MONDAY QUARTERBACKING – The Interesting Case of MENDing Nigeria (by Mobolaji Aluko)

3 Comments » July 7th, 2009 posted by // Categories: Nigeriawatch



 

 

MONDAY QUARTERBACKING:  The Interesting Case of MENDing Nigeria –

by

Bolaji Aluko

alukome@gmail.com

Burtonsville, MD, USA

 

July 6, 2009

 

INTRODUCTION

As a one-time avid chess-player and local champion myself, I must say that I enjoyed Olusola Osineye’s essay titled “The End Game: MEND Versus Federal Republic Of Nigeria ” (reproduced below), in which he used the imagery of chess to analyze the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta  MEND’s situation up to date, and how it might close out the end-game.  In chess, you play your own game many moves ahead, but also must be wise to play the opponent’s game many moves ahead.  The ultimate objective of the game of course is to force the opponent to RESIGN, to QUIT, when he or she sees the HOPELESSNESS of the King’s position, either several moves ahead,  or sometimes in a devastating revelation that can sometimes alarm the faint-hearted.

In chess, that ultimate aim is CLEAR.

As maternally a half-Niger-Deltan myself, and paternally Ekiti-Yoruba,  I confess a secret admiration for MEND – that is its non-criminal activities, not the kidnapping of children, wives, grandpas and grandmas for ransom. 

 

MEND’S HISTORY

But what are its history and antecedents?

First there was the militant Adaka Boro’s NDVF Niger-Delta Volunteer Force’s 12-day revolution (beginning February 23, 1966) for independence of the Niger-Delta which was crushed by Nigeria’s then-one-month-old military government in its first major test. Adaka Boro later died fighting in mysterious circumstances on the Nigerian side of the civil war on May 9 1968.  Then there was the human rights activist Saro Wiwa’s MOSOP (Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People), which was formed in 1990, and which survives till today after a fashion despite Saro-Wiwa’s execution by Sani Abacha’s regime on November 10, 1995.  Saro Wiwa was followed by the militant Mujahid Dokubo-Asari’s NDPVF (Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force), formed in 2004.  After an arrest, charge for treason and incarceration (in September 2005) of Dokubo-Asari during the Obasanjo administration,  followed by a release (on 14 June, 2007) under the Yar’Adua administration, NDPVF is currently exhibiting a more concilliatory approach to peace-making.

And then there is Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta MEND, started around 2006 as an umbrella organization of simiar militant organizations, with no clear leader – or with a variety of leaders. And that is MEND’s genius, for to win the kind of war that NDVF and MOSOP and NDPVF wage, the group’s leadership must be shadowy;   the cells must be loose and many,  and their connections tenuous such that temporary losses of one person or one cell does not translate to the loss of the total effort.  Yes, we periodically hear of Gbomo Jomo, and Orkah or Godswill Tamuno, etc., but whether these are their real names or what their faces look like remain shadowy for good reason.

But then what is MEND’s current aim in its chess game with Nigeria? Are “MEND’s stated goals [SIMPLY] to localize control of Nigeria’s oil and to secure reparations from the federal government for pollution caused by the oil industry.”  Or to force oil production to ZERO in Nigeria – or to 10%?  To achieve 100% resource control? To force Nigeria to a SOVEREIGN NATIONAL CONFERENCE?   Or just to let the Niger-Delta Go?

Inquiring minds want to know – at least before MORE Diaspora money rolls in a la Osineye.  After all, the revolution is already being televised.

 

ANY IMPACT ON OIL REVENUE?

By the way, I did take a look at some Revenue Allocation numbers in the Niger-Delta, just curious to find out how much MEND has DENTED Nigeria’s money matters.

To do so, I compared the revenue of five Niger-Delta states (Rivers, Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa and Ondo) and my own non-ND state Ekiti for the two periods January – June 2008 and January – June 2009, at times when the oil price was roughly twice in 2008 than the same period in 2009. 

The tables are presented below.

Outside a base reduction 15-26% in total revenue accrual for Akwa-Ibom, Delta, Ondo and Ekiti States, there was roughly a 40% drop in Rivers and Bayelsa States relative to the two periods.  To make up for the oil price drop would require an increase in oil production – which would not be consistent with the impact of MEND.

Or am I missing something here?

Inquiring minds again want to know.

 

Bolaji Aluko

 


 

TABLE 1: NIGER-DELTA MONEY WATCH:  Money Accruing to NIGE-DELTA State and Local Governments from Federal Revenue Allocation – January-June 2008

 

S/N

Month

Shared Out

Rivers

Akwa-Ibom

Delta

Bayelsa

Ondo

Ekiti

 

 

a.State

         b.LG

State

LG

State

LG

State

LG

 

State

LG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1a

January

14,041,069,733.64

 

9,282,189,214.02

 

6,443,352,489.54

 

6,503,901,570.51

 

3,827,723,162.78

 

1,836,941,113.89

 

1b

 

2,097,894,345.33

 

2,134,471,085.26

 

1,904,086,276.03

 

724,921,604.57

 

1,448,849,225.62

 

1,165,099,491.35

 

2a

February

12,509,447,069.69

 

8,274,965,717.64

 

5,829,331,329.45

 

5,808,277,722.67

 

3,449,022,856.46

 

1,682,959,003.89

 

2b

 

1,933,766,851.75

 

1,959,458,065.70

 

1,749,038,915.88

 

665,202,326.97

 

1,329,463,611.33

 

1,069,044,711.92

 

3a

March

26,005,002,641.95

 

17,201,683,017.65

 

11,816,926,349.01

 

11,966,486,241.10

 

6,737,279,281.33

 

2,964,184,803.66

 

3b

 

3,226,680,160.74

 

3,419,849,907.77

 

3,032,374,850.80

 

1,166,252,737.31

 

2,331,400,222.13

 

1,875,664,431.01

 

4a

April

20,511,910,879.01

13,562,162,748.76

9,422,299,425.59

9,451,669,529.57

5,443,233,753.52

2,482,833,867.28

4b

 

2,793,152,755.07

3,030,801,136.93

2,556,727,184.91

956,522,797.81

1,954,869,235.32

1,552,805,456.82

5a

May

37,813,020,672.74

24,954,301,679.98

17,012,221,470.89

17,394,942,150.19

9,570,137,516.79

4,030,217,370.96

5b

 

4,308,922,980.2

4,840,845,267.70

4,087,804,616.82

1,558,536,103.12

3,163,727,804.94

2,489,159,376.59

6a

June

20,458,429,099.21

13,578,195,303.96

9,357,909,620.97

9,546,395,625.11

5,451,833,596.29

2,455,623,637.63

6b

 

2,611,176,765.27

2,933,147,998.87

2,486,518,838.95

957,900,742.82

1,933,143,298.55

1,521,173,185.52

 

TOTAL

Jan-June 2008

148,310,473,954.6

105,172,071,144.24

75,698,591,368.84

66,701,009,151.75

46,640,683,565.06

25,125,706,450.52

 

  

TABLE 2:  NIGER-DELTA MONEY WATCH:  Money Accruing to NIGE-DELTA State and Local Governments from Federal Revenue Allocation – January-June 2009

 

S/N

Month

Shared Out

Rivers

Akwa-Ibom

Delta

Bayelsa

Ondo

Ekiti

 

 

a.State

         b.LG

State

LG

State

LG

State

LG

 

State

LG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1a

January

20,677,737,035.36

13,632,946,364.72

9,437,427,968.73

9,506,797,343.70

5,409,917,913.05

2,311,752,478.08

1b

 

2,600,528,770.60

2,915,356,065.17

2,456,024,876.15

932,799,843.80

1,913,784,785.03

1,523,234,118.72

2a

February

11,194,792,141.34

7,380,054,732.59

5,332,405,105.48

5,206,779,449.26

3,252,133,341.94

1,602,346,631.90

2b

 

1,901,102,809.61

2,031,389,805.87

1,729,019,320.67

650,212,994.35

1,343,302,284.65

1,080,110,491.83

3a

March

7,517,140,314.20

7,606,797,730.59

6,952,672,912.32

3,789,886,588.10

2,808,053,623.17

1,358,501,244.83

3b

 

1,632,823,268.25

1,762,081,877.67

1,496,572,417.31

563,966,971.80

1,163,429,856.06

933,500,050.72

4a

April

14,032,362,975.84

16,869,236,601.98

16,013,222,762.45

7,309,060,728.67

5,425,616,789.01

2,350,893,185.21

4b

 

2,653,466,962.31

2,968,072,650.16

2,519,388,349.23

2,519,388,349.23

1,974,198,770.71

1,550,926,359.17

5a

May

10,205,285,465.44

10,596,751,302.83

9,566,177,190.53

5,251,739,425.11

3,767,568,897.51

1,832,167,288.04

5b

 

1,960,070,236.48

2,174,605,007.19

1,851,298,994.95

702,734,591.77

1,451,381,111.32

1,139,529,493.06

6a

June

10,306,397,035.15

10,578,004,971.82

4,752,866,683.38

4,752,866,683.38

3,814,402,536.88

1,947,814,478.13

6b

 

2,648,042,425.90

2,316,876,763.10

1,967,408,803.84

729,660,321.51

1,882,057,184.25

1,207,036,299.67

 

TOTAL

Jan-May 2009

87,329,749,440.48

80,832,173,873.69

64,074,485,385.04

41,915,893,290.68

34,205,847,093.58

18,837,812,119.36

 

TOTAL

Jan-June 2008 (from Table 1)

148,310,473,954.6

105,172,071,144.24

75,698,591,368.84

66,701,009,151.75

46,640,683,565.06

25,125,706,450.52

 

% Drop

In Revenue Jan/June 2008 to 2009

41.1%

23.2%

15.3%

37.2%

26.6%

25.1%

 


http://www.nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/guest-articles/the-end-game-mend-versus-federal-republic-of-ni.html

 

The End Game: MEND Versus Federal Republic Of Nigeria

 

 
Written by Dr. Olusola Osineye   

 

Thursday, 02 July 2009

 

 

The only game I have ever taken any deep interest in is chess. I also follow football but more out of the necessity to keep informed with the most popular game on earth. Chess is probably the only game that requires at least an average intelligence quotient (IQ) for you to be able to participate; but then you will not enjoy it because it will be quite a struggle comprehending what is going on. Little wonder why it attracts students and professionals in fields like medicine, law, engineering and so on.

I can still recollect, with nostalgia, couple of years back when all the best chess players in Nigeria used to converge in LUTH, Idi-Araba to play blitz-which can aptly be described as speed chess. There was the only International Master in Nigeria then, Tola Akintola; I cannot forget the genius, Odion, the fastest chess player in Nigeria (national blitz champion) who later became an international master by drawing with a Russian GM at the world chess Olympiads. Others include, Dashe, Bimbo Adelaja, Martin Odum, Okechukwu Iwu (No relation of the dim-witted, rogue, Maurice Iwu of INEC). Okey Iwu, now a US- based cardiologist; he was a year ahead of Odum and I. Odum Martin is based in Nigeria practising medicine

Although the game of chess originated in India, the Russians (USSR) have been far more successful compared with other chess-playing nations ever since they have their first contact with the game in the 9th century AD.

Interestingly, the known Russian chess players of the past were high-ranking military officers, the ruling class or the bourgeois. Notable amongst them were, Ivan IV “the terrible,” Sergey Urusov (1827-1897), who later became a Major General in the Russian army and also had a chess opening named after him – Urusov Gambit. Carl Jaenisch (born in 1838) was a major in the Russian army and was credited to have written many books on chess openings; Nikolai Krylenko (1885-1938) was a Russian revolutionary and Soviet jurist. He held the position of commander in chief of the Russian forces. The popular Russian champions of the 1980s and 1990s include Anatoly Karpov and Gary Kasparov.

Cuba is another country that has a profound chess culture. The country produced one of the greatest chess champions ever, Jose Raul Capablanca (1888-1942). The former Cuban president Fidel Castro and his revolutionary pal Dr. Che Guevara were known to be keen enthusiasts of the game.

One thing that fascinates me about the chess game is the way it can easily be used to mirror real life situation. I would not be surprised if the interest shown by some of the men I have mentioned above goes beyond the physical chess board and the pieces.

Anyway, I was recently prompted to bring out my computer chess board again after a very long time because of the unfolding events in the Niger Delta. After a few thoughtful games, I decided to offer some advice to my brothers in the movement for the emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) who might be tempted to consider the amnesty offer recently made to them by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

In a game of chess, a well played opening would give you a better position which, if well handled, can lead to a massive advantage in the middle game. MEND played the opening game brilliantly and that is why they are now recognised by all regional bodies and even the United Nations. MEND is the officially recognised body that can speak on behalf of the long-suffering masses of the Niger Delta region. In my opinion, the hope of all the suffering masses in the whole country might actually rest on the activities of MEND.

The achievements of MEND arguably dwarf all previous attempts by any known ethnic group within the country to bring the FGN to recognise the injustices that have been committed against the masses by the irredeemably hopeless ruling class. The Igbos have tried with very little success; June 12 was another injustice against the Yorubas. The Hausa/Fulani hegemony continued to terrorise the Christians of Southern Kaduna; the issues in Plateau state continued to be a festering sore. These are just a few. NADECO and later PRONACO have continued to plead that the country needs a sovereign national conference, but the FGN doesn’t see them as a potent threat. The OPC and Bakassi are just tribal nonsense with no real impact on the activities of the thieving politicians.

The chess game between MEND and the government of Nigeria entered the middle game and suddenly things changed. Criminality entered the struggle; and there were kidnappings for ransom while some militants were engaged in outright armed robbery. Some were even used by the political class as thugs to rig elections. At this point, MEND had thrown away all the advantages that they had at the opening of the game. They lost so much goodwill and divided the whole nation. Some saw them as criminals while others still identified with the struggle. I belong to the latter group.

Similarly, in the game of chess you can lose your opening advantages either because you did not realise you had one or because you lack the skill and wherewithal to exploit it. Anyhow, at that point what usually happens is called equality, with the game looking increasingly like a draw. That was exactly what happened when criminality took over the struggle in the Niger Delta. In fact, the FGN came out better in the middle game and were looking forward to finish off MEND. That was a mistake!

In chess, an obvious advantage can actually be a fluke because if you lack a very deep understanding of the game it might be a grievous error to go for a kill on the back of an isolated gain. A good chess master would rather accumulate the advantages and wait for the enemy to self-destruct.

The government of Nigeria and their posse of advisers spotted a fluke isolated advantage and went for the jugular of MEND by ordering a full attack on the militants with no considerations whatsoever for the defenceless women and children in that region. One of the members of the ruling class even suggested the extermination of twenty million Niger Deltans. Meanwhile, their own wives and children are all over America and Europe shopping and enjoying the money that came from the Niger Delta. The Nigerian ruling class are the most callous set of human beings that I have ever read about. The Khmer Rouge of Vietnam, in my opinion, came a distant second. Anyhow the last move by the government automatically drew the battle line for the end-game.

Maybe it is me, but has anyone noticed the grave silence from all the other ethnic groups, including PRONACO, that have issues with the way things are in the country? It was exactly the same during the BIAFRA; all the other groups suddenly developed mutism; while others gave their tacit support to the murderous regimes in power at the time. Only one political party, Action Congress, has been consistent in their criticism of the actions of the government. The Nigerian press gave more space to the reported R. Kelly gig that took place in South Africa.

MEND got battered in the middle game and entered the end game badly bruised and realised that the game might be coming to an abrupt end. However, in chess, your opponent becomes more deadly when the game seemed to be coming to an unexpected end. That is when he becomes calmer and therefore able to think and see better. The government was coasting to an easy win when suddenly MEND discovered the age-long move – “kamikaze!”

The kamikaze were suicide attacks used by the Japanese in World War II against the allied forces. The kamikaze pilots would attempt to intentionally crash their aircrafts – which are often filled with explosives and bombs – into allied ships. In the game of chess, kamikaze are form of gambits, sacrifices which you make to force your opponent to lose concentration and cede to you some of the advantages he might have previously gained.

MEND’s strategy shifted from taking what rightly belongs to them to sabotaging oil installations in the Niger Delta. How could this move possibly benefit the Niger Delta? No, it wouldn’t but then it is also not in the interest of Abuja to not have any income to run the affairs of the state; or better still to not have any money to steal. 

The gambit worked! The government of President Yar’Adua panicked; and this was too obvious to even a primary school pupil. Overnight MEND had achieved what no other ethnic group had been able to since Nigeria became independent in 1960. The government suddenly started brandishing an olive branch – N50.0 billion amnesty offer. What kind of amnesty offer is that? A committee was hurriedly set up to work out modalities for the programme, but MEND continued to weaken the government’s position by destroying more pipelines. I am loving this game! I have a feeling those boys in the creek are enjoying the game too. Interestingly, some so-called militants have started showing up from nowhere claiming they are ready to take the government’s offer. My fellow Nigerians, these are the real criminals behind the kidnappings, raping and all other atrocities. Only criminals take up amnesty; revolutionaries either achieve what they set out to do- which is fairness and justice for everybody- or are defeated or die in the course of the struggle. Criminals on the other hand take up amnesty offer. BIAFRA never took any amnesty offer – It was a no victor, no vanquished outcome. 

In my last article titled: Nigerians: The Happiest People And The Most Stupid, a lot of the comments asked me to proffer solution rather than moaning about the decay in the country. Well, the MEND issue and the fact that the government is badly wounded now, is my only answer. If we lose this opportunity to hammer the government into a state of total stupor, we might never have another chance in my lifetime. MEND had exposed the underbelly of the Nigerian government. They are a bunch of thieves and would do anything to keep the oil flowing.

MEND should continue to sabotage the oil installations until our output reaches zero. They don’t have too many choices anyway. Nigerians that seek justice, fairness and a country that they can be proud of must continue to support MEND in whatever way they can. I hope Gbomo Jomo, the spokesperson of MEND reads Sahara reporters and NVS. Palestine authorities have clandestine ways of raising money from Palestinian citizens all over the world; same goes for other organizations all over the world.

MEND is recognised worldwide for their struggle against the forces of darkness. MEND should also know that there are many Nigerian groups in Diaspora who are ready to send regular donations in hard currencies to them. They should get in touch with the different platforms like Sahara-Reporters and NVS – on these sites are people who support the struggle. They should just give the words and the money will roll in-tens, twenties, fifties – dollars and pounds. Fifty pounds monthly would not hurt a lot of Nigerians in Diaspora who believe in the struggle to free Nigeria from the shackles of oppression.

This is the end-game so MEND should expect all sorts of illegal tactics from a wounded government. Like in a game of chess, MEND must hold their nerves, remain calm, double check every single move, wait, wait and wait even more, until the government is completely haemorrhaged to death. Then out of the carcasses of the old Nigeria a new Nigeria will emerge where all the different nationalities will decide over a round table how they want to live together. MEND should realise that they are carrying the hopes of over one-hundred and forty million Nigerians who are too scared and have been cowed into living like dogs in their country. When `blood oil’ stops flowing and there is no more free money to steal, the present blood-stained Nigerian state will die naturally.

Dr. Olusola Osineye.

 


 

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3 Responses to “MONDAY QUARTERBACKING – The Interesting Case of MENDing Nigeria (by Mobolaji Aluko)”

  1. Dayo says:

    Simply put and I absolutely concur with Dr.Osineye.

  2. Muyiwa says:

    Hmmm… This Niger Delta thing is more complex than we think..
    So they should continue to blow stuff up, kidnap people and commit acts of violence?
    What happens when someone’s innocent family member becomes collateral damage, then he/she too now has reason to join the melee to commit his/her own acts of revenge? They risk drawing other people into a wider conflict. In a land filled with violence can there be development? Can we invite doctors, business people, teachers, … wont they be in fear of their own lives? Remember this is the road the Palestinians have taken for many years, whose people are really suffering the most? Like the Palestinians, countless people are willing to give them money for arms but not money to put their children through school or pay for basic services.
    A society based on violence is not even good for them. I know many professionals from the Niger-Delta who do not want to live there. I have not heard any one ask the Governors from the area to render good stewardship of the money they already have. The people are afraid of the militants and the government and are really suffering, The militants are no better than the government. Now, there is no rule of law, whoever has the gun is the champion. Remember this freedom fighting thing in Africa is not new, once they get power and money all this noise about fighting for people will soon disappear and they will crush the people under their oppressive boot even worse than the government and the oil companies right now. I don’t trust any freedom fighter until they have proved themselves to be people of integrity, putting the interest of the people first.

    Dr. Osineye I believe is being short sighted and not seeing around corners. There so many ways this conflict can go wrong. The MEND people I don’t trust as well as the government.

  3. Muyiwa says:

    My comments have proved prescient with MEND attacking the Atlas Cove!

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