[ 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: email@example.com ) 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: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - I have received with concern, report of the purported issuance of Certificate of Return to Mr. Uche Ogah by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as governor of Abia State, despite dependency of a notice of appeal and motion for stay of the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Our laws are clear on this matter. No one may be issued with a certificate of return let alone be sworn in as governor, when there is a subsisting appeal and application for stay.
I want to appeal to Abians to remain calm and law abiding in the face of this provocation, unless and until the appellant courts have conclusively resolve the appeal, the status remains, I am still the Governor of Abia State.
Dr Okezie Ikpeazu
Governor, Abia State
[ Press Release For Immediate Release ] - June 27, 2016: The Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has called on Abians not to panic, but remain calm over the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court Abuja delivered today in favor of Mr. Uche Oga against him, in the case of alleged falsification of tax receipts.
Governor Ikpeazu, who said that he has faith in the judiciary and rule of law, added that he will appeal the ruling as he has instructed his lawyers to file an appeal immediately against the said judgment.
The Governor noted as an appointee of the Abia State Government from 2011 to 2014, when he served as the General Manager, Abia State Passengers Integrated Manifest and Safety Scheme (ASPIMSS), and first Deputy General Manager, Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) Aba and Environs respectively, before his resignation in October 2014 to contest the Governorship election in the state, that within the period his taxes were deducted at source, and when he had need of his tax clearance in 2014, he applied to the Abia State Board of Internal
Revenue, and was duly issued with his tax receipts for the period in question.
He maintained that he remains the Governor of the state according to law and will await the final determination of the matter by the appellate courts.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor
*Photo Caption - Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu
[ Masterweb Reports ] - 25 Mandela Washington Fellows of President Obama’s Initiative to strengthen African institutions through the Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) were given a warm reception at the Northwestern University, Evanston, north of Chicago. Three Nigerians, Adams Adeiza, Tessie Nkechi Udegboka and Kelechi Mbah are among the young leaders from 18 African countries.
In her opening speech, Meg McDonald, the assistant vice president for Research at Northwestern University and who works on daily basis with the University Research Centers and Program of African Studies says she is privileged to formally welcome the 25 Fellows and thrilled they would be part of the University community over the course of the program.
She says, “Though the duration of the formal program is six weeks, but really our hope is that the experience you enjoy here will make a lifelong difference in your career and also a life changing experience. Our previous Mandela Washington Fellows – like each of you – were exceptionally talented and passionate leaders. They – like you – all demonstrated a vision for taking on challenges, solving problems, creating value, and improving their communities and their countries. Our goal this year is to create an extraordinary learning environment for you – one that you will always remember; and one that will help shape your personal and professional journey”.
Speaking on mutual investment, Meg says she and her colleagues regard the MWF as a wonderful way for Northwestern to invest in global talent development. Such action is at the heart of Northwestern University’s mission, so this President Obama’s initiative aligns well with Northwestern strategy and strength as a global research institution. She says, “We see the Mandela Washington Fellowship (MWF) program as an invitation for YOU to enrich OUR lives! Your presence here makes Northwestern a better place. Your ideas, your achievements, and your aspirations for creating business and social innovation enrich our academic community too. It is my pleasure to welcome you as members of the Northwestern University family.
What can I say about your new family? Some key statistics can help outline our excellence. Northwestern University was founded in 1851, with two faculty and 10 students. We have grown to more than 3,000 faculty with 8,000 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students in 12 schools on three major campuses – Evanston, Chicago and Qatar.
The knowledge Northwestern University is creating and sharing is having a huge beneficial impact for the world. Our research discoveries are diverse ranging from breakthroughs in nanotechnology and biomedicine to astrophysics, energy, the humanities, social sciences and public policy. Our 50 University Research Centers are a major part of this knowledge ecosystem. These centers are innovation hubs that bring together thought leaders from many different disciplines and from around the world. Northwestern is ranked 12th in `America’s Best Universities and 25th in the Times Higher Education World University survey".
Already the 25 young leaders have started having amazing warmth professional and caring experience with Professors Verinder Syal and Mike Marasco, the faculty leaders. She says to the 25 Fellows, “During the program, you will meet and work with many amazing people from social service agencies, government and industries. For example, you are scheduled to meet with Jan Schakowsky, our local congresswoman. Jan started her career in social services, and was first elected to the US House of representatives in 1990. Jan is a stellar example of how person can make a huge and positive difference.
And, of course you even get to meet President Obama when you go to Washington DC. The culmination of this program in Washington demonstrates the importance placed on it at the very highest levels of this nation.
It’s pretty difficult to get into Northwestern University: we only accept 13% of the students applying for admittance. Our graduates have excelled in many different professions. Some have won Oscars, Pulitzers, Olympic medals, and Nobel prizes. Several have held high government offices, or served on the US Supreme Court. They have been senior leaders of prestigious academic and medical institutions.
Our graduates also have led major corporations, including PepsiCo, Motorola, and IBM. A Northwestern grad is the current CEO of SpaceX. A recent alum launched Groupon; another founded and leads the One Acre Fund in East Africa. You will truly enjoy meeting Harry Kraemer, the former CEO of Baxter and a fellow alum of the Kellog School of Management.
But now, consider the MWF Program, which has an acceptance rate of less than 2%. Remember I just said Northwestern’s acceptance rate is 13%. Think about that for a moment. ……… So you are the chosen of the chosen, the best of the best. You are poised to make an enormously positive impact on the world”
She quoted President Obama, who in 2015 while addressing the Mandela Fellows said, “I have no doubt that you are going to leave behind for the next generation – and the generation after that – an Africa that is strong and vibrant and prosperous, and is ascendant on the world stage. “
Expressing her gratitude to host the Fellows, Mag says, “I’m so very pleased that Northwestern is part of your remarkable personal journey, and always remember that you are now part of the Northwestern family.”
The 3 Nigerians were excited to find a Nigerian lecturer from Anambra state at the university, Professor Jide Nzelibe, a professor of Law, who him and his wife both lecture at the university.
*Photo Caption - Participants in the program - Kelechi Mbah (left); Adams Adeiza (center) and Tessie Nkechi Udegboka (right) pose for photo.
[ Masterweb Reports: New Song Release ] - Trump Up America (America Solidarity Anthem) is a patriotic U.S. national song composed by Charles O. Okereke, a resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The beautiful inspirational song came into existence in April this year through realities prevalent in the American society. It is a must-listen-to song that combines symphonic orchestra, jazz and a little bit of everything into a beautiful soothing and inspiring patriotic song.
You can get a copy of this song for less than $1 - see link at the end of this article. Remember to share the song widely with friends and contacts. "I delivered the song to America how it was given to me through the night. I did not make any adjustments to suit people's expectations, but released it how it was given to me by Him above. Contact me at +1 (414) 807-0329 or email@example.com if you have any question." Okereke said in a press statement to newsmen.
Okereke recently shared the song with an American women in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA and here are comments the woman posted after the encounter: "Great guy! He had one of the most interesting stories and was a genuinely nice person. Highly recommended! Plus he played great music!"
Composer also shared the song on social media this month and here are comments he received from a Facebook user by name - Stephen Boyle LOL:
Stephen Boyle LOL wrote:
A 1 minute sample clip with a 99 cent download of full song.
Are the proceeds generated to bring all persons across America UP? I believe I already know the answer to the question. What form of SOLIDARITY is this?
Here's a dictionary definition to help:
unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.
"factory workers voiced solidarity with the striking students"
unanimity, unity, like-mindedness, agreement, accord, harmony, consensus, concurrence, cooperation, cohesion, fraternity, mutual support; formalconcord
"our solidarity is what gives us the credibility and power to make changes"
an independent trade union movement in Poland that developed into a mass campaign for political change and inspired popular opposition to communist regimes across eastern Europe during the 1980s.
The lyrics of the first few lines of the first verse are as follows: "I am American, center of democracy; Land of freedom, equity; Trump up America; trump all. Trumpet loud in... etc." The song has both audio and video versions and are available at iTunes, Amazon and other online music stores. ......... Click To Get Copy of Song.
*Photo Caption - As seen.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Nigeria's first lady, Mrs. Aisha Buhari is not the Aisha Buhari named in the bribery scandal involving U.S. Congressman Williams Jefferson, Masterweb authoritatively has gathered. Masterweb Reports conducted investigations on who the Aisha Buhari mentioned in the U.S. bribery scandal really was, after claim by Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State that it was the president's wife. In his statement, Fayose said that the Aisha Buhari that according to court documents transferred the sum of $170,000 to the convicted U.S. Congressman was President Buhari’s wife.
In a statement by Idowu Adelusi, Governor Fayose's Chief Press Secretary (CPS) in reaction to the freezing of the governor's Zenith Bank account by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the governor accused President Buhari of being corrupt. “The estate he built in Abuja is known to us. His wife was indicted over the Halliburton Scandal (sic). When that American, Jefferson, was being sentenced, the President’s wife was mentioned as having wired $170,000 to Jefferson. Her name was on page 25 of the sentencing of Jefferson. We can serialize the judgment for people to see and read.” Fayose alleged.
Lere Olayinka, Fayose's Special Assistant on New Media put in circulation copies of the court documents which named one Aisha Buhari as having transferred the sum of $170,000 to Williams Jefferson using a firm as proxy.
*Photo Caption - Mrs. Aisha Buhari, Nigeria's First Lady
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - Our attention has been drawn to a statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami to order for diligently doing his job.
We read with utmost shock and disgust the statement emanating from Senator Abudullahi as the Senate official reaction to news of arraignment of some persons over an alleged forgery of the 2015 Senate Standing Rules.
We observed that instead of addressing some fundamental questions about the legality of the actions of certain individuals, the Senate official reaction embarked on name calling and its usual smear campaign.
We thought that, the Senate official reaction would have found it convinient to answer the following questions in their statement.
1. Who authorised the promulgation of the Senate Standing Order 2015?
2. Who published the Senate Standing Order 2015?
3. Who approved the Senate Standing Order 2015?
4. Who paid for the publishing of the Senate Standing Order 2015?
5. Who distributed the Senate Standing Order 2015?
6. Does the action of the accused persons contravene section 97 (1) of the Penal Code Law of the federation?
7. What power does the Constitution of Nigeria confers on the Attorney-General of the Federation as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation concerning the breach of the Penal Code Law or any other laws of the nation?
Until we get answers from the Senate on the above questions raised then shall we provide answers to issues like blatant abuse of judicial process, undue interference in the internal affairs of the Senate and Separation of Powers which Senator Abudullahi raised in his statement.
Mr. Brown Justice
Convener of the New Mandate Movement
*Photo Caption - Nigeria Senate seal