*Nigeria: Governor Obi Grants Amnesty To 12 People
Masterweb Reports - Thursday, October 25, 2012: In exercise of his Constitutional powers and to mark the 52 Independence anniversary of our country, His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, CON, Governor of Anambra State has granted amnesty to 12 persons.
A memo from the Attorney-General of Anambra State/Chairman, State Advisory Council on Prerogative of Mercy, Barr. Peter Afuba referenced AG.AN/S.198/Vol.VI/134, dated 5th October, 2012 states that these persons were serving terms in Enugu , Ibite-Olo, Onitsha , Awka and Aguata Prisons. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
From Enugu Prison, Ikechukwu Nwafor had his death sentence commuted to life imprisonment while Emmanuel Izuchukwu Nwaziri from the same prison was released.
From Ibite-Olo Prison, Chinagorom Eze and Onyeka Okona were released, while Jude Okolo, Joy Audu, Chukwudum Nwasogu, Ngozi Chukwuasonibe and Felicia Asonibe were granted reprieve from Onitsha Prison.
Awka Prison had one beneficiary, namely Peter Chukwuka Asonibe while Ogbonna Okeke and Emeka Ukpabi in Aguata Prison were also lucky.
Photo Above: Map of Anambra State
*Re: Okonjo Iweala: Nigeria’s Weakest Link
By Ayodeji Sunday
My attention was drawn to an article (Ngozi Iweala: Nigeria’s Weakest Link) by one Sonala Olumhense. After reading the piece, I concluded that only someone who has absolutely no regard for conscience and truth could have attempted to create such large-scale deception as is being peddled by the writer of this malicious article. It is indeed amazing the extent some people can go just to bring themselves to limelight.
The efforts of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to reinvigorate the economy and fight corruption have been widely acknowledged by Nigerians and the world at large. Therefore, such a prejudiced concoction, as Olumhense’s, is not just a distractive tactic but also a tit-for-tat attempt in connivance with corrupt individuals in high places, whose evil machinery has been grounded by this exceptional woman. Indeed, this is another manifestation of the Nigerian analogy that when you fight corruption, corruption fights back! ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Without much ado, I will like to examine the ten points on which Olumhense premised his baseless case.
Point One: His report on the failure of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) is a blatant lie. Under this programme, Nigeria was able to pay its debts arrears owed to some International Finance Institutions (IFIs), particularly the Paris and London Clubs via: (1) Direct repayment where $6.4b was paid (2) Debt buy-back arrangement where $8b was settled at 25% discount, and (3) Debts write-off where $16b was written-off by the creditors. The entire Paris Club debt relief enjoyed by Nigeria totalled US$18b, or a 60% for a US$12.4b payment of arrears and buyback. Similarly, the debts owed to London club commercial creditors were also restructured and paid off. The domestic debts constituting about 12% of GDP in 2005, owed to contractors and civil service pensioners were systematically paid.
Other economic spheres where NEEDS recorded appreciable achievements include fiscal and monetary policies. Public spending was reduced from 47.0% in 2001 (before she assumed office) to 35.4% in 2004, which resulted in budget surplus of 7.7% of the GDP for 2004, up from deficits of 4-5% of the GDP in 2002-2003 (USAID, 2006). The list is endless. Anyone can search the records and see for themselves.
Point Two: Sonala claimed that billions of naira was drained and is still being drained into the poverty eradication programme involving 13 federal ministries. However, this is another vituperative attack against the person of Okonjo-Iweala. How could he possibly link the Finance Minister with the performance or otherwise of 13 other ministries in such a direct manner? As the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, she is supposed to carry out oversight functions – and that she seems to have been doing quite well. Her efforts to ensure that MDAs deliver have been widely acknowledged. Ministries, departments and agencies that are not living up to their billing are constantly being checked. It is only fair to acknowledge that, in spite of the challenges of corrupt officials who may be trying to divert the poverty eradication funds, the programme has recorded a commendable degree of success in the areas of youth employment, rural infrastructural development, social welfare services and national resources development. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes
Point Three: The writer also claimed that in the negotiations with the Paris Club, one “top member” of the government walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion. He went on to indict former president Obasanjo and Okonjo-Iweala claiming that none of them had ever challenged it, as if that would validate his spurious allegations. Obviously, madam minister has enough work on her table and is more concerned with serious matters of state to be taken in by such rootless ranting. How can someone who prides himself as a neutral social critic make such bogus claims as these without backing them with concrete facts? Who is the “top member” of the government that walked away with a personal fee of N60 billion? I dare Olumhense and his sponsors to name the person if indeed his claims are true. It is only unintelligent people like Sonala who would make stupid accusations like that in a process that is vetted internationally.
Point Four: The success of the MDG programme is another area where the writer of this malicious article has chosen to ignore the facts. Apart from the records, which are readily available, the impact of the MDG programme has been widely felt across the nation. Ask the students who now have new classrooms, or the rural dwellers that have now have access to basic facilities including well-equipped health centres. Time and space will not permit me to give a detailed analysis via this medium. But, really, how necessary is that when anyone can easily check the facts for themselves?
Points Five and Six of Olumhense’s article refer to Okonjo-Iweala’s tenure as finance minister during the Obasanjo regime without due recourse to the fact that she left that office in 2006. For conscience’s sake, you cannot hold her responsible for events that transpired when she was not in office!
Point Seven: Olumhense wrote, In a speech after she left office, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala said: “General Abacha looted about $3-5 billion from the Nigerian treasury in truckloads of cash in foreign currencies, in traveler’s checks and other means. Most of these monies were laundered abroad through a complex network including some of the world’s best known banks.” Now, how does that prove his point? Isn’t it obvious that this writer is only attempting to insult our intelligence? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala ( Photo 2 )
Point Eight: Olumhense wrote, the pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and a very close friend of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, has confessed that the Obasanjo government was more corrupt than that of Abacha. This is another serious blunder. I thought the EFCC is saddled with the responsibility of stemming the tide of corruption. Since when has that become part of NOI’s job description? Even at that, her relentless commitment to tackle corruption has been so effective as to have earned her the name “Okonjo Wahala” by those whose corruption coffers are being ripped open.
Point Nine: Obasanjo was said to have indicted Mr. Jonathan’s government of squandering $35 billion of Nigeria’s foreign reserves since May 2007, saying the money may have been “shared.” This is another lame point begging for validation. It is too bad that Olumhense would use this as a point against the Finance Minister, thinking Nigerians would be as gullible as himself to accept it hook, line and sinker. If he possesses such evidence of corruption against Mrs Iweala, then his patriotic duty is to report her to the EFCC. People like him are responsible for the persistent lack of progress in Nigeria, because they will rather have a mediocre in charge of the economy.
Point Ten: The writer’s claim that the ‘Transforming Nigeria Document’ is not yet available is the easiest pointer to his malicious intentions as the article has long been published and has been in the public domain for nothing less than seven months. Anyone can simply Google and download the document from the National Planning Commission website: http://www.npc.gov.ng/vault/Transformation.pdf.
How come Olumhense did not see all the good things being done by the Finance Minister? Why did he not mention the reduction in recurrent expenditure, the bringing of oil subsidy profiteers to book, the ports reform, the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the poverty eradication and women empowerment policies and other good things being implemented by the minister? Olumhense is like the proverbial loafer who, whilst ignoring the life-sustaining functions of the sun, frequently complains that it casts shadows. Sonala Olumhense and people like him must realize that any fool can criticize, condemn and complain.
I pity the future of this country with people like him wielding whatever modicum of influence they have on hapless Nigerian readers with the liberty that their pen – or more appropriately – their computer and internet modem afford them. Olumhense’s argument is warped and his reasoning debased. People like him don't amount to much on a penny worth of paper. And they make far worse administrators than the people they set out to criticise. It is obvious that Olumhense is the weakest link in all of Nigerian media given that he is an outright liar!
Ayodeji, a social commentator and community development advocate, writes from Lagos.
*Bishop Oyedepo, Prosperity Gospel, and 419 in the Church – Part 1
By Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke
Nigeria’s wealthiest pastor, Bishop David Oyedepo is in the news again – this time in the United Kingdom. Sadly for him, Britain is not Nigeria, where the corrupt courts absolved him of all wrong doings, his abuses and violence against a young worshiper of his church at Winner Chapel – aka “Cananland” It was the video of his satanic slap of a young girl, probably an uneducated parishioner, who didn’t know how best to express her love and witness for Jesus, that exposed the abuse and muddled message that is being promulgated by the bishop to his gullible and biblical ignorant followers. Since then, I have penned a couple of articles calling on the federal government intervention to enact laws and policies to checkmate abuses - physical, sexual, emotional, mental, and moral abuses in places of worship in the nation in order to protect the vulnerable. I’m not too concerned about the learned and intelligent parishioners that sit under such blasphemous teachings every week. Hosea 4:6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” To earn a PhD or have a lucrative job or business does not make one knowledgeable. However, it still baffles me how an educated and intelligent person could sit under such teachers and listen to the junks that some of them teach from their pulpit every week. So, it behooves the government to protect the weak and vulnerable especially from physical and sexual abuses in the name of God.
Christianity is no longer an intellectual exercise in an age of prosperity gospel
The Rev. Dr. Jonathan L. Walton, the new Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church, and professor at Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, in his first “morning prayers,” a ritual of welcoming freshman move-in day to Harvard University at Cambridge, said, “Religion (faith) is an intellectual as well as spiritual exercise. The Memorial Church, he declared, is a place to educate minds and expand hearts - action that defines faith, belief that encourages discussion, and joyousness that allows for the occasional bout of existential angst.” I agree with Professor Walton. If theology, spirituality, faith, religion and the call to teach the infallible Word of God, was not an intellectual exercise, I would have quit being one long time ago. Training to become a priest/pastor takes years of study and preparation. Sadly the “holy office” is no-longer sacred and intellectually stimulating because cone men and women, who have no business with the “holy calling”, have desecrated it in order to dwindle and deceive the gullible and weak in the society. This kind of unbalanced gospel messages that are being promulgated by the so-called “men of God” and super pastors and preaches of our day around the world is appalling and troublesome.
Christianity has lost its moral mandate and mission. Today, the gospel message, the good news of the kingdom is perverted. What we have nowadays is another gospel, a false gospel, and a religious syncretism. “The gospel teaching that subtly implies and often overtly states that God wants you to be rich is a false gospel,” writes Pastor Jim Bakker, a former prosperity preacher and proponent of “God wants you rich theology,” who dwindled his parishioners millions of dollars and later while serving term in prison, he diligently read and studied the Scripture and God opened his understanding. That teaching he says, does not lineup with the tenets of the Holy Scriptures. It is another gospel – another Jesus, in fact, a gospel of Satan and message of hell fire - a prosperity-tinged Pentecostalism.” ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Bishop David Oyedepo
Christianity is in crisis
Dr. Hank Hanegraaf, president of Christian Research Institute in California, and one of the finest and courageous Christian apologists of our time, in his book, “Christianity in Crisis” prophetically and passionately argued that modern-day Christianity is in crisis. He said that the Church is undergoing a major transformation and that millions of Christians have embraced another gospel, another Jesus, a gospel of false promises of prosperity, wealth, healing, signs and wonders. He attributes the problem to lack of sound biblical training and Seminary education. George Barna, the famous Church consultant, researcher and writer, also supports Dr. Hanegraaf postulations that the Church is dying due to lack of sound Bible teachers and strong Church leadership. There is no doubt that the Christian faith has lost its value, respect and dignity. C. S. Lewis, the famous Oxford apologist for the faith, wrote: “We must return to Christianity in order to preserve the things we value. But we cannot return to Christianity at all unless the thing we value above all else is Christ….. Otherwise, we are in effect, asking to save our idols for us.”
In his best-selling book, “Crisis in the Village,” Dr. Robert M. Franklin, a theologian and public intellectual, wrote that the “Church has lost her moral mission, call and commitment.” Today baby boomers and the new “millennials” are flooding to churches and synagogues because of widespread hunger for meaning and many bring aversion to such traditional teachings such as sin, evil, forgiveness, commitment, even truth itself. As a result, what we have today in many large churches is “designer gospel message” and “religious syncretism” where the gospel are re-packaged to suit those who want a faith to satisfy their “felt need,” the gospel message that “God wants you to be rich.” “Send money as a step of faith and God will bless you message.” “Give a $1,000 pledge and God will bless you.” Name it claims it.” “Give to get rich message.” “100 fold return-blessing and even 1000 times return” is another gospel, a different gospel from what Jesus Christ taught. Their tricks are working because many of those who profess faith in Jesus Christ are biblically ignorant and gullible and that is why ‘god-want-you-rich theology’ is a booming business for their proponents. It is true that Jesus taught on the subject of money and finance more than any other subject in the Bible – but all His teachings on money were in negative connotation. I will write more on Jesus’ teachings on prosperity in the part-2 of my article.
Big faith equals wealth $millions$
In the July 2007 edition of Christianity Today, it carried a survey conducted in 2006 by the PEW forum on religion and public life. They found that 25% of Nigerian Christians are renewalists - that is Pentecostals and Charismatic. The same survey noted that 33% of South Africans and 50% of Kenyans were also renewalists. Out of nearly 900 million Africans, which include Christians, Muslims, pagans, Atheists and other religious persuasions, about 150 million Christians are now renewalists. Professor Paul Gifford of the University of London, England, in his 2004 book: “New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalizing African Economy” writes, “African Christians believe that success is determined by your faith.” Professor Gifford notes that these renewalists have moved beyond traditional Pentecostal practices of speaking in tongues, prophesying, and healing to the belief that God will provide – money, cars, houses, and even spouses – in response to the believer’s faith – if not immediately, then soon. In the same 2006 survey by PEW forum, 92% Nigerian Christians, 90% South African and 85% of Kenyan Christians agreed that “wealth and material blessings are based on one’s faith.” What a tragedy and travesty!
This is how sad and drastic prosperity gospel has become among Christians in Nigeria and most of Africa. Prosperity message is destructive and has negative effects. This blind spirituality is not only destructive, damaging, and deceptive but worse than slavery. It is bondage, abuse, deception, manipulation, godlessness and satanic capitalism. Most Nigerian Christians are only not enslaved spiritually, morally and financially but intellectually as well. It is economic, moral, and intellectual slavery. Million of Nigerian Christians are now victims of Satanic Churches and their false prophets. The prosperity gospel is also destroying Nigerian society –family, homes, causing a combination of disappointment, hurts, discouragement, and anger toward God and sometimes causes people to turn away from God. What we have nowadays is moral bankruptcy, biblical ignorance, a modern day voodoo and satanic spiritual spiritualism. In a nutshell, what we have today is 419 in the Church. What we have today is materialistic Christianity and there is enormous danger in it. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: US Dollar Notes
Warning against false doctrine and false prophets and teachers
Jesus Christ warned his disciples and followers about false prophets who would rise up to lead many astray and to destruction (Matthew 24:11). In Oliver Discourse, Jesus warned, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name. And will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). Jesus said if you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free – John 8:31-32. People remain in bondage when they are ignorant of what has been provided for them through the life and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, today, too many Christians are more interested in this present world materialism than in the balanced teachings of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul dedicated the entire epistle of Timothy to teach against false prophets, false doctrines and godlessness in the last days. He warns Timothy, his son in the ministry, to flee from such things. He writes, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul warns, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 say, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. The Apostle Paul charges Timothy, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” As teachers and preachers of the Word of God, we are reminded to do our best to study and show ourselves approved to God, a workman who odes not need to be ashamed but who correctly handles the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
There is no doubt that that the Nigerian Pentecostal Church and certain bishops in the fold are emulating and borrowing from the rich American Church and her superstar pastors, bishops and televangelists like Pastor Benny Hinn, Bishop TD Jakes, Dr. Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie Long, Bishop Dale Bronner, Pastor Joel Osten, Pastor Joyce Myer, Pastor Paula White, and Pastor Darlene Bishop etc. These imitators and imposters refused to understand that United States is a rich and capitalist country. The American Church organizations are big businesses and they have learned to tap into the wealth and prosperity of the nation without depending on the meager tithes and offerings from their members. Today, the streets of major cities in Nigeria are littered with all kinds of Churches promising healing, wealth, prosperity and happiness and yet Nigeria and vast majority of its citizens are among the poorest people in the world. Additionally, the presence and practice of rituals, divination, astrology, sorcery, witchcraft, voodoo, magic, envy, greed, jealousy, hatred, idolatry, hypocrisy, ungodliness, wickedness, lust, immorality, adultery and corruption remain rampant and alarming in the society. There is no sign of righteousness, love, peace and hope, but injustice, unrighteousness, hate, anger, resentment, bitterness, evil, wickedness, violence, killings, and hopelessness reign supreme in every household, neighborhood and city.
Modern-day designer Church is perverted
I’m afraid to say that what we have today is a perverted Church; a Church that is totally misconstrued, misguided and misinformed where spiritual witchcraft and biblical ignorance are in abundance. What we have today is a Church that is bewitched, a Church that is preaching and teaching another gospel; another Jesus and a message of “get rich and get healed theology,” a Church were the so-called men of God are preaching eisegesis rather proper exegesis and sound exposition of the Word of God, where they are using pragmatic psychological philosophies for attaining success and for solving spiritual issues rather than sound exposition of God’s Word, men who are using the Word of God for lucre and for profit.
The Church was called upon to uphold the honor, glory and authority of Christ on planet earth. Instead of upholding this divine mandate with dignity, the Church and her leaders have been deceived and trampled upon by demons of antichrist and cultic and pharisaic associations where the presence of God is completely absent and self and pride are enthroned. What we have today are Church buildings where sin, wickedness, witchcraft and all manners evil are practiced and people accept it so; multimillion dollar buildings and temples where the spirit of Christ has been thrown out and Satan himself is enthroned on the altar. No wonder atrocities and exploitations of worshipers such as the ones we read in our newspapers and watch on television are happening every day. The Church must pray for revival and renewal. I agree with Rev. D. Peter C. Moore, who wrote that, “The Church that God cherishes is one that is “Evangelical in Teaching, Catholic in Sacrament, Reformed in Doctrine, Charismatic in Ministry Gifts, and Liberal in Ethos and Global in Scope.” Anything else is just humanistic and designer religion.
The danger of prosperity and materialistic message rather than true gospel
The danger of Pentecostal prosperity and materialistic message is giving people false hope – that God will fulfill His promises based on their twisted interpretation of Scripture. Biblical hope is more of a simple wish; it entails certainty based on God’s demonstration of faithfulness to people in the history of salivation recorded in the scriptures and as experienced by promise of Christ’s return and the anticipation of resurrection from the dead. That is the blessed hope in God. Most of these prosperity preachers may have earned PhD’s in other fields of study but not in theology, divinity or ministry. They should go back to school – Seminary to study the Scriptures – and take course in exegesis, biblical interpretation, hermeneutics, homiletics, and biblical languages such as Hebrew w and Greek in order to be qualified to correctly teach the Bible. Because what most of them are teaching today is another gospel, a twisted and muddled gospel - a gospel of hell and that of Satan designed for the coming of antichrist. Prosperity teachers are preaching arrogance, foolishness, sin, and false doctrine – because what most of them are propagating today is not true gospel but another gospel, a muddled message. They should repent and confess their sins for contradicting and twisting the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
Rev. Dr. C. Kingston Ekeke is a public theologian, author, and leadership scholar. He is the president of Leadership Wisdom Institute.
*Ondo Guber Poll: Before Okei-Odumakin & Co Are Attacked By Extremist Sectional Politicians
Masterweb Reports - Thursday, October 18, 2012: (Onitsha Nigeria, 18th October 2012)--Four years ago, history repeated itself in Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria, when it became the third State in Nigeria, after Anambra and Edo to restore through credible judicial pronouncements, the sacred mandate of the Ondo gubernatorial voters to its rightful owner. These sacred judicial pronouncements were to be replicated in Osun and Ekiti States two years later, only for them to be brutally corrupted and bastardized by the Judases in the Silk and Bench as well as extremist sectional politicians, masquerading as central opposition party politicians. The abominable acts have since exploded into an unquenchable scandal called Salami Scandal. Like the brutal murder of the Igwes in Anambra State in September 2002, which has refused to be forgotten despite over N1.5billion squandered by the chief culprits to cover it, the Salami Scandal is still raging not minding that procured and stage-managed rallies, protests, processions, media propagandas, etc, gulping billions of naira of the public wealth have been squandered to cover it as well as to canonize its chief culprit.
Today, more revelations pertaining to the dastardly acts are coming out in torrents both by facts and by figures. Apart from one of the indicted, who vehemently denied being a card-carrying member of the political party at the center of the scandal, but a practicing Silk, being made the party’s gubernatorial candidate in the gubernatorial election coming up in Ondo State on 20thOctober 2012, the ongoing brutal verbal attacks directed at the national leadership of the Women Arise led by Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin by the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria and the responses by the former is another eye-opener to the Salami Scandal. In less than 48hrs, the ACN image maker has issued three public statements, attacking the Okei-Odumakin leadership of the Women Arise over its accreditation by the INEC to observe the said crucial poll. The worse is that the ACN image maker has reduced his position to a market square women’s gossip and tongue-wagging and coloured and clothed his responses in the layers of gender and religious sentiments, thereby making mockery of his party and office. His accusations against the Okei-Odumakin leadership of the Women Arise are both morally and legally baseless. Also, the former’s party cannot go to equity with soiled hands. Instances abound.
The vehemence with which these attacks via three vitriolic public statements in less than two days are being so directed are giving us mountainous worries. They are both politically jittery and life-threatening. To confirm our intense fear, the Okei-Odumakin’s group has cried out and raised an alarm over possible violent attacks against its members and its leadership before, during and after the crucial poll. This is more so when her leadership has voiced out why it boycotted the so-called pro-Salami rally and issues therein, which suggest that the pro-Salami canonization bids, from the beginning,are politically oiled. The philosophies of hegemonic politics, information warfare and political intolerance are no longer in vogue in the polity of comity of nations. We not only support the Women Arise’s right of observation in the Ondo gubernatorial poll, but we also adopt it as our proximate rep in the said crucial poll. The ACN must be tolerant and accommodating in politics, and must no longer repeat its seeming infamous politics of exclusion and ethnicity especially in Lagos where despite the teeming population of the people of the Southeast resident in the strategic parts of the State including Ojo LGA, none of them was allowed to occupy by popular votes, an elected LGA/LGDA seat, not even in Ojo LGA that is popularly called Igbo LGA.
We wish to warn sternly that if anything untoward happens to Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin or any of her group’s members before, during and after the crucial Ondo gubernatorial poll, heavens will let loose locally, nationally, sub-regionally, regionally and globally. The coming Ondo poll must be totally participatory, popular, credible, free and fair, irrespective of political party, CSO and marital affiliations in the State and beyond.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, BOT Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
*Tags: Nigerians, Intersociety, Council, Police, Service, Commission. Sack, Ringim, Africa, Masterweb
*Atlanta 2012 Igbo Day Symposium: Call For Paper Presentations
By Igbo Union Atlanta
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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).
Photo Above: Map of Igboland (homeland of Ndigbo of Nigeria)
*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.
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.
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….. )
Photo Above: Map of Thailand
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.
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….. )
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.
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.
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.
• 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.
• 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 email@example.com
*Anambra State Flood Disaster Coordination Committee Visits Camps
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….. )
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.
*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….. )
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 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….. )
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….. )
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
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….. )
( Continues below….. )
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
*Ndigbo Celebrates Igbo Day At Asaba, Delta State With Fanfare
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….. )
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..... )
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
*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..... )
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..... )
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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