[ Masterweb Reports: Chief Charles O. Okereke reports ] - On November 19, 1969 as the Biafran war was winding down, Dr. Justin Obi, a 65-year-old Igbo professor of chemistry, allegedly shot to death Rt. Rev. Dillard Brown, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Missionary - District of Liberia, his Treasurer Claude Nadar and wounded three others, including Miss Patricia Newiss, the Bishop’s secretary. Dr. Obi was a brilliant former chemistry professor at Cuttington University College of Liberia in Suaccoco, a suburb of Monrovia. He obtained his Ph.D. in chemistry from Havard University in the United States. Cuttington University College was owned and operated by the Episcopal Church. Obi allegedly had stopped over in Monrovia on a flight from Biafra to the........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - William Tolbert Jr., Liberia President that signed Dr. Justin Obi's death warrant
[ Masterweb Reports: Press Release For Immediate Release ] - New York, July 8, 2014: Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu from Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, was awarded a Fellowship by the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program to travel to Nigeria to work with Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Center for Gender Issues in Science and Technology (CEGIST), on a curriculum development/teaching-research/capacity building project, titled, Culture and Women’s Stories: A Framework for Capacity Building in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Related Fields. The goal of this project is to develop culturally-based and gender sensitive curricular materials, engage in teaching-research on their use, and prepare educators in Nigeria on using them to teach mathematics and other STEM related disciplines at the primary, secondary and tertiary level, with the aim of fostering student innovation and creativity linked to the science and technology of their cultures, nurturing and mentoring girls to consider STEM related careers, providing poor or rural communities with inexpensive curricular resources that are easily obtainable in the local community, while simultaneously facilitating visibility of the work of Nigerian women in STEM. Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu will be collaborating on this project with colleagues from FUTA in CEGIST and the Departments of Mathematics and General Studies in the School of Sciences, extending her work at her home college where she has developed similar curricular resources for teaching discrete mathematics based on the African tradition of story-telling. The leaders of the host team are Dr. Mojisola Edema, Acting Director of CEGIST and Ms. Olabukunola Williams, NiWARD Coordinator.
The FUTA CEGIST project is one of 31 projects that will pair African Diaspora scholars with higher education institutions in Africa to collaborate on curriculum co-development, research, graduate teaching, training and mentoring activities. Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu is one of thirty-three African Diaspora scholars who have been awarded Fellowships to travel to Africa beginning this month to conduct the projects, which span an impressive range of fields across the arts and humanities, social sciences, education, sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The winning projects in this first round of awards were submitted by 24 institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda.
Host universities include, Ghana: Ashesi University College, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology; Kenya: The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Kenya Methodist University, Kisii University, University of Nairobi, Rongo University College; Nigeria: Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Federal University for Technology Akure, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Joseph Ayo Babalola University, University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin, Kwara State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Port Harcourt; South Africa: University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, University of Venda, University of the Witwatersrand; Tanzania: The State University of Zanzibar; Uganda: Kyambogo University, Makerere University.
This innovative Fellowship program facilitates engagement between scholars born in Africa who are now based in the United States or Canada and scholars in Africa on mutually beneficial academic activities. The program is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in collaboration with Quinnipiac University, which chairs the Advisory Council, and is funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. “Corporation staff are pleased to note the extensive interest and response shown in the first round. We hope that with subsequent rounds, the quality of the applications will continue to improve and the Fellows will help achieve the goal of contributing to the development of African higher education as a vibrant and internationally competitive sector fulfilling the aspirations of building prosperous and inclusive economies, viable knowledge societies and sustainable democracies,” said Dr. Omotade Aina, Director, Higher Education and Libraries in Africa, Carnegie Corporation.
U.S. and Canada-based scholars can apply for Fellowships and African host institutions can submit project requests until July 21, 2014, to be considered, in the second selection cycle. Selected Fellows and Hosts will be announced in October, for project visits to be conducted between December 2014 and August 2015.
Scholars born in Africa who live in the United States or Canada and work in an accredited college or university in either of those two countries, can apply to be on a roster of available candidates. Candidates must have a terminal degree in their field and can hold any academic rank. For Fellows matched with a selected project, the Fellowship for the project visit includes a daily stipend, transportation and visa funds and health insurance coverage.
Public and private higher education institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda can submit a project request to host a scholar for 14 to 90 days. A prospective host may, but is not required to, name a proposed scholar in a project request. The proposed scholar and project request are each evaluated by a review committee and are subject to approval by the Advisory Council. African institutions and prospective Fellows (scholars) can collaborate on ideas for a project that the institution submits. IIE maintains the scholar roster to facilitate matches, according to the discipline specializations, expertise, activities and objectives described in a project request.
Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu
Professor of Mathematics
Borough of Manhattan Community College
City University of New York
Phone: +1 212 220 1337
Institute of International Education
*Photo Caption - Dr. Nkechi Madonna Agwu
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Kandala Ngianga-Bakwin reports ] - Researchers at Warwick Medical School believe that the lifestyle altering effects of westernisation could be responsible for the high prevalence of obesity, and associated health risks, in sub-Saharan Africa.
The study, published in PLOS ONE, found that over one in five women in Nigeria were reported to be overweight or obese, with this statistic increasing among demographics with improved social and economic indicators.
Those women classed as having a higher wealth index were three and a half times more likely to be overweight or obese when compared to those in the lowest wealth bracket. Access to higher levels of education also increased risk, as did urbanisation; 36.4% of women in urban areas were overweight compared with 18.8% in more rural districts.
“Obesity is now not just a western problem, but an African one as well” argues Dr Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala. “By becoming wealthier, better educated and urbanised regions of Nigeria are gaining the attributes we would more commonly associate with western societies. This has brought both a change in lifestyle and diet that is reflected in finding that educated, wealthy women are much more likely to be obese than those living in more rural, traditional areas”.
Professor Saverio Stranges explained, “Urbanisation, and the shift towards what we would consider to be more western habits, appears to come hand in hand with a more sedentary lifestyle and change in diet. More people have cars and drive where they might have walked in the past. The rise in internet usage within the cities sees more people sat down for prolonged periods, both at home and at work.”
“This physical inactivity is worsened by a less balanced diet. An over reliance on energy dense processed foods can be highlighted by the growing presence of fast food outlets and the knock on effect is reducing the intake of staple, low calorie foods.”
This, alongside data from several other countries, suggests that rising urbanisation and improvements in developmental indicators leads to concurrent under and over nutrition in the population.
This stands to be a continuing problem. In 1995, only 35% of the African population resided in urban areas, a figure projected to rise to 54% by 2030.
Professor Stranges continued, “The worry is that Nigeria, like many Sub-Saharan African countries, is facing a major public health challenge with a rising number of overweight adults, whilst large segments of the population face problems associated with under nutrition. This dual burden will mean combating both malnutrition and the risks associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular disease.”
Most epidemiological research in Sub-Saharan Africa has focused under nutrition, particularly within women and children who are deemed to be in the more vulnerable demographics of the population. This new study reflects a growing trend to look at other nutrition problems, and is the first of its kind to do so down to a state level.
The study used data from the 2008 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey. Around 28,000 women aged between 15 and 49 years old were sampled, of which 20.9% were recorded as being overweight or obese.
Dr Ngianga-Bakwin Kandala added, “Using such a vast representative population sample we are able to paint a more accurate picture of variances between the individual states for the first time. Lagos State, home to one of the fastest growing cities in the world, reported that over 50% of the women were overweight or obese, whereas the more rural Yobe State in the North East was closer to just 10%.”
“Seeing this data broken down across the states will help to understand both the social and economic burden of obesity, and the future demand upon public health in each state.”
When taking urbanisation and other risk factors into account, the South Eastern states of Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Taraba were shown to have the most significant spatial correlation to being overweight or obese.
With the exception of Kebbi State, those in the north and west had a markedly lower correlation with obesity.
Full paper is available here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0101103
Dr. Kandala Ngianga-Bakwin ( Email: N-B.Kandala@warwick.ac.uk Tel: +44(0)2476150541 ), University of Warwick Medical School reports.
*Photo Caption - An obese woman
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Democracy & Good Governance, Onitsha Nigeria, 23rd June 2014)-When federalism was introduced in Nigeria in 1954 by the former British colonial masters, elections including regional were conducted in 1954, 1957 and 1959. Under the pioneer civilian regimes, federal and regional polls were held between 1963 and 1964. Under the military regimes, elections were conducted in 1978, 1990/91(diarchy) and 1999. Under the ongoing civilian rule, elections have been held in 2003, 2007 and 2011. The second civilian rule also held elections in 1983. Staggered State governorship elections and court ordered governorship and legislative repeat elections have also been held by successive presidential civilian governments in the country. The last uniformed Local Government elections in Nigeria took place in December 1998. Since then LGA polls in the country are held according to the prescription and discretion of respective State Governments and their State Electoral Commissions. In all these polls, preservation of the sanctity of the ballot box has remained an object of deep controversy. Till date, poll rigging, premised on ethno-religious considerations have remained an incurable menace in Nigeria.
While the polls conducted by the British colonial masters suffered from negative colonial interests, which downgraded their sanctities; those conducted by pioneer civilian regimes suffered from ethno-religious influences. Those held under the military were held under fears and apprehensions or under guided liberties. Though they were more secular, but fears and apprehensions under which they were held, robbed them of sanctity. Mercantilism, thievery (corruption) and ethno-religion grossly marred those conducted by presidential civilian regimes in the country from 1983, 2003, 2007 and 2011. In rating the polls under reference, the 1954 and 1959 colonial polls remains the best, followed by the military polls of 1978 and 1999 and State staggered governorship polls in Anambra, Edo, Ondo and Ekiti States. In the worst category are the 1983, 2003, 2007 and post 1998 staggered LGA civilian polls. Of all the presidential general polls under reference, those of 2011 remain the most improved, even though the ethno-religious zealots in northern parts of the country took law in their hands leading to post polls’ property destructions and human casualties of up to 1000 or more. But the fact remains that that was the first time Nigerians in their large numbers were captured in the voters’ register and allowed to vote and their votes counted.
On Saturday, June 21st 2014, the 732,106 registered voters in Ekiti State, Southwest Nigeria, comprising 371, 419 females and 360, 747 males, were asked to go to the State’s 2,195 polling units and 177 electoral wards to choose the next governor of their beloved State. This is on account of the expiring controversial court restored electoral mandate of the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), who leaves office around October 2014, having started governing the State in October 2010. In announcing the poll’s results on Sunday, June 22nd 2014, the Independent National Electoral Commission’s chief returning officer and vice chancellor of the Federal University of Oye-Ekiti, Prof Isaac Asuzu, declared Mr. Peter Fayose of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner with 203, 090 votes, as against the incumbent governor’s 120, 433 votes. A total of 348, 656 valid voters voted in the poll out of the total registered voters of 732, 106. Mr. Peter Fayose also scored the constitutionally required majority votes in the entire 16 LGAs in the State.
Other two important staggered governorship polls in Nigeria had earlier taken place in another Southwest State of Ondo and Southeast State of Anambra. In that of Ondo State, held on 20th October 2012, the incumbent governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of the Labour Party, scored 260, 199 votes to beat his two main rivals: Barr. Olusola Oke of the PDP, who got 155,961 votes and Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN of the APC, who scored 143, 512 votes. In the said poll, out of 1, 638, 950 registered voters, a total of 624, 659 voted, out of which, 30, 145 votes were invalid and 594, 244 were valid votes. Governor Mimiko also secured the constitutionally required majority votes in 13, out of 19 LGAs in the State. He became governor on account of court restoration of his electoral mandate in early 2009. He was first sworn in on 24th February 2009.
In the case of Anambra State, its staggered governorship poll took place on 16th and 30th November, 2013. At the end, Mr. Willie Obiano of the ruling All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) was declared winner by the INEC’s chief returning officer and vice chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Epoke, with 180, 178 votes. Mr. Tony Nwoye of the PDP came second with 97, 700 votes and Dr. Chris Ngige of the APC came third with 95, 963 votes. The poll was conducted in 4,608 polling units and 326 electoral wards. Out of the total registered voters of 1, 776, 167, a total of 442, 242 people voted, out of which 16, 988 were declared invalid votes and 425, 254 were valid votes. Governor Obiano also secured the constitutionally required 25% votes in 19 LGAs and won majority votes in 16 out of the 21 LGAs in the State. Anambra State, courtesy of former governor Peter Gregory Obi was the first State in Nigeria to earn judicial restoration of its stolen electoral mandate in March 2006 per Enugu Division of the Court of Appeal.
Restoration Of Sanctity Of The Ballot Box: With the successful conduct of the three staggered State governorship polls under reference, sanctity of the ballot box is gradually being restored on Nigerian electoral polity. The outcome of the Ekiti State governorship poll has, again, shown that elections are not won on the pages of newspaper or by enormity of media propaganda or noise-making. It also shows that the era of elitist politics is steadily fading in Nigeria. Such popular outcomes witnessed in the Ekiti State governorship poll had earlier taken place in Ondo in October 2012 and Anambra in November 2013. The great people of Ekiti State like their Ondo and Anambra counterparts have adamantly refused to be contaminated by the propaganda virus of the Africa’s noisiest opposition political party in Nigeria. This is the most striking thing about the giant strides at restoring sanctity of the ballot box on the country’s electoral polity. When the voice of the majority spoke in Ondo in October 2012, the Africa’s noisiest opposition political party called it “armada of electoral rigging”.
When they spoke again in Anambra in November 2013, they said it was a charade and continuously made negative reference to it both locally and internationally until few hours into the Ekiti poll, which it horribly lost out. Now that the same majority voice has spoken in Ekiti governorship poll of June 2014, Nigerians are waiting to hear another labeling to be hung on the neck of the popular poll’s outcome. When they lost in Ondo in October 2012, they relocated to the pages of newspaper and screens of politically oiled television stations and radios. When their propaganda refused to make public relevance, they filed papers in court and took over the functions of its proceedings on the pages of newspaper and visual/audio media, yet at the end, their arguments became “orbiter dictum” and woefully failed the litmus test of “ratio decidendi”. In Anambra, the riggers became the rigged and Anambra People became the winners. They cried and ran to the court of first instance for “justice”, but the court in her hallowed wisdom, sent them packing.
Redefinition Of Opposition Politics In Nigeria: Nigeria parades one of the worst and noisiest opposition political parties on African Continent. Opposition political parties are universally best known as “the best government in waiting seeking to oust the worst government in power through the ballot box”. But in Nigeria, it is a clear case of “the worst government in waiting seeking to oust the worse government in power through political guerrilla warfare”. The fundamental aim of every credible opposition political party is to oust the lowest performed government in power through the ballot box powered by mass enfranchisement and ballot sanctification. But in Nigeria, opposition political parties fear ballot box a lot because they do not have better options of leadership to offer the electorates warranting voting them into office. Even where they are in control of State politics, they run deficit governance and government by propaganda leading to their abysmal performances during re-election bids. Any opposition political party that hinges its success on cross-carpeting and decampment is a party of gangsters and empty vessels with defeatist aim of political noisemaking and merchandise. We call for redefinition of opposition politics in Nigeria so as to bring it in tandem with the international best practices.
While we congratulate the great people of Ekiti State for courageously making their best electoral choice by electing Mr. Peter Ayodele Fayose and rejecting the outgoing governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, we renew our earlier call on the leaders of Civil Society organizations in the country, particularly those who said they are working for pro-democracy and pro-civil rights organizations to change the concept of engaging the electoral processes. Paying much attention to “poll monitoring” and less attention to pre-poll advocacy activities is a defeatist and archaic concept. We understand that much energy is dissipated on poll monitoring on account of its huge foreign currency inflows, but CSO advocacy activities should be taken beyond the boundaries of concept of “business enterprise” and rooted in “service to humanity”. This is what is behind the invention of “NGO” in 1839 with the formation of “Anti Slavery International” as the world’s first NGO.
We also call on those funding “poll monitoring” advocacy activities of the pro-democracy and pro-civil rights organizations both at local and international levels to pay more attention to pre-poll advocacy activities and channel more funds into them. Pre-poll advocacy activities are more publicly important than mere monitoring of polls. Issues of roguish voters’ register and mass disenfranchisement, quality of candidates and their fielding by political parties, poll campaign violence, internal party democracy or party primaries as well as candidates/parties’ manifestoes are not issues to be advocated upon on election day. They are purely pre-poll advocacy activities, considered the bedrock of every credible democratic process. Elections’ day situation rooms’ reports or analyses are less valuable than that under reference.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
+2348100755939 (text 24/7, call 9.30am-4.pm, Mon.-Friday, office hours)
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Ekiti State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
[ Masterweb Reports ] - The former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi has bagged the coveted Golden Merit Award by the Nigerian Library Association (NLS).
Presenting the award yesterday at the Golden Royale Hotel Enugu, the National President of the Association, Mr. Abdulsalami Rilwanu said they had not presented it to anyone over the years because nobody in authority had made conscious and laudable efforts to uplift library services in Nigeria, until Mr. Peter Obi became the Governor of Anambra State. He said that in appreciation of his efforts, that the association had wanted to honour him while he was still the Governor, but for his refusal and insistence that he preferred honour offered when one had left office.
His words: “ Obi was unanimously chosen for the honour because of his efforts as the former Governor of Anambra State to support the growth and development of public library services in the State. Before him, in both the old and new Anambra State, no Governor visited or built any library since 1966, when the then Col Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu built the Onitsha Library.”
On some of the things Obi did that made him worthy of the honour, Mr. Rilwanu said that he not only initiated and acquired land, but completed the Prof. Kenneth Dike Library at Awka and renovated the Onitsha Library and that the two were the only e libraries in the whole of the South-East. He also mentioned the tomes of books he attracted to libraries in the state, the over 1 Billion naira the former Governor disbursed to public and mission-owned secondary schools in the State for provision of libaray in the schools in the state as well as the construction of libraries at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, Igbariam campus.
Speaking further, Mr. Rilwanu said that Obi went beyond the provision of infrastructure and “ensured that library workers enjoyed normal promotion like their counterparts in the service and he extended support and recognition to the Director of the State Library Board (provided him with an official car), as well as the State Chapter of the Association, a van and a bus for distribution of books and for staff use during his tenure as the Governor of Anambra State”
The association called on those in authority to emulate what Obi did for the restoration of reading culture among the people.
Speaking, Mr. Peter Obi said he was both delighted and humbled to receive the award. He called on leaders to contribute to the resurrection of library culture as part of the efforts to support book culture for the good of the country.
The Nigerian Library Association (NLA), an umbrella body for all library and information professionals in Nigeria was established in 1962.
*Photo Caption - The National President of the Association, Mr. Abdulsalami Rilwanu (left) on Monday, June 23 at Golden Royale Hotel, Enugu presenting the Golden Merit Award to Mr. peter Obi (right), in honour of his contributions to the growth and development of Libaray while he was the Governor of Anambra State.
[ Masterweb Reports: Sulay B. Conteh reports ] - It was Kailahun District where the rebel war started in Sierra Leone, it was Kailahun District where the war was most brutally fought and it was indeed Kailahun District that suffered the worst form the decade-long rebel war. After decades of APC misrule, the APC Government crowned it all with a well-planned rebel war. It is a complete idea of an extremely shrewd ethnic cleansing against the East and South by the Northern-led APC, all of which started by eliminating the strongman of the South, Mr. F. M. Minnah. After strangulating the SLPP Party by systematic gruesome killings of all who stood for decency, Siaka Stevens force-walked Sierra Leone into one party APC rule. With absolute powers of the state under the one-party rule, Stevens single-handedly manipulated his succession and put the failing Sierra Leone nation into the hands of his backdoor child — Joseph Saidu Momoh. Stevens quietly groomed Momoh all throughout his rule to the rank of a Major General so that he can succeed his throne.
Momoh, officially born to a Limba family but clandestinely to Stevens, took over state powers to finish the unfinished business of his backdoor father. The Momoh-led APC Government went on to convict Minnah of “misprision of treason” following a very queer and highly unjust adjudication. In the ploy to finish up with Minnah (the strongman of the South), APC anticipated unrest in the South and East. The Momoh-led APC cabal therefore secretly recruited the North-born Corporal Foday Sankoh to quell any such unrest with a guerrilla war. While the warfare was to distract the people from the dangerous political maneuvering that was underway in Freetown, it was Momoh’s bold move on ethnic cleansing against the East and South.
Corporal Foday Sankoh had a pretty good knowledge of not only the army, but also the topographic terrains of South and East in terms of military strategicness. It was this devil-blooded man who would launch a brutal rebel/guerilla war or call it proxy war for the APC. The war latter slaughtered over fifty thousand people, over eighty percent of the slaughtered were in the East and South of Sierra Leone. The gruesome war was cruelly waged and brutally fought for over a decade, which interestingly turned around to unseat the Momoh-led APC Government from power. He who nurtures evil gets evil, he who spreads hate hears hate, he who lives by the sward dies by the sward and therefore you always reap whatever you sow. What Mohoh, his uncle Bambay Kamara and his entire APC cabal did not know was that whatever goes around comes around. So the APC war ploy that was sent around eventually came around to consume the APC Government.
After so much international efforts, the war eventually ended and then came the period for reconciliation and reconstruction. There again the disguised APC cabal as the Kabbah-led SLPP hatched out another drama for the war-traumatized people of the East and South of Sierra Leone. Over eighty percent of the reconstruction efforts, financially supported by the international community, were again redirected to the North. The North is the APC stronghold, the region that was least affected by the war. But it was also the birth-place of Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who posed as SLLP, but actually with thick APC blood. So the regions worst affected by the war (the East and South) were sidelined in the reconstruction drive, evidence of which today abounds in the East and South where there people are still firmly gripped with abject destitution and massive devastation. It is these decades of persistent subjection to neglect, brutalization, destitution and despair that have eventually led to the outbreak of Ebola, an epidemic that used to be associated with the far east of Africa, Uganda and the sort. Now once again, the courageous people of the East are challenged with another life-threatening tribulation. But God never abandons His chosen people. To the people of the East we say, endure! These are undisputable signs that your days of jubilation are near. Surely, these trying tribulations will soon turn into everlasting jubilations! Our renowned local prophet, Saffa Koroma of Kondorbotihun, repeatedly lamented lengthily on these issues in his prolific sermons across the East and South.
But how did the APC ploy against the East and South come to pass? The SLPP Party emerged victorious in the democratic elections following the overthrow of the APC by the NPRC Junta. To gain the hearts of the people in the North, the elders of the SLPP Party (notably late Hinga Norman and Alusine Deen) insisted on having someone from the North to lead the SLPP Party. This person was Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, the APC stooge who SLPP never took notice of. So it eventually was and indeed so did SLPP get to govern Sierra Leone for another decade under the disguise of the APC. Honestly, the novelty of the brainchildren of the people of the East and South has always driven them to their graves. Mr. Minnah scripted the “misprision of treason” article into the laws of Sierra Leone, which eventually took him to his grave. Also Hinga Norman and Alusine Deen stubbornly pushed Kabbah’s drive for SLPP Flagbearership and the very Kabbah eventually heartlessly drove the way to their graves. This sufficiently chronicles the politicking of East and South and how the North always takes advantage of it to smolder the people.
Now again comes the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in the same Kailahun District where the APC-led war started. Coincidentally, it is again the APC that is the ruling Party, whose continuous negligence of the region has eventually led to the outbreak of this deadly epidemic. Now instead of doing what it takes to combat the epidemic, the APC Government is politicking on the disease to raise fund for its bankrupt Government. In the wake of the Ebola epidemic, the first deceitful reaction from the Koroma-led APC Government was to close the borders with Liberal and Guinea. APC knows what to do right, but it deliberately chooses to do the wrong thing when it comes to the East and South. Closing the borders leaves one wondering if the disease is running into Sierra Leone from Liberal and Guinea. But even if that was the case, anyone familiar with the borders in that region would at once know that the APC Government attempt is completely nonsense. Firstly, there is no clear-cut line of border separation these countries. Also even if there was a semblance of one, it is all but a stretch of unmanned forest. But again even if that it actually existed as purported by the APC Government, was border closure the best medication for the Ebola epidemic?
APC always behaves in an extremely queer way when it comes to issues relating with the East and South. It is all novelistic, if not entirely disheartening, for any responsible Government anywhere in the world to respond to an epidemic by freezing Government Services in affected regions, including hospitals. The APC Government has now declared a state of emergency in Kailahun District and closed all hospitals, schools, banks and other government offices. Now even NGOs are fleeing Kailahun District under the directive of the APC Government in the name of fighting the Ebola epidemic in the region. APC is fighting the disease as if it were responding to an unprecedented terrorist attack in the region. These valiant and courageous people are once again left alone to smolder in the APC-made trouble. Where is the governance for the people in this difficult circumstance?
We ask the Koroma-led APC Government to stop politicking in the East and South and speedily deliver the qualified medical personnel, equipment and drugs to swiftly combat the epidemic. The APC Government cannot succeed in caging the people of the East and South. To our people of the East and South, we say endure this trying tribulation with every valor and fortitude. Verily, verily so, your days of great jubilation are near. May God continue to bless you and hold you together to see this day!
God Bless Sierra Leone!
Sulay B. Conteh ( Email: email@example.com ) reports.
*Photo Above - Map of Sierra Leone
[ Masterweb Reports: Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha reports ] - There comes a time in the life and existence of every individual, organization, and nation to take a stock to reflect and re-evaluate its steps, achievements, goals and objectives as an appraisal to ascertain their relevance in the society they belong. For Ohaneze Ndigbo, and Ndigbo in general with the birth of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) I proclaim;
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder”…. Isaiah 9 : 6. Yes, for the first time in the history of Ohaneze Ndigbo, on April 5,2014, Ohaneze mid-wifed the birth of the Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), through a well-organized democratic process which elected Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro and other members of his executive as the new leader of Ohaneze youth in Nigeria and worldwide. By virtue of that election lies on him and his executive the onus of the power to mobilize Igbo youths worldwide.
Considering the enormous task involved, the (OYC) has taken a wise decision to appoint Chief Charles Okereke, a worthy Igbo son, media practitioner and publisher as the Ohaneze Youth Council Ambassador at large / diaspora and media consultant to champion the cause of mobilizing Igbo youths in diaspora to come together as one as a mighty force. The Ambassador has commenced work immediately to lay the foundation that will set up the structure to mobilize Igbo youths by appointing leaders in various countries of the globe to bring Igbo youths into the fold of Ohaneze.
In Spain Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, an Igbo Zealot, Journalist, Prolific Writer and Author was appointed to organize Igbo youths in the kingdom of Spain and bring them into the fold of this large family. Chief Okorie Mbah, a deserving well decorated Igbo son, and a Shipping Merchant based in Mali was appointed as Ohaneze Youth West Africa Co-odinator. And Pastor George Otubo Nwafor, a worthy Igbo son and a servant of God was appointed as Ohaneze Youth Burkina Faso Co-ordinator. Subsequently, appointment for leaders of chapters of other countries worldwide continues.
As mentioned earlier,” unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder”. Today, the birth of OYC is a new dawn and a new trend to Ohaneze and Ndigbo and before I proceed to highlight more on the relevance of this new trend, it is important for us to reflect on the history and the road Ohaneze has traveled to this point. Because if we know our history we would know where we are coming from and where we are going to, and will not be like “Buffalo soldiers”, because Ibo says, “akoruo, egeruo”.
That will help us to examine if the major objectives of the founding fathers have been achieved, and how we as members of this large family in this dispensation can hold forth not to allow the dreams and good intentions of the founding fathers fizzle out or die in our own hands. Let us take our mind back in retrospect to recollect a brief history of Ohaneze as to know why,how, what, where and when it started.
The history of Ohaneze Ndigbo according to some reliable sources dates back to the early 1930s when some Igbos in Lagos brought together divisional organizations, clans, and several town unions and formed the Lagos Igbo union in order to organize a reception for Dr. Akanu Ibiam, the second Igbo medical doctor on his return after his studies abroad in 1937. The union gained momentum with the return and backing of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr. Dennis Osadebe. It later became a voice for the Igbo, and its objectives were mainly for the welfare and interest of the Igbo in Lagos. In 1943, the organization changed its name to Igbo federal union. This union brought the Igbo together and instilled in them the consciousness of being Igbo and to always think of the development and progress of home land while contributing to the good of their host communities. As a union, it waxed stronger and spread to various parts of the country.
In 1948, it gave rise to Igbo state union which was inaugurated in PortHarcout. The union flourished until 1966 when all state unions, tribal and socio-cultural organizations were banned by the military regime of Major General Aguiyi Ironsi. There was what seemed like a void after the ban, as there was no other voice as powerful as the Igbo state union to speak for the Igbo. The void ensued after the gruesome experience of Ndigbo in the Nigeria/Biafra war, an experience that remains a watershed in the history of Ndigbo in Nigeria, as there was no family in Igbo land that did not count a head loss. The horrific and heartbreaking experience had a psychological trauma on the Igbo. The Igbo emerged from the war, devastated, poor, and helpless but not spiritually broken and defeated. Their spirit of self-help and industry still survived. And after the war, there was a vacuum and a need to have a voice and an organization that would be a rallying point for the Igbo.
In 1976, our elders, royal fathers, jurists and eminent personalities Ndigbo could boast of, thought it wise to resurrect the pan Igbo spirit and form an organization in line with the objectives of the Igbo state union. Through the efforts of these founding fathers like, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, Dr. Kingsley Mbadiwe, Dennis Osadebe, Chief Jerome Ugorji, Dr. Pius Okigbo, His Royal Majesty Eze Cletus Ilomuanya to mention but a few, gathered and proclaimed the need to unify Igbos under a common umbrella organization. By that act, Ohaneze Ndigbo which is a successor to the Igbo state union was born and became the post war pan Igbo socio-cultural organization and the single most powerful, respected, and recognized body for the Igbo in Nigeria and outside. It has always been the reference point and a clearing house for matters affecting the interest of the Igbos within Nigeria and outside Nigeria.
A new dawn is here today for Ndigbo by virtue of the birth of Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) on her status as the youth wing, it will work in partnership with the parent body for the interest of Ndigbo as to achieve and accomplish the objectives and aims of the founding fathers. While Ohaneze remains the supreme body, heart and soul of Ndigbo, the OYC is meant to be the active force. And its decisions and activities which are democratically oriented will be virtually binding. While OYC is not a political party but a socio-cultural organization, and is concerned with the socio-economic problems that affect Ndigbo, it will not turn blind eyes to political issues such as marginalization, inequity and injustice as they affect the young generation of Ndigbo.
They will strongly add their voice in the Nigerian polity to emphasize that Nigeria belongs to all and should be free and fair to all citizens. And that Ndigbo, considering their adventurous spirit, courage, self-confidence, determination and liberty will continue to work with all for the progress of Nigeria, in line with the visions of the founding fathers which were structured to take care and protect the interest of Ndigbo. Therefore, I use this medium to call on all Igbo youths in Nigeria, Spain, and all over the world to support and become a member of this great family by joining hands to make Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) great and relevant. God bless Ndigbo, God bless Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC), and God bless Nigeria.
Hon. Uchendu Precious Onuoha, Ohanaeze Youth-Spain Chairman and Media Coordinator reports.
*Photo Caption - Ohaneze Youth Council (OYC) logo
( Masterweb Reports ) - (Security & Safety, Onitsha Nigeria, 18th of June, 2014)-The attention of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety has been drawn to the reported arrest in the blue hours (2.am) of Sunday, 15th of June 2014 of 486 Nigerians at Abia and Imo portions of the Port Harcourt-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, Southeast Nigeria. According to media, military and government reports, the 486 Nigerians in the age categories of between 16 and 24 years were being conveyed in 35 buses with undisclosed identities when the military road guards intercepted them and later impounded 33 out of the 35 buses carrying about 486 Nigerians of northern origins. The remaining two buses reportedly escaped. The sources labeled them “Boko Haram suspects” and transferred them to the nearby 144 Battalion of the Nigerian Army where they were detained and later paraded before the media and further tagged “ Boko Haram suspects”. In another Southeast Nigerian State of Imo, two unexploded bombs were said to have been uncovered at the Living Ministry-Winners Chapel. The bombs were said to have been planted by unknown people.
For us at Intersociety, the labeling of the arrestees as “Boko Haram suspects” without establishing preliminary facts about them is too hasty. This is likened to 76 indigent Igbo-Nigerians rounded up and deported in July 2013 to Onitsha Upper Iweka by the Government of Lagos State, which labeled them “mentally challenged/destitute”. The 76 Igbo-Nigerians under reference were crammed in buses provided and escorted by the Government of Lagos State and dumped in Onitsha at about 3.am (hours of the blue law). Investigations later revealed that they were traders, hawkers and others begging for alms in the streets of Lagos or “lands created from lagoons” originally by Benin warriors as war camps (Eko) and later by Portuguese settlers for urban dwellers.
Every civil or criminal investigation is usually composed of preliminary and tertiary elements. Conclusions drawn outside the two are usually speculative, unverifiable and unscientific and any labeling and actual punishment originating therein amounts to jungle justice or trial by ordeal. The preliminary findings that ought to accompany the official public pronouncements on the arrestees under reference should have included the names of the arrestees, their particular northern States and LGAs of origin or residency, their religions and marital statuses. Others are their venues of convergence and dispersal, the identities of buses conveying them as well as those of the drivers of the buses and those who hired or arranged for the buses. It is only when the arrestees have failed to furnish those carrying out these preliminary findings on them that it can validly and safely be concluded that the arrestees have malicious intents. Unfortunately, those who paraded the arrestees and tagged them “Boko Haram suspects” did not publicly give out these basic facts about them. That they were being conveyed in the hours of the blue law is not a valid excuse to tag them “Boko Haram suspects” especially if they are IDPs escaping insurgency zones.
Until recently, not many Nigerians are aware that most of the killing sprees and abductions embarked upon by the Boko Haram murderous squads in northern Nigeria are targeted and directed at communities with large Christian populations. It took the courage of a Christian Pentecostal Church leadership to publicly reveal that out of 180 of the 276 Chibok girls abducted by the violent Islamists on 14th April, 2014, 165 are Christians and only 15 are Muslims. The governing authorities in the insurgency areas including the authorities of the Nigerian security forces have for long hidden and refused to disclose the ethnic and religious identities of those abducted or felled by the violent Islamists’ bullets or bombs.
In view of the fact that there have been a steady mass movement from northern parts to southern parts owing to ceaseless killings, maiming and property destructions under reference, caution must be applied to avoid infringing on the fundamental rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from insurgency zones so as to safeguard their right to life and other constitutionally guaranteed liberties. We are aware that Christian northerners and other non northern Christians are fleeing their residences for safety. A number of them have re-settled in many Southeast cities including Onitsha, Awka, Nnewi, Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Nsukka and Owerri. We are also in the know that a number of innocent young Muslims from the insurgency areas have relocated to southern cities and rural areas. It is to our knowledge as well that selected leaders of Christian communities and socio-political community leaders have been making efforts to facilitate relocation and possible evacuation of residents of minority Christian communities particularly young male population to areas considered safer so as to save them from Boko Haram’s well coordinated ethno-religious cleansing and genocide targeted and directed at northern Christian communities and residents. In the last Gwoza Christian community massacre of June 2nd, 2014, for instance, all the male Christian citizens caught by the violent Islamist sect were nearly mass murdered.
These explain why we hold a strong view that it is totally hasty, speculative and fallacious for the governing and security authorities to label the 486 citizens under reference as “Boko Haram suspects”. Besides, in modern military and warfare science, it is a total blunder for Boko Haram bombers and fighters to be conveyed in such manner, timing notwithstanding. In asymmetric war technology, which the violent Islamist sect has adopted against Nigerians and the State of Nigeria, it is toyish to apply such method. But for the fact that rooms are still given for war blunders, the impoundment of the 33 buses and arrest of the 486 citizens is not out of place. What is out of place is the hasty manner in which they were so maliciously labeled, which can earn them official mass murder (torture, enforced disappearance and extra judicial killing) or stigmatization in the hands of the host civil populace.
Our firm position is that they should be diligently investigated and if they are found to be those fleeing insurgency areas or refugees or IDPs, they should be apologized to and publicly quartered pending when they harmlessly integrate with the host civil populace. Profile of each of them should be built and kept by the government and relevant authorities of the Nigerian security forces for security reasons. We call upon leaders of Christian churches or communities, who may have been responsible for relocation of endangered Nigerian citizens from insurgency areas to safe areas to come out and speak concerning the subject matter under reference. If such an arrangement is made by moderate Muslim communities, we also call upon them to speak publicly as well. If the arrestees make it difficult to be investigated by refusing to volunteer useful information about themselves and circumstances of their blue law hour conveyance, then there can be reasonable grounds to imply that they are security risk, and as such, they should be sent back and be monitored round the clock.
They can only be tagged “Boko Haram suspects” if there are pieces of credible evidence linking them with the activities of the violent Islamist sect, upon which they can be charged to court of competent jurisdiction within times allowed by law. A recent statement by the Nigerian military sources to the effect that one of the arrestees “has been found to be one of those wanted for terrorism or linked with Boko Haram terror” may still be hasty and questionable and require further independent confirmation. Even if the statement is confirmed to be true, it is still an isolated case, which cannot be a valid premise to mass-label all the arrestees as “Boko Haram suspects”.
We also wish to caution politicians particularly the top elected public office holders representing the Southeast zone at State and federal levels not to politicize the insecurity in the Southeast particularly by compounding the fears and apprehensions created by Boko Haram terror and threats. We understand that the 2015 general polls are around the corner and politicians of Nigeria extraction have world record of expertise in the politics of the graveyard. They are also artistic in human misery merchandise. Politicization of insecurity by these malicious public office holders is usually accompanied by steady bloated increases in security votes and creation of artificial insecurity all for selfish political goals or advantages. The politically oiled abductions and armed robberies in Abia and Anambra States in the immediate past are a clear case in point.
However, we wish to warn those radical Islamists and leftist northern politicians oiling the Boko Haram terror to steer clear of the Southeast zone and other parts of the south. If the rumor making the rounds that Boko Haram reins of terror will soon visit the Southeast geopolitical zone and other southern parts, holds water, then the Rwandan type of genocide is imminent in Nigeria. The country will be sunk and consumed in such a manner that at the end, there will be nothing left to be Islamized, not to talk of conversion of the Aso Rock into Boko Haram Sultanate. If a country of approximately seven million people could lose one million to genocide in hundred days, it will be thunderous and deafening to mention how many million lives that will be lost if Nigeria with approximated population of 170 million is plunged into a genocidal war of Rwandan category. Such genocidal war defies formal and modern warfare approaches as well as humanitarian control and truce until there are few people left to be killed. The governing authorities in Nigeria must quarantine and trounce Boko Haram menace and threats otherwise they, likewise Boko Haram commanders and sponsors will become casualties and refugees overnight if Nigerians are provoked under genocidal circumstances.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge-Onitsha 430003
Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria
+2348100755939 (text 24/7, call 9.30am-4.pm, Mon.-Friday office hours)
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports ] - How do we as Nigerians understand the Boko Haram and what must be done to undermine its power? We have been experiencing a lot of killings and attacks -- not just on Christians but Muslims and other groups since 2004. The world has now awakened to its influence following the kidnapping of the schoolgirls. Discussion with Dr Kusum Gopal in........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - Abducted Chibok School Girls in a video released by Boko Haram.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - This part concludes the referenced letter to Your Excellency by the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law-Intersociety. The parts one, two and three were dated 28th and 31st May and 6th June 2014. The subject matter remains a call on Your Excellency for urgent invocation and application of international criminal justice sanctions against those involved in atrocity crimes in both war and peace times in Nigeria since July 2002 in accordance with the international criminal justice, human rights and humanitarian norms. Article 11 of the Rome Statute of the........ Read More.
*Photo Caption - President Goodluck Jonathan