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10/20/12

*Atlanta 2012 Igbo Day Symposium: Call For Paper Presentations

By Igbo Union Atlanta

Igbo Day Symposium

Igbo Union Atlanta USA, Inc., in collaboration with the Igbo Community and friends of Igbo people, will hold the 2012 Igbo Day Symposium on Friday, November 9th, followed by the main event on Saturday, November 10th, 2012, in the Igbo Community building [aka “Obi Ndi Igbo”] in Atlanta. This symposium is one of the activities marking this year’s 2012 Annual Igbo Day celebrations and fund-raising events.

In our quest to advance the collective interests and well-being of Igbo people (Ndi Igbo), this symposium will focus sharply on the imperatives of the daily challenges of life and prosperity for Ndi Igbo who reside in the international community (aka Diaspora). Therefore, we are looking for dynamic presenters and creative, interactive presentations that can deliver unique insight and best practices on topics focusing on these three broad areas: (1) social family/youth/marriage issues, (2) transitioning/relocation to Nigeria from the USA, and (3) practical ideas on wealth building/financial management.

The Igbo Day Symposium Committee is now accepting presentation proposals that address any of the following topics of interest:

• Transitioning or Relocation to Nigeria - Best Practices and Strategies for Success
• Family/Marriage Challenges for Ndi Igbo in the USA
• Roles of Igbo Community Organizations and Framework for promoting and facilitating successful transitioning of Ndi Igbo to Nigeria
• Family Crisis – Strategies for Restoring, Rebuilding, and Strengthening our Igbo families
• Financial Management and Wealth-Building Strategies – Best Practices for Retirement and Education
• Facilitating Marriages among Young Igbo Adults in the Diaspora – Strategies and Supportive Networks.

Please submit your presentation proposal for review to literacyconcepts@gmail.com no later than Saturday, October 27, 2012. Include the title and a brief summary/synopsis of your presentation. Selected presenters will be notified by email no later than Saturday, November 3, 2012.

Symposium Subcommittee: Prof. Martin Okafor (Chair), Dr. Chinedum (CT) Nwosu, Rev. (Dr.) C. Kingston-Ekeke, Dr. Bonn Otor, Dr. Jones Nwagbara, and Chief Ugo Onyemaobi (Igbo Day Event Chair).

 Map of Igboland

Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)

Igbo Day Symposium Flyer

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10/19/12

*Little Tips For Nigerians Coming To Study in Thailand

By Emmanuel Nweke Okafor

Dear Fellow Nigerian Students, After due reflection, I have decided to provide you with some tips about Thailand and some of the university requirements. I could not do this completely without first and foremost letting you be aware of what it takes to study, work and live in Thailand. Please note that the information given in this write-up are my personal opinion and some research opinions about life in Thailand and what it takes a Nigerian to come, study and live in Thailand.

About Thailand:

Thailand has common borders with Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, and Cambodia. The Northern part is often seen as the poorest part of Thailand. The Southern part of Thailand is the Muslim dominated areas with some form of political instability. Thai people are well known for their welcoming smiles. They are also hospitable people. Thailand is welcoming tourists. The country is one of the few countries that are not colonized. Thai is their national language. Good numbers of Thais do not speak English. However, they are gradually improving with the help of foreign teachers including Nigerian teachers in Thailand.

The Monarchy:

Thais love and revere their King and the Royal Family so much. As a Nigerian you are expected to show respect for the King, the Queen, and the Royal Family. Avoid any comment/action that might be deemed offensive to the Royal Family. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Thailand

Photo Above: Map of Thailand

Religion:

Religiously speaking, Thai people are very calm and respectful to all religions. The level of religious tolerance in Thailand is acceptable. Thai laws also tolerate other people’s religion. In religious places, you are expected to dress neatly and properly. You are also expected not to make too much noise. You should not wear shoes inside the temple that has Buddha image. There is a place you can take off your shoes. In all avoid any thing that will demonstrate a lack of respect in such a sacred place. It is directly the same compared to sacred places when visiting African Shrines.

Social Customs:

Thais greet in a prayer-like style which they called ‘wai’. Ordinarily, Thai people do not like to greet people by hand shake. Just as a young person greets the elderly one in our various Nigerian dialects, a younger Thai wais to an elderly Thai. When you arrive, you can easily learn this because it is very easy to learn. In Thailand, it is a bad manner to point your foot at a person. In Nigeria, it should be seen as nothing but in Thailand it could be seen as a bad omen. So it is preferable if you could use your finger, should you intend to point at anything to a Thai. Thais do not like people to touch their head or even any part of their body. This is different if considered in Nigeria, where such could be seen as a sign of good relationship but in Thailand you try to avoid unnecessary hand touch. Similarly, if you watch Thais at any social gathering, you will notice that young Thais go to considerable lengths to keep their heads lower than those of the elder ones. They do this in order to avoid giving the impression of disrespect to the elderly ones.

In Thailand public show of love between boys and girls are normally seen as a rudeness or uncultured behavior. Of course, just as in every other country, you can still see young ones who do not keep to the rules. You are expected to follow the footsteps of those who obey the rules. If you intend to be rude, then you may likely find things very difficult in Thailand. It pays to be calm and keep a cool head and conceal your emotions as much as possible. Talking too much or even losing your temper while talking with a Thai may likely make the matter worst for you. For Thais, such a behavior is simply a show of poor manners. As a Nigerian, if you abide by the rules and regulations of the Kingdom of Thailand, then, you are on your way to making more friends during your study. It simply goes to say that the more friends you make (if any), the more you will want to return to stay longer and study in Thailand without any problem from any angle.

From history, Thailand has a well-established hierarchical structure of status which begins from the Royal family and gets to everyone and everything else. So as a student, paying respect to your teachers should be a paramount important to you among other things. Again, Thais expect you as a visitor to dress appropriately in classrooms, and, in a formal public places. Hence as an undergraduate, you are expected to wear your school uniform while in the school vicinity otherwise you will not be attended to. It is good to note that Thais are quite conservative and patient. Thais do not talk too much and love to be calm and allow things to flow naturally.

How to get a student visa:

Firstly, you need to be in contact with the University and then apply for the program of your choice. Then the University is expected to ask you to provide your educational credentials. If you are applying for undergraduate courses then you are expected to provide the following:

• Six passport photos • Application Form • Application Fees • Copy of your WAEC / NECO / GCE / SSCE or EQUIVALENT • Three letters of Recommendations • Copy of your E-passport (the information page) if needed • School fees N/B: The lists are merely an educative estimate. Some universities request more while some request less. If you are applying for graduate courses then you are expected to provide the following: • Six passport photos • Application Form • Application Fees • Copy of your degree earned and the transcripts • Three Letters of Recommendations • Copy of your E-passport (the information page) if needed • School fees

N/B: The lists are merely an educative estimate. Some universities request more while some request less. The application procedures differ from university to university. While you can apply for some programs simply by sending application form and copies of your transcripts per e-mail, others request the complete documentation with certified copies and proper photographs. Note that Nigerian documents are carefully scrutinized for the simple reason that some Nigerians may have faked things. As soon as your application is accepted, you will be issued an acceptance letter, which is normally called ‘The Letter of Admission’. ( Continues below….. )

Books

Photo Above: Study Books

This Letter of Admission supposed and should in fact be printed on the official letterhead of the particular university that has accepted you. The letter must be signed by the authorized person or his assigned assistant. The content of the letter might differ from university to university but in all it must show that the university accepted you for a particular program and invites you to begin your studies at a certain date within a particular semester. Some universities will state the number of courses you will study.

In Thailand, the student visa is a one year visa. It is given to only to those who are qualified and actually intend to study. It is preferable if one pays for a complete school fees/tuition fees. You should try to register for at least 3 courses per semester. After the registration in a recognized or government approved university in Thailand, you should get your Thai student visa with the following documents:

• Letter of Admission • Letter from the university to the Thai Embassy requesting for Non-Immigrant Ed visa, • a photocopy of your E-passport (which must be valid for at least 6 more months), • recent passport-size photographs, • the NDLEA certificate, • the police criminal record, • the evidence of financial ability (bank statement), • all your educational credentials, • receipt of the school fees paid, • accommodation assurance, • Visa application form • Visa fees • ticket reservation

For those who are already in Thailand when they received the Letter of Admission, it is better and preferable to leave the country in order to apply for a non-immigrant ED visa from outside the country. While on tourist visa you may change it within the country without leaving to another country but the visa must be valid for at least 21 days in any case. Be informed that of recent, it is very difficult to change from tourist to Non-immigrant visa. As to the photographs, don’t carry or where anything that might change your face.

Thailand will give you a full one-year visa based on documents demonstrating that you are indeed ready to study at the Thai university. Be informed, that your application alone doesn’t make you a student. Therefore, the student visa is only valid for 90 days when you get it the first time. You are expected to report to the Immigration at the expiration of each 90 days. You must learn to practice this till you leave the country.

Working with a student visa:

Please you are not allowed to work with student visa. You are permitted to study. Should you intend to work then apply for Non-B visa with the appropriate documents with the company that had employed you. The idea of working and studying with student visa will only land you in jail and eventual deportation according to Thai laws. Reportedly, there are cases of students who, for instance, teach in order to finance their studies. Please be aware that this is illegal even if doing so is possible.

Feeding:

There are so many African foods or Nigerian food in Thailand. Normally as a new student, you may not find it easy with Thai food, therefore, you are advised to keep on with Nigerian food or other African food until your stomach gets adjusted to the Thai food. However, be informed that the African food could be very expensive but not too expensive.

Academics:

Education in Thailand is stable. There is no strike action. You can choose to complete your studies within a short period of time provided you are able to pay for the studies. It is possible to complete your bachelor degree within three years. It is also possible to complete your master degree within a year. Ordinarily, Nigerian students do better than other students from other countries. Remember that you must try to make at least CGPA of 3.0 although at most instances some universities may overlook that. Studies here are done both on the weekend and on weekdays depending on the university, and, on the program you enrolled in. Some universities include the text books as part of the school fees and therefore as you pay your school fees you are also paying for your text books. Most often classes here are not too crowded. There are good facilities as well.

Danger Points:

• Avoid doing your educational admission process with any agency except direct contact with the school or the university. • Avoid any form of forging of documents of any kinds. • Avoid telling lies in order to secure the visa. • Avoid any form of short cut in order to get the visa. • Avoid coming to Thailand to study when you have no sponsor. • Avoid moving with a person of questionable character. • Avoid avoiding the Nigerian Embassy in Thailand. • Avoid any form of drug trafficking. • Avoid any form of making money in an illegal way. • Avoid thinking that you are still in Nigeria when in fact you are in Thailand. • Avoid disrespecting your teacher. • Avoid unnecessary argument with your teachers in the classroom.

Good Points:

• Just maintain your normal African value, norms and culture and you will join us to smile in the land of smile. • It is not true that all Nigerians in Thailand are all in oddities. There are many Nigerians who are in Thailand with credible records. There are also many Nigerians who are in Thailand teaching, lecturing, and some are also doing genuine business. • Nigerian Embassy in Bangkok should be your home because they are always available if you prove to be a good student. The Embassy is very helpful. • Nigerian Student Forum is also very active and indeed very supportive. • Nigerian Community Association is also available and ready to help.

Recommended Thai Universities:

All the universities in Thailand are apparently recognized and approved by the Ministry of Education in Thailand. Approximately all the Thai universities have one exchange program with the world leading universities both in other parts of Asia, Europe and America. However, for Nigerians who would like to enroll in a university based on financial incentives; Siam University stands to be the best because the President of Siam University provides a scholarship for the African Students. Interestingly 99.9% of African students in Siam University are Nigerians. So far Siam University is the most favorable university in Thailand for a Nigerian applicant. However, essential screening is desired before one gets an admission in Siam University Thailand. I hereby recommend Nigerian student to try studying at Siam University Thailand. Your school fees/tuition fees in most cases are less than $1000. Incredulously, the university has the best of facilities/professionals/lecturers and teachers. Other universities are Assumption University, Ramkamheang University and so on. Good Luck.

Emmanuel Nweke Okafor is a PhD Student in Graduate School of Philosophy/Religion, Assumption University Thailand. He is presently a lecturer and the Supervisor in Language Laboratory Center, Siam University Thailand. He is a licensed teacher in Thailand. He also has his masters in educational administration in Thailand. He can be contacted vis his email address okaforemma@yahoo.com

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10/18/12

Permalink 02:30:00 pm, by admin Email , 516 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, South East News, African Issue, Tellers and Global Viewers

*Anambra State Flood Disaster Coordination Committee Visits Camps

-Masterweb Reports

Masterweb Reports - Monday, October 15, 2012: The Anglican bishop of Mbamili Diocese, Right Reverend Henry Okeke says Governor Peter Obi intervention has restored the hope and confidence of flood victims in the State, Bishop Okeke was speaking when accompanied some members of the State Flood Disaster Coordination Committee on a visit to some resettlement camps in Onitsha. He said the victims now felt encouraged and proud because the Governor and State Government threw their weight into the situation and have sustained efforts in giving them succor. He recalled that his prompt response to the flood crisis and effective mobilization and sensitization of the people saved a lot of lives, noting that people in the various camps are well provided and cared for.

At the New Bethel Primary School Camp Onitsha, Bishop Okeke debunked media report of rape and robbery in some camps and made clear that no case of rape or robbery has been recorded in any of the camps as there are effective internal and external security.

A member of the committee and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Professor Chinyere Okunna said the committee headed by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, met daily to update the flood situation and tour the various camps to access the welfare of victims, as well as identify more areas of need for prompt government intervention. She explained that in addition to the general welfare of the flood victims, government is particular committed in ensuring that every child in the camps should be enrolled by their parents in the nearest school around the camps. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Anambra State, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Map of Anambra State

Also speaking, another member of the committee and Commissioner for Local Government, Mrs. Azuka Enemuo noted that the visit afforded them opportunity access the impact of Government intervention and find out more ways to improve the welfare of the victims. She lamented that the State is the worst hit in the flood disaster as it is located at the lowest point of the River Niger.

At Bishop Crowther Memorial Primary School Onitsha, the Commissioner announced that the Government has arranged with the Holy Rosary Specialist Hospital, Waterside Onitsha to provide medical services to the flood victims at Government expense while Medical team from the Ministry of Health and Local Government Councils will equally be at hand to provide services.She explained that short and long term measures have been designed to tackle the various challenges of the flood while the committee is working closely with Local Organising Committees and camps management committee to provide prompt services.

Also speaking, a member of the Anambra West Transition Committee, Mrs. Theresa Onyekwe confirmed that the camp is well stocked with relief materials while Bishop Okeke has continued to compliment efforts of the State.

Some of the victims who spoke expressed gratitude to the government for providing with all their needs and regretted that those in charge of the camp were not living up to expectation.

Article Source: Masterweb Reports

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10/17/12

*General Ojukwu As An Institution

By Hon. Sylvester Obi Dikas

Ojukwu was 33years of age when the Nigerian Civil War erupted. He was born in the small Northern town of Zungeru while his father was on a short business trip. Born among the landed gentry of his multi-millionaire father, young Ojukwu grew to boyhood in the embrace of loving parents-Catholic education and Religion shaped his formative years naturally. His father -Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu was a bull of a man, highly cultured but not quite a man of erudition and yet he believed in formal education for all his children. At age 7, young Emeka Ojukwu was encouraged to read the classics on long evenings in front of his father’s huge and complex home.

By age 9, Ojukwu could write long passages from Illiad in Pope’s translation and knew the Catholic Bible by heart. Sir Louis died in September 1966,with a Knighthood of St. John-few months after the Nigeria’s military coup. Ojukwu had the education money could buy, Catholic Grammar School in 1940, Lagos King’s College soon after. At age 13, his father sent him to Epson College England and upon completing his high school, he moved into Lincoln College, Oxford. It was here that he had his first clash with his father and won. His father, the Victorian type, wanted him to study Law, but ‘Emeka’ Ojukwu wanted to read Modern History. Driven in on himself, Ojukwu developed a private philosophy of total self-reliance, and unyielding internal sufficiency that required no external support from others.

Despite frequent clashes with his House Master, Ojukwu excelled on the highest level of the class, played a good game of Rugby and set a new Junior Discus record. Ojukwu’s British classmate and sports partner called him “a Steam-Engine in pants-an African boy with enormous brain power.” Known to have a volcanic temper, young Ojukwu was deeply involved in students’ protests in his High School days. He was locked up for slapping his white English teacher, Mr Slade, for badgering him over incomplete project. Ojukwu earned his graduate degree in Modern History and hurried to his fatherland-Nigeria. Again, to express his independence, ‘Emeka’ opted for the Civil Service job rather than surrendering to his father’s recommendation- to be the Director of his father’s multi-millionaire business enterprise. He was subsequently made an Assistant Division Officer-[ADO] in a short span of time. In an effort to prove himself, Ojukwu threw himself into the work with great vengeance -personally taking part in building roads, ditches, culverts among the peasantry. ( Continues below….. )

Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu

Ironically, it was a vital apprenticeship for his future as the General of the People’s Army. At this position, Ojukwu mastered the Psychology of his people-the Ibos at the level of the common man. He understood their problems, fears and aspirations, prejudices and innuendoes. He joined the Nigerian Military after two years of Civil Service. This transition was ironical for a man who was to be accused of “breaking up the federation” during the Civil War. Historically, Ojukwu was a convinced Federalist who resented the narrow confines of regionalism -that straight-jacketed the Civil Service and he saw in the military an institution where tribe, race, and social standing should not count. Non-the less, Gen. Ojukwu was immediately sent for officer training at Eastern Hall, Britain and he graduated as a Second Lieutenant. After further advanced courses at Hythe and War Ministry in Britain, he was later promoted to Captain and sent to Army H/Q Lagos in 1955.

Highly talented and showing promise of a military genius, Ojukwu was sent to the popular West African Frontier Force in Ghana as a Lecturer in Tactics and Military Law. Back to Nigeria again, he was appointed Company Commander of the Fifth Battalion of the Nigerian Army. In 1962, Ojukwu was selected for further military training and he attended the Joint Services Staff College in England and upon his arrival in Nigeria, he was promoted to a Lieutenant-Colonel[1963] and became the first indigenous Quarter Master General. By virtue of his experience in this position, Ojukwu adopted a policy of “buying the best Arms and Munitions from any source. ”Under Ojukwu, the major old arms contracts with British firms were cancelled and fresh ones placed with more price-competitive manufacturers in Europe.

THE UNTOLD CHARACTER OF GEN. OJUKWU : THE COMPLEXITY AND CONTROVERSY OF A TITAN

After the military coup that culminated in the massacre of thousands of Easterners, the Commander of the nation’s Armed Forces appointed Ojukwu to govern the Easterners. He was truly a complex and controversial figure. He was highly respected and equally feared by many who know him intimately. His legacy transcended his military conquests. He was also an unrepentant, aristocratic snob whose devotion to the common soldier and his people was irreproachable. Forty-two years after the Civil War, Ojukwu’s name still reverberates world wide. An Oxford-educated, a military tactician, a Shakespearian admirer. He was an omnivorous reader. He consumed the biographies of Winston Churchill and mastered the Themes in Tolstoi’s War and Peace, and Ghandhi’s Non-Violence. Gen. Ojukwu was a Workaholic, a Public Policy Wonk who plowed through weighty tomes of history for pleasure and knowledge. He worked like the demons and drove his staff crazy with military work assignments. He looked cultured and mild-mannered but could be a fire-brand when angered or provoked.

Ojukwu,s life experiences helped him engage in the ineffable crucial struggles for his ‘defeated’ people and in seeking justice and truth, he tended to liberate the truth by seeking liberty for all. Ojukwu was tough. He was charismatic. He was brilliant. He had no peers in the annals of modern warfare. He argued his people’s case with matchless accuracy, thunder and dash. He was passionate, but arrogant where situation called for it. He was vilified and deified by both critics and admirers. When it came to the business of War and Governance and Fair play, Ojukwu had no competitors. His profile reveals a complex personality of a man who struck fear into the Nigerian Civil War Generals and left everyone questioning the sanity of ‘this demigod.’

Gen. Ojukwu was “a man of many parts.” He was a master of showmanship, a fighter, a war strategist, perhaps an idealist, an insatiable political animal. Many believed that in a country of imponderables, Ojukwu is Nigeria’s last hope. He was also a mystic who believed in reincarnation, a Catholic by birth and orientation, but a Calvinist in practical daily life. Ojukwu practiced misanthropy- “Save for the Rainy Day.; ”he would always caution. His personal savings summed up to $8million in the British Bank. But he squandered the entire savings when the realities of war became apparent to Biafra. “ Here is a man for whom you could go to hell and come back, ”remarked Captain Anene of the Biafran Engineering Unit, in admiration of Ojukwu’s talents. Many believed in the infallibility of ‘His Excellency.’ His British greatest admirer likened Ojukwu to Daniel Webster-” a super professional with a volcanic inner drive that propelled him on, when others chose to stop.” As both practitioner and philosopher of Martial Arts, Ojukwu was an avid reader, [five hundred words in a minute] a devoted student of his Oxford University and prolific writer and Celebrated Orator. He often used his Diary as a stetch pad and as a means of venting his spleen. The General’s gift for aphorisms had a didactic influence on generations of people. Many quoted him during and after the Civil War. Succinct snatches such as “Hold the serpent by his head”, “ Let all Biafrans sleep with one eye open.” “No power in Black Africa can subdue us” and “May God have mercy on our enemy,” were prominently heralded in the national newspapers and quoted by Foreign Press. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra

Photo Above: Map of Defunct Republic of Biafra

August, 15,2005, this writer had one-time opportunity to meet with Gen.Ojukwu at his Enugu War-like - looking Palace. He was routinely surrounded by a handful of the Biafran Ex Generals reminiscing over their pension status and pleading with Gen. Ojukwu to help with their full benefits. It was a casual discussion, but Ojukwu digressed and talked about why the Roman Empire fell and spent endless time synthesizing the qualities that separated Great Commanders from “Average Mortals.” “Leadership is the element that wins battles; I have it but I will be damned if I can’t use it.” he smiled fiendishly to the retired Generals.. He had certain permanent ‘trademarks’ no other human has: a relentless quiet aggression, faith in a military offensive, an uncanny instinct for the enemy intention and dispositions, a steely unwillingness to sustain high casualities-perhaps out of conviction that “cowards die many times before their death.”

Ojukwu is a legend. He kept extensive diaries of events but made few confidences. Unlike millions of humans, he was a composite of different personalities, drives and characteristics. He was a distinct African type, equatorial, gallant and seasoned -the product of a tough, difficult, disciplinarian father with no overtones of quilt, a stern morality humanized by British Oxford Education, a profound sense of right and wrong that owed more to the Bible and moral education-“doing the right thing” than to any set of political doctrine. Certainly Ojukwu is the type historian Bernard De Voto called “The tall, the gallant, the gaunt, the powerful, sallow men-men of great mental and physical strength.” Surely, his basic values are those hardened by hard work, perseverance, selflessness, and dignity of labor. Only a few close friends of Ojukwu knew that he was disarmingly informal and ingratiatingly friendly but took himself very seriously. He accomplished his intended daily goals in a record time and chose his intimates meticulously. He trusted few-the consequence of war experience but kept a good distance from his subordinates, except a nucleus of powerful uncles and cousins. ”It’s impossible to be intimate with these hard-playing, rambunctious generals,” commented a war-time Biafran Ambassador defending Ojukwu and pleading anonymity. ( Continues below….. )

Charles O. Okereke and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Late Chief (General) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Eze Igbo Gburugburu( right ) Click For Enlarged Photo
- Click Here To Read "Dim Ojukwu: A Visionary Statesman"

Visibly anti-imperialist, Ojukwu challenged Harold Wilson and the British government over the morality and brutality of their Arms-Supply policy to one side in the conflict.” “Britain, leave us alone, so that we can solve our problems in our own way.!” Yet, his precise, no nonsense approach to national affairs endeared him to the world leaders. He literally frowned at the complacent and the idiotic, yes, a sterling model for humanity. Ojukwu loved Nigeria, but he loved Biafra more when confrontation became inevitable. He had zero-tolerance for the ‘laggards’- what he called “political insufferable whip-per-snappers.” Close associates of Gen. Ojukwu sworn that he practiced Psychic Phenomenon known as ‘de-ja vu’ -the sensation of having been somewhere or seen military events before. This had extraordinary positive effect on him. That is why Ojukwu viewed war in its broadest panorama, and applied the lessons of the past to real situation and current experiences to future plans.

Episodes of the past were deposited in Ojukwu’s mind like grains of gold in South African River ready to be washed out. He would always identify himself with them, and would adopt them as his own subconscious memories. He forgot nothing-he was naturally endowed with encyclopedic mind.-What a mega-photo memory! Ojukwu viewed himself therefore as a timeless man who would have been fit to live in any time and age. “ Gen.Ojukwu would have been a good Field Marshall in the time of Napoleon” remarked a Biafran General in his administration. ’His Excellency’ once affirmed that “Men live in deeds, not in years” as he faced the World Press. He also reaffirmed the occult notion about reincarnation of a ‘fighting man‘ in no uncertain terms in his personal philosophy- “To thy Own Self Be True.” quoting Shakespeare. As an Extraordinary character, Ancient and Modern History made an enormous impact on Ojukwu. Instinctively , young Ojukwu emphasized the study of Ancient History in High Schools and studied Modern History in Oxford, England. He read tons of books on Mythology. “If you want to predict the future ,study the past.“ Ojukwu would always remind the youthful high school Biafrans as he visited local schools. Cerebral and studious, Ojukwu’s mystique is that he projected self-confidence in all situation. He never smiled, except in a magnetic way, and could not be anything else but authentic.

Interest in History determined Ojukwu at a tender age to become a soldier later in life. But he’s literally destined by tradition and genetics, ordained so to speak by the chromosomes of Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu and his African ancestors-a kindred known for their frontier mentality. Ojukwu, the product of British Military Schools would always claim: “Im sure, my ancestors are always with me; They’re watching. They expect a lot of me.” and he gesticulated into the high heaven with the contours of his Castroic eyes wider than ever. The General’s first marriage to Njideka produced two sons. But the relationship became a casualty of the Civil War.It floundered on the alter of deromanticism!

“Emeka loved his family intimately, but he loved Biafra more“, recalled a close friend of Ojukwu’s wife regrettably. “He’s always at the hem of things-at the war fronts, planning, executing, commanding, plodding-a true perfectionist, no quality time for his family.” General Ojukwu made history for himself. As a positive, creative force in Nigeria and in his chosen profession, as an intellectual, as a natural leader, as a visionary and a comforter, as a military genius, as a writer and an orator, as a chronicler of his time and age, as a peace-maker, as an individual terribly and universally admired and feared alike, as the most controversial Nigerian and African, he remains an enigma and a hydra-headed superman. Simply put, Ojukwu remains an indestructible force. No one can pin him down. He was always at the center of controversy. What an indispensable, ageless political animal! And no wonder that Gen. Ojukwu’s British classmate and Sports Partner nicknamed him “a Steam Engine in Pants.” Though dead and buried, but many believe that this Demi-god [ god of War] is still alive and well, and will continue to contend in Nigeria’s rough-and-tumble politics. The British Tony Blair was very blunt in his description of the General: “There’s universal belief that Ojukwu possesses intimidating-cult personality; face-to-face, it was almost impossible to dislike him. I found I had to like him despite all the evidence to the contrary. He’s truly clever, quick and capable of huge efforts over short time span, and his ethical credentials are beyond reproof.”

FINAL DAYS OF A TITAN: While in sick-bed, in London, Gen. Ojukwu warned and advised his people through his most trusted Surrogate - Gov. Peter Obi of “a whirlwind we would reap by not studying our history-history of great events, great Movements and great people.” “If we forget what we did, we won’t know who we are. I’m warning of the eradication of the Ibo Memory that could ultimately result in an erosion of the Ibo Spirit.” The General raised his head from his bed, looked around and signaled to Gov. Obi for a whisper. Surprising to his VIP visitors, Ojukwu continued with what he considered as ‘Dogma of Life for his people’:

** “ Eastern States should not be treated as Archipelago of human Suffering or as the Devils’ Island. Rabbits can’t survive in a jungle, only Lions can. The tongue is sharper than two-edged knife- How many times do we kill with our tongues? Don’t forget that America was founded by individuals who first were on their knees before they were on their feet. Don’t ever throw rocks and stones at one another for the sake of political gamesmanship. The signal of Weakness is a dangerous one, and could place you on a Tinder Box. The next Nigerian President should have unprecedented opportunity to break with the past-and re-invent Nigerian Politics at home and its image abroad. No one can live meaningfully without the Bible. With all biological baggage women possess, they are our Best Hope in politics.” “ Corruption in Nigeria requires a multi-prong approach: the Mass Media, prominent individuals in high places, Professors, intellectuals, and private organizations.” ( Continues below….. )

Obi with others at a wing outside Enyimba Sports Stadium to receive Ojukwu's body

Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi with others at a wing outside Enyimba Sports Stadium to receive Ojukwu's body into the stadium.
CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

( Continues below….. )

Ojukwu's burial tomb

Photo Above: Security guards deployed at Ojukwu's tomb immediately after burial. *Tomb behind gate in photo.
CLICK FOR ENLARGED PHOTO.

BOOKS WISE PEOPLE SHOULD READ: As a British Journalist observed, the General looked exhausted after his long ‘sermon‘ from his sick bed, but his bewitchingly beautiful wife-Bianca quickly served her husband a glass of red wine. , Ojukwu gained momentary energy and moved into another phase of ‘educating’ his hospital friends and visitors the virtues of reading ‘good books.’ “For people to be humanized, they have to read the FOUR most important BOOKS in this universe.” Gen. Ojukwu emphasized with alacrity. ** The Oxford Book of 16th Century Verse- The Glory of English Poetry
** The Complete Works of Shakespeare
** The Bible
** Charles Dickens-by David Copperfield.

Bold and unapologetic, Ojukwu’s human engineering is unfathomable. He remains one of the colossus of the Twentieth Century Africa. Energetic, and bull-headed, the retired General is closely watching the dichotomies and tribal intrigues in his native Nigerian Politics. Gen. Ojukwu is truly an INSTITUTION for all Nigerians, the people of the Millennium and particularly for the Ibo race.

Hon. Sylvester Obi Dikas, Ph.D. ( SDikas@aol.com )
Member, Writers’ Guild of America
Scholar of Gen. Ojukwu as An Institution

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10/16/12

*Ndigbo Celebrates Igbo Day At Asaba, Delta State With Fanfare

-Masterweb Reports

Masterweb Reports - Saturday, October 6, 2012: Delta State capital, Asaba witnessed a flurry of activities between Friday, 28th September and Saturday, 29th September, 2012 when Igbos from all works of life gathered to observe the Igbo Day celebration.

The occasion hosted by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State witnessed speeches by Igbo leaders, cultural dances and goodwill messages. The event conducted in a clement weather and at the Cenotaph in Asaba, began with lectures at the Grand Hotel Asaba. The lectures were delivered by a well known political scientist Professor BIC Ijeomah, Professor Ralph Nwokedi and Dr. Mrs Ofomata, a well known author of several works on culture and history.

In his well laced message to Ndigbo, the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Amb. Ralph Uwechue went into memory lane on the checkered history of Ndigbo in the Nigerian Project. He called on Ndigbo to unite and pursue their goals in Nigeria with an unwavering candour and indubitable resilience. He re-iterated the commitment of Ohanaeze Ndigbo to the Nigerian Presidency of Igbo extraction project. ( Continues below….. )

President-General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue

Photo Above: President-General Ohaneze Ndigbo, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue

In his key note address, the Governor of Delta State who came to the venue of the event very early declared the event a historic one in the sense that is was the first time and during his regime that such event was holding in Delta State. He advocated an increased geo-political rapport between the South East and the South South, emphasizing that the geo-political and even economic interest of both zones are coterminous. He traced the history of the geo-political and economic contagion between the two zones which culminated to the massive Igbo vote for a South Southerner Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 Presidential election. Declaring himself an Igbo man, Governor Uduaghan re-iterated his commitment to promote inter-ethnic harmony among all the ethnic groups in Delta State. He also shared the view of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on the Handshake Across the Niger.

In his speech, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State and Chairman of the Forum of South East Governors congratulated the President-General of Ohanaeze Amb. Ralph Uwechue, the Chairman of the 2012 Igbo Day Planning committee Dr. Joe Nwaorgu and the National Executive Committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo for -organizing the historic event. He called on Ndigbo to unite and speak with one voice on national issues while strengthening the bond of fraternity with their nearest neighbours and brothers in the South South.

In his own speech, Senator Ben Obi who represented the Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria Senator Anyim Pius Anyim stressed on the need for Ndigbo to keep the Dreams of their forebears alive and assert themselves in the larger Nigeria family. The Chairman of the event and Former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe saluted Ndigbo for their resilience and courage. He re-iterated that Igbos everywhere irrespective of geographical or spatial diversity remain one. He called on Ndigbo to remain focused and demand their legitimate rights in Nigeria. ( Continues below..... )

 Map of Igboland

Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)

The former Vice President Dr Alex Ekwueme harped on Igbo Unity and the urgent need for Igbo rediscovery. The representative of the Governor of Abia State Chief Dr T A Orji and the Deputy Governor of the state, Chief Emeka Ananaba traced the dialectics and checkered history of Ndigbo in Nigeria and congratulated the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for noting the historical imperative of building bridges and knitting together Igbos from all corners of Igboland.

The Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State who represented the Governor, Chief Seriake Dickson congratulated Ndigbo for finding it necessary to build brigdes with their brothers in the South South and hoped such bond will continue in the years ahead. The Governor of Imo State Owelle Rochas Okorocha was also on hand though few minutes to the end of the program to give his Igbocentric halo to the event.

The President of the Igbo World Assembly (IWA), Dr. Anakwenze whose organization had earlier had a lecture on the 27th of September with the theme "Actualisation of Igbo Agenda and Youth Empowernment" was full of joy for the success of the event and and assured Ndigbo that IWA would always work with Ohanaeze Ndigbo to protect the interest of Ndigbo all over the world.

The highlight of the event was cultural dances, processions and youth activities. Many top Igbo dignitaries like Pa Onyenso Nwachukwu, Dr Anagha Ezikpe, Chief J D Maduako, Dr Gorge Obiozor, Dr ABC Nwosu, HRH Eze Ilomuanya, Ohanaeze chieftains, Igbo youth leaders and Umuada Igbo graced the occasion.

Chuks Ibegbu (Writer on national and international issues) 08035410176

Article Source: Masterweb Reports

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*Chinua Achebe’s Biafra Memoir and Awo’s Ignorant Apologists

By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke

While I’m anxiously waiting for my copy of “There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra” by Prof. Chinua Achebe, I couldn’t believe the barrage of critics of the Novelist, the most celebrated writer in the world by nobodies and nonentities including the unruly Femi Fani-Kayode, a political idler who ought to be serving jail sentence if Nigeria had been a genuine democratic and civil society.

The piece “Obafemi Awolowo and Chinua Achebe’s tale of fantasy” by Femi Fani-Kayode reveals his ignorance and lack of grasp of the dark, sad and sordid history of a nation he once served as a thug under former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Femi Fani-Kayode is simply rude and ignorant. Perhaps, he has not read Professor Wole Soyinka’s book on the Nigerian-Biafran civil war and how the Nobel Laureate spoke against the atrocities perpetrated against Ndi-Igbo. Even his masterpiece treatise on the nation: “The Open Sore of a Continent – A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis” by the Nobel Laureate for Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka talked about the flawed origin of Nigeria. I just couldn’t believe how the ignorant Femi Fani-Kayode could criticize a true and historic book memoir written by one of the celebrated story-teller of all time. His rush to criticism clearly shows that Femi Fani-Kayode is rude, arrogant, and ignorant.

Prof. Chinua Achebe wants to set the record straight before he departs this earthly realm. I think that the novelist is a very wise man. I join millions around the world to thank him and pay gratitude to him for setting the record straight about those who perpetrated such malicious atrocities and genocide against Igbo people. The Nigerian State should simply seek for genuine reconciliation by sincerely repenting of its hate and maliciousness against Ndi-Igbo and ask for forgiveness. Otherwise, Nigeria will never have peace and prosperity until sincere apology is tendered and genuine forgiveness and reconciliation made. ( Continues below..... )

Prof. Chinua Achebe

Photo Above: Prof. Chinua Achebe

There is no doubt that the late Obafemi Awolowo was and even in death, remains a revered political figure in Yoruba. We all have respect for visionary people like him. The political history of Nigeria cannot be written without his name being mentioned many times. He was a great political figure and icon, who fought for the welfare of Yoruba people. The high level of enlightenment and educated Yoruba people today is attributed to his vision for free education in the Western region. However, the answers to why he, the Finance Minister during Gowon regime then, introduced monetary policies that were purely punitive and spiteful treatment of the Igbos, whom he had already defeated in war remains to be answered. His monetary policies such as – change of currency, twenty pounds policy, starvation measures, abandoned property, etc., were so detrimental to Ndi-Igbo. It was a nine years of spiteful and pernicious treatment of people who had already lost everything. That was evil and malicious. ( Continues below..... )

Chief Obafemi Awolowo

Photo Above: Chief Obafemi Awolowo

And so the rambunctious Femi Fani-Kayode may help the nation to heal by answering these questions:

1. After the civil war, who and why was the twenty pounds policy introduced?
2. During the war, why was starvation policy implemented? ?
3. Who and why was change of currency introduced after the civil war? ?
4. Who and why was abandoned property introduced and implemented across Nigeria after the civil war?

If Femi Fani-Kayode cannot answer those questions, then he should simply shut-up his mouth and stop being an ignorant apologist for a revered leader, who simply made mistakes as a great leader. Mr. Fani-Kayode should stop criticizing and writing against Prof. Chinua Achebe memoir concerning one of the most dastardly mayhem and atrocities meted against Ndi-Igbo – or even write about a sordid history he’s so ignorant about.

Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.

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10/15/12

*A Call for Educational Revolution in Nigeria

By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke

Paul Marshall, a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, New York, and the author and editor of more than twenty books on religion and politics, once a victim of his own rage, wrote, “We live in a world of cynicism, cruelty and corruption.”

Paul Marshall was right then and even now. No one can deny the fact that the values and standards of our society as a whole are rapidly declining - morally, ethically, socially, and above all spiritually – despite the abundance of Churches, Temples and places of worship in the country. The most culpable of this degradation are the young people.

Nigerian institutions of higher learning especially in the South-east and South-south regions have become centers of strikes, riots, prostitution, sexual harassment, rape, cultism and poor lecturers. The university campuses have also become haven for incompetence, corruption, cheating, conflict, violence, gang activity, rape, killings, and all manners of evil and atrocity – rather than institutions of higher learning and innovation. And this is simply due to the massive failure of leadership in the education sector – where those who direct our educational ministries and institutions are simply corrupt, myopic, and visionless. ( Continues below..... )

University of Ado-Ekiti students demonstrate against cultism.

Photo Above: University of Ado-Ekiti (UNAD) students demonstrate against cultism. *Ado Ekiti is a city in Ekiti State, Nigeria. It is also known as Ado. The population in 2004 was 44,6749.

From 1999 till date, the South battled the scourge of broad day armed robbery, kidnapping, political assassinations, child trafficking, drugs peddlers, 419, ritualists, false and idolatrous religious shrines, satanic churches, and gang activities. It was the kidnapping of 15 young school children at Aba in 2011 that ignited the anger of most Nigerians that compelled the police and military personnel to work together to fight kidnapping, which was then a national opprobrium. Southeast and in fact most of Southern Nigeria was almost ungovernable because of the scourge of armed robbery in SE, political motivated killings in SW and kidnapping in SS. Theses atrocities coupled with corruption were clear indication of lawlessness and failed Nigerian state. Nowadays, it is factory babies located all over the Southeast and South-south.

Also last year, the vicious gang rape video at Abia State University made headlines around the world. Nigerians were angry and outraged and many including this writer called for educational reform offered ideas which will be reproduced in the later part of this piece. Today, it is the video of a barbaric killing of four university students at the University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria – going viral on the Internet. ( Continues below….. )

Books

The barbaric lynching and malicious murder of those four Uniport students at Omuokiri-Aluu community near Choba, Port Harcourt, is simply evil and satanic. This barbaric killing is an outrage. In fact, it should call for a revolution in educational sector in Nigeria. The manner in which those students were murdered underscores the sickening immorality of the present failure of educational leadership and culture of learning in Nigerian. This is clearly an evidence of a hopeless and purposeless university education in Nigeria today. The lynching video is a picture of insecurity and lawlessness in the university campuses in Nigeria today. These kinds of wicked and barbaric atrocities are also clear evidence of hopelessness, ignorance, unrighteousness, pervasion and poverty that pervades the land.

Rivers State, a recipient of huge oil revenue from the federal government should be able to setup a 21st century University environment with free learning materials and access to modern technology and social media facility for students to learn and compete globally. Instead this government as well as previous ones have been corrupt, myopic visionless and lack the approach to turn such a rich oil-rich State with enormous and diverse human potential into a 21-century first class State. The killing of Uniport students is a failure of educational and political leadership as well as incompetent government. Robert M. Franklin, PhD., a public intellectual and president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, USA, in his book, “Crisis in the Village – Restoring Hope in African American Communities”, writes, “That three unique institutions that form the foundation of every society - the family, government, and Church are in serious crisis. He argued that the family, which is the bedrock and the moral fiber of every civil society and perhaps the most important of all, is in a crisis of commitment. The government has lost its social and economic purposes while the religious institution - the church has lost its moral and spiritual mission. ( Continues below..... )

Map of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Rivers State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)

The perpetrator and sponsors of these vile, evil, and satanic killings should be punished severely - even with death penalty. I weep and bemoan Nigeria today.

Here are some ideas to address the crisis in the education sector and institutions of higher learning in Nigeria.

1. Parents, schools, educationists and policy makers must work together to transform the culture of purposeless educational system in Nigeria. The community must demand for equipped schools and quality education from their providers. Parents must rise up and demand for better, improved, and equipped schools as well as quality teachers. Parents must partner with schools and government to educate their young children and nurture the future leaders of Nigeria. I can still remember when villages contributed money to support a brilliant student, who has no means to attend school or university in Nigeria or overseas. We must return to community and parents involvement in providing education for the young people.

2. The home must become the first ethical learning and education center. In African traditions and cultures, children were taught their identity and moral obligations within the family household and extended family unit. Literacy and learning were treasured skills in early West African empires. The early West African nations were known for their political astuteness and intellectual ability and it all began at home. Today the strong traditions of teaching and learning that were present in early African empires that thrived have been replaced with quick rich programs. For the Jewish family, education began at home the moment the child is born. The ancient Greek philosophers also believed that ethical and philosophical instruction should begin at home when children are young.

3. Political leaders must enact education policies that benefit the young people and the community. Education policy makers must partner with businesses and government as well as international organizations to educate the young people. I read how the former Governor of old Imo State, the late Governor Sam Mbakwe visited his alma mater in USA and pleaded with the university for free books and educational materials for Imo State schools. He accomplished a lot in the area of education during his administration from 1979 and 1983 more than any of his successors. In fact no governor from the South East since 1983 has made any significant achievement compared in the area of education and higher learning like the late Chief Mbakwe. The current political leaders – especially those heading the education ministry must reach out and seek for assistance including international foundations, Diaspora organizations, etc., to transform the schools and institution of higher learning in their communities. The culture of corruption must stop. Vision and innovation must thrive again in Nigerian schools and universities.

4. Schools, colleges, and universities must become centers for both intellectual and character development. Universities must not teach only Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Innovation, etc., but must also redesign its curriculum to compete globally. The school curriculum must be designed to nurture the student to become not just an intellectual giant but a public moralist. Schools must become centers for character development – nurturing student of high academic achievement with moral behavior. Schools must become centers for good role model and excellent leadership development.

5. The irresponsible laws and reprehensible actions of government and political leaders must stop. Government must encourage and seek private investment and partnership in education. Private centers of learning must be encouraged. There must be private initiatives and non-governmental agencies to overseer private schools and college operations. Competition and reward system must be encouraged by businesses and private education investors.

6. Education advocates and crusaders must be nurtured. These are practically non-existent in Nigeria today. The education enthusiasts must rise up and speak out.

7. Educational philanthropy must also be encouraged. Today, a typical Nigerian – especially from the South will give millions of Naira for nonsense titles, but will not give any kobo to philanthropy, schools, Scholarships or support the training of young people. Some Nigerians will give millions to receive accolades but will not genuinely give for the training and development of young people for leadership. That warped and morbid mentality of thinking must change.

8. In the past, school drop out due to poverty and peer pressure for quick rich beefcake business was not an option. It must be discouraged. Parents must again emphasize the importance of education and demand that their children get a quality and good education, which is a right and basic duty of the government – federal, state or local governments. ( Continues below..... )

Members ASUU protesting in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria in September this year.

Photo Above: Members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) protesting in Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria in 2010. Click For Enlarged Photo
- Click Here To Read "Nigerians Deserve Quality Education"

Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.

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10/14/12

*Why Igbos Are Nigeria's Chosen Tribe

By Dr. James C. Agazie

Frightening statistics are arriving. Remove the Igbos from the country, and Nigeria will collapse like 1-2-3, like a flimsy deck of cards. Despite all their travails, the Igbos are the tribe chosen to bear the burdens of Nigeria. Throughout the 50 years Nigeria has masqueraded as an independent nation, Igbos have been credited with making meaningful strides to maintain Nigeria’s membership among the league of civilized nations. What the Igbos garnered with picks the other tribes scattered with spades or embezzled or sold off with when no one was looking, And the Northern oligarchies, long known for their aversion to Western education, are rarely stakeholders in Nigerian affairs. The Bedouins have siphoned off all they could to Saudi Arabia and other clandestine places. Now, tell me. What have the oligarchies done with the zillions of Naira sunk into Northern abyss? Nothing. An absolute zero. Zilch. Nothing was accomplished unless you want to determine the numbers of the blind, leprous, and beggary citizenry neglected by their state governments. The Igbos are the only tribe to possess the semblance of modernization and patriotism that translates to patriotism or desperately needed love of country. Can one say the same thing about the other tribes?

Statistics proves the Igbos are becoming the fastest growing ethnic group in the world, making up 75-80% of Lagos, 40% of Northern cities such as Kano or Jos; and flocking to Ghana by the hundreds everyday. The ubiquitous Igbos are migrating to America, UK and Canada by the millions. Why? First, the Igbos love to lead; they love education and they love progression, as opposed to regression (defined as weakening, failure, decay, deterioration, waning, drop, or degeneration). The Igbos hate stagnation in all its ramifications.How else can the Igbos duplicate themselves but through education and regeneration (defined as renewal, revival, renaissance, rejuvenation, or restoration)?

The Igbos believe in taking care of their children. Contraception is a taboo in the Igbo culture where madu ka eji aka (we win by sheer numbers). Advocating sterilization or abortion in the Igbo community is considered the enemy’s ploy to wipe out the tribe, much as the boko harans, a group of violent, illiterate, nihilistic disaffiliates attempting to express political ambitions camouflaged as diabolical religious views. Fourthly, the physical Igbo child is sublime (defined as inspiring, inspirational, sensational, awe-inspiring, moving, transcendent or simply motivating). Who doesn’t know that Ahamefula (my name shall not be lost) and Nwakaego (the child is more valuable than money) are popular names for Igbo boys and girls, respectively?A child provides the mechanism through which society continues to exist. So, what do the Igbos do to maintain the leadership Nigeria desperately needs? ( Continues below..... )

 Map of Igboland

Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)

Let Igbo brains spring forth and excogitate ways to maintain the leadership Heaven has thrust upon them, particularly leadership in agriculture, business, education, politics, and medicines. There are sore difficulties involved in leading Nigeria by way of increased agricultural production because the Igbos have not much arable land, as you have in Benue State and other states in Northern Nigeria.And if the Igbos manage to buy some arable land, good policies will have to be put in place to prevent people squabbling and committing crimes as inhabitants in the Western Nigeria do with body parts. Try confiscating Izza land in Abakaliki, and you risk of having disgruntled men come after you with machetes, and blunt implements. Entrepreneurship won’t do it because the Northern Nigerian oligarchies, as hosts, do not usually allow the visitor free purchasing power in land . Case in point: Igbo visitors in Northern Nigeria are chased out after developing the land.

With the level of economic power the Igbos have, they can easily electrify Nigeria, build roads, and usher in massive industrial development to make unemployment a thing of the past. Will non-Igbo tribes whose faces are contorted by murderous jealousy allow this to happen? Please reread my essay on Nigeria being the burden of suffering Igbos: the Igbos must develop Nigeria and be willing to die in the process. Since agriculture and education are not viable tools in Igbos hands to develop Nigeria, could one consider entrepreneurship as an alternative? But my homeboy Silas stopped me with a reminder: “Remember the Ebenato man from near your mother’s village and how he placed his medical degree from India in the toilet and went into business like crazy?”

What of education? Because the Igbos have been lovers of education long before Nigeria achieved independence as a sovereign nation, they had become successful community developers, city planters, and managers of schools.Igbos went to school with intensity and acquired all types of skills that kept Nigerian in good stead as the country prepared for self government. There are Igbos with expertise in all fields Nigeria needs to develop as a nation. It is unfortunate that tribalism, nepotism, and greed do not permit full exploitation of Igbo talents. After working for 2- years as so at jobs under dangerous, unfriendly conditions, the Igbos are packing their bags and heading into business, Silas comes again: “Remember that young doctor from your village with engineering doctorate who served as commissioner for the environment in the North and how he quit and went into self employment at Abuja?” Yes, I remember this man and once spoke with him.

“Dr O (real name), Sir, what are you doing at Abuja?”

“Environmental consulting with Federal Government.”

“Ehe, damn. Why’s that so, homeboy?”

“I just don’t see myself working for someone in a hostile environment or being in some political appointment.”

How do the Igbos measure up in politics? There are rumors the Igbos arenot temperamentally suited for politics; they are too inflexible, impatient, proud, self aggrandizing, and possess a convoluted theory of tribal superiority (just as the Jews do).Many Igbo friends decry corruption, downrightthievery and piracy of national treasury. Yet, give the some Igbos power over some important entities such as the Central Bank, and see what happens. From the body parts traders to the West and the cattle herdsmen in the North, the Igbos must not learn to rob motherland literally blind. Success in politics requires you learn by association and play wuruwuru games with the Hausas, Fulanis, Yorubas, Oyibo, armed robbers and kidnappers, all of whom you hold dear as bosom friends. Besides, politics isn’t about progress or love of country. The Igbos must be chameleons that change colors to match the environment? Successful Igbos are those who understand how to accommodate the other Nigerian tribes. Why Accommodation Is Not Enough is a topic for another essay.

Dr. James C. Agazie ( jamesagazie@yahoo.com )
678-886-1613

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10/13/12

*Nigerians in Thailand Celebrate the 52nd Independence Day Anniversary in Bangkok, Thailand

By Emmanuel Nweke Okafor

As we were told that, by an act of the British Parliament, Nigeria became an independent country within the Commonwealth on October 1, 1960. This great event has always been remembered all over the world by Nigerians at home and in Diaspora. As a commemoration, the Nigerians in Thailand celebrated their Country’s 52nd Independence Anniversary on Saturday 6th October 2012 with splendor and spectacle at First Hotel in Petchaburi Soi 11, Bangkok, Thailand.

This great event has additional meaning for Nigerians in Thailand as it was also an avenue to celebrate peaceful moment for the Nigerian Community in Thailand as peace once eluded Nigerians in Thailand has been restored (at least temporally) through the diplomatic and sincere efforts of His Excellency Ambassador Chukwudi Newington Okafor. Nothing motivates a community than a transformational leader as evidenced in the ambassadorial style of the present Nigerian Ambassador to Thailand. Nigerians in Thailand gathered to show their support and love to one another. Nigerians gathered to demonstrate willingly that they are indeed renewed.

As usual, the Ceremony was graced by the Nigerian Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand His Excellency C. N. Okafor, Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Babatunde Olanrewaju Ajisomo, Minister/Head of Chancery, Mr. Danjuma Itahari Tarfa, Minister (Political & Economic), Mr. Raymond Brown, Senior Counselor (Economic Matters), Mr. Geoffery Ijomah David Chima, Administrative Attaché I, Mrs. Beatrice Ogechukwu Ezendu,. These distinguished guests from the Nigerian Embassy were accompanied by their individual spouses. ( Continues below….. )

Map and Flag of Nigeria

Photo Above: Map and Flag of Nigeria

In his welcome Address, the President of the Nigerian Community Association, Thailand (NCAT) Mr. Gilbert Akudos Ndigwe lauded the Nigerian Ambassador and all the Nigerian Embassy staff for taking their time to attend the 52nd Independence Day Celebration and highlighted the roles Nigerians in Thailand have continued to play in the development of Thailand as well as improving the image of Nigeria as country. His statements may have explained and answered the question: why are the Nigerians in Thailand?

In his remarks, Ambassador C. N. Okafor commended the Nigerians in Thailand for comporting themselves in a good manner, he went on to emphasize on the idea and the need to maintain the atmosphere of peace, unity and forgiveness that is noticeable among Nigerians in Thailand in recent time. The ambassador further highlighted the recent efforts by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria led by President Goodluck Jonathan to make Nigeria a better country. The Ambassador noted that the Government is fighting against corruption and call on all the Nigerians in Thailand to help in their various units because the work of fighting for corruption should be done by all sides. He outlined the efforts being made by the embassy to organize the Nigerian in Diaspora Organization (NIDO Thailand chapter). He also hinted on the efforts to organize Nigerian students in Thailand. He urged the Nigerians in Thailand to continue comport themselves in good ways to attract foreigners to Nigeria. To read the remarks of the ambassador in full please check (http://www.nigeriaembassythailand.com/pe_06102012.php).

It is good to mention that Nigerians have never gathered in such a great number as seen on 6th October 2012. The get-together was a demonstration of the acceptance and happiness towards the great change at the Nigerian embassy Thailand. In Latin, it is said “contra factum non datur argumentum” meaning that you cannot argue against a proven fact. What is the proven fact here? Many may ask and the answer is not far off namely; that we have a transformational/people-oriented/listening leader in the Nigerian embassy now. It has never been recorded that, about one thousand Nigerians gathered with love, peace and unity in Thailand. It was only made possible because a leader who knows what it takes to be a leader has arrived; such leader is no other person than Ambassador C. N. Okafor. A nation building begins when we call a spade and spade. The Ambassador and his entourage joined with the president of NCAT went on to cut the independence anniversary cake followed by merriment and festivity by all present. ( Continues below….. )

Map of Thailand

Photo Above: Map of Thailand

During the events, the Federal Character was undeniably displayed as many other ethnic groups were perfectly represented. The diverse Nigerian-multiple cultures were in action. Various tribes were also involved in the Fashion Parade. Traditional War Dance, and drama also took place as many Nigerians were at their elevated spirit. Great and vibrant contributions of some distinguished Nigerians in Thailand were clearly observed, recognized and acknowledged. The financial secretary of the association was very active as he was able to showcase our Nigerian culture in most of the social events. He was able to mobilize his groups to achieve the goal.

Finally, the event ended with a closing prayer by one of the Nigerian pastors in Thailand. This write up cannot be concluded without pointing out the individual efforts of some executives in the Nigerian Community Association Thailand. Among the executives are the General Secretary, Mr Asuquo Dallas Sam, he had a sleepless night putting things in a rightful perspectives. The Assistant Secretary was in charge of the media outlet. He did a great video coverage and in fact had always interceded for Nigerians who are badly treated in Thailand. Though he is holding an assistant position but he does a lot to help Nigerians in Thailand. Many believed that the idea behind the magazine that featured some activities of Nigerians in Thailand was a brain child of the Assistant P.R.O Mr. Onyeka George Ikechukwu a student from Siam University, Thailand. Mr.Onyeka had sacrificed his time and his studies just to make the event a great red-letter day. The huge turnout might be accredited to him. In all, kudos goes to “Kudos”, the president of the Nigerian Community Association, Thailand and all his executives for making the day a remarkable day in the life of Nigerians in Thailand. It was indeed a day of special significance.

Emmanuel Nweke Okafor is a PhD Student in Graduate School of Philosophy/Religion, Assumption University Thailand. He is presently a lecturer and the Supervisor in Language Laboratory Center, Siam University Thailand. He is a licensed Nigerian teacher in Thailand. He can be contacted via his email address okaforemma@yahoo.com

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10/11/12

*Ohaneze Crisis And The Auctioning of Igbo Presidency (Part 1)

By Obinna Akukwe

Ohaneze Ndigbo the apex Igbo Social, cultural and political rallying point is enmeshed in crisis over allegations that some of the leaders have auctioned the Igbo presidency 2015 project due to presidential largesse estimated to run into billions of naira. This amount includes various sums allegedly released by the presidency for the purpose of settling Ohaneze chieftains in support of 2011 presidential bid and the second tranche released in appreciation for the role Ohaneze played in garnering Igbo votes for president Goodluck . There is wide belief among the protesting Ohaneze chieftains known as the transparency group that other sums, contracts and appointments are being obtained secretly to auction and scuttle any attempt by the Igbo people to present a common front for 2015. Presently, Ohaneze President General, Ambassador Ralph Uwechue is at loggerheads with the Secretary General, Chief Nduka Eya and Deputy President General, Chief Nnachi Enwo Igaliwey , Chief Chukwuemeka Onyesoh among others. Uwechue and his loyalists including Chief Joe Nworgu, Chairman of Igbo Day Organizing Committee among others are insisting that no such largesse was ever received from President Jonathan. This crisis have become so protracted that Ambassador Uwechue runs the Ohaneze Secretariat from his African House Residence in Asaba and has not visited the secretariat more than thrice in 2012.

Chief Nduka Eya has been insisting that transparency must be the watchword in Ohaneze Ndigbo financial dealings to avoid a situation where Igbo interests are sabotaged. He insists that whatever largesse from anybody, group, forum and even the presidency must as a matter of policy be tabled before the Ime-Obi Ohaneze so that the forum would decide whether to accept the gift or not, and on what condition. Chief Igaliwey claimed that he rejected his own share of Ohaneze national cake of N20 million naira which was an attempt to bribe him. He claims that since he rejected and exposed the dealings, his life is being threatened from unknown sources including sources claiming to come from within the presidency. Therefore, the man lives a life of hiding for safety purposes. ( Continues below….. )

Hon. Amb. Ralph Uwaechue

Photo Above: Hon. Amb. Ralph Uwaechue, President General Ohaneze Ndigbo

The accusations and counter- accusations which started as unsubstantiated reports have now grown to the point that the documented evidences are volumes and the chieftains are threatening to expose the entire dealings if the leadership fails to confess and ask for forgiveness. Since the once secret affair blew open, a lot of Igbo youth organizations and opinion leaders have been going on pilgrimage to Asaba to know whether they can collect their own share from the Ohaneze leader and reports have it that some of these groups did not go home empty handed.. Chief Rochas Okorocha called a meeting at Government House, Owerri in early September 2012 to settle the rift but the two parties stuck to their guns. Three days later he paid an unscheduled visit to Ohaneze Headquarters but met a disillusioned workforce.

Chief Nduka Eya , Chief Igaliwe and Chief Emeka Onyeso are leading the group which insists that Ohaneze Ndigbo is not a one man show and that Ambassador Uwechue must consult widely before any critical decision. They posited that neither the exco meeting nor the Ime Obi meeting has been called in the past twelve months. When the new National Security Adviser, Sambo scheduled to talk with Igbo leaders on the state of the nation at the Ohaneze Headquarters on the 13th of July 2012,, they accused Uwechue of scuttling the meeting because of personal differences with Senator Chukwumerije. ( Continues below….. )

Chief Nduka Eya

Photo Above: Chief Nduka I. Eya, Secretary-General (SG), Ohanaeze Ndigbo

They pointed out that Uwechue set up a personal outfit, the Ohaneze Foundation, which he allegedly used to collect billions of naira from the Goodluck Jonathan team under the guise of Igbo interest with the assistance of a presidential aide, Mr Akachukwu Nwankpa. This Ohaneze Foundation as part of its business venture is a transport outfit known as Ikenga Express with a fleet of about 30 buses. They insisted that Uwechue has been hijacked by the presidential aide and both of them are doing business with the name of Ohaneze and deceiving Jonathan. They claimed that he has cancelled the monthly Ime Obi meeting and Executive Council meeting, which has not held more than four times since the inception of his tenure in 2008 The Uwechue group insists that the Ohaneze leader have been running the secretariat from his personal finances since he came on board as the leader ,including payment of secretariat staff salary without any help from the disgruntled group, therefore they should hold their peace. They also insisted that there was no such business transaction and that Uwechue have used personal finances to support Ohaneze since the South East Governors failed to support the body financially. They also believe that Uwechue have not betrayed any Igbo interest if he collected some money to run Ohaneze when other ethnic nationalities were collecting theirs.

Various traditional rulers and elder statesmen in Igboland have tried to mediate on this crisis since the past eleven months to be able to forge a common front to present Igbo interests but the two groups have stuck to their grounds. This crisis almost took the shine off the 2012 Igbo day celebrations held at Asaba, Delta State. Many Ohaneze Chieftains boycotted the Igbo Day celebration at Asaba, Delta State in September 2012. However Governor Peter Obi graced the occasion while Governor Rochas Okorocha came after the end of the event.

It is obvious that other ethnic nationalities are repositioning themselves for 2015 while Ohaneze Ndigbo is bickering over presidential largesse which informed sources said was also extended to leaders of other ethnic nationalities, including the O’dua People’s Congress(OPC), Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), South South Peoples Assembly (SSPA), Middle Belt Forum, among others before, during and after the presidential elections.. The sharing of this national cake has not brought any conflict within other nationalities. They have swallowed their share and cleaned their mouth. The other ethnic nationalities are repositioning their people in preparation for 2015. The Buhari- Tinubu alliance is a strong South West agenda to recapture power after the turn of the north. The Middle Belt Forum (MBF) is looking seriously in the direction of Senate President David Mark. The Core North in the ruling party,PDP, still has Vice President Sambo as a joker if Boko Haram succeeds in frightening President Jonathan into the creeks. Former Vice President Atiku is still breathing around the corner and incumbent president Jonathan is being prepared by his South South and Ijaw people to recontest in 2015. It is only the Ohaneze that is still at the level of speech making while others nationalities are strategizing ahead of 2015.

The situation in Ohaneze, if not checkmated will greatly imperil Igbo Presidency project 2015. The two elephants are fighting and the grasses, the hardworking Igbos are being massacred by Boko Haramists and other enemies at the slightest provocation. Their means of livelihood is being destroyed with nobody to help them. The state of infrastructural decay in Igbo land is monumental and is seems the war is not yet over.

A cross section of Igbo leaders including Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, Dr Dozie Ikedife, Col Joe Achuzia, Chief Charles Okereke among others have canvassed support for Igbo presidency severally with the mindset that the apez Igbo body is working assidously towards it. The optimism may be misplaced because this crisis have taken the front burner and the task of repositioning Ndigbo has been limited to fine speeches and rhetorics without any serious strategizing Ohaneze cannot continue to chase rat while the house is on fire. They should settle this rift urgently and not allow this distraction from sabotaging the uphill task of reaching out to other nationalities ahead of 2015 or risk being appropriately labelled turncoats who have auctioned Igbo their people for a bowl of presidential porridge.

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