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11/06/11

Permalink 11:37:00 am, by admin Email , 2153 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, World News

*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 )

By Intersociety

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!!!

Written By:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, BOT, Intersociety
41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge,Onitsha, Nigeria
Phone: +234(0)8033601078
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org, umeagbalasi@yahoo.com

Emeka Umeagbalasi

Photo Above: Emeka Umeagbalasi, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Intersociety, 41, Miss Elems Street, Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria.

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Permalink 09:52:00 am, by admin Email , 2424 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News, African News

*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..... )

Nehanda Sankofara And Sarah Jubril

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..... )

DRC  Elderly Rape Survivors

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..... )

DRC Rape Victims rejoice in sense of hope with Sankofara's visit

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)

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11/05/11

*Nigeria: Governor Obi's Eid-el-Kabir Message

[ News Roundup ]

________________________________________________

HAPPY EID-EL-KABIR

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.

Peter Obi
Governor, Anambra State

________________________________________________

Anambra State Governor Peter Obi

Photo Above: Governor Peter Obi

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11/04/11

Permalink 11:58:00 pm, by admin Email , 2481 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, South East News, Niger Delta( SS ) News, World News, African News

*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….. )

Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

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..... )

Valentine Obienyem

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….. )

Late General Aguiyi-Ironsi addressing the nation in his 1st press conference as Head of State.

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. Click For Enlarged Photo

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….. )

Charles O. Okereke interviewing Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

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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RELATED ARTICLE

1. Masterweb Wishes Dim Ojukwu Happy Birthday
2. Dim Ojukwu: A Visionary Statesman

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Permalink 11:52:00 pm, by admin Email , 384 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, South East News, Niger Delta( SS ) News, World News, African News
*Nigeria: Masterweb Wishes Dim Ojukwu Happy Birthday

By Masterweb News Desk

Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba (strength of a nation) and General, is an icon that will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria. Ikemba turns 78 years today and is wished happy birthday and quick recovery. He has weathered through turbulent times that took the lives of revolutionaries. Dim Ojukwu, as he is also popularly referred to, lived over forty years before his time. What he saw in the 60s, spoke against and fought against, has taken most Nigerians over forty years to see. The center cannot hold in Nigeria, unless most elements of the Aburi Peace Accord are implemented. That was how Ikemba and others saw it as a way out of the Nigerian impasse after the second military coup.

Ojukwu came back to the East and rallied support for the peace accord, but as easterners clamoured "On Aburi We Stand", the federal government remained silent. Some western imperialists worked against the implementation of the Aburi Peace Accord for their own selfish interest in Nigeria. The interest of the peoples of Nigeria was not regarded. Gowon declared a state of emergency in the East and announced the creation of 12 states on May 26, 1967. On May 30, 1967, after consultations with the Council of Chiefs and Elders, Ojukwu proclaimed the independent state of Biafra. The bombs rained and the bullets flew, beating down and crushing a popular people's uprising and demand.

All the factors that led to the civil war still exit in Nigeria today. Would Nigeria have been saved if the Aburi Peace Accord was implemented instead of going to war? Every reader has the right to read details of the accord and arrive an answer himself or herself. ( Continues below….. )

Charles O. Okereke and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu

Photo Above: Masterweb CEO, Chief (aka People's Servant) Charles O. Okereke( left ), Chief (General - rtd.) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu( right ) Click For Enlarged Photo

Masterweb wishes great Ikemba quick recovery and happy birthday. All news media that knowingly or unknowingly published news of his demise, abandonment or vegetative state, owe him an apology and should keep the records straight by wishing him happy birthday. He is not on live support as speculated by an online Nigerian news media.

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RELATED ARTICLE => Dim Ojukwu: A Visionary Statesman

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11/03/11

Permalink 07:27:00 am, by aviationreport, 883 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: Hand Over Airports To Private Sector
.............concession is the way forward

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

An aviation expert has again called for the concessioning of airports across the country for better management and profitability for the success of the transformation agenda of the present administration. At a news conference in Lagos, the aviation expert, Mr. Chris Aligbe said the mammoth funds needed to transform the nation’s airports which are in a deplorable condition cannot come from government but the private sector. According to him, the agency responsible for the management of the airports, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria was not financially stable to cater for all the 22 airports in the country.

He noted that the funds required to fixing these airports infrastructure rests with the private sector, adding that the government would make more money if the private sector operators are allowed to run them. Mr. Aligbe however advised that for a transparent concessioning, there must a legal and legislative framework to avoid a repeat of what currently operates in the industry today. ( Continues below..... )

Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State.

Photo Above: Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, Imo State.

Mr. Aligbe urged the National Assembly committees on aviation to focus their oversight function on policy as this would help to address other issues as infrastructure, stressing that there was need for mental and perception re-order to achieve this. ‘’What is the sector policy in aviation? Up till today there is no sector specific reform for the aviation industry, there is none, while the reforms were going on, while everything were going over time, there is no sector specific reform and because there is no sector specific reform anybody whether he is appointed will try to do his or her best, try to put one thing or the other in place and that is why we don’t have a cohesive aviation industry where every place is properly linked, the airline, the airports, they are not properly linked in terms from the policy perspective so when you ask what do we do, do we need to sit down and look at it.’’

He explained further, ’’you know the time has come for us to put in place a sector specific policy for the aviation industry and it is not just the ministry because when we say this we think it is only the ministry no, where is the legislature, the major problem that we have today is that there is no document, there is no document on which all actions, all policies in the aviation industry will be based on, the only area specific to NCAA was a policy that is all encompassing, if there was such a policy that was all encompassing these states government will be looking at these policies and knowing that people will build an airport today as say international airport like in my state, they say Asaba international airport’’. ( Continues below..... )

Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos

Photo Above: Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, Nigeria.

Asaba can never be an international airport but Asaba will be one of the most viable domestic airport if it is properly managed so as an investment as a domestic airport, it is an excellent investment, it is well thought out as a domestic airport by the time you start international airport, it will not be one and it is not going to successfully be one.

The policy that affects both airports airlines, handling companies all operators within the aviation industry, we need this policy, we don’t have one for now says Mr. Aligbe.

On concession, he said, ‘’We have over 22 to 25 airports in the country but take the ones been managed by FAAN at least 22 of them, it is not possible for FAAN as an organization to become financially stable in as much as it is left to mange 22 airports, it will never even if you fly an angle into that place to manage it there is no way it will work. You cannot do a central management of 22 airports from one point and having said that what we should do where do we go to’’ ( Continues below….. )

Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport,  Abuja, Nigeria.

Photo Above: Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria.

Mr. Aligbe therefore advised that all Nigerian airport starting with the seemingly most profitable of them, Murtala Muhammed Airport Lagos should be concession, all of them should be concession ‘’ all Nigerian airports, I say this because that is the way the mammoth fund required to bring our airports to what they should be cannot come from government, will never come from government and therefore we need to go get this money from where it is, luckily the minister is a business woman so she understands what we are talking about this business’’.

According to him, ‘’You use other peoples’ money to make money, government cannot afford this, government should call in the private sector, the question of national asset, who owns Gatwick airport, you are aware that a Nigerian is involved in those who bought up Gatwick airport in the UK, who owns Heathrow it is a Spanish company that owes BA, check worldwide airports are not really owed but what the government does efficient operation and the money that comes from the airports because government will make real money if the airports are functioning well’’.

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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Permalink 02:10:00 am, by callmeike Email , 1452 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News

*Nigeria: Subsidies In A Federation of Dark Leaders? Impossible!

By Ikechukwu Enyiagu

Arguments have raged on in support for and in opposition to the government’s plan to remove fuel subsidy; many have honestly outlined both the dangers of such move by the government-especially now-and the ways which they honestly think this adoption could be viable in the present Nigeria. Well, I’m not here today to stand in favor of or against whatever the government comes up with; they can always come up with anything, they always have. I’m here, however, to reintegrate one point: A Sovereign National Conference or a revolution remains the only solid ground for Nigerians, the only alternative to a continued drifting into oblivion and nonexistence.

Analysts have carefully spread out the deep-rooted crimes of the government-both past and present-in the much talked about government subsidies, the wickedness of independent dealers, and the prejudice which is common amongst all of Nigeria’s security outfits-including, if not mostly, the EFCC, which claims to be at the centre of the much campaigned anti-corruption moves. Before it slides, I’d like to remind the American government that flashing awards to these so called anti-corruption operatives would not, in the least, persuade them to carry out the purpose of this unit faithfully; if anything, it’s just a boost to help them in further alienating struggling Nigerians while those who have and are continually propagating these struggles remain in unholy intercourse with them. While America doles out whatever praises they deem fit to the EFCC operatives, it will do well to remind them that, so far, the only people they have ever prided themselves over would be struggling Nigerians who were forced into many illegal dealings abroad; the root of these characters which necessitated their compelled-choices of livelihood, however, remains to be even looked at. All the so-called former leaders in their different capacities who, obviously and largely evident, have stolen everything from their constituents remain to be brought to account; the EFCC, with its much-displayed name, is yet to succeed in a single prosecution. ( Continues below...... )

Nigeria National Assembly Complex

Photo Above: Nigeria National Assembly Complex

The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently made its opinion known as it regards the said subsidy removal; the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) also voiced their stand, albeit, in vehemence. I have also heard the Central Bank governor, Mallam Sanusi, offer his honest opinion to the challenges of the present Nigeria to include the dissolution of states, local governments, and ministries -however much I beg to differ. There are, still, individuals who believe they have greater stakes in Nigeria and have also spoken up for or against this proposal; but none seems to be pointing to the root of this evil, and therefore, none is close to any solution that may have any effect since fuel prices have remained on the mountaintop even with the said subsidy in place. Nevertheless, I honestly believe that these opinions were not born out of total ignorance; if anything, they are simply the culture-Nigerianism which has become mostly assimilated by all and sundry. It is the culture of picking crumbs in front of a big bowl of food, the ingrained attitude of pointing fingers to the house of a wicked giant’s little neighbor while referring to the giant when, in reality, the giant stands within view. ( Continues below..... )

Nigerians queue up to buy fuel at a filling station

Photo Above: Nigerians queue up to buy fuel at a filling station.

The problem with Nigeria has nothing to do with subsidized or unsubsidized whatever; the problem is the current Nigeria. The CAN’s body should, if anything, be conversant with the scriptures about foundations and how they were laid. If the foundations be destroyed, what should you who stand in the right do? The NLC often fidgets like a muzzled and helpless horse, even though the greater part of the rudder of this nation lies with it. The man who advocates a true federalism is the same man who advocates Islamic bank in what some claim to be a secular or federal state-a state which has remained tribally and religiously fragile and on tiptoe for decades. The problem with Nigeria far outweighs all these clamors, it has its root in Nigeria as a country and the structures upon which it was built/founded/named. When the foundation is accursed, every other thing gets infected.

For those who draw on their hairs because of the government’s ill-fitted position on subsidy: do not squabble anymore; go for what matters most, go for the foundation because therein lie the problems and their cure. To the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), I say: if you represent Christ and His church, look then carefully at the foundation of Nigeria and see why your support for or stand against subsidy removal or an Islamized Nigeria will hold no sand. Get closer to the word and understand that the only way to get anything about Nigeria right is to consult the pillars of this structure-go to the foundation. The word says: “Return!” In the case of Nigeria, “Return to the pillars!” Are you not tired of seeing the government arbitrary carry out decisions which you and the masses openly stood against because they are evil; do you now think that, by backing the government on this wicked game of subsidy where Nigerians serve as helpless dices, you would be anything relevant? By all means, no! Of course, the church has every role to play in the direction a people go, that’s why, when God comes to judge, His angels will start from your pulpits; the kingdom cannot be separated from those who are being prepared for it. Every created thing should work for our good while we keep ready for our homecoming. However, to remain relevant, you must openly speak forth the truth. Nigeria cannot be mended while everyone moves as if things are proper; Nigeria has to be stopped and dismantled for total overhauling. ( Continues below..... )

Map of Nigeria

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

A Sovereign National Conference remains the only way to stop Nigeria without stopping the economy nor the people, and properly deal with the million-plus issues we have as a nation; pointing fingers, standing in support for or against proposals only make fun before those leaders who no longer have any hearts to feel. To even think that, “Even though a Sovereign National Conference is needed, it is not yet time,” to think in this line would be a greater demon than that which rubbished everything Gaddafi built and hoped for; it would destroy everything in the long run-such thoughts would. To the NLC, I say: where do you really intend to start in your agitations? Asking the president to resign would be most foolish if you cannot back up your words with some labor muscles. You have been there severally, have you not? The only option which remains now is a Sovereign National Conference. I humbly advice, both the religious bodies there are, and the Labor union to stand up with one voice and call for a Sovereign National Conference. Where that is unheeded within the short space of time given, the Labor force should go for a civil disobedience by abandoning their works-from the least to the highest.

Next, schools should follow, and after that, police and military personnel who have come to abhor the status quo, and who are also being mocked with a delay of their salary pay should stand for what is right and engage in mutiny. That is called revolution. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya was far better for Libyans and Libya than all Nigeria’s past and present leaders put together. He cared for them to a length that no Nigeria’s leader has ever dreamt of, let alone voicing out; yet he was removed because he refused to heed the peoples’ call for a change. Libya is not even up to eight million in population, yet they ousted and reduced to nothing the most powerful political leader in Africa; Nigeria’s leaders would be deceiving themselves should they go on thinking that they have mastered the art of instilling and retaining fear in the citizenry. Nigeria’s, dreadfully, would be like the locusts and a field of corn. Now, neither I nor the people would want that, except for the last and only chance. But then, do we still have time to waste? Look, everything is wasting around us and fuel subsidy is not even one of the least. Any government that oppresses its people has lost legitimacy before God, and even the king of such a government shall be grateful with going into exile.

Ikechukwu Enyiagu can be reached at ike.enyiagu@gmail.com

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11/02/11

Permalink 01:25:00 am, by amiru adamu Email , 805 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News

*The Soaring Popularity of Foreign Football Leagues in Nigeria

By Amiru Adamu

Though the first football association was founded in England, the origin of football/soccer could be found in every corner of geography and history. The Chinese Japanese, Italian, Ancient Greek, Persian, Viking and many more played a ball game long before our era. The Chinese played “football” as far back as 3000 years ago. The Ancient Greeks and the Romans used football games to sharpen warriors for battle .In the south and Central America a game called “Tlatchi” once flourished.

International matches were being staged in Great Britain before football had hardly been heard of in Europe. The first was played in 1872 and was contested by England and Scotland. This sudden boom of organized football accompanied by staggering crowds of spectators brought with it certain problems with which other countries were not confronted until much later on. Professionalism was one of them. The first moves in this direction came in 1879, when Darwin, a small club, twice, managed to draw against supposedly invincible old Estonians in the FA cup, before the famous team of London amateurs finally scrapped through to win at the third attempt. Two Darwin players, the Scots john love and Fergus Suter, are reported as being the first ever players to receive remuneration for their football talent. This practice grew rapidly and the football association found itself obliged to legalize professionalism as early as 1885. ( Continues below..... )

Foreign soccer players

The spread of professional football outside of England mainly due to British influence abroad started slow, but it soon gathered momentum and spread rapidly to all parts of the world, Nigeria inclusive. In Nigeria today foreign leagues such as the English premiership, Laliga, Serie A, Champions league and others are witnessing a soaring popularity. Nigerians most especially the youth are following these leagues with religious devotion. One needs only to visit a football viewing center, particularly when big and rival teams such as Barcelona F.C and Real Madrid F.C, are playing to confirm this assertion. This new romance between Nigerians and the foreign leagues is not unconnected to the fact that Nigerians are natural football lovers, and since the local football leagues and even the national team are nothing to write home about, Nigerian football lovers have found a new love in the foreign football clubs who thrill them with their skills of soccer.

Another interesting aspect of this romance is that the football enthusiasts did not limit themselves to viewing and clapping only, they follow up on other issues such as transfer, purchase of players and other related issues concerning their clubs of choice. Enterprising Nigerian youths are also cashing in on the football fever to earn a legitimate living by setting up television viewing centers where football lovers come to watch matches for a fee. For instance, in Lapai road, a suburb of Sokoto, football viewing centers are popular sight to behold with bill boards and notifications of match fixtures with dates and time of each match proudly on display for football enthusiasts. Gate fee actually vary from one viewing center to another, depending on the match being shown. ( Continues below..... )

soccer ball Foreign soccer players

According to Habib Mohammed, a viewing center operator, the venture is fast becoming a booming business. “In most cases particularly when big and rival teams are playing, we always find it difficult to cope with the population of viewers that come to our center”. “Sometimes, we show between four and five matches during weekends, and by the time we deduct the cost of fuel because the business depends largely on power from generators, we still make a sustainable amount of money at the end of the day, ” he said.

Football fanaticism and hooliganism, that lead to the ban of viewing centers in some states is also a challenge to the viewing center operators. Some fans after watching their clubs loose to a rival club find it difficult to control their selves, a situation that sometimes results to loss of lives and properties due to clashes between rival fans. ( Continues below..... )

Foreign soccer players

This problem according to Habib prompted the establishment of football viewing centers association in most states. These associations have guidelines of operation that are tailored to checkmate hooliganism at the viewing centers.

The romance between Nigerians and the foreign football leagues is at its peak. This should be a challenge to local football clubs and the National team. Football is a thing of national pride in our great country; in addition, there is a huge potential for investment in local leagues considering the number of players and clubs we have perhaps if we reform our local clubs to an acceptable standard, Nigerians might channel some of the love for foreign leagues to the local leagues.

Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.

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10/28/11

Permalink 09:44:00 pm, by admin Email , 663 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News, African News

*Comment Rejoinder To Nosa Osula-Aituamen’s Article of October 28, 2011.

By Jeff Gazzard

A rather lurid and inaccurate headline to the article above, I'm afraid! Let’s be frank – ALL the world’s airlines HAVE already registered (a handful “under protest” admittedly) for free allowances within the scope of the EU ETS aviation regulations; they have also invested in all the necessary monitoring and verification software to participate; and most are already operating in the carbon market through both in-house and external systems, advisors and traders.

One or two airlines have already been fined by EU member state’s regulators for missing deadlines in the run-up to the ETS January 2012 start date, so perhaps now is a good time to remind airlines of the heavyweight, some might say draconian, financial penalties for any future non-compliance which could potentially bankrupt even the world’s largest airlines.

We know that airlines are very aware of these penalties and many of them have said publicly that they do not intend to break any ETS-related laws at several meetings and events I have attended, although they oppose the scheme.

There is a substantial degree of desperate last-minute posturing and grandstanding to try and avoid practical and fair market-based environment protection solutions from countries who should know better – the recent presentation to ICAO in Montreal from the EC’s Artur Runge-Metzger, International and Climate Strategy Director, easily found on the web, is a welcome and very clear explanation of where we are right now and why the EU ETS is a fair and equitable policy.

Using this scheme as the global model is the way forward. Countries trying to avoid the fairly “light touch” ETS regulation in this latest bit of institutionalised moaning, are misguided and out-of-touch with the reality of the urgent need for action to control and reduce the climate change impacts of civil aviation.

Which is all the more difficult to understand when many are in the frontline of the fight against climate change right now.

The EU is not going to capitulate and has the support of environment NGO’s everywhere – covering around a third of aviation’s global CO2 emissions is a stunning achievement and needs support and expansion, not arrogant whingeing from the industry’s flat earthers. If you can afford the price of a ticket, you can afford the cost of carbon.

Jeff Gazzard
Aviation Environment Federation
LONDON
Email: jeffgazzard@greenskies.org

__________________________

Nosa Osula-Aituamen’s article prompting Jeff Gazzard’s rejoinder above is republished below.

EU Air Tax On The Verge of Collapse

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

The House of Representatives has voted against U.S. participation in the European Union’s (EU) costly emissions trading scheme (ETS), which would impost new emissions taxes on U.S. and other nations’ carriers flying to and from the EU.

The bipartisan legislation, the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act of 2011 (H.R. 2594), was introduced by John L. Mica (R-Fla.), transportation and infrastructure committee chairman along with democratic committee members.

“This appropriately named EU scheme is an arbitrary and unjust violation of international law that disadvantages U.S. air carriers, threatens U.S. aviation jobs, and could close down direct travel from many central and western U.S. airport to Europe,” said Mica, who says neither Congress nor the government will support the EU tax scheme.

If imposed on January 1, 2012, the EU aviation tax scheme would apply to U.S. and other nations’ flights into or out of an EU airport, regardless of how long that flight is in EU airspace, according to the committee.

Airlines would be required to pay an emissions tax to the EU Member State to which they most frequently fly, without any requirements that EU countries even use these fees in aviation emissions reduction efforts.

H.R. 2594 prohibits U.S. aircraft operators from participating in the ETS. The bill also instructs U.S. officials to negotiate or take any action necessary to ensure U.S. aviation operators are not penalized by any unilaterally imposed EU scheme.

Click Here To Read Osula-Aituamen’s Article With Photos

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Permalink 09:43:00 pm, by aviationreport, 728 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: News, Nigerian News, World News

*Nigeria: I Was Never Arrested By FIRS Says Arik Boss

By Nosa Osula-Aituamen

Chairman of Arik Air Sir Arumemi Ikhide has denied being arrested by the Nigeria Police Force on the orders of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), over failure to remit taxes from the operations of the airline alleging running into over N3 billion affirming that officials of the FIRS only visited the premises of Air Air to reconcile accounts over figures that in dispute. Sir Arumemi-Ikhide who briefed reporters at the corporate headquarters of Arik Air also denied that the managing director of the airline Mr. Chris Ndulue as well as the vice president in charge of finance of the carrier was also arrested.

The Arik Air boss explained that officials of the FIRS only visited the airline for clarifications on issues bordering on figures to be taxed from the proceeds of its ticket sales, which he said needed the full imput of the airline, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), and other stakeholders. ( Continues below..... )

Arik Chairman receiving award.

Photo Above: Arik Chairman, Sir Joseph Arumemi-Ikhide (right) receiving the Company of The Year Award from Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to South Africa, Alhaji Shehu Malami at the Leadership Awards for Excellence 2009 held in Abuja on Friday, April 30, 2010.

He said : "At no no time was I arrested, in fact at the said time, I was far away in London, how could I be in London and at the same time be arrested in Nigeria. Sometimes, I wonder where such misrepresentations are coming from, which only intent is to portray the airline in bad light.

We do not need to join issues with anybody, but to just put the record straight by insisting that nobody from Arik Air was arrested by officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

The FIRS officials were only here on courtesy visit, they did not invade Arik Air offices, just the way journalists come in here, they were here carried out their routine assignment and left. At no time did they arrest me or anybody."

He further said of the issues that led to the visit of FIRS officials to Arik Air: "The FIRS write a letter to us in Arik Air that they will like to clear some issues over ticket sales with our officials and we gave them appointment for October 25, 2011. But, before that date we had some issues with the technology that controls our ticket sales and the accruing revenue it should capture. To get such issues sorted out takes quite some time, because the officials handling the technology had traveled to Dubai to fix the equipment that drives the technology. ( Continues below..... )

A landing Arik Plane

Photo Above: A landing Arik Plane

When the FIRS officials visited the affected officials were not on ground to carry out the accounts reconciliation. So, to put it in persective, Arik Air does not owe FIRS, we have already paid about N1.2 billion out of the N2.1 billion.

It was a case of disagreement in sales figures that the FIRS officials sourced from the NCAA, which we as an airline need to reconcile. But, due to the failure in technology, we were unable to achieve that."

The Arik Air further explained such misrepresentation of facts could send negative signals to the international community that is poised to drive the growth of the aviation industry through the injection of the much needed funds.

He explained that information making the round that Arik Air has acquired a brand aircraft worth several millions of dollars, could not be true because the airline has been utilizing multi lateral funding to acquire state - of - the - art equipment, which may have prompted the visit of the team to its office.

He explained that Arik Air will continue to demonstrate its obedience to the laws of the land as a responsible organisation, and not a debt ridden outfit out to short change government. Sir Arumemi- Ikhide lauded the efforts of the Federal Government to assist the airline by creating a conducive atmosphere for it to carry out its business with restrictions in terms of policy and a friendly operating environment.

He also lauded the efforts of the Assets Management Company of Nigeria ( AMCON), which has assisted Arik Air through Union Bank to acquire working capital to keep the operations of the carrier afloat.

Nosa Osula-Aituamen (Aviationreport)

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