Thursday, September 30, 2010

As Nigeria celebrates its 50th year of independence, Lets Remember



As we mark the 50th Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, let us remember the over 80 million poverty stricken Nigerians who live from hand to mouth. The cheated, deprived and ravaged masses in the rural areas from the Niger Delta to Lake Chad. Let us remember them as we dine and wine in our palatial mansions on Banana Island and Asokoro and as we cruise about in our posh cars and luxury SUVs in our romantic jolly ride of the Golden Jubilee.

For these defenceless victims of the Machiavellian political contractors and their greedy collaborators cannot even read and write and they survive on less than a dollar a day.


Poverty ravages majority of Nigerians in the rural areas. Photo Credit: Stolen Childhood


Let us remember that the families and relations of the 15 school children who were kidnapped last Monday are still gripped by the fears of the fate of their missing children and shedding tears, trickling down to their palms as they bow down on their knees in prayers for the safety of their innocent children.

Let us remember the tens of thousands murdered in extra judicial killings at Nigerian police checkpoints and illegal toll-gates and in the hellish cells of police stations.

Let us remember the abandoned patients in the public hospitals where the doctors have been on strike and where lives have been lost, because nobody cares for them.

Let us remember those who have been killed in ghastly auto accidents on the abandoned roads in Nigeria.

Let us remember the unsung heroes of political conflicts who lost their precious lives in political protests, ethnic-religious riots and in unusual circumstances at different locations in the north, south, west and east of Nigeria, our beloved nation.

Let us remember...lest we forget.

God save Nigeria
.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima



Nigerian Army Takeover Security in Aba over Kidnapped School Children

Combat ready soldiers of the Nigerian Army.

Combat ready soldiers of the Nigerian Army have taken over security operations in Aba, Abia state, in a federal government response to the efforts to rescue the 15 school children kidnapped by gunmen in the commercial city last Monday.
.
Aba has been besieged by daredevil kidnappers and armed robbers in the southeastern region of Nigeria.
Concerned citizens have been calling on President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria to declare a state of emergency in Abia after the kidnap of 15 pupils of the Abayi International School, Aba, on Monday September 27, 2010. The kidnappers hijacked the pupils’ school bus and demanded N20 million ransoms for the release of the 15 pupils. The police and other security operatives have not been able to locate their whereabouts. Then letters of threats from kidnappers forced banks, shops and schools in Aba to close since Tuesday.

"President Jonathan has ordered the inspector general of police and heads of other security agencies to take all necessary steps to rescue the abducted children and return them safely to their parents," his spokesman Ima Niboro told the BBC News yesterday.


Children in Aba. But the city is no longer safe for them.

The incessant kidnappings of helpless people have made residents to live in fear and made many of them to relocate to where there is better security of lives and properties.

“Nobody is safe in Aba. Kidnappers can abduct anyone on the street and demand ransoms as low as N5, 000 to release them,” said a security officer in Aba.

The Abia state government has failed to address the appalling state of insecurity that has harmed commercial activities and frightened away native and foreign investors.

The rampant cases of kidnapping, robberies and assassinations in Nigeria may threaten the 2011 elections as observed by many diplomats and human rights activists.



Nigeria 50 years of Independence

30 Sep 2010 12:53 Africa/Lagos



Nigeria 50 years of Independence


ABUJA, September 30, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Interview opportunity

“Because of oil exploration there are no more fisheries…We experience the hell of hunger and poverty. Plants and animals do not grow well, the fish have died…”
- Jonah Gbemre of Delta State, April 2008

Nigeria celebrates its 50th year of independence on October 1.

Since the 1960s, oil has generated an estimated $600 billion. Despite this, the majority of the Niger Delta's population lives in poverty. According to the UN, the area suffers from administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, social deprivation, abject poverty, filth, squalor and endemic conflict.

This poverty, and its contrast with the wealth generated by oil, has become one of the world's starkest and most disturbing examples of the “resource curse”.

Amnesty International has spokespeople available to discuss the impact of the oil industry on the human rights situation in Nigeria in the past 50 years.

We can also provide interviews on the use of torture and extra-judicial killings by security forces, the death penalty and housing rights/forced evictions over the past 50 years.

For further information, photos or to arrange an interview by ISDN or phone please contact Katy Pownall on +44 (0)207 413 5729 or email katy.pownall@amnesty.org


Source: Amnesty International

Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
30 Sep 2010
12:53Nigeria 50 years of Independence
11:26Prières pour le Nigéria, Haiti et début du mois marial
29 Sep 2010
21:38Qualcomm Launches Its West Africa Operations With New Office in Lagos
21:00Equatorial Guinea Calls for End to Delays on UNESCO-Obiang Life Sciences Prize
18:00Delta Continues African Expansion With New Flights to Luanda, Angola Delta Continues African Expansion With New Flights to Luanda, Angola
14:59Christy Turlington and Lauren Bush to Attend Yoga Fundraiser at Donna Karan's Urban Zen Center in New York to Help Women for Women International
11:00Record number of bidders compete for equipment in Ritchie Bros. Atlanta auction



Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Are They Offering You in the 2011 Elections?




Nigerian politicians are dyed-in-the-wool Machavellian by nature and when they give you their menu of utopian promises, do not start salivating and smacking your lips, because what they are going to serve you later from the kitchen is most likely going to be totally different from what they showed you in the menu. The rotten food of corruption as the masses have been eating the sour grapes of the ruling party since 1999 to date. It would be terrible if the voters allow themselves to be fooled again.

Politics makes strange bed fellows like seeing President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala of Oyo State together as political buddies. They may belong to the same ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), but in ethics of politics, they are like beauty and the beast.

When the late President Umaru Yar’Adua was still alive and active in office, I called him Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, because in fairness, he was like a sheep in the midst of wolves in sheep clothing in the ruling party.

Beware of the 2011 Elections in Nigeria.



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

John Dabiri named among 23 New MacArthur Fellows

John Dabiri

Prof. John O. Dabiri, 30, of Graduate Aeronautical Laboratories and the Option of Bioengineering at Caltech is among the 23 new MacArthur Fellows. His major focus is on Mechanics and dynamics of biological propulsion, fluid dynamic energy conversion.

MacArthur describes him as a "biophysicist investigating the hydrodynamics of jellyfish propulsion, which has profound implications for our understanding of evolutionary adaptation and such related issues in fluid dynamics as blood flow in the human heart."

Dabiri graduated from Princeton University with a B.S.E. degree summa cum laude in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in June 2001. In September 2001, he came to Caltech as a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellow, Betty and Gordon Moore Fellow, and Y.C. Fung Fellow in Bioengineering. Under the supervision of Professor Morteza Gharib, he earned an M.S. degree in Aeronautics in June 2003, followed by a Ph.D. in Bioengineering with a minor in Aeronautics in April 2005. He joined the Caltech faculty as an Assistant Professor in May 2005. In 2008, he was selected as an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator for research in bio-inspired propulsion, and Popular Science magazine named him one of its "Brilliant 10" scientists. He was selected for a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2009.

The following is the news release on the 23 2010 MacArthur Fellows.


28 Sep 2010 05:01 Africa/Lagos

23 New MacArthur Fellows Announced

CHICAGO, Sept. 28

Out of the blue – $500,000 – No strings

CHICAGO, Sept. 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 23 new MacArthur Fellows for 2010. Working across a broad spectrum of endeavors, the Fellows include a stone carver, a quantum astrophysicist, a jazz pianist, a high school physics teacher, a marine biologist, a theater director, an American historian, a fiction writer, an economist, and a computer security scientist. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.

The recipients just learned, through a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation, that they will each receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations and reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor.

"This group of Fellows, along with the more than 800 who have come before, reflects the tremendous breadth of creativity among us," said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. "They are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields and to society in innovative, impactful ways. They provide us all with inspiration and hope for the future."

Among the recipients this year are –

a type designer crafting letterforms of unequaled elegance and precision that span the migration of text from the printed page to computer screens (Matthew Carter);
a biomedical animator illuminating cellular and molecular processes for a wide range of audiences through scientifically accurate and aesthetically rich animations (Drew Berry);
a sign language linguist focusing on the unique structure and evolution of sign languages and how they differ from spoken languages and each other (Carol Padden);
a population geneticist mining DNA sequence data for insights into key questions about the mechanisms of evolution, origins of genetic diversity, and patterns of population migration (Carlos D. Bustamante);
a sculptor transforming her signature medium of marble into intricate, seemingly weightless works of art (Elizabeth Turk);
a public high school physics teacher instilling passion for the physical sciences in young men and women through an innovative curriculum that integrates applied physics, engineering, and robotics (Amir Abo-Shaeer);
an American historian disentangling the interracial bloodlines of two distinct founding families to shed fresh light on our colonial past (Annette Gordon-Reed);
a fiction writer drawing readers, through spare and understated storytelling, into compelling explorations of her characters' struggles in both China and the United States (Yiyun Li);
a computer security scientist peeling back the deep interactions among software, hardware, and networks to decrease the vulnerability of computer systems and networks to remote attack (Dawn Song); and
an entomologist protecting one of the world's most important pollinators—honey bees—from decimation by disease (Marla Spivak).

Additional biographical information, video interviews, and downloadable photographs are available at www.macfound.org .

"There is something palpable about these new MacArthur Fellows, about their character as explorers and pioneers at the cutting edge. These are women and men improving, protecting, and making our world a better place for us all. This program was designed for such people—designed to provide an extra measure of freedom, visibility, and opportunity," said Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.

The inaugural class of MacArthur Fellows was named in 1981. Including this year's Fellows, 828 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inception of the program thirty years ago.

The selection process begins with formal nominations. Hundreds of anonymous nominators assist the Foundation in identifying people to be considered for a MacArthur Fellowship. Nominations are accepted only from invited nominators, a list that is constantly renewed throughout the year. They are chosen from many fields and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise. A Selection Committee of roughly a dozen members, who also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation's Board of Directors. The number of Fellows selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 20 and 25.

The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society. More information is at www.macfound.org.

SOURCE MacArthur Foundation

CONTACT: Pete Boyle, pboyle@lipmanhearne.com, or Adam Shapiro, ashapiro@lipmanhearne.com, +1-202-457-8100, both for MacArthur Foundation; or Andy Solomon of MacArthur Foundation, +1-312-726-8000, asolomon@macfound.org


Web Site: http://www.macfound.org



Monday, September 27, 2010

Power, Power, Power

Niger Delta militants



In this ninth chapter of Royal Mail, his twelve-part epistle to Queen Elizabeth II of England, His Royal Majesty Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe, traces the political foibles suffered by Nigeria in the past fifty years to the possessive mindset of the leaders as exemplified by their narrow and unpatriotic utterances.

IX

Power, Power, Power

O my body, make of me always a man who questions!
- Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)

SOME THINGS ARE worth talking about, Your Majesty. This is the time to say them before those who have ears, in summits and conferences, in banquets and dinner parties, in seminars and workshops, in soirees and house fellowships. This is the time to summon the facts of every case, reason things out, arrive at solutions, and get things done. I am the speaker. You are my audience. Our subject of consideration dwells on the fact that Nigeria, a former colony of the Crown, a staunch member of the British Commonwealth, is fifty. We are assessing the relationship between both countries, your country and mine, in the intervening years. We suspect that progress could have been more rapid, more concrete, more durable, more assured in the most populous African nation under the sun, if Her Majesty had been more open handed with Nigeria, and paid closer attention to the well-being of the young nation from October 1, 1960, onward. Rather like a caring mother.

In his book, The Trouble With Nigeria, Chinua Achebe lampoons two of the most influential politicians to have emerged in the history of Nigeria, for statements that showed them to be less than nationalist in outlook than they are credited for by sundry apologists. He recalls a pledge made by Dr Nnamdi Benjamin Azikiwe to the effect “…that henceforth I shall utilize my earned income to secure my enjoyment of a high standard of living and also to give a helping hand to the needy.” That statement was made in 1937, long before Zik became the first President of Nigeria. In like manner, Achebe finds Chief Obafemi Awolowo, first Premier of the Western Region, deficient on account of his vow “to make myself formidable intellectually, morally invulnerable, to make all the money that is possible for a man with my brains and brawn to make in Nigeria.”

However, the pioneer African novelist missed out on a proclamation that was even more selfish for all its parochial vacuity. It is a statement that presumes that, from October 1, 1960, Nigeria in entirety was a territory open to acquisition by the sultanate. Your Majesty, did you at any time give the impression that Nigeria was a gift to the northern oligarchy? Of course, I put it past you. You are too sensible to make such a costly error. It so happens, however, that Nigeria’s first Northern Premier and Sarduana of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, is quoted as saying that Nigeria was but a landed property belonging to none other than Uthman Dan Fodio, the cultural progenitor of the Muslim north. In the October 12, 1960, edition of The Parrot, the Sarduana declared as follows. Quote.

This New Nation called Nigeria should be an estate of our great grandfather, Uthman Dan Fodio. We must ruthlessly prevent a change of power. We use the minorities in the North as willing tools, and the South, as conquered territory and never allow them to rule over us, and never allow them to have control over their future.

Unquote. Four years later, his ambition received corroboration and endorsement from an equally immoderate pundit in search of political relevance. In the West African Pilot edition of December 20, 1964, Mallam Bala Garuba proclaimed as follows, and I quote:

The conquest to the sea is now in sight. When our god-sent Ahmadu Bello said some years ago that our conquest will reach the sea shores of Nigeria, some idiots in the South were doubting its possibilities. Today have we not reached the sea? Lagos is reached. It remains Port Harcourt. It must be conquered and taken.

Thank God for the internet, Your Majesty. These statements can be cross-checked against the records and verified for accuracy. Yet, it is possible that many a Nigerian politician from the South has been ignorant of the condescending pronouncements of the first Prime Minister of the Northern Region and his ardent acolyte. Either that, or they couldn’t be bothered to reject the underlying hubris in both statements that threaten the political integrity of Nigeria.

Clearly, the Sarduana’s statement smacks of naked ambition for power. Coming from a prominent political figure of the day in the very first fortnight marking the country’s independence from Britain, that statement strikes me as injurious to reason. It strikes me as a premeditated utterance calculated to abuse authority. By any measure of societal conduct, it is a travesty to trample upon the feelings of your neighbours, and to dismiss the entire inheritance of a people as meaningless, appropriating them by an irascible fiat without their consent, subordinating them as serfs and vassals to what is undoubtedly a noble emirate.

That statement strikes me as a gross misjudgment on the part of the respectable Sarduana as to what it means to live in peace and harmony with your neighbours. No wonder that Sir Alan Lennox-Boyd, Secretary of State for the Colonies (1954-1959), Colonial Office, United Kingdom, thought more highly of the tactful Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Belawa. In a famous memorandum to Her Majesty The Queen on Nigeria's Constitutional Conference dated May 29, 1958 -- the selfsame document which provides the basis for setting up the Henry Willink Commission -- Lennox-Boyd states as follows. Quote.

The Prime Minister is sagacious and able and relations between him and the Governor-General are frank and cordial. He is openly anti-Communist, he is under no illusions about the difficulties of the task facing both himself and the country, and his policy is likely to be as pro-Western as the narrow Muslim outlook of his principal Northern supporters will allow. (In his Party hierarchy he is only deputy to the leader, the vain and pompous Sarduana of Sokoto, Premier of the Northern Region.)

Unquote. Check your records, Your Majesty, and let me know if I’m wrong. I am from the South. I hail from the Niger Delta. I am an illustrious son of Ijaw land. I am proud to be a citizen of Glory Land. I am not an idiot. Neither is President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, my fellow southerner. That provocative statement by the revered Sarduana of Sokoto strikes me as the overarching vapour of an ethnic irredentist with the most unpatriotic credentials who ought to lose his face on the national currency, divested of every garland that may have been bestowed on him, including the knighthood granted by Her Britannic Majesty The Queen.

I am not angry, Your Majesty. I am simply upset. Some things ought to be talked about, frankly. Let’s face the truth, that the truth might set us free. Nothing could be more shocking, and it seems to me that this is the quiet agenda that has been pursued for five full decades now. Only God has seen it fit to have it reversed. Only God will ensure it remains reversed. Little wonder that the leadership of Nigeria has been largely dominated by the north in all fifty years of our existence as a sovereign nation.

Little wonder that Ibrahim Babangida feels he has a legitimate right to claim his ancestral portfolio yet again, and put the minorities in servitude for another eight years of civilian rule with a military character. For, indeed, Babangida remains the only military despot, amongst his kindred dictators, who assumed the title of civilian President in his khaki uniform. If he were ever to get back to the presidency, empowered by civilian votes under free and fair elections, I wouldn’t put it past him to adopt the title of Head of State instead of President, and actually conduct state business in a ceremonial khaki agbada!

God forbid, says the multitude. As a leader under whose watch one of the foremost journalists of the day, Dele Giwa, was blown to pieces by a letter bomb, I do hope that a copy of this royal mail will arrive Babangida’s breakfast table on a bright Sunday morning, and explode his conceit into nothingness. For verily, verily, I assure you, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida will not go scot-free. He will pay for his crimes against Nigeria. Your Majesty, I speak of a man who harnessed fabulous resources to conduct a free and fair election, having secured the assurance of the electorate about his good intent, only to nullify the results in a swift broadcast with every coup-making jargon intact.

Did you hear his glib excuses for annulling the elections of June 12, 1993, in that interview with CNN’s Christian Purferoy? Did you see reason with him, Your Majesty? Did you see raw arrogance, ingrained vanity, on display? Why was he so sure that Moshood Kashimawo Abiola would have made a worse leader than himself? What makes Babangida think that he is the best thing that has ever happened to the seat of power in Nigeria?

As one who not only accepts responsibility for wasting the valuable resources of a country on an election that he believes to be free and fair, an election he cancelled simply to satisfy his whims, for such a man who is willfully begging to be killed by his fellow country men and women, he deserves to be lynched in honour of the mandate of Abiola. It has come to that, Your Majesty.

O, he shall be shackled by the most austere conditions that may be visited upon a wicked soul for introducing the Structural Adjustment Programme that sapped the life out of many a Nigerian. How many beds hold the body of Babangida in the course of one night in his 50-bedroom marvel of a mansion cast in marble? How long is that solo bed, any more than six proverbial feet?

His greed has found him out on judgment day. He shall drink of hyssop eternally, and shed endless tears of grief in the core of his heart, unless he recants. He shall whine and pain and be tortured in the soul, now that Armageddon has come. Let the fellow be whipped to submission by the even hand of nemesis. It is a mark of the lack of conscience in our nation that Ibrahim Babangida could rear his head seventeen years after being disgraced out of office, and dismiss the current generation of Nigerians as incapable of producing a leader to rival his own perceived stature on the international scene. How presumptuous can he get?

Ask me another question, Your Majesty. I speak of a man who dispatched to an early death a boyhood friend, a poet with a military syntax to his verse who remains the first proponent of a Writer’s Village that is yet to manifest on a homely parcel of land for a fresh literary renaissance to flourish in Nigeria. Mamman Vatsa was a fellow officer who served Babangida as his best man in more senses than one. By all accounts, they were as close as brothers could be.

Sufiya, Vatsa’s widow, testifies at length: “I thought IBB and my husband were of the same family. The two wore the same size of dress and pair of shoes. IBB would drop his dirty wears in our house and put on my husband’s. When IBB traveled out for further military training, my husband took care of Maryam and her children. My husband bought their first set of furniture from Leventis on hire purchase. IBB was also my husband’s best man during our wedding. Whenever Maryam’s Mercedez Benz broke down, she used to drive my Peugeot 404. We were close.”

The IBB in question, Your Majesty, is Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida. None of this solicitous friendship that Sufiya speaks about meant anything to IBB. Neither did the intervention of three of Nigeria’s foremost literary icons, namely Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo. IBB did not budge. On the evening of Thursday March 5, 1986, the self-contained Head of State announced to a shocked nation the summary execution of General Mamman Jiya Vatsa and sixteen other officers, for staging what has since come to be known as a phantom coup.

IBB confessed that he had to avert his eyes while watching the video of the execution, when Vatsa removed his wrist watch and wedding band and handed them over to a soldier in the firing squad, with a plea that the treasures be sent to his loving wife. The ring was missing in transit, and another was procured for the widow who dutifully rejected it. Sufiya and her four children: Fatima, Haruna, Jubril and Aisha, still grieve over a promising dream that was cut short in its prime.

And this ruthless fellow dares to come forward yet again. This man who could not withstand healthy competition from his bosom friend, dares to compete with the joint will of Nigerians against ruthlessness in high places. This inordinate tyrant who has not thought it necessary to improve the base of his faculties since his woeful school certificate examinations, dares to condemn the educational credentials of the youth of today. Coming from a leader whose tenure was marked by incessant closure of universities, one who forced a heavy hand of oppression upon the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, this must count as one of the most ironic condemnations made by a field commander of failure in recent times.

It turns out that Attahiru Jega, the President of ASUU at the time, who brought intolerable populist pressure to bear upon the self-serving policies of the dictator, is now the boss at the nation’s revived electoral commission. If that is not situational irony at its finest conception, Your Majesty, I wonder what is. I am hopeful that Jega will conduct free and fair elections in 2011, decide the winner without prejudice, and let the world know that things can be done right in Nigeria after all. Let Nigerians decide their next President, of their own free will, each vote counting honestly.

Babangida has vowed that not even Jehovah can stop him from becoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria a repeated time. He has summoned the nerve to advertise the gap in his front teeth on national television, one for which the self-confessed “evil genius” has come to be known. Verily, verily, I have come to assure him that he will not escape the rule of law with his dastardly crimes, his condemnable travesty against the peace-loving land and people of Nigeria. Neither will he get away with his blasphemy. Ama Gido will not let that be.

At any rate, Your Majesty, the Sarduana erred. He practically overstepped his bounds. He blew the wrong flute. He said what he ought not to have said. He spoke like a tyrant. But as Frederick Douglas once said, “the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” I dare say the tyranny of the northern oligarchy has reached its limits. It is to the credit of God that the leadership of Nigeria has been zoned, irrevocably, to conscience. It is time for reason to prevail, time for equity and justice to hold sway in the affairs of the nation. That is why good luck has come to the patient people of Nigeria.

After fifty years of tolerance and understanding from the long-suffering oil-producing minority communities of the Niger Delta, it is only fair that one of their own should be at the helm of affairs for a full term. It is only fit and proper that the people of Ijaw land come into reckoning, given their selfless goodwill in times past. For, at critical points of national transition, the Ijaw freely endorsed the Hausa-Fulani and provided the basis for peaceful co-existence in a nation of great diversity, quite in spite of the economic power they command. The fact of the matter, Your Majesty, is that the starting block for Nigeria’s democratic journey was constituted by the alliance between the Niger Delta Congress, NDC, a political party founded by the Ijaw, and the Northern Peoples Congress, NPC, founded by the Hausa-Fulani. It was this bond of solidarity that gave the NPC the ticket it desperately needed to national acceptance.

Your Majesty, the voluble ones have had their say. It is only to be expected that, in the fullness of time, the oil-producing minorities should have their way as well, even as their leaders have a say in deciding the future of the nation. Let the meek inherit the earth, says Pope Pen. Let there be grounds for proof that a leader from the dispossessed minority can make a change for the better in the fortunes of our nation. Let those who have been on the reserve bench for so long have a fair chance to play the game of governance for the world to see, and for history to reckon with, as we enter the second half of Nigeria’s political independence in this golden year of jubilee.

Nigeria has given in large measure to its people. It is time for Nigerians to give back to Nigeria, in the manner of a play back, in the manner of Martin Amis’ Time’s Arrow. It is time to get back to the future, time to adopt the best ideals of our founding fathers, time to follow the path of rectitude. Indeed it is time to repeat more frequently the solemn prayer embodied in the second stanza of our national anthem.

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause;
Guide our leaders right;
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.



News from Penguin South Africa



Lest we forget, the Penguin Prize for African Writing Winners were announced on September 4, 2010.

A Nigerian and Zambian won the two prizes for non-fiction and fiction.

The following is the report from Penguin South Africa.

“We were overwhelmed by the number of entries for these two awards and, after hearing from
the judges and readers who read the submissions, encouraged by the writing talent
coming out of our continent. Congratulations to the two worthy winners.”
Alison Lowry, CEO, Penguin Books South Africa




NON-FICTION
Pius Adesanmi - You’re Not a Country, Africa!



In this groundbreaking collection of essays Pius Adesanmi tries to unravel what it is that Africa means to him as an African, and by extension to all those who inhabit this continent of extremes. This is a question that exercised some of the continent’s finest minds in the twentieth century, but which pan-Africanism, Negritude, nationalism, decolonisation and all the other projects through which Africans sought to restore their humanity ultimately failed to answer. Crisscrossing the continent, Adesanmi engages with the enigma that is Africa in an attempt to make meaning of this question for all twenty-first century Africans.
AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Pius Adesanmi was born in Nigeria but now lives in Ottowa, Canada.

FICTION
Ellen Banda-Aaku - Patchwork




Destined from birth to inhabit two very different worlds – that of her father, the wealthy Joseph Sakavungo, and that of her mother, his mistress – this emotive tale takes us to the heart of a young girl’s attempts to come to terms with her own identity and fashion a future for herself from the patchwork of the life she was born into. Beautifully constructed, warm and wise, this is a novel that will transport the reader to a world in which we can all become more of the sum of our parts.


AUTHOR INFORMATION:
Ellen Banda-Aaku was born in Zambia and now resides in London, England.

2010-09-15 - The Postmistress Wins 2010 Exclusive Books Boeke Fiction Prize - Readers' Choice

2010-09-09 - Melly, Mrs Ho And Me.

2010-09-08 - Damon Galgut's In A Strange Room Shortlisted For The 2010 Man Booker Prize

2010-09-06 - Penguin Prize For African Writing Winners Announced

2010-08-27 - Cooked In Africa - Finalist For A 2010 Loerie Award

2010-08-19 - Penguin Books South Africa - Best Trade Publisher Of The Year

2010-08-18 - 2010 Booksellers’ Choice Award - Spud Learning To Fly

2010-07-28 - 2010 Man Booker - Long-list

2010-07-23 - Little Ice Cream Boy - Shortlisted For The 2010 M-net Literary Award

2010-07-15 - Why Africa Is Poor

2010-07-07 - Penguin Books South Africa Announces Penguin Prize For African Writing Shortlist

2010-07-06 - Tooth And Nailed

2010-06-25 - Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Series


Chidinma Wins MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 3

Chidinma Ekile

Congratulations to Chidinma Ekile, the winner of MTN Project Fame West Africa season 3. She got the first prize of N2.5 million, plus Toyota Rav 4 SUV.
She deserves it! She has been dynamite from the beginning.

The highly gifted Ghanaian guitarist and singer Kesse Frimpong was first runner up, winning a cash prize of N1.5 million, plus a Toyota Corolla car. Eyo Eminue, the second runner up won a cash prize of N1 nillion, plus a Toyota Yaris car, and Yetunde Orijah who took the 3rd position smiles to the bank with N1 million.

Tolu Adesina and Ochuko Ogbu-Sifo took fifth and sixth positions.

I wonder how Eyo beat Ochuko and Tolu!

Cheers to the whole crew and management for making it the best Project Fame West Africa so far. Great academy with a great faculty.

I give the show five stars!


~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima



Friday, September 24, 2010

Prosecutor Warns That Rise in Student Connectivity Increases Dangers From Child Pornographers, Online Predators

Prosecutor Warns That Rise in Student Connectivity Increases Dangers From Child Pornographers, Online Predators



Alliances With A24Media and Afrik.com Further Cements APO's Position as Global Leader in Dissemination of Africa-Related News

24 Sep 2010 10:00 Africa/Lagos

Media Relations - Alliances With A24Media and Afrik.com Further Cements APO's Position as Global Leader in Dissemination of Africa-Related News

DAKAR, Senegal, September 24, 2010/PRNewswire/ -- The African Press Organization (APO) announced today an alliance with A24 Media, Afrik.com and Afrik-News.com to distribute its wire service via http://www.a24media.com, http://www.afrik.com and http://www.afrik-news.com.


Through an agreement with the multi-lingual wire service, news releases issued by governments, political organizations, NGOs and United Nations duty stations across Africa concerning the continent's political, legal and social events and news will be made available to the more than 1.1 million readers of these well recognized leading websites concerning Africa affairs.


"As global leader in media relations services related to Africa, the African Press Organization is constantly exploring opportunities that provide quick access to current news releases from the African's most important institutions and companies," says Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, APO's Franco-Gabonese General Secretary.


"Aligning with A24 Media, Afrik.com and Afrik-News.com further cements our position as the global leader in distribution of Africa related press releases," Mr. Pompigne-Mognard added.


A24 Media is Africa's first online delivery site for material from journalists, African broadcasters and NGO's from around the continent.


Afrik.com and Afrik-News.com are a reference point for Afro-centric news items online as well as one of Google's best referenced pages concerning African news and events.


The African Press Organization is already engaged in active partnerships with PR Newswire, global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators (http://www.prnewswire.com), with LexisNexis, the worldwide leader in legal and News & Business information ( http://www.lexisnexis.com), and with BurrellesLuce, a 120-year-old media-monitoring service provider located in the U.S. ( http://www.burrellesluce.com).


About the African Press Organization (APO)


APO owns a media database of 25,000 contacts and is the most trusted and important Africa-related news online community. APO offers a complete range of media relations tools including press release distribution, press videoconference, webcasts, events promotion, and media monitoring.


The African Press Organization provides free services to African journalists, innovative communications products to Public authorities, companies, and supports many African and International institutions in their strategic communications.


http://www.apo-opa.org


Logo: http://www.apo-opa.org/LogoHD.JPG


Contact: Carine KAZADI, bdm@apo-opa.org, +41-22-534-96-75;


About Afrik.com and Afrik-News.com


Established in the year 2000, Afrik.com has grown to become a reference in afro-centric news items online as well as one of Google's well referenced pages. The website is the proud host of over a million visits per month.


About 1 million readers translates to over 5 million ads viewed each month by virtue of our satellite sites, which deal with cultural, beauty, travel, and economic issues among others. Popular among our readers is our newsletter, which is blasted off to thousands of registered visitors on weekly basis.


http://www.afrik.com and http://www.afrik-news.com


Contact: Frank SALIN, salinfranck@afrik.net, +33-140284938;


About A24 Media


A24 Media is Africa's first online delivery site for material from journalists, African broadcasters and NGO's from around the Continent.


More informations about A24 Media: http://www.apo-opa.org/A24Media.pdf


http://www.a24media.com


Contact : Asif SHEIKH, asif@a24media.com, +254-735-967-402.

Source: The African Press Organization (APO)

Contact: Frank SALIN, salinfranck@afrik.net, +33-140284938; Contact: Carine KAZADI, bdm@apo-opa.org, +41-22-534-96-75; Contact : Asif SHEIKH, asif@a24media.com, +254-735-967-402.



17th Africa Oil Week / 1st-5th November 2010, BMW Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa



24 Sep 2010

Just in:03:57 Durabilis Announces US$ 10 Million Commitment to Integrate Sustainable Agro Supply Chains in West Africa at Clinton Global Initiative in New York
23 Sep 2010 19:30 Africa/Lagos




17th Africa Oil Week / 1st-5th November 2010, BMW Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa

CAPE-TOWN, September 23, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — 17th Africa Oil Week / 1st-5th November 2010, BMW Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa

The world’s largest and most significant in-depth oil, gas, exploration and development, annual event in and/or on Africa is the landmark meeting occasion for the African oil industry . Attracting 750+ senior-level attendees and over 50+ international and regional exhibitors, this is the top worldwide venue for executive networking, deal-making, rich-content and knowledge about Africa’s fast-moving upstream, exploration and oil/gas-LNG industry.

Organised & Hosted By: Global Pacific & Partners

Contact:babette@glopac.com or amanda@glopac-partners.com or sonika@glopac-partners.com

Date & Venue: 1-5 November 2010, BMW Imax Theatre, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Register now – to secure your place: www.africa-oilweek.com

To Exhibit Contact: sonika@glopac-partners.com To Sponsor Contact: amanda@glopac-partners.com

The 17th Africa Oil Week also includes the 12th Scramble for Africa: Strategy Briefing, and our 7th African Independents Forum 2010, along with the 34th PetroAfricanus Dinner in Africa with Guest Speaker: Jordaan Fouche, Investment Analyst, Earth Resource Investment Group: “Oil & Money: African Independents: What Goes Up, May Go Down: Where the Money Went”

Our 17th Africa Oil Week 2010, welcomes its new sponsors: Chevron, and African Petroleum Corp and New Exhibitors including: Murphy Oil, Gardline, African Petroleum Corp

Special Feature: Gabon’s 10th Licensing Round 2010, will launch at the 17th Africa Upstream Conference, with Presentations from: HE Julien Nkoghe-Bekale, Minister of Petroleum, Gabon, with a Ministerial Delegation, and CGGVeritas. Presentations include a dedicated Technical Session, and a Presentation Session in the IMAX Theatre.

Current Sponsors: Lead Sponsor: Tullow Oil; Silver Sponsor: Oando; Bronze Sponsor: Sasol

Plus Sponsors: ExxonMobil, PGS, Gazprom EP International, IHS Energy, Total, Centric Energy, TGS, Stellar Energy Advisors, TMK Trade House, Orca Exploration, Hess, Anadarko, Ophir Energy, Statoil, RWE, Geokinetics, Petroleum Agency SA, Seven Energy, Dominion Petroleum CGG-Veritas, Chevron, TGS, Polarcus, Black Marlin Energy, Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun, Africa Oil Corp, SVL, International Aircraft Services, Banwo & Ighodalo, First Energy Capital, Mart Resources Inc, Svenska Petroleum Exploration, Maersk Oil, SouthWest Energy, Danvic Concepts Nigeria, AELEX

Supported By inter alia- Ministry of Mines, Energy, Petroleum Resources Hydraulics (Gabon), Petrosen (Senegal), Dubai Petroleum Club, NOCK (Kenya), Gambia National Oil Company, ONHYM (Morocco).

Confirmed Exhibitors: Expro, Baker Hughes, Kenya, ENH (Moçambique), Ministry of Mines & Energy (Namibia), Ministry of Mines & Energy (Niger), Bayfield Energy Ltd, Black Marlin Energy, Bowman Gilfillan, Century Bumi JV Ltd (Nigeria) , NGR Drilling (Nigeria) , Wide Horzions, Upstream, Seismic Micro-Technology, TGS, Tullow Oil, Sasol Petroleum, Spectrum, Core Laboratories , Polarcus, CNBC Africa, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Petroleum, SVL Ltd, NRG/Hybrid Solutions, Petroleum Agency SA (South Africa) , Ophir Energy, Oando, PGS, TMK, Bergen Oilfield Services, Fugro, Geokinetics, CGGVeritas, WesternGeco, TPDC (Tanzania), International Aircraft Services, GNPC (Ghana), Namcor (Namibia), Layher GmbH & Co, Pakistan Exploration Limited, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists, Ikon Science, OHM Rock Solid Images

With participation of key African Government decision-makers and high-level senior oil/gas officials: from: Angola, Australia, Brazil, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, China, DRC, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Eritrea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Japan, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mali, Malaysia, Mocambique, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, UAE, United Kingdom, USA, Venezuela

________________________________________

Confirmed Speakers Include

Fafa Sanyang Commissioner for Petroleum, The Gambia National Petroleum Co

Dr Duncan Clarke Chairman & CEO, Global Pacific & Partners

Christopher Pitman CEO, Surestream Petroleum

Barry Rushworth, CEO & Director Afrex & Pancontinental Oil & Gas

Sam Malin CEO, Avana Petroleum

Colin Wilson Sales & Marketing Manager, Emerging Markets Africa, FMC Technologies

Babafemi Oyewole Executive Director, APPA

Tonye Cole Director, Sahara Energy, Nigeria

Radwan Hadi, Chief Operating OfficeVictoria Oil & Gas

Tewodros Ashenafi Chairman & CEO, Southwest Energy

David Cameron Vice President – Exploration, VAALCO Energy, Inc.

John Langhus Commercial Director, Forest Exploration International (SA) (Pty) Ltd

Scott Aitken CEO, Seven Energy Ltd

Tim O`Hanlon Vice President, Africa, Tullow Oil

Jacques Marraud des Grottes President, Africa, Total

Ebbie Haan Managing Director, Sasol Petroleum International

Adewale Tinubu Group Chief Executive, Oando PLC

Dr Duncan Clarke Chairman & CEO, Global Pacific & Partners

Pedro Augusto Cortes Xavier Bastos E&P International Business Development Manager, Petrobras, Brazil

Yoshimbumi Miyamoto Director, Europe & Africa, JOGMEC

Dr Emmanuel O Egbogah OON Sepcial Adviser To the President on Petroleum Matters, Office of the President, Nigeria

Daniel Pelerin Managing Director, Exploration, Maurel et Prom

Brian Maxted COO & Founding Partner, Kosmos Energy

Dr Alan Stein Managing Director, Ophir Energy

James Phillips Vice President, Exploration, Africa Oil Corporation

Eddy Belle Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Seychelles Petroleum Company

Ousseini Assane Boureima Chef de a Division, Ministere des Mines de l`Energie, Niger

Tomas Nhabay Acting Director General, Petroleum Resources Unit, Sierra Leone

HE Gabriel Lima Minister, Ministry of Mines, Industry & Energy, Equatorial Guinea

Andrew Objaye Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria

Adriano Paulo Sebastiao Chief Geologist, Sonangol

Salah Hassan Wahbi President, Sudapet, Khartoum, Sudan

Senator Lee Maeba Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream), National Assembly, Nigeria

William Drennen Senior Vice President, Global Exploration & New Ventures, Hess

Ake Hesselbom Senior Director, Maersk Oil, Copenhagen

Dave Fassom Director, Stellar Energy Advisors

Fredrik Ohrn CEO, Svenska Petroleum Exploration AS

Mthozami Xiphu CEO, Petroleum Agency South Africa

Nelson Ocuane Chairman & CEO, Empressa Nacional de Hidrocarbenetos

Hon. Tam Brisibe Chairman, Sub-Committee on Local Content in the Petroleum Industry, House of Rep. Nigeria

John Downey Exploration Manager, Dana Petroleum

Galib Virani Head of Acquisitions & Investor Relations, Afren, London, UK

Peter Clutterbuck Deputy Chairman, Orca Exploration

Austin Avuru Managing Director, Seplat Petroleum Ltd

HE Immanuel Mulunga Petroleum Commissioner, Ministry of Mines, Namibia

Joseph Pili Pili Mawezi Directeur Chef des Services des Projects, Ministere, DRC

Ketsela Tadesse Promotion Ops Dept,Ministry of Mines & Energy, Ethiopia

Sola Adepetun Partner, Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun

Kevin Wallace Manager, Europe & Africa, Challenger Minerals Inc

Jose Simao Fonseca Inspector of Petroleum Agreements, Ministry of Petroleum, Angola

Wade Cherwayko Chairman, Mart Resources

Richard Schmitt President & CEO, Black Marlin Energy

Teklehaimanot Debretsion Hd, Hydrocarbon Exp., Ministry Mines & Energy, Eritrea

Dr Duncan Clarke Director, International Association For Independent Licensing Agencies, The Hague

Ian Craig Regional Vice President, Shell Exploration & Production Africa Limited

Alec Robinson President & CEO, Centric Energy

M`Hammed El Mostaine Directeur de l`Exploration, ONHYM

Djibril Amadou Kanoute General Manager, Petrosen, Senegal

Manfred Bockmann General Manager, New Ventures, Africa & Middle East, RWE Dea

Julien Nkoghe-Bekale Minister For Petroleum, Republic of Gabon

Aillilat Antseleve-Oyima General Manager, DGH, Gabon

Martial Rufin Moussavou, Directeur Ministere des Mines de l`Energie du Petrole et des Ressources Hydrauliques, Gabon

Jim Martin Vice President, CGGVeritas, EAME Data Library

Steve Toothill Chief Geologist, CGGVeritas, EAME Data Library

Senior Executive Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation, Dar-es-Salaam

Dr Ken Seymour Country Manager, Nigeria, E.ON Ruhrgas AG

Senior Executive Petroleum & Exploration Department, Uganda*

Jordaan Fouche Investment Analyst, Earth Resources Investment Group

Marcio Rocha Mello Chief Executive Officer, HRT Oil & Gas Ltd

Boris Ivanov Managing Director & CEO, Gazprom EP International

Sumayya Hassan-Athamani Acting Chief Executive Office, NOCK, Kenya

Kirill Ganin Chief Executive Officer, TMK Global, Moscow

Source: Global Pacific & Partners



Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time
24 Sep 2010
11:42
IFC Estimates it can Help Mobilize an Initial $100 million in Kenya's Sustainable Energy Market
10:00
Media Relations - Alliances With A24Media and Afrik.com Further Cements APO's Position as Global Leader in Dissemination of Africa-Related News
03:57
Durabilis Announces US$ 10 Million Commitment to Integrate Sustainable Agro Supply Chains in West Africa at Clinton Global Initiative in New York
23 Sep 2010
22:01
International Paper Completes Sale of 163,000 Acres of Real Estate Properties
21:36
Clinton Global Citizen Award Winner Ruchira Gupta Leverages Global Attention to Take on Sex Trafficking
21:17
Wrap Up Africa Advances Mission through UICC World Cancer Congress, LIVESTRONG and CGI Support
20:41
AllyKatzz.com Announces the 2010 Tween Summit A.L.L.Y. (AllyKatzz Links Leading Youth) Award & CertifiK.A.T. (Kids Acting Together) of Achievement Winners
20:23
Paciugo Gelato & Caffe Selects AIRMALL® at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for First Airport Location
20:00
Women's Funding Network Announces $3 Million 'Women Moving Jobs' Commitment for Jobs Growth Programs at Clinton Global Initiative
19:30
17th Africa Oil Week / 1st-5th November 2010, BMW Pavilion, Cape Town, South Africa
19:10
TrustAfrica Commits to Lead $2.7 Million Fund for Research on Business and Investment in Africa
19:02
South Africa's FIFA World Cup™ – a success at home and abroad
18:59
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission underscores the importance of culture and intercultural dialogue, at a UNESCO roundtable in New York
18:44
UN Secretary-General's remarks to
18:35
Sudan / Near-verbatim Transcript of the Press Conference by Mr. Denis K. Kadima, Director of the United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED) on UNMIS' Role and Preparations for the Referenda
18:34
Implementation of Accra Accord on track, UN SG tells trade and development board / Global financial crisis required adjustments to UNCTAD's work, he says, including analysis of recession and increased concern for Millennium Goals
18:34
Lucie Nizigama: A great loss for the African human rights community
17:47
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) Calls for Stronger FDA Science Investment to Better Fight Diseases of Poverty Worldwide
17:00
Disney Guests Become Stars of Castle Show and TV Ads As Walt Disney World and Disneyland 'Let the Memories Begin'
16:23
Radisson Blu Martinez Hotel - Beirut to Receive Complete Renovation in 2011



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nigerian Dunces and Nuances on Facebook and Nairaland


Photo Credit: STUDENT MBJ

Most of the topics on the Romance Board of Nairaland revolve around SEXUAL RELATIONSHIPS and the posters think SEXUAL INTERCOURSE is the beginning and the end of every relationship.

I have also noticed that the absence of psychotherapists in Nigeria is really not helping matters as many of our girls and boys who should have been seeing psychotherapists or go to a rehab come to the Romance Board to pour out their agonies and ironies of their relationships.

I can relate the mass failures in Nigerian secondary school exams to the characteristics of their personalities on the Romance Board. Because, they carry over these insecurities into the higher institutions and on the street.
They really need help.

I really feel sorry for our girls and boys who foolishly ape those in the US and Europe, but forget that those in the developed nations live in a different environment and they do not have mass failures or underdeveloped tertiary schools. The latest rankings of the 400 world's best universities is worth seeing to show you that we cannot ape the ways of life of those in the US and Europe in relationships. Most of these dummies paste useless photographs and trivia on Facebook and at the end of the day, they fail woefully in the classroom.

They can gyrate to the popular pornographic and psychedelic music videos and practice what they see on TV, but most of them cannot add much value to Nigeria, except increasing the cases of HIV/AIDS, like in River state where there are over 400, 000 cases of HIV/AIDS from the sexual activities of our promiscuous girls and boys who think with their loins and not with their brains. They forget that they are humans and not dogs.

Those in the US and Europe are well fed, well educated and their social structures work whereas our own have collapsed.

When a girl gets pregnant in Nigeria, she has no SAFETY NET for such an emergency.
When a girl is raped, she prefers to hide it than report it. No counselor and no therapist to address her predicament and she goes on like a wounded creature with unresolved issues in her heart and soul and if she is not healed she would degenerate to a worse state.
POSING AND POSTURING does not help them from the facts of life in a precarious state like Nigeria.

I have been using different literary devices to make them think and jolt them to face the stark realities of life in Nigeria, but many of them remain very ignorant, impetuous and vacuous.

The sooner our girls and boys start thinking with their brains and not with their loins, the better, healthier and safer they would be for our common good.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Your Majesty, The Flat Face Of The Naira

In this chapter from Royal Mail, his twelve-part epistle to Queen Elizabeth II of England, the renowned Nigerian poet, King Nengi Josef Ilagha, Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe, suggests that the name of the Naira be changed to Turinchi, the Hausa-Fulani word for English, to reflect the national heritage of Nigeria as it marks 50 years of political independence from Britain.

II

The Flat Face Of The Naira

No one can make you a slave without your consent
.
- Eleanor Roosevelt



YOUR MAJESTY, I am a living witness to just how round the pound is, even as a coin, and how prestigious it is in hand. There’s no dirt on the face of the Queen in the fifty pound note. It is the strongest currency in the world, and has been so for so long. The dollar bows to it, and so does the yen. The euro does not compare with the sterling by a yardstick, which is why the average British citizen would rather not have any kind of political merger that might spell a drop in value for the sterling.


By the way, how does it feel to have your face on your own national currency, to know that wherever the pound is, there you are as well? Today when I tell my children that, once upon a time, this same pound was the national currency in Nigeria, they find it hard to believe. It has become the stuff of legend that every pound and every shilling was mopped up by the Central Bank of Nigeria only in 1973, three years after the civil war. It is hard to believe that the naira, the Nigerian currency, was swapping on a cozy ratio of two naira to one pound at that time; that the naira indeed was on a comfortable one to one exchange footing with the American dollar.


Things have since fallen apart for the Nigerian naira, Your Majesty. The central government cannot hold it in place, not along the roadside market, not on the stock exchange. Recently, I had cause to change a huge pile of naira notes, all two hundred thousand pieces of them, and was suitably embarrassed to receive a sum under one thousand pounds in exchange. In the batting of an eyelid, I had finished counting. Before the imperial pound, the naira simply falls flat on its face, a willing slave on the fiscal calculus. I am still at a loss as to how this happened, Your Majesty, and why we haven’t been able to rise to our full height for so long.
At the recent Isaac Boro day celebrations in London, the special representative of the President at the occasion, Braeyi Ekiye, was telling the packed audience about the progress being made at the home front with regard to the proposed electoral reforms. Even though I was familiar with the figure that had been approved for the electoral commission towards the 2011 elections, the explosive sound of eighty-seven billion naira still reverberates in my ears -- and it has nothing to do with the burp of the microphone before Ekiye’s lips.


In times past, I thought, that figure would amount to the overall budget of a number of states for one year. Now, it is one of many approvals that the President is obliged to endorse within a space of four months. As the days unfold, my fellow country men and women seem to lose sight of a geographical verity, that the higher you go the cooler it becomes. With regard to the naira, in this particular case, the higher the figures the lower the value of our currency in the international money market.


Once upon a time, the naira was the leading and most liquid currency in all of West Africa, so much so that it was proposed as the legal tender of the sub-region. That’s because the Ghanaian cedi as well as the West African CFA franc were underlings, so many thousand units exchanging for a handful of naira. Not so anymore. We now count our funds in mouthfuls as well, and the more high-sounding the amounts, the more gratifying in the ears of the average contractor and his political collaborator. Every day, so much money is voted for, and so little gets done. Chinua Achebe testifies that “we have become so used to talking in millions and billions that we have ceased to have proper respect for the sheer size of such numbers.” He was writing in 1983, mark you. Today, twenty-seven years later, the tendency to proclaim billion naira figures is far more manifest, in the private calculations of individuals as in the official pronouncements of government.


Let me bring you up to date on this, Your Majesty. One of the most hopeful road projects in the fifty-year history of Nigeria is the Nembe-Brass road. It was first proposed by the Niger Delta Development Board in 1962. Then it came on the Federal Government's drawing board in 1971, and was first awarded by the General Yakubu Gowon regime, evidently in millions. The same project was re-awarded in 1983 by the Shehu Shagari government but was botched by the coup that was to follow. It was awarded a third time in 1990 by the Babangida regime only to be conveniently abandoned. In the wake of the presidential amnesty granted Niger Delta militants, the contract was awarded for a record fourth time in November 2009, just before the late President Yar’Adua took ill.


Today, the entire forty-two kilometer stretch of the road commencing from Yenagoa and cutting through Oloibiri and Nembe right down to Brass on the fringes of the Atlantic Ocean, is estimated to cost one billion naira per kilometer. That would be forty-two billion naira, only. Professor E.J. Alagoa, chairman of the Nembe-Ibe Group Road Project, laments that forty-eight years after the idea for the road was first mooted and the commitment of the Federal Government was spelt out on paper, the road is still a future prospect. Given the penchant for cost variations in Nigeria’s construction industry, to say nothing of kick-backs and side kicks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Your Majesty if the road swallows all of eighty-four billion naira, if not more, by the time it gets to destination point.


Nigeria is an odd country, Your Majesty, at cross purposes with itself. Even in the development of literature and the arts, Nigeria is deficient. The writers weep for lack of patronage. Values are turned upside down and inside out. Nigeria is the only country on the face of the earth where an enlightened panel of judges decides the best nine books of poetry out of 163 published in four years, and yet cannot declare the winner. And then -- surprise, surprise! -- the prize money goes to the panel. It happened on the night of October 10, 2009, at the Nicon Noga in Abuja.


Former Heads of States were there, business tycoons were there, politicians came in all their pageantry. Only conscience was in flight. None of the eggheads on parade could ease the microphone from the Master of Ceremonies, and tell the panel of professors and their sponsors on the spot that it was wrong to advertise a prize for one full year, and demure when it mattered most. The prize money in question was not in naira. It carried greater value. It was fifty thousand United States dollars.
As Dan Agbese, one of Nigeria’s most perceptive journalists, would put it: “What distinguishes Nigeria from other countries is not our wealth but the way we use it. Other countries spend money to solve their problems. We turn money into missiles and shoot them at our problems.” He couldn’t have put it better. The poets in question are still reeling with shock in the aftermath of that unnecessary coup.


Even so, Your Majesty, you were no less unconscionable in your bid to exploit the resources of Nigeria. I dare say the British Crown built a good part of modern Britain on the wealth you colonized from our groundnut pyramids, our cocoa pods, our palm produce and our oil wells, in much the same way that Babangida built Abuja with the wealth derived from the Niger Delta. You will do well to wipe your conscience clean of this imperial misdemeanour.


It is time to own up to what you took by force and guile, time to return every artifact in your National Museum at Bloomsbury, every artistic piece that bears the signature of Nigeria, beginning with the sixteenth century Ivory Mask from Benin which was the mascot for the Second African Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC ‘77. And that is just in the cultural sector. It is time for restoration on a pervasive scale, time for conscience to have the right of way in your dealings with our nation and its long-suffering people.

***

If you were to throw a question over the heads of the Nigerian multitude, and ask all those who do not think that Jesus Christ can conduct free and fair elections in the country to raise their hands, only one man is bound to do so. That man is Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo, OOO for short, a farmer from Ota who has since lost his hoe. It is like an obsession with him to utter offensive statements. Obasanjo is prone to blasphemy, Your Majesty. Like Prince Phillip, he has a risqué sense of humour. As Professor Charles Nnolim would say, “every time he opens his mouth, a big fat toad jumps out.” You want to hazard a bet? No need for that. OOO is my fellow country man. I know him better than you do. Never mind the show he put up for you when you visited Abuja seven years ago.


On the eve of the 2003 elections, Sam Aluko, one of the foremost economists in the country, had cause to compare the Abacha and Obasanjo administrations side by side. He scored Abacha far higher than OOO. At the very next press conference the farmer attended, the question came up for air. What’s your reaction to what Professor Aluko said about your government and its mismanagement of the naira? Obasanjo’s retort went right off the mark.
“That one whose son is a thief in the Senate?”


Talk about effrontery, Your Majesty. The man left the substance of the matter altogether and stalked the shadow instead. How fallacious can he get? Ask me another question. When approached for comments, Aluko chose not to join issues with the farmer. If he were to oblige him, he would have probably underscored the fact that, under Abacha, the naira exchanged for twenty-two to one dollar. But by the time Obasanjo left office on May 29, 2007, following his failed bid to make a third term, the naira had fallen to a sprawling low of one hundred and fifty to one dollar.
Mark you, I am not holding brief for General Sani Abacha. He was the most mindless, the most rabid, of all the dictators that ever governed Nigeria these past fifty years. His personal record of corruption and graft ranks as the most brazen in the annals of our history. The Swiss Bank is my witness. In fact, the government of OOO took it upon itself to investigate Abacha’s wholesale looting of Nigeria's coffers, and declared that $4 billion or £3 billion worth of foreign assets were traced to Abacha, all acquired at the expense of the tax payer. In 2002, out of $2.1 billion demanded by the government, Abacha's family agreed to return $1.2 billion that was annexed from the Central Bank. In many ways, Abacha was the last Nigerian military dictator. It is now twelve years since he passed on. We don’t need another.


It so happens that Bayelsa, one of the five states created by Abacha on October 1, 1996, remains something of a baby in diapers, practically exploited to retardation by its politicians and contractors, suffering under the malignant shadow cast by Abacha’s corrupt antecedents. Only recently, the current governor of the state earnestly promised on national television that he would build the first hanging bridge in Nigeria, so that the rest of humanity could come from far and near to see this construction engineering wonder.


Your Majesty, he spoke as one who has seen the drawbridge across the River Thames, and therefore that may not cut ice with you. I merely mention this as an indication of how imaginative our politicians can get. For fifty years of our sovereign nationhood, we have been coping with grand dreams conceived to hoodwink the hopeful voter and to buy time, while the treasury is systematically plundered for the selfsame prospect of the proverbial hanging bridge that never would be. And for ingenuity, for sheer creative bravado, a special prize must go to the chairman of the environmental sanitation authority in the state who stuffed four hundred million naira of tax payers’ money into an empty water tank, and left the criminal sum hanging high above his roof in what may well qualify as the modern-day equivalent of the Akassa Raid. That is how bad the scramble for the naira has become in the country you once ruled, God save the Queen.


What is even more ludicrous is that, on the eve of our country’s Golden Jubilee anniversary, a retired military dictator you may have heard about, a veteran coup maker with pretensions to decent civilian conduct, has declared his intentions to run for the presidency in the forthcoming elections. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, of course, gives him sufficient leave to contest for any office of his choice, as well he might. He believes he can lay the flat face of the naira on the negotiation table, and buy up every Nigerian conscience that may be up for sale ahead of the elections. By and by, we shall know just how far his bidding goes.
In the meantime, I suggest we change the face value of the naira, and opt for a more acceptable currency that would reflect our national heritage. Let us change the name of the Naira to Turinchi, the Hausa-Fulani word for English. After all, the English language has been our lingua franca in the last fifty years, and is likely to remain so for another half a century.


IBB Did Not Annul The Historic June 12 Presidential Election Alone

M.K.O. Abiola, the Martyr of June 12


Mr. Olatunji Dare,

I read "The Spirit of June 12"; published in The Nation on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, and the numerous responses you received.

The June 12 Crisis has not been critically addressed to actually know the truth, the annulment and how The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and the other brave defenders of justice and democracy challenged the tyranny of the despotic military dictators until the martyrdom of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

Most of our youths have not even read the Saturday June 11, 1994 Epetedo Proclamation of M.K.O. Abiola, and are just reacting from hearsay and not conviction.

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babaginda (IBB) (retd) did not annul the historic June 12 presidential election ALONE.
The late despot General Sani Abacha and their accomplices including Igbo leaders and some Yoruba leaders were partners in crime in the annulment.

I was an insider in the presidential campaign of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur and I left when the primaries were cancelled. I knew that the presidential election was being stage-managed and would end in futility.

How can military dictators form two political parties for the electorate?
Is that true democracy?
How can you trust them to follow the rule of law in military dictatorship?
They formed the two political parties of National Republican Convention (NRC) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and could as well cancel the primaries and annul the presidential election.


Let us not be overly sentimental about June 12 and get swayed by the hypocrisy of those who want to crucify IBB for the annulment of presidential election of June 12, 1993. He is not the only culprit.
What role did former President Olusegun Obasanjo play?

I am raising these critical salient issues, because of the appalling ignorance of the majority of Nigerians who are always being fooled by the political schemes and scams of the ruling class of the Nigerian kleptocracy of which the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is the archetypal of a government of kleptomaniacs.

May I advise you to read the historical play "The Mandate of M.K.O Abiola" by Adeleke O. Adeyemi, which I published in 2007.




"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. – George Santayana.
CODENAME JUNE 12: MANDATE AND MAYHEM A Tragedy on the Greatest Threat Ever to Nigeria’s Ruling Mafia. And How it was Checked.



God save Nigeria from the anomie of corruption and hypocrisy.



Monday, September 20, 2010

Odega Shawa Exposes the Pastors of the Apocalypse

Nigeria is world famous for thousands pentecostal churches.

Odega Shawa Exposes the Pastors of the Apocalypse



When Odega Shawa gave me an autographed copy of his critical analytical book “Pastors of the Apocalypse”, I was anxious and curious to find out the identities of the pastors and read the 105 pages in five hours without stepping out of my office.

Odega’s major focus is on the Nigerian pastors of the new generation churches who have their own interpretations of the Word of God for their own selfish motives. These pastors he nicknamed “Top Cat pastors” and he actually mentioned their names and their denominations. He must have done a thorough research on them to be able to separate the sheep from the goats among them. He mentioned altercations between Pastor Tunde Bakare and Bishop David Oyedepo, the controversial confrontation between Rev. Chris Okotie and Pastor T.B. Joshua and the issues raised over the glamourous personality of the late Pastor Bimbo Odukoya of the The Fountain of Life Church and the refuted comments made by Prophet T.O. Obadare, founder of the World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministries (WOSEM)..

Odega challenged the mercantilism of the worldly prosperity theology of some of the pastors and found them wanting in the Gospel truth of Jesus Christ. He made relevant references to the teachings of the Holy Bible from the Old Testament to the New Testament to prove his points.

Odega’s reference to Dimethyltryptamine on the question of the origins of God and the existential facts of life affecting the human species and their destiny is also as controversial as his polemic analysis of the crisis of faith being exploited by these so called “Pastors of the Apocalypse”.

The gullibility and hypocrisy of most of the millions of church goers in Nigeria have made them easy preys of the false prophets or the wolves in sheep clothing who are giving Christianity a bad name.

“Pastors of the Apocalypse” is a must read for everyone who needs more knowledge on the history of religion, the challenges of the Christian fate and how to identify the true ministers and their congregations in contrast to the confused and fake multitudes.

Odega Shawa, a graduate of the University of Lagos has written a well researched book and his English is flawless.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima