*Christians Should Live A Live Life Of Gratitude-Every Christian
By Ikechukwu Enyiagu
I’m a Christian. Am I born-again, Spirit-filled; demon-casting, harvest-occupied, heaven-bound? Someone may ask. Do you want my answer? I’m a Christian, and I know my graces and call in Christ Jesus. I know both the nature of the flesh and move of the Spirit. I bear witness of the only and true one, Jesus Christ. His hunger was my filling-up, His lowliness, my exultation; it was the stripes He sustained for my sake that gave me healing and divine health. His blood gave me access-the blood of Jesus did. Now I have God as my true father and the Holy Spirit, my guide, teacher, comforter, insight, and every solution to all of life’s puzzles. He is not just the giver of solutions; He’s become my very own solution-my answer to baiting questions from the Pharisees and the Sadducee from time and space. When Jesus died, it did not stop there: He made a show of the devil, triumphing over him in his death. Taking the keys of hell and death, He rose in glory-the only glory there ever was, is, and ever shall be; He rose in the glory of the father. He says, “I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead.” I am a Christian who knows that the world needs the manifestation of the sons of God now more than ever. The world needs me more than I need the world. But for the sakes of those already known from times unknown, even to the deep shall His people go…for this harvest.
Christianity is the bloodline of Christ on earth; it is Christ available for every willing soul. Christ in a man is the hope of glory-glory which even death cannot come close to. Those who lose their lives in Him shall find it; there is no loss-not even one-in Him. In Him lies revelations and excellence. Christians are, of all, very blessed; and we ought to be very grateful and wear gratitude as apparel. Our brothers did fight the good fight ahead of us, and are long gone to glory ahead of us. Apostles, Apostles, Teachers, Pastors, and Evangelists-they all stood their times, yet none of them attempted to disbelieve. Of course, they paid for their faith in ways most Christians today would not imagine for a course for which the all-round and eternal price had been paid. But today, we swim in grace; none faces the gravity of what they had to go through to stand and say like St Paul: “I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith.” Yet we have our fights of faith, and this, with great grace. But let His grace not be in vain. When I consider the apostles and the prophets who were here before us, I bow down in gratitude to God. And when I consider the stretch of their faith, I say, “Indeed, it’s more precious than gold.” Today, we live in grace unimaginable, freedom inexplicable; need we not be super-abundantly grateful? Like St. Paul, indeed “…we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.” It’s for true harvest that Jesus became man; it’s for this true harvest that we have been made worthy to labor with God in this very kingdom business. St Paul is a man who still speaks in the youth of His recreated spirit; today, he speaks even clearer. As Christians, we cannot count the blessings; we may never be able to tell them all until we sing ‘bye and bye’. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A Christian Church service (Photo 1)
Faith is a precious thing. It’s what ties us to the perfect work of Christ-to our union with Christ. Faith leads us to believe and to confess our deepest assurances, dying with Him in baptism, and rising with Him in glory. Christ is the embodiment of faith; believing in Him, believing in His word jumpstarts you into a realm of assurance and clarity. This is your acceptance before the father. The father requires nothing more from us except this faith-even if it’s as little as a mustard seed. His Spirit shall cause it to grow and do mighty things. Faith and love dwell in a most holy intercourse, where they are one with the Spirit of expansion, true harvest, and readiness. Its power surpasses the threats and influence of fear; the faults and falsities of hell. Fear, simply, is not in His presence. Christians should live in gratitude-Christians all over the world. There is no limit to the eyes of faith; no product of science ever travels faster. This, in union with love, is much work. It produces exactly what it talks about. There is no true Christian journey without true and genuine love for the brethren, no sacrifice surpasses except it be carried out in divine love. Jesus paid it all, and today, all we can do is to “work in love.”
Christianity offers so much; the life of Christ in man is the miracle which has overshadowed all darkness. First, it takes away fear and gives faith, removes death and gives life in all its newness. True peace shows itself when a soul is born anew. For a Christian, victory is the path to tread all the way to glory. There is no failing, no falling, and no going back except in the kingdom of fear and unbelief. To every Christian is the Spirit of excellence. The desires for sin and the things which entice may battle, yet victory lies with faith, obedience, and love. We may die, but are truly alive. Hunger may come but we are constantly fed. The world may fold in, yet the greater the devil’s lies, the brighter heaven’s truth. There is absolutely no loss for a Christian-that one who has believed and is obeying…to the later. A Christian may stumble, yet the Spirit never lets go because He has promised that nothing in His creation is ever strong enough to break our eternal bond with Him. There is no question posed by the world which does not have its answer in God’s word. We- all who live in this light- we know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose. It does not matter what the world comes up with, there is answer to every question the world has not even thought of pushing forward. Therefore, I am certain that nothing can separate us from his love: neither death nor life, neither angels nor other heavenly rulers or powers, neither the present nor the future, neither the world above nor the world below---there is nothing in all creation that will ever be able to separate us from the love of God which is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. Christ paid with Himself, the father’s love brought us in; not even sin has a chance. There is a place in God, a place far from sin and death which it brings; this place is in the blood of Jesus Christ. We are not called to live in sin-no Christian is. Yet we have been given grace for help in every hour of need. What more and what better can be given than Jesus and His anointing? Nothing else in all of creation! ( Continues below….. )
The Antichrist, that man of sin was never a secret Christ kept from His people in Zion; He warned of his coming and presence. But God’s word has taught us the path of victory: constant faith in God, steady gaze on the man Jesus, and the walking in love. Today, we all seem to have relented so much in the law of “watch and pray” that many no longer operate in the spirit of discernment. No building is God’s presence; the church is. And the church goes everywhere a man in Christ goes. When we gather together as admonished, let there be the perfect Spirit of love connecting one to all and all to one, for therein the Spirit truly dwells and takes pleasure. When we come together as one, let genuine love for one another open our hearts and eyes to the truth of the times because Christ always speaks to His church. Today, the love of God is being substituted for the love of self; this is seen in its worse form when shepherds of God’s people accept the very sin which brought Abraham in close encounter with God. But we should not forget that, while those who refused to listen but insulted every sound advice were destroyed, Abraham, the servant of God, was busy pleading and interceding for the world of sin, and he was not disappointed because his intercession won the willing ones; let his passion for souls also drive us to every good work. The beauty of God is that, while His word is a consuming fire against all rebellion, His love saves-even to the uttermost. Let us, then, carry the lamp of His love and go to the uttermost, interceding and bringing in the sheaves. The readiness every Christian is called to must not be begun by the sound of any gong nor with the time of worship in services; ought every Christian to stand on guard, especially now that everything compels one to go against the truth of Christ’s teachings. Behind all wickedness, cheating, immoralities, and everything that saddens God’s heart lie the nudging and the intrigue of the man Antichrist. Christ’s commandment and call to the church to love one another is the only way to understand the move of the Antichrist. His main mission is to disprove God’s faith in man-to disprove the entire work of the man Jesus who carried His work of redemption through all shame, pain and deaths until He rose in victory. He did all these to get us right with and back to God. So, satan’s failure lies in our constant gaze on the man Christ Jesus-remembering what He saw which made Him come forth from the father for us and for the world-not minding the dangers- and damning all his baits which dangle before all at every corner. Love overcomes the devil, and the man of sin knows this. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A Christian Church service (Photo 2)
Considering what life, what grace, and what mighty power we share in the anointing of His presence, nothing pretends further; everything takes its true form in His presence and we are blessed to shine. The whole creation, even every creature moans as the manifestation of the sons of God is awaited-all over the world. We have the higher calling-to our God and for this world. The provisions and the challenges in our calling are more precious than gold; the harvest is our father’s heartbeat. A laborer shares in the harvest and our light shines ever brighter as we labor together with the father. Let our messages change from prosperity (true prosperity is ours) to reasons for gratitude for the place we have been given in his presence, from fears to faith. The word says: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Gratitude should drive our walk and works in Christ. Let the words we speak carry the power to superimpose desired results. And let these reasons propel us to turn away from the world and all its baits, in this crucial time and ever, and turn to Him. Let faith be sown into the fertile ground of love and produce souls for the king who is head over all-our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are yet those who are still to be brought into His fold, those who are caged and trapped by satan’s wickedness all over the world. They are forced to live outside the voice of their spirit; it’s our duty to speak and bring them in. Some are taken out of this word forcefully before they know to accept and speak. Let the fire of heaven’s urgent call be rekindled in our hearts over and over again until nothing else dominates. Our blessings in God call for a life of gratitude from every Christian; this gratitude should cause us to constantly stand in the gap for those who have being shackled against the truths their spirits are growing to accept. They are everywhere and their voices are heard louder now than ever. Some have not heard the truth, yet their spirit yearns for their true savior. We shall bring them out by the power of God’s Spirit. We, indeed, owe God every moment of gratitude, so then let the world see how much God’s love has caused us to metamorphous into completely different new beings-into His eternal mountain of love and safety. Let every creature share in the love we have received of the father. Our works must reveal the dept of our joy, gratitude and love. Let gratitude and work, therefore, be propelled by faith-working in love. So, my brother, my sister-you who have been chosen to share in this life-: look at what beauty your life has become, and give everything in gratitude. Hold nothing back any longer; show grace, show gratitude. In humble gaze, I have become, of all, the most grateful.
Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at
By Masterweb News Desk
The new Anambra Government Secretariat was the third project visited by Masterweb Team during her tour on August 25, 2011 of projects by Governor Peter Obi’s administration. The huge twin structures, additions by Obi to an existing secretariat built by the federal government and handed over to the newly created Anambra State in 1991, visually symbolize ambition and excellence. The project is one of the mirrors of Governor Obi’s dream of what he wants Anambra to be in the comity of states. If one's guess is "making Anambra the best it can be", it is not far from the truth. The identical twin buildings were befitting to a state that cares about its image, workforce and attraction of foreign investments. Masterweb Team took a tour of randomly selected sections of the buildings and found them adequately furnished and equipped to standard. According to our team's investigations, Peter Obi is the only known governor who added a more modern annex to an original state secretariat. The pictures below of the new Anambra Government Secretariat twin buildings speak for themselves. It is befitting of a state that has produced the likes of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe, Odumegwu Ojukwu and many others.
Masterweb Team during the course of the day visited many road projects by Governor Obi’s administration; these included and not limited to - dualized Awka-Enugu Road (Zik’s Ave); Ora-eri-Obeledu-Akwaeze-Igbo Ukwu Road and Anambra State University, Uli Campus Road. Our team covered approximately 215 kilometers of the total 500-kilometer road network completed by Obi’s government. The roads inspected by our team were well paved (tarred) and maintained as can be see in the pictures. 500-kilometer road network within five years in office, with meager federal government allocation is a feat statistically significant in comparison with all Nigerian governors. Governor Obi's impressive roadwork rate will certainly complete work on ongoing projects such as Nnewi and Lilu road projects, and also deliver service to all bad roads in the state. Several bridges under construction in the state were also inspected by our team who came back with photos as evidence of the level of work at the sites. Completed Odor bridge, linking Awgbu and Amaokpala is an example of what these bridges would look upon completion.
Masterweb received several emails and phone calls congratulating her team on their competent analysis of governance in Anambra. They made it known to us that our team's inspection statistical analysis, was one of the best reports ever conducted in Nigeria. One respondent wrote: "Masterweb team's analytical high score of Governor Peter Obi was non partisan nor arranged, but a professional competent measure rarely used in Nigeria where pay-offs and corruption is the order of the day." Others wrote that every Nigerian was convinced that Governor Obi was one of the best governors in the country from two sources that echoed , namely Nigeria ex-Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd.) and the Senate Committee. It would be recalled that Gowon in a speech delivered in May this year, said Governor Peter Obi was one of the best governors in the country. The Compass Newspaper article of May 22, 2011, titled "Gov. Obi is Worthy to be Emulated - Gowon" reporting the news is republished below.
In a major buttress of Masterweb team's positive assessment of Obi's performance, Nigeria Senate Committee declared Anambra and just three other states financially healthy, amidst warning that 27 states were on the verge of bankruptcy and five given ‘tolerable’ tag. Excerpts from Sun Newspaper article of October 28, 2011, titled "27 states face bankruptcy - Abia, A’Ibom, Anambra, Jigawa healthy: Senators urge merger of states" one of the several articles carrying the news, is published below.
Governor Obi has been able to keep things in equilibrium in Anambra, piloting her on top in the comity of Nigerian states, without external borrowing, mass sack of the workforce nor the sack of non-indigene civil servants. His admirable success is financed by internally generated revenue and meager federal allocation to the state. One should not be surprised that with light, security and infrastructure at the average or best in the country, the Anambra story under Obi would be a tale of a super state and not of local comparison.
Below are the pictures our team took at the new Anambra Government Secretariat, road and bridge project sites:-
Photo Above: Lilu Road Project. A road project by Obi's government that broke through rocky hills to give Anambrarians direct access to Lilu. Previously Lilu could only be accessed through Eke Ututu in Imo State. Work on Lilu Road Project is still progressively ongoing.
In a few days, we will publish our report on Alex Ekwueme Square, Prof. Kenneth Dike Library & Anambra State Housing Development Corporation projects..
*Nigeria: Concession Review A Must
.. I "inherited horrible Concession Agreements" -aviation minister
By Nosa Osula-Aituamen
Aviation Minister, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah says concession agreements not yielding the expected dividends will be reviewed or totally cancelled.
The Minister, who stated this during an Interactive Session with the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, disclosed that she "inherited horrible Concession Agreements" which no development oriented administration can sustain.
She said "more that 70 per cent of Concessions and Leases in the sector are not performing and have not given the sector a premium on the terms of the contracts".
She stressed that Concession Agreements are entered into by agencies of government as a result of lack of capacity to deliver on their mandates, adding that such agreements were aimed at not only addressing this deficit but more so to enable government make returns on her investments. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adaeze Oduah
In the case of concessions in the Aviation sector, Oduah said the agreements have failed to yield the expected dividends by way of enhancing the capacity of the sector hence government is left with no other option than to review them.
She however assured that the exercise would be carried out painstakingly, fairly and transparently to ensure equity and justice to all parties. The Minister however left no one in doubt that all concessions and leases that are unfavourable to the government and people of Nigeria would be cancelled.
On the security concerns at the nation's airports, Oduah said her Ministry was in concert with the National Security Adviser (NSA), and all the other security agencies in order to make the airports safe for all users, stressing that the security and safety of all persons passing through the airports remain a great priority. She further dispelled insinuations that all efforts at improving security were concentrated at the International Airports, saying security is currently being beefed up at all the nation's airports.
On the concerns expressed by members of the committee as well as other Nigerians on the need to have a National Carrier, the Minister said she shares the aspirations of all those who desire a National Carrier but said that dream can only be actualised when a proper framework has been put in place. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Former Minister of Aviation, Mrs Fidelia Njeze
"We must have a National Carrier, but we need to have the appropraite framework to drive and actualise this dream, we cannot actualise this dream without the necessary framework", she said. She added that the issues of legal framework, ownership structure and funding are very critical and needs to be sorted out before embarking on the project to revive the National Carrier.
Oduah listed the other challenges in the sector to include obsolete and decaying facilities and infrastructure, but expressed optimism that her Roadmap to revamp the sector will surely yield positive results. She enjoined the House Committee to give her Ministry all needed support and cooperation in order to be able to deliver facilities, infrastructure and services that are not only top rate but also meets international standards and best practice.
Earlier in her Opening Remarks, Chairperson of the, Hon. Nkeiruka C Onyejeocha said the purpose of the parley was to rub minds with those who run the Ministry on the best way to move the sector forward in line with Mr. President's Transformation Agenda.
She listed areas of concern to the Committee to include air safety, courtesy at the airports, reports of cargo loses and power outages at the airports, proper equipments and the Total Radar Coverage. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Airborne Plane
Others are on Concessions and Waivers, arbitrary increases in airfares, improvement in the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) by the parastatals, the huge debt profile of airlines to FAAN and NAMA, the standard of airport facilities as well as bureaucratic bottlenecks affecting operations.
She however pledged the readiness of the Committee to work in concert with the ministry in order to deliver to Nigerians, facilities, infrastructure and services at the airports that will assure their maximum comfort and safety.
Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)
*Nigeria: Fuel Subsidy Impasse - Why The President Must Sack Okonjo-Iweala Now
By Kali Gwegwe
It has been very clear right from the onset that the federal government’s fiscal plan of withdrawing fuel subsidy next year is not the idea of President Goodluck Jonathan. Nevertheless, he will have to bear whatever consequences that may arise from it. This is the major reason why the president must ignore the minority clan of well-heeled elites and stand with the Nigerian masses like he promised during the campaign season. To do this, President Jonathan would have to quickly separate reality from cheer logic as being postulated by some of his lieutenants. Like the president himself observed shortly before the nomination of his cabinet, different people are in government for diverse reasons. While some are for service, others for personal gains. There are still some who seek power just to protect the interests or agendas of third party organizations. Of greater worry are those who stay in government to deliberately give counsels that will pitch the people against government. Quite frankly, the suggestion that government removes fuel subsidy as contained in the Medium Term Expenditure Framework for 2012 is one of them.
This writer does not dismiss the fact that there are gains to be made from the removal of fuel subsidy. Nevertheless, it is quite cheerless to note that the nation’s fiscal policy formulators and team of economic advisers have declined to accept the naked fact that a coin does not have only one side. This has caused them not to acknowledge that Nigeria’s socio-economic framework is still too fragile to bear the additional burdens that will come with the removal of fuel subsidy. The burden will come in the form of a weakened purchasing power of the middle and low income class workers because the prices of transportation, house rent, foodstuff, education, and health care services among others will respond to the jump in the price of fuel. Sadly, some persons either in government or heeled enough to buy fuel even at N200 a liter have been shouting on roof tops that the federal government removed subsidy on diesel and Nigeria did not collapse. On the strength of this, they argue that nothing damaging would happen even if the same thing is done to petrol. Apart from displaying crass misunderstanding of the fundamentals of political governance, the problem with this opinion is that its promoters have deliberately refused to appreciate the major causes of poverty, disease, and crime in Nigeria over the last decade. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigeria Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
It is a fact that the increase in the pump price of diesel in 2009 jumped the cost of transportation. It jolted economic permutations because most manufacturers and entrepreneurs rely mainly on diesel-powered trucks to move their goods from factories to their distribution outlets. As expected, the additional cost brought about by the sharp increase in the cost of transportation was effortlessly tied on the neck of consumers. The prices of goods and services climbed up the ladder. Almost immediately, most Nigerians were unable to meet the basic needs of their families owing to the weakening of their purchasing power. For instance, families that survived on N10,000 monthly now needed between N15,000 and N20,000 because the price of almost every product or services that had something to do with diesel had jumped in response to prevailing market forces. The above picture is also an appropriate response to the argument by government that the money saved from the withdrawal of fuel subsidy would be invested in infrastructural development.
It is important to point out here that no responsible government will afford to consciously weaken the purchasing power of the citizens in order to develop her infrastructure. Poverty is growing in many developing countries, including Nigeria because attention is not given to the purchasing power of the citizens. Poverty is judged by the level of weakness of the purchasing power of citizens. Unfortunately, our fiscal policy formulators and economic advisers believe job creation is the only way to reduce poverty. There would still be poverty even now that national minimum wage is N18,000 per month. This is because, even N50,000 would not be enough to meet the basic needs of an average Nigerian family of five: father, mother, and three children. These basic needs include feeding, shelter, transportation, education, health care, and socials. It would therefore be suicidal for any government to ignore reality and continue to blindly pursue western crafted fiscal policies. It would be shocking for many to learn that in 2010, the European Union spent a whooping €57 billion on agricultural development programme. Of this amount, €39 billion was spent on direct subsidies. A total of 40% of EU’s budget goes to Agricultural and fisheries subsidies. Who is fooling who? The World Bank and IMF are fooling Africans. If advanced democracies do not subsidize fuel, they would subsidize agriculture, housing, transport, or health care. It is left for every government to identify the critical sector to intervene. Frankly, it would be wide of the mark for Nigeria to remove fuel subsidy because Britain or the United did so. Unfortunately, our fiscal policy formulators and economic experts are mere copy-cats. Perhaps, this was the reason why the late afro-beat icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti asked Africans to follow western polices with caution.
As much as the development of critical national infrastructure is important, deliberate fiscal policies must also be developed side-by-side to strengthen the purchasing power of the citizens. In addition to the creation of new jobs, the removal of fuel subsidy will enable government build more roads, schools, and hospitals etc. We must however accept the fact that citizens will still pay for services rendered in the new hospitals and schools that will be built with money saved from the withdrawal of fuel subsidy. The transporters that will use the new roads and rail lines will not keep fares down because they were built with money saved from the removal of fuel subsidy. With the weakening of the purchasing power of citizens, poverty will not allow the masses to enjoy the benefits of the new infrastructure government intends to develop. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria
It is not healthy for a people to forget their history too quickly. The West is not happy that Africa ran away with political independence so soon. Colonization was mainly the exploitation of human and material resources of weak nations to protect the economies of world powers. Owing largely to worldwide censure of obnoxious political cultures, Western democracies have now found it convenient to hide behind the World Bank and IMF to deny developing countries economic independence. Political independence without economic independence is as bad as colonialism. It is whispered in international circles that Africa’s economic independence will spell doom for the economies of Europe and America. This is one strong reason why African political leaders must be careful with whatever that comes out of the World Bank and IMF. It must however be noted that most Africans do not even know that they are being used to destroy the economies of their own countries. One of such person is Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Coordinating minister of the Economy and minister of Finance. In one my earlier articles on fuel subsidy removal, I had described Okonjo-Iweala as “a patriot blinded by the West.” She is indeed a patriot but an involuntary victim of Western manipulations. I came to this conclusion after a very careful consideration of a wide range of issues bothering on the fundamental essence of political governance.
Good governance is the road that leads to economic growth and political stability. A prominent feature of good governance is mass participation. Because of exigencies, it will not be convenient for citizens to vote on every government policy. The masses are therefore left with no better option than to invest their confidence in elected and appointed officials. Ordinarily, these officials are supposed to protect the wider interests of the society. This has never been the case. Most elected and appointed officials simply ignore the feelings of the people and follow their shallow and narrow minds. This is responsible for why several government policies are anti-people. The planned removal of fuel subsidy is one of such policies. It would do the Nigerian masses more harm than good.
One thing has become clear following the debate that has trailed the decision of the federal government to remove fuel subsidy next year. There is no enough money to sustain the nation’s socio-economic framework. Unfortunately, the well-motivated fiscal policy formulators and hoard of economic experts have run dry of ideas to help raise the needed funds to keep the nation afloat. This problem is caused by their refusal to accept the open fact that a coin does not have only one side. They always see and reason based on the side of the coin they are facing. Little wonder why only a few wealthy Nigerians who can afford to buy a liter of fuel even at N200 are supporting calls for the removal of fuel subsidy. I am very convinced that they would all sing a different song if they earn N100,000 a month. By their mien, those calling for the removal of fuel subsidy have joined spirit with Cain who queried God for expecting him to be responsible for his brother’s safety or good.
It is the fundamental responsibility of government to see that the welfare of the citizens is protected through deliberate policies with human face. The planned removal of fuel subsidy would not have human face as far as the masses are concerned. Government should rather look for other means of raising money to fund the nation’s socio-economic framework. In the last five decades, it has been the low and middle class that have carried the burden of national transformation, leaving the wealthy few to swim in their typically questionable affluence. Government can raise up to N1 trillion by imposing 2% annual tax (for 5 years from date of purchase) on every private car above N3 million, 2% tax on every private residential house costing more than N7 million, 1% on local flight tickets/2% for international flight tickets, 2% tax on accommodation in luxury hotels, and 50% reduction in the salaries and allowances of elected and appointed government officials. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Workers at work in a Nigerian oil rig
Because of the hot political wind that is blowing across Africa, Nigerian masses have been weaned and would not be ready to tolerate further abuse of their corporate rights by government. Going by the colour of anger being expressed by many, it is very likely that the masses would raise their voices against the Goodluck Jonathan administration if it goes ahead with the planned removal of fuel subsidy next year. This is the ultimate desire of the West. They want Nigeria and the rest of Africa to be continuously enmeshed in political turmoil in order to sabotage her economic recovery efforts. Already, the United States believes that Nigeria will disintegrate by 2015. Seen and unseen hands have been positioned to turn the masses against President Jonathan. In return, the Niger Delta people will be instigated to cry fowl and forced to rock the foundation that carries the destiny of Nigeria. This is the wish of the developed West. It is fore this reason that President Goodluck Jonathan should sack the Coordinating minister of the Economy and minister of Finance for not reading the hand writing on the wall. She clearly has no answers to the economic problems of the country. Nigeria needs indigenous solutions to our national problems.
The fuel subsidy culture is a shame. As the world’s sixth largest producer of crude oil, Nigeria does not have any excuse to import fuel to service local demands. The federal government can end fuel subsidy by making our four refineries work at optimum capacities. Of all the OPEC countries, the pump price of petrol is costliest in Nigeria. Why is this so? Is there anything other OPEC countries are doing that we are not? This is the question our nation’s fiscal policy formulators and economic experts should have asked themselves. Instead, they are pouncing on poor and hungry masses to cover up their incompetence. President Jonathan must sack Okonjo-Iweala now before she puts him and Nigeria in serious trouble. This country is bigger than any one single individual.
Nigeria belongs to Nigerians. The oil and gas wealth belongs to Nigerians as well. We therefore have every corporate right to enjoy the benefits of oil and gas just like citizens of other OPEC countries are doing. Let us find out how is it that a liter of petrol sells for about N18 in Saudi Arabia and just N9 in Venezuela.
The fact that our oil industry is fowled by corruption is no longer in doubt. What is in doubt is the desire or ability of government to tackle the cabal that has for so long been milking the Nigeria people dry through fuel subsidy. This writer does not however support the idea of punishing the masses through the withdrawal of fuel subsidy as an option to fight the cabal that is hiding behind subsidy to milk the nation of trillions of Naira. Making our refineries work at optimum capacity is the best way to end fuel subsidy. The pump price of fuel will climb down below N65 if petrol is refined locally. Let us study the Venezuela model and do same in Nigeria. Sack Okonjo-Iweala now! She has no answers to the problems of our national economy.
Kali Gwegwe, CEO, Nigeria Democracy Watchtower writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org ( 0806 407 4810 )
*BASA Agreement: Nigeria Warns Britain
.....Arik Air cries for justice, as minister warns BA and Virgin Atlantic over airfares.
By Nosa Osula-Aituamen
One of the Nigerian airlines, Arik Air has petitioned the National Assembly over the Bi-lateral Air Services Agreement with Britain.
The airline in its petition to the two Committees on aviation in the upper and lower chambers of the House accused Britain of depriving Nigerian airlines from benefitting from the BASA agreement.
At a news conference in Lagos, Chairman of the Arik Airline, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide said the British Authority had refused them slots into their airports from Abuja which was a violation of the agreement signed between both countries.
He noted that both countries have 21 slots each as signed in the agreement but while Britain was making use of their slots freely, Nigerian airlines were made to pay for the use of their slots.
The chairman further explained that the airline was given seven slots from Lagos to London and another seven slots for Abuja to London, adding that the airline even went further to ask for seven weekly slots but that Arik Air was told that other carriers were interested in that. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
In all he explained that Nigeria was to operate 21 slots into Britain while Britain do same in Nigeria.
He lamented that when it was time for them to fly from Abuja to London; the British government told them that there are no slots and that at that point the airline has to rent slots from the British Midland International (BMI) at £1.4 million between 2009 and 2010 during winter, adding that the airline paid an initial deposit of £600,000.
He further explained that the airline pays £52,250,000 monthly to BMI and after the expiration of that, the company increased it from £52,250,000 monthly to £90,000 per month and that when the airline tried to negotiate the amount, BMI refused to shift ground.
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide emphasized when efforts to reason with the Department of Transportation in that country failed, the airline had to suspend its Abuja-London flights as the operational cost was too heavy for them to bear.
He appealed to the Federal Government to rise up and be resolute in protecting the interest of its people and businesses, adding that the BASA agreement must be reviewed to avoid discrepancies. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane
According to, “What they are simply telling us is that we should ask our government to protect the carriers from Nigeria. We in Arik feel bad because they do not have respect for our country”
Sir Arumemi-Ikhide said that a meeting has been scheduled between the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah and the British High Commissioner to Nigeria to discuss the issue with a view to finding a lasting solution to the lopsidedness in the BASA agreement.
In a swift reaction, the Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah says the Federal Government would no longer tolerate the inequitable treatment meted out to Arik Air in denying its fleet access into Heathrow Airport from Abuja.
She noted in a statement that as a result, the airline had been compelled to discontinue its flight operations from Abuja to Heathrow which had impacted negatively on the passengers on this route. ( Continues below….. )
According to the aviation minister, steps are also being taken to stop the discriminatory and unacceptable prices of air fares between the Lagos-London and Abuja-London Routes, which had created Regional fare disparity and imbalance.
She identified British Airways and Virgin Atlantic as those promoting the imbalance. According to her, the Ministry condemns this practice in its totality and would take all necessary action to protect Nigerian citizens from exploitation that arises from a price regime that was highly restrictive and discriminatory.
Princess Oduah noted that the Lagos-London Route is one of the highest and most lucrative yields and ought to attract one of the lowest fares in the region.
She assured Nigerians that appropriate action is being taken in this regard to redress the situation.
Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)
*Nigeria: Fuel Subsidy Removal - A Layman's Analysis
By Amiru Adamu
Though Dangote has said it all, that “fuel subsidy removal is a foregone conclusion”, we the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are at liberty to express our feelings on this issue that is bound to bring us hardship and worsen our situation.
I am not an economist so I won’t draw some fancy scales explaining what will happen if so and so happens, I rather prefer to explain it in a layman’s language with the hope that one of the IMF agents in Nigeria looks at the issue from our (masses’) own perspective and advise I.M.F to reverse their instructions, that Nigerians should cease to enjoy fuel subsidy because I am not convinced that any Nigerian can advise that fuel subsidy should be removed in this ‘hard times’. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nigerians queue up to buy fuel at a filling station.
Experts have forecast that when fuel subsidy is removed a litre of fuel will cost at least N140.It can be said that every home in Nigeria uses fuel, if not in their vehicles then for a power generating set which has become a necessity for all who can afford to buy one, because the power supply situation in Nigeria is nothing to even think about writing home about, in other words hopeless. An average power generating set consumes about 5 litres for it to work for about 6 hours daily; 5 litres presently cost N325 and will cost N700 when the subsidy is removed. Over 50% of Nigerians own cars and motorcycles that are fuelled by P.M.S (petrol), though a press statement attributed to the minister of petroleum argued that “the masses travel on big mass transit vehicles which run on diesel”, they also claimed that buses in places like Lagos, convey workers to and from their work places. What they failed to take into consideration is the fact that Lagos is just one state out of the 36 states that constitute Nigeria and a survey based on Lagos alone no matter how reliable cannot justify fuel subsidy removal for the whole country. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Workers at work in a Nigerian oil rig
Anyway most cars used by average Nigerians consume about 60 litres of fuel weekly, which presently costs N3,900 and about N15,000 monthly. The removal of fuel subsidy however will increase the fuel expenses of average Nigerians who fill their tanks once a week to N8,400 and about N33,000 monthly.
Had it been that fuel subsidy removal will only affect the price of fuel itself there won’t have been much problem, but its removal will trigger a rise in prices in the Nigerian markets. Food, clothes and all that human beings need for survival will triple in prices. Nigerians are already barely managing to cope with the price rise that the news of the unimplemented minimum wage increase caused. The proposed fuel subsidy removal by the Nigerian government is a political miscalculation that might end up throwing Nigeria into chaos never before witnessed in Africa. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing some major cities, including the Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Some political jobbers are trying to convince the government that they have carried out consultations with the people, and that fuel subsidy removal can go on as planned. But President Jonathan needs not to look far for peoples opinion on the issue, let him just read the comments posted to him by Nigerians on his Facebook page and he will know how unpopular this subsidy removal issue is with Nigerians. Stimulating economic growth and ensuring effective penetration of developmental projects is a good policy, but the economists and other specialists that came up with the idea of fuel subsidy removal should use their vast knowledge and sophistication to look for another alternative in the interest of peace and democracy.
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.
*A Vote For Palestinian Statehood Is A Vote For Unification Of The Children Of Abraham & Return To The Land Flowing With Milk & Honey
( International Comment of International Society For Civil Liberties & The Rule Of Law, Nigeria )
Palestinian/Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Vote For Palestinian Statehood Is A Vote For Unification Of The Children Of Abraham & Return To The Land Flowing With Milk & Honey
(Onitsha- Nigeria, 5th November, 2011)-The Leadership of Intersociety, today, welcomes the historic admission of the Palestinian Authority into the prestigious United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organization-UNESCO. The historic admission, which took place on Monday, 31st October, 2011, saw the PA admitted as a full member of the over 170-member world body, which is a creation of the Economic & Social Council-ECOSOC organ of the UNO. The PA became a full member with 107 votes, while 14 voted against and 52 abstained. As expected, USA, Canada and Germany voted against the PA’s membership, while Britain and Italy abstained, and the USA threatened, in protest, to cut down her 60M to 80M USD annual grant to the prestigious body. The USA under President Ronald Reagan withdrew her membership from UNESCO in the 80s under similar circumstances, while President Bush Jnr. got her re-admitted 20 years later. The UNESCO is also the world leading environmentalist and propagator of Economic, Social & Cultural Rights; a member of the world’s triplet rights consortium (civil & political rights, economic, social & cultural rights and environmental rights).
With the world clearly departing from animalistic social philosophy of the past, which saw her engaging herself in 14, 500 wars in the past 5000 years, with only 300 years of peace within the period, and with 1945 to 1985, a period of 40 years, accounting for 165 wars alone with the total human deaths of over 22million; and with African Continent accounting for 34 wars and 14million out of the world’s 21million to 24million refugees as at 1994, the statehood for the Palestinian People under strict and defined security conditions as per her relationship with the State of Israel, is long overdue. The battle for the ownership and control of the “Holy Land” by the descendants or children of Abraham via Isaac, begat by Sarah and Ishmael, begat by Hagar had been a tortuous one and age-long. This had resulted to several ancient and modern bloody wars including five “Adult Crusades” and one “Children Crusade”.
The recorded history of the bloody conflicts over the “Holy Land” started in A.D. 70 when the Roman Army led by Titus destroyed Jerusalem and when they had broken the last Jewish resistance in A.D.135, they renamed the region Judea Palestine after the earlier inhabitants-the Philistines. This great Land was taken over by militants Muslims in A.D.636. It was then that Omar Ibn al-Khattab ordered the construction the “Mosque of Omar (Ibn al-Khattab)”-called the “Dome of Rock”, presently regarded as the Muslims’ third holiest shrine in the world after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. In A.D. 1098, the Crusaders from Europe raised by His Holiness, Pope Urban 11, who first struck in A.D.1095, freed the Holy Land from Muslim-Arabs and ruled it until A.D.1192 when Jerusalem again fell to Arab conquerors. In A.D. 1517, the great Ottoman Turks overran Palestine, Egypt and the rest of North Africa and the Middle East, ruling them for next 400 years ending in 1917, when the British forces led by Gen. Allenby attacked the Turks during the World War 1.
With the aid of the Lawrence of Arabia, the British conquered all of Palestine and accepted a mandate from the League of Nations to administer the region for 30 years pending final disposition of the Holy Land to local authorities. In 1921, the two-thirds of the Palestine region were given to the Arabs for a Palestine homeland. Abdullah al-Hussein, son of a Bedouin prince of the Hejaz region of Arabia was proclaimed the Emir and in 1946, he became the first king of the Kingdom of Transjordan. During Israel’s war of independence in 1948, the British-trained Arab forces from the Legion of Jordan conquered the West Bank area including East Jerusalem. In order to include this conquered territory into the Kingdom of Jordan, the name was changed to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It was ruled by King Hussein, grandson of King Abdullah until his forces were driven off by the Israelis in the Six Day War of 1967. The area west of the Jordan River now is referred to as the “occupied territory of the West Bank”, which had remained the hotbed of the age-long conflicts between the PA/Arab and the State of Israel.
In 1917, the British, who had conquered all of Palestine from the Turks, signed in London the Balfour Declaration favouring the establishment of a national homeland in Palestine for Jewish people and when her mandate expired in 1948, Israel became a nation again for the first time in 2,500 years. And the next day, May 15, 1948, army contingents from Egypt, Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan and Iraq attacked the infant Israeli nation so as to crush Israel and chase her out of the “Palestinian land”. The bloody military expedition failed and Egypt signed an armistice agreement on February 24, 1949. Lebanon signed it on March 23, 1949; Transjordan on April 3, 1949; and Syria on July 20, 1949, while Iraq refused to sign. On March 4, 1949, Israel was accepted by the Security Council of the UN and on May 12, 1949, the General Assembly of the UN approved Israel as the 59th member of the United Nations.
There had been five bloody crusades and one Children Crusade carried out by “Christian Crusaders” from Europe against the “Arab-Muslim Warriors” over the ownership and occupation of the “Holy Land”. Of these great crusades, Christian Crusaders clearly won the first crusade and lost the rest owing to long distance, war weariness, etc. The first crusade took place between A.D.1095 and A.D. 1097 during which the great Jerusalem was taken from Muslims, resulting in the creation of the Crusaders-run Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, which lasted until A.D. 1187. The second crusade took place between A.D.1147 and A.D.1149, meant to help Christians in the region recover the town of Edessa and other lands in the hands of the Turks, which failed woefully. The third crusade took place between A.D.1189 and A.D.1192, organized after Saladin; the Sultan of Egypt re-captured the Jerusalem. The crusade failed to retake the Jerusalem. The fourth crusade took place between A.D.1202 and A.D. 1204, during which Constantinople was captured because it did not recognize the Papal authority. Then, there was the Children Crusade of A.D. 1212, during which thousands of Christian children were sent to the Holy Land where they were captured by Muslims, killed, sold into slavery or made to die of hunger and disease. The last crusade took place between A.D.1217 and A.D. 1221, aimed at capturing Egypt but failed.
In modern times, the State of Israel had fought four conventional wars with her Arab neighbours including Egypt, that is to say the 1948 war of independence; 1956 war over Aswan Dam dispute; 1967 Six-Day War; and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. There had been hundreds of unconventional warfare between the State of Israel and her neighbours particularly the Palestinian Liberation Movements since 1970s resulting in incalculable fatalities on both sides. To consolidate their efforts of laying claims to the Holy Land, the Israelis and the Palestinians formed several radical movements such as World Jewish Congress, Palestinian Liberation Organization, HAMAS, etc with provisions in their charters calling for the destruction of the State of Israel and the Palestinian State if proclaimed. While the WJC headquartered in the West, the radical Palestinian movements operated from some radical Middle East capitals. The PLO was headquartered in the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
Today, after the “wars without borders” or intra-state wars, replaced the cold war and inter-state wars in the 1990s; it is widely believed in the informed security circles that these wars-without-borders afflicting many corners of the world, directly or indirectly originated from the Arab-Israeli conflicts over the disputed Holy Land. Added to this is the “forceful conquest” philosophy among radical Muslims, originally invented as a jihad strategy by the Othman Turks, to the effect that once the West particularly the USA is crushed, the State of Israel and Christianity would become history and all the Christian nations with some 1.5Billion Christian citizens globally would be forcefully converted to Muslim just the same way the Zoroastrian Persians (Iranians), Levant( middle east) and Anatolians (Turkey) were forcefully converted through “barbaric religious conversionary savages” of the medieval periods.
The conflicts over the Holy Land and radical Islamism have propelled the launching of various forms of unconventional warfare including bio-terrorism, tech-terrorism, cyber-terrorism, political terrorism and guerrilla warfare by the protagonist, the antagonist and their supporters. There are many radical groups targeting US, Western and Israeli interests and civilians and their non-citizens as well around the world. Some of them are Al-Qaeda world-wide network, which originated from Afghanistan; the Islamic Taliban(Afghanistan); Al-Gama’s Al-Islamiyya(formed in Egypt in 70s); Hamas( formed in 1987); Hezbollah( linked to Iran and based in Lebanon);Al-Jihad( formed in Egypt in 70s and accused of assassinating Anwar El-Sadat);Abu Nidal-PLO; Abu Sayyat Group (Philippines);Armed Islamic Group (Algeria); Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan; Mujahedeen EKHALQ organization; the Palestinian Islamic Jihad & other radical Palestinian groups; Harakat Ul-Mujahedeen; Aum Supreme Truth; Basque Fatherland & Liberty; Japanese Red Army; Kach and Kahane Chai; Kurdistan Workers Party; and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil(Sri Lanka).
These radical groups are believed to be funded by some radical political leaders in Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Pakistan, OIC and some radical oil Sheiks in the Gulf Cooperation Council region. On the other hand, USA had carried out several unlawful attacks on Libya(1986) and Lebanon(in 70s).The State of Israel, in what she called “self-defense”, had also launched several aerial and commando attacks against Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Uganda and Iraq. Just recently, she tested in an undisclosed location, sophisticated ballistic missiles, said to possess the capacity of hitting and destroying the suspected Iranian nuclear weapon facilities as well as similar unfriendly facilities in any radical Arab or Muslim capitals in the Middle East and North Africa.
Palestinian Statehood As A Departure From A Land Flowing With Blood & Tears: During the Christian Crusades and Muslim Uprisings, their hungry fighters were said to have been served on several occasions with boiled human parts, sliced from their POWs. This depicts the animalism of the past. Today, humanism has largely replaced animalism. For the Holy Land to bounce back as the “land flowing with milk and honey”, the State of Palestine should be proclaimed as a matter of extreme urgency through the universally accepted processes. For this great feat to be achieved, suicide bombings must be quietened in the troubled region to resurrect no more. No matter how small an inheritance land is, they say, it must be given to the rightful person that inherits it, even if it is a foot-path. Neither the destruction of the State of Israel nor the suppression of Palestinians is fashionable in this modern time. Therefore, as required by the UN rules, nine votes without a veto from any super power are required for the State of Palestine to be accepted by the UN Security Council, after which the General Assembly would be asked to approve the PA as the 194th member of the UNO. The voting scheduled for this year’s annual session of the UN has been delayed for unclear reasons, which further worsens the porous security of the region. The announcement by the Federal Government of Nigeria of its readiness to vote for the Palestinian statehood is also a welcome development. The voting must also be taken side by side with territorial concessions by the Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
But voting for the Palestinian statehood without critically addressing the security of Israel will be counter-productive. The “two-state” structure for the “children of Abraham” is inevitable and well-conceived, but security challenges facing the State of Israel must be holistically addressed. To this end, the radical Middle East capitals especially Tehran, Islamabad, Damascus, Beirut, Riyadh, Tripoli etc and the antagonistic oil sheiks, radical Islamic financial institutions and radical opposition groups so named as well as Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference must refrain from attacking or supporting any attacks against the State of Israel, her citizens and interests, in return for the Palestinian statehood, living peacefully and side by side with the State of Israel. Let guns and bullets be silenced forever in the hitherto milky and juicy region and let the AK-47-driven security be transformed into civil, food, economic, environmental, health, technological, political, social and cultural securities. May the land flowing with blood and tears return to the land flowing with milk and honey! And may the Holy Lands of Vatican and Riyadh reign forever with high frequency of religious and cultural tolerance!!!
Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.
*My Trip to Congo
By Nehanda Nzingha Sankofara (Nana)
(Nehanda Nzingha Sankofara is President of Mothers for Africa the Nana Sekyiaabea Foundation )
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), close to 8 million have died since 1997 due to a deadly conflict, four thousand people die a day, and there is over 2 million rape survivors. No one is exempt from being raped which includes women, girls, babies, seniors, men and boys. These rapes are horrendous, they insert machetes inside of the women, staff’s, rocks and stones, shoot them with guns and the latest development is pouring fuel into women’s vagina’s and setting them on fire and putting out the fire just short of them dying to make them suffer, they disembowel pregnant women and hold women for months as sex slaves. They also have made family members drink the blood of the dead. Many people know about the murders and rapes, but they do not know or understand the complexity of the plight of the Congo or how to help the victims of these crimes.
These defenseless people are not armed and are left homeless, brutalized, or murdered. Rebels armed from Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi are causing the pain and suffering in the Congo, also U.N. Soldiers, Congolese military and police are raping.
The United Nations (U.N.) says the Congo is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. They say rape is a tool of war, but whose war is it? The death toll has already surpassed Nazi Germany’s holocaust, but according to Human Rights Watch it cannot be considered genocide, because the victims include different ethnic groups and in order to be classified as genocide there has to be one ethnic group targeted.
I am the president of a non profit 501 (c) 3 called Mothers for Africa the Nana Sekyiaabea Foundation. When I found out about these atrocities I could not sleep and it gave me nightmares. I decided I should travel to east Congo for a fact finding mission to see how we could help. It is not recommended to fly to the Congo, it is the first place that I have traveled were I needed a letter of invitation to obtain my visa. The Congolese people have suffered too long from the horrors of tyrant colonizer King Leopold in 1885, who at the end of his reign half of the people were murdered in 10 years to a legacy of dictators. I planned my trip with the help of Congolese people; some of these Congolese people cannot travel home for fear that they will be murdered because they are outspoken about the conflict. One in particular has had family members murdered because of his outspokenness. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Nehanda Sankofara (Left), Sarah Jubril, four-time Nigeria presidential aspirant (Right)
My trip to the Congo started off in Kigali Rwanda. Upon my arrival to Kigali I felt assured when I saw the smiling faces of two men that carried a sign with my name. We caught a taxi to my hotel. During the drive they asked about Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. I was happy to hear that they knew something about African- Americans.
That morning I was met by my new friend Pasqual and started our journey to the Congo. After an hour on the bus I was glad I decided on taking the bus vs. the taxi. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and the people were friendly.
The first part of trip started off in North Goma. On my first day I visited a hospital that performs fistula surgeries (reconstructive surgeries). The rapes are so horrific that many women need reconstructive surgery. The hospital also performs many cleft lip surgeries. The doctors advised that this is caused due to malnutrition. I was amazed of the doctor’s performance with such a lack of equipment and medical supplies. Mothers for Africa donated medical supplies to the hospital and they were very happy to receive them. On this trip I interviewed hundreds of rape survivors. The first thing I noticed was the smell of urine. Many of the women after the rape cannot return to their villages because they are deemed tainted and because of the urine smell, some of them can no longer control their bladder. These women wait for months before being able to receive the surgeries due to lack of funding. The surgeries range in prices starting at $250.00 and up.
I also met with a youth group. They were fortunate because they were receiving an education through the couple I was staying with. They were also learning English; the primary languages are Swahili and French. Before I left for the Congo I read in a newspaper that 80% of the Congolese people were illiterate, because public school is not free, but I was quickly told by these youths that it was actually 90%. They came together to talk to me about their feelings of their country. They were very intelligent. The first young man told me about the multinational corporations in the U.S. that are contributing to the conflict in the Congo. It was a very powerful dialog. Since I left these youth keep me posted on recent murders and rapes which includes photos. The latest report included information about one of the youths I met. His father filed a complaint against a Congolese military soldier and shortly after masked men with guns, gained entry into his home, killed his father and assaulted the family. I have been told that these incidents are increasing due to the elections.
Multinational companies purchase illegal minerals such as copper, diamonds, gold, cobalt and coltan from the rebels and they know these rebels are causing the death and rape of many people. For instance coltan, it is a heat resistance ore that is widely used in every cellular phone, laptop computers, video games, jet engines, rockets, cutting tools, camera lenses, x-ray film, ink jet printers, hearing aids and many other electronic devises. The Congo holds 80% of the world’s reserve of coltan. The coltan is mined by rebels in neighboring countries, (Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi) and sold to foreign corporations (which include companies in the U.S.).
The second part of my trip to North Goma to Bukavu
In Bukavu I stayed in a Catholic Monastery. I was met by a Congolese Catholic priest. Who would join Pasqual and me on the second part of my journey? He took me to an orphanage to meet children from the conflict. The most memorable part of the second half of the trip was a group of rape survivors I interviewed. This group was different. They were all old women. One hundred and forty women walked for miles to tell their tearful stories; all of them had been raped, a couple advised they wished they were dead. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: DRC Elderly Rape Survivors pose for photo
Everywhere I went I was asked the same question. What took me so long to come? Where were the African Americans and why haven’t they tried to help us? I told them that many of us do not know that this is going on because of the media is not reporting the entire story about the Congo. I told them that I will go on a campaign with others to tell their stories. I told them how African Americans have a long history of helping the African Diaspora in their time of need. I talked about our role in helping during apartied in South Africa and how African America men traveled to Ethiopia to fight on the side of the Ethiopians during the Second Italo Abyssinian War of 1935. I told them about the adorable little Batwa (Pigmy) man “Ota Benga” who was taken from his Congo in 1904 caged in the New York City Bronx Zoo in 1906 with other prime mates. He was teased and mocked by spectators and he would yell back “I am not an animal”! When African Americans discovered his story they were outraged and demanded his release. I further advised them that we are a people who has fought and stood for justice for people everywhere because of our history of injustice. As I would end my speech and walk away it was always followed by emotional hugs and kisses, the biding of a safe journey and prays that their message would be delivered.
I asked the same question to each group how could we help. Below are the top responses:
A. Help bring peace to the area
B. Get rid of the rebels
C. Stop the multinationals corporations dealings with the rebels
D. Get rid of the U.N Soldiers
E. Get rid of the NGO’s
Africans have been complaining about the U.N. raping for decades. I remember Kofi Anan attempting to address this problem. When I returned to the States a friend showed me a video of a 18 year old Haitian man who was protesting the U.N. presence in Haiti, U.N. Officers from Paraguay, kidnapped and rapped him. One of the officers filmed it on his cell phone. It was very hard to watch.
I travel to Haiti for our non profit to assist Haitians. I have the exact same complaints about the NGO’s and the U.N. They complain about never receiving the money after the earthquake and not getting the help they need. It is my opinion that because of the many complaints in both countries there should be an investigative probe into the U.N. and the NGO’s.
Californian recently passed the first State Bill on Congo Conflict Minerals. California became the very first U.S. State in the Nation to take action on the purchase of conflict minerals from Congo. President Barack Obama has authorized 100 U.S. soldiers to go to Central Africa to provide support against the rebels. During President Obama term as Senator he wrote into law the most comprehensive public law to support the Congo Titled I-Bilateral Action on Addressing Urgent Needs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; however the key elements of this law have not been implemented.
How Can You Help?
Write your congress representative and the President and tell them you want more assistance from the U.S. in the Congo. The U.N. group of experts, in their report S/2008/773 of December 12, 2008 conformed that the Rwandan Government is actively supporting the National Congress for the Defense of the people (CNDP), both CNDP and the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR). A rebel group comprised mainly of former genocidaires from Rwanda has committed human rights violations, war crimes, and crimes against humanity including rape on a massive scale, extrajudicial executions, ethnic cleansing, looting, and the recruitment of child soldiers. U.N. and Human Rights Watch reports detail some of these crimes and recent statement by the U.N. and human Rights Watch reports in detail some of these crimes. Congratulate State law makers for passing the new California Bill on Conflict Minerals and make sure that the law is enforced. Keep pressure on the other States until they do the same, request law makers to start an investigative probe into the U.N. forces and the NGO’s in the Congo and in Haiti. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: DRC Rape Victims rejoice in sense of hope with Sankofara's visit
Push our government to put pressure on the Congolese government. The Congolese President Joseph Kabila rose to Presidency on January 26, 2001 after the assassination of his father and Congolese President Laurent-Desire Kabila. He was 29 when he became president, making him the youngest in the world to become president of a country. The Congo has their election on November 28, 2011; please write your congress and the President to urge a fair election. Educate yourself about the Congo and make it a point to read everything you can about the region, which includes Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
The UN has reported on the foreign multinational companies who purchase conflict minerals from the rebels, write letters to these companies and demand they stop purchasing conflict minerals. Please see U.N. list below of multi-national corporations:
A. AVX Corporation
B. Cabot Corporation
C. OM Group
D. Vishay Intertechnology
E. Trinitech International
F. Eagle Wings Resource International
G. Kemet Electronics
Also, you can volunteer with Mothers for Africa the Nana Sekyiaabea Foundation and help with our efforts in the Congo. You can sponsor a child to go to school for as little as $24.00 a month and you can also donate money to contribute to micro loans for rape survivors. Mothers for Africa have teamed up with the Congolese Community for a peaceful march to bring awareness about the conflict. This march will take place on Sunday October 30, 2011, 9am–12 pm in front of the Westwood Federal building 11000 Wilshire Blvd. Westwood CA, 90024. Next summer Mothers for Africa is planning an international march for the Congo. You can contact us at www.MothersforAfrica.org or call us at 626-710-4304.
I will never forget the faces of pain I saw on beautiful faces. It was like going home and being with family. I fell in love with the people. Even though they are considered the poorest people in the world, you would never have known by their spirit. They are very proud and through everything maintained their faith in God and the fact that an end of their sorrow was coming soon. I went there expecting the worse. I was never more wrong about anything; instead I found the characters in people I value the most, trust, integrity and honesty. I gained an incredible amount of respect for the people, they gave me a lesson in life that I shall never forget. I realized just like anywhere that a handful of thugs are wreaking havoc on millions of people but without any criminal consequences. I have traveled to many places in the African Diaspora and have been treated very well. I dispelled the myth that African people do not like African Americans and I will tell you it is just that a myth! I have made long lasting friendships in my travels. We are the same people who share a common history of struggle and injustice. I was told by someone that my efforts were futile and that the conflict has been happening too long to see real change. My response was that African Americans were enslaved a lot longer than Congolese people have been suffering from King Leopold to the current crises. If we are other people would have thought like that and gave up it is very possible I would not be writing this article.
Article written by Nehanda Nzingha Sankofara (Nana)
This celebration yet again offers our Muslim brothers and sisters the special opportunity to reflect on their spiritual lives, pray for themselves, others and the nation at large.
As the celebration goes on, it reminds us to always reflect on the ideals of good living, which all religions preach; this abhors violence, but rather promotes peace and fraternity among men.
Most importantly, more importantly, this period remind us all to be faithful to the Almighty and live according to His dictates, especially in our world that has been gravely wounded by vices of all types.
Governor, Anambra State
Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi
*Nigeria: Ojukwu - The Last Patriot at 78
By Valentine Obienyem
Today, the 4th of November, 2011, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the number one Igbo citizen and a Nigerian patriot is 78, for on the 4th of November, 1933, that extra-ordinary man was puffed into the world. I was privileged to accompany Gov. Obi (his 8th visit) to see him in London a few days ago, where his beautiful wife, Bianca is taking excellent care of him.
By the standard of today, his father, Sir Louis Odumegwu was a Billionaire. With his wealth, he reared the little but charming Emeka with all the affection that parents lavish upon their children in every age. He was determined to give him the best education. Consistent with Sir Louis’ vow, the child, Emeka, was almost crushed with education. The first school he attended was St. Patrick’s Primary School, Idumagbo, Lagos. There, during break hours, he relished sham battles in which, time and again, he and his friends were nearly killed. Because of this, only few pupils could dare play with him. Later, he attended Church Missionary Grammar School (CMS) and King’s College, both in Lagos.
While in King’s College, his father had already discovered that his child, Emeka, was intellectually precocious and keen, well endowed with good judgment and restless with ambition. How best could a man develop his potentialities? In those days, as it is today, it helped to attend good schools. King’s College was in fact, one of the best secondary schools in Nigeria. Since education was still developing in the country, Sir Odumegwu wanted for his son a country where education has reached advanced stages, for effective intellectual insemination. It is a fact of history that when one grows among advanced people, he is more likely to imbibe their civilization with great ease. After discussing the idea of a British education with some of his enlightened Nigerian friends, they settled for Epsom on the understanding that at thirteen he would transfer to Eton, Britain’s most exclusive public school. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu
As planned, Emeka, 12, was admitted into Epsom College, in the county of Surrey. His English education began in earnest. Epsom thenceforth became a formative ordeal for him in a strange environment. The college inspired the talented Emeka with a great love for history. He came to know and admire English civilization. Like any child with his disposition, he equally learnt a great deal of the virtues and vices that go with growing up..
Emeka later gained admission to Lincoln College, University of Oxford in 1952. Oxford, as expected, was full of the frolic of students, the odour of learning and the excitement of independent thought. There, his father was anxious that Emeka should study Law saying, “I think there is the material of a good lawyer and legal director of my business in him.”11 This was in line with the prevalent disposition among Nigerians, where, till today, fond parents always want their children to read Law which they regard as an open sesame to wealth and high social status.
The insistence of the father that Emeka studied Law was the first serious conflict between father and son. In filial compromise Emeka took up the studying of Law; but as a student of Law, the prospect of studying modern History and observing the lives of heroes held a secret fascination for him. At a stage, having studied Law for a year, he burnt his law books, forgot Jurisprudence and followed History as if under a spell.
In 1955 he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree. Back to Nigeria, he soon returned to Oxford to receive his Master of Arts degree. With all these, and while in the flower of his maturity, he inwardly felt satisfied that he was now well armed with the weapon of education. His desire to contribute to the development of his country could now begin. Silently, he resolved to begin in earnest.
On his return and excited and happy with his son, Sir Odumegwu took Emeka to a lavishly furnished office complex, and handed him the keys. On getting home that day, Emeka had a vision or something close to that; he was offered a choice of life of ease, pleasure, plenty and vice, or one of hardship, danger, glory and virtue. He followed wise counsel and chose the more difficult but virtuous life. Thereafter, he rejected the cosy path cut for him by his father, gave him back the keys and decided to cut his own path. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Valentine Obienyem ( Author of Article )
This crave for individualism made him join the Eastern Nigerian Public Service as an Administrative Officer. Sir Louis was not pleased at all that his son took what he considered the ridiculous job of an administrator. Exhausting all persuasion, the father upbraided the son for trying to make his family a public jest. Rather than budge, the son showed ever less interest in the father’s business, ever more in administration.
The dust generated by Emeka’s administrative work had hardly settled down when, in search of an organization that would escape his father’s influence, he generated another controversy that threatened to separate him from his father for good. He joined the Army! This was in 1957, when the Nigerian Army was merely a part of an all-embracing British West African army called the Royal West African Frontier Forces (RWAFF). These forces included the armies of Nigeria, Gold Coast (now Ghana), Sierra-Leone and Gambia.
Thinking the task of bringing his son to his “senses” had gone beyond him, Sir Odumegwu enlisted the help of his friends; Zik and others were contacted. Zik called Emeka and advised that if he were Emeka, he would accept his father’s offer and avoid the hazard of joining a brutal force. Emeka remarked that he would do so if he were Zik. Being Emeka, he maintained that his father’s offer would make him perpetually delineated as Ojukwu.
After the drama of being forced to enter the force as a recruit, the new Cadet went to Teshie in Ghana, thenceforth to Officer Cadet School at Eaton Hall in England,. He later attended Infantry School at Warminster and Small Arms School at Hythe and Joint Services Staff College (JSSC) at Latimer.
In Nigeria, Ojukwu served with the First Battalion, Kano, before his appointment as an instructor, Royal West African Frontier Forces Training School, Teshie, Ghana, 1958-60. Ojukwu returned to fatherland in 1961 and served as staff officer in the ‘A’ Branch of the new Nigerian Army Headquarters in the Defence Ministry building in Lagos. He had no problems carrying out his assigned duties. Six months as a Captain, Ojukwu was promoted to a Major. Because of the respect Emeka’s father had for the rank of a Major, he broke the silence with his son and celebrated his promotion with him. Father and son drank a bottle of champagne between them as a gesture of re-union. Very soon he was transferred to Kaduna as a Staff Officer with the First Brigade. While there, like his contemporaries, he served with the United Nations Peace Keeping Forces in Congo in 1962. Between 1964 – 66, Ojukwu was the commander of Fifth Battalion, Kano. The period of his command can be described without tongue-in-cheek, as the most gruesome time in the history of Nigeria. While he was in the Fifth Battalion, the first attempted coup took place. He did not, like most commanders, abdicate his command. He opposed the coup and was later appointed the governor of the Eastern Region.
His tenure as governor portrayed him as a master in the art of governance, and an eloquent public speaker. None who heard him speak could forget the cadence of his speeches, his mellifluous tones, the eloquence of his words, the geniality of his spirit, the charm of his courtesy, the vivacity of his wit, the poetic sensitivity of his mind. Both in his prepared and impromptu speeches, he made use of all the faculties he had, natural or acquired, such that he far surpassed in force and strength all the orations of his contemporaries. He has the rare capacity for dramatic poses. Clenched fist, jutting jaw and theatrical action, were part of his fiery speeches.
The regime of General Ironsi, which Ojukwu was part of, tried to save Nigeria within the limits of their vision and creed. With the death of Ironsi, an organized pogrom was carried out. An eyewitness told how orders were given to some Northern soldiers to kill all Easterners. The terrified soldiers at first refused to obey the command. They were however induced to kill a few. The heat of the murder inflamed them and it passed into massacre. This spread to the barracks and Igbo quarters with fluid readiness. Ojukwu and other concerned Igbos raised horrified protests, even as soldiers of Northern region congratulated one another. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State. *In photo - sitting from left to right are Hassan Katsina, Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, David Ejoor, J.E.A. Wey and Yakubu Gowon.
Igbos then came to the belief that the security of the Easterners was in their own hands. The courage of their leader, Ojukwu, gave dignity and splendour to their survival cause. Thousands of onlookers must have been disturbed as millions of Igbos left the North in a prolonged and melancholy exodus.
This was the genesis of the civil war crisis. As the crisis deepened, Ojukwu’s resistance grew, but Lt. Colonel Yakubu Gowon wanted to retain him in the army. In an attempt to placate him, the prospect of being the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters was dangled before him with enticing conditions. However, Ojukwu, who would not support indiscipline, spurned the dangled carrot. Were he different, he says: “I would not have chosen to resist Gowon instead of the easy way of acquiescence chosen by my colleagues.”
As one of the means of seeking peace, the actors in that conflict needed a meeting. Ojukwu knew that his security and that of the Easterners was not guaranteed. Likewise neither Gowon nor Lt. Colonel Hassan Katsina was prepared to go to the East. A compromise would have been Benin City, the capital of the Mid-Western region, but for the presence of Northern soldiers, it was unacceptable to Ojukwu. In sum then, a meeting could only be held in a neutral territory that would be willing to host such. Finally, the meeting was held at Aburi, Ghana, under the auspices of General Ankrah. The two warriors and their lieutenants, as expected, flew off to Ghana well armed with the problems of the country as if to a decisive battle.
The Aburi meeting was held on the 4th and 5th of January 1967, at Peduase Lodge, a luxurious hilltop retreat built by late President Kwameh Nkrumah. The serenity of the place could bring wandering souls back to their senses. It was an ideal place for sober reflection.
At Aburi, for the first time in Nigerian history the problems of the country were faced honestly and honest solutions sought. From that bitter moment, Ojukwu the Administrator receded into history, and Ojukwu the General, aged 33, turned his soul to war. He went to war not because he liked war, but because he had no option. The problems he faced seemed to have defied a peaceful solution. After the war, he went to exile where he stayed for 12 years.
With the end of the war, Ojukwu was granted political asylum by the Late President of Ivory Coast, Houphuet Boigny. Thus, from 11 January, 1970, Ojukwu's exile started. He needed a secluded place that would be conducive to sober reflections and contemplation. He needed to be away from the prying and prancing eyes of many that sought to see that powerful man of Biafra. He needed a place that would be inaccessible to assassins. The search for a good place finally ended at Yamoussoukoro, which also houses the Ivorian Summer Palace. Its imposing Catholic basilica now enhances the pride of the city. Later, when tension reduced, he moved to the capital, Abidjan.
After his pardon by the then President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Ojukwu came home on board a chartered Boeing 727 Nigeria Airways Flight WT 700. Soon after the plane touched down on Nigerian soil, the welcome song rent the air. Work at the airport was almost paralysed, as all airport officials who got wind of his arrival abandoned their posts for hours to catch a glimpse of Ojukwu, the returning hero. There was hardly anybody in the country that had not the curiosity to come and see the formidable and indefatigable freedom fighter. There was what seemed like mass movement of Easterners, Westerners and Northerners to the airport. The airport was partly destroyed. At a point, the mobile policemen had to carry him shoulder high above the crowd whose cheers and applause he acknowledged. What we witnessed was more like the scene of a Roman Emperor triumphantly returning home from a victorious war. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Charles O. Okereke( left ) interviewing Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right )
In Nigeria today, his love still shows glaringly in all aspects of nation building. His name provides justice with a synonym though the cry for justice never rose to the level it reached in the tense periods of the 1960s. We are daily witnessing the burgeoning of those particular injustices that the Ikemba fought against. Some people, who could not support him or rather agree with him, have silently (and sometimes boldly) started to acknowledge the truth of Ojukwu's contention.
Since he came back, he has participated in politics fully. He is presently the father figure of All Progressives Grand Alliance(APGA).
We have to agree, however, that were the philosophic Plutarach alive to write lives by parallel among Igbo leaders, it would trouble him to find a parallel for Ojukwu. Ojukwu stands out as a man different from the rest, absorbed conscientiously in the enterprise of the Igbos. He is the symbol of Igbos to Nigerians and a symbol of Nigeria to the Igbos and to people in other parts of the world. He has a deep love for the Igbos and great confidence in himself.
Certainly, very few Nigerians have been famous in quite as many ways as him: controversial, athletic, gentlemanly but firm. Calm in crisis with tremendous reserves of physical and nervous energy, he is the apotheosis of leadership. He is one of the greatest commanders, the greatest leaders in the history of Nigeria. If we judge greatness by influence, which is the least subjective test that we can use, we may rank Ojukwu with Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as the most powerful personalities in Nigeria.
Obienyem is the Author of Ojukwu: the Last Patriot
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