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July 31, 2006

Igbo Diaspora Most Wanted Man

The Ambrose Ehirim Files by Ambrose Ehirim (Los Angeles, California) --- Yes, I have been chastised uncountable times about my critique of a particularly confused Igbo bunch who would rather not get anything done to help the Igbo Nation. I have been called all kinds of names. Just for exercising my right to free speech, I have, like NBA basketball player, Shaquille O’Neal, been called the “Big Felon.” I have been called “Maradona” after the wizard dribbler in FIFA World Cup Finals. Also, like Hollywood script writers and movie makers, I have been called a “copy cat.” Wow!

Maybe I should stop dribbling and change my writing style. I have been asked to stop criticizing and condemning Igbo “elite” and “intellectuals” and their coterie of wannabes even when it’s obvious they are taking us to hell.

I have been accused of not being Igbo, thus, writing with a pseudonym to incite anger and frustration within the Igbo elite and intellectuals who write behind closed doors in Igbo-related forums mostly at yahoo. It has been said that the name Ambrose Ehirim doesn’t exist, that it is a “handle.” I have been accused of money laundering and using the funds to engage in “terrorist activities” in support of MASSOB and to cause havoc all over Igbo land. I have also been accused of being an uppity Igbo radical and a “mad man,” which would take me nowhere but create a series of confusion.

For instance, the wave of civil unrest in Onitsha and elsewhere in Igbo Land caused by the poor leadership of Mr. Peter Obi is now said to be my making. Never mind that it was the clueless Peter Obi who invited known enemies of Nd’Igbo to slaughter Igbo youth in the name of fighting an anarchy in Anambra, an anarchy that Peter Obi himself and Chris Ubah formulated in the illicit pact that put Obi in power. I have been accused of using the proceeds from BiafraNigeriaWorld to engage in anti-elitist activities as portrayed in my columns, which continues to address the ills in the Igbo Nation.

I have been accused of trying to break up the country using the resources of BiafraNigeriaWorld. I have been accused of using BNW to destroy the political ambitions of the Igbo Diaspora “elite” and “pseudo-intellectuals” who are running around in the US in Nigerian political campaign vans, gunning for public office in BiafraNigeria. I have been told that I am wrong to take sides with the underprivileged class and the powerless in Igboland. I have been accused of a growing lip, whatever that means.

I have been accused of writing under the influence of akanaeme and other spirits. I have been accused for lamenting the fallen standards of Igbo ideals. I have been accused for writing extensively and nearly exhaustively about Igbo problems grand and small. I have been accused for lamenting Obafemi Awolowo’s orchestrated “Economic Blockade,” which starved Igbo women and children to death.

I have been accused of in-your-face attitude telling the Hausa-Fulanis that they slaughtered my kith and kin in the most brutal of circumstances, and yet would not offer an apology. I have been accused of saying it aloud that the Yorubas stink and can’t fight to save their own lives. Bbut no one, absolutely no one has taken into account the ethnic slurs of “nyamiri,” “okoro,” “okobokobo” frequently bandied about by the Awusa and the Yoroba. I have been accused for calling Igbo a nation state. I have been accused for asking the bookkeepers and managers of World Igbo Congress to put their acts together before it gets too late. According to Bob Dylan, “It’s not dark yet, but we are getting there.”

I have been accused for having the guts to “attack” the gutless leadership of Chibuzor Onwuchekwa of WIC. I said it was lousy leadership when Chibuzor Onwuchekwa made nku ukwa and ill-gotten castles in Abuja his blueprint, while Anambra, his home state, is burning. I have been accused for citing Senate President Ken Nnamani’s disappointment during WIC’s annual picnic and efulefu dance at the basement of Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel. I have been accused of telling the simple truth. According to Peter Tosh’ lyrics, “I have been wanted dead or alive by the evil forces” at Igbo forums at Yohoo. I am “FBI’s most wanted man,” said one crazed Igbo Yahooligan.

Aaarrggh, Holy Moses! Ah ah! See what my little biro has caused me!? Imagine!

Ironically, these accusations leveled against me have been from none other than the free-based Yahoo groups forums catering to various Igbo groups. As one is weary of pointing out nothing gets done at Yahoo and even the archives have been wiped out because the operator are loud mouths who wouldn’t spend a dime to preserve the records.

What’s going on here? What are the raging and the beef, and the prize on my head all about? That I wrote an article based on what I witnessed regarding a fractured WIC and its funny bookkeepers and managers? That WIC’s annual picnic and efulefu dance is disturbing and has become a trademark for a bunch that would never get things done? That MASSOB leader Ralph Uwazuruike is languishing in jail and WIC would not say a word while his alleged “co-conspirator” Frederick Fasheun has been granted bail on “health grounds?” That I was concerned that innocent people were being killed in Onitsha by Obasanjo’s Gestapo and nobody is saying a word? That I “was crazy” to comment on the debacle in Anambra on the ground that I am not from “Onitsha?” or from “Anambra State?” That I should shut up for whatever happens in Anambra is none of my business? That “their” master Olusegun Obasanjo is doing some pretty good stuff in Igbo land, and I have no right to question or criticize him whatsoever? I don’t get it!

First, I should begin by blaming Acho Orabuchi and Magnus Ekwueme, the moderators of the refrigerated free Yahoo Igbo Forum for allowing fake names and dubious handles to run wild in an Igbo community discussion group. It is really disturbing when Orabuchi and his group of moderators at the Yahoo Igbo Forum, even though the Yahoo shack is now running without memory, would collaborate with a gang of Dallas-based pacifists to use all kinds of concocted names in attacking me, when Acho Ohawuchi himself knows exactly who I am down to the village I hail from. Did I say “Ohawuchi?” Yes, as Acho Ohawuchi’s fellow Orlu man, I should know, as they say in the Igbo proverb, how water entered the pumpkin’s pipe and transformed an Imo man from Ohawuchi to Orabuchi. But, I kept calm, thinking I was in polite company.

The following is typical of one of many incoherent responses and write-ups targeted at me in the Orabuchi-Ekwueme managed Yahoo Forum where any subject matter may arise for discussion and engagement at any given time. Of all the responses, I shall cite two. One is wrong and totally a piece of garbage because it fails to address the issues in question, and the other I address because the writer wrote of interest. In the Orabuchi-Ekwueme Forum, one of the cowards who operates behind handles and is not bold enough to say who he really is contributed the following response to my article on Onwuchekwa and the inept and corrupt World Igbo Congress. The fake handle is “Texas Memorial” and here is what he had to say:

Ambrose Ehirim is one of FBI most wanted man, if that is the real name of the writer. Ambrose, challenging WIC on Onitsha; Ambrose is a Money Launderer, and a Felon with a record of evading paying Taxes, and illegally transporting large amount of cash to Nigeria in support of MASSOB, and killing of innocent civilian, Youths and women. Ambrose with his support of MASSOB has witnessed young girls raped in Igbos states, and with his money laundering to Nigeria, saw large cashes of weapons and ammunitions transported to Nigeria that MASSOB's are using in killing our people, the Police and destruction of the Prisons.. Ambrose is not an Onitsha Man. Ambrose Ehirim is at USA while our young ones are dying unnecessarily. Ambrose should go to Nigeria and represent MASSOB in Nigeria and not in Diaspora…

Now, how does the above line of nonsense parallel to the subject matter? But the irony to all the brouhaha in Yahoo Igbo Forum could be drawn from a bunch of moderators who work in concert or use the dimwits to keep dragging the forum to hell, in which nobody understands why its archives shouldn’t be kept intact, losing its credibility since it was established seven years ago. When rhetoric like the one above by a name that doesn’t exist keeps popping up with rubbish in Yahoo Igbo Forum, why would someone take Orabuchi and his group of moderators seriously? When the kind of nonsense above keeps making the headlines in Yahoo Igbo Forum, what has that reduced the Igbo nation and intellectuals to? When we keep seeing such lines that has no meaning to a subject matter in question, even though the handle speaks for itself of being fake and yet allowed to be drawing attention with irrational thoughts, and nobody is saying a word, what does that make the group moderators and management team in Yahoo Igbo Forum look like?

When you have a forum like that, and of course, where every individual matters based on sponsored or referred registration, shouldn’t a handle in the name of Texas Memorial be questioned based on its lack of signature with the real name attached to it? Why is nobody talking when a handle of this kind is ruining our credibility in the outside world, and why would they, the outside world, be taking us seriously? What is wrong with Igbo people?

On the other hand, I must not fail to address the second citation which I thought to be necessary. I found it necessary because the writer made a “valid” point, in the sense that he strongly believed a dialogue could be reached in apprehending the ills of the WIC and Igbo matters in general, that is, if put on the table as the Boston magic is “dedicated” to present. But I must also not fail to point out that it doesn’t make sense at all when we take a dovish stance while surrounded by hawkish neighbors who use every opportunity at any given time to attack and slaughter us on the streets, at the market square and anywhere that Nd’Igbo gather. We must continue to defend ourselves at all costs, under any circumstances to prevent a repeat of the past.

Never again!

For a variety of reasons, Nd’Igbo must be on guard to produce robust leaders in order to effect change, especially given that the battered and bruised WIC that claims to be Igbo Diaspora umbrella is now colossal failure. We must honestly choose who to lead us based on character and conduct over the years. We must keep up with the basic ethic of transparency and accountability to avoid the conflicts of funny bookkeeping and dubious managers. We must continue to watch and report the ways and means of those that keep our records. We must never allow riff raffs because they have sacks of money to the brim to keep running the shows in our name. The politics of “Godfatherism” should not have been allowed to occur in the first place. We must rise to the occasion to defend worthy causes and give honor to whom honor is due and restore the merit system on which the Igbo Nation was founded.

If the WIC is Igbo umbrella like it claims, we must ask for its monthly, bimonthly, and quarterly reports. But that has not happened in the many years since WIC’s formation; rather, what we see is a continuous cycle of “no gain, no loss” in every convention, which indicates the bookkeepers and managers are not being honest in dealing with Igbo Diaspora. Otherwise, what’s the purpose of each convention when profits cannot be made? Again, of what purpose is the WIC picnic at a record loss in every convention? Just to see people, dine, wine, womanize and flirt?

I am compelled to cite Mike Ozulumba’s note of interest with regards to WIC’s annual picnic. We must bear in mind that Ozulumba was speaking on behalf of WIC’s Boston area organizers who promised a better convention, this time around. However, to set the record straight, my article did not suggest in any way that Igbos should follow my path to actualizing Biafra, and I had no “personal dislike for Onwuchekwa.”

Ozulumba writes:

Obviously, your article consumed a rambling plethora of dubious subjective analysis based on your apparent preconceived belief that unless and until Igbos follow your path to actualization of Biafra, nothing is working. I find your argument internally inconsistent in many respects. While collaboration is an accepted avenue to actualization of strategic needs, you see Ichie Onwuchekwas efforts with our other ethnic partners as futility. I am amazed at your devotion of undue time to vent personal dislike for Ichie Onwuchekwa and your sweeping insult of Igbos especially in the Los Angeles area. I must tell you that Igbos in Boston mean serious business. We will not have much patience here with you when you reduce yourself to insulting individuals. Granted you may share a differnce of opinion with respect to how best to make WIC a veritable organization. We sure may have problems of leadership, but with heinous and venomous followers like you the journey will sure be more ardous. I will not profer advise to you here on how best to actualize your Biafra. I understand that fringe lunatics may exist among us and you sure are not doing the Biafran cause a good favor in the manner you write and express your views. I hope you will not find time to come to Boston, but if you do, you will be pleasantly surprised. It takes several steps to complete a good journey. Ichie Onwuchekwa may not have impressed you thus far, but we need to work together to assist him or replace him.

While Ozulumba could not see how Igbos had been trapped in an uncertain and troubled nation and not helping chart the course, he agreed with me on lack of profound leadership; but he patently declined to confront the most vital issues within the Igbo nation today. From his observation, I guess there is no way to avoid active engagement with Egbe Omo Yoruba and the Zumunta even at the point of death because Igbos may not have the chance or would not have a choice doing it alone probably that her survival relies on the status quo. This line of thought is irrelevant and disingenuous.

Ozulumba declined to “proffer advice” on how to strategically go about the Biafran struggle. He deliberately ignored to comment on the crises in Anambra, his home state, which has no end in sight. He ignored to share with me the problems of the WIC since its formation and why WIC should not be granted the privilege to bear the name Igbo Umbrella. He did not share with me on Onwuchekwa eating up his own words when he said every Igbo indigene would be a WIC card carrying member, and when he insulted Yahoo Igbo Forum writers as “noise makers.” He (Ozulumba) believes in pacifism and would not explain why his neighbors are hawks because it’s okay for ones kith and kin to be slaughtered without saying a word on the ground that uttering a word might hurt the healing process and jeopardize any prospect of dialogue with the Hausa- Fulanis and their Yoruba co-conspirators. He refused to see a confused Igbo Diaspora bunch on the basis it’s not timely and perhaps the “Boston RSVP Party” will change all that. He ignored the fact that WIC is a fraternity like any other social club and nothing Igbo-related. Yes, the WIC is a fraternity. It is a social club. It has no Igbo interest.

So my learned friend, for being “pleasantly surprised,” hold on, and let go. I have no desire to attend WIC’s annual bash until I am well-convinced that the WIC has ceased to be a fraternity by way of taking care of Igbo-related issues. And since your interest in organizing the Boston RSVP Party was to use that platform to boost your campaign for public office, hang in there. I have news for you. To be honest, I was not surprised at all to learn about your political ambitions in your home state of Anambra to represent Ihiala Federal Constituency, and I am totally not impressed for you to have taken such a step using Boston’s convention on your doorstep to campaign for an election your war chest could never match that of your opponents back home, and for the fact that you have not spent enough time with the electorate to sell your ideas.

So would the campaign for public office and chance of nku nkwa be the reason why you have decided not take the wrong side when bad things happen. You will be the candidate of self-interest for the BiafraNigerian House of Representatives from Okija? Would the quest to be lawmaker be the reason why WIC cannot be wrong because your campaign team is very likely to be WIC card carrying members? Would mentioning the name Biafra jeopardize your chances, and if so, be the reason why you thought the Biafran struggle is all a waste of time because you couldn’t wait to fall in line for your own share of the nku ukwa? Would the fear of missing out on WIC and its party lines be the reason why you are tongue-tied when hoodlums and the likes of Chris Ubah have turned Anambra into a state of empire and anarchy?

As it also happened, on July 15, 2006, as part of my early morning rituals, I drive to Venice Beach, California. Normally, I listen to Philly Sound and Tamla Motown classics—Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass, Temptations, Commodores, Marvin Gaye, etc.—while driving to the coast. I find a parking spot and jog on the beach’s sidewalks with workouts in between. When I’m done, I check the newsstands and comb through the headlines. Then I head back home for shower and breakfast.

On this particular day, while driving back home after my morning rituals, my phone rang and a friend of mine was on the line requesting I should join his entourage scheduled to be paying condolence visit to a colleague whose father-in-law had died. I honored his request and was picked up later in the day for the visit. On arrival, we were offered a table as we joined others in showing sympathy.

As usual, gatherings of this nature are not complete without political discourse about “our” troubled nation. Enter Igbo matters and Biafranigeria politics. I was engaged and here it goes:

“Don’t you guys think Obasanjo’s third term defeat was a Hausa political victory? It sounds to me like the presidency is going back to the North with that kind of victory. What do you guys think?”

“In fact, Obasanjo will never allow power to go back North. I think we’ve had enough of Hausa drama.”

“Who wants another Hausa-Fulani oligarchy? No way, we’ve had enough.”

“I have no idea why Ambrose would want power back to the North.”

“I did not say that. I only asked a question.”

“What do you mean you did not say that?”

“I didn’t. All I said was that the third term showdown in favor of an overwhelming majority denying Obasanjo a third term was a Hausa political victory.”

“You can say whatever you like; Orji Kalu is going to be the next president.”

“I think Orji Kalu has done a good job. He challenged Obasanjo. He deserves to be the next president.”

“Are you guys sure?”

“Of course he is the man! It is our turn and he is the man!

“You see why Igbo people have a problem? Ambrose doesn’t want an Igbo president.”

“I did not say that. Ok., let’s for the sake of this argument let’s assume Orji Kalu gets the mandate, and I mean if he could not deliver as governor what guarantees he would perform diligently as president?”

“That’s the problem with Igbo writers. Have you ever seen a Yoruba or Hausa criticize their own? If you go to Yahoogroup forums, you will see Igbos criticizing our leaders, something the Yorubas and Hausas don’t do.”

“Name one Igbo writer who criticizes our leaders?”

“Are you asking me? You should know better.”

“So you mean the Yorubas and Hausas don’t criticize their leaders.”

“Yes! Name them.”

“In October 1986, Dele Giwa was murdered in cold blood with a letter bomb for criticizing the Ibrahim Babangida military juntas. Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has been critical of Obasanjo’s regime and all the military juntas combined. Rotimi Durojaye of Daily Independent Newspapers and Gbenga Aruleba of African Independent Television were slammed recently for criticizing Obasanjo’s regime. What’s your point?”

“Look, I speak Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo fluently, so I know what I am talking about. Name a Yoruba and Hausa that criticizes their leaders.”

“I just did. Ok. Mike Awoyinfa and Hammeed M. Bello. Need more?”

“Name them!”

“Bayo Onanuga and Mohammed Haruna.”

“It’s people like you who don’t attend Igbo meetings that sit on the side and criticize.”

“How do you know I don’t attend Igbo-related meetings and conventions? I was at World Igbo Congress last summer and it was nothing to brag about. Don’t you remember?”

“Well, I didn’t see you.”

“You did not see me because you must have been hiding somewhere.”

“What do you mean I was hiding somewhere? Look, I am a staunch WIC member and I have attended every convention since the birth of WIC. You can’t say that about yourself because you don’t go to Igbo meetings.”

“Who told you I don’t attend Igbo meetings. For your information, I was at the last Igbo Cultural Association of California meeting held at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church. No big deal! The meeting was a disaster. I was totally disappointed to see our elite class behave like loquacious market women. Is that the kind of meeting you are talking about?”

“Yes and other meetings including your native village meeting. Where are you from, by the way?”




“Do you go to their meetings?”

“Of course, before it disappeared from Planet Earth. Maybe, it will reappear. Who knows?”

“Did Amazano ever register at the WIC for its own seat for recognition?”

“What recognition?”

“Other Igbo organizations are required to register with the WIC because WIC is Igbo umbrella.”

“Oh yeah? How is WIC Igbo umbrella and what has WIC done for Nd’Igbo?”

“WIC has done a lot for Nd’Igbo and whether you like it or not you are under WIC.”

“This is ridiculous! How can I be under a fraternity that has a history of funny bookkeeping and dubious managers? Do you know that WIC’s account is questionable under Chibuzor Onwuchekwa?

“All you do is criticize, criticize and criticize. It is people like you who sit on the side and do nothing but criticize. You need to come and join us and contribute your own ideas instead of criticizing your own people.”

“I have been told that before. You mean join a fraternity like WIC?”


“So WIC is a fraternity, not an Igbo umbrella?”

“No WIC is Igbo umbrella and that’s why we meet every year at different locations in Diaspora to discuss issues.”

“What issues? You mean seeing people, the picnic and dance?”

“Maybe you don’t know how it feels to see people you’ve not seen in years. That alone is big business and we should be proud of it.”

“I see, big business, huh?”

“Now tell me if you know of any Igbo organization that has recorded a profit after overheads?” Not even your own native village convention has recorded a profit. Not even one.”

“Would that be the reason why the management of the WIC does not care about its account and openness indicating it is a fraternity?”

“Come on guys, knock it off. Enough!”

Evidently, like the 80’s university campus “Buccaneers” and “Pirates,” where nothing practically was achieved in that respect, WIC is a fraternity. It is a social club. It has no Igbo interest, period!

Without a doubt, the pen is mightier than the sword as a result of my article and other thought-provoking write-ups alike. It has cleared a whole lot of stuff. All of a sudden, WIC’s constitution has popped up. All of a sudden, we are beginning to see what WIC has been doing behind closed doors. All of a sudden, WIC is paying attention to critics. And, all of a sudden, Anambra State Association-USA (ASA-USA) in a press release is sounding positively engaged for MASSOB’s right to exist as in all democratic fabrics.

Mighty biro’s magic, you see? I am innocent until proven guilty in the court of uncut, uncensored and free press.

The saga continues!

Ambrose Ehirim,
Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Administrator at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

Plight of Bakassi: Local and International Conspiracy?

by Dr. Paul O. Nwaogu (Gaborone, Botswana) --- That Bakassi is to be ceded to the Cameroon territory is a continuation of an ugly policy of governments-imperial and indigenous, meant to reduce the land mass of the former Eastern Region. After independence there was a plebiscite conducted by the United Nations to ascertain whether Southern Cameroon then part of the Eastern Region will remain in Nigeria or opt for unification with French Cameroon.

The outcome was the rigging of the vote in which the people agreed to be part of French Cameroon. Britain played a key role in the outcome of the vote simply to punish the Eastern Region for producing politicians who were in the vanguard for independence agitation. Part of Cameroonian territory in the Northern Region was helped to vote for integration with the region. It later became Sarduana province. This was done deliberately by the British to ingratiate the North for its limited agitation for independence movement. When the plebiscite was held in 1961 Bakassi was an undisputed part of Nigeria. If it was part of Cameroon that was administered by the British, why did the people of Bakassi not take part in the United Nations referendum? The Bakassi question came to light only during the Nigeria-Biafra War.

Nigeria wanted to win the war at all costs even if it meant severance of more land mass from the Eastern region. That negotiation was done by Gowon’s government as attested to recently by Alhaji Isyaku Ibraham in his address to Middle Belt Forum which was carried by the Daily Trust Newspapers on line Thursday January 12, 2006. In that address, he mentioned how Nigeria enlisted the cooperation of Ahmadu Ahidjo of Cameroon and Hamman Diori of Niger during the Biafran war without which they would have lost the war. At the time of negotiation with Cameroon, Bakassi was to Gowon and government a wasteland that could be traded in for Ahidjo’s war effort. That, the government did. Later oil was discovered and this raised the importance of Bakassi. As soon as Cameroon realized that Bakkassi has become strategic as a result of the presence of oil, it remembered its treaty with Gowon and demanded the fulfilment of the war time bargain.

In addition, it went to its archives and dug up antiquated laws that could help it lay claim to Bakassi. The case became internationalized with Cameroon going to the World Court at The Hague. The court decision is now history favouring Cameroon in the process. Some pertinent questions come to mine here. Why did the Nigerian government not reject the decision? This is another conspiracy from Obasanjo administration against the people of the South-South. His government has been bogged down with resource control and derivation principle being canvassed for by the people the Niger Delta. The government thought that to checkmate further headache coming from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states, it were better that the territory of Bakassi be ceded to the Cameroon to foreclose all agitations as well as remove both land and water mass of Bakassi from the adjoining states. The next question is- why was a plebiscite not used to decide which way the inhabitants of the area should go- Nigeria or Cameroon? A true conspiracy indeed! Let the people of Bakassi petition the UN and demand a fair play. Whatever agreement that ensued as a result of a meeting between Kofi Annan, Obasanjo and Biya should be regarded as not binding on them. Referendum is used always to decide the wishes of a people caught up in the web of two contending states. To do less in Bakassi amounts to local and international conspiracy.

Dr. Nwaogu writes from the Department of Educational Foundations, University of Botswana, Gaborone

Posted by Administrator at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

Nigerian Women and Indecent Dressing: The other Side of the Coin

by Henry Chukwuemeka Onyeama (Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria) --- Recently, sentinels of religion, morality and culture in Nigeria have taken up cudgels to compel our female folk to dress decently. Activists in this campaign include dons, priests and government officials.

Indeed, some of them have taken tough measures to put our women back on the narrow path. Sometime in 2004 there was a newspaper report about a clergyman who refused to officiate at a wedding because the bride was inappropriately dressed. There have been speculations about a proposed law on dressing code in the national assembly. Of course, dressing codes are now the norm in many Nigerian universities.

To an extent these efforts are commendable. Many of our ladies have run amok in the name of freedom and fashion. But every coin has two sides, and I hesitate to join a bandwagon running on the wheels of ignorance and hypocrisy.

Before we condemn our female folk for indecent dressing anywhere in this country, let us get our facts straight. Who and what determine what is decent dressing in Nigeria? If we use so-called cultural norms as a yardstick, do we accept that these are relative, and dynamic? There are parts of Nigeria where the baring of breasts to public gaze is inoffensive. While I do not subscribe to such standards, their owners’ culture influence their dressing, and the only way to check it is to address their culture.

Nigerians are not immune to Western values. Like or loathe them, they have permeated all aspects of our lives. Some of the things we copied from the white man are not the best but why aren’t we facing the challenges of cultural contacts? How many of these campaigners have tried to filter through both cultures and synthesize the good in them?

The religious and moral chieftains who hold sway on this subject should be cautious. At times they give the impression of living in the Victorian era; an era of moral/religious chieftains who hid hideous evils and perversion under the cloak of keeping society to the straight path. It is pertinent to lay some ground rules for the decent dressing campaign. First, what does Christianity and Islam – which are foreign to these parts – say on the matter, both implicitly and explicitly? How do our men of God interpret these principles in contemporary Nigeria? Must a Nigerian woman dress like her sisters in Palestine and Saudi Arabia in the era of the compilation of the Holy Books to qualify for heaven? What if a woman doesn’t subscribe to any of these religions or a particular branch of faith?

True, even atheists have basic moral principles. It is also true that morality is concerned with the general good. Viewed from this perspective, one’s dressing, irrespective of sex, should not unduly assault others’ sensibilities. But then dressing is not just a moral issue: aesthetics, purpose and taste are involved.

How morally equipped are those power-mongers who impose codes on our women? If our legislators are capable of stripping our treasury naked, if our religious leaders are incapable of telling our ruling elite to address those ills that, if the U.S. intelligence report on sub-Saharan Africa is anything to go by, threaten our corporate existence, why then do they pour venom on our women? Maybe they do not know that many of our ladies who dress the way they do want to grab a share of the national treasury by enticing those who stole what is rightfully theirs (the ladies) in the first place.

We should get our sense of right and wrong back on track. This has nothing to do with the twisted type of religion we practise in Nigeria. Picking on our women is no solution to our problem. Yes, their bodies maybe blessed sexual magnets that attract men, but there are many of our men folk who would lay a nun on the floor, if they get the chance. So who is deceiving whom?

Let us move beyond impositions on the women. Let us, irrespective of gender, begin a reorientation that puts the woman in her proper, God-created position as an equal and dignified member of the society. Let us, both individually and collectively, cease promoting our women’s sexuality as their sole asset. Above all, let us accept that this is the 21st century and even a madwoman would not want to go back to the woman-degrading days of our ancestors.

An award winning writer, Henry Chukwuemeka Onyeama
lives in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Posted by Administrator at 12:05 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2006

Funso Williams Left Politics to the Dogs

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Political assassination in Nigeria has become so common regardless of party affiliation; it makes one wonders who in his or her right mind would dare into such a dangerous game. There are “nest of killers” alright, but not in Lagos as if it is not part of Nigeria. They got Funso the same way they assassinated others.

This has struck too close Funso Williams Ozulumbato home because Funso was a childhood friend. Politics never had a good name even in my childhood days. However, there is some good feeling when ordinary people like us go into politics. You feel being part of the system without really being involved.

I have never been close to Funso since those childhood days. But I was home when he was in the Lagos State Ministry of Works. He spent most of his career there as a senior civil servant until he became the Commissioner. We met at parties thrown by our friends. Yet, I had some reservation about going to him or anybody for anything. Our friends would always say Funso was in that ministry, in case you need a problem solved, I shied away. That he was there and if I need something, I could go to him was enough. It is the same feeling we all have in case of anything to know we have somebody there.

It should not be a surprise that he eventually went into politics. Funso peaked in his career very early and human beings always look for the next challenge in life. There is certain section of Lagos, especially those from Popo Aguda that always looked down on politics as the profession of Boma Boys. If you are well bred as Funso was, why would you go into politics? During one of his campaign, a mutual friend of ours asked me for donation. It boils down to the fact that we can not complain if we refuse the opportunity to serve and if we can not all serve, we should sponsor capable people.

Many of us were bitter that he lost to Tinubu. As people would later say, he was rigged out of that primary. How could Funso be rigged out in Lagos? Politics is a game of numbers. Needless to say, that is now history. Funso has been rigged out of life. They went to his house in the morning and ended his life. Is politics that important? How many people are they going to scare out of the race of the dogs?

I can see the silent majority reinstating their warning that politics is for the dogs, that is “ko si omoluwabi la rin won”. In some cases, it works in reverse. For that reason, I hope many youths will see this as a reason to take control from these callous killers who will stop short of nothing to snuff the day light out of decent people. It is not a reason to give up but a reason to clean the animal stable.

Funso, we will miss you. Your accomplishment even in your boyish days will always be something our children will look up to. You came and you accomplished. Your time and your spirit will remain for ever. Every dog has his own day, that is, Kokumo, baba e da? May his soul rest in peace. Funso sun re o!

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

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Attorney Mike Ozulumba: Another Bostonian Declares for Nigerian House of Representatives

by Emenike Anigbogu, Esq. (Boston, Massachussettes) --- As the news making rounds Michael Mike Ozulumbain Boston and USA regarding Chief Victor Okoye’s announcement that he is running for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007, another formidable Nigerian-American businessman and legal stalwart, Atty./Barr. Mike Ozulumba recently announced his readiness, and, in fact, has launched his campaign for the coveted seat of the Federal House of Representatives, IHIALA Federal Constituency in Anambra State for the same 2007 general elections.

On a recent trip to Nigeria, Chief Ozulumba (Aguoha 1 of Okija) was unanimously endorsed by his Ward4 Constituency at Okija and, also, at Ihiala, the Federal Constituency headquarters, to seek the office of the Constituency’s Federal House of Representative on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.

Speaking to party faithfuls Michael Mike Ozulumbaduring a reception organized in his honor, Barr. Ozulumba lamented the deplorable condition of his Federal Constituency. He condemned the clear absence of federal presence in his area, and also described the degradation of some vital infrastructural facilities as “unacceptable”. Barr. Ozulumba anchored his intention to seek the position on the clear and immediate need to improve his people’s living condition by working harder to get the Governments at all levels to partner with private sectors, communities in job creations, good HealthCare delivery services, Education improvement, Crime Control and Electricity Power stabilization.

Attempting to allay the fears expressed by members of his constituency regarding the shoddy methods used by some political leaders to select candidates for elections, Barrister Ozulumba informed his Constituency that the era of backdoor selection of inept leaders by a few men in the town is over. He tasked his people to vote individuals that have tested experience and the strength to deliver on their elected jobs. According to Attorney Ozulumba, the National Assembly is a place where deft political maneuvering and horse-trading is the order of the day. “You must send a hard-bargainer and not a coward who trade in street violence and political abduction instead of intelligent engagement of his peers and contemporaries” warned Barr. Mike Ozulumba.

Taking the lion headlong, Barr. Ozulumba lamented the dangerous political precedence set by the present occupier of the office he is seeking. He condemned the “notoriety, shame and disgrace” the current incumbent, the infamous Chuma Nzeribe, has brought on the constituency. He mentioned the Okija shrine saga of 2004, the abduction of former Gov. Chris Ngige and other less-Honorable things that the legislator engaged his energy while he abandoned issues that would have positive impact for the people of his constituency.

At Ihiala, the Federal Constituency Headquarters and also the den of “lion” Chuma Nzeribe, Barr. Ozulumba roared loud and clear into the face of the lion when he visited the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) party office in Ihiala. He donated Party Office to the various Wards of the Party in Okija. He paid for a Party Headquarters Office at Ihiala. Barrister Ozulumba is expected to make his first public formal announcement of his Political intention at the Okija USA Convention scheduled to hold in New York/New Jersey on Saturday, 29th July, 2006.

The President of Okija USA Inc., Dr Leo Egbujiobi, has expressed pride and joy when he heard the news that Barr. Ozulumba will be using this years annual Convention to formally announce his political ambition in the Nigeria’s upcoming election.

Barr. Ozulumba bags intimidating credentials both in business, legal world and public service. It was initially expected that he would seek the office of the Governorship candidate of his party, but a source close to him stated that he shelved that plan because his dogged determination of seeing an APGA government in Awka has been realized, at last, through the judgment the Electoral Court that retuned Governor Obi as the rightful winner of 2003 gubernatorial election in the state. However, the journey of a thousand mile starts off with one step at a time.

Speaking to Rising Sun, the Boston’s Authentic Voice of Ndigbo, attorney Ozulumba expressed his excitement to serve his closest constituency. Asked if he would one day seek a higher office, he responded by stating that “the result of his effective representation of his people will speak for itself and will definitely dictate the course of his political future”.

There are fears that the campaign may be rough and tough given to the propensities of the current incumbent, Chuma Nzeribe, who is expected to seek re-election through his party, PDP, but Barr. Ozulumba shrugged off those fears by stating that: “hard work and destiny shall always prevail regardless of bumps along the way in one’s life”.


Barrister Mike Ozulumba hails from Okija in Anambra State. He came to United States in 1984. Bagged BSC Degree in Criminal Justice and Government from Suffolk University in 1987. Completed a 4 year College course in 2 ½ years! Enrolled at the New England School of Law, Boston. Obtained his Juris Doctor Degree in 1990. Started his Private Law Practice in 1993. Married with Children. Set up a Publishing Outfit. Published NIGERIAN SPIRIT Newsletter, Voracious Writer and Contributor to National Events (See his several Articles in Former Gen Sec. and Vice President, Nigeria American Multi Service Association, NAMSA, Former President Okija Solidarity Association, BOSTON. Current PRO/ADVISER, Igbo Organization of New England , BOSTON, Current PRO, Prestige Social Club, BOSTON, Executive Director and Board member to various companies and Associations. Real Estate Investment Holdings in Nigeria and USA, Owner of famous Spartan Studios>ABUJA and AWKA: A Music/Movies Production and Editing Studios, Executive Producer of Various Nigeria Movies including current hit Movie “DESTINY’S PRIDE”, Owns SPARTAN –TEK Autocycle Brand Brake Pads and sprocket Parts, used extensively in Popular Nigeria Passenger Motorcycles. SPARTAN MOTORS, Ikeja Lagos, 2004 Bachelor of Laws Degree, NIGERIA LAW SCHOOL, ABUJA, Former Gen Sec. APGA, Boston. Senior Correspondent, RISING SUN Newsletter etc. Barr. Ozulumba is a recipient of several Awards including Role Model of the Year Award by the Okija Students Association, OKIJA. WHO IS WHO in American Business, American Bar Association Member, Nigeria Bar Association Member, Okija Town Union, ABUJA, Member, Okija USA member, etc

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July 26, 2006

Soccer Like Life: Only the Number of Goals Counts

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- Nice guys finish last as the saying goes. It is so true, it hurts. I watched Ghana teach Brazil the game of football, as we call it. In the first half I felt real g-o-o-d! As it turned out, Ghana lost by three goals. How could that be? Yeah, find all kinds of excuses – weak shots etc. We were thought that the slow and steady horse wins the race. Ghana was steady but by no means slow.

Each time I flipped to that Spanish Station with that famous announcer some of you may have seen shouting his brand of G O A L! I felt some pain. He probably thought that he is Ishola Folorunsho! One of the world’s best in his days.

Zenedine Zidane of France got thrown out for unruly behavior in the final game with Italy after he was provoked by raining abuses on his mother and sister. We all know, no matter where you come from that if you do not mean business, there are certain words you do not use like mother, the N word or P word as in pig or the B word as in bitch or bastard. Say what you want about anything but not mother. There is a special attachment to sweet mother. If you do not come back on a vengeance, no be him mama born am!

Yet some of us have been trained to reach for higher ground. After all, they say bones and stone may break your bones but words do not hurt. Sure right, they only send you mental. I got to learn bad words in Nigerian major languages in primary school. As we used to stand against one another and exchange words, I realized that when my opponent ran out of words against me, he devised a trick of answering me with only one word. All of a sudden he was getting more laughter than me. So I later asked my supporters what had happened. They told me what that one word meant, my mother. From then on, I mastered bad words in major Nigerian languages; but was never used in front of girls.

Life itself is not supposed to be easy and if you mix it up with soccer, it can be the most exhilarating experience or the worst of it. I felt disconcerted when I watched and read about the African player in Europe that was shown banana and called all kind of names. He finally broke down and cried. It was easy to identify with him. In my first couple of years in Diaspora, I was lucky to get one of those jobs that paid very well but I had to quit when school load increased. There were all kinds of ethnic jokes about Irish, Jews, Indians, English and of course Blacks. My primary school training jokes came to the rescue. All I had to do was twist their jokes around and applied it to them. One lumber jack as we called him then got so mad because I got more laughter, he went for my throat. He thought because he was bigger he could knock me down, but I hardly saw a black man loose a fight. Abi you ever see Dick Tiger or Hogan Kid Bassey or Rafiu King Joe loose a fight, apart from magomago? He found himself on the floor. Everyone saw him come after me, instead of loosing my job, we were warned.

Children, things are different these days. Nobody fights with fists anymore. They use guns. Moreover, racism is more subtle but just as devastating if not more these days. I think the French Captain was so provoked, he lost it. The African player who broke down and cry never expected that amount of racism. He was not prepared at home because we only expose the best part of Europe and America. If many of us were as honest and worked as hard in Africa as we did in Diaspora, Africa would never be a place to run away from risking death in the desert. We squandered passed legacy from our parents.

Hypocrites would ask you not to react violently in the face of racism, after all you are well paid and there are adequate due process of the law one can follow to report such insulting behavior. Sports itself can be a violent game. Indeed, soccer is a game that can be easily emotional. We know that from our primary school days. We used to beat opponent sometimes, win or loose. Some of my friends got suspended for that. As we moved to secondary schools, it became more civilized but still emotional. I think we left all those behind by the time we left high school anyway.

It may be more difficult to explain the behavior of the English hooligans that are known and banned from stadiums in their Country and outside their Country. So when we see unruly behavior among professional teams, we are surprised and my brother who broke down crying must have been equally caught unaware. Could it be the same Europe he had wished for all of his life to get to?

It is the same Europe where Teslim Thunder Balogun played. Can you imagine what they absorbed in those days? When he went to Europe, he was a star in Nigeria but decided to learn about Printing before he found himself in Peterborough United. Whenever there were important games, he was flown home to play for Nigeria. Nigeria was a hot football arena right from those days, even before my time. It was a matter of debate among many Nigerians whose shot was more powerful - Thunder Balogun or Etim Henshaw shots.

Violence in football/soccer then was if that shot would kill a goal keeper who dared to stand in the way. Before people call me to order and remind me that there were more violence than that, let me open up. The police team always played Ayo Olopa in those days. All they did was shooting to the sky trying to score in the heavens. Once they lost, everyone had to scatter for cover because of indiscriminate arrests. As for abuses, we used to play marble, and stations an agbalumo seed. If one missed by a whisker of the finger resulting in a weak shot, we exclaimed – esun gbe omo ale!

However, we enjoyed the game most of the time. There was a shocker in Lagos in 1953 that I was too young to remember. Kano XI was a selection of players from the City and they were the first to win FA cup from outside Lagos. In case you are wondering what the big deal was, they defeated Lagos Dynamos made of “timber and caliber” like Thunder Balogun, Dan Anyiam and Baba Shitu. I was too young to know if my parent gave me food that night or if they ate because all parents talked about the defeat for a long time.

Luckily I got old enough to witness none violent games that we were all proud of. Most of the world class players were flown in like Thunder was. Onyeali comes readily to mind. The home boys were not less skilful either. It was Olu Onagoruwa or Ezekwe at the goal post. Olu was calm and gentle but Ezekwe was one crazy magnet. There was Baba Yara and Onyeama at the back. I did not know how any Ghana player passed them. Fabian Duru and his free kicks was something else. Dejo Fayemi was just too good so were Dongo Yaro, Nnamokwo, Onyewuna, Omokachie, Fregene and Naquapor. If Blackson ever got the ball in front of him, nobody could catch him on the run. We had so many I can not remember now from different parts of Nigeria. Referees like Badru never tolerated nonsense as the Russian referee who threw out four players in 2006 World Cup.

Soccer did not just rise up in Nigeria. We were practicing from our mothers’ the womb. That is why our pregnant mothers complain of kicks. There were play grounds all over Nigeria and when there was none, we turned streets into one, especially dead ends. It was our recreation that kept us out of trouble. In Lagos, it was Onola, Campus Square, Evans, Elegbata and when we move to that bush in New Lagos, there were adequate space at Ifelodun and one by Olaiya Stadium Hotel. We also had Boy & Girls clubs where girls played net-ball. During excursion to the North and the East, we played soccer with our hosts, after the game, win or loose, we had dinner and fanta drinks together. Obviously, the same pattern of the game was demonstrated in all nooks and corners of the Country. Life was so good, one of my childhood friends threatened his dad that if he did not bring him back from London, he would just appear. Now think; the kids were in foster care.

There were some players in high schools in those days that also come to mind. Amu of St. Gregory’s was like Duru and his free kicks. His name would be called from the time he kicked the ball until it landed in the net. Lateef Gomez was also a high school goal keeper. It was Indiana Asiodu of Kings College we knew that if he could not score a penalty kick, nobody could. He was suspended for one game after he missed a penalty. Bode Lawal of Baptist Academy was simply “ball control”. Of course, Osode of Ahmadiya College with his rascality, Tunde Disu, Empire Kanu, the other Asiodu of Igbobi College, I think. So many of them made football fun in those days. How can I forget the IONIAN colleges in the West that glamorized competition for us? There was a boy from Christ the King College, Onitsha. After paying in Lagos, he was hijacked into Kings College for Higher School Certificate. Boy, he mesmerized Lagos.

Amu of St. Gregory must not be confused with A. K Amu, the 220 and 100 yards runner during the era of Akraka Water, Idowu, Erin Ile the huddler and David Ejoke that gave us their best at UAC playground in Surulere.

Before I get carried away with the old days, violence still reign not too long ago when Nigerian won the World Olympic Cup. Those boys were just dazzling, teaching the world how to play soccer. There were some skeptics at the beginning when the referees would call every tackle by African players. The commentators would say our players lacked international experience. The calls got to a point when I almost punch one of them in the TV. I think we defeated Brazil first before we went on to beat Argentina. Our Embassy was set ablaze in Brazil. Well, Brazilians live, breath and worship soccer. I did not remember hearing from Nigerians in Brazil if they were treated differently as a result of the Nigerian team prowess. But I could imagine then that they were on their best behavior in order not to attract hooligans into their space. In Columbia, Escobar who mistakenly scored into his own net during international match was shot dead when he got home.

Soccer is the world’s most important game. We should not be too dismay that violence has gone into it. It is also a very emotional game that has been highly commercialized. The scandals recently exposed and that is being investigated in Italy may also tarnish the game. But most of us just enjoy the game and must not loose focus of the togetherness and joy it brings us. I find it highly fulfilling when any African team is playing and we all unit behind “our“ team, even when we have been individually defeated. It does not matter if it is a Jamaican or Zimbabwe team.

Some of us have our reason for supporting the French team alright but the type of racist comment from an Italian politician that the team is made up of Muslims and Blacks is uncalled for. That is what leads to violence. As the women joined world class soccer, men have women to look up to for gentle and milder reactions. We tend to behave better around the ladies.

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

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July 20, 2006

War Against Terror: PM Tony Blair Speaks on Terrorism in Africa

by Oyeyemi Olodo, Esq. (London, England) --- British PM Tony Blair As the ongoing crisis in the Niger Delta of Nigeria continues to worsen, Nigerian Government is under pressure to put its house in order or risk regional military intervention. The attacks on Offshore and Onshore oil facilities which the militant Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claim responsibility for have cut Nigeria’s daily exports of 2.5 million barrels by 500 million barrels.

As a result, the country which is a major player in oil export is contributing to the high oil prices presently at a record breaking of $70 a barrel. The instability and kidnapping of oil workers by fully armed militia fighters which the Nigerian authority seems unable to contain is creating concerns in the western world.

The US government recently provided logistics support to the Nigerian government by supplying special boats to help tackle piracy, arms and oil smuggling including a joint military training exercise by troops from both countries focussing on strategies for combating militias more experienced on manoeuvring creeks battle.

Nevertheless, it is becoming apparent that more is needed to address the issue of the Niger Delta crisis especially in light of lessons learnt from the ongoing war against terrorism around the world; particularly Iraq.

The Publisher of The Integrity Magazine, a U.K monthly magazine, was among the prominent elite magazine editors invited to the state Dining Room of No. 10 Downing Street, for a question and answer session the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair. The Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Oyeyemi Olodo, asked the PM a probing question on the spill over effect of the Niger Delta saga. The Prime Minister, not going into details, has revealed that a British military tailored pro-active stand by force option is in the pipeline to checkmate crisis that threatens democracy and the peace, not only Nigeria, but Africa.

TIM Publisher: I would just like to know your opinion with regard to the Niger Delta crisis going on presently, and taking from lessons learned from Iraq what other support do you think you could give to the Nigerian government in trying to deal with this issue in a diplomatic and appropriate manner, especially taking into consideration that most of these so-called terrorists or rebels are watching telly and learning some bad examples from what is happening in Iraq and ... that part of the region?

Prime Minister: Well what we are trying to do in the Niger Delta is to work with the Nigerian government, both to build their capacity to keep the peace, and we do a lot of work with the Nigerian government on the capability they have got, and in addition to that we are working for a standby force in Africa as well to try and intervene where there are difficulties, particularly when there are difficulties that have got religious and ethnic overtones, as those in the Niger Delta. But in the end the best answer to these problems is to encourage development, to give stability and also to defeat those, including those in the Niger Delta, who want to split religious groups from each other. And I am afraid this is a worldwide phenomenon of global terrorism that is based on a perversion of the true doctrine of Islam, but it is there and we need to deal with it wherever it raises its head. And we have been working very hard with the Nigerian government on this, and Nigeria is an interesting example of a country that is basically 50/50 split between Christians and Muslims and therefore it would be very sad indeed if that type of tension came in there. So we are working on it and it is something I have discussed with the Nigerian President a lot.

Oyeyemi Olodo Esq., Oyeyemi Olodo Esq.,
The Integrity Magazine

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Bush’s “wimpification” of the UN (or, St. Petersburg’s G-8 summer outing)

by Ben Tanosborn (Vancouver, Washington (USA)) --- It’s both remarkable ben tanosbornand incredible how Bush treats and demeans the United Nations. Of course, things wouldn’t have to be that way if the head honcho there – Kofi Anan – consented to have the United States call all the shots. It would certainly make things more pleasant and bearable for Mr. Anan.

Heck! If all these incompetent parasites, as this institution is painted to the American citizenry by the ruling neocons, stayed docile and understood this nation’s lofty mission, Americans wouldn’t be badmouthing them. In fact, Bush might even be willing to retrieve Ambassador Bolton and put him back in the kennel; or, at the very least, keep him muzzled… perhaps even forcing him to shave that menacing, comical mustache.

Which brings up the questions… isn’t this G-8 self-declared elite encroaching on the stated mission of the United Nations? Shouldn’t any business that matters to all people in the planet be conducted under the auspices of the UN? Just who made these people kings and the rest of the world their vassals?

If it’s a question of photo-ops for some of these power and vanity-holders, that could be easily arranged with whatever pomp and ceremony their egos demanded, at whatever resort locations suited their fancy. But let’s separate the perks associated with their positions from the nitty-gritty of getting things done for the betterment of mankind. Bringing this elitism to create the impression that these heads of state can “personalize” things and thus achieve greater results is total nonsense, pure poppycock.

Besides, the G-8 is really G-(1+6+1) with six nations gyrating to the whims of one… and Russia just added for good measure because of its nuclear arsenal and energy resources. Some of those economies have already been surpassed by the economies of other nations; and in a decade or two all, with the exception of the US, will have GDPs trailing those of several other nations, or blocks of nations.

Inviting China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil to the shindig in St. Petersburg didn’t validate or add luster to this G-8 gathering; it only underlined the need for all issues of concern to the peoples of the world to be discussed and negotiated under one roof: the United Nations; or, if this institution is broken, an appropriate replacement.

Whether it is poverty, and the gulf that exists between rich and poor nations; or the planet’s environment; or the world’s health issues; or the subject of education; or human rights; or peace and security… we already have the venue and much of the framework to negotiate whatever needs to be negotiated in order to bring about a better and more just world. Other avenues we take are an exercise in condescension and/or deceit… most often, deceit.

These annual “board meetings,” if you wish to so name these fanciful outings, seem to fail in the most basic and first step of any board meeting: reading the minutes of the prior meeting and judging whether pending issues have been resolved. Few of the projected things really get done. Much of what was promised last year at Gleneagles will remain as unfulfilled promises… like so many others in the past. On the thirty-second meeting, the key issue affecting poor agrarian nations trying to trade their way out of poverty remains unresolved, as it has for three decades. I will repeat a paragraph of the comments I made after last year’s thirty-first meeting, which is just apropos today:

“Poor nations deserve not alms but the dignity of fair trade. Rich nations do want poor nations to come out of poverty, to succeed… but only by sharing from a larger pie. Giving up part of the existing pie, which may represent as much as $600 bn annually for African and Latin American nations in fair trade value, is not in the cards. Not for the US; not for other rich nations. Better to give the poor nations $10-15 bn annually in alms, and have them kiss your hand in gratitude, than to let them have what’s theirs.”

Chancellor Angela Merkel made a point on the last day of this meeting that poverty will have top priority at the next meeting, which she will host in Germany. But good intentions have remained 180 degrees apart from good deeds all these years. What makes us think that the nature of wealth holders will ever change?

Putin closed the proceedings he hosted by saying: “All the goals we set ourselves have been achieved. Not a single issue arose which we failed to agree upon.” As I see it, either there were no goals of substance, or the measuring stick for achievement is suspect… or a combination of both.

This celebrities’ reunion certainly appeared as the least productive in the past five years. I am sure that the conflict involving Hezbollah and Israel [with Lebanon as the pounding bag] will get the blame for the lack of accomplishments. In truth, there was little in the agenda at the start of the meeting anticipated to be accomplished, so the outcome had already been cast.

As for the invited non-players, super-powers in the making most of them, there was a great deal of opportunity to play bilateral, trilateral and even quadrilateral games among them (Brazil, China, India and Russia). It was diplomatic on-the-job training for this cast of pretenders. Manmohan Singh (India) led the way in showing his talent in diplomacy skills, demonstrating that even the Sino-Indian territorial dispute would not stop him from cooperating with Hu Jintao (China).

Biggest losers among losers: the poor nations of Latin America and Africa [as always]. Notwithstanding the remarks just made by World Bank president, Paul Wolfowitz, while in Abuja (Nigeria)… as he spoke of the dramatic changes for the better taking place in Africa. Same accuracy, I am afraid, as he displayed in 2002 with his planned invasion of Iraq. His level of malfeasance couldn’t get any higher than that.

But if anyone needed to learn a lesson, it should have been Bush. He may treat the UN as a pariah and a wimp, but by so doing he is making a fool of himself, showing a lack of leadership and putting at risk the diplomatic well-being of the United States. Bush may feel that the wimpification of Anan and the UN is the emperor’s prerogative, a way of telling a joke… but people around the world aren’t laughing. Not laughing at all.

© 2006 Ben Tanosborn

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Mourning, Culture, and the Individual

by Paul I. Adujie (New York, United States) --- I recently endured and I continue to endure, a traumatic heartbreak; the passing away of my kid sister Clara. The bereavement is belated, but it was news to me. My mother and my brother conspired to conceal my kid sister’s passing from me, as a favor to me.

In the infinite wisdom of my mother and my brother, they reasoned that they were doing me a favor, by sparing me the bad news of my sister’s traumatic and tragic passing. This, my mother and my brother did, purely out of love and care for my sanity and well being.
Their intention was to protect me, for my own sake.

Their actions were informed by good intentions and not out of spite or disagreement of any sorts with me. I live alone, in America, no brothers, sisters, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, wife, or such other family or relatives as support system which we have in Nigeria. They worried about how it might affect me and my hectic work life. So, they did not want this monumental grief news to hit me, without a support system! Thy concealed it from me. Nothing could have been worse! The not knowing! I was left in the dark!

But in doing so, my mother and my brother, both of whom I love dearly, they robbed me of a chance to grieve, in my own way, whatever my way would have been.
I could have traveled to attend my kid sister’s burial I could have, in doing so, put my life and work in New York in jeopardy. But I would have had a choice! My choice!

My mother and my brother reasoned that I would have been too distraught for my own good. They reasoned that I would have been suicidal, especially for the fact that my sister Clara and I are (were!) very close. She was the baby of the family. She was the spoilt one; we all pampered her, especially, when she was very young.

Unfortunately, in the past several years, I have not been as close to my family as I would have wished. I have not made as meaningful contacts as I would have wished. I have not traveled to Nigeria, as often as I would have wished. Life in New York is fast-paced and there a gazillion (important things) to do, with so much demand on my time. And then, my sister died, she was buried and I had no role in all of that! The processes!
But, now, what relevance and benefit are those very important gazillions things that I was doing? What is the value of my efforts in America, to me and my family in this grief?

I was not home to hold and comfort my mother, my elder sister and my elder brother.
I was not home to see my late sister one last time!

In 1994 I left New York for Nigeria, with an eye of returning to Nigeria for good. While in Nigeria, but in another state, other than my home state, my father was said to have collapsed and died. I was away from my home state where my father lived, but I received the sad news by telephone and I drove the 300 hundred miles to my home state to see my father buried, as our tradition required that he be buried soon after his death.

My father lived a long and fulfilled life. To put it simply, he was old and accomplished. But he was my father still. I never contemplated my reaction to his death. I collapsed to the floor upon learning that my father had passed on. My knees became so weak and they caved. I staggered up, and drove the 300 miles. And then, I promised myself that I will be strong, stoical and that I will exude composure. I kept that promise, almost to the end. I however faltered when my father’s body was being lowered into his final resting place.

All of a sudden, it dawned on me! This is it! I will never ever again, see my father, flesh and blood. This is it! A man that I have known all my life, a larger than life man, who I have always looked up to; this is it! I am now on my own, my own man! It was scary!
And all of a sudden, I sobbed and bawled uncontrollably to the surprise of all family and friends present. They all expressed amazements at my sudden reaction, particularly, after I had displayed a façade of being in charge of my emotions and handling “it” very well.

After my father’s internment and final burial rites, I was sullen and somber. I felt a great loss and unexplainable emptiness. And I kept repeating to myself, so, I will never see him again, ever? So, this is how life ends and so mortality has this finality? So this is the end for my father, this is the end our times together? So, I will never have an opportunity to argue and disagree with him again as we frequently did.

A week before his death, he had repeated his “demand” that I get married, just so he has the opportunity to interact with a grandchild borne of me, before he, my father travels to the great be yond. I reacted with my usual impatience and complete lack of interest!

But of course, being the stubborn and argumentative son that I have always been to my father; I promptly informed him that (a) he is not dying and (b) I will get married in the next fifteen years and (c) before he goes to heaven to be on the right hand side of God, he should be comforted by the facts of grandchildren from my siblings and there was nothing special about a grandchild from me. I told my father, as he and I shared what would be our last lunch or meal together, that the world was over populated!

He insisted that he might go “home” soon and I half-jokingly, told him he was going no where fast and I repeated my perennial jokes about poverty in the world, and overpopulation etc. I often also told him to give me money, as encouragement.

My father apparently knew something that I did not. He was always, steps ahead of me!

My father passed on, without illness, without hospitalization and without a chance or opportunity for my siblings and I to, pull medical strings to preserve or prolong my father’s life. But well, he was very old at least. When he passed away, he was not at his prime of his youth. When he passed away, I was already in Nigeria for more than one whole month I think. More importantly, I received the news of his death almost promptly and I had a chance to mourn, a chance react instantaneously and a chance to witness my father’s internment and burial rites etc. I was with other family members, friends and homefolks.

On the other hand, my kid sister’s death was completely different;
I did not have the benefit of whatever reactions that I would have had, upon learning of the death of my kid sister. I did not have luxury of crying, bawling and sobbing or becoming suicidal as a result of learning of her passing! Thanks to my mother and my brother who had conspired to protect me from myself. My mother and my brother decided to shield me from what I consider my necessary grief and grieving process.

But mother and my brother were sincere in their intents and they meant well.

So, one day, I think it was a Saturday morning, I called Nigeria to speak to my mother and she was not answering her cell phone. My mother has this practice of frequently leaving her cellular telephone at home, as she run her errands or go visiting families and friends. And I have had to remind her, why cellular telephones are actually called “mobile phones” in Nigeria….. Because you take them with you! The phone is “mobile”!

Ah well, my mother has lectured me about not expecting calls from Gowon, Obasanjo or a stock broker and so, she will answer the telephone when she gets to it. But she pesters me, even still, with the poor frequency of my calls to her. Mom, please take the handset with you, so when I do call, you are there. But we know how mothers are, always right!

My mother was not home to answer her “mobile” phone which is hardly ever mobile! And I spoke to one of our extended family member’s child, one of those who frequently visited or come to spend time with and, keep my mother company, since my father’s sudden departure from her, to greener pastures, on the right hand side of God, in heaven!

The little girl announced that my mother was out, and about, but left the mobile phone behind as usual. I then bantered with the little girl about school and things I thought might interest her. She told me that her school would not release her WASC results, because she owed some bits of money. Her father, my maternal uncle, was somewhere in Abuja as she awaits his return and the fees as well as JAMB costs.

At that point, I had enquired whether she had informed my mother, or my brother who visits our mother frequently, or why did she not go to Clara! The little girl now said to me, in the most understated way “Clara is late” I repeated it after her, as I did not understand or decode the statement. She in turn, repeated her own statement after me!
And then, she added ominously, so, uncle, you did not know? Nobody told you that Clara is late? And the little girl started crying and it hit me!

Until that moment, I have never in my entire life heard anyone, so express the death of another, in such peculiar English! And until that moment, the secrets and conspiracies between my mother and my brother, and perhaps other family members, had worked perfectly against me! My sister Clara was dead and buried, I was blissfully unaware!

Clara wrote letters to me here in New York, some I replied, some I did not. There were combinations of reasons. Laziness! Procrastinations! My refusal to offer one more explanation to her, as to why I am not married and I have not visited Nigeria again etc.

Now, I regret ever ignoring any of her letters! Particularly, the last letter from her!
I was very close to my sister growing up, I baby sat her for my mother, and I sort of, raised her and saw her grow, from our earliest childhood days together. I remember when she was born and when my mother returned home from that Catholic hospital where we were all born, I remember Clara, just like yesterday! Clara was my sister and best friend.

When my father passed away, she acted impressively, as if, she was the matriarch or head of my siblings, this, even though she was the youngest! Clara knew who my late father’s friends were. She knew where my father’s resources were. She knew who his creditors or debtors were. She hired the best entertainers during the celebrations of my father’s life.
She was the last among my siblings in Nigeria to return to her station after our father’s burial.

Whereas my brother left our hometown hurriedly, in order to, return to Port Harcourt, soon after the internment of my father. My brother argued that papa is gone and he needed to return to pursue his client’s cases in Port Harcourt courts! Clara cleaned up and finalized things. That was how my sister Clara, always was. She was admired by all of us. She was a towering and imposing 6.4feet tall take-charge sister. She was prodigious in her efforts for our family and on our family’s behalf. Always!

I wish I could talk to my sister Clara. I wish I could beg her to forgive me for ignoring her letters, her last letter. I have become closer to Clara’s twin daughters, as they are what I have left of her.

I have also learnt from my bereavements (the loss of my father and now my kid sister) that I must always verbalize my affection to my family members and my friends, because as my experience has taught me, I should never wait or hesitate, because I may never have another chance to act or verbalize my affections and tenderness to my loved ones.

The toughest and perhaps, most traumatic events in my life in the last ten years, have been the passing of my father, the passing of my sister Clara and my divorce, my divorce, which also felt like bereavement, or as if a part of me or someone in my household had died. My sister’s death saddened me beyond words. I have been doubly sad, because of the initial concealment. I have been inconsolably sad.

How do you mourn? How do I mourn? How should I mourn? In general, how should we mourn? But in particular, what is the best, or preferred grieving process for an immigrant, a Nigerian immigrant? Too often, immigrants leave so much behind in their old country, old world. Family, friends and all the lives they had known.
Immigrants are so often deprived, in the most intangible and unquantifiable ways.
I have missed out on opportunities, sundry opportunities to participate in my family’s happiest moments. I have missed out on rare moments to be physically present at weddings. I have missed out on rare moments to attend funerals in person, to support and console other family members, whose supports and consoling, I in turn, also needed.

My mother insisted to me, that she recruited and begged my brother into the conspiracy of silence and concealment. She told me this, as I scolded my brother for not giving me the chance to console and support, our mother, when she needed it most. My brother has apologized. Apologies are really not necessary. And he informed me as well, that as I, picked up and left Nigeria, life in Nigeria continued; including of course, births, deaths, marriages, divorces and all the other joys and sadness of human life. My brother insists, that I should factor in, all these variables of life. He admonished that I should expect good news and bad news and the vagaries of life, from family and friends in Nigeria.

And; as I grow older, and as my sojourn in the United States lingers, I have started to ask of myself, the meaning of life. What is my life worth? What is my happiness? How does anyone quantify the inability to partake in the hills and valleys of the lives of family and friends, in my home country Nigeria? What wealth or the good life in America can ever compensate, neutralize and replace all that loss and emptiness? What is the value of my emigration to America?

Are these feelings of loss, nostalgia and emptiness peculiar to me?

Upon learning of my sister death belatedly, I was angry; angry with myself, angry at my brother, and angry at my mother. I was probably angry at the whole world! Why did my sister Clara have to die? Why did I have to be so far away? Why the concealment of her death? Was concealment the right thing to do for me? What was the right thing to do?

Should I have been left the choice to grieve my own way? Was it better to have shielded me from the grieving process? Should families in Nigeria or families of immigrants generally, shield immigrants from grief and grieving, when deaths occurs in Nigeria or the immigrants’ home country? What was the right thing to do in all the circumstances? How do you mourn? How should I mourn? What is the right way to mourn the loss of a loved one? Especially and particularly, when you are thousands of miles and many oceans, away from home?

Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States

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July 17, 2006

Two Sides of a Coin: A Private Soldier Lectures Nigerian Commander-in-Chief, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Nigerian Military History

by Oyeyemi Olodo, Esq. (London, England) --- Oyeyemi Olodo, Protest at Nigerian High Commission, London Nigerian Army Day celebration was as colourful as America Army recent celebration of its 231st Birthday in existence which reflected on U.S soldiers’ contribution to making the world a safer place to live. However, far away from the continent of Africa, another event was unfolding, which was of a different kind.

A one man protest outside the Nigeria High Commission seeking a change in the date the Army Day is held. The Integrity Magazine brings you an exclusive interview with a retired soldier of the Nigerian Army that wants the Federal Government of Nigeria to recognise the role of servicemen who answered, a Call to Duty, over 143 years ago and yet remain unrecognised and unvalued.

As Nigerian Government works on making the nation relevant and fit for purpose in the 21st Century, it is becoming apparent that the ignorance of the past need to be acknowledged and history rewritten to give credit " whom it is due". Nigerian Army has played a significant role in the development of Nigerian entity and if any institution should be appraised for keeping the nation together, then the military remain undoubtedly a major player in the new Nigeria that we are looking forward to.
There are many good things about Nigerian military that makes them at least far better than the kleptocratic politicians (though some few military officials were bad) and the untamed police personnel (trigger-happy policemen), though this is not the time and place to elucidate on that, the bottom-line remains and many political commentators have argued that the military should never be allowed to rule but civilian administration need some of the best-practice embedded in the military to operate effectively in Nigeria.


What could be regarded as the nucleus of the NA started in 1863 when the Imperial Governor of Lagos, Lt Glover of the Royal Navy gathered 18 Northern Nigerians to mount punitive expeditions to protect British trade routes around Lagos. This small force metamorphosed into the Hausa Constabulary and later formed part of the West African Frontier Force (WAFF). The visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Nigerian in a 1956 led to the renaming of the Northern and Southern Regiments to the Queen’s Own Nigerian Regiment (QONR). When later in that same year, Britain granted military autonomy to her dependencies, the QONR was re-designated the Nigerian Military Force (NMF), and at independence in 1960, the name changed to the Royal Nigerian Army. The present designation, Nigerian Army (NA), came into use when Nigeria assumed a Republic status in 1963.

From this brief history culled from the internet from the Nigerian Army website , one thing stands out, the Day and Month of 1863 remained unknown to the Nigerian Army history writers. But for patriotism a retired soldier, and a university graduate of History has taken the pains to voluntarily research this gap at the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, London, and communicated the actual date to Army authority. Rather than appreciate his singular effort, he was labelled a rebel and had his monthly pension confiscated since 2002.

If Nigerian Army refuse to acknowledge that the proper date for the celebration of Nigerian Army Day should be 24th January, 1863, then all these brave men that answered the call to duty in both the first and Second World War, died in vain. In the U.K, the nation celebrate the role of their military and acknowledge their contribution but in Nigerian, we pay them back by not releasing their pension and allowing them to be true professionals that they are really tailored to be.

It is time to stop messing with history and give the children of these slain Nigerian heroes the recognition they deserve. Olusegun Oyewole, a soldier turned Minister of the gospel and editor-in-chief of the Nigerian Defence Times, explained why he was protesting outside Nigerian Embassy in London on the 6th of July 1967, the date the Nigerian Civil War began, which the military adopted as “Nigerian Army Day” instead of 1863 when the Nigerian Army was born. Army Day should connote Army Birthday, which should be 24th January, 1863, Olusegun argued:

TIM: Tell us briefly about yourself?

Olusegun: My name is Olusegun Olaniyi Oyewole, a retired soldier of the Nigerian Army with a B.A (Hons) History, PG Diploma in Journalism and presently a Law student at University of Teesside.

TIM: Have you ever participated in any military operation like peace-keeping force etc in the past?

Olusegun: Yes! I was in Liberia in 1990 with the ECOMOG troops from 21 Battalion, Minna attached under 1 Mechanised Brigade HQ.

TIM: Why are you protesting outside the Nigerian High Commission in London on the 6th July, don't you have anything better to do?

Olusegun: This is more important to me. I have been advocating a change in the Army Day Celebration since I wrote my B.A History dissertation in 1994. I published this in articles and memoranda to the Minister of Defence and the Army Chief. But they refused to acknowledge this error simply because I am an ordinary soldier who supposed not to think, much of holding opinion.

TIM: You mentioned that you are retired military personnel, are you still receiving your benefits for your service to your country?

Olusegun: That is another story. Immediately the Army received my memorandum my pension was stopped that I have query to answer at home.

TIM: Had you tried to convey this information to Nigerian government?

Olusegun: Yes. I have and my effort has been interpreted as an affront to the intelligence of the officers.

TIM: What will you like to see Nigerian Army look like in 10 years?

Olusegun: I want to see an Army well professionalized, well catered for and highly mobile, mechanised with modern weapons with sufficient training and international exposure trained in the best military institutions abroad and participating with the best armies in the world in global peace keeping: anti-terrorism campaign. And above all able to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria and win the confidence of Nigerians.

TIM: Would Nigerian Army have been equipped to perform at conflicts such as Iraq etc if drafted?

Olusegun: The politicisation of the military makes it less ready for such high tech warfare.

TIM: How will you advise Nigerian Army to tackle the Delta Crisis?

Olusegun: I think dialogue is the best option. The choice of gun diplomacy might not work because even a senior military officer- Director of Defence Operations confessed our Army can be over run by Niger Delta militant because of lack of modern weapons and training.

TIM: What is your message to the military and Nigerian Commander-in-Chief?

Olusegun: Professionalism and reward for individual in-put will make the military a pride for the youth. The pensioners and heroes should be accorded recognition and national honours for them. Post Service Schemes and insurance and housing should be in place after all, we are a rich oil producing nation.

It is a sad sorry that Nigerian Government refuses to recognise our military and I think it is necessary........

The protester, Olusegun Oyewole sent a chilling message to the commander-in-chief, Olusegun Obasanjo. Although namesake with Nigeria president, the private soldier was not shy to give the one-time “General” in the Nigerian Army, history lesson on Nigerian Military.

The military adviser at Nigeria High Commission, London was asked for comment but nothing was received.

Oyeyemi Olodo Esq.,
The Integrity Magazine

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July 14, 2006

Of Nku Ukwa, Chibuzor Onwuchekwa, and World Igbo Congress’ card-carrying Members

The Ambrose Ehirim Files by Ambrose Ehirim (Los Angeles, California) --- Can Ichie Chibuzor Onwuchekwa deliver Nd’Igbo from problems grand and small? Forget it! That will never happen, and you would be better off looking elsewhere for such leadership. Alas! upon his return from a psycophantic trip to Aso Rock, Chibuzor Onwuchekwa announced that his will be the Nku Ukwa era in WIC; nku ukwa is of course a crude version of trickle down economics, which calls on Nd'Igbo to set aside their suffering or political aspirations and instead support the enrichment of certain corrupt Igbo men in Abuja, who, it is hoped, would repatriate some of the loot to Igboland or to Nd'Igbo.

At his election in Los Angeles, the question was: would Onwuchekwa (like Kalu Diogu before him) go down as another Igbo efulefu and sell-out kowtowing for left-over at the rocks of Aso? Without a doubt and from all indications he’s getting there and the nku ukwa doctrine is his blueprint.

Worried about what World Igbo Congress is up to in setting standards according to Onwuchekwa’s doctrine when he proclaimed at WIC’s Los Angeles convention that the time for change has come, and that every Igbo indigene would be a WIC card carrying member under his leadership? Baloney! We’ve seen that before and like any other Igbo politician seeking appointments with the bigot Mathew Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, it’s nothing new.

Almost ten months and still counting since Onwuchekwa took over the administrative affairs of a do-nothing WIC and yet to see what he has to show for it, other than his embarrassing and disgraceful trips to Abuja, and the way he bragged about it as if anyone cares. Of course, he felt he was doing a good job and not even ashamed he had let the Igbo nation down with reports that made him look like a real Igbo efulefu. Reports indicating he had no sense of belonging in assuming the highest post of a fractured “elite” Igbo organization, the alleged Igbo Diaspora umbrella—the WIC.

In the words of Onwuchekwa, every Igbo indigene will be guaranteed WIC’s “card-carrying membership.” A year will soon pass by and Onwuchekwa’s-led WIC is yet to present a budget of administrative overhaul to Igbo people. Igbo organizations all over have gotten worse by the day and numerous indications of collapse are in evidence. The vigor for improving conditions of living in Igbo states has not shown any sign of improvement, and, more importantly, the zeal for instigating peace and tranquility in Anambra State, for instance, has visibly waned. Anambra, is by all accounts a state of empire and anarchy. Ralph Uwazuruike is languishing in jail and nobody cares; not even Onwuchekwa and his bunch of Obasanjo apologists who are scared to talk about it. The slaughter of MASSOBians continues apace on the streets of Onitsha while Onwuchekwa and his colleagues at the WIC are tongue-tied. As it happened, and if you don’t already know, be aware now that Onwuchekwa and his slogan of “every Igbo will be a WIC card-carrying member under my leadership,” was just full of it.

So, what’s WIC up to? Clearly, WIC is up to nothing, and, as usual, would soon be having its annual picnic; this time, in Boston, for another gathering of cheap talks and efulefu dance while Obasanjo’s Gestapo are carrying out a series of murderous attacks in Onitsha and elsewhere in Igboland. And that’s basically about it!

It would be inaccurate and misleading to say the politically suicidal Onwuchekwa and his fraternal seven-man WIC delegation to Abuja last December had a platform meant to address the ills of the Igbo nation. In black and white, WIC has been a disaster, still a disaster and bound to remain a disaster if the management of WIC declines patently to handle its affairs in a way that would confront its socio-cultural and political impotency within the framework of a bastardized nation.

First, Onwuchekwa began his trip to doom when in 2005 on Labor Day weekend in Los Angeles, at the Airport Hilton Hotel, lobbied delegates for votes to push an agenda fabricated by his colleagues who would go to any length for selfish motives and nothing Igbo-related. When the selected voters and so-called delegates engaged in a twisted “dialogue” that lasted for hours in deciding which candidate deserves WIC’s leadership after a long haul of speeches by the potential candidates “determined” to effect change in a battered and bruised WIC over the years for its lack of organizational effectiveness, it didn’t take long before Onwuchekwa emerged in an “astounding victory.” A victory today I’m sure he would have declined if he had known the difficulties and complications of a bleeding and disfigured WIC. That is, if in his right thinking mind, he would be honest to admit he miscalculated and dabbled into a nasty political tactics by being cornered for a leadership that would put his reputation on the line.

Upon announcement that a new WIC president has emerged began the efulefu dance, the Gypsy way, and joyous festivity to signal nothing much would change but the same old song. In a very typical scenario of Igbo gatherings where practically nothing gets done, coupled with rowdy sessions and igba izu ,secret talks, that created more confusion among the delegates and candidates for various positions, the organizers of the event, a do-nothing Igbo Cultural Association of California with a Los Angeles mailing address was dealt a big blow when its point man, Chuka Obiesie, lost in an election preplanned before the annual picnic began. A ready to show off victorious ICAC and Obiesie’s entourage disappeared just like that, ushering in Onwuchekwa whose slogan of “card-carrying” membership and agenda was actually a pregnant pause while Nd’Igbo watched another bad leadership in the making.

Who indeed gets the blame when WIC comes way short in living up to its responsibilities? Absolutely no one but the secret cultists themselves on the ground there’s nothing Igbo-related in WIC’s formation addressing the plight of a people whose history has been of violence and political weakness. WIC, now on its own and whatever the cult members of this ridiculous organization do is none of our business; they have ridiculed the Igbo nation beyond repairs and they should stop claiming to be representing Nd’Igbo. They should leave Igbo people out of the mess they’ve created in all these years of fraud and haggling, keeping funny books and retaining dubious managers.

On December 09, 2005, Onwuchekwa sent a report to Igbo-related forums; of his encounter with the bigots in Aso Rock claiming his meeting with an inept and outrageous Obasanjo’s “Ministers of Igbo extraction” was a victory notably and among other things his tour of “castles” belonging to successful Igbo merchants in Abuja. His arrogance, political stupidity and inability to see from a smokescreen reminds one of Second Republic’s former Minister of Transport, Umaru Dikko, who alerted nothing like hunger existed in Nigeria on the basis no Nigerian was yet to be found scavenging for food from dustbins, acknowledging there was no such thing as widespread hunger and sufferings in the country.. Meanwhile, Onwuchekwa has resorted to name-calling depicting Igbo Diaspora “e-groups” as noise makers clouded by false information. Onwuchekwa writes,

On the whole, and from my opinion, a lot is going on in Abuja as we speak that will shape our Nation for years to come. "Nku Ukwa" is being shared at Abuja as we speak, while some of us here are content with noise making and meaningless analysis of false information in the e-groups. Ndi Igbo are seriously holding their own in various areas in Abuja, especially in Business and the economy. Ndi Igbo have done well, and have continued to do very well in acquiring property in the Capital. We urged more aggressive acquisitions. The Business groups we met are waiting for our proposed Economic Conference. In fact, one Igbo son in Abuja took us to his property, and proved to our amazement that he has enough room in his compound to hold a Summit of about 500 to 1000 people. He gave us a tour, and our jaws dropped as we exchanged unrehearsed "high fives."
At the very moment Onwuchekwa and his seven-man delegate were so pumped up at Abuja based on their blurred vision, applauding a sound Igbo enterprise and economy, while the rest of the country had every privilege to attend school free of charge from government subsidies and grants of all sorts, pupils of Igbo-related states can hardly pay their tuition fees when governors and local government “bureau chiefs” are squandering every account of appropriation required to make our scholars stay in school and establish a profound generation. There was no mention of MASSOB leader Uwazuruike being locked up behind bars, nor even any indication his trial would be commencing soon. Moreover, at a time when Obasanjo’s administration has used Igbo “elite” gullibility and vulnerability to manipulate all aspects of shady dealings in Igboland, Onwuchekwa and his blind colleagues in pursuant of the so-called nku ukwa, national cake, were swiftly drowned out by his “Excellency” who had commended Igbo Brahmins for the nation’s thriving economy.

Of course, I agree with Pini Jason of Vanguard Newspapers who observed before hand when Igbo leaders planned to meet at the Concorde Hotel, Owerri, that the Igbo elite is scared to put MASSOB and other Igbo-related issues on its table of dialogue with Obasanjo’s inept and corrupt regime for the fact that they would probably miss out on a national cake sharing formula if Obasanjo’s prescribed conditions is being challenged. Eventually, Jason was right. There was no mention of Uwazuruike and Biafra on the basis they would be “giving life to a word the Nigerian state decreed out of existence and cleaned off the map.” And without a doubt, that’s Igbo leaders of post civil war era.

Let’s face it though. What has brought about Igbo powerlessness in Onwuchekwa’s nku ukwa, a cake-sharing formula the Hausa-Fulani elite has no problems collecting at any given time? And why is the “Igbo elite” so fearful of a coward Obasanjo while their Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba counterparts are bold enough to demand for whatever they want whenever they want it? Could it be the bigot has conquered the Igbos drawing out a plan that clearly says so, setting precedent that would remain relevant forever? Could it be the Igbo elite, having no idea what is it they are doing, and negating the fundamentals of Igbo ideals in order to feed from the crumbs of the caliphates and Obasanjo’s aides in Aso Rock? Could it be Obasanjo bought them out to seal their lips, thus validating federal troops’ assault on innocent Igbo people and perhaps fabricated on the assumption MASSOB is being motivated by agitators of Biafra to operate and threaten peace all over Igboland? Or, could it be the Igbo elite, infallible and confused, has drowned, giving up, and exhausting all options of existence in a democratic fabric? Otherwise, why has Anambra State become the hotbed of major Igbo problems since the beginning of the Fourth Republic? Anambra is burning. And there is WIC touring castles in Abuja.

Just like that, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State is sounding positively bloodthirsty, ordering shoot at sight on his own people and threatening massive air raids. A resemblance of the past? Anambra is burning. And there is WIC touring castles in Abuja.

To understand the unique nature of WIC, and the surprising legitimacy it enjoys as Obasanjo declares a thriving economy put together by Igbo men of industry, it is important to recognize the ugly deep roots of WIC’s history. In its thirteenth year of annual bash, could WIC pride itself on the wonderful achievements that have established it as Igbo Diaspora umbrella? Why has it become a tradition that WIC must assemble every year in different locations around the United States to collect fees in demand for worthy causes, yet no detail account is made public by its bookkeepers and managers? And what has WIC got to show for its contribution in humanitarian causes, generous social provisions and youth empowerment? What’s WIC’s purpose when Obasanjo’s Gestapo is free to cause all sorts of havoc in Igbo land without any questions being asked whatsoever? And why is WIC working in concert with its enemies—Egbe Omo Yoruba and Zumunta—the same bloodsuckers who destroyed her kith and kin during the pogrom?

The knowledge that during the pogrom, the murderous Hausa-Fulani and its Yoruba contemporaries killed at an unimaginable scale other people who they had never met or knew before has not left me; and yet Onwuchekwa has the guts to tell Nd’Igbo that “it will be recalled that the World Igbo Congress (WIC) has been collaborating and acting synergistically with Egbe Omo Yoruba and the Zumunta since the fall of last year in tackling vexed contemporary issues in Nigeria that have direct impact on our corporate existence and aspirations.”

What “corporate existence and aspirations”? That Egbe Omo Yoruba will not make sudden 180-degrees turn when a deal is not in its favor? That Egbe Omo Yoruba is one you can trust and make a deal with knowing how these traitors handled the crisis after the decision at Aburi? That Egbe Omo Yoruba has shown remorse when the bigot Obafemi Awolowo justified his orchestrated ‘economic blockade’ which deprived thousands of women, infants and children of food as they starved to death? That Egbe Omo Yoruba knowing how they stink and can’t fight would not betray the trust in the event a dialogue is reached?

Or, that, the so-called Zumunta, the Hausa-Fulani bunch that murdered every Igbo within their reach, in the classroom, at the market square, at church and places where Nd’Igbo gathered and yet would not offer apology for the most blood-soaked event in Africa in that era? That it’s okay to dine and wine with a blood-lust Islamic nihilist in getting things done because there are no other options for Igbo survival? That the Zumunta, would deal with WIC with all amounts of honesty and condemn in its totality when scores of Igbo traders in the North are murdered by Hausa-Fulani lynch mobs?

For Onwuchekwa’s admirers who think that he has been doing a good job on behalf of Igbo people by collaborating with Egbe Omo Yoruba and the Islamic Jihad Zumunta in “tackling vexed contemporary issues,” they should think again. While Onwuchekwa and his efulefu bunch are busy touring Aso Rock for crumbs, a wave of violence is sweeping over Anambra State instigated by Obasanjo, targeting his political opponents as well as Igbos who wants to be left alone. While Onwuchekwa and his colleagues are busy begging and negotiating for contracts to be part of nku ukwa sharing formula, the dubious Igbo state “governors” and local government “bureau chiefs” are busy squandering and embezzling funds that belongs to the people, and yet he has the guts to talk about nku ukwa.

Onwuchekwa has failed to take into account Senate President Ken Nnamani’s keynote address at the basement of the Los Angeles Airport Hilton Hotel during the WIC’s annual picnic in 2005 when he asked over and over again the ultimate objective of the WIC and Igbo Diaspora getting organized like any other community exploring the vast opportunities as in the Chinese community and its unique tradition and culture kept intact; the Indians and the use of human capital to create havens of technological and economic development; the Latinos who have thrived through collectivity; and the list goes on and on, not even mentioning Little Ethiopia just founded a couple of years ago near Miracle Mile in Los Angeles.

Little Ethiopia speaks for itself: The eateries—Nyala Ethiopian Cuisine, Rahel Veggie Cuisine, Rosalind’s Ethiopian Cuisine, B & M Café, Messob Ethiopian Restaurant and Marathon Etiopian Café & Restaurant—all on Fairfax Avenue, serving varieties of Ethiopian dishes. The markets: Expansive mini-markets tucked-away thrift shops and modern bakeries rub shoulders with late night cafes, bars, clubs and room salons. The cultural boutiques of Ethiopian antiquity; and the crowds of Ethiopian descents and non-Ethiopians alike with signs of “grand openings,” which has marked the speed at which this new community has grown. The displays on the sidewalks and how a people who nearly perished from a natural disaster in the 70s have turned things around in Diaspora, establishing and completing themselves like other communities that worked collectively to bring about change. Just like the Koreans turned the Wilshire Corridor in Los Angeles into Korea Town. It’s Korean this and Korea that all over the Wilshire District for a people who explored the shores of America about the same time that we did.

So what has Onwuchekwa’s Abuja errands got to do with Igbo Diaspora development in terms of “rebuilding social capital,” according to Nnamani? Whose interest is Onwuchekwa pursuing at Abuja and why is it a big deal? Igbos, and building community? Or, that of his political coattails at the WIC and Igbo elite? You must be kidding me!

Many, including myself, agree with Nnamani when he lambasted WIC and its organizers that the annual conventions over the years seems to be going nowhere, and that until the leaders of the WIC takes a specific role of conceptual and political leadership that would effect change, engaging and competing in the global economy. But ironically, WIC leaders, bent on mischief and nku ukwa, aren’t listening. They are on line for petroleum resources, forgetting to explore avenues supposedly connecting with technological development and advancing its programs with a sound market economy required to place the Igbo in a fast growing universe of globalization without dependence on “petroleum resources.” Disturbingly, Nnamani notes:
We need to break away from the prevailing mentality that the best way to exist as Nigerians is to dissipate energy over perishing oil resources; to quarrel over insufficient resources, instead of working hard to increase the economic pie through higher productivity and innovation. We must break away from the state thinking that we can keep away from the mainstream of technological development and hope to be a viable people. In the new economy, only those who focus on the use of scientific and technological innovation to enlarge the economic pie have a hope of surviving.
Before I proceed any further, let me pause to point out that no particular Igbo organization since the days of the Igbo Union has worked hard enough to translate the Igbo nation into a model of technology. And neither the WIC nor the Igbo elite (and certainly not even the successful merchants and technocrats) has transformed the Igbo nation, home and abroad, into an entailed autarky. Rather, Igbo is becoming more and more by the day like the Gypsies. But, yet, Onwuchekwa is quick at applauding to one or two Igbo merchants in Abuja and nku ukwa with castles and guest houses to share the night.

However, WIC’s failures should not be wholly blamed on Igbo woes. Igbo is a nation state. It is a major tribe with a universal language. It has an enormous human capital to develop into an advanced nation: The scientists and engineers. The medical arts and contributions to health and human development. The theatrical arts. The successful merchants thriving on the basis there is no substitute to hard work. The Igbo does not need any form of natural resources to survive on its own. The Igbo has it all. Human capital is the key.

But the irony as could be patently seen is that Igbos are confused. And how come? A case in point could be drawn from a confused and worthless Igbo Cultural Association of California, practically based in Los Angeles. So, too, are other Igbo organizations elsewhere with series of conventions, fundraising, games, all-you-can-eat-buffet and things like that, in the name of pursuing worthy causes to find out it’s all a gimmick. It has become a tradition. ICAC, the organizers of WIC’s 2005 Los Angeles Convention precisely is a mess and there was a meeting.

On Sunday April 09, 2006, ICAC management scheduled a meeting at St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Normandie Avenue in South Central Los Angeles. It wasn’t anything serious, but just for the heck of it and particularly regarding an organization that had problems putting its act together when it comes to checks and balances, I made up my mind and decided there was no way I could have won in a debate having nothing to do with my cultural heritage. I squeezed time in between my schedule to attend the meeting. The meeting was scheduled to be held promptly at 4:00 P.M. I arrived earlier enough to beat the time. I walked in and found a couple of members hanging around like professional doormen. I “sticked” around to see if I was actually at the right place, that is, St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, off 43rd and Normandie Avenue in Los Angeles. I was indeed at the right place and just two folks had arrived. It’s 4:30, and a couple of guys more breezed in. I took a walk and made a couple of phone calls. It’s 5:45 and about six other guys had joined the rest of us in the parking lot exchanging pleasantries as if the picnic had just begun and the chest ready to burst.

It’s 6:10, and no member had respected the secretary-general’s call to punctuality. Meeting was scheduled to commence at 4:00 P.M. prompt, remember? But the meeting was held anyway, and unbelievably as one noticed, it was a market square. Everybody was talking and nobody was listening, the kind of scenario where garrulous women bargain at Afor and Nkwo markets. The meeting lacked a degree of coherence and guiding principles.

In a meeting where most, if not all, are American-educated folks, one will be wondering why such an “elite class” lacks the understanding of what its guiding principles or bylaws are. However, the meeting did not go well. It was a whole lot of confusion. A real melodrama of “I am the boss!” “You shut up!” “Do you know who I am!” and things like that. No agreement could be reached. Not even the budget. Not even the election that was long overdue on the ground that certain people from a certain state had fabricated and inflated accounts of its list of members to legitimize “their” factions of sort.

Interestingly, the same confused bunch will be trooping to Boston on the forthcoming Labor Day weekend for another cycle of picnic and efulefu dance. Odi egwu!

For the WIC card that presumably should be coming to your mail box (that is if you received it), leave it at home. And for sure, it’s worthless and we are back to square one where nothing gets done.

Anambra is burning. And there’s WIC.

The saga continues!

Ambrose Ehirim,
Director of Public Relations
Biafra Liberation Movement (BLM)
Los Angeles, CA

Posted by Administrator at 12:19 AM | Comments (0)

Whose Eulogy Next, Armed Robbers?

Godson's Common Sense: by Ndubụeze Godson III (Chicago, IL)--- If some things as they say never change, must we then succumb and let bad things thrive? Once more you are invited to my essays which admittedly can be copious but today I hope to not get too carried away. My knack for details may be blamed on horror of ambiguity a quick jot that may not go far enough might entail. My preference usually is to cover deeply in one fell swoop for the purpose of reducing or utterly eliminating the labor and time associated with writing.

What the puff is about today are these articles: “The Military In Nigeria” and “The Nigerian Police Force.” It almost succeeded in making the two worthless units look to non-observant minds like brain surgeons. And for the first time ambivalence will trail my script based on my relationship with the author of the articles in rejoinder. Before I delve too far let me reveal my bias for the Nigerian police, I can’t stand their butt! Having thus known you can see how painfully dissatisfied I was over these articles that over glorified the two most vicious Nigerian outfits with delightful expertise in battering the citizens. From the torrent of accolades they received one can with ease see its unfairness to all the people (99.9%) that have suffered their complimentary brutality. To further shove the point how bad these two organs are, this essay will be dedicated to all whom at one point endured unmentionable pathos in their hands. But let me quickly add that this is not, repeat, not a public reprimand of the author who unless he abdicates, remains a fighter for the people. Mine should only be seen as a friendly disagreement with alternative perspective that hopefully will discourage any implicit support for evil because wrong is always that and both institutions in focus have, oh my God, kicked the folks too hard in the groin.

Part of my thing is for all the good folks out there to have nothing further hurtful piled on oppressed people in Nigeria whose piteous sufferings deserve around the clock compassion. And story telling articles about Obasanjo’s presumed accomplishments or the importance of government sanctioned armed robbers; police, military, customs and all strike deadly blows to them! The articles about how wonderful and nice the military and now the police are written by someone I admire his intellectual prowess should not preclude me on that basis from letting it be known before some buy into it that in every aspects of Nigerian life, nothing has changed to earn them such good press reviews. Left to me, anything that does nothing to ease the pains of people the British occupying force lumped together in that concentration camp they call Nigeria should be avoided. But come o, if this unworkable British idea as we have known was a terrible one, who is stopping the Nigerian rogues from undoing it, Biafra, since the Igbo gets blamed for everything? By exercising the option to reach this good brother slash friend (a complete Izon warrior) through a public medium, I intend for my message to cut across board to keep in remembrance the atrocious profiles of the organs of government attempt was made to elevate to unearned status. Knowing how serious this is, I dumped a private means in favor of this mode to draw this brother and others away from the new sing-a-loud hymns simply because I do not want the seriousness of my message to be lost in a private chat. With that, I ask to be excused to go ahead with this essay that has for days been waiting for the send button. It is with brotherly love with no less penalty and for the good of the Order as we say in the Craft it’s being done. Throughout the duration, the trowel, an important instrument of the Craft will be utilized to spread this love in the hopes that the import of my message will simmer fully, for; “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” – Palm 133.

What does one do when a respected messenger of goodwill drops the ball in two outings with rains of encomiums on two most vicious parastatals whose members are anything but civil? Again, the Order comes to bear and in such scenarios one is required to maintain temperance while extending his cable tow to the brother/friend to keep him within bounds. After reading those expressions of how wonderful the Nigerian army, more like militia and the poorlice are, I wondered how long before someone give the armed robbers too their media dust up. Knowing what Andy Warhol had to say about everyone getting their fifteen minutes of fame, my imagination wondered off to calculate when, before the common thieves are also seen as not appreciated enough? With the military and police having more than their fair market share of fifteen minutes to stardom enquiry minds are pleading to know how long before the armed to the teeth robbers get their own pardon? As the saying goes, if it is shrimp patté for the army and police it must be the same for the robbers after all not much difference exist between them. The police and the army boys rob so too the men of underworld who during my teen years in the sixties were called boogie-boogie or man-must-wack. So since they all do, steal that is and usually at dusk and with guns too, are all then not “armed robbers?!” How the corrupt rulers of Nigeria define who is, is of no use to me. I will not let the real definition be lost in the confusion the authorities bring to the table all in their dishonest attempt to look eminent than their street colleagues. Just in the same manner I know a clandestine mediator to be a “secret agent” is how one and one was put together to know that the Nigerian cops also are dangerous armed desperados. In all areas of their operations a careful and frank analysis will show their extreme criminal attitudinal tantrum towards the citizenry. Only a couple of days ago we were told how the gang that for no reason stole one Adamu Jibrin’s life as with other robberies, wore police uniforms and in fact were the police. During a robbery operation in my family’s country home few years ago, no interest was shown to report the attack on the fear that the police may well be it and going by the spent shells, all fingers pointed to them. Imagine that!

When they are not spitting insults on road users and others who are unfortunate to come in their contact, they are busy extorting hard cash from both parties to a dispute with no attention given to their constitutional duties of securing lives and properties yet we must see them in nobility? Going by the new trend of making excuses for the police and the military iniquities, when, I seek to know before we are told of the importance of the night operators in the lower cadre who are disrespectfully identified as armed robbers? If the Nigerian military and their robbing police partners that are of no benefit to the country with their general unprofessional laziness are suddenly seen in high regards by my friend and the likes of Alfa Belgore (Chief Justice?) with troubling ignorance of the law that portends grave danger to democracy yet sadly at present is a custodian of the constitution, then trouble looms larger for the ordinary man than previously calculated. If the police are seen favorably by some despite their badly abyss performance over the years then the menace the so-called “armed robbers” bring upon the society could be downplayed too. After all without them zero need will exist for the punishment called police. Had the insubordination of the unlicensed robbers towards the government not stymied their ability to secure official clearance, they too will today be operating with the same open impunity as their police counterparts. As the equal opportunity destructive killers the robbers in the lower class are, they do not discriminate. With them both the ordinary folks and the police who usually seek safe shelter on the mere sighting of their evil twins are mowed down. When this poorlice are not in operation, if you catch, the class derogatorily referred to as armed robbers, thank God, keep them alive to the task of pretending to be of benefit to the populace.

It is not a matter for guesswork for one to know that the Nigerian police have for the past thirty plus years in a stretch been murdering innocent people with nothing as serious as trial and conviction seen yet we are to bow each time we see one of these roaming outlaws whose professional appearance is comparable to a roaming undergrad on rag-day. That the government failed to provide adequate uniforms and things are no excuse for them to look like street urchins when we should know that indiscipline is the cause of their embarrassing actions and looks not money. Having been told how their government issued uniforms are sold to the other robbers, I seek therefore to be enlightened how they could escape blame? While at it, when did their job description change from protecting and serving and when necessary apprehend the criminals without being a pain in the rear of the law abiding ones to executioners? These same robbers some still see as police at any given time constitute themselves as the sheriff, judge, jury and executioners so anyone who sees them with admiration will unknowingly be dishonoring the memories of all the families whose members met with ultimate violence in their hands. Is there still any justifiable reason for what we read every day about innocent motorists and school children being dropped like flies by stray bullets fired by these ill trained bastards? To convince me about how hard they work knowing fully well about their constant criminal intent will be a hard sell. Even when the situation is by no means hostile one is always on the edge as a result of their malignant fingers tightly pressed too close for comfort on the trigger. So, I ask to know what the emergency is for their jitteriness in squeezing the trigger on the slightest provocation as if a school pupil will shoot back at them with his books or pens. We cannot excuse their attitude to point guns at responsible road users for a task that requires only a wave of the hand to accomplish as if they are about to pull over a murdering psycho on the lam.

Ok, ok I get it, these days in Nigeria, commercial drivers for unexplainable reasons use their horns as slug shots which make these trigger happy terrorists to always point and shoot defenseless drivers who are out to make a living. Joke aside, I am really having a hard time remembering the last time a cop was shot with a car keys or something in that range. Yet people make excuses for them by blaming “bad apples” in their midst? The weakness of this type of argument is had institutionalized corruption which trickles down from top to bottom not been the case, exception could have been made for them. The same sentimental harbor I have for Nigeria as a good for absolute nothing waste is how I see the poorlice. Thus, before they are elevated to the status of Mary Magdalene we must keep in mind their waylaying fondness for commuters for the only goal of dispossessing them of their wares, monies and in most cases lives too! Another episode of police irresponsibility happened just weeks ago in Onicha when a young lady returning home from computer classes was mortally wounded by their aimless shot that missed their intended target, a cyclist who rebuffed their N20 extortion fee. What made the young lady’s premature death sorrowfully harder was the arrogant criminal refusal by the same police to sign the paperwork that would have speeded treatment for her since another archaic law as with most things Nigerian, requires a police report be obtained prior to any treatment for gunshot victims. In a country hopelessly over patronized by unethical men who are muzzled by their brains, crap like this will top government policies until a Ghana type cleansing is performed. No diploma in rocket science is required to know this, people. If an INNOCENT victim of police bullets must obtain a clearance before treatment is administered, then things can not be said to be falling apart, but are indeed busting loose at every part of the seams.

When it comes to the Naziria police and her militia sidekick, their obvious no progress beyond the primitive stage must be imbedded in peoples’ long term memories. Which any future accolades must take notice of. To have given such unconditional welcome to them reflects vicariously to their doing things differently from past and I do not by any inflation take this to be. I can not even begin to narrate my personal experiences in the hands of these robbers in government issued uniforms, but will let one suffice. Once, a messy situation arose at a time I attempted to make a quick drop off at a car park in Port Harcourt. One drunk in tattered black clothing screeched something to this effect; “you cannot park there!” At a motor PARK, guys! For honestly wanting to know where else and how I could DROP off someone about to board a public transport if no parking was allowed in the area and considering I had no intention of “parking” I was invited to their stench filled station by an ‘officer’ whose whole body reeked of booze. On duty! Crazy, isn’t it? Forget the semantics and say the invitation felt more like conscription since I did not look forward to it, but my broda all it took to let their gross crying for help indiscipline ride was a quick reminder of the Igbo saying about the unequal strengths of a man and that of a stampeding unguarded cow. Thankfully, on getting to their station the chief headhunter who was not yet drenched in booze was sober enough to immediately ask me to go having been told of my question asking ‘offense’ which does not constitute a crime in any statutory books. Had my heat been with me at the time, I may have staked that son of a gun cop out for later cancellation. I tell no lie. Though many years - seven has elapsed I still bear that painful and humiliating experience which articles that eulogize them resonate.

As for the military, the question to answer is, does that discussion about their divine importance to Nigerians cover their murdering rampages in Odi, Zaki Biam and other places? If so, what part of their actions then was professional to now be rewarded with golden plaque? Is the very army in discussion I continue to ask the one under Abacha that saw the erosion of what remained of military discipline? At that time, it was no big deal for a major to refuse the commands of his seniors and in fact on many occasions by way of example, Al Mustapha yelled orders to his superiors. The culmination of this erosion was the subsequent treatment like a scum of the disgraced number two guy, Oladipo Diya. Despite the disparity in ranks, Mustapha was able thanks to Abacha to stare down his military elders or even have them lie flat in submission to “beg oga,” as wont Diya. Still the army must be worshipped for rescuing Nigeria from the evil clutches of invading Martian forces or Cameroonian gendarmes? What exactly for my education are those roles the Naziria army played to secure the sovereignty of that country since according to history the failed state has never seen any external wars? What yardsticks were used to measure these strange feats of an undisciplined bunch? If no answers are forthcoming, then we can hardly be faulted for remembering that it was the actions of the same useless army that plunged that country into the dark sees of no return to civilization with their numerous hostile take over, so where I insist is this image being pushed down hiding?

Throughout my stint with the articles in review the thought that keep creeping in was, is this not the same military that was shamelessly repatriated back to Nigeria where they belong within forty-eight to seventy-two hours from one of their “peace” keep missions in Congo for exhibiting their usual bad behavior - raping, looting and murdering of the same people that were supposed to be under their protection? How about that for national image? The same article kept me gawking whether or not it is about the same kangaroo army rescued from the tight grips of the Sierra Leonean ragtag army by CNN civilian crew a decade ago? An army that flaunts court summons, it is! I do not want to reveal that the army that was glamorized as if we are strangers to what happens daily in a country that could be described nicely as a banana republic is the same one that always carries out every illegal order without as much a squirm. It is believed that articles that give undue attention to people who naturally should be tried for treason added impetus to the whacked idea by the Nigerian national assembly to reward military criminals with the passage of a lousy bill that will put insane amount of money in their pockets despite their past scandalous violent actions! Since every police review paints the same pathetic picture, it will be wrong for us to act as if all is fine and dandy especially in light of the indicting evaluation of them by ICPC as culled from Thisday of June 29, 2006. “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said that the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (NEPA) and the Nigeria Police Force are the most corrupt public institutions in Nigeria.”

Ordinary Nigerians could not have had it so bad having been saddled in the last seven years since the history of that country with the worst of the worst. Many times I have said that Nigeria neither needs an army nor police as there is no real justification for their existence. All a country that have seen no external wars and not sure of winning one needs is a civil defense group to be trained in people management ala, community “policing” that may slowly with time transform into full blown police if the need arises with no encouragement given to the present fire brigade approach of cock and shoot unarmed civilians. Oh well, if so much time could be shattered by their national assembly pondering and finally passing a bill that stand to reward all the military vagabonds with more freebies despite their embezzling performances, then the case of the police only adds to the mystery. What remains elusive is how the national assembly plans to reconcile the clear discrepancies in handing huge entitlements to these ill educated coupists that stroll around with no consequence in spite of having committed all sorts of human rights abuses during their murdering rules. Folks engaged in public service announcements are asked to please keep hope alive by resisting any treats or traps that may lure them into something that is never part of who they are. People in this writing warfare have weathered the storm enough and to buckle now will spell doom for the cause. To remain resolute, people must! The full effect of diminishing returns in action can be seen in messages that take distorted stage to which I may, like most, turn blind eye but the police thing was the clincher that sent me tumbling down. A fumble that I hope was innocent.

As with all things that must conclude, today’s lesson is at its end and the prescription to fall back on some oldies when in a tense moment is looking attractive right about now. And I hope to do just that, search for sounds by Victor Olaiya – Angelina, Angelina otito wajo; Rex “Cardinal” Lawson - Abari Biya and Sir Victor Uwaifo – Joromi for the steady refreshment of the soul and the arousal of the mind to temporary remove self from the Nigeria commotion. Add Oriental Brothers and Peacock Band to that for the full effect to be complete. Another first for me is to follow the example of another good brother, Prince Charles Dickson who in many essays ends with the enchantment of some prayer lines. Mine will be: Lord, whatever may be responsible for the late turn around by some people who have been in the vanguard of exposing evil for all its worth should be cast to the seas in Jesus mighty name, Amen! We ask O’Lord that forces about to turn strong voices of reason, voices that has been bellowing out all the sins meted against the oppressed and deprived people of Nigeria, for you to reject such forces in Jesus name, Amen! Jehovah I ask you to bijọ/gbọja ha – scare them in Jesus name, Amen! Oh gracious Father who promised that where two or more are gathered in thy name, there you will be in their midst, to please not let all the people whose actions people are today suffering get away with their sins - be them Fulani, Igbo, Awusa, Bini or Tiv, let none who participated in the pillage of that nation get away with it or experience joy here or elsewhere, Amen! Please Lord forgive me but I must confess that I have no patience for any heavenly trial and its consequence thereafter, all I ask is for whatever you have in stock for these wicked bandits to land on them like tons of hot bricks now and always in your mighty holy name, Amin o!! Amen ooooooooooo! Ọfọr! Ọfọr! Ọfọr!

Ndubueze Godson III

Posted by Administrator at 12:14 AM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2006

Even if Ebonyi has no Male Child

by John Iteshi (London, UK) --- Most Nigerians would readily lavish praises on the governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu of Ebonyi state because of the glowing pictures often presented by the Nigerian media about his administration. He has been named various glorious names and given innumerable number of awards both within Nigeria and beyond. Just search the internet and news archives and see one governor in Nigeria that seems to have no stain on his name, courtesy of the disgustingly corrupt Nigerian media.

Thisday Newspaper in particular cannot deny its culpability in this “mother of all frauds” against a hapless people. There is hardly any Thisday issue that passes without a potion for praising either the governor or his wife for some bogus achievements. Sometimes, one wonders whether it is about not being strategically located or just the fact that Ebonyi indigenes are barely represented in the mainstream media which is responsible for the apparent poor media coverage of true events in the State. One also wonders whether the fact there are not many rich and powerful enough citizens of Ebonyi State could be the reason why the governor simply does what he likes with public resources without regard for anyone. This is a case of one man desperately plundering the state government resources as he pleases with those who are supposed to challenge him either scrambling for their own cuts or intimidated by the large armies of assassins and thugs he pays with public funds. Even the Human Rights Watch has long observed the terrible state of basic human rights and freedoms and the dearth of media reportage of the situations to the outside world in its report on the conduct of the 2003 sham elections in Nigeria with focus on Ebonyi State. Their website details the series of assassinations and other violent incidents spearheaded by the state government against political opponents before and during the heavily flawed elections. However, what astounds one most is the fact that the people of Ebonyi State especially those who reside there and feel the pains directly are not known to be complaining at all.

The fact that one man has wickedly commandeered the resources and entitlements of over two million people for over seven years with no reactions from the people in terms of protests and oppositions is deeply disturbing. It is puzzling that a supposedly elected civilian governor having no command over any armed forces (except perhaps, illegal armed thugs) could muscle up every arm and institutions of the state government for over seven years without protests either by civil servants, elders or even politicians. So many atrocities that cannot even be dreamt of elsewhere have happened without any squabble and the governor seemingly emboldened by the general ignorance and primitiveness of his people has continued to go beyond bounds.
For instance, in 2001, he sought to convert his minority people into a majority by embarking on a fraudulent creation of more Local Government Areas (LGAs) with the effect that his clan Ngbo/Izhia which was one of the smallest groups would become a majority by way of more administrative units and most importantly more electoral constituencies and therefore more votes than majority clans such as Izzi for example which is about seven times larger both in population and land mass. Even though the federal legislatures outlawed the exercise, he has used it as a basis for distribution of infrastructures and amenities within the state. For the sake of non-Nigerian readers who might not understand the issues here clearly, this primitive act could be compared to having a Scottish Prime Minister in the United Kingdom who decides to delineate extra 100 constituencies for Scotland and only 40 extra for the whole of England which is 80% of UK. One can then imagine where such evil act could happen unchallenged.

To say that Mr Sam Egwu runs Ebonyi State like a conquered territory might not be adequate to describe the level of impunity with which he has trampled on the rights and entitlements of the people. Even an Emperor from the much we learnt from history classes could not have been so callous in running a conquered land. A governor who has been striving desperately to ensure that he acquires more wealth than the state government which he is supposed to be running for the benefit of all, must be a terrible bandit. Perhaps, the clearest demonstration of his disregard for the people has been his style of dissolving the state executive council and running the government as a sole administrator for up to six months, only to reappoint the same people back. This shameful act of denigration of his people has happened on three occasions and as usual without complaint from anyone. Those supposed to challenge him even scramble to be appointed into the cabinet to participate in the looting of their own resources.

However, the most humiliating insult to everybody in Ebonyi state has been the building of an ultra-modern private school for his wife obviously with public funds, while public schools are generally left in dilapidated conditions. Hence, the only standard primary and secondary schools reasonably equipped in Abakaliki is the Hope High International School, built by the governor’s wife at the expense of the people as a private business venture. Top government functionaries in the state are mandated to send their children and wards to Mrs Egwu’s private school while ordinary people are left with the uncared-for public schools. Of course, the governor’s children were immediately taken away to the best schools in the world at the expense of the state government on his dubious rise to governorship in 1999. As if that was not enough slap on the face of the hapless people of Ebonyi state, he embarked on crazy property acquisitions ostensibly to ensure that he literally grabs as much estates in Ebonyi State as the royal family owns in England. He has built the best hotel in the state with public fund as his private enterprise. The worst aspect of this is that he embarked on building what he touted as a five star hotel for the state (even though it was never a necessary need for the people) and suddenly as if stung by something, abandoned it and built a powerful edifice which is clearly the tallest and most magnificent building in Abakaliki, the capital city as his own private hotel. We are not yet talking about the properties and funds stashed abroad or elsewhere in Nigeria by he and his wife because those ones are unseen by the people. All that we know clearly is that a man who probably never travelled beyond Nigeria, on becoming a governor of the poorest state in Nigeria on 29th may, 1999 has today made well over 200 foreign trips mainly to the richest countries like USA, UK, and Australia for missions which cannot be far from dubious. It is also bitter to know that a man who has siphoned the monies meant for the provision of Medicare for his people flies himself or his family off to the US for every trivial medical need at the expense of the people.

One can go on and on to enumerate the acts of wickedness being perpetrated by the so-called democratically elected governor of Ebonyi State of Nigeria on his own people, but the most critical issue of deep concern is why there has never been any serious opposition to this evil ruler till date? Where are other political figures as well as traditional and religious leaders in Ebonyi while all these atrocities are being perpetrated against the people? Where are the women of Ebonyi state whose children’s future are at stake assuming there are no men left standing? We all know the power of women in Igbo land where men have failed to act as in the well documented Aba women riot against British colonial rule in 1929. It is true that challenging a ruthless state governor in Nigeria without federal support is a very dangerous game to play, but everybody cannot hide under fear to allow one man uninhibited power to play with the destiny of two million people for over 7years. Even if all the supposed opposition politicians have been bought or silenced by intimidation, one wonders why a person like the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki diocese who is the spiritual head of more than 60% of the population has never stood up to condemn the fraudulent system or even mobilise the people against the rogue government. I have already written to His Lordship Dr. Michael Okoro, the Bishop on this issue because one believes that a person of his calibre is best positioned to speak for the people being a respected beacon of morality acceptable to the generality of the people including non-Catholics. It is also reasoned that since, religious leaders have the most advantaged access to the people that they generally have the greatest power and influence to bring about change in their immediate societies. This is because the kind of change needed is mass mobilisation for better awareness of modern societal structures and governance.

The greatest problem we suffer is not really about wicked or corrupt leadership, but more critically about mass ignorance and primitiveness. The fact that nobody sees the looting of public treasury as affecting him or her personally is the greater problem in not just Ebonyi State but the entire Nigeria. We must understand that the fact that Tony Blair or George Bush cannot fiddle with public funds is not because white men are saints, but more crucially because the people will not let it happen. Even if you can buy over the media and all opposition politicians in those countries, the Cardinals and Bishops would not fail in their duties to mobilise their flocks. Our cardinals and Bishops are therefore failing their people by having not stood up against bad governance. The most important point which ought to strike the mind of any enlightened person from Ebonyi State whether a Bishop or a Politician or Professor is the fact that their share of the good things of modern life such as motorable roads, water supply, electricity and good medicare and shool facilities has been wasted over seven years by one man, unchallenged. We must realise that if there occurs a serious health emergency in the state anyday, that our own people are going to die needlessly because the monies that should have been well channelled into providing quality medical centres and road access to them have been siphoned by one man and his cronies. Sam Egwu and the few big men from Ebonyi state might be able to afford treatment elsewhere from their ill-gotten wealth, but at the end of the day they will all be losers because a handful of opportunists alone will not enjoy life better in Ebonyi State if a deadly disease wipes out the poor.

Moreover, it is necessary to consider the grave implication not challenging a fraudulent government would have on the future of the state. It is not only that the next governor would come with vengeance and would strive to surpass Sam Egwu in fraudulent wealth acquisition, but that a bloody conflict may not be avoidable since a terrible seed of discord has been sown for seven years among a relatively homogenous people. One wonders, what moral justification, anyone would have to ask the next governor who would probably come from another section of the state, not to buy his own assets overseas, build the best private university and a 7star hotel in Abuja and also seek to multiply the number of his local government into ten. Of course, without mass actions, only a military coup in Nigeria can stop Egwu from installing his wife or any trusted person as governor in 2007, but the real issue is that a potentially bloody crisis awaits the future of Ebonyi State. All that needs to be done now to avert the despicable level of hatred hatching among people now before it becomes terribly late is for a trusted leader and elder like the Catholic Bishop of Abakaliki to rise to his responsibility as a leader, elder and father by calling for reconciliation or carrying out a mass action against an evil ruler. The Bishop must realise that he is part of the society for now and owes responsibility as per what he has done on his own part. Preaching at the pulpit is not enough. We must begin to build a good and responsible society beyond the church environments. God knows that one has not set out to be seen as challenging His anointed, but merely expressing one’s harmless thoughts on the way forward for the future of our people. Since, the media and politicians have failed us, the only trusted leaders people are prepared to listen to, being the religious leaders cannot also fail to show leadership for their flock. It would be most unfortunate!

John Iteshi
London, UK

Posted by Administrator at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2006

Distinguished Igbo Among the New Crop of Leaders

by Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa --- There are many behavioral patterns that continue to amaze me. As life long professional student, I have always wanted to know more. Alas, the more we learn, the more I realize how much more there is to learn and how little we know about one another. Many of us have given up on Nigerian leaders especially the hypocrites that shout at the top of their lungs only to change when in power.

There are many Igbo leaders in position of power today who are bent on, and swear that they are going to change the status quo in Nigeria. They have proved skeptics wrong. In spite of the hate mongers, the new crop of Igbo leaders are as dedicated Nigerians as anyone can possibly be.

I know that some people will point to disgraced Senate leaders and some money prostitutes that dance to money bags. These are the type of relatives most Nigerians avoid when 419 is mentioned. Anambra does not paint a pretty picture either, but we have Anambra in every part of Nigeria. During some of the riots in the North, I have watched some of my Hausa brothers looking for places to hide their head, crying – not again! Please do not hide, speak out.

The Igbo leaders we see and hear about are the ones in Obasanjo’s cabinet and they are doing one hell of a job, except the only one I disagree with in policy. Indeed, she is the one everyone loves best, Okonjo-Iweala. Let us wait for her foreign policy. However, Charles Soludo has produced some result. Everyone of our leaders make promises, result is what we are interested in. By skillful management, Soludo liberalized the foreign exchange rule gradually, equaling official and parallel market rates to foreign currencies. Time will tell if this is sustainable. Do we need to dwell on the fear expressed when he replaced the Governor of Central bank? There are no sacred positions based on ethnicity or for only traditional bankers. Thank Obasanjo for that.

I must hastily point out that Igbo as Anyaoku or Akunyili are not the only new crops of leaders, there are Nuhu Ribadu, Dangote, Oshiomole, Adenuga, Randle, etc that most people know. There are others across the spectrum in the universities, press, commerce, in villages and towns all over our Country.

Ironic as it is, democracy does not always produce the best candidate. We are all happy that it works for Peter Obi but why do I still miss Ngige? This is a man who had no intention of becoming a Governor but was found by faith. As Anambra boils, I miss him. It is not that he could have performed miracle, he had his hands full too, but that we wished it was him that was there. Well, there must be something wrong with me. This is the same guy that Chris Uba anointed? Please bear with me; I hope this is not the case of someone who enjoys the infliction of pain. There has to be a way to get those guys we “feel” are competent into power. If you think I am looking forward to 2007 in Anambra, you are right. But guess what, I can not even vote in Anambra.

I am baffled by Ojukwu’s open criticism of his Governor, Peter Obi on one hand. On the other hand, it shows that Ojukwu is a leader not limited to only Anambra or if Obi might have rejected his counsel. In a difficult time like this, I expect Ojukwu to call all the various groups involved and squeeze out some solution that can be applied Nation wide. The economics involved in Onitsha is not limited to Anambra. If each vehicle pays 1,000.00 naira and another 500.00 for badges, that is a lot of money and I will not blame Peter Obi if he wants a piece of it to provide services for the people. His ban, shoot to kill order have infuriated Igbo as the Yoruba when Obasanjo gave the same order in Lagos.

There was an article I wrote about detained Ethnic militias in Militricians Taku. Some of those who never read the article wondered why I (me, an ant o) did not write about Uwazuruike. He is not the only crop of new Igbo leaders. As much as I disagree with his goal, I respect his cause. There are many leaders like him whose goals are different but do not get as much notice. Even he can be called upon for brain storming in crisis this deep. Some of us still remember Ray Njoku, Empire Kanu, “Indiana” Asiodu, Kenneth Iwugo, etc they must be somewhere leading in their own way. They are not in the fore front for the same reason nobody knows many of us.

MASSOB in all Eastern States, were not the only one banned in Anambra, we can not put all the blame on them. Usually workers form unions as protection from business Owners in a “master servant” relationship. The purpose of NARTO, the National Road Transport Owners may not be to protect themselves from greedy workers but to squeeze as much money as they can out of them. NURTW, the National Union of Road Transport Workers are happy that the excesses of the owners are curbed by the combined force of Army and Police who are in turn accused by MID, Movement for the Defense of Igbo, of mayhem.

If we have all these new crop of Igbo leaders, it is only fair to ask why they can’t solve the problem in Anambra instead of jumping on, and blaming others. We can ask the same of Nigeria as a whole. We should look at Anambra as a representative sample of Nigeria. If Anambra aches, Nigeria aches. If Anambra burns, Nigeria burns. If we solve the problem in Anambra, we have done Nigeria a big favor because the solution will be applied in the North and the South. Those who contribute to the problem in Onitsha, contribute to the problem of Nigeria. Some fingers are pointed to mischief makers in Abuja, those are, the supporters of Chris Uba and Alhaji Adedibu.

Of course we all play the blame game. We can point to certain people in Onitsha that are responsible, so can we point to others outside Anambra that are responsible. We have to ask one another the serious question of responsibilities as brothers’ keeper. People who are full of hate and mischief inflict it close to home before we notice it outside. At home we dress it up and call it pranks. Why is Anambra in every part of Nigeria?

There are people who are afraid to step into Lagos for fear of losing their lives. Many of us are familiar with horrible stories many years ago, 10 years ago, a year ago and only yesterday why you should not go back home. They asked – what good is a Country where you can not sleep well at night? There are hooligans, armed robbers, area boys and Ethnic militias. Yet, those who left many years ago, 10 years ago or yesterday said Nigeria is worse now than when they left. What about those of us who have no where else to go or hate being outside Nigeria!

Anyone who reads newspaper or watches television seeing the story of his home on fire and wants to jump on the next bus home must be a fireman or superman. That home could be Onitsha, Zaki Biam or Ife. Again, do we love each other? It is the starting point.
There are some Countries helplessly burning fueled by indoctrination - arms aid, religion, communism, democracy, or if those do not work as accelerators, direct intervention. This is not what we want in any part of Nigeria. If Anambra hurts, we all are hurting.

People are complaining that their husbands are disappearing in the hands of soldiers, children are afraid to go to school anticipating bombs and many others deserting their towns. How do we explain to people in Onitsha, Kaduna, Erin-Ile that there is no more war. A grown man like me still dream about atrocities of war, though the closest I ever came to one at Ore was when I was in Ondo in the late sixties scared to death of what will happen to us or those we were hiding from the soldiers. But then, I was so proud of myself when a soldier pointed a gun at me asking me un-Nigerian question. I was more disgusted at him even as a boy than the fear of death, before he was ordered away. Today, our children are caught in crossfire because of twenty naira during shake down on roads.

As a solution, many have asked for State police. Some of us have asked for both State and Federal police as we used to during the time of special constable and local police. Times have changed since then. Unconfirmed and unknown to so many of us is the use of different Ethnic police and soldiers in trouble spots all over the Country. Accusations have been made in the past that some of the police and soldiers sent to troubled spots have taken sides with their kinsmen. Yoruba made that accusation against Hausa soldiers called in to rescue victims in Idi Araba. That type of problem would not materialize if we use our God given Ethnic diversity that is more than three groups in Nigeria. This God’s blessing gives us the privilege to pick and chose which Ethnic force to send to rioters.

As much sense as this makes, there are few disadvantages. If Hausa police are sent to Anambra, will that back fire on poor Hausa traders there? If Igbo police are sent to Ife and Modakeke, will they take revenge on Igbo traders? As people become aware that the law enforcers are not their Ethnic group, we have to sensitize Nigerians to the fact that the alternative will be United Nation Peace keeping force. The last time I brought this up, I was challenged. It was not the objection that surprised me, it was the fact that people do not realize it is being done already in some selected cases.

We have to discuss this by educating the public that if we start mischief, our kin in the force will not side with us. We still have to deal with who has substantive authority to order these men around. We do not want to get into a situation where the Governor’s police force may be shooting at the President police as that almost happened at Ado Ekiti sometime ago when Fayose sent police to the house of the former Governor of the old Western Region, Adebayo, for hosting Tinubu and co. former AD Governors. It is this lack of understanding that compelled some of the Governors to hire or maintain private force as Ngige did with Anambra Vigilante Service when his security was withdrawn.

The bottom line is that oppressors have come to realize that there are more money to be made from traders and transporters. They have to devise creative ways to shake them as money trees while the more powerful and connected go for the treasury. It is passed on to the common man and woman by paying more for transport, products and inadequate services. Call them Agbero, Omo Onile, Area Boys, NARTO, NURTW, etc they change from private to official forces. These days even robbers find their way into official forces.

No matter which camp, we are the casualties in collateral damages, the horror we see is the horror of the dead that chills blood of the living. The root cause of most of their problem is economic distribution and who has control over it. Our leaders can reform and regulate them, but as their personal guardian devils, will not. After all, Adedibu boasted that he is not known for anything else apart from trouble. Let us join hands in Onitsha and watch the fear on the faces of thugs all over Nigeria.

Farouk Martins, Omo Aresa

Posted by Administrator at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2006

Why Africa Performed Dismally at Soccer World Cup 2006

by Chido Makunike (Dakar, Senegal) --- It is not difficult to understand why soccer is such a popular sport the world over. It is a simple game, with easy to understand rules. The kit it requires is simple and relatively affordable compared to other games. It does not require elaborate infrastructure to play it well. Raw skill, natural or acquired through training, is much more a determinant of success than in other sports.

In soccer height, weight and other such factors do not give a player or team as much of a basal advantage over another before one even factors in training, motivation, native ability and so forth as is the case in many other sporting disciplines.

Soccer is therefore a great potential leveler, in which is not unthinkable for an unheralded team to humble the mightiest one. And so Africa, behind the rest of the world in so many areas of endeavor, could nevertheless manage to field a respectable number of teams in the run-up to the 2006 soccer World Cup. Angola, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Togo and Tunisia made up the contingent of African teams at this year’s World Cup.

It is generally agreed that the performance of all was lackluster, with only Ghana making some waves with its win over the United States. The US may not be renowned as a great soccer nation, but the very possibility of the symbolism of a poor African country’s team beating that of the world’s lone superpower is a large part of soccer’s global appeal. Such upsets may not happen very often, but they are not at all in the realm of fantasy, as Ghana showed.

While to have the number of African teams who made it as far as they did must be seen as a sign of soccer progress, it is puzzling that by and large Africa did so poorly. It is certainly not a lack of talent, as the increasing number of African players that are part of the line-ups of strong European teams testifies. Why then did Africa perform so dismally?

I believe that a big part of the reason is psychological. The Africans played a game that requires both mental and physical preparation in a purely physical fashion. This meant that the African teams had already lost before they even stepped on German soil for their first pre-match acclimatization practice game. The psychological preparedness that is so often lacking in so many areas of African effort, not just soccer, should have included drilling in assertiveness or aggressiveness when required, a belief in one’s potential and abilities, willingness and ability to measure and take risk and so on. I thought these critical elements of winning were largely lacking in the type of play engaged in by the African teams, and that this is also a large part of why Africa is lagging behind in so many other areas.

We generally want to be polite and likeable despite many centuries of experience of how those “nice” qualities can be detrimental to our interests when naively practiced. We are usually only aggressive against each other instead of against “the other.” As a result we are masters at scoring own goals and missing opportunities, while being weak and ineffectual in competition against the outsider. For evidence of this, look to the mess that generally are African politics and economics, and how so often we cede advantage to our rivals and competitors. How this disadvantaged us may have been most glaringly apparent during the several hundred-year era of subjugation and colonization of Africa by Europe, but it is really no less so now, in the so-called “post-independence” era. The pattern continues. Witness the witless, naïve way Africa is engaging with rising star Asia. Africa’s voluntary relations with Asia are not substantially different from how we were at the disadvantaged, weak end of our involuntary, oppressed relations with Europe.

African rulers are so naïve about how the world works that they will settle for a military parade, a “state visit”, the stroking of their egos and the receipt of a few alms from an ascendant Asia, instead of strategizing for a new, mutually beneficial type of relationship. So while the partners are different, Africa’s role continues to be that of weaker partner and provider of raw materials over which it gets very poor trade terms. The relationship with our economic partners is one of silly sentimentally instead of hard-nosed pragmatism and self interest. As a result there continues to be a massive net outflow of wealth from Africa, with continued grinding poverty and decreased ability to thrive and compete.

It is interesting to me how so many African soccer players thrive and blossom when playing for European and other teams, but play averagely for African teams. The reasons are complex of course, not least among them the far better extra-continental remuneration than they can expect at home. The oppressive general environments in many African countries affect performance of all types and at all levels including sport. So with the same raw Africa talent, European teams are able to make winning teams that African nations have failed to properly nurture! This is despite the racism and alienation that is as much a part of the African’s reality in Europe as are the positive parts of one’s experience there. Is it not ironic and a shame that Europe appears to be more of an enabling environment for the African soccer player than his own motherland? But this situation is very much part of the sad overall African reality. As a result of Africa’s failure to nurture and retain its own pool of human talent, an already desperately lagging continent that can ill afford this loss gives up its best and brightest to the rest of the world!

Another aspect of the psychological factor in regards to African soccer performance is the naïve, innocent belief in the magic power of a European coach. It is deeply ingrained in the African psyche that any coach or “technical advisor” with a white skin, will have some mystical skill to impart to them and give them at least some slight advantage. Yet a coach’s main job is arguably to be chief motivator, disciplinarian and mentor, not to impart technical or physical skills. If I am right, then it is a sad remnant of the long-term damage to the African psyche resulting from a long legacy of oppression that we believe that a white coach almost automatically is better equipped to play these mentoring roles than one of us.

I call this the African belief in the “white mystique.” We have had long enough experience now to know that a European coach will not automatically make a difference to a team’s abilities over a local coach, but shhh, don’t dare suggest this to the Africans, they might cut off your head in enraged indignation at this suggestion! So the old European coach long past his prime (who often was never good anyway) is welcomed with open arms as a conquering hero by one African country or another. His every wish is honored, he is feted like a king, the country’s young women line up outside the old man’s hotel room. The country is convinced that with the hiring of the latest of a long string of European “mentors,” soccer glory is surely at hand. Never mind that the glory never seems to materialize-maybe if we just pay the foreign coach more money and kowtow to his every whim, one day we might score some goals!

The improvements we are beginning to see in the performance of African soccer teams in relation to their world counterparts is to do with the gradual, too-slow but welcome lifting of the psychological veil of believing we are not good enough. To me it is not all surprising and coincidental that the strongest African teams are from nations that have had longer periods of self-rule and therefore psychological confidence training than those from newer nations. Whatever problems Ghana has, after 50 years of political independence they are a proud, confident society with a more solid psychological grounding in their nationhood. Johnny-come-lately nations like South Africa and Zimbabwe who still have deep psychic scars from the particularly long, vicious and recent oppression they experienced are soccer basket cases.

Fundamental questions about who they are and what direction they wish to go are far from being tackled, let alone resolved. South Africa is not even sure whether it is really an African country or not; that’s how deep the scars of its experience of oppression run! The oppression-caused confusion about identity of countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe extends to their politics, their economic models (or lack thereof) and even to their pathetic soccer performance. Ivory Coast has in recent years made the discovery that they are actually an African country, not a province of France as they had largely been fooled/fooled themselves into believing for a long time. I predict that with this flowering in self-confidence and pride in their unique identity will come better performance in all areas of endeavor including soccer.

In soccer and in every other activity, Africa needs to do a lot of soul-searching and psychological, mental and spiritual healing before even attempting to go out onto the actual practice field. If we do not learn to be self-critical and analytical in these respects, my fellow Africans, we will forever be losers and also-rans in soccer and in every other field. Sending a physically talented African player to soccer camp without paying special and prior attention to the effect of the severe damage to the African psyche from the events of the last few hundred years is misdirected. To leave out this critical soul-healing and confidence training while hiring half-baked, worn out foreign coaches and providing bright, colorful uniforms and boots is to waste time and resources.

Africa, it is time to wake out of our slumber.

Chido Makunike
I am a Zimbabwean in Senegal.

Posted by Administrator at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2006

Ijaw Nation and South-South / South-East Politics

by Ossie Ezeaku (Antwerp, Belgium) --- In Igbo parlance, It is said that someone's neighbour could be more of a brother. The saying is hinged on the fact that the proximity associated with neighbourliness promotes mutual understanding and empathy. The Ijaw and her neighbours, including the Igbo, have known one another for thousands of years pre-dating the famous Hausa-Fulani relationship.

The pre-Nigerian history of the Ijaw and the Igbo in particular, was indeed a peaceful one, filled with significant legacies. One of them was the formidable rise of an Igbo slave boy, who later became one of the most respected African kings. King Jaja as he was known, was equally revered during his reign by the British Royal House of Windsor. He was shrewd in business, as well as savvy in politics. The slave boy from Amaigbo, in the present Imo state, later founded Opobo Kingdom and established the Jaja dynasty that runs till date.

The history of the Ijaw and the Igbo in respect of the origins of Opobo and Bonny (Umu-Ubani), vis avis the intermingling of the two peoples, have actually produced a hybrid race. The two communities today are bi-lingual. The Igbo dialect of Opobo known as "Igbani", was favourably chosen as one of the Igbo dialects by the colonial Bible translation committee. This was In total exclusion of Nri/Awka and Onitsha dialects for that matter. It could rightly be said that the Igbo version of the Holy Bible is a testimony of the real Igboworld. It is not uncommon to hear Igbo family names such as 'Ubani', referring to the town of Bonny. But the post civil war politics has twisted Bonny and Opobo, and made them sound far distant lands from the rest of the Igbo.

Events preceding the Nigerian civil war, and the part played by some Ijaw leaders at the time, and immediately after the war, especially in Port-Harcourt, have come to define the modern Ijaw political philosophy. A propaganda philosophy that could be said to be rooted in the fear of Igbo vendetta. Fear, which this writer and many Igbos thought was un-called for. The systematic indoctrination of innocent new generation of the Ijaws with such Igbophobia was strategically of no value.

I should stress that there was a leaf to be borrowed from the Late Chief Ken Saro-Wiwa's uninvited appearance at one Ohaneze meeting 1994. There and then, Chief Saro-Wiwa to the amazement of everyone, asked his fellow Igbo neighbours to lend their voices in his struggle for the self-determination of his Ogoni people. It was indeed a milestone. To many Igbos, he was simply a "saboteur". And moreover, a man who used his newspaper column in the 70s to humiliate them on a weekly basis. To see him come to them on a mission to revive an agitation that he actually helped to stifle was all too amazing. However, his appearance at that Ohaneze meeting would mark the first time any Southern minority leader, would sit in an Ohaneze meeting with their Igbo brothers after the civil war.

It is instructive to mention that It was at the same meeting, that the Late elder statesman Chief Sam Mbakwe reminded the audience of something else. For the first time, most of the attendees learnt from Chief Mbakwe that while Easterners were searching for a name to be given to the new nation which was about to emerge, It was an Ijaw, the late Frank Opugo, that suggested the name Biafra. A name synonymous with the Igbo today, and whose youths are proudly dying for. On the other hand, Ken Saro Wiwa, however, was warmly received at the meeting in a true brotherly re-union. It was really an emotional situation.

Currently, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark is the Ijaw national "leader". He equally serves as the intermediary of the Ijaw rebels and Nigeria's federal government. In recent years, the name Edwin Clark has been synonymous with all what Ijaw stands for--freedom, self-determination, fiscal federalism, political federalism, states creation, resource control, separate Ijaw region and so on and so forth. If this is an aversion of the ignoble roles played by this man in the period preceding the civil war, it is yet to be seen.

One of his contemporaries Chief Anthony Enahoro has since turned a new political leaf. Though at the dawn of his political life, Chief Enahoro has thrown away the material lures of Nigerian politics in place of ideology. He is apparently keen on how he would be remembered by the ever-growing assertive Southern politics. He is a regular face at the Ethnic-Nationalities Forum meetings, which sometimes are held under the auspices of Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, a former political adversary. It will be recalled that Chief Anthony Enahoro was the Nigerian Government's 'Joseph Goebels' during the war years.

On the other hand, Chief Edwin Clark appear not to have been politically redeemed. He was one of the arrow-heads that engineered the Nigerian government to reject the Aburi Accord of 1967. An agreement that granted Eastern Nigeria (including part of his Ijaw nation) confederate status within the Nigerian nation. His anti-Igbo rhetoric, plans and actions have rather increased in recent times. Clark's legacies visavis his "Ijaw-nation" were not more than his selfish interests. Such was manifest when he accepted a ministerial position at the expense of the confederate status granted to Eastern Nigeria. Which he is today fighting for crumbs of the same agreement under different terminologies--13%, 17%, 25% derivation etc..

Despite his unmitigated malice to the Igbo, the latter have not relented in her goodwill towards the Ijaw people and their aspirations. Clark is currently a leading voice in the South-South. A zone that was created at the instance of the former Vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme. What is happening now is the use of the South-South people's assembly (SSPA) platform to subtly discredit any Igbo-speaking presidential candidate; and the South-South/South East joint presidential candidacy. The latest moves might not be unconnected to recent verbal attacks on the Rivers state Governor, Dr. Peter Odili by Prof. Tam David West. West had on several occasions been confronted by Nigerian journalists on his anti-Igbo antecedents.

Some Ijaw leaders have severally accused the Rivers state Governor of leaning to Ohaneze, and had on one occasion asked him to confirm or deny being Igbo. He has for reason(s) that I thought were not wise kept mute on this particular issue. Not too long ago, a group that called themselves Niger-Delta Coastal Guerrillas said that Gov. Odili is even from Anambra and won't be allowed to represent the South-South. To further press home their message, there have been paid newspaper campaigns warning of the perils of an Odili presidency.

One would not fail to question the meaning to all these bravado. Does the Nigerian constitution stipulate that an ethnic Igbo shouldn't vie for the office of the presidency? Talking to the Vanguard on Feb.26 on the joint South-East/South-South presidency, Clark said, " We will not accept it. If it is our turn to present a presidential candidate, that presidential candidate must be from the South-South, not somebody who has double loyalty" He was referring to no other person than Gov. Odili, or any Igbo speaking South-South candidate. It is important to mention that Ijaws from other hamlets outside Bayelsa state assert their Ijaw purity without intimidation. The Apoi of Ondo state are equally regarded as their own, even though the Apoi have for centuries past adopted the language and manners of their Yoruba neighbours. Why should an ethnic Igbo-speaking Governor's case be different? More spurious when juxtaposed with the fact that the Igboid language group of Rivers state--Umuetche, Obigbo, Ikwerre, Ahoada, Omoku and Ndoni constitutes a superor majority over the Ijaw group.

The Igbo wants the Ijaw to succeed. A prosperous Ijaw neighbour mindful of her territorial limits will more than anything else be in the interest of her Igbo neighbour. To trivialize the presence of native Igbo-speaking communities in the Niger-delta is a travesty of history and an open aggression on the general psyche of the Igbo-speaking people.

Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo couldn't be lying when he talked to CNN April this year, he said, ".....there are other groups in the Niger-Delta alongside the Ijaws, there are the Urhobos, Ogonis, Igbos, Itshekiris, Efiks and so on"

I would also like to reiterate that Gov. Odili's current travails in the hands of some Ijaw leaders and groups, should serve as an eye opener to some native Igbo communities in the South-South who are hell bent to disfigure their identities. For when the chips are down, those who find it politically expedient to accept and support their Igbo denial, will remind them that they are true Igbos. Odili is currently in that quagmire now. He was 'Rivers man' all the 15 years he's been in the Rivers state politics. And now that he has aspired to be Nigeria's president, the minority Ijaw leaders have found out that he is an Igboman. Same will happen if It were to be a candidate from any of the communities such as Ukwuani, Ika, Ikwerre, Ekpeye and so on. And in Rivers state, the situation will equally not change If It were people like Prince Chibudom Nwuche, Austin Opara or Chibuike Amechi in Odili's situation..

It is a dilemma for the Governor. The politics have shifted from that of Rivers state to the gigantic national politics. The Igbos, I believe will vote for him. But any attempt to deny his Igbo identity will cost him the over 40 million Igbo population support in Nigeria. He's smart; he's aware of It. After the Nigerian civil war, some Igbo communities in the present South-South adopted the names of their 'local governments' and 'clans' as their 'ethnic nationalities' to escape the deprivations that visited the Igbo race. Odili's native Ndoni was not an exception, though forcefully ceded to Rivers state together with Obigbo In 1976 by the then Mamman Nasir Boundary adjustment commission.

There are several Ijaw demands that includes states creation which this writer equally support. States can no longer be created by military decrees as was done in the past. We have seen the powers of democracy from the botched "third term". As democracy and Its intensive horse-trading takes root in Nigeria, the Ijaw and the Igbo will need each other's help. Definitely the Ijaw will need the Igbo more than the Igbo will need her, because of the latter's numerical standing and tripodal status. .

Alhaji Umaru Dikko had in the Sunday Punch of 25Th June, threatened the Ijaw rebels to learn from the hard lessons of their more experienced, big Igbo neighbours. I am not saying that he was right in his threat. But a politically united Southern Nigeria can quickly wither this kind of arrogant threat and bravado. It is time the new generation of the Ijaw sent their untiring, and faceless retired politicians home. Edwin Clark should go home with his malicious politics; It is high time the Ijaw fashioned a new PR.

Ossie Ezeaku
Antwerp, Belgium

Posted by Administrator at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2006

Yoruba/Fulani Protectorates and Us

by CID Oguagha (New York, USA) --- Plumbing our revamping solidarity, Igbo patriotism undoubtedly resumes in earnest. At last, thirty-some years after, we are poised to captain this second momentum to replace, once and for all times, our wrongheaded Nazirian zealotry with Igbo cum Biafra nationalism. Shall we despair midway like before? Shouldn't we be adamant now to discontinue our association with the same union that scheme our ruin?

Let the crops of fence sitters, fifth columnists and self-haters amongst us therefore take cue of this prevalent update for their own good. Things definitely are looking up now. And, we will fight each in-house foe and infiltrator until they yield, even as we have turned our cannon on Naziria and its insufferable Western and Arab patrons. No one has two heads, neither the bellicose Arab nor the invincible Caucasian. Let them mind their ends of the world, and stop exporting and fomenting discord here in the axilla of Africa and elsewhere for their pecuniary benefits.

Our credulity has cost us half-century servitude to Naziria, fifty-some years of modern slavery, which concede our husbandry to locusts. We toil to better our lot, however, we don't guard against Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba locusts that strip all our bloom to bare stalks. We cannot reap the fruits of our labors because the Fulani-Hausa and Yoruba evil alliance grips the mechanics of the Nazirian state in spoliation.. On one hand, it is the natural resources of the East/Mideast (now-called South-South) and the Igbo human resources that network country and continents, which fund this ill-fated Nigeria project. But, on the other hand, it is the Yoruba/Fulani mafia, who by the way never ever brings any meat to the national table, who aggrandizes and monumentally mismanages our lopsided national sacrifice.

Members of this mafia or cult or axis of evil are the only ones who salivate for the legendary and so-called national cake painfully baked 80% in Biafra's territorial integrity.

These ethnic vampires reserve for their obscene gratifications the ports of entry, foreign missions, ministries, financial institutions, crude oil industry, multi-nationals, military, police, the federal government and what else federal. In their nepotistic occupation they strangulate these organs, and by increment the polity itself, that is the Nazirian quasi-nation. The Igbo has nothing whatsoever to do with any of these positions of perquisites, except hustling with minority tribes for occasional and grudging crumbs from the Fulani/Yoruba masters' table.

And what is worse or rather who is worse than the Fulani/Yoruba axis of evil? It is the Igbo's neighbors, namely: Ijaw, Ogoni, Efik, Ibibio, etc., who readily underwrite all Fulani/Hausa wastefulness and Yoruba avariciousness, while ever ganging up to dispatch their embattled Igbo neighbor. Aren't the Ogoni, Ijaw, Efik, Ikwerre, and et cetera detractors of the Igbo flat-out pathetic cowards? Since 1966 Hausa-Fulani/Yoruba-Bini cult began to maul Igbo these neighboring ethnic minorities have rallied like hounds of Esau. They would hamstring the Igbo ox but the curse of Edom would open. As such, let them better be advised to desist!

Let our cognate neighbors: Ijaw, Ogoni, Efik/Ibibio, etc., and a lot of errant elements of our kindred Ika, Ikwerre and others, take our comely heed against our real enemies not imagined ones, like us their brethren, at whom they mistakenly point fingers. What did we do to them? What ever it was, was it worse than the Fulani/Hausa and Yoruba/Bini axis of evil that suction them limp of their resources while never giving a farthing in return? How could the chicken let alone the knife that slaughtered it to become the victim of the cooking pot?

If the Eastern minorities aren't sensible or courageous enough to align their resentment aright, let them not subvert the interrelationship of the East/Mideast for their foolhardy, outlandish camaraderie. For though (and to South-South sadistic delight) Hausa/Fulani and Yoruba/Bini mafia is in full throttle to minoritize Igbo in the scheme of things, Igbo ultimately will re-emerge ever stronger at the ebb of ovation.

We are determined to liberate the entirety of our former region from the Hausa/Fulani vampires and Yoruba vultures, which swooped since the juntas of Hitler Yakubu Gowon and the deuce, Murtala Mohammed to build their ravenous talons in our fleshood. Both are outlandish ethnic compatriots whose single object is to under develop and siphon our vast mineral and human resources to develop and surfeit the regional endowments of their Aboki and mgbati lands.

The middle of 1966 was really the first time we began real Igbo consciousness. Before then, and regardless of the lean and hungry rooting for Arewa and Oduduwa ethnic separatism, narcissism pervaded the Igbo society. Little wonder that first pan-Igbo consciousness was bipolar in articulation and tragic in conduct. It lasted for three epic years in the parenthesis of the Biafran war, and then capitulated to the European cum Arab assisted Nazirian holocaust mongering.

And when Naziria emerged from its Pyrrhic victory in 1970, it started immediately to set up the already balkanized and vanquished Igbo for eternal pauperization. No thanks to Hitler Gowon and his Finance and Information Federal Commissioners Obafemi Awolowo and Anthony Enahoro, respectively. The twosome masterminded the heisting of billions of pounds from Igbo owned bank accounts, the fraudulent nationalization of coveted foreign firms as capitals to their clansmen. With Ken Saro Wiwa, Dieta Spiff, Elechi Amadi of today's Rivers/Bayelsa States, they declared properties and estates of the Igbos in their areas, from Kaduna through Lagos to Port Harcourt, abandoned and commandeered, often times to their private assets.

Our re-conscientization after some thirty years (1970-2000) amnesia therefore had better lead up to a movement that will engage this monster Naziria contraption of all our woes, full time until relative peace is achieved. Particularly considering the facts that ours has been one reckless ramble in recurrent havoc for too long a time now. And the longer we put off the expected liberation struggle to our succeeding generations the more rapidly we decay and the far more lives and limbs shall be incinerated eventually.

Only Igbos and some minorities ever are patriotic Nazirians. Other federating peoples, most especially Yoruba and Fulani-Hausa, are from national inception consummate ethnic patriots. But all romance with patriotism really makes no sense whatsoever any more. What has rather made uncomfortable sense is how both ethnic jingoists have respectively and ostensibly corralled and made protectorates of myriad minorities of Midwest and Middle-Belt. Together they also got their mishandle on the Eastern minorities.

This should be unacceptable.


Posted by Administrator at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

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