police budgets.
A forensic audit at this auspicious time will determine why these two key sectors are grossly under-equipped and the operatives grossly under- motivated, which occasioned the unprecedented rate of successful terror-related attacks and mass killings by armed insurgents in all parts of North Eastern Nigeria and Abuja.
Also, the latest report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), based in Sweden, [quoted by online journals] which shows that in 2012, Nigeria ranked as the 6th highest spender on the military in Africa, which the researchers attributed to the increase in insurgency across the country, has compelled an analysis of why the military in Nigeria still cannot defeat or even minimize the consequences of terror attacks on ordinary Nigerians and strategic national assets.
The global report stated that the war against terror in Nigeria raised military expenditure to a staggering $2.327 billion (N372.3 billion) in 2012 alone, ranking Nigeria among countries at war in Africa.
The ninth wonder of the world, however, is why the armed forces of Nigeria still find it extremely difficult to overcome the armed insurgency.
The bewilderment is reinforced by the report, released recently, which shows that the Nigeria’s military spending is the sixth highest in Africa, and competes with the expenditures of countries like Libya ($2.9 billion), Morocco ($3.4 billion), Angola ($4.1 billion), South Africa ($4.4 billion) and Algeria [$9.3 billion].
According to the SIPRI report circulated in the media on May 20, 2013, Nigeria’s military spending, which may not include wages and salaries, but mainly military hardware purchases, has been on the increase since 2006, but it escalated from 2008, to coincide with the period of the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
For example, the researchers stated that while the Nigerian government claimed to have spent $1.067 billion in 2006, when there was relative peace, though the Niger Delta militancy had begun to take its toll on the country, by 2009 when the Boko Haram crisis erupted in the North-East, the expenditure rose to $1.825 billion.
In 2010, a huge sum of $2.143 billion was allegedly used to procure military hardware, and the figure rose to a staggering $2.386 billion in 2011.
According to the report, in the year 2012, when the military claimed to have commenced massive procurement of security equipment to fight Boko Haram insurgency that had begun to spread from the North-East to North-West and some parts of the North-Central, the Federal Government allegedly spent some $2.327 billion.
In 2012, the total budget for security was N921.91 billion, close to a record N1 trillion, which as observed in the report, attracted much criticism from various segments of the society, especially when compared to the sum of N348 billion allocated to defence in 2011. As at 2012, the budget for security was the biggest, bigger than the allocation to education. Even in 2013, the trend continued, as the allocation to Defence hit N668.54 billion, ahead of what was allocated to Education, Health, Works and other infrastructure-related sectors.
Even with the huge defence budgets over the years, there are still widespread allegations of corruption with the result that operatives of the armed forces are not sufficiently kitted with state-of-the-art combat weapons to be able to decisively crush the uprising threatening the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
The National Assembly and the anti-graft agencies have come under increasing scrutiny for failing to arrest these widespread cases of huge corruption in the defence and police sectors. Corruption in the defence sector is so huge that even the installation of Close Circuit Television cameras in parts of the country, for which an estimated $7 billion contract may have been awarded to a Chinese company, as disclosed by this international report being cited in this piece, is marred by widespread corruption because most of the so-called close circuit television facilities installed in Abuja failed to work which is one of the reasons being suspected for the seamless fashion in which the Islamic insurgents successfully detonated bombs in a parked public motor park in Nyanya, Abuja leading to high fatalities recently.
Following massive public outcry, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory denied involvement of his office in the procurement of these close circuit television facilities that have become huge fraud and massive contraptions enmeshed in large scale corruption.
In the light of the above, we need to recall that in September of last year, the Transparency International had accused Nigeria’s National Assembly of abysmal failure of oversight functions in the defence sector resulting in massive corruption. The report of Transparency International United Kingdom’s security Programme [TI-DSP] which analyzed what 82 countries do to reduce corruption risks in the defence sector, listed Nigeria among 21 countries classified as very high risk in promoting corruption due to insufficient oversight of the defence sector.
Besides, Mr. Mark Pyman, Director of TI-DSP said the following about the report which indicted Nigeria’s National Assembly in the large scale corruption in the defence sector; “Corruption in defence is dangerous, divisive and wasteful, and the cost is paid by soldiers, companies, governments and citizens. Most legislatures are failing voters by not acting as proper watchdogs of the huge sector”
As we embark on collective national introspection on why we are afflicted by large scale terrorism and violent killings, we must as a nation initiate a transparent probe of the defence sector to determine the extent of corruption, name and shame the indicted past and current government officials that have messed up our internal security and also use the judicial system to prosecute them, and retrieve our stolen national defence assets in private hands.All those who have stolen from the public treasury the funds meant for procurement of effective fighting defence facilities and combat weapons are the greatest enemies of Nigeria and must be made to face the full weight of the law.