*Mark Your Calendar For Igbo Retreat In Igbo Village In U.S.
By CISA Secretariat
Press Release: Council of Igbo States in Americas (CISA) calls on all Igbos wherever they may be and all sons and daughters of Africa (the entire world) to mark their calenders and book their flights on time so as not to miss the maiden Igbo retreat. Life started in Africa and this means we are all sons and daughters of Africa irrespective of where we may find ourselves in the world. Some will say "sons and daughters of Adam and Eve", that is another way of putting the origin of mankind to Africa. The bottom-line is that the Igbo Farm Village in Virginia, U.S., the venue of the Igbo Retreat touches all that dwell on earth through history of mankind and the forced coming of mother Africans to the new world (United States). The Igbo Farm Village is landmark recognition of the contributions of Igbo victims of the trans-atlantic slave trade to the development of Virginia and the greater American frontier culture.
Mark your calenders, the retreat which is on Igbo Global Agenda is scheduled for March 22-23, 2013 at the Igbo Farm Village, 1290 Richmond Road, Staunton, VA 24401. You can use your GPS to navigate to the address or click here for map directions.
The general public and important dignitaries from both Igboland, Nigeria and worldwide have given nod on their support and presence at the retreat. In due course a shortlist of speakers and special guests for the retreat will be announced, so stay tuned. There are three levels of sponsorship for the retreat - 1. Platinum: One thousand USD ($1000); 2. Gold: Five hundred USD ($500); and 3. Diamond: Two hundred USD ($200). All sponsors will be acknowledged and recognized.
The Igbo retreat is made possible by CISA in collaboration with WACHET (a non-profit based in the US) and support of Ohaneze and Igbo World Assembly (IWA). Further information about the retreat will be released soon. Direct all inquiries to email@example.com
Photo Above: Visitors on tour of Igbo Farm Village, Staunton, Virginia, USA.
Photo Above: Children on tour of Igbo Farm Village, Staunton, Virginia, USA.
*Youth Unemployment in Nigeria
By Tosin Obata
As I lay in bed at about midnight few days ago (11/11/12), it was time to say my prayers before I sleep. So it came to my mind to pray for my country Nigeria, which I did with so much fervency like never before- at such a time. After the prayers I went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep because of the nagging thoughts running perpetually on my mind. And since this did not allow me sleep even though I do not joke with my sleep, I decided to put my pen to paper so that the thought would at least leave my mind and get on the paper.
It is the fact that God has been answering our prayers every time we pray but our leaders are the ones truncating our future and common destiny.
Different questions started running through my mind concerning youth unemployment in the country:
When has it become the responsibility of the youth to create jobs for themselves?
Have you ever heard or read where presidents or prime ministers of ‘developed’ countries asked young graduates of their countries to go out and create jobs for themselves?
It is however very unfortunate that this has become a slogan on the lips of almost all the political appointees and office holders in Nigeria whose sole responsibility it is to create jobs for the teeming youth of the country. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Unemployed young men play draft (checkers) in Lagos, Nigeria to while away time.
This is not only funny because of the misplacement of responsibility in my dear country, but is it indeed laughable because of the kind of leaders this slogan is coming from.
Can someone ask our legislators, starting from the senate president and any of our governors and even the president of the country if after they left universities and colleges they went out to create jobs for themselves? Can you ask them how many jobs they have created, even now that they earn enough money for 1000 people to live on?
Our president has been in power for a while; at least since being a deputy governor, how many jobs has he created from his own personal salary over the years, despite the huge salaries and allowances accrued to his office and others like him?
Every reasonable and focused government of the world strive and do all it takes to reduce the numbers of their unemployed graduates and even face serious criticism anytime unemployment figures goes up. This shows that getting people, especially young graduates into gainful employment is the SOLE responsibility of the government at all levels, whether in Austria or Australia, from Canada to Cambodia. So where did Nigeria leaders get their own kinds of leadership skills/ responsibilities from? Why do they breathe down on young graduates who have struggled to go through school, even with some debts, to start creating jobs for themselves from nothing? This is indeed laughable!
Some may argue that many youth and fresh graduates in the country have little or no marketable skills. As reasonable as this may sound, it is however not true. In fact, having little or no skills is not entirely the fault of the graduates, except you want to tell us that the youth/students are now responsible for our educational structure. Are the students responsible for the kinds of teaching and training facilities they get from our educational system? If they really lack skills, then do not blame them, rather blame the trainers and those responsible for the quality of training our students should get. Who are we fooling? Even those with great skills are at the mercy of basic amenities. Where is the enabling environment for the businesses to thrive? There’s no stable power to even operate a common barber’s shop, 52 years after independence, while funds are squandered in all quarters. This is a country where you generate your own power, pump your own water, grade your own roads and even provide your own security, making our level of poverty worse. This is indeed very interesting, painful and unfortunate.
I recently read an article about masters and PhD graduates jostling for driving positions in a company and I felt really bad, not really for the youth, but for the country. I am really surprised that such issues are never brought forward in the senate chambers or Federal Executive meetings (where those who claim to represent us meet) for discussions. The government at all levels should really be ashamed and bury their heads in ashes or mud- whichever is easier. How can you claim to represent a people whose lives are marred with abject poverty while you live like emperors to people you are meant to serve? Then I remembered what the bible says in Isaiah that “woe unto you that join house to house and field to field, till there is no place that you may dwell (and enjoy) alone in the midst of the poor. Woe unto you that call evil good and good evil”. But this I know, even if the courts of Nigeria doesn’t get you that of the Creator of all things will get you and all the riches you have dubiously acquired will be devoured and squandered in your very eyes. It’s not a curse, it’s written!
When in elementary schools our teachers said we are the leaders of tomorrow. How come after 30-35years of age we are still jobless? Is this how we are going to be leaders of tomorrow? Does it mean our teachers lied? Or tomorrow hasn’t come? Why is it that those in power when I was in primary school some 26years ago are the same people in power today?
Are the youth lazy?
I know some may say that most of our youth are lazy, even Nasir El-Rufai said same thing recently- which is rather unfortunate for he is a youth himself. Even if this is true, have we found jobs for those who are not lazy and really ready to work? It has become very common and rather appalling that before you could get a job in this country irrespective of your degree and qualificaion; you need to know someone who knows someone that knows someone. When did things get to this? Is this how some of the countries we claim to, and try to emulate do it? ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Mallam Nasir El- Rufai
We want to practice bicameral national assembly as done in the US, but why don’t we emulate the Americans where government takes responsibility for getting people into gainful employment. Why do we not emulate the UK in giving benefits and allowance to unemployed youths?
Is it not stupid for government officials to expect young graduates (with some backlogs of debts) to start creating jobs for themselves when there is no basic amenities in the cities, not to talk of the towns and villages? When, an engineering student would graduate without any hands on practical experience on relevant equipments all through school?
But funny enough, I do not entirely blame the government for all these rubbish. I blame the teeming youth of this country, who have been at the receiving end since the country’s independence. I blame us for allowing this nonsense to continue till now, despite making up half the population of the country- which means we could determine (if we work together) who rules of at any level of government.
The unemployment rate in Nigeria is higher than what you have in Spain, Greece and UK, but the youth of these countries protest the poor nature of their economy and hold their respective governments responsible for jobs. And mind you- these countries all have the basic social amenities which have so far remain elusive in Nigeria after 52 years of independence. Worst still, the leaders of the above named countries and most of the western countries despite their so called ‘better’ education, do not ask their youth to go and create jobs for themselves after school, but rather the government strives to get everyone working. So, if countries with ‘proper’ education where the graduates are supposed to possess great skills still make it their responsibility to get jobs for everyone willing to work, why is our own government running away from its responsibility? Why are we not holding our government responsible for jobs in Nigeria? Why does government, after messing up our schools and educational system by poor funding and insincerity, expect the graduates from such schools to become magicians after school and start creating jobs?
Government should be held responsible
Don’t get me wrong, some people have been able to successfully start their own businesses and create jobs for themselves and others after school, and are better off for it, because there is nothing better than working for yourself. But the point I am making here is -it is the sole responsibility of government to create jobs whether directly or indirectly and to get everyone willing to work into jobs. It is high time our government officials stopped this nonsense of telling fresh graduates to go create jobs for themselves when most of them haven’t created a single job in their entire lives despite having access to monies enough to start up a bank! How many jobs has any of our governors and ‘legislooters’ created before coming into office...in fact, even while in office, how many? We do not have money to fund education which is the bedrock of development, but spend billions of naira training militants and other enemies of the state...this is rather unfortunate! Mind you, I’m not against the training of militants, but if allowances could be paid to militants, peaceful Nigerian youth deserve better. “What is good for the goose, is good for the gander”
Although, I am tempted to ask the government to wake up to its responsibility, but that may not be necessary. But instead, I would say it’s time the youth of this country woke up from their long slumber and chase out this set of clueless, stupid and irresponsible leaders who have continued to mortgage our future -out of office. An adage in pidgin says; if sleep don dey pass one day, e don dey near death’. We have slept for far too long.
Most patient youth on earth!
I must commend us (the youth of Nigeria) for being the most patient youth anywhere in the world. I bet no other country in the world would take what Nigeria youth have been faced with from the time of independence until now. Our (irresponsible) leaders know this and have taken us for a ride for too long. As the saying goes; “whatever you allow continues”. This government nonsense must stop. I however, do not care how we stop it; all I know is that, this nonsense must stop so we can free ourselves and live meaningfully in our own land. Instead of struggling in the midst of plenty and taking insults from poorer countries we try to run to in search of the so called ‘greener pasture’. If the federal government can pay up to 65,000 to the so called ex-militants, I think it’s only fair to pay similar amount (if not more) to peaceful law abiding jobless graduates of this country except the Federal Government is encouraging us to take to violence as a way of getting anything from the government.
Time for action
If riots and protests will get us there, so be it. I have never been an advocate of violence, but this time for once I want to say...if war will get us peace let’s do it. Even Jesus had to violently chase those destroying His Fathers’ house. It is high time we do same and stop these people from destroying our lives and our dear country. The situations in Greece and Spain (mind you they have stable power, good education and all the basics) are not worse than ours, but they protests and fight their governments for jobs, it is high time we held this government accountable and responsible for jobs. Enough of this irresponsibility! ‘Our mumu don do’. If Greece and Spain – with less number of unemployed youth (55%), can stage 3 major walk outs in just 2 months, then I think our own (with over 71% youth unemployment) major strike action is long overdue.
If you could imagine that the youth are more than half the population of the country, then you will know how powerful we can be as a united force. Let’s make government at every level know that it is their SOLE responsibility to get jobs for our graduates. Let’s let them know they have no moral right WHATSOEVER to even mention that ANY fresh graduate should be self employed. It is the responsibility of government to create jobs! You either face it or get out of office.
Gowon, Obasonjo, Buhari, Pius Anyim and a crop of other past leaders ruled the country at the highest level when they were in their late 20s and early 30s. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE YOUTH OF TODAY? WHY CAN’T WE EVEN HAVE A CHANCE TO BE COUNCILLOR OF A WARD AT 27 (the age Gowon was President of the entire country). Is our future not being stolen right in our very eyes?
This article is not intended to discourage the youth who have the means to be self employed. The best way to live is actually to be your own boss. But this article is to let everyone, government inclusive, know that they have failed us woefully in their responsibility for far too long. And it’s time to hold them responsible and accountable!
Government and their officials should henceforth stop that talk about graduates being self employed. Do not ask people to do what you did not or cannot do. Governance is by example...how many of you created jobs for yourselves immediately you came out of the Universities?
In order for this government to avoid the looming crisis that will affect everyone, it needs to sit up and as a matter of national importance and urgency- declare emergency on youth unemployment in the country.
Secondly, government should begin to collate (if it’s not already doing so) the names and qualification of all unemployed youth in the country- from ward to ward.
Government should set up task forces (made up of only credible Nigerians) in all ministries and parastatals -track down those who alter their ages, despite being due for retirement- in other to continue to be government service forever. This is one of the major reasons why government agencies cannot employ-the old refuse to leave but prefer to die in office!
Government should also as a matter of urgency create a job centre in each local government of the federation –where issues relating to unemployment would be addressed.
And lastly, government should as a matter of national importance, begin to pay unemployed graduates a monthly allowance of at least N50, 000 irrespective of their vocation or location. What is good for the militants should be better for the peaceful, law-abiding youth of this great country. Of course you cannot tell us there’s no money for such or that it wasn’t captured in the budget, we all know there are ways such important and urgent issues can be financed. In fact, this issue could still be included in the 2013 budget. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Nigerian Naira Notes
Do no tell us there’s no money for such, when our senate president earns more than the US president. When our governors live like emperors with endless convoy, when our president and governors have endless number of aids and assistants, when individuals steal billion of naira every day- with no one held accountable, while there are so many indictment of corruption without any conviction; while there’s so much display of wealth by the those in government while those who voted them into office live like beggars in their fatherland!
I think if the government start paying job seekers allowances and it runs into billions (perhaps trillions), then they would wake up and get youth into employments in order to stop paying those allowances. But until then, this needs to be done urgently in other to reduce the rate of robbery and crimes in our society, and of course the very high level of poverty in the country.
University of Benin, Nigeria.
*New Style Prophets: Visions of Phone Numbers and Ladies Underwear
By Obinna Akukwe
New style prophets from Nigeria and Ghana have bastardized the once prestigious prophetic ministry and turned it into a caricature of visions of phone numbers, bank details and ladies underwear. The prophetic ministry is one of the fivefold ministry which Jesus Christ gave for the edification of the church (1 Corinthians 12 vs 28) The New Testament order was apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The reigning craze among the new style prophets is calling people’s phone numbers and bank details on the pulpit. Some of them, in order to convince the congregation that the Holy Spirit is in operation and can reveal the deepest secrets, mention the colors of underwear, panties, brassier of pretty female worshippers to the cheering of equally spirit filled congregation. Prophets have been used by God occasionally to reveal deep secrets about people especially when a gross danger is about to envelop a person, city or nation and proffers solution on how to overcome the situation. (Ezekiel 11:1-4), therefore the bastardization of the process by fraudsters does not eliminate the existence of true prophets and pastors.
The prophetic ministry is the highest in ministerial rankings, Jesus Christ called himself a prophet who is without honour in his home (Matthew 13vs 56-58) and Apostle Peter while addressing the crowd after the healing of the lame at the beautiful gate said ‘’For Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. 23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’[a‘’ (Acts 3 vs 22-23) The Bible said that God will send them a prophet in the order of Moses and Elijah. During the time of transfiguration of Jesus Christ, two prophets, Moses and Elijah appeared and flanked him. (Matthew 17 vs 1-3) Most of the fathers of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel operated the prophetic unction. Therefore, prophetic ministry is a ministry ordained by God as a medium of directly communicating his mind to people. Simply put, prophets are spokesmen of God who must deliver the counsel of God whether the recipient likes it or not. ( Continues below...... )
A prophet must always manifest a word of wisdom (future predictions and solutions), word of knowledge (recalling past events and solutions). There are three types of people parading themselves as prophets in contemporary Nigeria, those called by God, those who called themselves and those called by the devil. There are prophets called by God, some of them are still in our midst. As an undergraduate, a classmate, who is now a pastor with the Assemblies of God Church , Enugu convinced me to follow him to the house of one prophetess Okereke or so from Christ Ascension Church, Enugu. This lady then living in abject poverty and under oppression by a difficult husband was able to tell me things still unfolding in my life almost twenty years after. I had to cut out a large chunk of my feeding money to assist this woman from poverty. I can never forget the prophetic counsel and foresight of this woman whose daughter, Chimuche, is now a successful Abuja based gospel singer . I have had course to meet others like Rev Stephen Tamfu, a Taraba born missionary whose advice and counsel then was as if God had spoken and fifteen years later, those things are still unravelling. The two I talked about lived a Spartan life until God deemed it fit to change their financial status.
During a prophetic session at the Abiding Word Gathering Campus Fellowship, a beautiful female student known for prophetic messages cried loud that fornication has entered the fellowship. At the end of the service, the responsive campus fellowship leaders conducted a discreet investigation and found out that some prominent actors in the fellowships are into immorality. Those affected were confronted and openly suspended from fellowship and after evidences of repentances, were readmitted back. Such is the edification process of the prophetic ministry. These new style prophets are not interested in whether the worshipper is going to heaven or hell, their focus is intimidating the congregation with revelation of hidden secrets with the intent of fleecing the stunned worshipper of lands, houses, cars and life savings. These groups of people first calls the phone number of the victim to the cheering of the excited congregation, others go further to mention the person’s bankers ,bank details and the amount of funds with the bank. Some others will move a step further to mention the color of the underwear some beautiful ladies in the congregation are putting under their skirts, to the cheering of the congregation. ( Continues below….. )
Photo Above: Holy Bible
The prophets will then invite the beautiful and figurine ladies to their hotel rooms for special deliverance and anointing while the ugly looking and shapeless ones are asked to have faith in God, except if they have fat offerings as compensation for their unpleasant figure. This bedroom invitation always leads to bedroom exercise and the prophet repents, asks for forgiveness and awaits the next lady visitor. When the people discover that they miracle is yet to come, they transfer their aggression to anyone who is called a pastor. Therefore, genuine pastors should shut down the activities of these new style prophets before they distribute the stench of their activities to the honest ones.
These new style prophets from Nigeria have been known to travel to Kofiridua, Ghana while others visit Kumasi with the aid of some Ghanaian pastors where they consult the Antoa river goddess for powers to see people’s secrets. Others travel to bar beach Lagos, some to Calabar , Port Harcourt among other places to consult with powers. These powers must be serviced by constantly sleeping with church members or else the powers will dry up.
The second group of phone number callers are those who cannot muster the evil courage to consult spirits for strange powers, therefore, with the collusion of some church pastors, they send people in advance to gather information about certain persons in the congregation, including their vehicle plate numbers, villages, number of children etc. Four years ago a visiting prophet based in Enugu, who have influenced a lot of youth for God in the early nineties when his anointing was full, contracted some young men to get information about certain people in a church where he was invited to preach at Owerri and promised to share the booty in the ratio of 70:30. At the end of the shows he released a paltry N200, 000 naira to them. The embittered accomplices went to the chief donor and exposed the deal. The chief donor dragged both the visiting prophet and the host pastor to the police station to help recover both the state of the art vehicle and the millions he gave to the prophet. This second group is less harmful than the first group because they can only access the finances of the worshipper while the earlier group can be spiritually harmful. In 2003 I was invited to the church of one of the new style prophets in Lagos. The church service started by 9am and ended by 4pm. This handsome pastor, whose brothers are all prophets, walked up to a man and asked his name, the man replied John. He moved across to the other side of the large congregation of over two thousand and asked another man his name, the man replied John. The congregation erupted in cheers. He walked to a woman and asked for the name of the absentee husband and the woman replied John, everybody rejoiced the more. Then he moved to the first John and asked him what he does for a living, the man said that he is a staff of University of Lagos. He proceeded to a woman near the window and asked her what she does for a living, the woman said that she is a staff of University of Lagos; the crowd erupted in dancing and jubilation that God had revealed deep things. Then he moved back to the second man named John and asked for the name of the wife, the man answered Phebe. He moved to the first lady whose absentee husband bears the name John and asked her the name of the person that invited her to church, the lady replied that the person’s name is Phebe –this time around the congregation went wild with joy that God is in this place. This cycle continued with intermittent songs and dance until service closed and the congregation went home satisfied that next week will be their turn for God’s visitation.
The Bible said that Christians should test every spirits but these prophets with lots of intimidating credentials of the number of senators, governors, ministers, ambassadors they have prayed for easily sways unsuspecting worshippers to their sweet talks until it is too late. For those who have fallen victim to these people, it serves them right because people who reject the simplicity of the gospel and ignore those who appear too simplistic, preferring those with plethora of bodyguards, convoys and affluence as signs of genuineness they will fall victim to conmen who use the power of effects to manipulate others. Let every Christian grow in maturity with the help of the Holy Spirit, constant reading and meditation in the Bible so that when the new style prophets appear again with visions of bank details and ladies underwear, they will not fall victim.
Obinna Akukwe ( Profetobinna2@yahoo.com )
*Politicians Around The World Are Gradually Decimating Organized States
By Chris Onyishi
I am beginning to think that politicians – apart from the ones that are involved in the early days of their nationhood – all over the world (but particularly African politicians) are the same and are the architect of the various crises ravaging mankind outside of natural disasters. There is nothing I hate so much as hearing an incumbent repeatedly lament that he cannot perform because of the activities of his predecessors in office. Why should a normal human being hide under the cloak of an earlier administration’s action or inaction, in office, to fail to perform and he would not abdicate his office? I loathe rulers who pass buck.
Can you imagine President Jacob Xuma - of South Africa - blaming apartheid regime and the governments before his administration as being responsible for the woes of South Africa now? His party, the ANC, has ruled South Africa for about 18 years since post apartheid era and President Jacob Xuma – who came to power with all manner of rhetoric and gimmick against Thabo Mbeki is – is giving frivolous excuses for his failure to deliver the dividends of democracy to his people. All indices point to the fact that South African economy has been nose diving in the recent years following collapse of apartheid.
And my question to all these uncreative politicians has been, did you ever take time to study the magnitude of the problems facing your state or country before thrusting up yourself to be voted into a ruler-ship position? If you did, were you not sensible enough to assess that you have or do not have the ability and the capacity to reverse the anomalies facing your nation or state or local government before strutting to be allowed to rule?
I sincerely hope President Xuma and co do not mess up South Africa to the point where apartheid regime gives the shade of an option or alternative form of governance. African nations are in dire need of leadership. We have had rulers all along.
In a bid to rule at all cost, most politicians all over the world today resort to cheap and populist songs which they sell to the electorate and as soon as they are voted into power they begin to put the blame of inability to perform on previous governments. And I ask again, what did you think of before asking to be voted for? To blame past government or to correct what the past government did wrongly or what it did not get right?
You get a mentally bereft, materially poor and dull human being who bulldozes his/her way to power position when he knows that he is not capable and creative enough to manage society. In a couple of months he becomes stupendously affluent and the citizenry and the state become stupendously poorer. ( Continues below….. )
Then he starts trotting around the globe and roaming about in motorcades (within the state) with intimidating security agents of the state. Before you say jack, he/she turns around to blame previous administration for his inability to perform. And to add salt to the injury he would not honorably resign since it has become clear, even to him/her, that he/she has no solution to excruciating socio-political maladies staring his nation on the forehead. He serves s out his term aimlessly without any improvement and even goes all out to get reelected. He does not even struggle to leave the state of the economy the way he met it. He/she keeps meandering through until he finishes allowable term. The then relapses into what we call elder statesman from where he remotes the polity. He foists his offspring on the state to keep the looting game.
So from one administration to another, nations get poorer while these jokers get richer. The world is getting to a point where there will be total collapse of organized state and the politicians should prepare to face the consequences.
After singing the “Change We Need” song, President Obama of USA only managed to win a reelection (by only less than 2% over Romney of Republican) with the new slogan “Forward” and swaggering that Americans have decided and that he will be cutting tax from wealthy Americans to give the poor instead of proving how he will create more jobs to empower the middle class. And this is the kind of song that is easily bought by an impoverished electorate whose impoverishment is directly related to the politicians’ inability to steer the state ship in the right direction.
And at the same time it has been noted that the American congress is the costliest in the world. Why is it not easier for the executive and congress to start by reducing their pay pack and allowances, by 50%, which has constantly been rising since the past two to three decades irrespective of the economic tumble? The only thing that remains constant is the wages and allowances of politicians. They take the option that will tend to punish anyone else except themselves in times of economic difficulties which they initiated, in the first place, by their selfish actions.
Politicians spend more time consciously politicking (with the lives of the electorates) than they ruminate over scientific approach to solving socio-political problems of their countries. Effectively, up to 40% of their term is spent on politicking and political campaigns, another 30% on their personal lives and only 30% is spent on the rest of government activities which is mostly characterized by awarding contracts that never get to a logical end through which they stash away national wealth.
Today, President Obama is strutting on how he will veto the tax-cut policy if the congress fails to play ball to avoid what they have dubbed “fiscal cliff”, whatever that means. Politicians all over the world are fund of messing up the economies of their nations and when they do, they come up with some amazingly senseless phrases.
The question that comes to mind when President Obama swears to go ahead and implement tax cut from the wealthy class is, did they become wealthy illegally and if yes, why not prosecute them instead of talking about cutting their wealth for a “fiscal cliff” which they did not originate? Who are in this wealthy class? Are they chieftains of industry? And if you cut their money just because they are wealthy, will there not be a backlash on jobs and will the tax cut be the final solution to the so called “fiscal cliff”?
But the point worth making is that if tax cut becomes arbitrary, the middle class and, in fact, everybody else will soon become a victim. Politicians do not have a scientific approach for resolving societal problems. And it is a fact that when politicians are on a final lap of their term, there is nothing they have to run for again. They will tend to put up a bubby trap before leaving office so that when their successors come in, the buck passing continues and the citizenry continues to suffer for it.
We saw similar thing when President Jonathan of Nigeria who told us how he went to school without shoes and bags (and the slogan of ”Breath of fresh air and transformation” with sub slogan of “GOODLUCK”) suddenly turned out to become a President who would use over 1 billion naira for only feeding annually and turns around to blame Nigeria’s backwardness and woes on amalgamation of the Northern and Southern protectorates.
There is this notion that Nigeria runs the second most expensive National assembly with its 109 senators and 360 reps and myriad of aids and it is on record that Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi of the Central Bank of Nigeria once alerted that the Nigerian national assembly takes a whopping 25% of Nigeria’s total national budget. Alhaji Maitama Sule – a onetime permanent representative to the UN – said that much (even though I do not see him much different from the rest) in The Punch of July 20th 2012 as reported by one Olusola Fabiyi.
Today, President Jonathan runs the highest number of ministers and aids than any other government before his, while he keeps threatening us with revolution and teasing us with an unfounded notion that he will become the best president at the end of his first term and at the same time signaling to us (in his recent media chat of 18th Nov. 2012) that one term of four years is not enough for any government to carry out any development that will be visible. What an absurdity? We have heard this over and over again and yet when a new person comes in, it rubbishes what his predecessor has done by restarting the whole process, all over, so as to create a room for the vicious looting and sharing of national wealth amongst its political cronies.
This is the same administration that has failed to shirk off corruption even with glaring evidence and chooses to punish Nigerians by removing what they call “subsidy”, a vague term that is being used to polish corruption. Is the wages and allowances of politicians fixed in heaven? Reasonable logic shows that a 50% cut in National Assemblies’ wages and allowances and that of the executive is even bigger and better savings than the indirect taxation on fuel being meted out on the populace in the name of “oil subsidy” removal. And 50% cut from their wages and allowances still leaves them with more than enough funds to leave their ostentatious lives.
We are seeing how President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt is gradually trying to become a 21st century dictator a few months after he backed a “revolution” that toppled Hosni Mubarak on the allegation of high handedness and corruption. Haba. What do these politicians take the rest of us for? This is a president who was alleged to have touched his private part while starring at Julia Gillard’s legs and breast. You now see the caliber of people who present themselves to electorates to be voted into high offices. I did a piece at the onset of the Arab spring era which I gave the caption “Egypt: A Revolution with yet no direction”.
In that piece, I had written thus: “A half backed revolution, from the forgoing, is worse than none. Even though most of the protesters at the Tahir square in Egypt have one concept in common and that is that the ship of the Egyptian state - as piloted by ousted captain Mubarak - is not headed in the right direction, none of them has an alternative direction. Or at least, no one amongst them was bold enough to handle the rudder and start the redirection that will take not less than 36 months to finally dismantle the vertices of dictator they are combating.”
Furthermore, I had in the aforementioned piece said that “… It is on this note that I am not comfortable when people insinuate that what is happening in Egypt now is a revolution. I call it mere protest. If it must be a revolution, Egyptians must insist that the army should go back to barracks while from among the protesters should a group of assembly be raised to oversee a general election that will usher in a democratic government that will not have the coloration and smell of Mubarak’s dictatorial establishment.
A thorough revolution, as we see from history and from definitions of it, comes not just to make a monarch or a dictator flee his country or abdicate his reign, but with strong and sustained radical socio-political quake that demolished the structures that had sustained the monarch or the dictator. The dictator should not be given the opportunity to flee his country but should be brought back to answer for every one penny fraudulently acquired and numerous human rights abuses during his reign.”
From all indications, one is not now certain if President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt has anything to offer. It has become another kangaroo case where he is arrogating extreme power to himself after supposedly being elected into office by Egyptians.
From Belusconi of Italy, Sakozi of France, Syrian Al Sad, and the states of Yemeni , North Korea , Greece, Namibia, Mali, CDR, Angola, Afghan, etc, the story is the same. Rulers live in affluence while citizenry scotch in abject poverty. The middle class has almost vanished in so many nations of the world.
The major difference between politicians of civilized world and that of under developed nations (particularly of African states) is in the style of wealth accumulation and storage. Whereas the politicians of developed nations are hamstrung by their laws on where they keep their loots or wealth acquired by virtue of their status, the developing nations’ politicians stash their wealth away in more “stable” economies of the developed worlds, thus creating capital flight out of their economies. The politicians of African nations look inferior to their counterparts in civilized worlds and above all, they behave as if their state is doomed to collapse.
The similarity is that both are treacherous, they both come out richer than they were; their nations come out poorer than they were.
You need to see where these politicians converge under all manner of names: g5, g8, g20, AU, UN, etc, in Viena Austria, New Zealand, Adis Ababa and every other most benign countries in the best of environment to discuss about issues ranging from energy, ecosystem, ecology, ozone layer depletion, world peace, terrorism, Middle East issues, etc. You would almost think they are in a fashion parade. Then thereafter they parade themselves before journalists and give communiqué. Several years down the line, the situations get worse and so you wonder what they actually go to discuss.
But if you reason that no discovery or invention has ever taken place in atmosphere of absolute comfort, you would understand why politicians and rulers – world over – may not be the best group to foster social engineering that will usher peace to mankind. Politicians and rulers, all over the world, get confused when they get to power and begin to enjoy absolutely unimaginable comfort. Thinkers and creative people who bring about situation that add value to humanity either do not come from rosy background or they debunk their cozy environment in search of knowledge and wisdom. They are not people who stuff their local and foreign accounts with wealth stolen from national treasuries of their countries. They do not leave their immediate environment when they search for solutions. They do not enter jet plane to fly across and around the world.
Some politicians of these days come from a much decadent background to become super rich without any tangible effort other than feasting on state treasury. Most are usually offspring of past corrupt rulers who brought their countries to the nasty and messy situation such states are into. Most of them cannot run companies successfully and they make life uncomfortable for entrepreneurs who venture into politics.
They also asphyxiate entrepreneurs with heavy and double taxations with little or no infrastructural development that will encourage entrepreneurs. So what you get is a situation where these frustrated entrepreneurs employ the teaming youths for a very undeserving remuneration thus creating a very gullible and focus less and less patriotic youth population. These youths become vulnerable to manipulation by the same politicians who use them for all manner of nefarious activities in their bid to grab power at all cost. The state keeps suffering while these uncharitable politicians blossom shamelessly.
The first step in reversing this trend, of organized state collapse caused by politicians, is to make leadership less and less comfortable and attractive. People who aspire to lead should denounce or be made to denounce extra inducement. They should not be allowed to leave in separate places called government houses. They should be made to live as ordinary citizens while government functions should be carried out on exigency basis. They must be made to live with the populace and face the same conditions so that they will understand the realities of the people they claim to be serving. They must be banned from travelling oversee for medical treatment. Their families must be banned from schooling abroad.
The second step is for the electorate to realize that politicians are not doing them any favors. They should stop being helpless in their own land. They should rise to the occasion by voting out whoever chooses ostentatious live instead of using their country’s wealth to develop their State. The citizenry should evolve more nationalistic instinct and think more of the future of their countries than the prevailing quest to get rich quick even at the expense of national growth and sustainability.
The third option is to ban anybody who does not have a vocation from standing any elective position or even taking up any public appointment. Politics should not on itself become a vocation for anybody. You should be one of a University teacher, an entrepreneur, scientist, a mason, an accomplished lawyer, a medical expert, an accomplished engineer, etc before being eligible to hold public office. People who get elected should have gotten to the pick of their chosen vocation. Politics and politicking should be seen as pure service. People who get wealthier after engaging in public service should be sanctioned by the law.
Most of the people who parade themselves today as politicians (at least from Nigerian perspective) do not come from any definable vocation. Most of them do not have the capacity and any inkling of what is required to move an organized state forward because they do not understand what an organized state means to the citizenry in the first place. It is time social scientists got up to formulate what should be the minimum credential for one to answer a politician. At the moment, the only credential in Nigeria is if you are not good in anything but treachery.
Chris Onyishi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Why I am interested in Geometric Power Project - Obi
Masterweb Reports – Wednesday, November 28, 2012: Governor Peter Obi has restated to commitment of South-East Governors to attract more investors to the zone. Governor Obi was speaking at the weekend after a facility tour of an Independent Power Plant at Osisioma, Abia State accompanied by Governor Theodore Orji and some top Government Officials. He said he was interested in the project for it's capacity to transform the economy of the South-East, saying he was discussing with the owners on evacuation of excess power from the plant to Nnewi and Onitsha.
Governor Obi said conducive and enabling environment has been created for investors to harness numerous opportunities in the zone to expand their businesses. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Prof Barth Nnaji (middle), conducting Gov. Obi (right) and Gov Orji (left), round the facilities of Geometric Powers at Osisioma, Aba, Abia State November 10, 2012.
The Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji said the Plant was a viable project that would help tackle the challenge of power in the country and assured that the access road would be reconstructed.
The Chairman of the Company and former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji said the first phase of the project would be commissioned by February next year with the capacity of one hundred and eighty-eight mega watts to supply uninterrupted power to Aba metropolis in Abia State as well as evacuate power to Onitsha and Nnewi in Anambra State, while the second phase of the project would be expand to five hundred Mega watts.
According to Professor Nnaji the Power sub-stations have been increased from three to seven and the facilities upgraded to enhance efficient power transmission.
*Where Do We Bury You When You Die?
By Dr. James C. Agazie
A few years ago while we were young students in Atlanta, a young Nigerian student at Clark College went to work and a heavy box he was lifting with a forklift fell and broke the poor student’s neck. We ran around looking for money to send the body home after the Nigerian Embassy in Washington informed us it had no money budgeted for flying bodies home. We asked the family back home to bury Ejike in Atlanta, and the answer we received was: “No, send our son home.” That was a tall order, particularly coming from the order giver who had no kobo to contribute but who would perhaps be at Lagos Airport crying about “Nwa anyi jere Obodo Oyibo” (our child that went to the white man’s land). The round-trip fare to Nigeria by Pan American Airline then was dirt cheap ($425) so there was no problem. When time came to send the corpse home no one was willing to accompany Ejike because we all were illegal aliens and Immigration was hot on our heels. How time flies!
Nigerians are still very touchy about death, and giving loved ones befitting burials is a significant feature of the Nigerian cultural life one is not easily allowed to tamper with .What is more befitting for a dead man than washing him and sticking him in the soil to rest from his earthly worries? And why must talking about death and burial be removed from public discussions as a matter of urgency? Few friends had warned me to stay clear of discussing controversial Nigerian traditions after I wrote the piece “Wake Keeping or Wake Begging.” A Nigerian woman whose ideas I always seek when thinking on some of my topics, asks “Who forces you to attend wakes? Why do you write on such topics? Are you asked to donate money? Why are you becoming so unpopular that people are beginning to hate you?” Hate me for expressing innocuous thoughts on sensitive issues- innocuous in the sense that my thoughts are inoffensive to me, safe to the environment, harmless to others, and strictly personal? ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: A grave in a cemetery
If hatred is what I get for questioning my people’s oppressive tradition or status quo, I don’t want to be loved. And if omenala (traditional ways of doing things) will oppressively dictate how we live, love, sex, die, and bury our dead (by transporting a corpse thousands of miles across continents at exorbitant costs to the family), are we allowed to ask: “Does it mean that’s the way things ought to always be done? Does it? And why doesn’t it?” Assumimg arguendo it is found that you are entitled to how you want to be buried, it doesn’t preclude battling for “uche gi” (your mind) or struggling to manipulate your mindset and change the way you think about traditions. This essay speaks to that. We owe no apology.
How about making death a bit painful?
I am thinking about changing the way I behave at wakes. The gentlemanly way of spraying dollar bills has got to stop. I have tried pressing the dollar bills hard on the men’s sweaty foreheads or the women’s pancake (that hideous, gummy substance called makeup) which African women enjoy plastering their faces with. I would like to press the dollar bill hard on pancake faces that it sticks like dried-up pus and covers the dancers’ vision. The idea is to get dancers to trip and fall down, giving the impression they are helping children collect the IN GOD WE TRUST. Now, I have thought of coming up with heavy rolls of quarters which would allow me to stay on the dance floor a bit longer and which I shall throw with ferocious force at the celebrants’ cringing eyes, noses, mouths, lips, ears, necks, or teeth if they try to smile at Okafor Naira Sprayer or me during Sweet Mother number. A wicked friend of mine suggested I come up with bags of rocks to be thrown with the energy of a baseball player at the dancers begging for money. There would be pandemonium as the women run into bathrooms with rocks sticking out of their heavy make-up and the men dive under tables with their onyeagba pot bellies filled with osikapa and isi ewu mixed with a half gallon of foaming Heinekens.
Does death defy time and place ?
As I was planning on what moves to take to discourage carrying corpse home, I ran into a Nigerian woman at Riverdale Bank of America. She had been counting Dollar bills for over an hour. I recognized her as one of the dancers at Igbo wake-keeping social gatherings and that grabbed my inquisitiveness. As I carefully approached her so as not to create the impression I wanted to rob her, I sarcastically asked: “Madam, you need help counting all that money?”
“Oh, no,” she said. “My brother just died, and we had a wake for him two days ago.” Two days ago? In the very town I live? I didn’t go to her wake because I didn’t read the email or because the name of this woman and her bereaved family didn’t ring a bell. It could be that I hadn’t wanted to write more checks when some Nigerian MC begins to say: “Folks, this body got to go home .” I didn’t kill the man, and I hadn’t stopped the corpse from walking home across the Atlantic, did I? Anyway, running into a recently bereaved Naija lady counting money at a bank was a picture in comedy. It is comical in that the lady’s brother doesn’t know his sister would be using his death as excuse to prostitute and count her proceeds at a local bank.
I said: “I’m so sorry, Ma’am. Did your brother die in Atlanta, and when did he pass?’ Her response baffled me and led me to want to grab the money from her, put it back into her account , and then lecture her on the evil of her people’s wake-keeping habit of “ichughari akpati ozu” (chasing after the wooden coffin)? Why are we always (a) shedding crocodile tears; (b) bothering friends to organize wakes; (c) begging friends to bring food and beverages to a rented hall; (d) collecting money to spend on business back home or to build a doggone house under the pretext that we are honoring the dead and paying respect to family members who once lived and are no more; and (e) getting drunk to ease the pain or fear of facing our impending death? “Oh, no, he died in Nigeria a few years ago.” The dollar-counting woman finally said in front of a heap of green Dollar bills that were unkempt, ragged, scruffy, bedraggled, disheveled, or simply rumpled.
What Do I Care When I’m gone?
I once had a funny dream in which I was attending a wake party somewhere at Atlanta. Something terrifying happened. As I was carrying two hefty plates of food to a table in the midst of Osadebe and Sweet Mother pieces of music and people were milling around the dance floor ready to throw down, the man whose life and death we were celebrating suddenly appeared in the hall and snatched the microphone from the befuddled MC. He gave a little speech and disappeared as miraculously as he had entered:
He said: Igbo Kwenu, Rienu, Nuonu, Kwezuenu! I’m just coming from the grave. Did I ask you people to place me in this box? Wha t do I care how you dispose of my remains when I die? Did you say some kind words to me while I walked among you? Did you smile, pat me on the back, slip a loving arm around my neck, or put a lone Dollar into my palm to buy a bottle of Crystal Sparkling Water? How come now you are going bananas, looking for a place to get drunk and talk your trash? Weren’t you gossiping when my wife and I were fighting and going through a bitter divorce? What’s this jankara all about?” And piom! The man disappeared. The MC announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, you heard what was being said. Now, DJ, give us a hot number.”
New Breeds of Nigerians
I was going home from a function in which this Anambra man gave his daughter away in a traditional wedding when an Igbo man I was riding with on a stony, winding road in the early hours of dawn, cleared his throat and shocked me. This is the first time a Nigerian had shocked me after clearing a deep throat he uses to swallow large quantities of foo-foo, goat pepper soups, and cases of Heinekens. His words came out like that of a dead man in enchanted house. “I have told my wife in Atlanta and mother in Nigeria: ‘Bury me right here in America when I die.’”
This right -thinking Igbo man then enunciated reasons for his desire to be buried in Atlanta. His wife wouldn’t have to fork over $10,000 to $15,000 on caskets and shipping his body home. His wife would spend that money on raising his children the best she could rather than waste it on archaic customs. His wife could cremate him and spread the ashes in his compound at home, or she could just dump the corpse in the ground. The Yorubas, he said, do not subscribe to Igbo ideas and are burying their dead wherever they are. Do the dead know where they are? The Igbo man concluded his discourse with a question: “Why must my wife be in debt after I am gone?”
Are Nigerians thinking any better than their thick-headed ancestors? When asked where she would like to e buried, a Nigerian Igbo woman said: “Bury me in America because the cemetery has beautiful lawns, and I would like to sleep there.” Her children would occasionally come to clean her grave on Mother’s Day and place some beautiful flowers there.
Our ancestors were egocentric, defined as being selfish, self-centered, insensitive, inconsiderate, egotistic, egoistic, or simply careless of other people’s feelings. They were self-centered simpletons. A man died in a Nigerian town, leaving behind a will that specifically stipulated that he be buried in style in a grave along with his most precious and endearing possession- his Citroën car. At the man’s death, his relatives refused to dig the large grave despite the weeping and prodding of the deceased’s widow. “ How could he be so selfish?” They asked. Finally, there was a compromise with the widow who agreed to bury her late husband in a wooden box and let the widow keep the Citroën. It took the persuasion of the whole town to get the widow to agree to hire a driver to chauffeur her around town.
Now Comes my Incredible Homeboy
I called up this man from my village and suggested his wife would bury him In New York’s Flower Gardens if he should predecease her. He shot back like a sawed-off gun: “Mba, obu ihe aru ini madu na mba” (No, it is a shameful thing to bury a man outside his home). Why? Villagers would not believe the person is dead until they see the corpse. Relatives would want to know what killed their brother or husband. People would want to participate in and witness the elaborate celebration including the number of cows led in the funeral processions, the size of food and alcohol to be eaten and drunk; the number of masquerade groups invited and baskets of Naira spread; and how closure was brought to the dead person’s life. Older married men with some money would want the opportunity to check out the dead man’s widow to see if she could be a welcome addition to their collection of girlfriends.
The most notable reason for the elaborate celebration is to pay the last respect to the departed so people would go home saying: “You know. Okonkwo spent billions of Naira to give his father the best funeral the people in this town have ever seen in years.” According to my homeboy, a man must be buried in his compound where he has inheritance. And I get irritated when my homeboy goes into details about his late father’s funeral when relatives the old man had put into business brought not one or two, but eleven large cows to be slaughtered. To my homeboy, a funeral is not complete unless it has a show-show, beatiem -m’ele (unbeatable) feature.
Then, my homeboy goes into the underworld of voodoo and magic, and I wish he had just gone away so I could doze off. A man my homeboy knew had died and was buried outside his village. Because omenala wasn’t followed, the dead man’s restless spirit caused so much destruction and turmoil relatives had to hurriedly exhume the body and re-bury him in front of his house. His spirit finally rested in peace. Will someone please tell my homeboy to go somewhere else (gaa ebe ozo), and tell that old wives’ tale to my grandkids at halloween. I remember growing up with the family of Mr. Oji from Arochukwu who owned a Volkswagen and a few transport lorries, When Mr. Oji died, the children tore up the living room of his expensive home and buried him in the middle. That way, Mr. Oji would always rule over his financial empire. As the Biafran War was brewing, the wife and children of Mr. Oji abandoned the house with Mr. Oji’s grave in northern Nigeria and ran to Arochukwu.
Where you want to be buried is your doggone business. Be sure you are making things better not worse for the people you are leaving behind, and you aren’t being crazy as the Egyptian Pharaoh who asked to be buried with his servants, queens, and household goods and jewels in preparation for rulership in the underworld. I’ve just gotten a clever idea. When folks back home badger me with demands that I send them some American Dollars through the Western Union for uniforms to be worn at village funerals of Chiefs So-an-So, I am going to be asking the callers: “Are you going as Jesus to raise the dead or are you going just to eat bitter leaf soups and drink some palm wine?” Then I embarrass the callers by giving them nicknames of Mr. or Mrs. Oke Akpiri (Tremendous Appetite). The callers are getting fewer and fewer. Nawa. I sure got those beggars. Hahaha. Ah.
Dr. James C. Agazie ( email@example.com )
*Anioma: The Search for New Leadership
By Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili
“If we fail in our duty to say the fact because our kinsmen are involved, we are preparing the ground for the destruction of the Country...” …Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Leadership requires honesty, principle, integrity, being visionary and commitment to a cause. In developing world and every modern society, these are qualities that are used to measure persons who aspire to lead or occupy positions of Public Trust. Unfortunately, some events that polluted our ugly past drove honest people away from the nation’s Political arena. Anioma land like many Nigeria communities had her share of this dislocation; and still parades individuals who see public service as opportunity for self-enrichment rather than a fiduciary responsibility solely in the interest of the people with the exclusive purpose of providing benefits to all. These individuals who lack the essential qualities of good leaders are the ones impeding the progress and development of their communities and Nigeria. I must tender my candid apology to earnest few in this group as I do not intend to paint all personages in public service as dishonest and deficient in good leadership skills.
I would like to state here that I am not a leader. I do not and have not practically aspired to lead any group. And quite frankly, I am not interested in doing that at all. However, I do have good followership skills and I have observed that millions of Anioma people share this same attribute. They know good leaders and are easily able to identify one. However, I do not know many communities in the world where persons who have put their personal interests above the collective good of their communities would hope or aspire to be rewarded with higher responsibilities or offices. This ugly scenario is currently playing out in Anioma. A few Anioma representatives who have no inkling of what public service is about are unashamedly flaunting their incompetence and hypocrisy that are so visible to the same people they have grossly short-changed.
According to our forefathers: “Experience is what you gain from your own actions; wisdom is what you gain from the experience of others”. Anioma people have seen how they have been badly represented over a decade by those falling over themselves, and spinning to be rewarded with higher offices. Anioma and Delta have learned wisdom from the experiences of states in the South-West Nigeria; they have seen developments and innovations in education and governance in South- South States of Edo, and Rivers States. They have observed active young men and women of their generation threw away corrupt selfish leaders in the Middle East and Arab nations. And just recently in the Unites States of America Presidential election, they saw how ordinary men and women can achieve extra-ordinary feats when common folks trump big money and hypocrisy for personal integrity and individual liberty. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing Anioma
The greatest risk to actualizing cohesion and rapid development in Anioma is Anioma Politicians. Sounds simple, yet it remains an area Anioma elders are unwilling to tackle. Except for Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, who has been laboring at the grass root and assiduously communicating the purpose of governance and public service to Anioma politicians, other Anioma elites are showing little concern about rots in their home state. On the other hand, Anioma elders at home rather than speaking out against the greed that has overcome their lands have joined the “lootocrats”. Jostling for the kill and personal gains, they have formed long queues behind various gladiators who are seeking to run as Governors come 2015.
There is a great need to reminisce on the circumstances that produced those who presently occupy Anioma slots in public service and leadership positions. It is important that we evaluate whether they have represented core Anioma values and interests, or whether in their duties and official capacities they have promoted their personal interests above public interest.
An unbiased appraisal of their stewardship for its benefit to the people shows abysmally poor performances that would keep generations to come wondering how we ended up with a gang of rapacious bandits and rogues masquerading as leaders. But if we must reclaim the future for our kids, we as individuals must determine the type of leadership we need. And the first logical step towards this goal is by dispatching, retiring and consigning these political jobbers to the sad part of Delta/ Anioma history and sordid past.
The sacred red soil of Anioma land and the spirits of those who were murdered in cold blood in order to foist rogue leadership on Anioma people cry for justice every day. Therefore, if there are no doubts in our minds that present Anioma community leaders in partnership with the appointed and elected representatives have not performed in the greater interest of all (and evidences abound everywhere for the blind to see); It would be most disingenuous for Anioma people to reward any of these folks with a higher office. Not after they have raped our sacred land by plundering our common wealth.
These individuals who have connived with strangers to disenfranchise Anioma communities, and benefited through contract awards and political appointments; and who subsequently have enriched themselves at the expense of Anioma people, do not merit any support for a higher office on behalf of Anioma nation. Anioma culture and values do not reward bad behaviors and the noble men and women of Anioma land will resist any call to support these bad eggs amongst them or whoever had misrepresented them in the past or present for any future appointments or elections. They must be resisted no matter the amount of money they may throw around, and in defiance of powers behind them, or the height and prominence of the position they occupy.
Anioma people worldwide are ready, alert and eagerly yearning for a leadership that will articulate a clear vision for Anioma nation. Without this vision it would be impossible to face the future as one people in the emerging Nigeria nation of six geopolitical zones. Anioma needs unpretentious leadership that would rally all the different interests and accommodate opposing views by building coalitions for common good of the people. They can no longer afford to be represented by sons and daughters who have constantly betrayed public trust, or have had their fingers in shoddy dealings that have appearances of corruption or such acts, or have allegations proven or not hanging over their heads.
An informed and articulate generation of Anioma young men and women has emerged and anxiously waiting for Anioma elders to close their ranks and make the judgment call on whether these folks are the best Anioma can provide Delta State, whether they are credible enough to continue to represent Anioma; or whether Anioma should look outside for credible leaders. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria showing its 36 states (including Delta State), and Federal capital (Abuja or FCT)
Anioma people are not oblivious of the fact that a good chunk of these elders they so expect to make the judgment call have soiled their hands in dinners with these rogue leaders. The people are aware of some elders in competing Anioma groups and whose source of funding are from Anioma rogues politicians.
Anioma youths do not ask that they return their loots but will sound a note of warning that those who connive with gangsters to loot of their commonwealth will go down with their patrons on the day of reckoning. They must look them in their eyes and tell them that the age of transparency is here and that it will be no longer business as usual. And that there will be no hiding place after they have been defeated because, they must account for their deeds while in office. The days of reckoning will come and just like their past bodies, justice must take its full course… it is fast approaching.
In our time, we have seen how the most peaceful communities suddenly turn violent overnight. Therefore, those who take the docility of Anioma people for granted should not be surprise to wake up one morning to discover that the peace they so much took for granted was no longer guaranteed. Anioma nation has host of respectable men and women better than the present opportunists who parade themselves as leaders. Honorable and respectable men can be found everywhere in Anioma land. Great and selfless Anioma personalities abound from the valleys of Ukwu Nzu in Aniocha North Local Government Area, across the bank of Ologodo River in Ika Kingdom; and through the hills of Ogwume in Ndokwa West.
Decent and honorable personalities with exceptional characters can be found in every nine local Government Areas of Delta North Senatorial District (DNST). It is therefore illogical to expect that Anioma people would continue to look up to the usurpers who have done little or nothing to improve their lot of millions of unemployed Anioma graduates roaming the streets; who are doing nothing to alleviate the sufferings of thousands of sick elders and seniors without social safety nets; and who are selfishly carting away their resources when thousands of primary school pupils study on cold grounds and under leaking roofs, and dilapidated schools buildings. The time to call a conference of Anioma Associations and community Development Unions to sit down and design a blue print and way forward for Anioma people has come. Anioma youths have long lost confidence in present leadership tussle among our elders on one hand, and the political opportunist on the other. There is a gaping vacuum for visionary leadership yearning to be filled in this land of revolutionaries. We cannot exhume Reverend Nwadie Martins or Sir Dennis Osadebay from their graves to come fill this vacuum. Good men and women must take up their mantle to rally Anioma people to rebrand public service and politics as social works with power as against the present Chop-I-Chop mentality.
The deprivation, disenfranchisement and level of poverty visited upon Anioma land by successive administrations in connivance with Anioma swashbucklers have got to an unimaginable level. If the people do not show their anger, this wickedness will note abate. Anioma sons and daughters home and abroad have EQUAL stakes in the project of protecting their commonwealth and projecting individual freedom, self-expression and dignity for all. Therefore, everyone must join hands to reclaim the mandate for credible Anioma representation or Anioma leadership will remain in the hands of second-rates for a long time.
And if our elders do not see the hand writing on the wall, or are looking the other way because they are overwhelmed by the rots in the system; Anioma youths must gear up, summon courage and employ the power of social media to mobilize for new leadership. Now the tools are available. It will be productive to seize the opportunity of the technology of social media communications to advocate for good governance.
Now is time to start some soul searching. It is also time for praise singers to advise their masters to reconsider their warped values; and respect the unique qualities of principle, honesty, ethics, integrity and visionary leadership for which our forefathers and post- independence leaders were known. Now is the time to demonstrate that Anioma people still hold and respect these values. And there is no better way to demonstrate this in a democracy than using mobilization and voting through the ballot to retire and confine to history, the present rogues who have misrepresented Aniomas as fraudulent people before our nation and other nations of the world.
History does not record anywhere that progress comes by electing into highest office incompetent characters or hawkish and egocentric persons who have exhibited total disregard for collective interest and people’s welfare. In the words of our forefathers” when a moth wears the appearance of a wasp, we infer that the imitation is intended to deceive insectivorous animals which prosecute the moth but avoid the wasp” and that “Ebu gba nwata ofu nzizi okpi, ogba oso.”
Echiemeze Chizekene Ofili , Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Nigeria: Revolt we shall if..........
By Amiru Adamu
Though General Obasanjo is part of our problems as a nation, he has a distinct character of commenting bluntly on issues. This was the case when the former president warned of an imminent revolution in Nigeria, if the business of governance continues as usual. He expressed fears that "Nigeria will witness a revolution soon unless government takes urgent steps to check the growing youth unemployment and poverty.
There is no doubt, that we the Nigerian youth have no confidence in the present crop of rulers in Nigeria. We are under no illusion, that they do not have our interest at heart. We are positive, that if nothing drastic is done we will continue to suffer and wallow in poverty while they continue to indulge themselves and their families at our expense.
Indications and signs pointing to the failure of the rulers of Nigeria are abound. One needs no soothsayers to know that all is not well, if a country as rich as Nigeria has a 72 percent youth unemployment rate.
A Nigerian graduate begins to sense a bleak future ahead while serving the compulsory and irrelevant one year national youth service corps scheme. It is then that he/she will go for months without receiving his/her monthly allowance and without any explanation. I know many corp members that had to rely on the goodwill of their host communities to feed themselves because of the inability of those concerned, to ensure that they receive their allowance as at when due. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: NYSC members at a parade
Graduation in Nigeria has seized to have it required significance, as far as finding a means of livelihood is concerned. Because its only those considered extremely lucky that find jobs with their qualifications within 2 to 3 years after graduation. Some unfortunate one's who were unlucky not to have learnt a trade, go for as long as 10 years without jobs. All these problems regarding job search surprisingly affects the masses only, for the children of the ruling class and their cronies change jobs at will the moment an opening becomes available. Its only after they have sorted out the best and more promising jobs, that the crumbs are then left for the masses to occupy.
The other section of Nigerian youths whom have chosen to learn a trade to better themselves rather than acquiring a certificate that doesn't guarantee a daily bread, also face challenges and artificial obstacles created by years of corruption and gross selfishness of nigerian rulers. From Nigeria's return to democracy in 1999 to date, Nigeria has had more than 500 youth empowerment programmes created between the federal, states and local governments that have so far yielded no positive results. As a matter of fact, we the Nigerian youths see those empowerment schemes as avenues for local politicians And their cronies to corner the remaining crumbs being passed down from the top in the name of the destitute Nigerian youths. Anyone conversant with the process involved in the shady empowerment programmes knows that, the list of beneficiaries are usually filled with ghost names created by local organisers at the expense of the hard-working Nigerian youths.
These series of challenges and dashed hopes, turned a large amount of Nigerian youths into Okada riders. This trade was at one time the highest employer of Nigeria's teeming youths. To further demonstrate their lack of sympathy for the plight of the unemployed, some state governments have now banned the Okada trade without offering any tangible alternative to thousands of the grounded Okada riders. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: An Okada rider. In the background are Kekes (tricycles)
This and other anti youth policies too numerous to mention has demonstrated the government's lack of genuine interest in the welfare and progress of the Nigerian youths. The fuel subsidy removal protests held all over the country early this year should have served as an eye opener to the government. They should have listened to the voices of the youths that braved intimidation, cold and sunshine to protest a policy we consider anti people. They instead connived with some so called labour leaders to feed us lies and deception. They came up with a bogus SURE programme that they know is not feasible considering their greed and selfishness. Those who disregarded Obasanjo's warning are indeed too blind to see, they are too deaf to hear and too dumb to understand the echoes of revolution in the making.
Revolt we shall if things continue the way they are, because we are fed up and tired of unfulfilled promises year after year while our rulers and their cronies feed fat at our expense. Nigeria is our country too, so we deserve to benefit from its riches as everyone else. We are not asking for handouts, nigerian youths are hard-working and industrious. All we need are opportunities and a corrupt free nation to excel.
Amiru Adamu is the publisher of Northern Wind Magazine.
*I Intend to Turn Anambra into a Huge Construction Yard -Obi
Masterweb Reports – Thursday, November 22, 2012: Gov. Peter Obi said that Anambra State, in a matter of days, would be literary turned into a huge construction yard, with the magnitude of construction work the State will witness. He said this yesterday while inspecting the on-going massive channelization of flood water at the UNIZIK junction Awka.
Obi who paid an unscheduled visit to the site accompanied by the Commissioners for Works and Utilities, Arc. Callistus Ilozumba and Dr. Emeka Nwankwu respectfully, said that most of his inspection of projects would be without prior notice to contractors to assist him gauge their seriousness. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Gov. Obi (right), with his Commissioners for Works and Utilities, Arc. Callistus Ilozumba ( middle) and Dr. Emeka Nwankwu( left) , during the inspection of channelization of flood water at the UNIZIK junction, Awka.
Obi took the opportunity to reveal that he had ordered payments to contractors as he would not accept any excuse for lethargy among them. " I stayed awake till 3:30 am this morning looking purely into files dealing with various road contracts as not to accept any excuse
Obi said that construction would not be limited to road as, according to him, work is on- going at the Anambra Hotel and Convention Centre, rebuilding of many schools, rehabilitation be many water projects, the second Onitsha Business Park, among others. He said that plans had been concluded to start the construction of hotels, shopping Malls and Convention centers at Akwa and Nnewi.
One among many jubilant residents who came out en masse to welcome the Governor, Mr. Chuma Okoye, expressed happiness over the scope and quality of work, which he said would provide a lasting solution to flood problem in Awka and enviros.
*Changing The Face of Tompolo’s ‘Kingdom’
By Ifeatu Agbu
A visit to Okerenkoko, in Gbaramatu clan of Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State is still dreaded by many people who are conversant with the notorious role it played in the days of militancy in the Niger Delta region. So, an inspection tour of projects executed by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in Okerenkoko, Kurutie and Ugborodo communities through the meandering creeks of the delta is not an assignment for the faint hearted. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing its composite 8 states, including Delta State.
Although Apostle Oluba Tikiwei, one of the leaders of Okerenkoko Federated Communities, would want visitors to feel at home in the island, the reality is that the eerie feeling that one is in a zone with serious security challenges still persists. Okerenkoko is still wrapped in an aura of fear and mystic. It is still perceived as the hotbed of militancy, three years after the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) stormed the area to dislodge the dreaded forces of Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, the leader of the ruthless Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta [MEND]. Tikiwei and other community leaders of the town feel pained about the negative perception of Okerenkoko as a militants’ stronghold. “We are peaceful and law-abiding people like Nigerians in other parts of the country. All our people are asking for is development. We contribute enormously to the economy of Nigeria, so we expect that basic amenities like water and schools should be provided for us,” Tikiwei said. It was against this background that Chief Solomon Ogba, the representative of Delta State on the board of the NDDC, recently led a team of other officials of the interventionist agency and journalists into the belly of the tiger so to speak. For three days, high ranking officials of the commission traversed the creeks and open water-ways in Warri and Escravos, to inspect NDDC projects in some of the coastal areas of Delta State. On arrival at the Okerenkoko jetty, a group of young men waited anxiously, apparently trying to figure out if we were friends or foes. One of them had a video camera that was recording every move we made right from the landing point.
In a way, the people of Okerenkoko may be right in saying that they are being misjudged by those of us who are still petrified by the thought of dynamites going off and guns booming. When our speedboat anchored at the jetty after a bumpy ride on rough waters, we saw a people that were suspicious of visitors and cautious in dealing with them. They were, however, not hostile. That helped to shore up our confidence and wiped out the impression that the island is a “no go area.’
Ogba inspected the 1.8-kilometre shore protection project in Okerenkoko, which had reached an advanced stage. He said there was need to increase the tempo of work at the shore-lines. Thus, he directed the contractor to see him within 24 hours to straighten out some issues concerning the job. The engineer on site, Mr. James Joshua promised that the sand-filling of the shore-line would be completed in March 2013.
Perhaps, the NDDC team got a friendly treatment because of the past performances of the commission in the Gbaramatu kingdom. They may not forget in a hurry that the NDDC built and commissioned a health centre for them in 2007. Prior to that, the entire Gbaramatu kingdom had no modern health care facility.
According to the NDDC Managing Director at the time, Mr. Timi Alaibe, the Okerenkoko Cottage Hospital, which cost over N65 million, saved the people from the dangerous practice of self-medication and the hazardous boat trips to Warri whenever anyone took ill or when women were in labour. Okerenkoko and indeed the entire Gbaramatu Kingdom, is host to the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC, which has numerous flow stations at the Jones Creek.
Another reason the Ijaw people of Okerenkoko would be happy with the NDDC is that work has started on a very important road that would link the community with Omadino town, which is just about three kilometres from Warri. According to Ambassador Austin Oniyecum, one of the prominent Ijaw leaders in the area, the Omadino-Okerenkoko road will reduce the stress and cut the distance of travelling on water. “It takes over two hours to travel from Omadino to Okerenkoko now, but the road will reduce that time to only 20 minutes. That is why we consider the project as very important,” he said. However, this important road link suffered a setback when the Omadino community asked for a re-alignment of the route to make way for a new Christian university that is being planned for the community. The NDDC Delta State representative said he was not happy that the community asked for the re-alignment of the road, a decision, he said was bound to delay the project unduly. ( Continues below..... )
Photo Above: Map of Nigeria's Niger Delta Region showing Port Harcourt
The envisaged delay notwithstanding, Ogba assured the people of Omadino and Okerenkoko as well as other coastal communities that the NDDC would not relent in its efforts to provide development infrastructure for them. He said: “We can assure you that the NDDC is determined to make a difference in the lives of the people. We will continue to build new roads and bridges as well as complete on-going reclamation and shore protection projects.” Chief Ogba inspected other projects in Kurutie and Ugborodo communities. He expressed delight at the pace of work at the Kurutie-Gbaramatu 16-kilometre road with four bridges. He said it would link several communities in Gbaramatu kingdom.
The engineer supervising the project, Mr. Andrea Battitelli explained that the project also covers internal roads in Kurutie. He said that sharp sand for the bridges was already being dredged from salt-free water in Warri, from where it would be transported to the site. “Members of the communities are cooperating with us and this gives us confidence that we will deliver the project in 36 months,” he said.
Mr. Christian Ubene, a trader in the town, said that the road was an answer to the prayers of many communities in the area that were totally surrounded by water. “I have been doing business in this community for many years and transportation has always been a major headache," he said.
Unlike Kurutie and Okerenkoko where work was progressing appreciably, the situation at Ugborodo in Escravos was different because the contractor had since abandoned the shore protection and reclamation project. The NDDC consultant for the project, Elder G. O Mebaghanje said that the contractor had only done 10 per cent of the 2-kilometre stone boulder protection before he absconded.
Mr. Victor Omunu, one of the vocal opinion leaders in the area, decried the conduct of the contractor, whom he said collected over N1billion for the job and barely scratched the surface, lamenting that the contractor, Foby Nigeria Limited, disappointed and short-changed the people.
Omunu said that the poor performance of the contractor had rubbed off negatively on the NDDC, adding that it would take a complete turnaround to change the perception of the people about the commission. Pa Wawe Agba, an elder in the community, agreed that the credibility of the NDDC was on the line because previous promises made by the commission to the people were not fulfilled. “This is not the first time NDDC officials will visit us and make promises that the shore protection project will be done well. We want results not promises,” he said.
The NDDC board member assured the Ugborodo community, which hosts Chevron facilities in Escravos, that the commission would ensure that the shore protection work was continued and completed. “We have already determined the contract and the board is at the point of re-awarding it to a more competent contractor,” he said.
Chief Ogba also commissioned some of the detached two bedroom bungalows built by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) for the Itsekiri Regional Development Committee (IRDC). His choice for the assignment was informed by the fact that NDDC was part of the committee that packaged the 100 housing units spread across 23 Itsekiri communities.
The NDDC representative said he was impressed by the standard of the houses, considering that they were cited in the rural area. “I agree that Chevron has done a lot but the people are still going to ask for more. If Chevron has built what they have in Lekki, Lagos, here in Niger Delta, I am sure the operational cost for Chevron would have been reduced. Let Chevron increase the level of funding.”
It takes a visit to coastal communities for anyone to begin to appreciate their plight. One of the youths in Ugborodo, who simply identified himself as Johnson, said that nobody would want to spend weeks in the creeks. He said that those who have the means, run away from the area to live in Warri. “Living in the creeks is nothing but tortuous. That is why we are crying that government should develop our area. We deserve some basic amenities as people from whose land oil is drilled to sustain Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Ifeatu Agbu ( email@example.com ) writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
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