Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nigeria Finds a Fresh Voice

By: ralph geeplay

Jonathan and his campaign slogan.

The recent election in Nigeria is a hopeful sign that Africa is moving forward. This is Nigeria after all, a country once known for military coups and dictatorships, and where in essence free and fair elections as in most of all Africa are still a taboo.

It is interesting to note that as the April 16 vote tallying began pouring in, it became evident, the elections confirmed the deep-seated divide that has polarized Nigerian politics for decades. As projected, Jonathan got 57% of the votes and his rival, General Buhari won by 31%. Jonathan's victory was garnered in the Christian-majority southern states, while General Buhari's support came from the Muslim north. Nonetheless, the elections were a victory for all of Africa and Nigeria.

By any yardstick, Nigeria is an interesting place to take a peek. It represents, quintessentially, the African powerhouse that has been held back for many decades by corruption. "Nigerians are all too familiar with the curse of the vast oil wealth, which largely bypasses local villagers and flows into the pockets of the urban elites, grasping politicians and multinational corporations," says Finbarr O’Reilly who watches development there.

The military dictatorships of the bygone era in Nigerian life were a menace, and it did everything to stay at the helm of power. A case in point was the 1993 elections which General Ibrahim Babangida chaired. Not only was Moshood Abiola denied the presidency in the polls seen as fair, but Abiola, a wealthy millionaire and charismatic Nigerian nationalist would later go to jail and died from the ill-treatment and frustration of having being denied the right to lead his people.

The military history of Africa’s most populous country is never complete without citing the acts of General Sani Abacha. The misrule of General Abacha was the icing on the cake. He hid behind his trademark dark shades and led with iron fists, in the process hoarding a huge portion of the country's wealth in his Swiss banks accounts. The execution of the Ogoni activist and rights campaigner, Ken Saro Wiwa and eight others on November 10, 1995 by the Abacha regime drawn international condemnation and out cry. Abacha was irked because Ken advocated corporate responsibility, environmental concerns, and shared oil revenue for his people.

A Nigerian woman casts her ballot

By the way, President Jonathan is the first president who hails from the Delta region, Nigeria’s key oil exporting port. To its credit though,as the Nigerian nation encountered those daunting challenges internally, she still was a leading regional voice and player even under the Babangida and Abacha regimes. The political turmoil, which engulfed Liberia and subsequently Sierra Leone, would not have seen an end had it not been for Nigerian leadership in the West African sub region. Under the Economic Community Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), from 1990 up to 2005, Nigerian soldiers died on the battlefields beyond their own borders in an effort to bring peace to the region.

When Liberia finally held its own successful elections in October 2005, Nigeria was credited as the catalyst that provided the resources that finally brought peace to the Mano River Basin comprising Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire.

Nigeria's role has been pivotal in global peace keeping as well, and its 154 million people can take pride that the recent presidential elections which was hailed by the African Union, the European Union, the United States, and the Commonwealth nations as free and fair must be a celebrated milestone, as the country seek to entrench democratic traditions and transitions from one adminstration to another.

It can also be recalled that it was Nigeria’s stance on the Ivorian crisis that helped to solve that conflict recently, in sharp contrast to South Africa, a regional power in the Southern African Development Council (SADC) that have perpetuated the rule of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe.

However, President Goodluck Jonathan, whom the Nigerian press touted as 'the accidental president' showed leadership even before he won, and continued the tradition of his predecessors as a regional power. It is also interesting to note that President Goodluck Jonathan also provided leadership in Guinea-Bissau, a transit point reportedly for drug cartels.

It is important to note that African leaders who rule arbitrarily with no regard to any mandate from their people, are those whose misrule continually hurt the issue of governance on the continent thereby contributing to poverty and under development.

Without Nigeria's weight and voice in the sub region, it is a safe bet that there is nothing France or any other western power could have done to solve the Ivorian crisis. The recent polls there therefore are a welcomed progress, that finally, with Nigeria getting it right; it certainly can pluck its own feathers and lead, as it has shown in the past. Now, the regional power can speak loudly about the moral objectives and clarity with which it has often been vocal, and consequently this influence can find groundswell of support and a united front for all Africans to rally in a new age!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Irony of Auditor john Morlu

By: thomas bright perkins

The controversial John Morlu

Argumentum ad –hominen is what Mr. Morlu resulted to. When a man runs out of steam, he finds diatribe as the only point of solace. In a civilized environment, when a man believes he is attacked, the best think to do is to provide a logical counter argument to defend his case.

Hurling insults at other people is just rudeness! Referring to a fellow Liberian as a dog simply because they disagree with you is just inexcusable and must not be tolerated.

When pretenders masquerade as contenders: The irony of Mr. Morlu
When Shinji Onoyasaka saw her home washed away by the unforgiving tsunami weeks ago in Fugushima, she confessed to the BBC that she contemplated on committing suicide because of her desperate state. It is highly explicable why she saw that as an alternative. She was in a horrible mood. People get so desperate to protect their properties, wealth, families, integrity, fame and fat jobs.

Like Shinji, I think desperation is the best word I can probably find to describe Mr. John Morlu’s antics. The anger as expressed by the leaked email only suggests the extent to wish he can possibly go in order to catch what has now seem to be his fat job being washed away before his eyes. Like Shinji, it is also highly understandable why Mr. Morlu has become so desperate to protect his fat job. Certainly, he is in a horrible mood too.

When the email was first read by a radio presenter quoting a local daily, I thought it was a joke. I refused to accept it as I thought it was a snag against Mr. Morlu. Well, having read the full text of Mr. Morlu’s “email”, I think it will regrettably go down as a gross betrayal of professionalism and a complete let down of confidence reposed by numerous groups like the Student and Youth Unions and other civil society institutions that have called for his re-nomination. He has morally harmed all of those groups including a congressman that joined the crusade for the extension of his contract. In any case, it is reasonable that when a man’s job is given to a boy, the boy pisses in the pool.

Mr. Morlu has shown poor leadership, ugly judgment and must be condemned by every serious minded person. His attitude shows that big change is required. Yes, we do need new breed of youthful leaders, but it should be responsible persons.

The public reaction to the email is far too serious to be assuaged by any package of response coming from a group of blindfolded following. Mr. Morlu needs to pay the price for his unethical behavior. The folks from the GAC did not do him any special favor; they exacerbated the issue further and just unleashed a can of hooked worms. At one point, they tried defending portions of the email while another instance; they said it was all trash.

Sirleaf is inaugurated president

I do not doubt by any measure what Mr. Morlu has done in the human resource strengthening of the GAC. He has done tremendously well and must be applauded. But, the issue is not about how many students are in the United States or East Africa studying as the result of Mr. Morlu’s magnanimity. Mr. Morlu has blundered and must be man enough to face his words.

Let me now piece up the pieces of Mr. Morlu’s “email”:

Far removed from the issues

Argumentum ad –hominen is what Mr. Morlu resulted to. When a man runs out of steam, he finds diatribe as the only point of solace. In a civilized environment, when a man believes he is attacked, the best think to do is to provide a logical counter argument to defend his case. Hurling insults at other people is just rudeness! Referring to a fellow Liberian as a dog simply because they disagree with you is just inexcusable and must not be tolerated.

Even in the United States where Mr. Morlu claims to get his education from, intellectual sanity is observed. Americans differ with their leaders on policies. Whatever the difference, Robert Gates will not write President Obama telling him to inform Robert Gibbs or Susan Rice to have the damn job. This is insulting to the least!


Hear Mr. Morlu: “Even though I informed you (Madam President) that my dear wife Angie had broken her leg before charismas and I needed to be in America to take my son to the liver clinic at John Hopkins University Medical. I fought back all quiet down”.

This is a demonstration of extreme arrogance! What does the state has to do with the broken leg of his wife? We are all aware that he can afford to send his son to the best available hospital because of the mega sum he earns. Mr. Morlu does not need to brag about his wealth. It is highly unacceptable. There are millions of Liberians whose children are dying of malaria daily all because they are penniless. Those were kids who could have been better sophisticated had their parents had the opportunities to send them to the United States too.

Hear Mr. Morlu again: “I have been never afraid of anyone, as you (Madam President) know my stamina and intellectual strength”. What stamina and intellectual strength is he speaking of? Who Mr. Morlu thinks he is? If I were to relive all of his incoherent ramblings and poorly-structured arguments, this will shut up the debate.


Mr. Morlu says to the President: “You need to decide which side you stand on corruption as the likes of Medina Wisseh and her surrogates like the new recruit Nagbe Sloh are interested in lining pockets”. What audit has he conducted to brand Medina and Sloh as sleaze cops? What informs his position in the absence of an audit? How did he sum up his conclusions? This is sheer insinuation! Professionals do not put out garbage rather they present substantiated information.

Child’s Play

Mr. Morlu states: “I have been reading a lot of books of late. I just finished a book on 1776, the American War of Independence. I learned a few things from General George Washington for how victory can be achieved: Retreat, Change position, Fight Hardest”. What is he suggesting? Does he intend issuing a disclaimer to the email? Is this his interpretation of General Washington’s words? Anyway Mr. Morlu, please stick to your audit lessons and leave quoting people. Don’t hunt what you can not kill.

Removing the veil

Mr. Morlu states again: “We were the intellectual strength behind you in 2005, not the Nagbe Sloh’s”. Again, Mr. Morlu has exposed his black hands. Okay, so he is suggesting that he is not impartial after all. Is it that Nagbe Sloh is now taking over his post in 2005? My only disappointment is that he even had the guts to accept the job in the first place.

Mr. Morlu Rants

Sarcastically, Mr. Morlu rants: “Good day. I hope you take this email with maximum serious and not underestimate my resolve to fight back forcefully as I have done time and time again when under attacked. You all will see who has real intellectual strength and credibility domestically and internationally”. I wonder how Mr. Morlu got recruited. Did he write a paper? Look at the poor grammar! What language did he write to seek the job? Latin or Greek? How did he get his papers?

humbly agree with the president’s perspective. John has done well and has set a remarkable legacy and others can now pick up from where he has stopped. The office of the president must be at all times be respected irrespective of the difference in opinions.

I will stop here for now to allow the debate to begin as Mr. Morlu has promised. I learnt that he is truthful to his words and I am also more than sure, Mr. Morlu’s dear wife, Angie, is not going to easily forgive him for the disrespect he showed to Mr. Wisseh’s wife, Medina and by extension Madam President.

About the Author: Thomas Bright Perkins holds double Masters in Economic Policy Management and International Relations. He is also a PHD Candidate (Public Policy). He is Liberian and resides in the United Kingdom. He is currently visiting Liberia. You may contact Thomas on tbperkins@aol.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tbperkins@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Ellen Retaliatory Outrage

Introduction: In this piece Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh chides president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for firing John Morlu, who as head of the auditing commission was vocal about corruption in Liberia. 

John Morlu
John S. Morlu II is no longer Auditor General of the Republic of Liberia. A president who was never a fan in the first place officially terminated the much-hated auditor general, who in the eyes of most Liberians caused the Ellen Johnson Sirleaf administration much headache after the president nominated him in 2007.

According to supporters of the president, Morlu was never fired. However, a statement read by President Sirleaf on the expiration of the employment contract added that the “European Union concluded an agreement with the Auditor-General to pay the salary for the first four years of the contract with the understanding that the Liberian Government will assume this responsibility thereafter.”

So after the end of the European Union’s sanctioned four years, President Sirleaf, who couldn’t hide her disdain for the outspoken auditor general who brought so much grief to her administration, and perhaps to her personally with his public indictment of her administration as being “three times more corrupt than its predecessor,” could no longer swallow the bitter pill named Morlu.