[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Bronx, New York: A hands-on intensive mathematical and digital story-telling program that introduces girls to indigenous African math theory is set to launch next spring at the Drammeh Center in New York.
The program uses Ndebele doll sculpturing of the Ndzundza Ndebele people of present day South Africa, to strengthen girls’ knowledge about mathematical and
scientific principals in the world around them.
The curriculum was developed by Nkechi Agwu, a professor of mathematics who is recognized for her contributions to mathematics and also awarded the 2014 Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship in Ethno-mathematics.
“This is a highly anticipated program for us because it reclaims self expression of indigenous knowledge systems that have been silenced and marginalized in a number of ways,” said Iman Drammeh, the center’s director. “Knowing the impact of indigenous knowledge can be positively transformative for our youth.”
To help spark imaginations, girls will explore visually stimulating prototypes of the Ndebele classic beadwork-artistry that are rooted in mathematics. “Girls will learn the patterning strategies of geometry and cryptography from Ndebele mother to daughter in the initiation (rites of passage) process, which nurtures girls into STEM careers,” said Agwu.
Drammeh and Agwu’s shared vision is to give a voice to African culture through STEM activities that are seen broadly through tourism and trade, but little understood. Both believe that the passing on of culture is the heart of development and essential for holding communities together around traditions that are very much alive.
In addition to learning about culture, gender and class equity, other highlights of the program include girls learning how to share oral history by video recording their own narratives. Any girls at the high school age level wishing to explore African culture through science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) are encouraged to apply. The program is free and spaces will be limited.
The Ndebele Doll Sculpturing Program will be held at the Drammeh Center in the Bronx from April 8 with a closing ceremony on April 16, 2017. Applications will be available in August. Collaborators include the National Mathematics Centre, Abuja, Nigeria, Center for Gender Issues in Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, Akure and, Pan African Strategic Policy and Research Group (PANAFSTRAG).
For information email contact: E.C. Edwards at DrammehCenter@gmail.com
Nkechi Madonna Agwu
Professor of Mathematics & Developer of Curriculum.
[Masterweb Reports: Godwin Ikechukwu reports ] - A ‘prophecy’ from T.B. Joshua for 2016 seems to be coming to pass as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, made depressing revelations concerning the Nigerian economy during a recent closed-door meeting with senators. During a New Year’s Eve broadcast the popular televangelist addressed the nation on Emmanuel TV about how things would supposedly get worse under the Buhari regime. He particularly referred to the dire conditions in which Nigerians would find themselves due to the Nigerian economy. He revealed that, among other things, there would be food scarcity – in the cleric’s words he said, “There will be large scale scarcity, shortage of food […]”.
During the same prophecy he continued, “The president will do everything to reject devaluation of the Naira – which is a good idea from a good leader. But there will be overwhelming pressure which he will not be able to resist […]”, he said. Joshua additionally went on to say, “Nigeria, we are in a valley. The future is crying for help.” A few months later on the 22nd of May he further elaborated on the word ‘valley’ as he proclaimed, “I explained that we are in a valley but it is not the valley of the shadow of death. There is no snake or scorpion, it’s different. When you are in the valley you will cry and cry but you will still get out of the valley.” He went on to say, “You have to continue to cut your coat according to your size. Don’t just continue to spend your money on something that won’t be able to help you. Spend your money on something that the whole world will be looking for – food, shelter.”
On the 20th of July, 2016, the cleric’s ‘prophetic’ words are apparently coming to light as headlines across Nigeria read “Nigeria’s Economy in Bad Shape – CBN”. These headlines were referring to the meeting held in Abuja with the CBN governor and senators. It was during this meeting that the CBN governor spoke about the difficult times ahead and the necessary steps needed to circumvent these difficult times. With almost all economic activity being stagnant in Nigeria, different economic policies are being put into place to help the people of Nigeria; whether or not this will indeed help the current situation is yet to be seen. However, it can be recalled that on the day T.B. Joshua gave his 22 May, 2016 prophecy he also advised the people of Nigeria saying, “If you are the type [of people] planning to build a house now, stop it for the mean time. If you are in the business of buying land stop it for the mean time – look for another business. Stop it for the mean time until February next year. Use that money on the need of people now [...]”. He also advised that “we have to go to the farm to arrest [and] alleviate the forthcoming situation”.
While the cleric’s ‘prophecies’ remain controversial in some circles, they do continue to be cited by many across the world. He was recently said to have predicted the Nice attacks as well as the Brexit from the EU. His influence continues to grow as his social media presence gains more popularity.
Godwin Ikechukwu ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - T.B. Joshua
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - The attention of Afenifere has been drawn to the statement credited to the Vice-president of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), that the call for the restructuring of Nigeria would not make any difference.
The Vice-President in the faux pas also argued that if states are given half of the resources of the Federal Government it would not make any difference and that all we need is to diversify into agriculture.
While we understand that the learned Professor, who is from the zone that has been loudest on this call may have come under pressure to lend his voice to the upholders of the status quo that has brought Nigeria to this sorry pass, we would like to respectfully admonish him to be sure footed on the subject before he speaks next time.
He misses the entire debate by engaging in the reductionist argument narrowing the whole issue to taking more money from the Federal Government to the states.
Yes, fiscal federalism is part of the argument but the issue goes beyond the monthly Federal Allocation Committee.
The central plank of restructuring is for Nigeria to go back to the true practice of Federalism wherein mineral resources that abound in all states would be freed from the exclusive list so that states would move into prosperity and not be reporting at Prof Osinbajo's office for bailout from a centre that only corners what belongs to the states.
They would also have enough to contribute to sustain the occupiers of Abuja and the functions that are allocated to them.
Beyond resources, the country is reeling under crime today and the single police we currently maintain has proved incapable of dealing with the situation.
When you listen to commissioners of police lamenting at the scenes of crime these days you will think they are part of passers -by terrified by the horror of crime.
It is clear we need multi-level policing to combat crime and have effective policing.
From the Federal, down to states and Local Governments, we are bogged down with over bloated bureaucracies that consume as much as 90% of available resources and with little or nothing left for development.
We must address how long we want to travel with this culture of waste and to see if we can deliver better governance with a manageable architecture.
The question of diversification is a point that advocates of restructuring have canvassed as it makes no sense for a country as vast in resources like Nigeria to depend on a mono-product economy.
It is part of restructuring we are talking about and not an alternative to it.
The restructuring package has a whole wide range of issues that have to do with justice administration, electoral system and its cost implications, conflicts arising from clash of cultures and how to deal with them to ensure peaceful co-existence.
Nigeria is fast falling apart and all genuine patriots have come to a consensus that we must restructure to arrest the drift.
Yes there is a minority that is insisting that we must continue the way we are just like the minders of some empires that have disappeared from the world map did.
The Vice-President is free to cast his lot with this group even when silence could have been golden but he should at least try to acquaint himself with the issues so people are not wondering what are we talking and what is he saying.
We use this development to advise all those who seek high offices to ensure they are not far from issues that shape their political environment and pay due attention to civic education.
National Publicity Secretary
*Photo Caption - Vice-president Prof. Yemi Osinbajo
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Join Babatunde Oladele as he discusses How to Know FOR SURE What You Are Called to Do in a life-enhancement event scheduled to hold on Friday July 29, 2016 by 4.00 pm at 1, African Church Close, Ilupeju, Lagos.
ILUPEJU, LAGOS, July 11, 2016 – Thrive Academy will hold its 6th consecutive session exploring different ramifications of PURPOSE this month with the exciting title, How to Know FOR SURE What You Are Called to Do. This is in response to the age-long quest as to why people find themselves doing what they are not cut out for, while ascertaining what they are meant to do.
In addition to getting firsthand solutions to real life challenges, the session will also feature networking opportunities with business experts and other top minds.
Thrive Academy is committed to helping people discover their identity and purpose so they can become significant in life and leave indelible marks in the sands of time. It is open Mondays – Fridays.
For enquiries kindly contact Omatseye on 08188708026.
for Thrive Academy
*Photo Caption - As seen
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Nigeria’s government, the United Nations and Sahara Group are set to host a private sector forum to create awareness on collaborations to support the development of a Universal Sustainable Development Agenda in Nigeria.
The results of this workshop will inform a new UN global report on business and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) being prepared by the UN Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F).
The workshop tagged: Business Contribution to a Universal Sustainable Development Agenda; holds on July 14, 2016 at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria. Participants include: Heads of public sector parastatals, private sector organisations and multilateral agencies.
Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on SDGs, Princess Victoria Orelope-Adefulire, said the workshop would highlight how businesses can effectively contribute towards achieving the SDGs in Nigeria through mobilisation of financing for the United Nations SDG Fund initiative.
Orelope-Adefulire said participants would exchange ideas on how to articulate a Universal Agenda in different private sector industries and contexts; incorporate and implement the SDGs into the core business activities and operations; and address challenges peculiar to Nigeria with regards to achieving the SDGs.
The Nigerian President's aide said the government was hopeful collaboration with the private sector will hasten the attainment of the SDGs and ultimately drive diversification of the Nigerian economy, wealth creation, revenue generation opportunities, improved child and maternal care as well as gender equality opportunities.
“The desired aim would be to work closely with the private sector to develop initiatives that would address the peculiarities of nationalizing the SDGs in Nigeria in line with the Universality Agenda. Ultimately we hope to set a strong foundation for developing a framework for further discussions scheduled for the last quarter of the 2016,” she noted.
According to Tonye Cole, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Sahara Group, achieving multi-sectoral collaboration in the private sector remained a critical requirement for driving the SDGs in Nigeria.
Cole said it was imperative for the private sector in Nigeria to coalesce efforts geared towards the SDGs to enhance scale, impact and sustainability of the various initiatives across the nation. “Private businesses in Nigeria have really been doing a lot to promote the SDGs in Nigeria. However, when you consider the ground we need to cover, a collaborative approach becomes the only sustainable solution. We will be exploring this approach at the workshop and I am confident that the outcomes will launch us further in our quest for attaining the SDGs through shared ideas, resources and platforms.”
He noted that Sahara, a leading African energy conglomerate, was eagerly looking forward to Nigeria’s private sector heeding the “clarion call” to spearhead a continent-wide movement to institutionalise and implement the SDGs in Africa through collaboration. “Having been a part of the maiden forum held last year in New York, I see this workshop as Nigeria’s best shot at sustainably attaining the SDGs within the prescribed timeline of the United Nations.”
Director, SDG-F, Paloma Duran highlighted that for SDGs to be achieved by 2030 it is necessary to work differently. In particular, “businesses and private sector should be at the core of sustainable development efforts”. For doing so, “we need first to listen from businesses and learn how public and private sector can work better jointly for SDGs”.
This event is part of a series of workshops organized by the SDG Fund with members of its Private Sector Advisory Group. She noted that “Nigeria is spearheading efforts to achieve SDGs. For that reason, I am convinced that the African regional workshop taking place on Thursday in Abuja will provide valuable insight and best practices from the Nigerian government and businesses for a new report on SDGs and universality to be launched by the SDG Fund at the UN headquarters in New York later this year”.
In this regard, she thanked the special collaboration of Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on SDGs, Sahara Group and UN agencies in Nigeria. “This workshop is a good example of how governments, businesses and the UN can work together for achieving SDGs”.
Phone: +234-1-2793811 email us here
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ABIA STATE CHAPTER HIJACK OF DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN ABIA STATE; INTRODUCTION: In the last few days, the whole world has been transfixed and spell-bound at the unprecedented but well-scripted plot to hijack the office of Governor of Abia State from the lawful occupant, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D., the candidate of the PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP) at the general elections of April 2016. This evil plot is orchestrated by Mr. Samson Uchechukwu Ogahwith very powerful forces backing him. The good people of Abia State are shocked not only at the highly perverse and ridiculous judgment entered in his favor by an Abuja Federal High Court, but much more stunned at the obvious collusion by Agencies of State, in the very desperate Agenda to foist Ogah on them. Without indulging in too much legality, it is now a trite principle of Law and indeed of Public Policy that if there is a Judgment against an occupant of an elective position invalidating his election, he remains in office until he has exhausted his right of appeal which in the case of the Abia Governor, terminates at the Supreme Court. Yet, inspite of the fact that Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D., has filed and served a Notice of Appeal against the decision of the Hon. Justice OkonAbang of the FHC, Abuja, purporting to have invalidated his election as Governor of Abia State as well as a Motion for Stay of Execution and said processes had been served on INEC, the latter who should be an impartial arbiter went ahead to RECKLESSLY issue a Certificate of Return to Uche Ogah. Nigerians ask: What exactly is the haste? The answer lies in the events of Thursday the 16th June 2016. On that day, Uchechukwu Samson Ogah, his Company, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited and their co-conspirator, One Deji Somoyewere docked and arraigned before a Tinubu Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, for alleged fraud. They were docked on three counts of forgery, conspiracy, etc with the Police alleging after an investigation, that Ogah forged documents and signatures with which they fraudulently opened an account in the name of Mut-Hass Petroleum and used it to commit fraud. Ogah and his co-conspirators were admitted to bail and the case was adjourned to 4th August 2016 for commencement of Trial. From that moment a very DESPERATE hunger for immunity before the 4th August 2016 was activated; large humongous resources was deployed and the rest as they say is now history. In the desperate attempt to obtain immunity so as to evade his criminal trial, Ogah and his co-conspirators are prepared to bring down Abia State, stain the judiciary and other institutions of State in order to achieve their selfish goals. Unfortunately for them, Abia is God’s own State and this conspiracy by enemies of the State will fail.
ISSUE OF TAX AND ALLEGED FORGERY
Nigerians should be informed in no uncertain terms that (1) there is no requirement for payment of tax at all or as and when due in the Constitution, Electoral Act or INEC Nomination Form; the tax documents were included in the documents accompanying his Nomination Form by Dr. Ikpeazu’s aides by mistake; (2) The tax documents included by aides of Dr. Ikpeazuin the Nomination Form sent to INEC are genuine and there are absolutely no false entries in them and (3) Even if for purposes of argument (Not conceded), there were mistakes in the tax documents, Dr. Ikpeazu was not responsible for such mistakesand his mandate given by hundreds of thousands of Abia voters cannot be invalidated on the basis of a spurious and unfounded allegation.
Before addressing these issues, the PDP urges Nigerians to appreciate exactly the gravity of what is at the heart of this evil plot. We are talking about the SACRED MANDATE of Dr. Ikpeazu given by hundreds of thousands of Abia Voters and validated by the Judiciary. Such a sacred mandate cannot be interfered with on trumped up and unfounded allegations which are without clear legal foundations. In OKE & ANOR V. MIMIKO & ORS., (2013) LPELR-20888 (CA), the Court of Appeal had this to say in respect of election Petitions and which is also applicable to pre-election cases:
"Election into political office is a matter of getting the required number of votes as prescribed by law. In mature democracies, once an election is conducted according to law and a winner has emerged in compliance with the law, the loser like a good sportsman simply congratulates the winner. The will of the majority as required by law is regarded as sacrosanct. Power is recognised to belong to the people. In such mature democracies litigation is the exception and in some of them, unheard of. Our Electoral Act attempts to ensure that the will of the people which is expressed through the ballot box is difficult to upturn. Our courts also hold that there is a presumption that an election result is correct until the contrary is proved. See Buhari vs. INEC (2008) 18 NWLR part 1120 p. 246. Where therefore a loser in an election is dissatisfied with the outcome of the election our extant Electoral Act tries to ensure that he has a genuine case by holding him up to rigorous standards of proof. " Per DANIEL-KALIO, J.C.A. (P. 34).
The same Court similarly held in Harriman V. Ideh (1999) 9 NWLR Pt. 619) Pg. 482. as follows:
"...before any tribunal could nullify any election duly conducted by the authority saddled with that assignment, all the necessary factors must be meticulously taken into consideration with the aim of ensuring that there are compelling factors to warrant or justify such a serious decision. This stand is buttressed by the fact that nullification or invalidation of an election is the gravest punishment that a candidate duly declared elected and the authority charged with conducting such election can experience…." We shall heed to this caution of being circumspect in nullifying any election. Before an election may be nullified the Petitioners would adduce a robust and compelling reason to do so.”
We have taken the trouble to set out these few examples of the principles governing our democratic process just to demonstrate to Nigerians what is under attack by Uche Ogah and his cohorts: a sacrosanct mandate donated to Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu by citizens of Abia State. It is the Constitution that sets out the criteria for eligibility to stand for election as Governor. By Section 177 of the 1999 Constitution, there are only four requirements or conditions for eligibility to the office of Governor: Citizenship of Nigeria, attainment of 35 years of age, membership/sponsorship of a Political Party and education up to School Certificate level or its equivalent. S. 182 of the Constitution sets out other events that could disqualify a candidate and non-payment of tax at all or as and when due is not one of them. There is no requirement for payment of tax under the Electoral Act. An examination of the Nomination Form for all elective offices in Nigeria including for Governorship shows clearly that Payment of tax is not mentioned and tax receipts or tax clearance certificates are not one of the documents required to be included in the form. Indeed, if copies of the Nomination papers and accompanying documents of Governorship and Presidential candidates at the 2015 General Elections for instance, are called for from INEC, Nigerians will discover that almost none contains tax clearance receipts. Dr. Ikpeazu’s tax documents were either mistakenly included in the bundle of documents accompanying his Nomination Form by his aides or simply added out of the abundance of caution. The question remains whether the election of a Governor can be invalidated on the basis of contents of a document which is not even required by the Constitution or the Electoral Act in the first place? Ogah and his co-conspirators claim that their action is brought under the provisions of Section 31 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended). The totality of that Section is that candidates should submit Nomination Forms, affidavits in support and the documents which demonstrate that the candidate meets the four requirements set out under S. 177 of the Constitution and in the Nomination Form of which a tax document obviously is not one. An interested person may apply for a CTC of such documents and if he believes that any information in the documents is false, such person can go to court for a declaration that the information is false and if he succeeds the candidate is disqualified from contesting the election. The first question which arises then is:can any other document other than those in proof of the eligibility requirements set out in S. 177 of the Constitution be the basis for such disqualification. Does it mean that if in putting together his Nomination Form, affidavit and the documentsrequired by law, a candidate inadvertently includes his grocery Bill or his Nepa Bill, he is thereby disqualified from standing election if any of such Bills contains false information or incorrect entries? S. 31(5) is very clear and unambiguous, it relates to “information GIVEN BY A CANDIDATE in the affidavit or any document” submitted by him. Thus the alleged false entry or information in such document or affidavit must be one given by THE CANDIDATE HIMSELF and not that given by another person contained in a document submitted by him. Why would a candidate have his election invalidated because of a false statement or entry in a document given to him and submitted by him when he was not aware or responsible for any error the document may contain? An analogy is appropriate. If a person requires his Bank Statement for submission to an Embassy for Visa, he merely goes to his Bank, collects the request form, fills his name, account number and signs it. When he hands it over to the Bank official, his role is complete. The Bank will on their own generate the figures, compute the entries, produce it, print the Statement, stamp and sign it and hand it over to the person. Assuming the customer was contesting for Governorship election and either by error or in the mistaken belief that his account Statement is one of the documents to be submitted to INEC, includes it in his Nomination Form, is cleared to contest election, wins, goes through the challenge of his election victory at the Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court and wins, should his election/victory be invalidated simply because, it was subsequently discovered that some entries in the account statement are incorrect or “false”? Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D was at all times material to this dispute a PAYEE (Pay As You Earn Employee). His taxes are deducted at source by the appropriate authorities before his salaries are paid. He does not see the taxes; he does not remit it, he is given no receipts. 90% of PAYEEs do not see their tax receipts for the entire 35 years of their employment, until retirement and afterwards. There are only few instances in Nigeria where evidence of tax payment is required. However, if a PAYEE for any reason needs his tax receipt, he merely applies to the relevant tax authority or Board. The Tax authority will themselves call for his tax records from the Agencies where he worked, generate the figures themselves, compute it, write the receipts, stamp and sign it and then call the PAYEE to come and collect it. The PAYEE is not present at any stage of this process and has no input whatsoever; he is not the one who informs them as to how much he earns; he is not the one who assesses how much tax he should pay based on how much he earns; the tax authorities generate these figures themselves. Where the PAYEE has asked for his tax receipts for the last three years, say 2013, 2014 and 2015, the tax officials will write it in the current tax receipt booklet being used by them. No tax official writing the tax receipt for a PAYEE which was already automatically deducted in 2013 for instance will go and start looking for the booklets used in 2013. All three years will be written in the current booklet and the official will write the receipts one after the other. In doing that, he could decide to write the receipt for the taxes deducted from the PAYEE’s salaries for 2015 first, then on the next page write that for 2013 and on the next page,that for 2014. The order in which receipts for the three years is written is irrelevant and in any case, the PAYEE is not present when it is written and has no input. To then suggest that the order in which the tax receipts were written or the fact that they were all written in one tax receipt booklet, one after the other, is “forgery” or “fraud” or “false statement” and on that ground proceed to annul the election of a candidate is the height of absurdity. All tax officials can confirm that a tax year ends on 31st December of every year which is denoted in every tax receipt. The fact that in some years, 31st December ends on a Saturday or Sunday is moot and goes to no issue. Whatever dates where written on the tax receipts by the relevant tax officials has nothing to do with Dr. Ikpeazu. The tax officials did file affidavits deposing to the fact that the documents they gaveto Dr. Ikpeazu were genuine, correct and certainly not forged.
ALLEGED CONFLICTING COURT ORDERS
Ogah and his group have been giving the impression that there are conflicting Court Orders on the matter of his being sworn in but this is not true. The Hon. Justice Okon Abang gave no orders for Uche Ogah to be sworn in; only for INEC to issue him a certificate of Return. In that context, the order of interim injunction obtained by Dr. Ikpeazu restraining the Chief Judge of Abia State or any other judicial officer from Swearing in Uche Ogah stands alone and is unimpeachable. THERE ARE NO TWO CONFLICTING COURT ORDERS in this respect.
Dr. Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, remains the Governor of Abia State.On the contrary, the Hon. Justice Okon Abang made several orders which are conditions precedent before a Certificate of Return could be issued to Ogah but none of those conditions have been fulfilled as yet and so the purported issuance of said Certificate is a COMPLETE NULLITY. For instance, Justice Abang’s 6th Order was for PDP to submit the name of UcheOgah to INEC as their candidate for the 2015 general elections. The question of the validity of such an order in 2016 after the election in April 2015 aside, PDP has not yet forwarded Ogah’sname to INEC, so how could a Certificate of Return be issued to him contrary to the said order of Justice Abang? The enrolled order also mandated INEC to publish Ogah’s name as a candidate for the 2015 election; again, we are not aware that this has been done and again, the failure of INEC to fulfil this condition precedent before issuing the said Certificate renders it a nullity.
ALLEGATION THAT THE CHIEF JUDGE ABSCONDED
Another ulterior card being played by Ogah and his co-conspirators is their false allegation that the Honorable Chief Judge of Abia State absconded from the State on Thursday the 30th day of June 2016. This is absolutely false. This false and wicked allegation is being made by Ogah and his co-conspirator to set the stage for finding alternative means other than the constitutionally provided procedure to achieve their evil enterprise. When the Bailiffs of the Osisioma High Court accompanied by Lawyers to Dr. Ikpeazu went to serve the restraining Order of the Osisioma High Court on the Hon. Chief Judge, she was sitting in her Court in the open, presiding over her cases. They had to wait until she rose around 4pm before they could serve her. Her record book, the testimonies of litigants and Lawyers who appeared before her can testify to this.
The PDP, Abia State Chapter, calls on well-meaning Nigerians to take notice that our democracy is under assault by enemies of Nigeria. Those who ride the back of a tiger could end up in its belly. The PDP is a law-abiding and Democratic Party as its name indicates. But we will guard our hard-won electoral mandate with every lawful weapon available to us. We and our teeming supporters will resist this attempt at impunity and warn Ogah and his cohorts not to take our peaceful disposition for granted. Let wise counsel prevail!!!!
Long live Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D., Long live PDP, Long live Abia State, Long live Nigeria.
Chief Johnson Onuigbo (State Chairman),
Barr. IkechukwuOmenihu (State Legal Adviser) Sir. Don Ubani (State Publicity Secretary)
*Photo Caption - PDP logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Osita Ebiem reports ] - My mission in writing this article is to call to the attention of all Biafranists (those who are campaigning for the freedom of Biafra from Nigeria) to the need to package and sell the Biafran message to the world through appropriate mediums. It does not matter the profession to which anyone of us belongs, I still think that each person can contribute positively to this endearing collective effort to help free the Igbo from Nigeria. I believe that these bits and pieces of contributions, if taken to heart and actually made use of, can help the Igbo to succeed in their quest for freedom and survival. In this piece we are going to talk about the use of positive propaganda in the Biafran freedom effort. We qualify the word “propaganda” with “positive” in the sense that the justness of the Biafran cause is self-evident and does not need any kind of embellishment to sell it to the world.
As will be explained in the later part of this article, part of the above heading in quotes is borrowed from the formula used by the people (our predecessors) who struggled to free the old Biafra from the clutches of the genocidal state of Nigeria. In spite of the many odds which were thrown against them, we all agree that they did a good job in fighting to liberate our people from the shackles of bondage in which they are in Nigeria. Therefore, in the present effort, we are only starting from where they stopped. As a word of caution, we repeat that “propaganda,” at least as used in this context, does not connote any negativity.
As the campaign for freedom rages on, it will not hurt if the present campaigners should borrow ideas from the pioneers. In my opinion, by so doing, it’s like borrowing ideas from experience and if we are faithful and honest, I don’t think we will go off the mark by a wide margin. As will be remembered, the Biafrans of old had among others a very effective “Directorate of Propaganda” where notable figures like Cyprian Ekwensi, Okon Okon Ndem and others performed creditably well. Biafra’s Directorate of Propaganda coordinated and oversaw the dissemination of information throughout the genocidal war period. Following closely the lessons of history is important especially in a matter such as we are engaged in.
In order to learn from history, I will suggest that we try to use more often the rearview mirror and compare notes with the works of those who had been in this business before us. The importance of references to history in the struggle cannot be over emphasized. While depending on the lessons of history by glancing often at the rearview mirror, we must not overlook the fact that all successful drivers are only those who take seriously the dangers of their blind spots. So, apart from using the rearview mirror, experience has shown that you will never become a good driver without taking time to look sideways and listen to cautionary advices from fellow travelers who may have some vantage views of the road you are on. The best way to deal with blind spots is to listen and act first and ask questions later. If you thought that you saw something at the corner of your eye, then you must have seen something, take precautionary action. What this means is that absolute caution is important. And one of the first rules of caution in this business is to listen often to the opinions of others.
To truly get our jobs done right today as the pioneers did, we must set out our goals and clearly define them. That is what the people who worked in the various “directorates” of the old Biafra did. By taking time to assess the events and accomplishments of the pioneers, I have come to the conclusion, and many of us will agree with me on this; that of all the Biafran directorates, the propaganda outfit was one of the most successful. The reason for their success was simple. They worked out of a template; they had a “guideline.” No one was a law unto their selves. Everyone’s effort was subject to the scrutiny and assessment of another. Then again, they spoke in the language that appealed to all decent and informed listeners as well as to the regular Ngbeke and Ngbafor on the streets of Enugu, London, New York and Paris. Yes, they spoke in the language of the world. They delivered their urgent and important message to the world, still tempered with respect and journalistic excellence and decorum.
I want to remind us that talking about the success of those pioneers is not based on the judgement or assessment of only those of other Biafrans; no, they were successful mostly because they produced materials and information that met both the internal and international audiences’ standards. They told the truth, pursued excellence and as well as being in earnest, they were sincere and honest.
Why did they and of course we today have to cater to both internal and external audiences? Well, the answer as we may imagine is obvious. It is because whatever message that must be passed on should make sense as well as palatable (consumable) to audiences that are total strangers to our experience and message and to those who know all there is to know about them. Whatever part we are playing at this time in this Biafran liberation effort, the overall goal should be that we are ultimately able to present a comprehensive and convincing message that is honest, sincere, reliable as well as believable. It is only after we have succeeded at this task can we truly consider to have done our job. I believe that those qualities are mostly what will get a stranger listening, to get interested, listen more and understand better our plight and become sympathetic and maybe lift a finger or more to speak and act in our favor.
Producing only messages that are parochial and appeal to a narrow segment of the general audience will only work to defeat the overall goal. It is important that we should work to capture the attention of the international community through the way we present our message. Why we should be careful and court the sympathy of the international audience can be illustrated like this; when a person is sick, very often it is only right that he or she needs to go out to seek for solution. Remaining inside the house and shouting one’s throat hoarse to listeners who are already familiar with their case and may not have all the answers does not always bring healing.
To help us in packaging an acceptable message for the international community we need to always remember that as the theme of our message: Igbo Genocide, though very painful is not unique. Other people in other places and at other times have also suffered like us. Always remembering this will help us to stay both humble as well as sympathetic with other people’s stories and whatever else they are going through. Exhibiting this empathetic attitude should not stop with appreciating the pain or concerns of others of similar experiences; we must not be oblivious of the complaints and concerns of our detractors or persecutors. We must find ways to engage even our worst enemy in constructive diplomatic dialogs at all times. The feelings of all humanity are the same, whether they are in the rank of the perpetrators of the genocide or are the victims of the crime.
Therefore, even when we find ourselves at the receiving end of genocidal injustices as it is, we are still required to look at our pain and those who are responsible through the glass of a common humanity. In the middle of man’s worst inhuman acts against the Igbo we cannot afford to lose faith in humanity. By resorting to insults and unconstructive criticisms of the enemy shows a sign of desperation. We cannot afford to despare, we must find ways to let others find their story in our own as we try to learn everything which we can from the others’ stories. Some of these others like the Armenians, the Jews, the South Sudanese and others have fought and won while others are still fighting and there are those who fought and lost. We can learn a lot from the experiences of these other people, if we tried hard enough.
What we are saying is that it runs counter to the overall aim of the struggle for Biafra’s freedom to continue producing desperate and angry messages that shock and assault what most people consider the standard sense of decency. Continuing along this path will not sustain for long the patronage and sympathy of our audience. And when we talk of the people or the audience here, who we have in mind are those whose opinions and decisions matter in situations like ours – opinion molders and decision makers across the world.
Every person who is familiar with the Biafran story will agree with me that it is possible to maintain an objective position while making the strongest case for justice in regards to Biafrans’ pains. While presenting the Biafran case in the strongest of terms, we can still respect the feelings of other people, listen genuinely to any counter argument and still not compromise the message. Listening to the opinions of other people does not diminish our points or positions. That we defend our points in a civil manner against those of others does not mean their points will automatically win over our own. Only superior arguments win always in the end of the day.
At this point let me remind us of the initial point we made at the beginning of this discussion about goal setting. Setting appropriate goals will help us to determine the methods we plan to use in achieving them. I hope that most Biafranists will agree that the number one goal which of course happens to encompass all others is the attainment of freedom for us, for our people and for our fatherland. As much as we all agree that this goal is right and noble yet from experience we also know that because a case is right does not automatically make it easy to accomplish.
Yet, achieving freedom from Nigeria may be the easy part of the game. But freedom is not going to be enough by itself. Perhaps what is even more important is how to deal with the freedom when it is achieved. In thinking about this we can only take one cursory look at what is happening today in South Sudan and appreciate the importance of pursuing peace and harmony along with freedom. The current situation in South Sudan where there is a seemingly interminable and unmanageable power struggle among the ranks of the leaders should be scarier to us than any other anticipated problems once we attain freedom from Nigeria. Thinking of this booby trap of winning often should be able to make us sober and help us to work harder at becoming more mature and civil in our dealings with fellow Biafranists by cultivating the spirit of give and take. We should for this reason discard and discourage the tendency of any one person trying to display an attitude of “I know it all” and crass insubordination. This is often mistakenly referred to as the practical display of the concept of Igbo enweze. On the contrary, it is pure distortion of an otherwise wholesome concept and an unforgivable bent to cause mischief.
If we must invoke the true concept of Igbo enweze, we have to come to terms with the fact that the concept does not recognize insubordination and the tendency to display unwholesome obstinacy based on unreason and simply to create an unruly, chaotic and primitive-state-of-nature atmosphere around all contested subjects and issues. The concept of Igbo enweze is firmly grounded in the fact of equality of all men, women and peoples everywhere. So, the true spirit of Igbo enweze makes every true Igbo person to take seriously the equality of all individuals and peoples within the Igbo society and across all societies. The Igbo while recognizing this principle of equality as a vital fundamental structure of all functional societies, work hard to preserve the structures of constituted authorities and respect the role of individual leaders who have merited their positions. Usually the Igbo owe their undivided allegiance and trust to these individuals and institutions of sterling repute and accomplishment.
The Igbo despite being entrenched in the practice of eschewing the role of an eze (king) over their dominion still accept the fact that there will always be a head over a body. (The Igbo respects constituted authorities.) The Igbo while according the head and the body their places, recognizes that the relationship between the two has always been that of symbioses – the head cannot exist without the body and vice versa. Please note that Igbo enweze contrasts very drastically with the system of unquestioning feudal worshipfulness which is practiced by most other peoples with whom the Igbo presently share the Nigerian citizenship. This fundamental difference has contributed immensely in the prevailing irreconcilable divides between the others and the Igbo in Nigeria.
Another reason why the period after freedom is very critical can easily be explained. When the people are still struggling to be free, their power base is dissipated and distributed among a wide range of stakeholders in the struggle. This is different from the condition that obtains at the post-struggle era. With freedom comes the concentration of power and authority in specific persons and institutions. Yes, it is the access to power and authority that make managing freedom harder than achieving it. For this reason, we must at this stage spend a considerable amount of time in planning ahead and practicing before time how to respect the rights and opinions of others without resorting to arbitrariness and the primitive abuse of power. In order to achieve this level of refinement in wielding power, we need to practice self-control and discipline. Leaders should always remember the fact that others are just as patriotic and may have as much talents as they do. The watchword is to always have in mind that no one person has a monopoly of patriotism.
In this vein, we must point out a nascent and very dangerous phenomenon which is becoming more apparent with every passing day. It is completely against everything which the Igbo stand for and can be nipped in the bud before it turns into an uncontrollable monster. Throughout history, the Igbo have always been wary of building any kind of cult personalities or institutions where self- or personality-promotion is valued above truth and the common good. It is expected that leaders must be humble in leadership while the people must exhibit unalloyed loyalty and creative support of those elected to be at leading positions. Such leaders are seen merely as representatives of the people and their institutions who serve only at the people’s behest. At every given time, the people are expected to be ready to point out respectfully to the leaders (their representatives) some observed dangers in their blind spots.
After freedom, the people and their representatives must be ready to function under the long established Igbo practice of symbiotic relationship between the elected and the electorate. In this sacred relationship, each recognizes the other’s existence as vital to their own being. While Biafrans are still faced with seemingly insurmountable task of liberating themselves from Nigeria’s oppression they should also concern themselves equally with the onerous task of assembling very quality materials for real state building. Such questions like what kind of state do we conceive? How do we plan to achieve a functional and progressive state that is different from the present dysfunctional and retrogressive Nigerian state? These and many other questions should occupy the mind of all those who are presently involved in the Biafran liberation struggle. In order to achieve such laudable and progressive state, it will take much effort on everybody’s part. For this reason, the best and the brightest of all Biafrans must get involved in the fight to free Biafra.
On the other hand, it will require that each of us must give up the current mad pursuit of self-promotion and projection of personal power (abilities) and interests to the detriment of the common pursuit. From start to finish each person must imbibe the spirit of teamwork and the fight for the collective interest. Unfortunately, even up till this moment some of us still think that to always disagree with the opinions of others and form as many splinter groups as possible is alright and even healthy. That is not true for many reasons but especially when we look at the present South Sudan example.
In closing, as promised earlier, I will like to give us an insight into how the old Biafran Directorate of Propaganda functioned. Perhaps taking a glimpse at the way that office worked will be helpful to the present crop of Biafranists. This insight is courtesy of Roy Doron, a neutral observer of the Biafran phenomenon. He said that: “Biafra propaganda was crafted so as to avoid portraying Biafra as another case of Africans needing a white savior. The Biafrans created an image of a modern state in the making, taking care to show only the most educated and eloquent speakers in interviews.” The people at the Directorate had a clearly defined objective. The aim was to put forth first their (Biafra’s) best foot forward at all times. Not mediocre or the second bests. Duties were distributed according to abilities and there was never a situation where one person was the gburu gburu (the everything.)
Still continuing Doron said; “Biafran propaganda machine was so well oiled and so efficiently managed that it acted like any modern marketing firm and was very adaptable to the changing military situation until almost the very end of the war. The Biafrans employed surveys, focus groups, and evaluations of their media in print and on the airwaves, to ensure that their message adhered to a set of goals that was modified every week and that these goals adhered to the “Guide lines for Effective Propaganda’ articulated at the beginning of the war that expressly set out the objectives of propaganda and how to correctly achieve them.” Given the current riotous situation, if these observations are not instructive for those involved in the Biafran liberation today, I don’t know what else would. In Doron we really have it well cut out for us and we may never need to ask for more.
To succeed both at home and abroad, the old Biafrans took great care to construct their argument and manage its implementation and were disciplined enough to follow a “guideline.” As a capper Doron summed up how Biafrans succeeded by saying that; “The message they constructed had to appeal to [the international community, as well as] the people at home, who on the one hand needed little convincing of the genocidal aims of the Nigerians.”
Osita Ebiem ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of defunct Republic of Biafra
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - 1. The attention of the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to the insinuations and crass lies being peddled and disseminated by a cross-section of Nigerians and the various media platforms that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is behind the legal logjam over the Abia state governorship seat and wish to clarify that those canvassing this position have no basis to do so.
2. Of particular concern are those who have peddled ill-natured rumours with a view to misinform our discerning populace that the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and by extension, the Federal Government of Nigeria that gave directives to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue Certificate of Return to Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah declaring him Governor-Elect. He has definitely not taken any action either by spoken words or body language as far as this Abiagovernorship crisis is concerned.
3. I wish to therefore, on behalf of my principal declare that these rumours are untrue and a figment of the imagination of those pushing these selfish, shameless and irredeemable lies into public space which only translates to partisanship on the side of its purveyors.
4. As far as the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation is concerned, the constitutional powers for the legal opinion of his office have not been invoked on this issue. So far, nobody has approached him to proffer any legal opinion to it. As a strong believer in the rule of law, it is his belief that the law should naturally take its cause. The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation will not be dragged into this controversy and mind-games being played out by the various legal minds and spin doctors of both camps at this point.
5. The parties involved should await the decision of the courts.
6. In fact, we wish to by this statement advice those in the habit of dragging the highly esteemed Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice into knotty issue of this kind even when it is yet to take a position. They should desist from these unwarranted presumptions henceforth.
COMRADE SALIHU OTHMAN ISAH
SPECIAL ADVISER, MEDIA AND PUBLICITY
TO THE HON. ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE
3RD JULY, 2016
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - The Peoples' Democratic Party in Abia State has frowned at the reports making round the State that a certain desperate politician in the State, whose illegal efforts to cease power from the back door has been frustrated by decent application of the rule of law, is now directing his evil machination towards kidnapping Judicial officers in the State with the hope of intimidating them in order to have access to power he did not canvass for.
The Party has equally taken cognizance of the inordinately- ambitious politician's plot to kidnap some top functionaries of the Party in the State.
According to intelligence available to the Party, the political desperado is embittered with the State Executive of the Party for not coming out to support his acts of illegality.
The Party, therefore, cautions the politician that is involved in this sacrilegious and bloody shenanigan to quickly retrace his nefarious steps as the likely consequences of his devious desires and mischievous plots would compound his imagination and would only leave him with regrets that may not be redressed or even corrected in his life's time. The Party wishes to remind him that he that throws stones into a crowded market should not forget that his loved ones could end up being the victims of his action.
Sir Don Ubani,
State Publicity Secretary
PDP, Abia State.
*Photo Caption - PDP logo
[ Masterweb Reports: Book review by Osita Ebiem ] - The Nigerian Civil War: The Memoirs of an Unsung Biafran Commando, a book by Matthew Uzukwu is an important book. It is published in 2016 by Feli Publishing Maryland, USA and available at www.amazon.com for $15. The book tells the story of the Biafran War from the perspective of a Biafran soldier, John Ude who fought on many fronts against the unwarranted Nigerian war of aggression against Biafra. It is clear from the book that every Biafran soldier believed in the justness of the fight till the end – an indication that the philosophy of the war was clearly communicated to the people. To all Biafrans and by all honest definitions of the word; the war was genocide. Therefore, the fighters clearly wanted to survive a certain death. Ude and the rest of Biafran soldiers fought to stop genocide. In trying to prevent the death of a people Ude and others like him gave everything they got – their very life.
The book is a faith kept by the author who painstakingly took down notes as a high school student from the oral narrations of Ude’s personal recollections of his experiences during the war. The book is well-written and an easy-read with many pages of pictures of the principal participants in the war as well as those of many kwashiorkor victims and war refugees in Biafra. It’s a book of 166 pages that catches the interest of the reader right from start and can be finished within the space of a few lunch breaks. It is a historical narration of how Biafrans successfully used ingenuity to prosecute a war of survival and ran a functional society while going through the greatest of trials. Basic social services such as law courts, electricity, fuel supplies and the post office worked till the very end of the Biafran ordeal. It was because the post office worked in Biafra that John Ude’s life was spared at the tail end of the war when he was wrongly taken for a deserter. The lesson here is that when a society works as it should, it does not only enhance the quality of living in all aspects for the citizens, lives are often saved when it matters the most, even in seemingly unrelated areas.
Ude and all the other Biafran soldiers distinguished themselves in the fields of war and successfully prevented an intended total genocide against Igbo people. They made history. And after nearly fifty years, Matthew Uzukwu wrote to preserve the history of their courage and to inspire for all time any group of people who may have to go through a similar unjust Biafran experience. But sometimes there have often been debates about; between the soldier and the historian, who does more service for humanity. This must have informed David Ben-Gurion’s conclusion. In a tone obviously meant to disparage the historian and raise the status and prestige of the soldier above the historian, Ben-Gurion said that “History is not written, history is created.”
But there will be no history at all without the historian. If a great tree falls in the forest and no one was there to hear the fall, it would never have made any sound. At the dawn of creation, physicists believe that there was a big bang that exploded to give existence to everything there is in the universe today. The fact is that the explosion which is supposed to be the one sound that spanned the entire universe at the beginning of time did not make any sound at all because there was no sentient being to hear the sound at the time. So, history is created by the soldier but history must be written by the writer for it to even exist. John Ude did his part by fighting to prevent genocide and Matthew Uzukwu has written the story to prevent a future occurrence of genocides against Igbo people. One of the highlights of the night in Washington DC area where the book was presented to the public on June 19, 2016 was the vote of thanks which was delivered by Uzukwu’s teenage daughter Chinwe. She thanked the guests who were gathered to support the father for writing the book. For many of us who were there the vote of thanks was two ways and we could not have been less grateful.
My major quarrel with the book is in the title. Unfortunately, most Igbo scholars have fallen into the trap of accepting without any examination the fallacy sold by the British and Nigerians, of thinking of the war as a “civil war.” But the truth is that there was no civil war in Nigeria until the Nigeria versus Boko Haram war which started less than ten years ago. On the contrary, Biafra versus Nigeria war was not a civil war. The standard definition of civil wars is that the war is fought within the physical geographical confines of a state. It is usually fought between or among several contending groups in the country. But this is not the case with the Biafran Nigerian conflict of 1967 to 1970. The war officially began on the 6th of July, 1967. That was the date on which Nigeria first fired the first bullet in the war of aggression which it waged against Biafra. July 6 date is important when proving that the Biafra-Nigeria War was not a civil war. The war was GENOCIDE. The purpose of deliberately distorting the historical facts about the war by the concerned players in the war (the British and Nigerians) is to make less the weight of the crime which they jointly committed against the Igbo.
On the 30th of May, 1967 the people of the former Eastern Region of Nigeria exercising their fundamental human right to self-determination and independence unilaterally declared their freedom and independence from Nigeria. The step the people took was the best option that they had at the time and they had every right to do what they did. Prior to this date, for a period of about one year, starting from May 29, 1966, the government of Nigeria and its citizens unremorsefully and without relent carried out a systematic program of pogrom against the Igbo population and the other ethnic peoples of the former Eastern Region. By the time of Biafrans declaration of independence, more than 100,000 Igbo and other southeasterners had been murdered. The independent declaration was an effort that the people embarked on as the last resort. They justifiably pursued their basic human right to self-defense and right to life. By the conclusion of that war, over 3.5 million Biafrans were unjustly murdered by the Nigerian state.
The truth about the Biafran War is that Nigeria waged a war of aggression against another sovereign independent state which had been in existence for almost two months. At this point, all responsible governments and leaders would have engaged in using diplomacy and negotiations to prevent any further loss of lives.
Fifty years afterward, given all the prevailing events in Nigeria’s political space, just as Biafra was right in 1967, it has remained so up till this writing in 2016. And that is partly some of the things that the reader may not find in the book. The author also failed to address appropriately the cause of the war. There is no doubt that Igbo officers dominated the rank of those who carried out the first coup d’état of January 1966 but he should have explained to the reader more about the reasons for the coup. He should have let the reader know that the coup was an attempt to save Nigeria from the suffocating Islamic bigotry and heavily corrupt political leadership of the central government of the Prime Minister and the Premier of the Northern Region.
The writer failed to tell the reader that the coup was also carried out partly to prevent the federal government’s planned “walloping of the Western Region” and to install in power the populist Obafemi Awolowo who was then serving a prison sentence for planning a coup d’état against the government. The author should have let the reader know that Ifeajuna/Nzeogwu coup d’état of January, 1966 was carried out to prevent the federal government of Nigeria’s declared intention to “wallop” or wipe out the Yoruba people of Western Region. If the author had done that he would have in that same vein established that John Ude and all Biafrans fought Biafra War to prevent the federal government of Nigeria’s declared intention and systematic program of wanting to exterminate the Igbo whom they considered to be the source of all the problems of Nigeria.
Osita Ebiem ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.