California State University East Bay

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California State University East Bay

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CSU East Bay Professor Arrested in Nigeria

Professor Steve Torkuma Ugbah has been arrested in Nigeria following an attack on his entourage on May 13, resulting in the death of one of his senior aides.

Ugbah has been a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at CSU East Bay for 20 years, but decided late last year that he would take unpaid leave from the university to run for governor of his home state in Benue, Nigeria.

Ugbah was quoted as saying corruption in the Nigerian government was crippling society, prompting him to return home and try to make a difference.

“I wanted to first encourage other diaspora Nigerians to come back to participate in politics and not be scared,” Ugbah told the Bay Citizen.

According to Ugbah’s website, stuforgovernor.org, transparency, accountability, security and inclusiveness were the professor’s major initiatives if elected.

“Corruption and government waste divert monies from budgeted and planned key development programmes including education, health, agriculture, and infrastructure,” he writes on his website.

“This leaves the state not only underdeveloped, but also poorer because monies are then voted again, and again, and yet again for the same activities. This situation is unacceptable under any circumstance but especially given our limited resources. This must stop.”

Nigeria- which has English as its national language since there are over 200 tribal languages in the country- has a government modeled after the United States, with the executive branch, a judicial and legislative branch in balance.

Lately, some people in power positions are corrupt and taking advantage of their titles. Ugbah wanted to work to bring the general public back into the political process by striving for better involvement and transparency of governmental policies.

The very same corruption that Ugbah is trying to fight against is probably the same thing that is preventing his progress in the election.

Officially, Ugbah lost the election to current governor Gabriel Suswam on April 26, but stayed in the country to challenge the results, claiming a sort of disenfranchisment prevented his victory.

On May 13, Ugbah and a close contingent of advisors were attacked by gunmen in the country’s capital. His senior media advisor was killed and another advisor was injured.

“If anything, the cowardly murder of Charles, and others before him, has further strengthened my resolve to fight for the realization of the stolen mandate,” he told local reporters after the attack.

While Ugbah was not hurt in the firefight, he was subsequently arrested for publicly blaming Suswam and his supporters for the attack, he told the Bay Citizen.

He has many supporters in Nigeria, who are currently protesting his arrest.

Ugbah has been in constant contact with his wife from his holding cell, Stevina Evuleocha, also a business professor at CSUEB, according to reports.

The couple has five children who live in Dublin.

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CSU East Bay Professor Arrested in Nigeria